Sunday Reading

by zunguzungu

“Generation of Debt: The University in Default and the Undoing of Campus Life” and Social Text’s “Going into Debt.”

Editorial changes (via):

Dozens arrested at Bank of America offices (Boston)

Kamila Shamsie was surprised to see that American novelists could not effectively capture the foreign, and especially Middle Eastern, perspective of their characters:

“Why is it that in America, the fiction writers are not interested in foreign history when it exists in these United States?” Shamsie said, asking why foreign history that has a direct impact on Americans does not appear in fiction. “Please explain why you are in our stories, but we are not in yours.”

In Response To A String Of Sexual Assaults, New York Police Tell Women To Cover Up Instead Of Catching The Attacker

“He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?‘” she recalled. “He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin.”

He said that such clothing could make the suspect think he had “easy access,” said Lauren. She said the officer explained that “you’re exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting.”

Sherry Ortner on neoliberalism:

Whatever happened to “Late Capitalism”? It became neo-liberalism” – Marshall Sahlins (2002:  59)
I begin with Marshall Sahlins’s little koan because I remember being somewhat mystified myself by the shift in terminology around the year 2000, from “late capitalism” to “neoliberalism.”  Writing this brief review essay has given me the opportunity to think about this, and to suggest an answer.The reason the GOP keeps sticking up for the wealthy.

Sword and soul:

Griots is the first anthology dedicated to sword and soul. Sword and Soul is a genre of speculative fiction that combines African traditions, history and culture with adventure, heroic fiction and sorcery – thinkConan the Barbarian set in Ancient Ghana or the Empire of Mali. The volume is edited by Charles R. Saunders, author of Imaro, widely considered to be the creator of the genre, and author Milton Davis.

What’s behind the opposition to Occupy Wall Street:

There’s a vast and growing apparatus of intimidation designed to deter and control citizen protests.  The most that’s allowed is to assemble with the permission of state authorities and remain roped off in sequestered, out-of-the-way areas: the Orwellian-named free speech zones.  Anything that is even remotely disruptive or threatening is going to be met with aggressive force: pepper spray, mass arrests by highly militarized urban police forces, and aggressive prosecutions.  Recall the wild excesses of force in connection with the 2008 RNC Convention in Minneapolis (I reported on those firsthand); the overzealous prosecutions of civil disobedience activists like Aaron Swartz, environmentalist Tim DeChristopher, and Dan Choi; the war being waged on whistleblowers for the crime of exposing high-level wrongdoing; or the treatment of these Wall Street protesters.

Financial elites and their political servants are well aware that exploding wealth inequality, pervasive economic anxiety, and increasing hostility toward institutions of authority (and corresponding realization that voting fixes very little of this) are likely to bring London-style unrest — and worse — to American soil; it was just two weeks ago that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that the unemployment crisis could trigger “riots.”  Even the complacent American citizenry — well-trained in learned impotence and acquiescence to (even reverence for) those most responsible for their plight — is going to reach a tipping point of unrest.  There are numerous weapons of surveillance and coercion that have been developed over the last decade in anticipation of that unrest: most of it justified in the name of Terrorism, but all of it featuring decidedly dual-use domestic capability (illustrating what I mean is this chartshowing how extensively the Patriot Act has been used in non-Terrorist cases, and how rarely it has been used for Terrorism).

In sum, there is a sprawling apparatus of federal and local militarized police forces and private corporate security designed to send this message: if you participate in protests or other forms of dissent outside of harmless approved channels, you’re going to be harmed in numerous ways.  As Yves Smith put it this week: “I’m beginning to wonder whether the right to assemble is effectively dead in the US”

Undocumented Pregnant Women Forced To Give Birth While Shackled In Front Of Police

Angus Johnston’s been writing about the UC this week:

On “affirmative action bake sale”:


 via sepoy