Clay Richards, anarchist blogger, writes about politics, art, sexuality and emerging digital realities. More poststructuralist than postmodern, politically incorrect to some, harshly critical to others, the Postmodern Anarchist believes in anarchy without anarchists, yet will freely discuss anarchism at the drop of a hat. Contact: postmodernanarchist(at)netweed(dot)com
The Postmodern Anarchist now resides at postmodernanarchist.com!
I'm not sure there's a particular message in the movie, though many reviewers proposed that there was. Any well made film that attempts to create a narrative that strongly relates to people's live will have many possible messages and, of course, many readings will occur. City of God is a great example of the potential of narrative in a time when the film industry keeps regurgitating the same stories over and over. I just wish anarchist filmmakers could do the same but it's hard to raise the funds when you're an anarchist.
I think I mentioned my interest in open access publishing long ago. However, if you're not familiar with the concept, let me fill you in a bit. Open access publishing primarily focuses on providing free online access to peer reviewed scholarly research. This access may be provided via self-archiving and institutional repositories (which often overlap), online journals (which get the most press) or electronic monographs (the least developed possibility to date). There's a Directory of Open Access Journals that's worth browsing. To keep up with developments, the best source is definitely Open Access News. It's a really positive development for many reasons and I'm looking forward to being involved in my own little way.
In unique search news, recently the following search phrase was used to find my site via Google:
in what ways does john cage help us to understand postmodern thinking and postmodern performance
Putting that phrase into Google without quotes bring my site up first. It's the damndest thing because many of the components won't bring up my site and Google does drop out some of the words that are more common. In any case, I'm happy they found me.
George Kelly's Negrophile has a nice post from way back on social networks and black bloggers. This post is a great example of responding to and grounding a sociological text in personal experience.
angry asian man is a blog I've been hearing about and finally checked out for myself. I love the way he reports various media bits and identifies them with the tag, "That's racist!"
I found out about angry asian man from Oliver Wang's Pop Life. Clyde turned me on to this blog that covers a lot of hip hop topics as well as pop culture and politics more generally.
Another important hip hop blog, besides Clyde's own Hip Hop Logic, of course, is Jay Smooth's hiphopmusic.com. Actually it's not just about hip hop, it's about politics and culture and stuff that being involved with media in New York sometimes gives you special access to, like this Baadasssss Evening with Mario and Melvin Van Peebles.
If you just happen to be a grad student, or are sympathetic to a grad student (I think) trying to navigate high theory, pop culture and Filipina feminist consciousness, then you'll relate to so it just don't stop.
Did you know Margaret Cho has a blog? And it's every bit as cool as is she.
Although it doesn't quite fit the theme of this post, I want to say that I was regularly annoyed by Wil Wheaton's Star Trek character Wesley Crusher, but it turns out that he's really kind of an ok guy.
Wow, this was fun and kind of soothing. It's nice to be saying good things about good people. I should try it more often.
Unfortunately I can't say as much as I'd like but I'd encourage you to check out the article, the material at NOT BORED! and, perhaps, some of the links below:
The Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website
The Radical Imagination of Cornelius Castoriadis
Castoriadis and the democratic tradition
I find his thoughts on autonomy of particular interest due to my own concerns with connecting anarchist and poststructuralist theory.
I also found the controversies around the estate of interest because I like gossip about important figures. Somehow I was not surprised to find that the translator, David Ames Curtis, was wrapped up in a disagreement with Murray Bookchin. Remind me to tell you the story of my visit to a discussion at the Institute for Social Ecology where Murray revealed the behavior that has caused his legacy to be as much one of factionalism as of productive theoretical labor.
I'm no link cop and I try to get along with communists but the RCP has a long history of opportunistic bullshit and they've been making a gradual comeback through various means including the appropriation of anarchist symbology. Unfortunately they suck in well meaning people who are unaware of their long history of doing stupid things at demonstrations, starting front groups and/or attempting to take control of coalitions.
