February 2009 Archives

"Women are Heroes" by JR

This "trailer" is a brilliant piece of mixed-media, electronic sound, and vocal echoes--all of which are assembled as a shout-back to Kenyan civil wars where--as is always the case globally--women and girls become the targets of masculinity's phallic weapons.

(March 2008/06:17)

Ann Njogu, director of Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness of Women or CREAW "argues that in addition to having their property destroyed and being forced to flee from their homes, women's 'bodies were also used as the war zone - a battlefield for opposing forces that often times included the police'" (Pambazuka News: A Weekly Forum for Social Justice in Africa).

img_0015.jpgMark Nowak's third book, Coal Mountain Elementary, is a photo-labor-documentary, a new poetics of place, race, and capital rendering Chinese and US coal mining, and exposing its literal and figurative curricula of death. Anthropologist Aihwa Ong has said of Nowak's work that there is "an epic quality to the voices that cannot be dismissed by corporations" and historian Howard Zinn calls Coal Mountain Elementary "a tribute to miners and working people everywhere."

Coal Mountain Elementary is now available at your local book store, Powell's Books (an ILWU Local 5 business ever since 2000), and, of course, Amazon.com. Please also click here to see more of photographer Ian Teh's work.

Beginning in April, Mark will conduct a reading tour in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and throughout the coal mining region of West Virginia. To contact Mark for a university or college reading, please click here to contact his booking agent, Speak Out: The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture. For any other readings, click here to contact Mark directly.

From The NY Times . . . "Questions for Bill Ayers: Radical Cheer"

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By Deborah Solomon
10 FEBRUARY 2009

In your new book, “Race Course: Against White Supremacy,? you and your wife, Bernardine Dohrn, describe your long struggle against racism and social injustice. Do you think Obama’s victory has put America on a new course?


The election of Obama is an important strike against white supremacy. On the other hand, if you claim we’re in a postracial society, how do you explain the fact that 40 percent of black kids under 5 live in poverty?

"Drunken Negro Face" Cookies On Sale at Greenwich Village Bakery


Now this is something . . . Perhaps someone should put this into the hands of Dave Chappelle.

Here is an update to the NY cookie story by John Del Signore at the Gothamist.

UPDATE: We just spoke with Kefalinos on the phone and he remains utterly oblivious, telling us, "This whole thing was blown out of proportion." He says he's sold out of the "Drunken Negro Cakes" and doesn't plan to make anymore, despite the fact that many customers have been requesting them (he claims). When asked whether he understands that most African-Americans find the word "negro" offensive, Kefalinos explains, "It's a French word. It comes from the French."


Community Board 2 was quick to call for a boycott of Lafayette French Pastry, to which Kefalinos responds, "I'm sorry they feel that way because I was trying to do a nice thing." Not seeming to grasp in any way the degree of outrage he's sparked, he added, "I did it and that's the end of it and it's over."

UPDATE 1/24: Now Ted Kefalinos apologizes: "Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, it was an innocent design I created. It was nothing more than just a piece of art."

Braddock, PA

Braddock, PA & Mayor John Fetterman - Mambí Maestra Kyle for The New York Times

Mark Nowak just sent me this video. Mark, as you may know, is my husband but more importantly, he is a documentary labor poet whose writing very much comes out of watching Buffalo fall before his family's eyes while growing up there. Braddock, PA is very much the same as Buffalo.

So, if you know Mark and you know Buffalo--Mark's home and heart--you'll know why he sent the short video below to me. This piece of film is an extremely significant visual testimony to the social and economic violence of post-industrialist decisions made in the '70s. The mayor of Braddock reminds us that the everyday and everyday people make change, not giants, not "heroes," not superstars or celebrities or even capital--just everyday people.

Click here to watch this video on the NY Times web site.

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