Category Archives: Movement

Encore des nouvelles. On modernity, and on race.

– Thursday is César Vallejo’s birthday and he will be 125.

– This, as we know, could also be about Vallejo, as it is about many:

Living in Budapest, connected to a self-confident and industrializing West but set apart from it by language and often religion, Polanyi and his contemporaries embodied one of the central facts about the cultural and political ferment that we often equate with modernism: Its vitality depended on the admixture of a modern social order and outlook with often archaic folk communities. (Bartók’s music is a classic example.)

Polanyi is one of many intellectuals I would like to understand.

I am interested also in the conversion of the Jews in the nineteenth century, as both Marx’ and Heinrich Heine’s parents converted, as my ancestor did. Polanyi and other twentieth century figures longed, says Gareth Dale, for “a social order in which the entire issue of assimilation would be an irrelevance.” (It could be worth reading the book whose review I refer here to learn more about what this meant then, because it is yet another experience of race and difference in the high modernist period.)

Then there is Marisol de la Cadena:

…mestizo and mestizaje…are doubly hybrid. On the one hand they house an empirical hybridity, built upon eighteenth and nineteenth century racial taxonomies and according to which ‘mestizos’ are non-indigenous individuals, the result of biological or cultural mixtures. Yet, mestizos’ genealogy starts earlier, when ‘mixture’ denoted transgression of the rule of faith, and its statutes of purity. Within this taxonomic regime mestizos could be, at the same time, indigenous. Apparently dominant, racial theories sustained by scientific knowledge mixed with, (rather than cancel) previous faith based racial taxonomies. ‘Mestizo’ thus houses a conceptual hybridity – the mixture of two classificatory regimes – which reveals subordinate alternatives for mestizo subject positions, including forms of indigeneity.

Y sí, and that is what the talk the other day did not address, and it is key for my piece on Isaacs: there is racial and religious mestizaje that stand in for each other. THIS is a good insight, I do think. (About mestizaje itself, the other way in which the word or concept “means in two accents” is that it is deployed in both oppressive and utopian or liberating ways.)

And Isaacs is another 19th century person, working on the conversion of the Jews, and there is a connection here.

(I so must create a system in which to put all these thoughts together.)

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bibliography, Movement, Race book, Theories

I think we really are going into some form of nazism, and should study it.

BBC: A warning from history I … II … and there are more parts to the series. It is from the 1990s but is being rebroadcast now. The BBC has an episode guide and my interest is in the question of how the Nazi takeover started. There is a new book on Hitler as well, that looks very good.

One thing to note is that Hitler himself, like the man who would now be dictator in the United States, was indolent. The work was done by others, in a chaotic atmosphere. Hitler did not have plans, but would make remarks. Then people would take up projects, saying they were the will of the Führer.

But Wallerstein says we are not necessarily going into some form of nazism. He writes:

…[E]stamos en medio de una transición histórica estructural del mundo-sistema capitalista en que hemos vivido por unos 500 años a uno de dos sistemas sucesores –un sistema no capitalista que conserve los peores rasgos del capitalismo (jerarquía, explotación y polarización), y su opuesto, un sistema que sea relativamente democrático e igualitario.

I am assuming the repressive path will be taken before the utopian one is, but perhaps not. And this on Trump and Foucault is worth reading, too.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movement, News

Sanders on Trump’s speech

This is very well informed and you should watch it. The people who fought against Sanders should be ashamed, but I don’t want to talk about that now. We should all join the struggle now.

In cultural news, a friend has a blog on blood that is worth reading.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movement

On freedom

A key issue may be that “freedom” for many Americans has always meant the freedom of the male settler-colonist to destroy the earth and its people, order his women and slaves around, and impose his religion upon others.

Yet more important is that Trump is trying to destroy the national self-image as progressive. It is of course delusional to believe that the US has not always been a poor idea, yet it is a worse idea to renounce the ideal of justice.

My other insight is that the US depends upon slavery, and that this is why we need the indocumentados as indocumentados. I would like to be on a dissertation committee about this, as there is a great deal to say about it.

This means, of course, that as long as there are no unions all manufacturing and construction jobs here will have to be poorly paid. Indocumentados and convicts will have to do them, probably, and the citizens will have to join the Army. What do you think?

Meanwhile, we have:
◊◊Narcofosas in Jalisco
◊◊The lack of a left in the US
◊◊A really important action item
◊◊Puerto Rican faces deportation to Mexico

…and a great deal more. But please do look at that action item.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movement, News, Uncategorized

“Me llamo es…”

On the question of Saying Their Name: I have always understood about it for reasons having to do with my ancestors the Lloyds and the Goldsboroughs, and because it is a major South American theme, never again, nunca mais, say their name. But I have learned more about it from these disaster databases which are entirely resolute about it.

There are so many reasons to Say Their Name. To say it, and stand by it.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movement, News

Domingo

⇒ The best political action we can take right now is to work against voter suppression. (Z)

⇒ The roundups of indocumentados are a beginning, and we should pay attention. (Z)

⇒ The use of indocumentados is a form of slavery. Capitalism requires slavery, and slaves must be foreign. (Z)

⇒Racist imperatives fuel the militarization of the border. (Nicky)

⇒Poetry is only a havoc that restores. It dissipates the false pretenses of an ordered world. (Bataille 1943)

Today in culture:

Let’s look at a timeless Vermeer. And another. And more.
An interesting translation magazine: Palabras errantes.
Cinema tropical.
Huizache.

Fifteen Afro-Latin films everyone should see.
I am not your negro is playing now and must be seen.
On Netflix, we must see 13th.
We will see Ixcanul on Netflix as well, and Herzog’s Into the inferno.

Sidney Blumenthal has a smart history of the Trump family in the London Review of Books.
Jonathan Mayhew has good advice on how to learn foreign languages.
Rosie Gray discusses Bannon and the white supremacy movement in The Atlantic.
Nikil Saval writes about Gareth Dale writing about Karl Polanyi, and I would have liked to converse with this man; he is important.

Activism:

I have heard there is a number you can text to your phone, that will program in the numbers of your senators and representatives. You can do this, too.

Work:

I was going to make an announcement about, and a commitment to archiving bibliography in Zotero and/or JabRef, and not an Amazon wishlist or even Evernote. Instead, I simply started.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under Cinearte, Movement, Poetry, Teaching, Working

Randolph Bourne

With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world. The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle. Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war. But, put to the stern pragmatic test, the difference is not striking. In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves. The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling, and produces immediately that intense and hopeless confusion between the relations which the individual bears and should bear toward the society of which he is a part.

This is about the Great War, or World War I.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movement, News, Theories