Category Archives: riptides

Of Genocide and the Pipeline

Today, since we are far away from our vast editorial office complex, we serve as relay for an important message from Kelly Hayes, a founding member of the Chicago Light Brigade and an organizer with We Charge Genocide.

Emphasis on final two sentences added by DP.

˜˜˜˜˜

Yes, everyone should be talking about climate change, but you should also be talking about the fact that Native communities deserve to survive, because our lives are worth defending in their own right — not simply because “this affects us all.”

So when you talk about Standing Rock, please begin by acknowledging that this pipeline was redirected from an area where it was most likely to impact white people. And please remind people that our people are struggling to survive the violence of colonization on many fronts, and that people shouldn’t simply engage with or retweet such stories when they see a concrete connection to their own issues — or a jumping off point to discuss their own issues. Our friends, allies and accomplices should be fighting alongside us because they value our humanity and right to live, in addition to whatever else they believe in.

Every Native at Standing Rock — every Native on this continent — has survived the genocide of a hundred million of our people. That means that every Indigenous child born is a victory against colonialism, but we are all born into a fight for our very existence. We need that to be named and centered, which is a courtesy we are rarely afforded.

This message is not a condemnation. It’s an ask.

We are asking that you help ensure that dialogue around this issue begins with and centers a discussion of anti-Native violence and policies, no matter what other connections you might ultimately make, because those discussions simply don’t happen in this country. There obviously aren’t enough people talking about climate change, but there are even fewer people — and let’s be real, far fewer people — discussing the various forms of violence we are up against, and acting in solidarity with us. And while such discussions have always been deserved, we are living in a moment when Native Water Protectors and Water Warriors have more than earned both acknowledgement and solidarity.

So if you have been with us in this fight, we appreciate you, but we are reaching out, right now, in these brave days for our people, and asking that you keep the aforementioned truths front and center as you discuss this effort. This moment is, first and foremost, about Native liberation, self determination and Native survival. That needs to be centered and celebrated.

nodapl1


Deeply Wasted

Recent scientific research confirms the ingestion of synthetic microfibers by deep sea organisms. At a rate and degree of saturation that may soon be irreversible, we are turning global oceans into a toxic plastic soup. The entire study makes for sobering reading; the abstract follows below, together with comments from the lead scientists as reported by phys.org.

ABSTRACT

abstract

dw1

A few words from Dr Michelle Taylor of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, lead author of the study:

dw5

dw2

Confirming the robust controls places on the assessment of the data, Dr Claire Gwinnett, Associate Professor in Forensic and Crime Science at Staffordshire University, added:

dw6

dw3

And finally, a summary assessment from Laura Robinson, Professor of Geochemistry in Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences:

dw7

dw4

No wonder the cowardly “elite” wishes to escape to the furthest ends of the universe; nothing left to contaminate here.


No Whisky, No Bacon

In the Annals of Hubris and Delusion, surely the blatherings of Jeff Bezos will receive a special repository. We have an ear for satire here at DP, yet reality defeats our imagination day after day. Below, a few quotes from a recent Bezos interview, with images taken from the Blue Origin “gallery”.

jb1

bo1

CEO OF THE SIXTH EXTINCTION AND HIS EXIT STRATEGY

jb2

bo2

STROKE THIS MUSCLE GENTLY AND IT WILL SPRAY YOU WITH A THOUSAND EINSTEINS

jb3

bo3

THE UNIVERSE AND HUMAN STUPIDITY: THE TWO INFINITIES

jb4

bo4

BEAM ME UP SCOTTIE; WE’RE DONE HERE.

jb5

˜˜˜˜˜

We read these words once, and laugh; read them again, and weep. Not content to commodify everything that moves on planet earth, Jeff Bezos puts his name forward for the title of Ultimate Inverted Utopian.

Memo to all such “builders”: gravity is not the only force in the universe that does not care about you.


Humility and Virtue

We have recently finished a novel that in time will be considered a rare American masterpiece: Barkskins. In graceful prose that expresses what must be expressed and nothing more, Annie Proulx — whose work we have long admired here at DP — chronicles the violent eradication of the  boreal/acadian forest in North America, together with the eradication of the people who lived in harmony within those ancient woods. Through the richly detailed lives of dozens of characters, Proulx conveys the heavy personal and cultural price exacted by that most vicious counterpoint, between ecocide and genocide.

The novel begins with two epigraphs, the second of which is taken from an essay by the historian Lynn White, dated 1967: The Historical Roots of the Ecological Crisis. We were curious about the context for her selected passage (which is highlighted below in bold italics). The fact that the essay reads like it might have been written yesterday prompts us to post two long excerpts, though it is certainly worth close consideration in its entirety. The image (added by DP) is relayed from the studio of Peter Randall-Page.

 

lw1

lw2

lw3

lw4

BLOOD TREE

BLOOD TREE

lw5

lw6

lw7

˜˜˜˜˜

For the curious, the first epigraph for Barkskins descends from George Santayana:

Why shouldn’t things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together. 


Resistance and Recuperation

On May 27th, an American president will finally set foot in Hiroshima, though Nagasaki is apparently not on the itinerary.

Mr. Obama, whose relative rhetorical fluency – relative to grunted Bush-blubber and the greeting card drivel of Bill Clinton – masks moral and philosophical emptiness, will not issue an apology for the incineration and radiation of large, concentrated civilian populations. In the words of his Orwellian-designated National Security Advisor for Strategic Communi-cations & Speechwriting, Ben Rhodes: “He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.” 

Such refusal to acknowledge past atrocity resonates with Obama’s earlier decision to decline the prosecution of war criminals within the Bush administration, even after the emergence of overwhelming documentary evidence. On April 16, 2009, he stated:

“This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.”

