Archive for ‘politics’

24 September 2011

Twitter @discoursology

At least one of the Berlin-based discoursologists is now able to communicate in less than 140 characters…. @discoursology #discourse #media #ethnography #russia #theory

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19 September 2011

Pirates: Redistributing the sensible

The Piraten Partei, with their 8.9% results in the Berlin election, have already massively reconfigured what counts as politics and election issues. Now they’re tweeting on what the other side of the camera looks like.

“Ein neues Blickregime” said a Berlin-based discoursologist.

2 September 2011

Rising powers

No more old-fashioned talk of “developed” and “developing” countries. China and India now categorised as “rising powers“.

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10 August 2011

The language of riots

1. BBC World reported yesterday that the police had announced “that Mark Duggan had not fired the first shot”. This is linguistically correct. But since apparently all shots fired were from police guns, the negation is midleading.

2. Young people have now occasionally been interviewed – and given space to speak – on tv. They are not talking about deprivation, bad parenting or cutbacks. They repeatedly say it is about the police: police corruption and unfair treatment. Since I can’t link to the tv news here, …:

One 18-year-old man told the Independent, “Police know what they should have done, they should have come to speak to the community themselves. They don’t care. You don’t get no opportunities around here,” he went on. “The police stop you because you’re black. They stop you because you’re wearing a hood.”

One story on London24 headlines it tonight:

London riots: Police stop and search blamed for tension that sparked Tottenham riots

A 51-year-old builder named as Danny, who lives on the Chesnut Estate in Tottenham, said: “It was triggered by the police really. They terrorise the boys in the area for no obvious reasons. They stop them and search them, it’s bullying really. You see them upset. ‘What the police man just scold me about?’.”

3. The Guardian reports police commander Adrian Hanstock saying: “Last night’s peaceful demonstration was hijacked by a small number of criminal elements, who used that for their own gain.”

Sounds suspiciously similar to the language used by Assad, Mubarak et al. Leaders will be leaders.

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9 August 2011

Peace Poets Workshop at Bethanienhaus

Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th August, 13:00-16:00

The Peace Poets

We are young artist educators committed to teaching with a focus on our collective liberation. Our goal is to create safe spaces that allow us to deconstruct race, class and gender as a community. Our workshops focus on Hip Hop, youth empowerment, conflict resolution, community healing and cultural identity through spoken word poetry, music and theater.

We use music and poetry in the service of our collective struggle for justice. Through performances and workshops we open spaces for all people to embrace their role as leaders and compañeros in the construction of more just local and global communities.

HIP HOP FOR HEALING:

As children of Hip Hop, we recognize its amazing potential to transform and liberate.
We also recognize how industries have exploited the culture and market appeal of this sacred force.
Our workshops focus on the true legacy of Hip Hop, its history and healing properties.
It’s roots in African and indigineous cultures.
It’s ability to tell the stories of the most marganilized and silenced in our society.
Through creative writing, performance and beatboxing, we take it back.. way back!“

The first studio on the right side, inside South Wing of Bethanien HOUSE…opposite playground, under the New york Squat.. MARIANNENPLATZ 2A, Berlin Kreuzberg…

9 August 2011

London civil unrest

A lot of words flying around in the “mainstream media” to describe the events in London over the last three days. “Anarchists” being my favourite misnomer (Sky News). “UK riots” has become the key phrase to google, recalling the classic CDA comparison: “10 rioters shot in vilent clash” vs. “Police shoot 10 demonstrators dead during peaceful march”.

It seems the news media and commentariat have forgotten the concerns which have been voiced since the Conservatives and LibDems came to power and started making their radical cutbacks to social services, including but not limited to closing many youth centres before the summer.

And, of course, the widespread corruption in the police which has been receiving major coverage during the Murdoch case – and would unsurprisingly fire up existing tensions between police and local residents.

These cutbacks and revelations,  added to long-standing (institutionalised) social inequalities, are not serving to increase “community cohesion” in today’s UK.

Context and comment here: Nina PowerGavin Knight; Stafford Scott.

Update (see Penny Red):

In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

(…thanks to miriyam aouragh on mediantho for the motivation to write… she recommends:

The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for Everyone“. By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett)

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25 July 2011

Norway

Norway has just held its minute’s silence for the victims of last week’s shootung. The hearing is being held behind closed doors at the moment. News outlets – internet, tv, radio, papers – are covering the events live.Later, someone will need to analyse this coverage. Perhaps analyse the “explanations” given for this killing spree compared to others in which the gunman was not western European, white, Christian. I have not heard such expressly evaluative language in the news for a long time. Not simply evaluative of the horendous deed – that part of the reporting is similar to that during 9/11, Beslan or 7/7. But evaluative of the gunman (who I am not going to name, because he has enough media presence already).

As the days pass, it seems to me that the explanation of his actions has shifted from his right-wing beliefs/ideology to his mental capacities. Today’s news has expounded at large on how mentally instable he is. Mad, crazy, not right in the head. Is this his defence lawyer’s work? To get a more lenient sentence? Or is it connected to the often repeated discursive mechanism that “they” are led to kill because of their beliefs, families, environment, socialisation, whereas “we” are led to kill because of mental delusions?

