I am just beginning to dive in to some of the details of this ongoing series of actions in Hong Kong. But I am excited to have been able to use a bilingual interview with an activist (Agnes Chow Ting) spokesperson for the “Scholarism” group in Hong Kong for one of my English expression classes. Scholarism eventually merged into the Demosisto group which is I believe at the center of the current actions. It was a bit of a sensitive issue in class because there is one student who is Chinese in that class and I wasn’t sure how she would react. Japanese media (and as a result, my students) tend to focus on the unrest as a means to criticize the Chinese government in a kind of superior jingoistic fashion. And my Chinese student has often But I think I made it clear that the reason why I brought this text into the class was out of respect for the Chinese student activists and their connecting politics with their education in a meaningful and powerful way.
Exactly what is the connection between education and radical politics in this situation is still something I want to investigate. Obviously the connection that this NYTimes headline suggests of a 1-to-1 process of “radicalization,” doesn’t ring true because it ignores the underlying contexts of that education as it takes place. Anyway, more soon…
August 6— It’s an overcast and windy morning. There was an occasional drizzle on my way into work. The school and the city just observed the anniversary of the first nuclear carpet bombing. 74 years ago today this city was reduced to smoldering, irradiated rubble in carpet-bombing targeting civilians, designed to strike terror and hopelessness into the hearts of the Japanese population and win the Pacific War ahead of a Russian invasion of the Japanese mainland. It was a unique bombing only in terms of the type of weapon used. Otherwise, it is I think fair to say that bombings like these continue into the present day, initiated by the American Executive, left unchecked by the Congress and largely ignored by the American populace. These bombings still target civilians and kill tens of thousands of innocent people every year in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. End the American Capitalist Death Cult!
Portrait of Sadako Sasaki – a young girl who became the symbol of the innocent lives lost in the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and to the brutalities of World War II. Artwork by Joëlle Jones. From Red Flag Magazine: https://redflag.org/magazine/issue-6/wish-upon-a-crane/
This piece I found on consortiumnews.com was written in June by William J. Astore. It’s a great summary of America’s obsession with “air supremacy.” Astore calls the American Military Industrial Complex a “cult,” as do the authors of the “Eyes Left” podcast, which I highly recommend.
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.”
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.