Sunday, August 14, 2005

Some Reading

I have worked a little bit on two posts of original writing, but we have had guests and I have gotten sick so I may or may not feel up to finishing them today. I haven't offered up a list of interesting things I've read in quite some time, however, so here are some articles I've come across recently:

  • An article from Rolling Stone on the nuts and bolts of the U.S. Congress. The journalist followed around Bernie Sanders (a self-identified "democratic socialist," an Independent, a Representative from Vermont, and a probable candidate for U.S. Senate next year) and wrote down what he saw. While I think it is easy to give legislative antics too much attention, this focus on the mechanics of the legislative process -- not unlike the making of sausage, as I seem to remember hearing someone else observe -- is useful to prime one's "There has to be a better way!" frustration.

  • "Terror's Greatest Recruitment Tool" by Naomi Klein (via Rabble).

    The real problem is not too much multiculturalism but too little. If the diversity now ghettoized on the margins of Western societies — geographically and psychologically — were truly allowed to migrate to the centres, it might infuse public life in the West with a powerful new humanism. If we had deeply multi-ethnic societies, rather than shallow multicultural ones, it would be much more difficult for politicians to sign deportation orders sending Algerian asylum-seekers to torture, or to wage wars in which only the invaders' dead are counted. A society that truly lived its values of equality and human rights, at home and abroad, would have another benefit too. It would rob terrorists of what has always been their greatest recruitment tool: our racism.

  • Some insight on strategy and tactics for the anti-war movement -- some useful perspective on the unduly vaunted place that marches have in our tactical lexicon.

  • "Why I Am No Longer A Radical" by the still-radical M. Junaid Alam, from Left Hook. It's a great look at how self-identified radicals position themselves in North American society and at some of the personal decisions that have to be made.

    What's convinced me to discard the robes of political radicalism is not the fear of defending what's right in a world where you're rewarded for doing wrong, but the fear of living in such a world at all. For to let the Right claim the very mantle of "mainstream" for themselves, as they have increasingly tended to do, to let them spin off basic values like social equality, human rights, religious tolerance, and peace as the byproducts of a bygone era of amoral "radical" hippies, would be a total catastrophe.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the causes and beliefs we advocate are not "radical" in the commonly understood sense of the word, but rather, moderate, sensible, and fair. Conversely, it is the political mainstream that is antithetical to basic human values, serving up indigestible rationalizations for all kinds of cruelties inflicted upon people on a daily basis, fostering cynicism and frustration.

  • "Anarchism and science fiction: An annotated reading list," found via Scribblinbwoman.

  • An article by Cynthia Peters on socialization into whitness and political activity.

  • Tim Wise saying some things about the animal rights movement that ring true for me, and talking about the politics of racist sports mascots.


janm7gfta59wehp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rabfish said...

hmm, fucked up comment. I've been getting those too.

I'm sorry you're sick.

Thanks for the interesting references.