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Revolutionary Left Radio: The Spanish Civil War
“John from Working Class History joins Brett to discuss the Spanish Civil War! This is a long-anticipated episode on a deeply important and relevant historical event. We spent a LOT of time editing and producing this episode, so we hope you find it informative as well as genuinely moving.”

[see also: https://workingclasshistory.com/2018/07/29/spanish-civil-war-podcast/
https://www.instagram.com/p/B5UZsfSj1gv/
https://www.instagram.com/p/B5P0uz1gJg4/ ]
spain  history  spanishcivilwar  tolisten  2018  anarchism  democracy  communism  fascism  marxism  franco  left  leftism  organizing  horizontality  civilwar  revolution  trotskyism  war 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
This wave of global protest is being led by the children of the financial crash | Jack Shenker | Opinion | The Guardian
““I’m 22 years old, and this is my last letter,” the young man begins. Most of his face is masked with black fabric; only his eyes, tired and steely, are visible below a messy fringe. “I’m worried that I will die and won’t see you any more,” he continues, his hands trembling. “But I can’t not take to the streets.”

The nameless demonstrator – one of many in Hong Kong who have been writing to their loved ones before heading out to confront rising police violence in the city – was filmed by the New York Times last week in an anonymous stairwell. But he could be almost anywhere, and not only because the walls behind him are white and characterless, left blank to protect his identity.

From east Asia to Latin America, northern Europe to the Middle East, there are young people gathering in stairwells, back alleys and basements whose faces display a similar blend of exhilaration and exhaustion. “The disaster of ‘chaos in Hong Kong’ has already hit the western world,” the former Chinese diplomat Wang Zhen declared in an official Communist party paper, following reports that protesters in Catalonia were being inspired by their counterparts in Hong Kong. “We can expect that other countries and cities may be struck by this deluge.”

Wang is right about the deluge. In the same week that those seeking independence from Spain occupied Barcelona airport and brought motorways to a standstill, Extinction Rebellion activists seized major bridges and squares across London, prompting nearly 2,000 arrests. Both mobilisations adopted tactics from Hong Kong, including fluid targets – inspired by Bruce Lee’s famous “be water“ mantra – and a repertoire of hand signals to outwit security forces.

Meanwhile Lebanon has been convulsed by its largest demonstrations in two decades, dozens have been killed during anti-government marches in Iraq, and in Egypt a blanket ban on dissent by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s brutal dictatorship failed to prevent sporadic anti-regime protests breaking out across the country late last month. In the Americas, where Wang once served as a Chinese government envoy, Ecuador, Chile and Haiti are all experiencing citizen uprisings that are virtually unprecedented in recent history, ushering vast numbers of people into the streets – as well as soldiers tasked with containing them.

Each of these upheavals has its own spark – a hike in transport fares in Santiago, or a proposed tax on users of messaging apps like WhatsApp in Beirut – and each involves different patterns of governance and resistance. The class composition of the indigenous demonstrators in Ecuador can’t be compared with most of those marching against the imprisonment of separatist leaders in Catalonia; nor is the state’s prohibition of protest in London on a par with the repression in Hong Kong, where officers shot live ammunition into a teenager’s chest.

And yet it’s clear that we are witnessing the biggest surge in global protest activity since the early 2010s, when a “movement of the squares” saw mass rallies in capital cities across the Arab world, followed by Occupy demonstrations in the global north. Historically speaking, the past decade has seen more protests than at any time since the 1960s. Despite their disparate grievances, some common threads do bind today’s rebellions together. Tracing them may help clarify the nature of our present political volatility.

One obvious link is also the most superficial: the role played by social media, which has been widely noted in the press. While it’s true that digital technologies have enabled more agile and horizontal forms of organising, the ubiquity of these tools in 2019 tells us almost nothing about what is driving people to take to the streets in the first place. Indeed, in many states, social media is now an instrument of state repression as much as it is a tool of revolt.

The most significant connection is generational. The majority of those protesting now are the children of the financial crisis – a generation that has come of age during the strange and febrile years after the collapse of a broken economic and political orthodoxy, and before its replacement has emerged.

One direct impact of the crash has been a rapid diminishment of opportunity for millions of young people in rich countries – who now regard precarious work and rising inequality as the norm. At the same time, the aftermath of the crash has cracked the entrenched structures that had evolved to detach citizens from active participation in politics – be that through authoritarian systems or via an institutional consensus on the inevitability of market logic and technocratic management. Amid widespread economic and social failure, it has become harder than ever for elites to justify power, even on their own terms.

