Anarchism

Against the grain: Crops, Towns, Government by James C. Scott

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This is a post with a bunch of quotes and an introduction to an informative book review.

First of all it is time recycle an old school statement:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” – William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

There is a world out there for us to see. Not made of the stuff they told you in school. (By the way, did you see the new film by Erwin Wagenhofer called Alphabet? It’s tagline goes: “98% of all children come into this world highly gifted. After school it is only 2%”.)

Indeed, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught”, as that Wilde Oscar said. Recently an EU Parliament Report told us that “Europe Has 880,000 Slave Laborers” – they didnt say that in school, in fact they always said that we were the great liberators of the slaves. But there is more to it than that :”including 270,000 victims of sexual exploitation”.

Once the fog they filled our heads with has cleared, we see that we’re in a haze.

“The fact is that slaving was at the very centre of state-making. It is impossible to exaggerate the massive effects of this human commodity on stateless societies. Wars between states became a kind of booty capitalism, where the major prize was human traffic. The slave trade then completely transformed the non-state ‘tribal zone’. Some groups specialised in slave-raiding, mounting expeditions against weaker and more isolated groups and then selling them to intermediaries or directly at slave markets”.

Consider these words…

“Before, say, 1500, most populations had a sporting chance of remaining out of the clutches of states and empires, which were still relatively weak and, given low rates of urbanisation and forest clearance, still had access to foraged foods. On this account, our world of grains and states is a mere blink of the eye (0.25 per cent), in the historical adventure of our species.” (James C. Scott, 2013)

The work of James Scott is some of the finest that the academy has to offer. That doesn’t say a lot, of course, but it is certainly worth a read. His books are all interesting, even if some basic ideas are recycled, as is common in (academic) writing. Here is a selection:

  • Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. Princeton University Press, 2012 ISBN 0-691-15529-1
  • The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press, 2009 ISBN 0-300-15228-0
  • Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, 1998 ISBN 0-300-07016-0
  • Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. Yale University Press, 1990 ISBN 0-300-04705-3
  • Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Yale University Press, 1985 ISBN 0-300-03336-2
  • The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. Yale University Press, 1979 ISBN 0-300-01862-2

It is a review of a book by someone called Jared Semiprecious or something like that. Apparently not really that interesting in the end, but the review has some golden nuggets:

Crops, Towns, Government

James C. Scott

The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond
Penguin, 498 pp, £28.99, September,

It’s a good bet a culture is in trouble when its best-known intellectuals start ransacking the cultural inventory of its ancestors and its contemporary inferiors for tips on how to live. The malaise is all the more remarkable when the culture in question is the modern American variant of Enlightenment rationalism and progress, a creed not known for self-doubt or failures of nerve. The deeper the trouble, the more we are seen to have lost our way, the further we must go spatially and temporally to find the cultural models that will help us. In the stronger versions of this quest, there is either a place – a Shangri-la – or a time, a Golden Age, that promises to reset our compass to true north. Anthropology and history implicitly promise to provide such models. Anthropology can show us radically different and satisfying forms of human affiliation and co-operation that do not depend on the nuclear family or inherited wealth. History can show that the social and political arrangements we take for granted are the contingent result of a unique historical conjuncture.

It might also be worth taking a look at Richard Manning’s ““Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization”. “The End of Capitalism”, who says that “A new world is on its way. We are building it, one day at a time”, says this about Dick Mannings musings:

“The book begins by exploring the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, in many ways superior to our own even at the height of industrial capitalism. Hunter-gatherers, it turns out, ate a wider variety of tasty foods, worked far less, and lived much more sensually and connected than “civilized” humans. About 10,000 years ago, certain groups of humans traded all this in for security, namely the ability to stay in one spot and harvest grain to be stored for future food.

What this crop manipulation produced, however, was the first wealth inequality known to the species, as leaders left working the fields to their followers. In time, these stationary and hierarchical societies expanded and conquered/killed their hunter-gatherer neighbors. Soon enough crops like wheat, corn, and rice spread across the globe through violence and disease.”

COP15: Release Tadzio Mueller and the other climate prisoners!