Severing the past from the future resides at the very heart of American exceptionalism; since the future of the Shining City is eternally full of promise, who cares what happened in the past? With this in mind, we turn to political philosopher Fred Dallmayr, writing in his lucid forward for a wide-ranging collection of essays titled Philosophy After Hiroshima.

The images are borrowed from The Sensory War 1914-2014, an exhibition presented last year at the Manchester Art Gallery.

fd1

hiro3

fd2

hiro1

fd3

hiro2

fd4

Whatever happens in Hiroshima on May 27th, we are sure that Mr. Obama will not enlist memory in the service of resistance and recuperation, just as we are sure that the Shining City of our ongoing delusion has nothing to do with “the divine abode”.

In the end, his mission will be one of vanity, self-aggrandizement and deceit, as the commander of the “kill chain” burnishes his preferred image as A Man of Peace during the fading days of a failed presidency.


Let Us Wake Up

CONSCIENCE-SHAKER AND RIVER GUARDIAN, BERTA CÁCERES

CONSCIENCE-SHAKER AND RIVER GUARDIAN,              BERTA CÁCERES

We write today with sadness and outrage at the brutal murder of Honduran indigenous and environmental activist, in her own home.

A leading organizer for indigenous land rights in Honduras, Cáceres co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. For many years, the group has faced violent reprisals for the brave and unflinching defense of their land and rivers against corporate and governmental incursion and exploitation.

Last year, Cáceres won a Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award. Below her acceptance speech; in a few carefully chosen and deeply felt words, she articulates the single most urgent issue of our time, and how we must respond.

bc


Zenith of Cruelty

Last Friday saw the release of Alfred Woodfox from the infamous Angola penitentiary, after serving four decades in solitary confinement. Here is Woodfox’s former fellow inmate Walter Rideau, writing in an essay for Mother Jones magazine: “Having spent 12 years like that, I’ll tell you: Life in the vacuum of a cell is spirit-killing, mind-altering, and the zenith in human cruelty. That Woodfox and others like him have survived their experience mentally and emotionally intact is nothing short of miraculous because an isolation cell is designed to break you.”

Lisa Guenther, summarizing her excellent book Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives, expands on how this breakage unfolds. The images are from a special exhibition sponsored by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, exploring the relationship between architecture and human rights.

lg2

arch2

lg3

esp1

lg4

˜˜˜˜

Way back in 1842, after a visit to the panopticon-penitentiary in Philadelphia, Charles Dickens took note of the silent cruelty inflicted upon inmates inside the regime of total isolation, and its ghastly signs and tokens:

cd2

Though the prison itself may be in ruins, the ideas that it once so perfectly expressed within architectural space remain very much alive. The evidence of severe psychological damage is overwhelming; not acting in the fact of such evidence raises the question as to whether our grotesque regime of incarceration actually applauds such devastation to the mind and soul as a job well done.

We leave the last words to Albert Woodfox: “You go through this psychological self-analysis and then you start talking to yourself, telling yourself that you are strong enough. Just trying to push these walls back and the ceiling back with the force of mind.”

 

Unknown

A FORMER PLACE OF SECRET PUNISHMENT


The Slaughterhouse Sensorium

With Lori Gruen’s proposal for “entangled empathy” still fresh in our minds, we turn to the way humans actually “treat” other sentient beings, through their violent transformation into consumer-ready meat.

In Every Twelve Seconds, anthropologist Timothy Pachirat provides an unflinching, meticulously detailed account of his experience working inside a slaughterhouse; we are passing the book from hand to hand here at DP, and urge your close consideration.

For now, we provide a few brief excerpts from Pachirat’s interview with the honorable blogger James McWilliams, author of other essential books about our treatment of animals, such as A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America.

The images are from a manual of recommended practices for the processing of meat, as endorsed by Temple Grandin. On to the testimony of Pachirat, in response to questions from McWilliams:

tp1

kill1

tp2

kill2

tp3

kill3

tp4

˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜

More information on the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is available here; a visit, highly recommended. Also recommended, a brief visit to a previous DP bearing on the map of 2012, Wrestling With Modernity.


A Toxic Inversion

We note the death of Sheldon Wolin at the age of 93, a political philosopher and theorist with deep insight into the disappearance of the constitutional republic into the shadowlands of corporate kleptocracy.

Below, excerpts from a typically lucid essay dating from way back in 2003; every word rings even more truly today, above all his critical focus on the sycophantic media and the alignment of universities with corporate interests, both of which are central to the grim civic passivity that characterizes life under inverted totalitarianism.

The images are from Tomas Van Houtryve’s chilling series, Blue Sky Days.

sw1

tvh2

sw2

tvh1

sw3

tvh3

sw4

tvh4


Ethical Loneliness

Now comes Haverford College philosopher Jill Stauffer with her important new book, Ethical Loneliness. The subtitle reveals the subject of her enquiry: the injustice of not being heard.

The image for the book jacket is Die Witwe I, from Käthe Kollwitz’s series of woodcuts, Krieg. Below, we offer excerpts from a recent interview with Stauffer, together with other Kollwitz images.

js1

WOMAN WITH A DEAD CHILD, 1903

WOMAN WITH A DEAD CHILD, 1903

js2

THE PARENTS, Vladslo German Soldiers’ Cemetery, Vladslo (Belgium), 1932

THE PARENTS, Vladslo German Soldiers’ Cemetery, Vladslo (Belgium), 1932

js3

CALL OF DEATH, 1934

CALL OF DEATH, 1934

js4

THE WEAVER'S REVOLT

THE WEAVER’S REVOLT