All this has produced a generation charged with hopelessness and hope. Afflicted by what the anthropologist David Graeber calls “despair fatigue”, protesters are putting their bodies on the line because it feels as if they have no other choice – and because those who rule over them have rarely seemed more vulnerable. Most have spent their lives under the maxim “there is no alternative” – and now circumstances have forced them to widen their political imaginations in search of something new. As one poster proclaims in Chile: “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years.”

Facing them down are states determined to put citizens back in their box and reseal the borders of political participation. The problem for governments is that there is no longer an established centre ground to snap back to, and their opponents know it – which is why so many of those involved in the current mobilisations will not settle for token concessions from the authorities.

“We need a whole new system, from scratch,” declared one demonstrator in Lebanon. The crackdown on Catalan separatists by the Spanish government has brought back dark memories of the state’s dirty war in the Basque country in the 1980s and the Franco era that preceded it; troops are marching through city centres in Chile for the first time since Pinochet.

In China, Xi Jinping has claimed that any attempt to divide the nation will result in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder”. In many places, grassroots victory – and radical political transformation – feels to many like the only possible resolution, lending clashes an “all or nothing” antagonism and urgency that is hard to roll back.

What has intensified this urgency is the backdrop of looming ecological catastrophe. Even where protests are not explicitly about environmental concerns, the prospect of planetary catastrophe in our lifetimes raises the stakes for all political action. “The kids who are walking out of school have a hugely radical understanding of the way that politics works, and they recognise that our democratic processes and structures as they stand are designed to uphold the status quo,” Jake Woodier, one of the organisers behind the UK climate strike movement, told me this year. “They know that they will be worse off than their parents, know that they’ll never own a home, and know that on current trends they could live to see the end of humanity. So for them, for us, politics is not a game, it’s reality, and that’s reflected in the way we organise – relentlessly, radically, as if our lives depend on it.”

The Cambridge political scientist Helen Thompson once argued: “The post-2008 world is, in some fundamental sense, a world waiting for its reckoning.” That reckoning is beginning to unfold globally. They may come from different backgrounds and fight for different causes, but the kids being handcuffed, building barricades, and fighting their way through teargas in 2019 all entered adulthood after the end of the end of history. They know that we are living through one of what the American historian Robert Darnton has called “moments of suspended disbelief”: those rare, fragile conjunctures in which anything seems conceivable, and – far from being immutable – the old rules are ready to be rewritten. As long as it feels like their lives depend on winning, the deluge will continue.”
protest  protests  yout  greatrecession  crisis  economics  2008  2019  catastrophe  chile  china  catalonia  barcelona  hongkong  latinamerica  asia  spain  españa  lebanon  egypt  ecuador  haiti  london  extinctionrebellion  climatechange  policy  inequality  youth  activism  ows  occupywallstreet  repression  future  pinochet  franco  separatists  statusquo  elitism  uk  us  robertdarnton  jackshenker  government  governance  military  globalwarming  capitalism  socialism  democracy  technocracy  disenfranchisement  politics  democrats 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
What We Can Learn From Neruda's Poetry of Resistance
"Instances of social injustice, war, and the los of liberal democracy call us off the sidelines and into action. Neruda drastically adapted his poetry in response to crisis. At the start of the Spanish Civil War, he abandoned his desolate, introverted experimental poetry in favor of a decisive style, one that would compel others into action.

Whether we’re poets, teachers, readers, activists, or ordinary citizens who care about the world, we, too, can transform the way we express ourselves. In the era of social media, we don’t need to make pulp out of flags to transmit our message to the troops of resistance. We can all speak. We can all be part of the dialogue. And poetry can be part of the collective way we, in Neruda’s words, “explain some things.” From Neruda and others we can see how the act of expressing ourselves, and the act of hearing, are core components of resistance—and of poetry’s unique, enduring power."
pabloneruda  2018  poems  poetry  resistance  writing  chile  spain  españa  arieldorfman  pinochet  cantogeneral  spanishcivilwar  oppression  activism  war  gabrieljackson  franco  kwamealexander  ernesthemingway  langstonhughes  nancycunard  bahiashehab  markeisner  gabrielgonzálezvidela  federicogarcíalorca 
april 2018 by robertogreco
A New ‘Wrinkle in Time’ - WSJ
[Document viewer: http://graphics.wsj.com/documents/doc-cloud-embedder/?sidebar=1#1881486-a-wrinkle-in-time-excerpt

