Thursday Links: Boots, Salaita, Kalamazoo, etc.

by Chris Sturr | August 28, 2014

(1) Boots Riley talks communism on Fox:  See what happens when someone criticizes capitalism on an Ohio Fox affiliate.  The story at the Plain Dealer website is great; the comment section is hilarious. See also the original story at the Lakewood Citizen website.

(2) Holding Bankers Accountable, New York Times Room for DebateLisa Gilbert and Bartlett Naylor of Public Citizen have a piece in this forum, as does Lynn Stout.

(3) NYT endorses Tim Wu for NYS lt. gov., a day after failing to endorse Wu’s running mate, Zephyr Teachout, for governor, which many commenters at the NYT website found strange. Better than no endorsement for either of them, I guess, and Cuomo’s pick for his running mate sounds like a piece of work.

(4) Phan Nguyen on the firing of Steven Salaita:  At Mondoweiss, an excellent two-part take-down of Cary Nelson, the U. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign English professor and former president of the AAUP, who has defended the university’s firing (which is what it is when you withdraw a job offer that has been accepted, and the candidate and his spouse have resigned their positions to move to the new job) of Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American scholar for tweets critical of Israel’s assault on Gaza. It appears that there was a coordinated campaign of right-wing bloggers to target Salaita. I’m proud my philosopher friends Jason Stanley (of Yale) and Ralph Wedgwood (of USC) have written strong letters in support of Salaita and publicized his firing on Facebook. Here’s what Ralph said, with characteristic flair, on FB when the UIUC trustees upheld Salaita’s firing: “In view of the statements that have been released today by the administration of the University of Illinois, I’m perfectly happy to boycott their university until such time as either (a) they convince me that they have ceased to be the enemies of academic freedom, or (b) I draw my dying breath (whichever is sooner).”  Also check out political theorist Bonnie Honig’s letter to UIUC chancellor Phyllis Wise, posted at the website of political scientist Corey Robin, who has been publicizing the Salaita affair; and finally, see an analysis of the legal issues by Michael C. Dorf at Justia.com’s Verdict site.

(5) With/Out-Borders Conference in Kalamazoo:  Hat-tip to HIllary Rettig, who sent this:

Kalamazoo Conference Features International Activists, Artists, and Scholars

Next month, we’re having an amazing activist/arts/scholarship conference right here in Kalamazoo! The With/Out-Borders conference will include timely events on racism and urban unrest, the Israel-BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement, the prison-industrial complex, youth immigration/undocumented youth, and much more. Here are some of the presenters:

  • Angela Y. Davis, Civil Rights Icon
  • Nikky Finney, National Book Award Winner
  • Willie Kgositsile, South African Poet Laureate
  • Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Performance Artist and MacArthur Fellow
  • Gloria Rolando, Filmmaker
  • Radmilla Cody, NAMMY winner and former Miss Navaho

It’s literally a unique opportunity to see international leaders in many activist fields all gathered in one place and talking intersections.

September 25-28 at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College
Please check out the full program here:
https://reason.kzoo.edu/csjl/withoutborders/

 That’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr

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Friday Links: Gaza, Ferguson, Argentina, and unemployment

by Chris Sturr | August 22, 2014

(1) Max Blumenthal, interviewed on Jung & Naiv.  An excellent interview with Max Blumenthal, contextualizing the assault on Gaza in the rise of right wing and genocidal rhetoric in Israel.  (Hat-tip to Marjo van der Veen.) A wide-ranging interview, well worth watching the whole thing, but one point he makes (in response to a question from the interviewer, who is German, about anti-semitic rallies in Berlin) that is especially good:  ”Zionism is using Jews as human shields; they’re speaking in the name of all Jews, and claiming that this war they are carrying out is being conducted in the name of all Jews.” He also talks about the overlap between Zionism and anti-semitism, e.g., when Israel points to anti-semitism in France or Germany and encourages French or German Jews to move to Israel (as if to agree with the anti-semites that Jews don’t belong in France or Germany). (I posted a great Real News Network interview with Blumenthal on Facebook and Twitter, but not here; it’s also worth watching. See also Jason Stanley’s Boston Review piece, When Protesting Israel Becomes Hating Jews, which I mentioned in my last links post.)

(2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dave Zirin on Ferguson:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a really powerful piece in Time magazine, The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race, relating the protests in Ferguson to inequality and class warfare.  Dave Zirin has an interesting response in The Nation, The Major Problem With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Powerful Essay on Ferguson, which essentially praises Abdul-Jabbar’s piece but takes him to task for prioritizing class over race. I stopped reading the comment section on Zirin’s piece–even at The Nation‘s website, comments can be so toxic. But I can’t help feeling that Zirin misinterprets Abdul-Jabbar.  Anyway, both are worth reading.  Also check out this Real News Network interview with Kevin Alexander Gray, a lawyer who is working with organizers of the Ferguson protests. 

(3) Jayati Ghosh and Greg Palast on vulture funds and Argentina:  D&S author and pal, investigative journalist Greg Palast, spoke with the Real News Network about Paul “the Vulture” Singer, whom a U.S. judge said Argentina must pay $3 billion for bonds Singer paid $30 million for. And here’s economist Jayati Ghosh, one of the founders of and bloggers for our sister blog Triple Crisis, talking about the ramifications for the global financial system of the judgment and the Argentine default that would result if Argentina did pay Singer and the other hedge funds that have refused debt restructuring: The Outrageous US Court Judgement Causing Argentinian Default, from NewsClick.

(4) Heidi Shierholz, Bill Barclay, and Ron Baiman on the job market: The summer drought of new material on Doug Henwood’s excellent radio show, Behind the News, is finally over; he posted a couple of new episodes recently.  My commute to and from New Hampshire will be informative again for a while, vs. melting my brain with NPR, as I’ve been doing. The July 10 episode includes a segment with the Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz, talking about the flaccid job market. Doug’s interviews with Heidi are just so great. (The second half of that episode features an interview with Sean Jacobs on the political economy of soccer. The “Active Culture” article in our current issue has a piece by our awesome intern Zion Griffin about “The People’s Cup” activism in Brazil around the World Cup, which Jacobs discusses in the interview.)  And here is what Bill Barclay and Ron Baiman wrote for CPEG about the July jobs report; and here is a statement Bill gave to the D.C. Jobs Summit in July.

That’s it for this week.

–Chris Sturr

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