Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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958massimodeangelis

The first step is to become more independent for our means of reproduction - food, houses, health, education, care, ecology - these should be our primary struggles. Because it is by holding a monopoly on the means of reproduction by capital, that they can blackmail us. Our struggle, as many feminists and eco-feminists have been telling us for years, should be to fight for autonomy and independence of our way to reproduce.

Political economist Massimo de Angelis looks beyond the escalating human and environmental disasters of capitalism, and towards a social transformation in which we pry the means of production from capital's grasp, and reclaim our labor in service of the needs of all humanity and the earth itself - while we still have time.

Massimo is author of Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism from Zed Books.

 


Posted by Alexander Jerri

Deranged Behavior

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Our definition of mental illness is broadening every day even as its subdivisions divide into ever finer specificities. That's great, because we're all crazy now, and we can each identify our particular mental deformity. But we also have more accurate ways to describe the mental deformities of others. We don't like insanity. And we don't tolerate evidence of it. We don't tolerate people who evince insanity – it's fine to be crazy, just don't act crazy. I understand why. We're trying to create a rational civil society. But I think all this emphasis on sane behavior is making us crazy.

A couple of friends of mine were telling me about the book they're writing for a musical. I was pleasantly surprised by its operatic, melodramatic, Shakespearean or Jacobean themes: murder, rape, incest, betrayal, mutilation, seduction, revenge – reminiscent of palace intrigue – the kind of plot elements many people who hate Game of Thrones complain about. Yet Game of Thrones is an extremely popular fantasy. Dostoyevsky's novels were often occupied with such elements of high melodramatic tragedy as well. The more compelling work of Dickens divulged weird family secrets, and relied on cruelty of a type modern audiences consider the stuff of either fantastic tales or stories set in the developing world.

Take, for instance, the movie Lion, about an impoverished family whose child disappears and is raised by a family in New Zealand. The emotional second half, dominated by Dev Patel's performance of self-discovery, search for his original family, torment on their behalf as he ponders their torment, and shrieking in his hapless girlfriend's face, dramatizes the abject emotional upheaval within privileged civil society when it feels invaded by the kind of suffering it considers unthinkable. The only thing believable about Patel's performance of distress is the feeling it evokes in the audience of being subjected to the polemic of a socially-conscious activist about the injustices inflicted by the imperial West upon the rest of the world. We see his foaming at the mouth and misdirected anger as juvenile, the way we think of many of those we might deride as "social justice warriors."

We stigmatize sexual relationship infidelity, certain types of passion, anger, vengeful scheming, secret addictions, as "drama." "I don't need any drama... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1527 – (490 years ago) –  mutinous troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V invaded and sacked the city of Rome, which at the time was part of the Papal States. Pope Clement VII had allied with the Kingdom of France to resist growing pressure from the northern empire and the Habsburg dynasty, so he was seen as an enemy by Charles’s troops, who numbered some twenty to thirty thousand and — to make matters worse — were angry because they weren’t getting paid on time. The unruly soldiers poured into Rome, killing everyone they encountered, and forcing almost two hundred of the Vatican’s Swiss Guards into desperate hand-to-hand combat on the very steps of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Before being massacred, the Swiss Guards managed to hold off the intruders long enough for the pope to escape to his bunker. But Rome was devastated, and some forty-five thousand people were killed, wounded, or exiled. The invaders remained for months as corpses lay rotting in the streets, until the city was finally overcome by the plague.

In 1757 – (260 years ago) – the English poet Christopher Smart, having been deemed insane, was committed to Saint Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics, in London, one of two asylums where he would be confined for the next six years. It was a time of great debate about the nature of mental illness, but methods of treatment were still primitive, and some doctors even advocated physical beating. For his part, Smart never considered himself insane, and some acquaintances felt he’d been sent to the asylum without due cause. During his years there he was given to intense religious fervor, and he wrote obsessively, producing what are seen today as his greatest works — including the long poem “Jubilate Agno,” which was not published until 1939.

In 1937 – (80 years ago) – the German airship Hindenburg was about to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, when it mysteriously caught fire and went down in a hellish inferno, killing thirty-six of its ninety-seven passengers and crew. The Hindenburg used explosive hydrogen as its lifting gas, instead of the much safer helium, because the United States had a worldwide monopoly on helium and would not export it to Nazi Germany. Even so, the builders of the Hindenburg were so confident in its safety that the high-end amenities included not only a... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
951lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Economist Kate Raworth outlines the ideas re-shaping our understanding of 21st century economics.

Kate is author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist from Chelsea Green.

 

10:00 - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader discusses ways of challenging power in the 21st century.

Ralph is author of Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think from City Lights.

 

10:35 - Our Man in San Juan, Dave Buchen reports back from the May Day general strike in Puerto Rico.