PDF of the document: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1881486/a-wrinkle-in-time-excerpt.pdf ]

"Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has sold 14 million copies since its publication in 1962. Now, a never-before-seen passage cut from an early draft is shedding surprising light on the author’s political philosophy"

"Madeleine L’Engle, the author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” resisted labels. Her books weren’t for children, she said. They were for people. Devoted to religious study, she bristled when called a Christian writer. And though some of her books had political themes, she wasn’t known to write overtly about politics. That is, until her granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, came across an unknown three-page passage that was cut before publication.

The passage, which Ms. Voiklis shared with The Wall Street Journal so it could be published for the first time, sheds new light on one of the most beloved and best-selling young-adult books in American literature. Published in 1962, “A Wrinkle in Time” has sold 14 million copies and inspired a TV-movie adaptation, a graphic novel, and an opera. Meg Murry, the novel’s strong-willed misfit heroine, has been a role model for generations of children, especially girls. Now, Jennifer Lee, the co-writer and co-director of the Oscar-winning animated film, “Frozen,” is writing a film adaptation for Disney.

A witches’ brew of science fiction and fantasy, Christian theology and a hint of politics, “A Wrinkle in Time” has long been considered influenced by the Cold War. It explores the dangers of conformity, and presents evil as a world whose inhabitants’ thoughts and actions are controlled by a sinister, disembodied brain.

Many readers, then and now, have understood the book’s dark planet Camazotz—a regimented place in which mothers in unison call their children in for dinner—to represent the Soviet Union. But the passage discovered by L’Engle’s granddaughter presents a more nuanced worldview.

In it, Meg has just made a narrow escape from Camazotz. As Meg’s father massages her limbs, which are frozen from a jarring trip through space and time, she asks: “But Father, how did the Black Thing—how did it capture Camazotz?” Her father proceeds to lay out the political philosophy behind the book in much starker terms than are apparent in the final version.

He says that yes, totalitarianism can lead to this kind of evil. (The author calls out examples by name, including Hitler, Mussolini and Khrushchev.) But it can also happen in a democracy that places too much value on security, Mr. Murry says. “Security is a most seductive thing,” he tells his daughter. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.”

Ms. Voiklis said she wanted readers to know the book wasn’t a simple allegory of communism. Instead, it’s about the risk of any country—including a democracy—placing too much value on security. The tension between safety and personal freedom is an idea that resonates in today’s politics.

“It’s normal to be afraid,” said Ms. Voiklis, who manages her late grandmother’s estate full-time in New York. “But you can’t let the fear control your decisions. Otherwise, you risk becoming like Camazotz.”

Ms. Voiklis found the excerpt a few years ago, as she was doing research for the release of the book’s 50th-anniversary edition. It was part of the earliest surviving typewritten manuscript, which for years was stored in L’Engle’s home and later moved to storage.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a cultural touchstone. The Newbery Medal-winner was the first of five books in L’Engle’s so-called Time Quintet. On “Lost,” the television series whose cult following dissected its frequent literary references, the bookworm Sawyer reads a copy of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The novel inspired author Rebecca Stead to write her own Newbery Medal-winning book, “When You Reach Me,” whose protagonist, Miranda, reads “A Wrinkle in Time.” L’Engle’s works have also sparked the interest of scholars in the U.S. and abroad. In 2012, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published an oral history titled “Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices,” by literary historian and biographer Leonard S. Marcus.

A three-hour live-action television adaptation, originally conceived as a miniseries, was broadcast on ABC in 2004 and released on DVD. Distributed by Disney, the production didn’t impress L’Engle. “I expected it to be bad, and it is,” she told Newsweek.

L’Engle’s publisher, Macmillan, which in March released a paperback version of the graphic novel, said it has no plans to include the deleted passage in new editions.

Ms. Voiklis has shared the passage with Catherine Hand, a producer on the film adaptation in development by Walt Disney Pictures. It isn’t clear whether Ms. Lee will direct the film, and casting hasn’t been announced. Ms. Hand said it was too early to comment on the project.