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To:  The Danish Parliament

Sign petition @http://www.petitiononline.com/Tadzio/petition.html

See also: http://indymedia.dk/

Over the past week, tens of thousands of people from across the planet have taken to the streets of Copenhagen demanding real and just solutions to climate change. But on the streets, as well as inside the UN Climate Change Conference, delegates and ‘outsiders’ alike are doubting that the conference will reach a deal that isn’t a disaster for most of the world.

Inside the Bella Centre, where the UN delegates are meeting, numerous critical voices have been marginalised through technical and procedural manoeuvres. Others, like Friends of the Earth International, have had their accreditation revoked. Outside, the policing of protest has been consistently draconian and occasionally brutal.

On Saturday 12 December, almost 1,000 participants in a ‘Climate March’ through Copenhagen were arrested. On Monday 14 December, hundreds more were arrested at a party in the city’s Christiania district following a public meeting, addressed by Canadian journalist Naomi Klein and others. On Tuesday 15 December, Tadzio Mueller, a spokesperson for Climate Justice Action, was arrested by undercover police officers following a press conference at the Bella Centre.

This morning, on Wednesday 16 December, Tadzio appeared before a judge on a number of charges relating to his public support for today’s Reclaim Power demonstration. The declared aim of Reclaim Power – also supported by social movements, many conference delegates and other civil society actors – is to hold a People’s Assembly at the Bella Centre, to discuss real solutions to climate change. At this morning’s court hearing the judge decided to hold Tadzio for a further three days, after which he will reappear in court. There are reports that the hearing was closed to the public.

Meanwhile, hundreds more protesters have been arrested today and there have been numerous reports of police brutality and the extensive use of batons, pepper spray and tear gas. We have also heard of further arrests of individual activists by undercover police officers.

We, the undersigned, not only lend our support to those in Copenhagen seeking to push for real and just solutions to climate change, but also demand the following:
• The immediate release of Tadzio Mueller and all other climate prisoners;
• A halt to the criminalisation and intimidation of activists, including the pre-emptive detaining of protesters in Copenhagen;
• The immediate re-instatement of accreditation withdrawn from NGOs and other critical voices at the Climate Summit

(This Open Letter was drafted by the editors of Turbulence: Ideas for Movement, of which Tadzio Mueller is an editor.)

Initial Signatories (name and affiliation):
• Ben Trott (Turbulence editor)
• David Harvie (Turbulence editor, University of Leicester)
• Michal Osterweil (Turbulence editor, US based lecturer, UNC Chapel Hill)
• Keir Milburn (Turbulence editor)
• Rodrigo Nunes (Turbulence editor)
• Kay Summer (Turbulence editor)
• Naomi Klein
• Katja Kipping (Member of the German Bundestag)
• Ulla Jelpke (Spokeswoman for internal affairs of the faction DIE LINKE in the Bundestag)
• Alexis Passadakis (Member of the Coordination Committee of Attac Germany)
• Dr. Simon Lewis (University of Leeds and UN accredited science advisor in COP15)
• Emma Dowling (Lecturer, University of London)
• Ingo Stützle (editor, ak – analyse & kritik)
• Zoe Young (writer and film maker)
• Friends of the Earth International

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

In a permanent state of exception the Earth is to be a garden as a rule

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Assuming that there is a global crisis – financial, climate change and starvation – and assuming that something could be done about it – what would it be? The initial reaction has been to push for more of the same – more debts to be created in order to keep economic power in the same hands. Maybe a few policy changes to avoid too extreme corruption and self-aggrandisement, removal of some draconian measures, but that’s about it. Spend more, that is way to go. It sounds so simple and in a sense it is: wiping the rich people’s slates clean so that they can lend more money for the poor to spend. If it makes you think of spiralling further down into an abyss we’re on the same wave length.

In order, then, to get the American people to spend more money that they don’t have - the total outstanding credit card debt carried by Americans reached a record $951 billion in 2008, constituting a next level in the financial collapse of a system based on ever-increasing debt – president Obama is suggesting “a $410bn (£290bn) spending bill due to be voted on this week“. Part of this bill seeks to lift some of the extreme anti-Cuban legislation that was introduced during the administration of Bush the Second.

