Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupy Philly, photo year in review

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poetics of Power


Every narrative is a struggle, not of, not about, for for power!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIP ... from Poem to the end of my days


December 26-29
Time...
   ...opens     umbrella
   unfolding the rain
    -- who then
  

   are The People --
   tracing

   Earth's backstory
   tourists at the end of an ice age

   what we wanted -- they paid for
  
   without labor
   without possessions -- being themselves
  
   wandered

   happy & naked under the stars

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ellen Joy: A Speculative Realist Criticism


"We choose to seek, then, a non-projective, non-hermeneutic criticism that would multiply and thicken a text’s sentient, bottomless reality. This criticism would be better described as a commentary that seeks to open and not close a text’s possible “signatures.” Aesthetics may constitute a domain of illusions, but these illusions posses their own material reality and are co-sentient with us"  Ellen Joy: Notes Toward a Speculative Realist Criticism
Levi Bryant responds on Larval Subjects [...]
Books do not mean something, they do something.
Here then we get the first sense of what it might mean to say that criticism comes after the text. This thesis is not the bland truism that the text must first exist for us to “criticize” it, but rather is the thesis that criticism is a production based on the affectivity of the text. In other words, the question is no longer the question of what the text means with the aim of closing the text, but rather is the question of what the text builds. Criticism here would be aimed at what texts build and allow to be built. And since the building power of any entity is infinite, texts would be radically open."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where do we live?


People build a house together. They use hammers and levels and planes, but they don't pretend they live in their tools. We use abstractions in our conversations, discussions--they are the tools of thought.... but too many believe they live in them, and the house we would live in together never gets built.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Pathology of Our Culture


Why do we have so much difficulty discussing questions of value?

That we have yet to come up with a clear code of conduct for meetings? That we can easily entertain ideas about digital discussions and voting, but have no way to examine what it is we desire from this--not what we want to happen or do--as some form of mechanical problem solving, but what we want to happen to us, what we desire from one another in being together, in how and what we want to become?

This is a pathology we've contracted from living in this empire of money & death, our severely damaged capacity for imaginative empathy. It reveals itself in every GA--where at least it's visible, if painful to see (like licking a supporting open wound)--even more evident in FB, in comments to posts and articles, but there likely to be misread as individual bad behavior, not as the universally shared pathology it is.

I was asked, what do you mean by values?

What we really want, and why. Justice is not an abstract idea--it is a desire experienced in the gut. Where does that come from--in you? In me? Talking about values means including--becoming aware of and sharing the individual experiential roots of our ideas about what we are doing and what we want and why.

"We are creatures of desire not of need."  Gaston Bachelard
Society of the Spectacle Guy Debord

Desire Democracy Imagination

I post this out of context--as one post in a discussion on on-line voting and decision making. This is the heart of why I think this is a profoundly wrong way to build a democratic life together.
Decisions that involve our mutual desires are built on, depend on-- our capacity for imaginative empathy--and nothing has been more degraded by our current alienating economic/social/power structure.

Healing cannot happen apart from the challenge of working within diverse, physical assemblies--discovering once again what and who we are, else we cannot know what we desire.

Bob, of course sex is important--and nothing is easier to see, than how this is so. If it's not, that's maybe cause we are so used to 'gender' as a euphemism--and misleading one at that.

When a woman speaks, she speaks not as a generic cipher but out of her social and biological experience as a woman, and is heard as such by men, and by other women. So too, men, queer, trans.... This is sex, is it not?

Let me repeat--decisions that involve our mutual desires are built on, depend on our capacity for imaginative empathy. This is not a technical problem. It cannot be solved by any sort of technological fix. Only out of a profound alienation from our animal lives, from our biologically rooted social imagination, is it even possible to think of building democracy apart from face to face deliberation.
I

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupy Communal Housing--an Invitation for Working Group



Please leave comment or email if you would like to come to a meeting
OCCUPY PHILLY COMMUNAL HOUSING WORKING GROUP
(Occ-COM-HOUSING)

INVITATION TO JOIN

To discuss structures, process & logistics for Occupy Philly 2.0 multiple communal housing network.

WG would be open to all, agree to Occupy values of non-violence, transparency and participatory democratic process. Will discuss working principles for communal living, explore possible locations and move toward setting up actual communal houses. Will be the representative body for Occupy related communal housing in Philly area, and as mediating body between Occ-Com Houses & Occupy Philadelphia. This might serve as an ideal way to experiment with spokescouncil (or other forms) for horizontal democracy between self-governing collectives—a living base for Inter-Occ meta-communities.

These might become Satellite SAFE HOUSES for grass-roots democratic community building, neighborhood outreach; offering meeting spaces, temporary food and shelter for visiting Occupiers, planning centers for direct action--a strategically dispersed network of Occupation Think Tanks, publishing and IT centers—and an evolving experiment in building horizontal power through democratic assemblages.

Where?
Vacant, rented, privately or collectively owned buildings, multiple locations in different neighborhoods: South Philly, West Philly, Near Northeast, North Philly as opportunity presents itself.

Each house drawing individuals from a diversity of affinity & working groups rather than a concentration of mostly one set, each representing an Occupation Camp microcosm--so loss of one  or several doesn’t inflict fatal injury to the life of the organism.

POETS & ARTISTS HIGHLY DESIRABLE!