Speaking of cops, the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center's home page currently has links to a massive amount of coverage of recent antiwar demonstrations in a variety of locations. Coverage includes documentation of attacks on demonstrators in San Francisco by the SFPD, a scary bunch of thugs who will not be swayed by offers of donuts (actually, has that tactic been attempted lately?)
In other news, recent studies on news media and on blogging have been released by academic researchers and are worth a look.
BIRDBRAINDANCE is currently doing a Duck and Geese Tour following migratory routes of birds and performing dances to raise environmental awareness.
For those of you that would rather deflate marriage than legalize more forms of it, quirkyalone.net may be of interest. I first found out about it through this East Bay Express article.
And in news of public sexual activities, flash mobs have been superseded by the British phenomenon of dogging. For more info, as well as tips for participation, see this UK Dogging and Doggers Advice page. If that tweaks your fancy, you may also find toothing of interest. I'm not going to explain that one either. You'll just have to go to this Toothing FAQ to understand more deeply how communication technology is aiding anonymous sex.
Clyde and I went to the Murder Dog/Dizzee Rascal showcase of all things. I can't recommend any of the crunk Houston acts we saw, dear readers. But Bavu Blakes is worth checking out for old school entertainment and Dizzee Rascal's just a trip. Clyde goes into it at Hip Hop Logic with a number of posts that actually start with a series addressing a gender discussion among hip hop bloggers. It's a scary funny thing cause Clyde kind of melts down in a rabid anarcholeftist rant. You know, he tries to cover it up, but he suffers for his people. If any of that interests you, I'd go to the blog and check out March 20th and 21st. There are a number of posts on those days, otherwise I'd give you a permalink.
Actually the only outright scary and funny thing is the fact that Virgin Atlantic Airways didn't realize that some people think that pissing in women's mouths isn't the most appropriate inspiration for men's urinal designs.
Additional fodder for worry is this article discussing what it's like to be uninsured and need health care using Ashcroft's recent illness as a jumping off point.
Hearing about the elections in El Salvador blasted me back to the 80s. I spent a lot of that decade learning to be a community activist while working against U.S. intervention in Central America. It was a brutal time with massive amounts of death squad activity coordinated with military assaults on villages in a variety of nations. It was Reagan time and that fucker and his cronies helped kill a lot of people down there. In El Salvador, the Arena party was formed by leaders involved with death squads, so keep that in mind when you read about them. For an activist source that was crucial in the 80s and has continued unabated, check out the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.
Driving around today I saw a great bumper sticker:
Who Would Jesus Bomb?
I really like that for so many reasons. It reminded me of one of my favorite bumper stickers I saw last year that went something like:
God Was My Copilot
but we crashed in the andes
and i had to eat him
Right now I'm shifting between Jeremiah, the postapocalyptic series with Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Firefly, a short lived science fiction series. Both have their appeal. Jeremiah takes place 15 years after everybody that's reached puberty has died of some kind of virus. So we see youthful adults surviving in the ruins in the Pacific Northwest, which is great landscape both urban and rural.
Although it's kind of fucked up, I really enjoy the fact that, in Jeremiah, a lot of the cultural scenes are like a scaled down Rainbow Gathering or an anarchoboho party in San Francisco. Since the show doesn't make fun of these people, I guess the issue of appropriation is one to consider. I definitely relate to struggles to resist appropriation, even to the point of keeping a certain secrecy around subcultures. But I'm increasingly drawn to the idea of consciously using appropriation to inject alternative perspectives into the mainstream. However, that can only be a satisfying approach if one accepts that the ideas will spread through commodification, as when punk and goth subcultures feed into Hot Topic stores at the mall.
I used to be a real purist about such things in a fairly rigid leftist manner. But, after experiencing just how fucked up the left can be (eating it's young and all that), I'm more open to other possibilities. I'll try to come back to this topic but, for now, let me just say that I probably won't finish seeing the first season of Jeremiah. It started out pretty strong but Luke Perry's character Jeremiah is growing increasingly sanctimonious and the recurring theme of inspiring someone to stand up against bad things through a heart to heart talk with Jeremiah is just a bit much.