There is no doubt about it, Obama – the man in the White House – gives good speeches, but even an old World Banker takes note of the fact that Obama’s grand plan to save the world and “the hardest working people on Earth” (he says it as if it a good thing??) from their predicaments is insubstantial (These videos gives you an insight from the inside – if you really want to know about all the little sheenanigans of a failed system or just want to see the Emperor of the Free World sit before you in his shiny new clothes. Characteristic of times of crisis he looks and sounds like a rhetorical stooge with a nationalistic appeal “the greatest force of progress and prosperity [and climate change?!]“)

Anyway, the Cuban news is a tangent that invites viewing the world from a Latin American perspective.

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The revolutionary struggle and social reform in Ecuador: an anarchist perspective

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This a reposting of an interview with a comrade from the Grupo Anarco-Comunista “15 de Noviembre” (originally in Castellano)

The following interview was made in July and August 2008 with a member of the “15th November” Anarchist Communist Group, a recently-formed libertarian group in Ecuador, which among other things publishes the magazine “Chasqui Anarquista” with other anarchists, of which two issues have so far come out. In this interview, we tried to find out a little about the origins of the libertarian movement in Ecuador and understand how anarchist communists feel about the social reforms being carried out by Rafael Correa’s government.

The revolutionary struggle and social reform in Ecuador:
An interview with a comrade from the Grupo Anarco-Comunista “15 de Noviembre”

To begin with, comrades, can you tell us about the 15th November Group and how it was formed?

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Can ayahuasca heal the crisis of capitalism?

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Ayahuasca is going global“, said a prominent psychedelic researcher recently, and it is also going mainstream as part of journeying across the planet. In the Californian TV series “Weeds” the leading act, Marie-Louise Parker’s character, Nancy Botwin, drinks ayahuasca under rather suspect circumstances with the leader of a drug-, guns- and human- trafficking Mexican mafia, who is also the mayor of Tijuana for added comic value. The ceremony is led by a young shaman who is told by the spirit of the medicinal brew not to give it to Nancy; she is not ready for it, so to speak, but he uses the words “I should not give it to her” and the gangster boss says “that’s alright, I’ll give it to her then”. Not off to a good start, but then again what do those shamans know about what a mobster’s girlfriend needs?

Watch the ayahuasca sequence here:

There are various issues at play here. Firstly, the most obvious one of the slightly forced drinking where the strong male insists that the little girl drinks despite warnings by the learned practitioner. That, however, is not so bad, – perhaps he knew better..

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Why I am not an activist, or how magic presents itself as the only viable solution.

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A good friend just sent me a link to a very interesting read. It sums up quite a few things on my own mind and puts into perspective what I perceive to be crucial issues for the reactionary Left in general and activists in particular. A kind of anarchist magic – and that is probably the only viable solution for substantial change in the world we live in.

It is published in Red Room with the title “GETTING BEYOND THE NARRATIVES: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ACTIVIST COMMUNITY” and was originally just a commentary written to two friends, but it is a lot more than that – which is why it is circulating in cyberspace and why I have chosen to reproduce it here: it deserves wide attention!

A very good read. Enjoy!

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GETTING BEYOND THE NARRATIVES: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ACTIVIST COMMUNITY
August 22, 2005

This essay began life as an open letter to two activist friends discussing a book edited by David Solnit, “Globalize Liberation” (SF: City Lights Book, 2004). It ended up in circulation among the activist community in the US, and was published several times on the internet. I have left it in its original form, as I think this adds more than it subtracts. — JMG

James asked me for my thoughts on “Globalize Liberation,” and I hope neither of you will mind a lengthy, even labored, response. The book is extremely thought-provoking in its strengths and weaknesses alike, and it’s given me an opportunity to rethink many of the assumptions I’ve had about social change and the potential shape of the future. Since I come to these issues from a somewhat unusual perspective — the perspective of a practicing mage and initiate of several magical orders — I recognize that the ideas “Globalize Liberation” evoked in me are perhaps a little different from those common in the progressive community. Thus I’ve chosen to explain those ideas here at some length.

