Peoples Social Forum: Ottawa, August 21-24, 2014
Build together, win together! The Future is Ours!
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Forum social des peuples: Ottawa 21 au 24 aout 2014
Ensemble pour gagner, l’avenir est à nous!
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“Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe.”
ARUNDHATI ROY. From a speech entitled Confronting Empire given at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 28 January 2003.
For the next few days, I’ll be in Canada’s capital, Ottawa (Ontario), for the Peoples Social Forum. I’ll try to blog “live” from the independent media center to tell Awestruck Wanderer’s readers what’s going on there. I also plan to film a short-film documenting the event, to be released here (and on my Vimeo cyberspace) as soon as I can find some time to edit it. This journey starts tomorrow, August 21, with a talk by Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein, who is about to release her new book This Changes Everything – Capitalism Vs. The Climate. Canadians everywhere, if you’re interested in helping out in building another future, if you wanna meet active and critical people who are joining together, if you wanna to protest some of Mr. Harper’s ecocidal policies (Oil Sands in Alberta, for instance), if you wish to get yourself acquainted with all sorts of activists and freedom fighters, artists and scholars… don’t lose this! Hey ho… let’s go!
Here are the main themes of the Forum:
justice – responsibility – action
What are we doing to stop the largest threat to human survival? Who’s responsible for climate change? Who is disproportionately affected by the impacts? Does the West owe a climate debt to the Global South? Where are key points of intervention to stop climate change? Which companies, foundations, and individuals are promoting climate change denial? What are some ways to adapt to increasingly chaotic weather? How is climate change pushing people out of their homes, and who is benefiting? Can we move to post-carbon or carbon-neutral societies? Will we wait until it’s too late to develop the political will to act? What’s holding back effective action? How is climate change being used to further colonial and corporate ends?What is the relationship between climate change, environmental racism, and energy extraction on Indigenous lands? Why and how are Indigenous Peoples taking a lead in the fight against climate change?What must we do as individuals, communities, movements, and society to save the climate?
media – language – arts
Who owns the media? Who controls the airwaves? What is media literacy? How concentrated is the media in Canada and Quebec? How can progressive and radical journalists subvert dominant narratives? How can we use social media more effectively? How can we use our art for social change? How can cultural and artistic workers organize in ways that don’t stunt their craft? Whose interests do copyrights serve? What language do we speak and why? Is Canada bilingual? How do we promote the survival of the French language? How do we revive Indigenous languages? How do we work with migrant communities that don’t operate in English? How do we communicate the need for serious change to millions of people?
race – access – place
How are we organizing in our neighbourhoods? How can we fundraise for grassroots community initiatives? Who’s included in “the community”? In what ways are our communities divided by race and class? What can be done about gentrification? How can we design public space in the most accessible way? How does our race affect our access to community, and belonging? How can we honour Indigenous sovereignty while also becoming attached to a place and putting down roots? What type of multi-culturalism is promoted by the government? How has white supremacy adapted to the 21st century? How can various Indigenous and racialized communities organize in solidarity with each other? How can we fight horizontal racism? How well do we understand the history of racism and colonialism, including linguistic, cultural and national oppression, in Canada? Has the word “racism” become a taboo? How does racism intersect with other forms of oppression? How do we support the rights of the homeless? Where is their place in our community? How are people with disabilities excluded from community? How can able-bodied people support movements for disability rights? Do you have to stand up to fight back? Why is the adoption of an anti-oppression framework in our activism work soimportant? How do we ensure access to decent housing as a right? How are our communities bought and sold from under us? How do we take back public space? Whose streets? What are inspiring examples of sustainable and intentional community?
criminalization – surveillance – prisons
Who’s controlling society and through what forceful mechanisms is our obedience ensured? Why is dissent being increasingly criminalized? What is the prison industrial complex and its relation to racism and capitalism? How can we counter police violence and racism on the ground? Are we creeping into an Orwellian world of total surveillance and censorship? What can we do to stop the spread of cameras in public space and defend our privacy rights? Why are governments increasingly scared of hackers and whistle-blowers? Why are new prisons built while crime rates are dropping? Why are Indigenous peoples, youth of colour, and migrants disproportionately incarcerated? How does immigration detention serve to keep people of colour living in fear? How have police, prisons, border officials, and intelligence agencies historically and presently been used to further colonial aims? Can we abolish prison? What are alternative models for defending ourselves, our communities, and resolving conflicts?
