October 29, 2009
October 16, 2009
Renew the Legacy of John Brown
If the task of the nineteenth century was to overthrow slavery, and the task of the twentieth century was to end legal segregation, the key to solving this country's problems in the twenty-first century is to abolish the white race as a social category - in other words, eradicate white supremacy entirely.
John Brown represents the abolitionist cause. Nominally white, he made war against slavery, working closely with black people. Those who think it saner to collaborate with evil than to resist it have labeled him a madman, but it was not for his madness that he was hanged; no, it was for obeying the biblical injunction to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. For those who suffer directly from white supremacy, John Brown is a high point in a centuries-long history of resistance; for so-called whites he is the hope that they can step outside of their color and take part in building a new human community.
John Brown's body lies a-mould'rin' in the grave, but his soul calls out to the living. He is buried alongside family members and comrades-at-arms near North Elba, New York, in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, which he often said had been placed there to serve the emancipation of the American slave. For many years African Americans and others celebrated May 9th, the anniversary of his birth, by gathering at his gravesite. We call upon those who share the vision of a country without racial walls to join hands there in 1999 (his one hundred and ninety-ninth year) to honor his memory and the memory of the others, black and white, who fought alongside him, and to rededicate ourselves to the fulfillment of the tasks for which they laid down their lives.
Russell Banks, Derrick Bell, John Bracey, Robin D.G. Kelley, Martin Espada, Herbert Hill, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Theresa Perry, Ishmael Reed, David Roediger, Sapphire, Pete Seeger, Dorothy Sterling, Cornel West, Howard Zinn, and the editors of RACE TRAITOR.
October 7, 2009
"Not once does it make use of the time-honoured traditions of conventional science fiction. Creating its own conventions from scratch, it triumphantly succeeds where science fiction invariably fails."
October 6, 2009
Rilke, who had described the same phenomenon in the episode of the coverlet from Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, observed, with a revealing expression, that the ‘relations of men and things have created confusion in the latter’. The bad human conscience with respect to commodified objects is expressed in the mise-en-scène of this phantasmagorical conspiracy. The degeneration implicit in the transformation of the artisanal object into the mass-produced article is constantly manifest to modern man in the loss of his own self-possession with respect to things. The degradation of objects is matched by human clumsiness, that is, the fear of their possible revenge . . ."
—Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (1977)
October 1, 2009
When I read that one of my favorite publications, the ineffably weird and wonderful Sein und Werden, was planning an upcoming issue on the theme of “All Things Move Towards Their End,” I thought to myself, “Gosh, I have the perfect story for that!” (Actually what I thought was “Jesus fuck!” but I like to avoid profanity on my blog).
My story, “The Scythian Idol,” I had an enormous fondness for, not least because in it I thought I had come closer than in any of my other works to the ideal of “lightness” that Italo Calvino speaks of so eloquently in his Six Memos for the Next Millennium. I sent it to many publications, only to see its splendid fleetness waved off time and again by heavy editorial hands. But I kept faith, and finally Neddal Ayad, one of the guest editors (along with Nicole Votta) of the “All Things Move Towards Their End” issue, sent me a note which indicated, in a few pithy words, his intelligence, taste, wit, aesthetic acumen, discerning eye, good looks, and courage. In short, he accepted the story, and I can think of no better place for it, at least on this terrestrial plane, where
In this issue my humble story has the privilege of the following company:
(Thanks are also due to Rachel Kendall.)