This distinct way of reporting compounds the sadness for me. Why is it apparently so easy to understand why some people have bombed civilians, yet so difficult to understand why others have?

 

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6 June 2011

Trademark on “radical media”

A corporate media group has apparently genuinely trade-marked the phrase “radical media”. The oh-so-radical media group has forced Peace news, New Internationalist, Red Pepper and others organising a conference to change the name of their conference (now: rebelliousmedia, London, 8-9 October 2011).

What is “radical media” and should there be restrictions on who is allowed to use that term? It seems fantastical that those actively involved in radical media, from UK indymedia to North African revolutionaries might be prevented from using an adjective to describe what they do, but this is exactly what a global media group is trying to do.

In September 2010 I was approached by the editors of Peace News with a proposal to mark the 75th anniversary of the newspaper with a conference. Anyone who works in print-media, no matter how main-stream the publication or how large its circulation, is exercised over what the future may hold. The rise of free, online news outlets challenges the public’s willingness to pay for a newspaper and as ever more people get their news stories from blogs, and social networking sites, newspapers have been left behind the curve, struggling to devise ways to turn a profit, or even cover their costs in the online world. This new media landscape is a challenge for Peace News as it is for Australian media barons. The conference, which will take place in London on the weekend of 8-9th October 2011 will be a chance to address these challenges and bring together a fragmented radical media community to learn from one another. It seems common sense that any media which reports on radical politics – setting out to serve that constituency – might naturally be referred to as “radical media” so, back in the autumn a small band of volunteers began working to assemble “The Radical media Conference”.

It wasn’t until six months in that the conference organising group received a threatening legal letter from the media corporation @Radical Media LLC, objecting to unlicensed use of the term “Radical Media”.

Our collective jaws dropped, how could anyone own an adjective? Yet in the closed-source world where intellectual property is hard currency, it appears that virtually anything may be trade-marked. We didn’t know whether to rant or cry. Our instincts told us that anyone with a radical bone in their body should fight this corporate usurpation of language, but the prospect of facing legal costs in line with house prices tempered this instinct. Even if we won such a battle we could only expect to recover 75 percent of these costs, leaving us tens of thousands of pounds down, money which – even if we had it – should be spent on more useful, more radical things than legal fees.

As a result, organisers of the newly renamed “rebellious media Conference” are calling for support to retain the URL www.radicalmediaconference.org and we would love to see anyone who supports our fight not only attend the conference but also get involved in truly radical media by blogging, tweeting, forwarding and linking to this story. Please tweet the hashtag #radicalmediafail, follow us on twitter and Join the Facebook group. We need to tell @Radical Media LLC that we are taking back “Radical Media” for free use by us all, why not email the CEO or corporate president? Groups working in open-source, non-hierarchical and other genuinely radical media projects must have the right to use the term “radical media” to describe what they do. See @Radical Media’s own website for more board members who you might like to get in touch with.

18 April 2011

Civil discourse and social change

Students and faculty at California State University at Northridge have been organising campus-wide activities, public events, workshops, films and more und the heading “civil discourse and social change“. Addressing concerns about the state budget crisis/increasing tuition, immigration issues, and the ongoing wars, the initiative began 2010 and runs till the end of this semester.

13 April 2011

Net neutrality under attack

From Tomothy Carr, Free Press Action Fund, US:

Late last week, the House voted to block the FCC from protecting our right to access an open Internet.

If this measure, called a “resolution of disapproval,” is approved by the Senate and the White House, the FCC would lose its authority to protect our free speech online. This comes at a time when phone and cable companies are already restricting our ability to connect with others and share information.1

We can stop the resolution in the Senate by getting 51 members to stand with us for online freedom:

Tell Your Senators: Defend Our Right to an Open Internet

President Obama has vowed to veto this resolution, but let’s make sure it doesn’t get that far. Take action now to urge your senators to stop it in its tracks.

If we don’t defeat this measure, the FCC will be barred from enforcing its already weak Net Neutrality rules, and from acting in any way to protect Internet users from corporate abuses by AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

This is not a symbolic congressional exercise — it’s a scorched-earth campaign that leaves Americans at the mercy of a corporate Internet cartel.2

Imagine if these companies could do anything they want, ban any speech they don’t like, charge anything they can get away with, and hold innovation hostage to their profit margins. If this resolution passes, there’s nothing anyone could do about it.

The resolution is filibuster-proof. We need at least 51 senators to beat it. Will your senators stand with us?

Sign this letter to demand that Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand protect our Internet freedom. We will deliver it to their offices in Washington and provide you with tools to spread the word across New York.

Thank you,

Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press Action Fund
http://www.freepress.net
http://www.SavetheInternet.com

1. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps outlined the recent history of “real threats” to Internet openness during his opening remarks Wednesday before the House Commerce Committee (pdf).

2. To learn more about the impact this would have on all Internet users, read Monday’s Seattle Times editorial, “House GOP Sides with the ‘Haves’ on Net Neutrality.”

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