“As an 11-year-old, I read ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and spent many a daydream and sleepless night imagining what it would be like to break free from the limitations of time,” Ms. Lee wrote last fall in a short piece for WSJ. Magazine, which invited her to write on the subject of the future.

Readers love the novel’s band of oddball characters: math-whiz Meg, who is miserable at school; her precocious, telepathic brother, Charles Wallace; Meg’s budding love-interest, Calvin; and a wacky trio of shape-shifting women —witches? angels?—who guide them on their dangerous journey.

“A wonderful aspect of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is its celebration of the different,” author Katherine Paterson wrote in the introduction to the 50th-anniversary edition. “In fact, hell, as it is embodied on Camazotz, is being exactly like everyone else.”

Scholars invited by the Journal to review the new passage say it offers a window into L’Engle’s thinking. The excerpt is the most direct discussion of politics in her writing, the scholars said, offering a richer explanation of the author’s political views.

They agreed with Ms. Voiklis that cutting it was the right decision, one which strengthened the narrative. The section was too didactic, and would have dated the book, some said. Suzanne Bray, a L’Engle scholar who teaches at Université Catholique de Lille in France, said the section likely was cut precisely because it was “too political, or too obviously political”—something the author generally avoided in her writing.

In the passage, Meg pushes back against her father’s argument about the dangers of fixating on security:

“Well—but I want to be secure, Father. I hate feeling insecure.”

“But you don’t love security enough so that you guide your life by it, Meg. You weren’t thinking of security when you came to rescue me with Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which.”

Naomi Wood, an associate professor at Kansas State University who has studied L’Engle, said she was intrigued by the conversation between Meg and her father. “It does confirm that L’Engle had the democratic, capitalist U.S. in mind as well as the autocratic, communist U.S.S.R.,” she said.

L’Engle was born in New York City in 1918. When she was 12 years old, her parents dropped her off without warning at a boarding school in Switzerland. It was a traumatic and isolating experience. She attended Smith College and was working as a novelist and theater understudy in New York when she fell in love with a fellow actor, Hugh Franklin.

After their first child, Ms. Voiklis’s mother, was born, they abandoned their theater careers and moved to rural Connecticut, where they ran a general store. L’Engle was restless there. Grappling with existential questions, she turned, by chance, to the writings of Albert Einstein and other physicists.

The names Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which popped into her head as she and her family drove through Arizona’s Painted Desert on a camping trip in the spring of 1959.

At the heart of the book is Meg, a temper-prone teen struggling to harness her intellectual gifts. She, Charles Wallace and Calvin travel through time and space to rescue Mr. Murry, a scientist who has gone missing on a secret assignment for the U.S. government.

Publishers didn’t know what to make of it and one after another rejected the manuscript.

“Today I am crawling around in the depths of gloom,” the author confided to her journal on Sept. 17, 1960, after a rejection from a publisher who suggested it be cut in half. “I’m willing to rewrite, to rewrite extensively, to cut as much as necessary; but I am not willing to mutilate, to destroy the essence of the book.”

L’Engle finally found a collaborator in John Farrar of Farrar, Straus and Co. (known today as Farrar, Straus and Giroux). But even he had misgivings. He took her to lunch with Hal Vursell, who would edit the book.

“They warned me, ‘Now, dear, we don’t want you to be disappointed, but this book is not going to sell. It’s much too difficult for children,’” L’Engle recalled in a foreword to the 25th-anniversary edition.

“The problem wasn’t that it was too difficult for children,” she wrote. “It was too difficult for adults.”

There is no known correspondence between L’Engle and her editor discussing the changes they made to “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the author’s journals don’t offer any clues, Ms. Voiklis said. So it isn’t clear whether Mr. Vursell proposed cutting the passage or the author decided to on her own. The various drafts aren’t dated or numbered, though Ms. Voiklis has assembled them in roughly chronological order.

Even without the new passage, the danger of conformity remained a strong theme in “A Wrinkle in Time”—and not just in the scenes on the dark planet Camazotz. Meg chafes… [more]
madeleinel'engle  awrinkleintime  security  totalitarianism  democracy  charlottejonesvoiklis  philosophy  politics  2015  sovietunion  jenniferlee  camazotz  rebeccastead  catherinehand  suzannebray  naomiwood  johnfarrar  farrarstrauss  benfritz  1960  hitler  mussolini  khrushchev  fidelcastro  maotsetung  franco 
april 2015 by robertogreco

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