land – air – water
What is our relationship to the earth and all it’s non-human inhabitants? How has our relationship to land shifted from one of responsibility and communal care to one of individual ownership and speculation? Why is the Harper government attacking and defunding Environmental NGO’s and silencing scientists? What are inspiring ways people are defending the natural world from pollution, degradation, and devastation? How are we defending the commons (air, land, water) from predatory mining, fracking, logging, drilling, bombing, dumping, spraying, damming, and sprawling? How can environmental activists, people of colour and Indigenous people’s work together as allies in defense of mother earth? What are examples of environmental racism, and environmental justice work in Canada and Quebec? How do we connect environmental justice, anti-racism and reproductive justice work? What is Canada’s role in trashing the planet on an international scale? Why is it important that water be made a human right? How can we join others in making the “Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth” law? What can we do to help heal the earth and live sustainably?
In what ways has the current economic model failed us? Can we overcome global inequality? Is capitalism doomed? What are other economic models that have been tried and failed? How can we reverse the trends we’ve been seeing of increased social inequality, the multiplication of economic crises, and the commodification of everything including human life? Are we heading back into feudalism? Should the very concept of growth be questioned? How is our economy propped up by slavery and colonialism, both historically and presently? What can we do to support calls for reparations for slavery and debt jubilees coming from the global south? Where are there inspiring examples of modes of production and life outside the logic of capitalism? What economic alternatives can we seek? Can we democratize the economy? What economic models have the best chance of replacing capitalism in our lifetime? How can the economy serve the people so that we can live in a world that is just, equitable, respectful of human beings and the environment?
sovereignty – access – production
Who grows our food? Who harvests it? Who gets access to healthy food? Whose neighbourhoods are food deserts? What is the state of food insecurity in Canada? How are Canadian corporations affecting food sovereignty abroad? Does Canada ensure food a human right? Where are there good examples of permaculture, urban farming, community gardens, CSA’s, and food co-ops that we can learn from? How does the local-food, food justice movement include migrant workers that grow the food, and the racialized people that work in the food industry? Why are family farmers losing their land to large agribusiness? How is Canada infringing on Indigenous food sovereignty both here and abroad? What foods should we avoid for ethical and environmental reasons? What is peak soil? What are new inventive ways for urban food production? How do we fight the growing collusion of government and agribusiness? What’s being done by various levels of government that affects food sovereignty? Why doesn’t Canada have a federal food policy? How does structural racism manifest itself in our food system? What are inspiring examples of resistance to GMO’s, monocrops, over-fishing, and factory farming? What would it mean to decolonize our diets and develop sustainable and sovereign food systems?
sexuality – patriarchy – socialization
How can queers and trans-folks bash back against ongoing discrimination and hatred? How can we subvert heteronormativity? What does patriarchy and feminism look like in the 21st century? How is poverty gendered? What is patriarchy’s relationship to displacement, colonization, war, and capitalism? How do we unlearn and dismantle rape culture? How does our gender socialization reproduce oppressive power dynamics? How can we stop gender policing in queer and trans communities? What can we do to stop the wave of murders and disappearances of Indigenous women? How can we stop all sexual violence, slut-shaming, and gender oppression?
9- Governance & Democracy:
representation – organization – decolonization
In what ways could we politically govern ourselves better than the current system? How do we address anti-democratic trends in our current government? How do we formally reject the Doctrine of Discovery and concept of Terra Nullius? Can we make democracy more direct, more empowering, more participatory? Can we govern without leaders? Can we vote ourselves in to a better society? Can we empower our communities on localized levels such as neighbourhoods, bioregions, and watersheds? How about workplace democracy and worker-control of workplaces? How do free trade agreements lead to corporate dictatorship? What Free Trade Agreements must we fight presently? How can we empower those who are not allowed, or choose not, to vote? What future for the Quebec nation? What strategies are successful for defending Indigenous sovereignty? How does Canada continue to violate Indigenous sovereignty and traditional governance? How can all peoples work towards decolonization and a respect of treaty rights and responsibilities?
austerity – cuts – privatization
What does austerity mean for average people? How do we fight back against the age of austerity? How are governments impoverishing us through budget cuts and legislation? How do the cuts impact poor, people of colour and indigenous people differently What new struggles can be waged in the austerity era to win concrete gains like higher minimum wages, access to social housing, and health benefits? Can we reverse impoverishment through campaigns such as guaranteed income, affordable housing, community and worker co-operatives? How can folks fighting against their own impoverishment work in solidarity with communities who’ve been systematically impoverished and excluded for centuries as part of colonization and racism? How do we fight to stop the cuts and expand services at the same time?