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The Warped Mind of the Ecofascism Conspiracy Theorist

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Colonos recently referred to David Suzuki in the context of DiCaprio’s documentary about climate chaos and change, the appropriately titled “11th Hour” (link should be generated automagically below) – and doing a bit of googling for that purpose led me to some presumptuous nonsense? about Suzuki being an “ecofascist”:

Eco fascism, can be used in two different ways:

  1. For specific elements of radical environmentalism which are openly affiliated with neo-fascism, or which share conceptual similarities with fascist theories. It is used critically from an external source, and somewhat less commonly used from within as a self label, to refer to various white nationalist and third positionist groups who incorporate environmentalist positions into their ideology.
  2. The term is also used as a political epithet by political conservatives to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, and other left and non-left ecological positions, and less frequently by political leftists to discredit environmental movements they see as non-left such as deep ecology.”

So who do the conspiracy theorists think are behind this socalled ecofascism? None others than the very same kind of people that actual, radical environmentalists – anyone that I have ever met, and it is quite a few anyway – would call the greenwashers:

Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy. Read the rest of this entry »

Correa’s idea of saving the Amazon: a new airport?

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Rafael Correa is being billed as a great hope for his own version of “21st century socialism”, for “his” proposal to leave the oil in the soil – and he talks about respect for the traditional culture of the people who live in the Ecuadorian Amazon. But the last thing the people who live traditionally in the Amazon they could possibly need is an airport; so that’s what they’ll have? But let us first take a look at the facts about the historical genocide and the current situation for the people at the receiving end of Correa’s revolution:

“Manuela Omari Ima, who is the new chairperson of Waorani women’s organization, Amwae, has first hand experience in the devastating consequences of oil exploration. “The indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon have been decimated in just a few decades,” she says. “The Waorani people alone numbered around 16,000 at the end of the 1960s, when the oil exploration began. Today, there are no more than about a thousand of us left… I don’t know how much longer we can survive under the current conditions. Perhaps the industry will out-live us – judging by how it has wiped out other tribal peoples in the Amazon. Maybe the earth will have nothing left to give when the companies leave.” … Altogether, an estimated 90% of the indigenous peoples in the Amazon region of Ecuador have been wiped out over the past few decades”

An airport in the Ecuadorian Amazon can serve only people employed by the extractive industries, politicians and celebrities on photo shoots, cocaine gangsters, mercenaries and stupid tourists that should stay at home – it is total disrespect for the people of the Amazon, many of whom have serious financial problems getting on a 50 cent bus to take a dying child to the hospital in town. There is already one airport too many – in Tena.

“President Correa will seek Chinese investment in a major airport in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where construction is planned to start in 2008, the ministry said… Ecuador is seeking and enlarging cooperation with and investment from China, the ministry said. “The diplomatic relations between the two countries, since established in 1980, have witnessed more progress,” the ministry added… Ecuador has received 1.8 billion U.S. dollars of investment from China, making it the leading recipient of Chinese investment in Latin America. In the first nine months this year the bilateral trade volume has topped 669 million dollars.”

In the last ten years the Ecuadorian Amazon has been halved and towns like Tena doubled. Some peoples almost eradicated. Will it never stop? If Correa’s government is a socialist revolution, then what does it take to challenge the destruction of the Amazon rain forest?

Esperanza Martinez on Yasuni and the ITT proposal.

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This article by CarbonWeb.org deserves to be reproduced in full:

Yasuni – Our Future in Their Hands?

Ecuador proposes to claim compensation in exchange for leaving crude oil in the ground. Esperanza Martinez examines what this means for resource sovereignty.

Oil, for countries that possess it, is often centre stage when it comes to issues of sovereignty. Invasions have been launched to access it and military and political interventions pushed through to control it, leaving the door wide open for corruption.

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Battling the Neoliberalization of University Life: A List of Strategies

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- from:  anarchist.academics mailing list
http://lists.mutualaid.org/mailman/listinfo/anarchist.academics

"My sincere thanks to all who responded to my query. The tips that you sent
were wonderful, and really quite inspiring.  Below is an initial
compilation, divided under the six subheadings of: "On Unions and
Organizing," "On Faculty Rank," "On Bureaucracy and Governance," "On
Teaching," "On Student Tuition, Fees and Support," and "General Advice."  A
shorter top ten list will be published in the January 2008 edition of
Anthropology News.  I can already imagine that it will be difficult to edit
down the expanded list of strategies that are included below.  The
below list has no copyright or individual authorship and you should feel
free to distribute it widely, to post it to wiki sites and blogs, to invite
your friends and students to expand upon it, and of course to encourage
your departments and colleagues to implement its contents."


