Radical media, politics and culture.

Greek Referendum Roadshow Hits Cannes
Mihalis Panayotakis

As the Greek Prime Minister is already in Cannes to meet with the G20 leaders and “discuss” the prospect of a referendum on the rescue package, I’ll try to outline some possible outcomes originating from Papandreou’s decision, and hopefully start a discussion on the dynamic of the current situation as a whole…

Let me start with four presuppositions:

I still believe that Papandreou’s game is aimed internally at Greece and that he will fold tonight under G20 pressure (basically Merkozy).

The Trouble With Binary Thinking
John Michael Greer

Last week's post here on The Archdruid Report discussed the magical
implications of getting out from under the influence of the mass media
and popular culture, and thus from the dumbing-down effects these things
exert on the mind. That's a crucial step, but it's only a first step,
because as soon as you extract all that thaumaturgy from your mind,
something is going to fill the resulting void.

Entire industries exist to see to it that what fills the void is simply
another version of what you tried to get rid of. The sorry fate of the
so-called Voluntary Simplicity movement of a few years back makes a good
case study of the way these industries work. It was a bad move right at
the beginning, to be sure, that the founders of the movement watered
down Thoreau's original and far more powerful phrase "voluntary poverty"
so that it didn't frighten their middle-class target audience. As soon
as the idea began to attract attention, that first mistake became the
opening wedge that admitted a series of marketing campaigns that pitched
supposedly "simpler" consumer products to a mostly privileged audience
at steep prices.

The Party of Wall Street Meets Its Nemesis
David Harvey

The Party of Wall Street has ruled unchallenged in the United States for far too long. It has totally (as opposed to partially) dominated the policies of Presidents over at least four decades (if not longer), no matter whether individual Presidents have been its willing agents or not. It has legally corrupted Congress via the craven dependency of politicians in both parties upon its raw money power and access to the mainstream media that it controls. Thanks to the appointments made and approved by Presidents and Congress, the Party of Wall Street dominates much of the state apparatus as well as the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, whose partisan judgments increasingly favor venal money interests, in spheres as diverse as electoral, labor, environmental and contract law.

Enacting the Impossible
(On Consensus Decision Making)
David Graeber

On August 2, 2011 at the very first meeting of what was to become Occupy Wall Street, about a dozen people sat in a circle in Bowling Green. The self-appointed “process committee” for a social movement we merely hoped would someday exist, contemplated a momentous decision. Our dream was to create a New York General Assembly: the model for democratic assemblies we hoped to see spring up across America. But how would those assemblies actually operate?

The anarchists in the circle made what seemed, at the time, an insanely ambitious proposal. Why not let them operate exactly like this committee: by consensus.

"David Graeber on Debt, Deficit and Catastrophe"
Jay Kernis, CNN

Answering today’s [July 5, 2011] OFF-SET questions is David Graeber, who teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the author of “Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value,” “Lost People,” and “Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion and Desire.”

David Graeber studied 5,000 years of debt: real dirty secret is that if the deficit ever completely went away, it would cause a major catastrophe.

His new book is entitled “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” and in it, Graeber indeed examines the historical significance of debt, the struggle between rich and poor, and the moral implications inherent in our ideas about credit and debt.

The U.S. Treasury Department last Friday reiterated its Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, and urged Congress "to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner.” The White House wants a deal by July 22. If the debt ceiling isn't raised, the Treasury would not be able to pay nearly half of the 80 million payments it needs to make every month, according to an estimate by budget experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Q.: How did the United States get into this situation?

A: Because the Republicans are engaged in one of the most extraordinary campaigns of political recklessness in recent memory.

The Man Behind Occupy Wall Street
Seth Fiegerman

Forget the labor unions. A University of London anarchist and anthropologist is a major force behind the protest movement.

When he's not busy brainstorming how to tear apart and rebuild America's democratic system, David Graeber prefers to think about simpler things, like why we still don't have flying cars.

Graeber, a professor at the University of London and a widely respected anthropologist, has achieved a new level of fame in recent weeks for his early influence on the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York City and have since spread around the world.

The Wall Street Journal declared Graeber to be "the single academic who has done the most to shape the nascent movement," while Bloomberg Businessweek declared him to be the "anti-leader" of Occupy Wall Street who generally abstains from the limelight even as his writings,
including a new book on the history of debt and the influence of money, serve as an "intellectual frame" for the protesters.

Anthropologist Graeber Turns Radical Side Loose in Zuccotti Park Protest
Drake Bennett

David Graeber likes to say that he had three goals for the year: promote his book, learn to drive, and launch a worldwide revolution. The first is going well, the second has proven challenging, and the third is looking up.

Graeber is a 50-year-old anthropologist -- among the brightest, some argue, of his generation -- who made his name with innovative theories on exchange and value, exploring phenomena such as Iroquois wampum and the Kwakiutl potlatch. An American, he teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London.

He’s also an anarchist and radical organizer, a veteran of many of the major left-wing demonstrations of the past decade: Quebec City and Genoa, the Republican National Convention protests in Philadelphia and New York, the World Economic Forum in New York in 2002, the London tuition protests this year.

Occupy to Self Manage
By Michael Albert

I have yet to see my nearest large occupation, Boston, or the precursor of all U.S. occupations, Wall Street. Instead, I have been on the road for the past six weeks in Thesselonika and Athens Greece; Istanbul and Diyarbikar Turkey; Lexington, Kentucky; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia Spain.

In all these places, I talked with diverse individuals at many meetings and popular assemblies. I met people involved in occupations, as well as audiences assembled by my hosts to hear about participatory economics. Beyond addressing assigned topics, my own priority was to learn about local movements. I repeatedly asked what folks struggling for many months wished to say to other folks first embarking on similar paths.

The Revolutionary Intervention in the Crisis of Modernism:
Democratic Autonomy, Turkey, and the Kurdish Movement
Cengiz Baysoy, Otonom

Both the Turkish state and the left have been in deadlock in terms of understanding the point the Kurdish political movement has come up to. The state and the modernist left both have difficulty making sense of a national political movement which criticizes and refuses the paradigm of “nation state.”

The traditional point of view of the modernist left on the issue is as follows: “The right of nations to self-determination is the right to political borders and independence against imperialism, i.e. the right to a nation state. Furthermore, unless this right has an anti-imperialist character, it is impossible to be progressive.”

The left considers the Kurdish political movement from this political point of view, and tries to take this movement under the political dominion of this paradigm. It seems that the modernist left is incapable of making sense of the Kurdish political movement other than this way, whereas the Kurdish political movement thinks and speaks very differently from this political paradigm.

No More Bubble-Gum
Mike Davis

Who could have envisioned Occupy Wall Street and its sudden
wildflower-like profusion in cities large and small?

John Carpenter could have, and did. Almost a quarter of a century ago
(1988), the master of date-night terror (Halloween, The Thing), wrote
and directed They Live, depicting the Age of Reagan as a catastrophic
alien invasion. In one of the film’s brilliant early scenes, a huge
third-world shantytown is reflected across the Hollywood Freeway in
the sinister mirror-glass of Bunker Hill’s corporate skyscrapers.

They Live remains Carpenter’s subversive tour de force. Few who’ve
seen it could forget his portrayal of billionaire bankers and evil
mediacrats and their zombie-distant rule over a pulverized American
working class living in tents on a rubble-strewn hillside and begging
for jobs. From this negative equality of homelessness and despair, and
thanks to the magic dark glasses found by the enigmatic Nada (played
by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper), the proletariat finally achieves interracial
unity, sees through the subliminal deceptions of capitalism, and gets

Very angry.