solidarity – peace – justice
What role does Canada play in global capitalism and neo-colonialism on the international scene? What are some examples of international injustices caused by Canadian interests? How do we hold those Canadian interests accountable? How do we respond to global crisis? What can we learn from the alter/anti-globalization movement? How can we be more effective in resisting war and militarization? What is Canadian Imperialism? How can we act in solidarity internationally to counteract and stop global capitalism, colonial aggression, and empire building? What can be done here to apply pressure in support of occupied and oppressed populations internationally? Can the whole world be decolonized?
education – access – alternatives
Can we ensure access to education as a basic right for all? How do we stop the increasing privatization and corporatization on campuses? How can students fight back against increasing debts and tuitions? How are students and youth fighting back both here and internationally against the neo-liberal agenda on campus? What are lessons and challenges we can learn from the historic Quebec Student Strike? How has “education” been used to further colonization and the erasure of Indigenous and diverse people of colour’s ways and knowledge, and how does this persist today? How do we ensure that all children have access to the same educational opportunities no matter what neighbourhood they live in? What are popular educational alternatives to institutional learning? What can we learn from Indigenous and international models of education? How do we stop school from getting in the way of education?
mobility – borders – displacement
Why do we move? Who gets to move? Who gets to stay? Why is Canada, and most of the world, moving towards a system of temporary immigration? What does migrant justice look like? How can people with immigration status support their undocumented and precarious status neighbours? How does migrant justice include honoring Indigenous sovereignty? Does Canada have a responsibility to refugees? How are Canadian interests complicit in forcing communities into migration through displacement and dispossession? Who benefits from current immigration policies and at whose expense? What are the different forms of racism mobilized against migrants? What could a world without borders look like?
intersectionality – alliances – solidarity
How do we build effective and sustainable movements for social justice? What are some strategies to build alliances across traditional divides of race, class, gender, ability, age, and sexuality? How do we foster a spirit of solidarity and respect within pluralistic and diverse movements? Who are unlikely allies we can work with? How do movements succeed or fail? What will it take to dismantle corporate power?
15- Public services
quality – universality – access
Why are right wing governments across Canada and around the world attacking public services? Why are they deregulating and privatizing public services and public space? How does this impact on workers, communities and the public in general? How can we stop deregulation and cuts to public services? What are other countries doing to push back against the corporate agenda? How can we defend our public services, postal service, and healthcare from cuts and privatization? Who benefits from quality public services? How can we build strong public services that will strengthen the economy and social justice and pull communities together?
ceremony – traditions – identity
How does spirituality intersect with activism? How can people of different faiths work together to end religious-based conflict? How do we foster respect for each other in multi-faith societies? What are our peoples’ and movement’s ceremonies and traditions? How do faith communities serve the most excluded? How do we work through trauma? What can be done to heal our spiritual connection to each other and to the earth? How has religion been used to further colonialism and what can be done to reverse this? How were Indigenous people’s ceremonies, traditions, and identities targeted for extermination and how are they being revived today? How can we spread a spirit of empowerment, mutual aid, and revolution?
precarity – deindustrialization – scarcity
Who’s hiring? Who’s firing? Who’s working more than ever? Who is promoting and benefiting from low-wages? Who can’t find stable employment? Do careers exist anymore? Why is the manufacturing sector being hollowed out? How can organized labour adapt to the shifting world of work? How can workers, particularly migrant, Indigenous and citizen workers, avoid being pitted against each other? How do we honour all work, including domestic, care and sex work? Why do Indigenous Peoples, women, youth and people of colour have the highest unemployment rates? How can we support Unions, and how can Unions include everyone? What ways are people finding to survive at the margins of the economy? Can workers take-over the companies that employ them? How do we build alliances between workers in resource-extractive industries and those opposing environmentally-destructive resource extraction? Can we develop a solidarity economy and produce and distribute what we need without capitalism? What are some alternatives to capitalism that we can start exploring and building?
Lots of political ART will also add fuel to the fire of CHANGE:
MICHEL SERRES. The Natural Contract – Studies in Literature and Science. “Global environmental change, argues Michel Serres, has forced us to reconsider our relationship to nature. In this translation of his influential 1990 book Le Contrat Naturel, Serres calls for a natural contract to be negotiated between Earth and its inhabitants. World history is often referred to as the story of human conflict. Those struggles that are seen as our history must now include the uncontrolled violence that humanity perpetrates upon the earth, and the uncontrollable menace to human life posed by the earth in reaction to this violence. Just as a social contract once brought order to human relations, Serres believes that we must now sign a “natural contract” with the earth to bring balance and reciprocity to our relations with the planet that gives us life. Our survival depends on the extent to which humans join together and act globally, on an earth now conceived as an entity.
