Social Text Collective Member Nicholas Mirzoeff reads his September 2012 Public Culture essay “Why I Occupy.”
The memories are very clear. I remember the transformer exploding. A flash of white. Purple, green and a neon pink. Then the lights go out. Cut. I am on Rockaway Beach, beloved title of The Ramones for the … Continue reading “After Sandy”
Education outside of the traditional classroom is on the rise. Again. New non-traditional learning scenarios are emerging in many academic disciplines, spurred on by DIY culture, a tidal wave of student debt, and changes in technology. Moving beyond questioning whether … Continue reading “Educational Outliers”
dead land Mewat, waste land, dead land, empty land. Codified in the Ottoman Land Law of 1858, modified in the early 1920s as Britain re-structures the colonial governance of Palestine, and surviving today in the Occupied Territories through a series … Continue reading “a possible history of oblivion”
This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence–to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as … Continue reading “Introduction”
First, a word about what these thoughts, and we, are not. We write not as archivists, historians, or even critics of what has been called the Occupy Movement, nor for that matter as particularly historicizing readers of Walt Whitman’s … Continue reading “Never the Usual Terms: A Song for 21st Century Occupations”
In perhaps the jauntiest Broadway ditty ever written to punctuate that precious moment before everything falls apart — “What Do the Simple Folk Do?” from Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot (1960) — King Arthur and Guinevere, speculate about the amusements … Continue reading “Downton Abbey and the Fantasy of Structured Idleness”
“What does Occupy Wall Street want?” This anxious media meme was yoked to the increase of Occupy protests in 2011. Against the backdrop of other, more angry, characterizations of the Occupy protestors as deservedly unemployed, lazy, or overinvested in idealistic … Continue reading “"Preferring Not To" in the Age of Occupy”
As expected, twenty cigarettes are consumed in James Benning’s latest experimental feature, 20 Cigarettes (2011). In a series of portraits that borrow from (as Benning has explained in interviews) but also depart from Andy Warhol’s iconic Screen Tests, the … Continue reading “Smoke Break”
Click here to read. This dossier takes its cue from one of the Occupy movement’s bedrock slogans, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” (though this was first nurtured, as were many Occupy paradigms, tactics and customs, in the global … Continue reading “Is This What Democracy Looks Like?”
One of the members of my working group, The People’s Think Tank, recommended me as a good person to speak to young activists last week at the Civil Rights Student Summit in New York organized by Teaching Matters. The folder they gave to the set of people they brought in to speak to the students, most of whom were in eighth grade, said “community activist” on the front. Reading that brought me back to a discussion facilitated by the Think Tank on May Day, where we got to talking about what it meant for us to be activists. When it was my turn to speak, the only words on offer were something like “I really don’t like to think of myself as an activist. I kind of want to think of myself as a normal person.
Why do we strike on May Day? What is that strike? We strike in solidarity with global labor, our own histories and with each other. The action of striking is not just a withdrawal of labor but what Marina Sitrin calls “striking new relationships.” The actions of refusal to play the part expected of us, in whatever way we can, and imagining other ways of relating to each other are what will constitute a day of generally striking, a striking day.
By now we should all recognize the global economic effects of neoliberalism. David Harvey reminds us that free market policies have led, first and foremost, to a dramatic class realignment in which the relative egalitarianism of the post-World War … Continue reading “The Neoliberal Crisis and the Open University”