Sunday, December 19, 2004

How We Became Barbarians

photo credit:

"Someone who can scarf popcorn all through *both* Kill Bills will go hoarse about the killing of innocents in Israel or Iraq or anywhere suitably distant. Someone who'd cheer a B-52 strike on Baghdad will murmur feelingly about the perfect little hands of a second trimester fetus [..]..the claptrap about terrorism has gone far enough. Brutes should at least recognize their own brutality. None of us, left, right, or center, are all that bothered about the deliberate killing of innocents. [...] ..What makes atrocities criminal, even for barbarians like ourselves, is when they go beyond what self-interest commands..."

How We Became Barbarians

Michael Neumann, philosophy professor at Trent University in Ontario, Canada wants to know: Are you in touch with your inner terrorist?

Michael Hardt: On Collaboration & 'The Multitude'

Michael Hardt: On Collaboration & 'The Multitude'

There is an interview with co-author of the book Empire, Michael Hardt at the minnesota review titled "The Collaborator and the Multitude".

A section of the book explores "how the multitude can become a political subject," and describes the multitude as "an insurgent multitude against imperial power." Walter Benn Michaels, in another minnesota review interview, has called the section of the book that deals with this subject matter as a "paean to the poor, as if poverty were a culture."
""[ .. ]in Empire, which I've just been writing about, you get Hardt and Negri, who are not interested in culture but who ontologize the world the same way that cultural identity does, so they reach a point where they have this kind of paean to the poor, as if poverty were a culture. You want to say it's not the point to admire the poor; surely the point is to get rid of the fact of their being poor. The difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich, as Hemingway kept saying, have more money. When you start treating the poor as an identity category, what's left of your Marxism is precious little."

Hardt's comments, in part:
"If we recognize that global power is tending toward the form we describe as Empire, and that we're inside of that, and that we're all contaminated by it and part of it, and that there's no outside from which we could claim purity—that recognition doesn't have to be a resignation. It can be the basis of a project from within, posing something different. [ .. ]
My feeling is that September 11, and then the war on terrorism afterwards has been very comforting to a certain style of left theorists, or even left political thinkers. Prior to that it seemed like the old concepts didn't work and things were changing in the world, forming new kinds of power, and the old forms of political resistance didn't work. Then, post-September 11 and through Afghanistan and particularly with Iraq, it's as if all the old categories work again. What we have is U.S. imperialism, what we need is a national liberation struggle, etc. Which leads to a quite active debate: Should the anti-war movement be explicitly in support of the Iraqi national resistance? Of course, if it's imperialism, that's what you should do. That's what we did throughout the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies. The response to imperialism is national liberation struggle."

For those who collaborate on writing projects, I found this statement by Michael Hardt, who co-authored Empire (Harvard 2000) with Antonio Negri, to be interesting:
"What interests me is partly a question about voice. I've noticed that when I write with Toni, or when he writes with me, one tends to write differently. The first way of describing it is that one tends to ventriloquize, even with the ideas of the other person. Each of you tries to write in the voice of the other. But I think that you're not really writing in the voice of the other; you're both writing in some third voice that's neither of your voices. I'm tempted to call it an anonymous voice, but if you want to connect it to multitude it would better if it were a kind of common voice."

Holiday Card

From the Talent Company
*thanks to Nick Lewis for pointing it out

Eliot Spitzer 2006

"The Old Testament teaches that a people without vision will perish. That's so relevant for us today in New York. We need a vision for change because without it, this state and its
great tradition of providing unparalleled
opportunity will be further eroded

-Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer 2006

Become a friend of Eliot Spitzer here. (I've become a friend of Eliot- I encourage you to join me.)

Learn more about Eliot here.

Contributions to Eliot's campaign can be made here.

In today's headlines:

WSTM/TV3 Syracuse:Two years out, Democrats appear more prepared for governor's race
"Democrats appear more prepared for the governor's race of 2006 than do Republicans who have held the job for the past decade. That's because the Democrats have a clear front-runner. Earlier this month, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced he is definitely running for governor."

NY Daily News: Gov. Flip-flopper - Pataki is a leader adrift and his have-it-both-ways stand on fair hikes is the perfect symbol
"When George Pataki first ran for governor in 1994, the subway fare was $1.25, and candidate Pataki said an "increase is something we do not want." He was elected governor, gaining control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and within a year the fare jumped to $1.50. When Pataki sought a third term in 2002, he again opposed a fare hike, saying, "We want to have the system operate more efficiently and attract more riders ... that's the way to balance the budget." He was reelected - and soon the fare hit $2."

Poughkeepsie Journal: Spitzer contacts local station in payola probe - Radio pay-for-play is investigated
"New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has contacted WDST (100.1 FM) in Woodstock as part of an investigation into pay-for-play practices in the music industry...Pay-for-play, or payola, involves record companies or independent promoters working for record companies paying radio stations with money or other compensation in return for the station playing particular songs more than others. Payola is illegal when not disclosed to listeners."