   ------------------- Wikified here:

https://www.knowledgelab.org.uk/Neoliberalization_of_University_Life

Battling the Neoliberalization of University Life: A List of Strategies

On Unions and Organizing:

* The No. 1 way is faculty unionization.  Unionize tenure-track faculty,
adjunct faculty and graduate students who teach.  Your efforts will not be effective
if adjunct and graduate teaching staff are not organized.

* Resist the destruction of solidarities (e.g. see David Harvey, The History
of Neoliberalism).

* Support unity. As an adjunct instructor and a graduate student, I can tell
you that management is WELL AWARE of the contempt that most full-time
faculty has toward us part-timers.  During contract negotiations, I've also heard
GA's and adjuncts undercut the contracts of the full-timers.  Management
disciplines full-timers with the knowledge that they can be replaced
instantly by the army of the underemployed.

* Invite part-time and adjunct faculty, as well as support staff and
research staff, to departmental meetings. Make the minutes available to the
entire community.

* Join professional organizations that will lobby in opposition to the
lobbyists for privatization: NEA higher education organizations, AAUP, AFT.
Pay your dues or be prepared to be sold out.

* Participate in faculty governance and advocate strongly for resolutions
and policies that promote an academic community built on shared values and
scholarship instead of a corporatized institution built on entrepreneurship
and external overhead.

* Form parallel autonomous institutions that meet people's needs in a
collective, non-hierarchical fashion.  At my old school, SUNY-Binghamton,
the campus was served by an excellent bus system that was owned and run by a
collective of the drivers, funded by student fees.

On Faculty Rank:

* Reject the implementation of "benchmarks" or any other form of "standards"
for merit raises or promotions that are predicated on quantified output.
Rather, draw upon such ideas as those of Ernest Boyer (Scholarship
Reconsidered) [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/wcu]

* Reject merit raises all together and rather spread the total raises due
the entire faculty of a department evenly to all faculty.

* When 65% of the professoriate is part-time, why have tenured positions at
all?

* Refuse to sell ourselves as "stars" to highest bidding institutions. This
reproduces the neoliberal self-made "man," reinforcing gender and class
hierarchies within the academy.

* Don't refer to enthusiastic younger members of faculty as "junior"
scholars.  It annoys them intensely and makes them feel small.

* Allow complete transparency, re: salaries paid to all faculty in all
departments.

* Identify and monitor the behavior all 'frumps' (formerly radical upwardly
mobile professors).

* Use the growing 'sustainability consensus' discourse to push for a
democratization of academia - as sustainability centrally implies
participation.

On Bureaucracy and Governance:

* Expose and oppose corporate control of academia.

* Resist the process of turning universities into institutions of management
rather than places of "higher learning" by refusing to accept administrative
positions that are newly created and not really necessary for "learning."

* The university can be run by the faculty, but the faculty must organize in
constant vigilance.  Professors could collectively attend administration
meetings and repeat the demand, week after week, to stop the metastasized
growth of bureaucratic bosses.  Use the saved funds to create more professor
positions, course offerings, and library books, and to establish student
scholarships grants.  The heart of the university is here, not in creating
ever more layers of office managers to govern this and that for a bottom
line value that is set by the new MBA bosses.

* Rip up parking lots. Implode student housing. Stop all construction
projects not related to safety. Make students get gym memberships elsewhere.

* Demand accountability for the university practices in hiring faculty,
labor, etc. in the construction of new campuses abroad (i.e. NYU's global
expansion to Abu Dhabi).

* Resist the temptation to outsource to private companies, especially big
non-local multinationals, tasks which the university could do by itself.

On Curriculum:

* Resist the neoliberal transformation of the curriculum (there is an
excellent article--chapter 6--by Aihwa Ong in Neoliberalism as Exception:
Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty. Durham: Duke University Press,
2006.)

