Monday, October 06, 2008

William Ayers

Reading any nonsense against Bill Ayers is frustrating, but in the context of a bomber of children, John McCain, being the leveler, the whole thing has heightened to the empire's usual level of absurdity. Well, Bill Ayers is great (true story: all this nonsense about Obama having a coffee at Ayer's house, and everyone else saying they've had coffee with Ayers, reminded me that I met Ayers at a conference years ago and we got to talking and he took me out to Starbucks. Maybe Ayers just really likes coffee.) and I think the only good thing to come out of listening to an empire's whining, that is literally this instant violently forcing its claws on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, is that more people will read go check out Ayers's blog. I'm not such a fan of Obama, and every time I listen to people distance Obama from Ayers, I just recall Ayers being really friendly, not romanticizing the Weather Underground stuff (this was at an event with about thirty guys silently sizing him up while clearly getting their radical man-crush on and he just wasn't interested in catering to that), and trying to navigate a progressive radical path. On one hand, he's living a chaptered life and he's doing great work in education and people who want to demonize him need to go read some of his books on education and see who he is these last twenty five years beyond combating republican talking points. On the other hand, he supposedly* bombed the place where they orchestrate mass campaigns of murder, pillage and rape, and I'm supposed to root against him?!

*He was part of the WUO; I have no clue if he was involved with the Pentagon bombing.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Zinn Education Project

We've come across a few pieces from the people behind "Rethinking Schools" (their great Rethinking Globalization) and "Teaching for Change" (their inspiring "Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching" featuring Roz Payne photos), but of course when the two got together to make the Zinn Education Project, we had to share. They've put together a great PDF packet that's packed with over a hundred pages of material for teachers who want to us Zinn's work in the classroom. We looked through it and it looks great. So if you're a teacher or a student, or you know someone who is, check it out at


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. So good. The book that goes along with it, from what I read, is as good as you'd expect.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On the Anniversary of the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti

On the anniversary of the state murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, we're just including a few quick links from History Is A Weapon. The first is the brief mention in the People's History at the end of War is the Health of the State.

The second is much rarer. Sacco and Vanzetti were members of the radical Galleanist anarchist tendency. HIAW has the Galleanist manifesto, Plain Words. Correct us if we're wrong, but we're the first spot on the internet with it and it is a great short read.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Brown and Perelman

After finishing Stephen Duncombe's excellent Dream, I've started reading Fredy Perlman's The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism AND H. Rap Brown's Die Nigger Die! Brown's writing is excellent, but it is his speech that is electrifying. While I'm not far into either book, what is interesting is comparing Perlman's denunciation of nationalism with Brown's celebration of Black Nationalism. I'm just starting both books, but can't recommend either of them highly enough. Which means that The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism is going to go on HIAW soon.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A few notes

Bush's spokesperson, Tony Snow, has just announced that he has cancer and we are observing two responses. Liberals, perhaps a bit shocked on the response of Edwards staying in the presidential race after his wife's own cancer announcement, were quick to wish Snow, a fellow human being, well. The corporate media immediately tossed any petty issues to the side and have embraced him for his fight ahead.
Unfortunately, our response must be less kind and solipsistic. Tony Snow is the messenger dog of the empire using depleted uranium against the people of the world, Iraqi civilians and American soldiers included. It is said that new parents in Iraq are met with a new first question. No longer "Is it a boy or a girl?," but "is it normal?" The radiation across Iraq, from the current war and the previous ten years of constant bombardment, has poisoned everything and nowhere is it more apparent as in the deformities of a newborn. The chart above features the rate per 1,000 births of congenital malformations observed at Basra University Hospital, Iraq (reported by I. Al-Sadoon, et al., writing in the Medical Journal of Basrah University). The data for the period 1990-2001 show an incidence increase of 426% for general malignancies, 366% for leukemias and of over 600% for birth defects, with all series showing a roughly increasing pattern with time.
Currently, there are over five hundred news articles about Tony Snow in the latest news cycle. Where is the balance? Whose life is valued in this system? The same system that gloats over the murder of Saddam Hussein (who was gross in his own right and knowingly supported by the U.S. empire during his very worst crimes).

Saw The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Go see it. It is amazing.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s death this week has been remarked on quite extensively by the New York Times. Today, they aggravate the already disproportionate praise on the man by lamenting that he was the last "great public historian." No. No, he wasn't. Schlesinger was certainly an influential historian and a popularizer, meaning that he wrote for a non-academic audience. But he was a poor public historian, one infatuated with power and a hagiographer of bad men, especially the Kennedys, who too many Americans think highly of (John was obsessed with his place in history, even if it meant committing war crimes in Vietnam; Robert's odd turn at the end of his life has given some progressives hope, but his work against the Civil Rights movement was shameful).
Not only was Schlesinger a poor public historian, but there are many excellent ones left. It should surprise no one that we would quickly point out the excellent Howard Zinn, whose enduring contributions as a popularizer, an academic, and as an activist make Schlesinger look like a brown-nosing grad student. There is also, among many others, Jeremy Brecher, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Angela Davis, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eric Foner, Dan Georgakas, Joy James, James Loewen, Staughton Lynd, Robert McChesney, Vijay Prashad, David Roediger, and, neither last or least, Kristian Williams.
The Times is a degenerate publication hampered by ideology, but its attempt to identify a barren lot in the midst of a growing and bountiful crop shouldn't go unremarked.