Dave got teargassed twice, if you were wondering about his credentials.

 

11:05 - Mathematician Eugenia Cheng explores the beautiful dream of infinity.

Eugenia is author of Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics from Basic Books.

 

12:05 - Christine Ahn explains why everyone on the Korean Peninsula wants peace but the United States.

Christine wrote the article  The High Costs of US Warmongering Against North Korea for Truthout.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen just mostly babbles about sanity.

Jeffy is hosting the "What Is Capitalism" Contest at Seattle's Red May next weekend. Go to it.

Episode 950

Power Switch

Apr 29
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 Lungs

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Don't cook if you can't cook without filling the apartment with choking smoke. What are you doing, burning oil with hot chili flakes in it? I'm gagging over here. I can't inhale without coughing.

It's your sausages. I don't think you know what you're doing with those. They're raw, you should steam them first. Then you wouldn't have to char them beyond recognition like a dog found after a house fire.

I think you punched a whole in our house's lung. Do you hear that whistling? No, that's not me. I don't know what it is. It started as you were cremating your dinner.

Lungs are so over. Lungs are finished, lungs are done. I sent mine on the road to perdition when I swept up some kind of cinderblock dust that had accumulated since the 1950s on a concrete floor in a toxic back room of the type connected to so many "garden" apartments in Wicker Park. "Garden Apartment" is the ghastly sardonic moniker, or "sardoniker," for a basement with little windows above head-height providing insufficient light or ventilation for terrestrial life forms to thrive. People who live in them go blind, all pigment drains from their skin, and they walk on the ceiling, having no reference for what is up and what is down.

The chamber filled with a fog of chalk particulate, and I inhaled it for an hour, hacking up cakey phlegm for another four hours afterward. I was also a pack-a-day smoker, back in the days when even a part-time ESL teacher could afford a pack a day.

Every time you cook, my lungs fill with fluid, and it takes days of hacking for me to breathe without a coughing fit. I'm underwater, here. I can't breathe underwater. I can't breathe water. My pipes are not adapted to it. I'm not a bearded fountain seamonster. But you are turning me into one with your mustard gas cuisine.

We're burning everything. Plastic, coal, mercury, all kinds of viscous syrups, French- toast-scented sickly-sweet wet garbage. One day soon the entire planet will be smoke. We'll be indistinguishable from the atmosphere. All will be languid formlessness. We'll hover without boundaries, black ghosts on black vapor strata.

We're burning glass, or just blowing glass dust into the air. We're burning water. We're burning chlorine. We have men strapped into harnesses, marching armies of men, roaring motors on their backs spewing clouds of carbon monoxide and half-combusted kerosene,... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1903 – (104 years ago) – an enormous limestone shelf more than half a mile wide, and weighing some ninety million tons, broke away from the side of Turtle Mountain and came crashing down on the outskirts of a coal-mining town called Frank, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Turtle Mountain was known not only for its rich coal veins, but for its periodic shakes and tremors. The local Blackfoot Indians called it “the mountain that moves,” and had long avoided camping anywhere near it. The landside destroyed houses, businesses, mine buildings, and more than a mile of railroad track. The noise was heard more than a hundred miles away. At least seventy to ninety people were killed, but that number may have been higher, because it’s believed that an unknown number of itinerant hobos looking for work had pitched camp in the area. Experts said the landslide was triggered by mining activity inside the unstable mountain, but the mine owners denied any responsibility. They quickly rebuilt the damaged railway, and the coal mine stayed in operation for another fourteen years.

In 1991 – (26 years ago) – Bangladesh was hit by one of the most deadly tropical cyclones on record. A twenty-foot storm surge flooded the highly populated coast, which was also whipped by winds above 120 miles an hour for more than twelve hours. The storm killed an estimated 138 thousand people, destroyed about a million homes, and left more than ten million people homeless. 

In 1992 – (25 years ago) – a jury acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of using excessive force in their arrest of Rodney King, who had led them on a high-speed freeway pursuit after failing to pull over for a traffic stop. King’s arrest had been captured on video, and the footage had received widespread play on cable TV for more than a year. In it, one could see the police repeatedly kicking King and pounding on him with clubs as he lay immobilized on the roadway. Even LA police chief Daryl Gates had expressed shock at what he saw on the tape, as had police and community leaders nationwide. In the face of such blindingly obvious evidence of police brutality, the jury’s acquittal of the four cops sparked immediate outrage across the country — and especially in South Central LA, where riots broke out and continued over the next several days. Troops from the... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
950lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Historian Timothy Snyder examines our present for signs of tyranny in our future.

Timothy is author of the new book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century from Tim Duggan Books.

 

10:05 - Live from St. Petersberg, writer Yasha Levine reports on hacking hysteria and myth of cyber security.