* Restore a system whereby intellectual inquiry is valued for its own sake,
and not just seen as a means toward increasing capitalist productivity.  If
the government's current proposal to fund all research on the basis of
"relevance" were carried out, it would be the end of virtually all
Humanities research as we know it.

* Resist the homogenization of university studies that is taking place all
over Europe. Anthropology, in order to survive, is being asked to
demonstrate demand from the job market. And its courses are oriented towards
market demands.

* Avoid strict degree completion deadlines. Returning students bring
valuable professional experience, but they also need the time to balance
professional, work and personal responsibilities.

* Make research findings and publications freely and publicly accessible on
the web.

On Teaching:

* Teach students about neoliberalization (its history, its impacts on
individuals, etc.).  They are the ones who can stop it.

* As teachers, we have a unique opportunity to relate the material we teach
to the everyday lives of our students.  Hold seminars on campus on the
impact of neoliberalism on campus life and learning. Use critical pedagogy -
encourage critical thinking

* Create a course that studies the University as an anthropological project.

* Link with activists, community groups, etc., beyond the academy.  Carry
out critical (including participatory) research. Develop more experience
based learning courses, including internships and community service learning
programs.

* Make the world your classroom. Teach in parks, bars, restaurants, homes,
online.

* Offer courses on weekends, evenings, and on-line, so that working students
and students with child and eldercare responsibilities can take courses/make
progress on degrees.

* Encourage team-teaching.

* Conduct and assess instructor evaluations in a manner that reflects that
students are scholars, not consumers.

* Avoid grade inflation.  In a context of grade inflation, instructors that
seek to honestly assess performance find themselves at a disadvantage,
especially if they are adjunct staff.

* Develop undergraduate programs that pay particular attention to
non-anthropology majors, since they are the ones that fill your large
classes.  Increase the pressure for small classes for introductory courses.

* Make classes last as long as they need to be. Stop with the micronization
and fetishization of time. Some days I have a lot to say, some days not so
much. Some days students need to practice and drill, and other times one
profound sentence might do it.

* Quit giving standardized tests and grades. Pass/Fail. Get rid of students
who don't want to be there. Tell them to come back when they know what they
are there for. If we stop treating students like cash cows, maybe they will
actually appreciate learning.

* Assign primary texts instead of textbooks.

* Make your students do the work - have them explain concepts to each other.
Have them create materials they think are useful. Grade them for effort
rather than results - they are there to learn.

* Spend less time preparing, and more time getting to know your students and
their individual needs.

On Student Tuition, Fees and Support:

* Don't use standardized testing as a measure to determine student
admissions or funding.

* Make applying for college more affordable.  Applying to graduate programs
is increasingly expensive. Transcripts (often in duplicate) are required
from each school. The cost of transcripts is inflated (averaging $5-$10 per
order, for regular mail). Applications fees are $50-$95 per school. GRE fees
increase by roughly $10 per year (and this test should be banned, anyway,
since it only tests your ability to learn test-taking strategies, not true
knowledge or ability to succeed in a program).

* Use course packets, blackboard pdfs and next-to-last edition textbooks in
introductory courses to decrease student book costs.

* Fund all students who are admitted into your program equally. Since
Thatcher (and Reagan), efforts to turn higher education into a vocational
finishing school for industry have been much more systematic and blatant.
Under this model, if you're funded you get money to live off, to pay fees,
and to attend conferences etc. If you're not funded, you get nothing and you
have to pay fees.  So one person has masses of help, while another is
hindered and must struggle. This is one of the central ideological maxims of
capitalism.

* Organize student mutual aid networks.

* Do not permit university programs to let graduate student instructors
teach without compensation, merely for the experience of it or for credit.

* Do not burden Ph.D. candidates and recent Ph.D.s with the heaviest
teaching loads.  The abusive practice of using younger scholars as
workhorses keeps a new generation from reaching its potential, in
scholarship and as practioners.

* Pay health care benefits and tuition fees for graduate students, if
possible.

General Advice:

* Be a happy person. Stop with the bitterness.