Firefly looks like a good series so far and it's unfortunate that it was cancelled. It's about a small spacecraft in the outer planets of an Alliance of planets after a failed independence struggle. The spacecraft does illegal salvage and such. The writing is really good but the whole show is undermined by a Wild West theme. I think they could have used the western as an underlying influence to give coherence to their perspective but when you have the main characters talk like someone out of the old West and you go to a planet and they're wearing clothes that cowboys don't wear anymore, it gets a bit silly.
The cool parts of both these shows are the glimpses of creative approaches to everyday life, some appealing, some incredibly creepy. I still haven't gotten to a scene in Jeremiah involving a book nut but there's got to be one. I hate to admit it but, in Firefly, my favorite creepy thing has been the Reavers (sp?), cannibalistic crews that roam the outer reaches. They just bring this heavy darkness into the show, without actually being shown in the episodes I've seen, that far surpass just about anything I've seen in science fiction, and I've seen a lot.
Well, I hope branching out into a personal discussion of issues that the old left would really look down on doesn't turn off my small crew of readers. But I've got to recuperate from the madness of this world somehow.
On that note, netweed's Alternative Headline News includes headlines from Democracy Now which continues to get exclusive interviews with Haiti's deposed leader Aristide before anyone else. You can keep up through our page, which draws on a feed from MyAntiwar.org, or go directly to Democracy Now or to MyAntiwar.org. If you're looking for an RSS feed, Democracy Now has one and MyAntiwar.org provides a bunch at their site.
The DC Action Medical Network is an incredibly cool project focused on street medics that has a very useful guide to Staying Healthy for Civil Disobedience Actions developed by the Boston Area Liberation Medic Squad aka the BALM Squad.
In political news, the Interior Department's Internet connections were mostly shut down by order of a federal judge because they continue to refuse to address computer safety issues that endanger funds for Native Americans.
The Sierra Club has been facing a right wing, anti-immigration takeover effort that would jeopardize a major liberal institution. Even if you don't consider them radical enough, they play an important role and losing them to the right would be a bad thing.
Recently the General Accounting Office has cleared the way for government representatives to lie about drug related issues in order to attack drug use. This is especially troubling since they actually blocked some of this behavior in other areas in the past.
Though Congress has attempted to limit Pentagon information gathering, two computer projects designed to safeguard citizen privacy have been axed. However Congress has yet to respond to Pentagon supported research into the use of giant blimps to watch citizens.
Speaking of a sad life, I'm watching Gaspar Noe's I Stand Alone and taking work breaks. It's a tough film to watch. Unrelentingly bleek with a view of Paris that one rarely sees in the movies. I know it's building up to a really nasty ending because what I've seen so far, though impressive, is definitely not over the top in the way that Noe's known for. I'm not sure about his background. He was born in Argentina but I'm assuming he's French. It's a very French film in a very good way.
Speaking of good French things, I ran into a brief article about Lyotard's Concept of Paralogy by Lois Shawver. Unfortunately I haven't read Lyotard's work on that topic, although I've read The Postmodern Condition (link to excerpts) a number of times. The Postmodern Condition is a very rich, short book, well worth your time. Shawver describes paralogy as a "flood of good ideas that are inspired by conversation." I like what she says, even though I don't know if it really matches what Lyotard says. But one of the nice things about French poststructuralists and theorists of the postmodern is that, when people are working with the ideas in a positive manner, even their mistaken readings are productive.
Speaking of mistakes and the French, ok, this is a stretch, but I'm trying to segue into a link about the Chinese and the French were there and I accept that this is a failed segue, a segue in the ruins. Speaking of ruins, an announcement from within China recently claimed that the government is killing over 10,000 prisoners a year. Although I haven't seen discussion of the harvesting of body parts recently, it's long been know that the organs of executed prisoners are a lucrative source of income for the Chinese government. I mean, they've got to pay for the Olympics somehow.