Yasha wrote the article From Russia, With Panic for The Baffler.

 

11:05 - Peace activist Kathy Kelly reports on the US-supplied slaughter of innocents in Yemen.

Kathy wrote the piece The Shame of Killing Innocent People for Common Dreams.

 

11:35 - The Oakland Institute's Anuradha Mittal explores the military occupation of land in post-war Sri Lanka.

The Oakland Institute just published the report Justice Denied: A Reality Check on Resettlement, Demilitarization and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

 

12:10 - Julia Buxton examines the persistently dysfunctional nature of Venezuela's anti-Chavista opposition.

Julia wrote the article Situation Normal in Venezuela: All Fouled Up for NACLA Report on the Americas.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen eulogizes one of his organs.

Organ TBD, BTW.

 

Episode 949

Ballotproof

Apr 22
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 

White is Black, Up is Down

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

What could be better than a white guy discussing black female identity? Well, if the white guy is THIS white guy, there's nothing better. It's gonna be the most entertaining act of hubris you've ever been treated to. Tell all your black female friends!

Look, I don't know anything about what it's like to be a black woman, except what my black woman friends tell me, and unless they're lying, they're always having a wonderful time! Who would you rather be, Serena Williams, who won a tennis championship while pregnant, or Paul Prudhomme, who is dead from being really fat? Who would you rather be: Beyonce, or that Nazi who got sucker-punched on camera while explaining the significance of Pepe the Frog? I think we can all understand why Rachel Dolezal, the crazy white woman who fooled the Spokane NAACP into thinking she was black for years, chose to identify as a black woman rather than as Dom DeLouise or Gilbert Godfried or Bill O'Reilly.

I bring up the strange case of Rachel Dolezal in response to a recent article in the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger, by Ijeoma Oluo. Oluo is a feminist journalist who lives in Seattle and has published widely. She's also a black woman. You'd think she'd be the perfect candidate to interrogate Dolezal's pretensions. And she was!

I'm going to try to sum up Oluo's article briefly. Rachel Dolezal is the worst possible white person to claim she gets to decide whether or not she's black. She first became enamored of blackness by looking at pictures in National Geographic, while her brother was taking a break from using them to masturbate.

Dolezal, embarrassingly outed as white on television, has no shame whatsoever. She's in fact very prickly toward those who question her about anything. I guess you never get used to people treating you like a psychotic liar, even after you've been exposed as one in the most public way possible. Dolezal, instead of resigning herself to the fact that her public performance as a black woman is over, has doubled-down, renaming herself Nkechi Amare Diallo. Nkechi happens to be Oluo's sister's first name. Now it's personal. I mean, even more personal.

Oluo approaches Dolezal as if the latter were a childish poseur, very much as I thought of a couple I once read about who claim to be living a life of Victorian simplicity in their contemporary suburban... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1915 – (102 years ago) – as World War I combatants faced off in the late afternoon near the hamlet of Gravenstafel in western Belgium, the German troops released more than 170 tons of chlorine gas that swept in a thick yellow cloud over the opposing front line of French and colonial Moroccan and Algerian soldiers. Being heavier than air, the gas quickly settled into the trenches, killing hundreds of French troops within minutes, and forcing thousands more to come staggering out into the open, gasping and choking in agony, as they were mowed down in a barrage of German gunfire. The Germans relied on prevailing winds to carry the gas away from themselves and toward their enemies, but many of them were also killed and injured by their own weapon. As fighting continued over the following weeks, the French troops tried to protect themselves by urinating into handkerchiefs which they tied over their faces, so that the ammonia in their urine could neutralize the chlorine poison. Months would go by before they were issued proper gas masks. More than 120,000 troops were killed or wounded or went missing in this bloodbath, known as the Second Battle of Ypres. The British, French, and Americans all expressed outrage at what they called the Germans’ cowardly form of warfare — but by the end of the war, they too had built up stockpiles of chemical weapons, and had used them.

In 1992 – (25 years ago) – residents in a central section of Guadalajara, Mexico, awoke to a heavy, nauseating stink that had risen from manholes in their streets for several days. The people also noticed that the water from their faucets smelled like gasoline, and caused stinging in the eyes and throat. Shortly after 10 a.m. that day came the first of a series of sewer explosions that continued for hours — blowing up streets, destroying buildings, throwing cars into the air, and starting fires that burned all day. Amid the panic and chaos of the emergency evacuation, firefighters warned people across the city not to strike matches or light their stoves. Residents in unaffected neighborhoods hurried to remove manhole covers, hoping that any gas in their sewers would escape without igniting. By the time the crisis was over, up to a thousand people were dead, hundreds more were injured or missing, and some fifteen thousand people were left homeless. Authorities later blamed the... read more