Tracing the ancient beginnings of modernity, Serres examines the origins and possibilities of a natural contract through an extended meditation on the contractual foundations of law and science. By invoking a nonhuman, physical world, Serres asserts, science frees us from the oppressive confines of a purely social existence, but threatens to become a totalitarian order in its own right. The new legislator of the natural contract must bring science and law into balance.
Serres ends his meditation by retelling the story of the natural contract as a series of parables. He sees humanity as a spacecraft that with the help of science and technology has cast off from familiar moorings. In place of the ties that modernity and analytic reason have severed, we find a network of relations both stranger and stronger than any we once knew, binding us to one another and to the world. The philosopher’s harrowing and joyous task, Serres tells us, is that of comprehending and experiencing the bonds of violence and love that unite us in our spacewalk on the spaceship Mother Earth.”
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LOUIS ALTHUSSER. On The Reproduction Of Capitalism: Ideology And Ideological State Apparatuses. Louis Althusser’s renowned short text ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ radically transformed the concept of the subject, the understanding of the state and even the very frameworks of cultural, political and literary theory. The text has influenced thinkers such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek. The piece is, in fact, an extract from a much longer book, On the Reproduction of Capitalism, until now unavailable in English. Its publication makes possible a reappraisal of seminal Althusserian texts already available in English, their place in Althusser’s oeuvre and the relevance of his ideas for contemporary theory.
On the Reproduction of Capitalism develops Althusser’s conception of historical materialism, outlining the conditions of reproduction in capitalist society and the revolutionary struggle for its overthrow. Written in the afterglow of May 1968, the text addresses a question that continues to haunt us today: in a society that proclaims its attachment to the ideals of liberty and equality, why do we witness the ever-renewed reproduction of relations of domination? Both a conceptually innovative text and a key theoretical tool for activists, On the Reproduction of Capitalism is an essential addition to the corpus of the twentieth-century Left.
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MIKE DAVIS, Planet of Slums. Celebrated urban theorist lifts the lid on the effects of a global explosion of disenfranchised slum-dwellers. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world. From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, even economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy.
He argues that the rise of this informal urban proletariat is a wholly original development unforeseen by either classical Marxism or neoliberal theory. Are the great slums, as a terrified Victorian middle class once imagined, volcanoes waiting to erupt? Davis provides the first global overview of the diverse religious, ethnic, and political movements competing for the souls of the new urban poor. He surveys Hindu fundamentalism in Bombay, the Islamist resistance in Casablanca and Cairo, street gangs in Cape Town and San Salvador, Pentecostalism in Kinshasa and Rio de Janeiro, and revolutionary populism in Caracas and La Paz. Planet of Slums ends with a provocative meditation on the “war on terrorism” as an incipient world war between the American empire and the new slum poor.
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Other e-books previously shared at Awestruck Wanderer:
In 1997, Arundhati Roy’s first novel “The God of Small Things” made her the first Indian woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize. More than six million copies of the book were sold worldwide.
Since then, she has turned her pen to politics. During the Bush years, she was a fierce critic, calling the invasion of Afghanistan “an act of terror on the people of the world”.
In India, she has campaigned against mega dams projects, denounced the rise of Hindu nationalism, and has been imprisoned by the Supreme Court of India for “corrupting public morality”.
Her latest essay describes her trip into the heart of India’s Maoist insurgency, the movement that India’s government has launched a major military campaign to crush…
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ANGELA DAVIS in The Meaning of Freedom.
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“Beware of those leaders and theorists who eloquently rage against white supremacy but identify black gay men and lesbians as evil incarnate. Beware of those leaders who call upon us to protect our young black men but will beat their wives and abuse their children and will not support a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy. Beware of those leaders! And beware of those who call for the salvation of black males but will not support the rights of Caribbean, Central American, and Asian immigrants, or who think that struggles in Chiapas or in Northern Ireland are unrelated to black freedom! Beware of those leaders!