Each Occ-Com House, self-governing as functioning spoke of the larger OPEN, INCLUSIVE,  NON-VIOLENT and DEMOCRATIC  Occupy Movement.

Emphasis on STRONG GOOD NEIGHBOR & INTERNAL CODES OF CONDUCT!  We do NOT want to be confused by neighbors with MOVE!    

Long term actions might include acquiring low cost real estate, lots for urban farming, collectives to manage co-ops across the city with a Collective Governing Board


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


December 13, 2011
Imagine a piano ...

     in the middle of a field
     in the middle of Kansas

     it’s about to rain

     ten thousand meadow larks
     at dusk
     a tower built by the WPA

     Coronado heading north, stopped here
     plains Indians first saw horses from this gentle rise

     grateful for work, laborers lay out sandstone blocks

     it’s 1938

     a war is about to begin

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why We Occupy!


Welcome address to Occupy Philly Together Regional Gathering, Saturday December 10, 2011
Video of this address HERE


Movements begin with the telling of untold stories
Nothing about us without us

If I were to sum up in a single pair of simple phrases the essence of what the Occupy Movement has meant to me, it would be these two.
The first is the motto of Media Mobilizing Project—a wonderful volunteer, grass roots organization that was campaigning for social, economic and political change, and using direct democratic process long before Occupy Wall Street If you haven’t heard of them—look them up.

Nothing about us is now widely used by disability advocacy groups of all kinds. In its Latin form, nihil de nobis sine nobis, it has deep historical roots with ethnic and nationalist independence movements in central and eastern Europe going back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. A universal cry of those with no say in their lives.

If we don’t tell our stories, no one can know who we are or what we need.

Maybe because I’m a poet, storyteller and novelist—when I hear the usual complaints that Occupiers haven’t made a clear set of specific demands, that we offer no solutions, that we balk at being absorbed back into a culture that has turned into us aliens in our own country--it sounds strange to me. Incomprehensible! Don’t they understand—it’s not just about the banks, the financial crisis, the stolen elections, the endless wars, our broken political system, the emerging police state—no, not these alone that have brought us together—it’s how the cumulative effect of all of this—of the commercial hologram that chokes and smothers our lives and how all of it has robbed us of our stories— our stories, stories of our own creating!

Everywhere we turn we see what we are supposed to do, what we’re supposed to be, the life-scripts we’re supposed to follow. From our first day in school, told to prepare ourselves for the jobs that will come after graduation--our fathers and teachers and leaders and authorities telling us how this is the very purpose of our education—else how can be buy and own all the stuff we’re told we have to buy and own to be happy—to be safe, to do our part, to be good, to deserve a decent life—unlike the homeless, poor, ravaged souls we now and then catch out of the corner of our eye—just visible enough to scare us straight? This is the story fed to us like a drug. This is our story, they tell us… our story… But who wrote it? Who gave us a role in this empire of money & death?

And we came to a park. A plaza. A parking lot. A campus quad. And we set up tents. And we looked at one another and saw the strangers we had become. Saw ourselves in the faces around us—maybe for the first time, and began to talk, and talk and talk. And hold meetings. And the homeless came to eat with us and didn’t seem so strange anymore. And we argued & fought. And we sang in jail cells and said we loved one another—and it wasn’t just words! And we hugged. We hugged a lot! We set up tents and some of us slept in them and some of us stole time from jobs and classes to return afternoons and evenings, and some of watched this on the internet and looked at our friends and asked—why not us? Why can’t we do this too? And we began to write our own story. A story of building community, of defending ourselves, resisting authorities who wanted us gone, of marching out on the streets and shouting our grievances to the world… and we were doing what we’d never done before—creating the story of our lives, a story that made us proud and strong and unafraid, a story that connected our lives to others across the country and around the world and saw the heroes of history, defenders of the rights of labor, of women, of civil rights and knew ourselves for the first time to be their heirs—and we played drums and we danced for joy, the joy of writing our own story and joining in the great fight for a better world—where everyone can shout out –NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US. They wonder what this is—this living in tents, reclaiming of public commons, experiments in direct democracy, our learning to find what it is WE want without being told by those above us what we SHOULD want and what we SHOULD do and how we SHOULD live—LISTEN! If you want to know why we are here, we tell them—want to know where all our demands begin, want to hear the message we would shape into a new world—listen! Listen, we are telling you here… even as we make it up as we go along. OUR story… everyone’s story.
Change begins with the telling of untold stories
Nothing about us without us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Occupy Thought! proposal for an Occupy Critical Journal

I would like to see a journal--on-line, multi-lingual, but important to have cheap & easily reproduced and distributed print version (physical copy can be taken & read independent of electric digital wireless infrastructure access)--maybe networks of POD capable sites to reproduce on-line issues (see “Long Term Proposal for (Post encampment) Revolutionary Action”

Occupy Thought!

... on critical theory philosophy political analysis... moving beyond street chants and clever sign sloganeering--though all these would themselves make good subjects for analytical essays--even necessary -- to keep theory engaged with action & action informed by critical thinking.

Multi-disciplinary. Drawing on whatever background writers bring to the effort, but, like Occupation process--thinking form the ground up, working to construct thought from experienced reality, building on what is new and contingent with emerging situations--not forcing the movement into existing ideological boxes; eclectic over orthodoxies. LIke the Occupation camps--embodied, physical, materialist & action oriented rather than idealist and abstract.