July 31, 2014
"Any non-white country that regularly committed the atrocities the French committed month after month, year after year, would, as a matter of simple reflex, have become a pariah. Why did France escape censure? The answer must be that whether by indifference or diplomatic discretion, the media and institutions of all western countries practise racism as a matter of course when it concerns the wretched of the earth."

Peter Lennon in The Guardian. Call to arms

Peter Lennon on David Macey’s biography of Frantz Fanon, Algeria’s hero

Book (Amazon)

June 9, 2014
"The demonstrations made headlines, but there was something that the Brazilian sociologist Silvia Viana defines as a “reconstruction of the narrative” towards other goals. The theme of bus fares moved to second place, while Brazilian flags and the slogan “down with corruption”, which had not featured in the original calls for action, took the headlines (Le Monde Diplomatique, June 21, 2013). The mass media also buried the originators of the call for action and emphasized social networks in their place, criminalizing the more militant sectors for their supposed violence, even as police violence was played down."

Raúl Zibechi at ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento. Right-wingers with a left-wing guise

Via regardless in Sunday Reading.

February 25, 2014
"To the extent that corporations are in the business of corralling, controlling, and effectively claiming ownership of people’s attention, the only way of finding freedom in such a world will derive from each individual’s effort to cultivate their own powers of autonomous attention."

Paul Woodward at War in Context, remarking on the article linked. How people are becoming the property of technology companies

December 19, 2013
"Memes disrupt linear writing, with the structure of the superimposed text dictated and interrupted by images and not solely grammatical rules. The meaning of the meme is not contained within itself but comes from being inter-weaved with other memes, other people, and other events. And, most importantly, the meme is not a silent ceremony, but one which involves millions of users branching out and making themselves heard -voting, sharing, linking, posting, and commenting- through a giant web connecting them to people beyond borders and across the world."

Mark Bou Mansour at Catch 21. From Benedict Anderson to Marshall McLuhan: Nationalism and How Memes Could Prevent World War 3

December 10, 2013
"We’re used to seeing activism and civics unfold in the sphere of law. One of the fascinating aspects of participatory civics is that it’s unfolding in other spheres as well. I’ve turned to Lawrence Lessig’s 1999 book Code for a possible map of these spheres. Lessig’s key breakthrough in Code was the idea that technologies were regulated not just by law, but by code, markets and norms."

Ethan Zuckerman at My Heart’s in Accra. New Media, New Civics? My Bellwether lecture at Oxford Internet Institute

August 9, 2013
"No, Bezos’ key competence is in building relationships. This is wishful thinking on my part, as I have been arguing that we in journalism need to stop thinking of ourselves as manufacturers of a mass commodity called content and start understanding that we are in a service business whose real outcome is informed individuals and communities."

Jeff Jarvis on BuzzMachineSome quick thoughts on Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post

July 11, 2013
"Mann coined the term “sousveillance” – watching from below – as an alternative to “surveillance” – watching from above. In surveillance, powerful institutions control the behavior of individuals by watching them or threatening to watch them, as in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. In sousveillance, individuals invert the paradigm by turning their cameras on institutions, promising to document and share misbehavior and malfeasance with a potentially global audience through digital networks. -"

Ethan Zuckerman at My Heart’s in AccraSurveillance, sousveillance and PRISM – an op-ed for Die Zeit

Article at Die Zeit

June 4, 2013
Troubling Numbers | Wronging Rights

This is a weeks-overdue post to recommend that you check out Mike Spagat’s pieceon the myth that “economic sanctions aimed at Saddam Hussein and his regime killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in the 1990s and early 2000s.”

June 1, 2013
"I think now that I have affection for all people, even for the enemies of Armenia, whom I have so tactfully not named. Everyone knows who they are. I have nothing against any of them because I think of them as one man living one life at a time, and I know, I am positive, that one man at a time is incapable of the monstrosities performed by mobs. My objection is to mobs only."

William Saroyan. Seventy Thousand Assyrians.

I saw today that on Fox and Friends John Stossel said that no one starved during the Great Depression. When I saw mention of that quip I immediately thought of Saroyan’s story, in particular a boy about 16 in the story Saroyan calls Iowa. I read this story when I was about 14 or 15, so it was a bit surprising to find out of the recesses of my brain that it encapsulates my impression of the Depression. 

I was an awful student. As lackadaisical as I was, it’s rather amazing to look back to realise how much was offered me. In senior high school I read Richard Hofstadter’s The American Political Tradition, or at least parts of it. And memories of that reading 40 years later leave me with respect for Hoover, but also visceral sense for the enormity of the Depression. 

May 3, 2013
"Tim Tebow is an example of how the public face of Christian athletes, like the public face of American Christianity in general, is overwhelmingly white—despite the fact that black Americans are the racial demographic most likely to identify as “very religious.”"

T. F. Charlton at Religion DispatchesWhy Jason Collins’ Faith is Ignored… And Tebow’s Isn’t

12:54am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZEy4qxk62r-n
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