Densho is a great organization engaged in archival work and political activism around the World War II Era Japanese-American concentration camps in the Western United States. It’s based out of Seattle, where they have frequent events. I look forward to learning more about this important organization and hopefully even using some of their archival materials on a future history of education project.
Another Japanese incarceration lead that I just became aware of is this novel, No No Boy by John Okada (Charles E. Tuttle, 1957). Unfortunately I had to find out about this in a NYTimes article this week describing a copyright dispute between the Okada family and Penguin Books, who apparently treated it as part of the public domain when they published the latest edition (pictured below).
This is a really important piece by Kate Aronoff about the political situation in Europe from the point of view of the left in the U.S., whose political push for policies to address environmental and economic justice (i.e. the so-called Green New Deal) continues to face resistance within the Democratic party. The punchline, paraphrasing this month’s Dissent Magazine subtitle: “The Neo-liberal center cannot hold!”
Particularly disturbing are the French Neo-Fascists’ fingering “borders” as a way forward on climate? WTF? Identity politics and individual consumer choices are not a solution to climate crisis. This problem demands systemic change and the dismantling of the nationally sanctioned corporate hegemony, which is the source of the vast vast majority of pollution in the world.
Found these next quotes in a Free Will Astrology weekly horoscope mailing:
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE SOIL
Poet Gary Snyder wrote:
“I pledge allegiance to the soil
under the sun
with joyful interpenetration for all.”
Environmentalist Edward Abbey said, “My loyalties will not be bound by
national borders . . . or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language
or culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my
everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to
the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.”
In *Moby Dick*, Herman Melville suggested that ideally a person should
be a “patriot to heaven.”
The above is from WJ Ray’s website, which has a great audio recording of Kyger reading her poem, along with many other selections from the late great mid-century icon.
I was reminded of this poem, which I’m certain I read in college, by a short essay called “Listing to Port” from the Ethnopoetics blog, L U N A C I E S.
The author there also recommends an essay about Sei Shonagon (of PillowBook fame) in the Kyoto Journal here.
My final comment: I love how such an ordinary Japanese word “tansu,” which is a simple chest of drawers, made its way into this poem… I suppose it’s just as commonplace in Kyger’s world as psilocybin would or would not have been in those days in her cabin in upstate NY or BC or wherever she lived– was Gary Snyder around then? Had they spent a frivolous expat year in Japan where they could snap up antique furniture on the cheap in between acid trips? I love how Kyger’s “disaster” is adjacent to such bourgeois luxury as perfume (and the tansu)– I guess I mean I am nostalgic for time in my own life when I could retreat into the medicine cabinet, to the water bed or to the cabin in the woods.
But perhaps this poem is gesturing towards a turning point– when the poet must put away childish things and start looking for blind spots. After all, the bear has “luckily” done away with the whole medicine cabinet. This is hardly lucky for the hapless animal. So, it must be a way out– a sign or an invitation to the next phase in life, whatever that may be.
Here’s to treating life’s disasters with such grace– to letting the bear sleep it all off– to taking stock of all that’s been destroyed– to finding beauty in that list.
North Carolina’s voter ID and income tax rate constitutional amendments were thrown out by a Wake County Superior Court judge who said the General Assembly is unconstitutionally elected due to gerrymandering.
Twitter Version: If you’re not an “activist” judge, you’re not doing it right.
Kudos to NC’s Liberal Establishment for answering the legislature’s nonsense from last session. The framing of this as a “democracy” issue by the chief justice is really wise and will hopefully be an important signal for other citizen activists and politicians in Raleigh who can hopefully free the current government from the thrall of capital.
This is the best new podcast I heard in 2018, and I didn’t catch it until the very end of the year, after one of its creators appeared on another show I love called, The Antifada.
I have gotten a lot of guff from my fellow lefties in the past about my pacifist views– pacifism is naive, it’s too idealistic, what about Hitler, Pearl Harbor, blah blah blah. . . or more compellingly, recently what about antifa– how can I square my desire to punch a white supremacist with avowed pacifism? The creators of “Eyes Left” have done an excellent job of helping me think through these issues, by making some of the philosophical and historical underpinnings and context of socialist anti-war thinking available in convenient, timely audio packets.
I have now listened through their entire back catalog, and it is all superb– their voices are those of authentic, insiders. But while they often specifically address their podcast to a military audience and don’t shy away from jargon, they give explanations when necessary and explicitly reject the macho bullshit veneer of the military.
Spenser Rapone, one-time West Point cadet, now “Other-than-Honorably-Discharged” podcaster. Solidarity!
I was working on this website beginning around the beginning of my first semester at UBC. In particular, the quotations on the “about this site” page (linked above) are a good representation of the various voices in EDucational STudies that resonated with my own voice at that time. Here again, you can see an evolution.
The purpose of this site has always been to be a of part of the public at the margins, less obviously dominated by capital interests. Naturally, it takes time to maintain a blog. There are long stretches when I was exclusively posting NYTimes headlines that I thought were important to remember at the time. Looking back at some of those blog posts, you notice the arc of my political interests. I’ll link to a representative sample here:
The doctoral program application continues. And as I dive back into the writing I did for my MEd. degree nearly five years ago now, I’ll be posting some of the writing I am most proud of from those heady pre- and immediately post-fatherhood days.
I am happy to find that, rereading these pieces, though I stand by their learning value to me personally, my thinking has continue to evolve. And I am able to see much more clearly now some of the mistakes in thinking that I was making then. For instance, in this introduction to my capstone MEd project, which I conducted mostly remotely (from Japan) after my son was born in October 2013, I identify the current U.S. political regime as a “neo-conservative” one. Nowadays I’m pretty certain I would use “neoliberal” to describe the Obama Administration and Anarcho-Capitalist to describe the majority Republican Congress of those years. I think this is largely due to a certain residual confusion I had then about the philosophies and projects underlying the American political parties. And certainly, trying to see all of these categories through a Progressive, early 20th century lens adds to the confusion. But I think now I’ve got a better grip on some of the things I was writing about then.