Sunday, January 15, 2017

Writers Resist: SATX Invitational

The Anarchist's Pledge (draft)

With legs weak and hands full, I rise
to face your nation and realize
I cannot clutch my heart to salute
I pledge no allegiance to any flag

Monday, November 7, 2016

Political Violence of Global Capital - Lecture Recap


Annotated Notes

Political Violence of Global Capital: Dispossession and Repression in the Global South
- lecture by Jasmin Hristov

- explanatory limitations and conceptual barriers exist in literature and media
- paramilitarism is a transnational phenomenon
- paramilitary violence is in direct correlation to class domination

Major Explanations
·         1st argument: organized violence relation to economic equality
-          Poverty/inequality vs. a culture of consumption – no opportunities – involvement in gangs or other criminal activity
·         2nd argument: due to rural-urban migration
·         3rd argument: growth in illegal economies
-          Need violent regulatory mechanisms

·         4th argument: weak state institutions/corruption
·         4th argument: weak state institutions/corruption
World Bank Statement
-          1 in 4, 1.5 billion people, live in violent conflict outside of violent norms
-          Overcoming conceptual barriers
-          Non-state violence is not necessarily anti-state violence
-          Paramilitary violence can be carried out for politically dominant special interest groups
·         Major corporations have used paramilitary violence (Coca-Cola, Chiquita banana)
Definition of Paramilitary Violence
-          Armed citizens funded by sectors of economically/politically dominant classes with military/logistical support to carry out function
-          Paramilitary violence has political objective to preserve status quo, this enhances state institutions
Function of Paramilitary Violence
-          Repression
·         Suppressing popular movements
-          Dispossession
·         Land, agriculture
Colombia: Laboratory of Paramilitarism
-          Two waves (1960s + 1980s)
·         State-led effort, elite support (external enemy)
·         Elite-led effort, state supported (internal enemy)
Human Rights Impact
-          Over 6 million internally displaced, living in destitution (no institutions/infrastructure)
-           80% of union deaths occur in Colombia, unionists assassinated
-          3,500 labor unionists murdered since 1985
-          Massacres committed as tool of violence, fosters culture of fear
-          Unionization from 12% in 1988 to 4% in 2009
-          0.4% of population owns 46.4% of total land
-          81.5% of agricultural land used for mining, agribusiness
Paramilitary Violence in “Post-Demobilization” State (2006-2016)
-          2013, 27 unionists, more than 70 human rights defenders were killed
-          First 5 years, 1.5 million displaced, 205 unionists were murdered
-          2015, ONIC reported 35 killings and 3,481 indigenous displaced
-          Death threats reported
Three Principles of Paramilitary Violence
1.       Paramilitarism as a multidimensional phenomenon
-          Economic, political, military
2.      Structural social phenomenon
-          Offensive/proactive instrument
-          Requires violence to reproduce itself
-          Paramilitary group - dispossession/repossession
3.      Dialectical relation to state/paramilitary groups
-          Paramilitary would not exist w/o state
-          50 years of massacre created
Weak State Argument
-          If you have a country with paramilitary groups outside of state, it does not indicate a weak state
-          Who benefits from violence? Who are victims?
Paramilitarization Indicates Transnationalization of States
-          Making available resources for resources, labor, markets for global capital
-          2005 à 2016, mining boom
-          Peace and Justice paramilitary group
·         Murdered 122 and displaced 4000 people in Chiapas
Paramilitary vs. Cartel Violence
-          Political/economic model vs. singular illicit activity

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fall Session Writing Lab - Week #6 - Departure

Engaging the Active Imagination: Writing as Activism (Fall Session)

Writing prompt
  • Describe the view from your point of departure

Departure (Poem draft)

You walk the cliff's edge
to the place where what you've gained
you no longer hold and what you've lost
you cannot mourn because your journey
was meant to travel beyond acquisition

From this point you survey the vastness
and yearn for the calls from the unknown
when you realize you can't turn around when
the glares and shouts threaten to nail down
the canned heat long hidden in your heels

The outstretched arch of memory and the scope
of the countours of your soaring experience
have carved out the framework of lifetimes to come
and all you have to do is step forward.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall Session Writing Lab - Week #5 - Democracy

Engaging the Active Imagination: Writing as Activism (Fall Session)

Writing prompt
  • Voice your ideas for democracy

The citizens storm city hall wielding justice, accountability and action.
The administration shouts them down with allegations of disrespect, disruption and apathy.
To which the citizens reply, Do you know what apathy means?
A staunch indifference to the unimportant.

If the majority rules, it's the majority of dissent.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Session Writing Lab - Week #4 - Displacement

Engaging the Active Imagination: Writing as Activism (Fall Session)

Writing prompt
  • Describe your own feelings of displacement

Displacement (Poem: draft)

Mother, father, sister, brother.
Brothers, the two of them. Slowly,
all begin to drift, fingers slip,
hands once clasped in time now drag
along the weeds.

The field hollers fade and
the night fire camp songs
are sung to the burning oak bark
and no one else.

Foot steps crush the crumpled bed of leaves
but the faint echoes repel against no living thing.
(to be cont'd...)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Session Writing Lab - Week #3 - Slavery

Engaging the Active Imagination: Writing as Activism (Fall Session)

Writing prompts
  • Write of a time you, or someone you know, has encountered an oppressive injustice

"Kim," I shouted from across the block.
With the day off from work I paraded around the streets of downtown by bike, stopping at any location I pleased - the central library, for a bite to eat, or a public bench to watch the street life unfold. Riding south on St. Mary's I spotted my friend Jimberly at the corner of Navarro and Martin and made my way to greet her. I noticed she was standing behind a long string of yellow caution tape. I glanced over the half-empty parking lot to see two cop cars and af ew police scattered about the scene of who knows what. I looked back to see the teape form an L shape from navarro to Martin but only covered the sidewalk; Martin street itself was not blocked off. And the scene itself was so far from the street lanes I assumed I couldn't be accused of "tampering with the evidence" or "interfering with an arrest."

I had almost reached Kim on the other end of the line when I heard a booming, aggressive voice directed towards me. Just about anyone can and will appraoch you in broad daylight on the streets of downtown, so I took a deep breath and turned around. The smile on my face turned solemn as I was looking at a stern, tense and tight-lipped cop.
"Please step right over here for me, sir," he said, bellowing at me as if he was still half a block away.
I turned to Kim and saw a frightened look of unease as she turned to tell me she was on her way to work and had to leave. My heart was beating fast as I walked my bike over to where the cop was pointing. I began to question and replay the events of my actions within the last three minutes:

Was it something I said? Did I even say anything? I know it's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk, was I riding on the sidewalk? No way. What's going to happen when he asks for identification and I reach into my backpack?

All of this and more ran through my mind in a matter of 10 steps. I nervously faced the police officer, now standing by the yellow line of tape.
"What does that say?" he said, again with his condescending and authoritarian tone. At this point it became evident had no intention of lowering the volume of his voice. I stood there with a puzzled look on my face of "what does what say where?" though I dare not ask the question.
"Right there," he said, poitning to the yellow tape. Yes, he was determined to make his point with a brute show of force.
"The caution tape?" I said.
"Yes, read to me what it says right there," he said.
I immediately resented this and couldn't believe I was being subjected to such humiliation. I proceeded anyway out of fear.
"Poooliiice Line - DO...NOT...CROSS," I read slowly with an air of annoyance.
(to be cont'd...)