Interesting PsyOps article by Mike Seely with comments from practitioners and opponents.
I mentioned e-voting to one of my favorite video store clerks who said he wouldn't be doing that, assuming it was about voting online. Actually, if you haven't been following the controversy, it's about computerized polling stations that have a variety of flaws. A recent piece in Wired about problems in the Democratic primary in California makes a clear case for creating a paper trail of voting, something that Diebold, the frontrunners in the industry, refuse to do.
Jack Smith was a unique figure in filmmaking that I won't even try to describe. Since his death, his work is gradually receiving more mainstream attention, which it well deserves. Unfortunately, the status of his estate is in jeopardy due to the belief of his previously uninterested relatives' that his estate is worth a lot of money.
I still find it unbelievable that cops are trying to create a nationalized database to track us and calling it MATRIX. Not surprisingly, it is being marketed as an antiterrorism project. The good news is that both Wisconsin and New York have withdrawn. That brings the participating states down to 5 from an original group of 13 that accounted for about half of the U.S. population.
Ecstasy research makes a small step forward out of the depths of scientific malpractice.
"Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead."
And that's as serious as I'll get today.
An online pro-Bush poster maker tool was reined in after Bush haters turned it upon itself!
Among other findings, a study of virginity pledges shows that those who took them, ended up just as diseased as the kids who didn't lie!
Extensive investigation of a Florida hospital system may implicate Jeb Bush in wrong doing! Woo Hoo!
High points in relationship to this blog are the addition of InfoShop News headlines to the Anarchy page and the combined force of Wired News and Slashdot on the Tech News page.
I'm also in Austin, visiting the current home town of netweed and catching some of the SXSW events. This is a great time to visit Austin, students are away on spring break and there's a critical mass of "cool" people wandering around 6th St. I'm hoping to catch the Monday night soiree that Blogger has announced on the home page.
New sources for news include Topix.net, providing aggregated headlines, and Jawfish, a service that allows me to run links from RSS feeds.
Much has happened over the last two days but some things occurred over the last month. Affected directory sections include:
Alternative Headline News
Hip Hop News
Recent Haiti Coverage
Latest Democracy Now interview with Aristide.
Overview of the coup with perspectives on the aftermath from upcoming issue of The Nation.
Statement of Congressman Charles B. Rangel at hearings on Haiti.
Carribean nations call for U.N. investigation.
Though this column seems mostly to the point, its focus on Haiti as a political opportunity for black U.S. politicians seems just a little twisted.
Issues and Struggles
A unique women's language from China is in danger of disappearing.
Computers are even more environmentally damaging than realized, especially when treated as obsolete after increasingly shorter periods.
MoveOn.org is part of a campaign to strengthen controls on mercury that Bush wants to weaken.
Cuban librarians remain imprisoned with other prisoners of conscience.
Increasing numbers of communities are moving to ban genetically modified crops.
A Canadian organization has released an update on the forced involvement of girls in military activities and other groups have attacked the exploitation of women in sweatshops as Olympic gear deadlines approach.
The unfolding news regarding the selling of body parts from UCLA's willed body program is pretty disturbing. Stranger still is this report regarding the use of corpses from China in a traveling museum exhibit. Apparently the artist has been fined for using the title Professor inappropriately but, judging from the photograph, I think he should be fined for impersonating Joseph Beuys.
In any case, my interest in technology is partly spurred by my obsession with the Internet and I could always use more speed than these half-assed cable modems provide. So I want to live in one of those cities that's building it's own fiber optic network.
Of course, I'm deeply concerned with the surveillance aspects of the Internet and related information systems. So I'm not happy about Toyota's development of an electronic driver id card that is one precursor to a universal id.
But I am happy to hear about the negative response of German citizens to surveillance technology in departments stores.
And, though some would claim that unions are a remnant of outdated modes of organization, I find it significant that this article on 24-7 surveillance of workers points to unions as the only serious defense against such workplace (and beyond) abuses.