 

Invitation to Expedition in the Napo-Ucayali Corridor: June/July 2008

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It is still early days of planning, but a small group of people are planning to travel, for the second time, down the Napo river – doing workshops relevant for indigenous peoples’ struggles, such as shamanic civil rights, and healing sessions in communities along the 1000km long and very exciting route from the beginning of the River Napo in Tena, Ecuador to Iquitos (where it meets the Amazon and the Ucayali rivers). The journey goes through one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – right past the Yasuni National Park, before crossing the border into Peru. After visiting The 4th International Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Magic, Myths and Miracles, which will be held in Iquitos, Peru – July 19th – 26th, 2008, we might continue to Pucallpa….

Sunrise on the River Napo

Contemporary developments in the global economy are very significant for the Amazon rain forest. While this might be said to be true for anywhere at any point in time there are nevertheless good reasons for paying special attention to what maybe the last battle for the survival of the largest rain forest in the world, the loss of which it should need no further justification to lament – and that is the basis upon which this invitation is written….

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The Fascist Mask and the continuity of the State of Exception: Naomi (sheep in) Wolf (‘s clothes)

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There is something happening, it seems, in the U.S. People are slowly becoming aware of the severe erosion that their “great democratic country” is suffering under.

A writer called Naomi Wolf is speaking to the well-educated, yet uninformed American. She speaks about the “pattern of fascism”, or the classic signs of an “open society” being transformed into a closed or totalitarian society of which fascism is one model that the world has seen in various permutations. The actions of Stalin, Goebbels and Bush et al. are compared to one another – with a view to get the latter impeached – and to establish that there is a “blue print” for closing down society – that is, transform what Wolf considers a “free, open democratic society” into a totalitarian regime. With the blue print in hand you can see how it happens again and again.

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UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: the real work continues!

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About a month ago the global indigenous peoples’ struggle reached a milestone.

Here are some comments and resources collected and followed by a brief reflection.

First from Resistance Studies:

“The United Nations have overwhelmingly approved the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: after over a decade of negotiations, and a year of Canada trying to stall the final vote on it in the General Assembly” says Nicole Scabus, the International Advisor of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade.

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A summary of the Ecuadorian revolution: the rise of the Constituent Assembly

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Roger Burbach’s informative piece called “Ecuador’s Popular Revolt: Forging a New Nation“, although dated October 8 seems to be written before the landslide victory of Correa’s alliance became clear:

Final results won’t be known until late October, however preliminary results indicate that Correa’s party, Alianza Pais, won around 70% of the vote, giving it some 80 of the 130 assembly delegates. Correa can also expect support in the assembly from representatives of the Socialist Party of Ecuador — Broad Front, the Movement for Popular Democracy and indigenous party Pachakutik — Nuevo Pais.

The outcome was a huge blow to the right-wing opposition, whose traditional parties all scored pitiful votes. The Social Christian Party, the country’s largest party, scored less than 4%. The “anti-corruption” PRIAN of Alvaro Noboa — Correa’s opponent in the presidential election run-offs last year and Ecuador’s richest man — scored around 6%.

However, this does not make it any less valuable – it provides a summary of the Ecuadorian revolution that is well worth a read. Whether it quite warrants such a conclusion is another matter:

In Ecuador, as well as in much of Latin America, we are witnessing a revolution from below, a popular awakening that is challenging the traditional political parties and demanding a new system of governance that responds to the interests and needs of the popular classes. It is this rich mixture of forces at the grass roots that is opening up new vistas as the 21st century advances.

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“Recipes For Disaster”: An Anarchist Cookbook

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    – by False Flag Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007 at 3:06 PM

For ten long years, our operatives have honed their skills, testing their wits and mettle against the global capitalist empire, the most formidable adversary in the history of life on earth. We have learned how to redecorate the walls of cities occupied by armies of riot police, to transform random groups of damaged, isolated individuals into loving communities capable of supporting one another through the most severe bouts of repression and depression, to shut down corporate summits and franchises armed with little more than plastic piping or eyedroppers of glue. Now, the notorious CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective has compiled many of the techniques that made these feats possible into a 624-page manual entitled Recipes for Disaster.

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