Regardless of how effectively (or inneffectively) veteran activists are able to engage with the issues of our times, there is clearly a paucity of young voices associated with black political leadership. The relative invisibility of youth leadership is a crucial example of this crisis in contemporary black social movements. On the other hand, within black popular culture, youth are, for better or for worse, helping to shape the political vision of their contemporaries. Many young black performers are absolutely brilliant. Not only are they musically dazzing, they are also trying to put forth anti-racist and anti-capitalist critiques. I’m thinking, for example, about Nefertiti, Arrested Development, The Fugees, and Michael Franti…”
Listen to Fugee’s The Score (Full Album)
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“There are already one million in prison in the United States. This does not include the 500.000 in city and county jails, the 600.000 on parole, and the 3 million people on probation. It also does not include the 60.000 young people in juvenile facilities, which is to say, there are presently more than FIVE MILLION people either incarcerated, on parole, or on probation… Not only is the duration of imprisonment drastically extended, it is rendered more repressive than ever. Within some state prison systems, weights have even been banned. Having spent time in several jails myself, I know how important it is to exercise the body as well as the mind. The barring of higher education and weight sets implies the creation of an incarcerated society of people who are worth little more than trash to the dominant culture.
Who is benefiting from these ominous new developments? There is already something of a boom in the prison construction industry. New architectural trends that recapitulate old ideas about incarceration such as Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon have produced the need to build new jails and prisons – both public and private prisons. And there is the dimension of the profit drive, with its own exploitative, racist component. It’s also important to recognize that the steadily growing trend of privatization of U.S. jails and prisons is equally menacing… We therefore ask: How many more black bodies will be sacrified on the altar of law and order?
The prison system as a whole serves as an apparatus of racist and political repression… the fact that virtually everyone behind bars was (and is) poor and that a disproportionate number of them were black and Latino led us [the activists] to think about the more comprehensive impact of punishment on communities of color and poor communities in general. How many rich people are in prison? Perhaps a few here and there, many of whom reside in what we call country club prisons. But the vast majority of prisoners are poor people. A disproportionate number of those poor people were and continue to be people of color, people of African descent, Latinos, and Native Americans.
Some of you may know that the most likely people to go to prison in this country today are young African American men. In 1991, the Sentencing Project released a report indicating that 1 in 4 of all young black men between the ages of 18 and 24 were incarcerated in the United States. 25% is an astonishing figure. That was in 1991. A few years later, the Sentencing Project released a follow-up report revealing that within 3 or 4 years, the percentage had soared to over 32%. In other words, approximately one-third of all young black men in this country are either in prison or directly under the supervision and control of the criminal justice system. Something is clearly wrong.”
(pg. 25, 27 and 38)
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“When a child’s life is forever arrested by one of the gunshots that are heard so frequently in poor black and Latino communities, parents, teachers, and friends parede in demonstrations bearing signs with the slogan ‘STOP THE VIOLENCE.’ Those who live with the daily violence associated with drug trafficking and increasing use of dangerous weapons by youth are certainly in need of immediate solutions to these problems. But the decades-old law-and-order solutions will hardly bring peace to poor black and Latino communities. Why is there such a paucity of alternatives? Why the readiness to take on a discourse and entertain policies and ideological strategies that are so laden with racism?
Ideological racism has begun to lead a secluded existence. It sequesters itself, for example, within the concept of crime. (…) I, for one, am of the opinion that we will have to renounce jails and prisons as the normal and unquestioned approaches to such social problems as drug abuse, unemployment, homelessness, and illiteracy. (…) When abolitionists raise the possibility of living without prisons, a common reaction is fear – fear provoked by the prospect of criminals pouring out of prisons and returning to communities where they may violently assault people and their property. It is true that abolitionists want to dismantle structures of imprisonment, but not without a process that calls for building alternative institutions. It is not necessary to address the drug problem, for example, within the criminal justice system. It needs to be separated from the criminal justice system. Rehabilitation is not possible within the jail and prison system.
We have to learn how to analyze and resist racism even in contexts where people who are targets and victims of racism commit acts of harm against others. Law-and-order discourse is racist, the existing system of punishment has been deeply defined by historical racism. Police, courts, and prisons are dramatic examples of institutional racism. Yet this is not to suggest that people of color who commits acts of violence against other human beings are therefore innocent. This is true of brothers and sisters out in the streets as well as those in the high-end suites… A victim of racism can also be a perpetrator of sexism. And indeed, a victim of racism can be a perpetrator of racism as well. Victimization can no longer be permitted to function as a halo of innocence.”