I'm also heartened by the development of the Tribal Digital Village that I found out about in this BBC news article.
And I'm glad to hear that some senators are opposed to marketing databases focused on kids 16 and under though I'm simultaneously shocked by the fact of their existence and my ignorance of that existence.
But I'm sorry to hear about the increased prejudice against Indian tech workers as outsourcing grows, although, anyone who's read the racist, homophobic and sexist remarks at Fucked Company, knows that tech companies have long been a hotbed of racism against people from India.
Yet, even with all my technoscientific worries, I can still enjoy a good scientific image of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis.
The Institute for Anarchist Studies has announced multiple initiatives including the Latin American Archives Project, support for the conference Renewing the Anarchist Tradition and a partnership with The New Formulation, an anti-authoritarian review of books.
This month's issue of First Monday is available with an interesting article by Michael T. Zimmer called The tensions of securing cyberspace: The Internet, state power and The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.
The most recent issue of Online Community Report alerted me to a free downloadable copy of an essay called Impersonal Sociotechnical Capital, ICTs, and Collective Action Among Strangers by Paul Resnick.
A young communist speaks his mind.
Currently blogging the progress of gay marriages on a massive scale.
Currently traveling yet still blogging.
Science News I Missed
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
The Latest in Consumer Brainwashing--Neuromarketing
S. Africa not giving HIV drugs to rape victims
World's highest rate of rape, world's highest hiv infection rate, 40% of victims under 12. Further details available at Human Rights Watch where the full report can be downloaded.
Sept. 11 Families Outraged by Bush Campaign Ad
U.S. forbids lawyers for Guantanamo inmates.
In fact, Democracy Now has been breaking a lot of this story including an interview with the CEO of the U.S. based private security firm that was protecting Aristide and was stopped from strengthening that protection by the U.S. government. They are also covering the psyops campaign of the U.S. goverment that included the claim that the South African government had denied Aristide asylum. However, according to Democracy Now, the South African ambassador to the UN has stated that Aristide did not request and was not denied such asylum. Although I often link to NY Times stories, their current coverage is apparently an example of their periodic dissemination of misinformation.
Various authors have begun to dig more deeply into the background including French and U.S. involvement in the overthrow, the U.S. preparation for the coup and a brief history of pathetic mainstream U.S. press coverage of internal Haitian affairs.
I just discovered that the Village Voice has a Beat Bush Blog by Ward Harkavy. It includes decent criticism of Sunday's Democratic candidates debate with absolutely no mention of the Oscars!
Since I've discussed the Suicide Girls Burlesque Tour and related phenomenon in earlier posts, I should point to this SG profile with interviews.
If you're interested in the political aspects of science, you may appreciate this:
How Catapults Married Sciences With Politics.
Yo, it's like, historical.
But if you're more interested in the future than the past, then Future Physical is worth a look.
David Grenier is a working class anarchist blogger or, as he titles it, a Writer. Bowler. Revolutionary.
See what happens when a U.S. beef producer breaks ranks and wants to test it's beef for mad cow disease.
I love the Internet, but all that networking has some negative effects, like the growth of dogfighting.
Thailand is in the process of becoming a police state. I had a link to an interesting article in the Thai English-language publication The Nation but it's coming up blank now. Nevetheless it's a good source to keep up with the silencing of the press, the police assasinations of drug dealers and, what seems to be catching people's attention, the proposed restrictions on night life and public activities.
Curious about the Mormon fringe? Then check out this extended special report called Polygamy in Arizona.
I don't read Doonesbury too often so I didn't realize that Trudeau's offering a 10K reward for evidence that supports Bush's claims to military service. So far, no takers.
There's a lot of interesting stuff online about the Nader candidacy for President and, though I've been against it, if it can spur people to think seriously about reforming a relentlessly two-party electoral system, then it's a good thing he's running. While we're at it, we'd better pay attention to the attempts to implement an electronic voting system that is inherently fucked up.