". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Music, plus Media and the Occupation: Today's Da List

El V's new episode of Afropop Worldwide, "A (Jazzy) Visit to Barranquilla," airs tonight (Saturday) in NYC on 91.5 WNYE at 11 p.m. (and will be repeated Monday at 11 a.m., a new time for Afropop in NYC).

It's available streaming on demand here (click on the orange "play" icon). The program features music by Alfredo Naranjo (Venezuela), Jo ão Donato (Brazil), Justo Almario (Colombia), Diego El Cigala (Andalusia), Terence Blanchard (New Orleans), Andrés Ortiz (Colombia), Harold López-Nussa (Cuba), and Eddie Palmieri (New York), plus El Joe Arroyo's "Rebelión," along with bits of conversation with some of the above. There's also a li'l slide show. I hear they're tweeting it in BQ.

Now to the streets:

30 people, including Cornel West, were arrested outside the 28th precinct NYPD station in Harlem at a protest against the NYPD's racist stop-and-frisk policy, which stopped and frisked 601,055 people, according to an article in the NY Daily News by Matthew DeLuca and Jose Martinez that continues: >
"You have to do nothing else except live in your neighborhood and be a young black or Latino male to be a suspect," Matt Main, of the National Lawyers Guild, told the Daily News.

Jonathan Demme has uploaded End the War, Tax the Rich: We're the 99%, a 15-minute video he shot at OWS. I especially like the audio.

NOLA's Truth Universal has a new Occupy-related rap over what Alison Fensterstock identifies as a Rick Ross track.

The NY Times continues to be clueless about Occupy. No amount of snark from its writers will obscure the fact that they slept on a huge story in their home town while New Yorkers went to the UK Guardian to find out what those shouts we heard in the street were about.

Today the Times offer a front-page piece by Kate Zernike that focuses entirely on pushing a frame of reference in which the Tea Party and Occupy are counterparts of each other. The editorial synopsis says: >
Where the Occupy forces and the Tea Party differ is in where they place the blame. No, they differ in many other ways, including that the Tea Party has been treated far more respectfully by the mainstream media. Zernike is the author of a new book on Tea Party activists that (reading the prologue) peremptorily dismisses the idea that the TP was astro-turfed and claims it as a true populist movement (that just happened to be promoted nonstop by Fox News and underwritten financially by billionaires, I guess, though I haven't read her book). The Times article ends with a quote from a Tea Partier:
Ms. Martin, of Tea Party Patriots, said the next year would determine whether more Americans agree with the Occupy forces or the Tea Party.

“That’s what the whole election comes down to,” she said, “what direction do we think America’s going to go in, and what’s the proper size and scope of government.”

No, the election, which the Republicans will do their best to steal, comes down to whether we will have a fascist president or a conservative one. Neither is an appealing option to people who are taking to the streets.

The Times also devoted a piece to the non-issue of whether Occupy is anti-Semitic, a straight-up libel floated by the far-right media in order to achieve precisely this effect: associate the words Occupy and anti-Semitism in the mainstream media.
Times op-ed columnist Charles Blow continues to condescend and trivialize. In a piece that asserts people are showing up at Occupy for no other reason than it's cool, he calls the action Occupy-apalooza, and, confusing his generational references, compares it to . . . a Nirvana album.

Then there's Bill Keller. It should be noted that the Times changed executive editors in September, and as per Times tradition, outgoing exec editor Bill Keller is now a dreadful columnist. He began his new column on Monday with a breezy >
Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street? In his subsequent column, Keller seemed taken aback by the torrent of generally polite but firm rebuttal in the comments section before comments were closed. The first relevant comment said: >I, for one, am not at all tired of hearing about "Occupy Wall street". To the contrary, I can't get enough of it. Yeah, and that's why we go to the Guardian, YouTube, and instead of the Times. In a piece in Truthdig, Robert Scheer wrote: >Perhaps [Keller's] contempt for anti-corporate protesters was honed by the example of his father, once the chairman of Chevron. In any case, it is revealing, given the cheerleading support that the Times gave to the radical deregulation of Wall Street that occurred when Keller was the managing editor of the newspaper.
And there was
Is Occupy Wall Street Being Overhyped?

Then there is the concern-troll meme that the protestors don't have clear demands. I think
if you can read the signs people are carrying -- e.g., "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one" -- you get it pretty quick. My paraphrase of some of the demands:

We demand a government that operates on behalf of the 99% instead of the 1%. Stop pretending the super-rich aren't actively waging class war against the rest of us. Stop pretending that the system the right has put in place isn't rigged against us. Stop expecting this problem to be solved by elections, because there is no political party that represents the people. Go out in the street everywhere and say this in public, since we have no other way to express it and the mainstream media is either actively hostile to this point of view or is kept safely in check.
Re-regulate the financial industry. Hold financial criminals accountable. End corporate personhood. Stop privatizing public resources.

It's a nice cool day in New York. I'm going out.

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