(pg. 29 – 31)
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“Black people have been on the forefront of radical and revolutionary movements in this country for several centuries. (…) Not all of us have given up hope for revolutionary change. Not all of us accept the notion of capitalist inevitability based on the collapse of socialism. Socialism of a certain type did not work because of irreconcilable internal contradictions. Its structures have fallen. But to assume that capitalism is triumphant is to use a simplistic boxing-match paradigm. Despite its failure to build lasting democratic sctructures, socialism nevertheless demonstrated its superiority over capitalism on several accounts: the ability to provide free education, low-cost housing, jobs, free child care, free health care, etc. This is precisely what is needed in U.S. black communities… and among poor people in general. Harlem furnishes us with a dramatic example of the future of late capitalism and compelling evidence of the need to reinvigorate socialist democratic theory and practise – for the sake of our sisters and brothers who otherwise will be thrown into the dungeons of the future, and indeed, for the sake of us all.
During the McCarthy era, communism was established as the enemy of the nation and came to be represented as the enemy of the “free world”. During the 1950s, when membership in the Communist Party of U.S.A. was legally criminalized, many members were forced underground and/or were sentenced to many years in prison. In 1969, when I was personally targeted by anti-communist furor, black activists in such organizations as the Black Panther Party were also singled out. As a person who represented both the communist threat and the black revolutionary threat, I became a magnet for many forms of violence… If we can understand how people could be led to fear communism in such a visceral way, it might help us to apprehend the ideological character of the fear of the black criminal today.
The U.S. war in Vietnam lasted as long as it did because it was fueled by a public fear of communism. The government and the media led the public to believe that the Vietnamese were their enemy, as if it were the case that the defeat of the racialized communist enemy in Vietnam would ameliorate U.S. people’s lives and make them feel better about themselves…”
(To know more about the Vietnam war, please watch Peter Davis’ Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds)
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“The connection between the criminalization of young black people and the criminalization of immigrants are not random. In order to understand the structural connections that tie these two forms of criminalization together, we will have to consider the ways in which global capitalism has transformed the world. What we witnessed at the close of the 20th century is the growing power of a circuit of transnational corporations that belong to no particular nation-state, that are not expected to respect the laws of any given nation-state, and that move across borders at will in perpetual search of maximizing profits.
Let me tell you a story about my personal relationship with one of these transnational corporations – Nike. My first pair of serious running shoes were Nikes. Over the years I became so attached to Nikes that I convinced myself that I could not run without wearing them. But once I learned about the conditions under which these shoes are produced, I could not in good conscience buy another pair of their running shoes. It may be true that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods had multimillion-dollar contracts with Nike, but in Indonesia and Vietnam Nike has been creating working conditions that, in many respects, resemble slavery.
Not long ago there was an investigation of the Nike factory in Ho Chi Minh City, and it was discovered that the young women who work in Nike’s sweatshops there were paid less than the minimum wage in Vietnam, which is only U$2.50 a day… Consider what you pay for Nikes and the vast differential between the price and the workers’ wages. This differential is the basis for Nike’s rising profits. (…) If you read the entire report, you will be outraged to learn of the abominable treatment endured by the young women and girls who produce the shoes and the apparel we wear. The details of the report include the fact that during an 8-hour shift, workers are able to use the toilet just once, and they are prohibited from drinking water more than twice. There is sexual harrasment, inadequate health care, and excessive overtime… Perhaps we need to discuss the possibility of an organized boycott… but given the global reach of corporations like Nike, we need to think about a global boycott.
Corporations move to developing countries because it is extremely profitable to pay workers U$2.50 a day or less in wages. That’s U$2.50 a day, not U$2.50 a hour, which would still be a pittance. (…) The corporations that have migrated to Mexico, Vietnam, and other Third World countries also often end up wreaking havoc on local economies. They create cash economies that displace subsistence economies and produce artificial unemployment. Overall, the effect of capitalist corporations colonizing Third World countries is one of pauperization. These corporations create poverty as surely as they reap rapacious profits.”
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All quotes in this post from…
Angela Y. Davis (1944 – )
The Meaning of Freedom
And Other Difficult Dialogues
San Francisco, California. 2012.
Trip on: DROOKER.COM.
…and if you ask me: that’s a great word to shout, Dude!
On our menu:
01) Jimi Hendrix;
02) John Lennon;
03) Neil Young;
04) Richie Havens;
05) Bob Marley;
06) Ben Harper;
09) The DT’s;
10) Rage Against the Machine;
11) Charles Mingus;
12) Nina Simone.
Pump up the volume…
and enjoy the ride!
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“Freedom is a word nourished by the human dream:
there is no one who can explain it
and no one who doesn’t understand it.”
(Cecilia Meireles, 1901-1964, brazilian poet)