Monday, September 18, 2006

HIAW Redesign and Chavez

So we have a few entries sitting on the back burner about such topics as Why the Darfur Protests Are Troubling and linking etiquette, but this entry is about something significantly more trite. Namely, that History Is A Weapon has gone through our second redesign. Go look at it, we made it for you. And please tell us your thoughts. We're especially interested in your navigating experience or if you think we should just lose it and go back to the list (which is still available).
Update: Some browsers were not linking earlier to all of the articles. Our apologies. The issue should be fixed (until people complain about something else.)

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez delivered a nice speech at the U.N. yesterday. Despite the corporate media's dismissal of Chavez, always with few quotes hidden through "objective" ad hominem slights, Chavez quickly displays a sense of humor and a positive vision for the future. He is pretty enthusiastic in his support for Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival. But instead of simply telling you (like the corporate media), perhaps you should judge for yourself...

Hugo Chavez's Speech at the U.N.

Postscript on Chavez—
Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel said: ""I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president - don't come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State. Any demeaning public attack against him is viewed by Republicans and Democrats, and all Americans, as an attack on all of us."

Which is interesting because Chavez explicitly addressed the American people, distinct from the Devil: "The hegemonic
pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very
survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this
danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world
to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads.
I think that the first people who should read this
book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their
threat is right in their own house. The devil is right at home."

Later, Chavez added:
"The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come
to speak directly to the populations in the MiddleEast, to tell them
that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk
around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San
Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States,
what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United
States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of
exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in
Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the
last 100 years in LatinAmerica and in the world? And now threatening
Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen
how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How
cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs
in Beirut with millimetric precision? "

To be honest, I was surprised that we didn't see one headline like "Chavez calls Bush 'devil;' World responds: 'Duh.'" I have to say I wasn't surprised to see the Democrats rush to defend Bush. That's why they're the LOYAL Opposition in defending his honor, and this system of war and poverty, capitalism. I didn't feel offended by Chavez's comments. They weren't that audacious, merely observant.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Suheir Hammad

Suheir Hammad spoke at this event I was at recently and I got stuck in the hallway outside. I didn't hear her words but the applause was defining (I meant to type deafening, but the typo works) and afterwards all these people came up to me and were like "the palestinian poet, what was her name?" Not only that, but she was in both the Lebanon PSA and Shocking and Awful. Now study up, because when all the cool kids start quoting her, you want to act like you know.

The tagline for History Is A Weapon should be "History Is A Weapon: Your future in frontin'." (What is it really? check the bottom of the blog, friends)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

An old query.

I'm cleaning my room and I came across an old note I faintly recall writing late at night about a year ago.

Kanye West said that Bush doesn't care about black people. When asked in 2001 about charges that he was racist, he answered that he had hired Condi Rice and Colin Powell. With Powell gone, does this signal that the president is twice as racist or that he merely likes blacks half as much?"

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Master's Tools and on another note

Reading Don Mitchell's Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction on the way in to work today and read one paragraph that I wanted to share (actually, I'd like to share much more of the book, but I'm too busy to type today)

"You can't dismantle the master's house using the master's tools." That has become almost a mantra of many of those who look at forms of resistance. Yet, Debord's point in The Society of the Spectacle is that we have no choice but to "use the master's tools" if we want to do any dismantling. We need to retake and reshape commodities — because "commodities are now all we see." We have to work within a form of history that is not of our own making and make it our own. We need to use that history — and especially that geography — to make a new "situation," to make, as the Industrial Workers of the World used to say, a new world "out of the shell of the old." Transgression is paramount. (Emphasis in original)

Mitchell goes on to talk about the relationship between transgression and resistance, but what struck me as noteworthy is the idea of challenging this idea that we don't live on the plantation. Nat Turner with a burner, yall.

A friend of mine was watching the news with me a few years ago and turned to me during the commercial and said "Everything makes so much more sense if you substitute 'rich people' every time they say 'economy'." SO I was watching a clip of Couric's interview with Bush and found this exchange very interesting (Notice what he imagines as the biggest threat before cutting back to the official storyline):

I'm worried, Katie, strongly worried about a world if we – if – if we lose, you know, our confidence and don't help – defeat this ideology, I'm worried that 50 years from now they'll look back and say, "How come – Bush and everybody else didn't see the fact that these – this group of people would use oil to affect our economy?"

Or, "How come he didn't confront the Iranian threat and its nuclear ambitions?" Or, "Why didn't you support the moderate governments there in the region?" And – I – I truly believe this is the ideological struggle of the 21st century. And the consequences for not achieving success are – are dire.

On another note, why do liberals conflate the Taliban with invading Afghanistan? We didn't bomb Buffalo, New York and Kansas after McVeigh bombed the Federal building in '95. You browse the liberal blogs and they all attack, virulently, Bush for invading Iraq and ignoring Afghanistan. The country of Afghanistan didn't attack on 9-11 and the people there don't deserve to be under our bayonets anymore than the people of Iraq do. It's like decrying Saddam for being a tyrant and then bombing the Iraqis. Leave Afghanistan alone and leave Iraq alone. If they want to catch Bin Laden and put him on trial, fine, but liberals expose their own bloody desires when they lament which country Bush is invading rather than talking about why the constant bombing is a symptom and facet of the real problem. The real problem that incidentally led to 9-11: the unrestrained violence and total reach of American empire.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

George Carlin NSFW

George Carlin is usually just okay, but about halfway through this, he drops the humor and cuts to the bone. (warning: swearing).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Howard Zinn and Blogs

Watched the documentary Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller. Zinn is so much more beyond a simple writer and historian and the film lets that come across. There were a slew of good quotes in it, but I didn't write any of them down so you'll have to check the movie out for yourself!

In other news, it seems that a number of kind souls have decided to link to History Is A Weapon. It is earnestly appreciated, but we do ask that you link to the central as opposed to the blog. These words are not intended to compete with the key material. We're also debating updating the blogroll on the blog, so if you know of a blog linking to us who deserves some good traffic, let us know. We're a little picky, but we got love.

Oh, and there is going to be a huge Feminism and War conference in October at Syracuse University. I got a sneak peak at the list of speakers and who is planning on attending and I have to say, if you can get to Syracuse in October, prepare to be impressed.