The recent death of the Russian poet with whom I was acquainted, Yevgheny Yevtushenko, prompted these considerations of the role of poets in social-cultural-political progress in general and in a particularly spectacular fashion in Russia. In few other countries have poets played a more significant than in Russia. Nonetheless, for centuries Russian poets have been harassed, persecuted, and punished for their songs. Dostoevsky imprisoned, Pushkin exiled, Yesenin, Mayakovsky and Tsvetaeva suicides, Mandelshtam and others perished in the cultural events of 1937. Poets seldom lead easy lives anywhere. The poet sees the ideals but he must flee from the world in order to rejoice in them and he cannot remain unaffected by the caricatures of these ideals around him.
with Abby Martin
teleSUR English on Mar 22, 2017
People of the Sikh faith, commonly mistaken for both Muslims and Hindus, are frequent targets of bigoted hate crimes—in fact, the first victim of post-9/11 hate crimes was a Sikh man. In 2016, attacks against Muslims—and people perceived to be Muslims, in particular Sikhs—has reached an all-time high.
Republished with permission from Solidarity and Against The Current
THERE IS A growing suspicion among many people involved in movements against war, for social justice, and for an ecologically sustainable society that capitalism can only create a world of war, injustice and environmental destruction. There is widespread and growing understanding that the current social order cannot continue without catastrophe occurring —yet we lack a vision of what might replace it.
Civilization In Transition, Uncertainty and Opportunity
British filmmaker Adam Curtis recently released his new documentary ‘HyperNormalisation’. [See video below.] Brilliant in parts, this ambitious film reveals an image of a civilisation in turmoil. It shows how duplicitous, inadequate politicians have repeatedly deceived the public over the last forty years, and how their actions have caused increasing levels of chaos in the world, which they are unable to resolve. “We live in a strange time, extraordinary events keep happening that undermine the stability of our world,” the director declares, and yet, “those in control seem unable to deal with them. Nobody has any vision of a different or better kind of future.”
with Chris Hedges
Depth Psychology Alliance on Sep 14, 2016
In this depth psychology oriented discussion powered by Pacifica Graduate Institute, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Chris Hedges speaks with Depth Psychologist, Bonnie Bright, Ph.D, about how, as both individuals and civilizations, we encounter cycles of growth, maturation, decadence, and decay, and death.
By Alan Wald
International Socialist Review
July 11, 2016
The culture and politics of race and class struggle in the 1940s
No one knows better than socialist activists of the twenty-first century that each generation must face its own “crisis” of Marxism. But we don’t face this challenge to our theory and social movements just as we please. The way we remember our past governs our own dreams for the future. Above all, at a moment like today, when thousands of newly radicalizing young people know pretty much what they are fighting against, but are unclear about what they are fighting for, there is no point in simply pummeling the gates of history with one’s fists. Sooner or later, we look to the past for shared, or at least recognizable, political experiences that might be retrofitted and rebooted; tactics and strategies that have succeeded or failed; causes and explanations for economic and social trends that have persisted or morphed; and even role models, candidly reported, for how to live our chosen lives as Marxists. Marxism doesn’t embalm history; it seeks to join a living past to present changes.
The Determinant Class of Contemporary Russian History
Russia! What a marvelous phenomenon on the world scene! Russia!—a distance of ten thousand versts (about two-thirds of a mile) in length on a straight line from the virtually central European river, across all of Asia and the Eastern Ocean, down to the remote American lands! A distance of five thousand versts in width from Persia, one of the southern Asiatic states, to the end of the inhabited world—to the North Pole. What state can equal it? Its half? How many states can equal its twentieth, its fiftieth part? … Russia—a state which contains all types of soil, from the warmest to the coldest, from the burning environs of Erivan to icy Lapland, which abounds in all the products required for the needs, comforts, and pleasures of life, in accordance with its present state of development—a whole world, self-sufficient, independent, absolute. — Mikhail P. Pogodin- 1800-1875, Russian historian, journalist, intellectual of the Slavophile movement who held to the Norman theory that the Rus people from whom Russians descended, were Scandinavians.
with Chris Hedges
teleSUR English on Apr 18, 2016
In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges interviews documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who directed the new film “How to Let Go of the World”. The two discuss the catastrophe of climate change, and the role of art and culture in helping us embrace what climate can’t change.
From the beginning of time, the human race has been buried under an avalanche of a graveyard of definitions, immersed from birth till death.
Language is the number one form of mind control, framing issues barraging us day and night with government propaganda, corporate agendas, images, simulations, you name it. What is one to do?
In college, Economics 101 is often described as the social science discipline that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. MIT Economist Paul Samuelson liked to focus on scarcity, or more specifically, the allocation of scarce resources. “Abundance” was always a pretty word with an idyllic connotation for Professor Samuelson. I often wonder why there weren’t a few classes about the real-life consequences of abundance, along with scarcity and people’s material welfare.
“It is a question of the Third World starting a new history of Man, a history which will have regard to the sometimes prodigious theses which Europe has put forward, but which will also not forget Europe’s crimes, of which the most horrible was committed in the heart of man, and consisted of the pathological tearing apart of his functions and the crumbling away of his unity.”
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, (Fanon, 1963, p. 315).
“We all live under the constant threat of our own annihilation. Only by the most outrageous violation of ourselves have we achieved our capacity to live in relative adjustment to a civilization apparently driven to its own destruction.”
R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience/The Bird of Paradise (R.D. Laing, 1967)
The quest for the historic Jesus is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It is tough. However, Paul the Apostle is a different matter entirely because Paul was just as much of a known quantity in the Ancient world first century A.D. as the Stoic philosopher Seneca, and the Jewish historian Philo.
When I was about thirteen-years-old I chanced upon an article in Henry Luce’s Life magazine that described East Harlem (a Manhattan working class neighborhood) as “a slum inhabited by beggar‑poor Italians, Negroes, and Puerto Ricans,” words that stung me and wedged in my memory.
“We live in a slum,” I mournfully reported to my father.
Terrorists, serial killers, domestic murderers — their ghoulish deeds fill our news and popular entertainment, interspersed with wars, riots, and brutal repressions. Violence surrounds us.
Where does it come from?
The answer propagated by the mass media is that violence is human nature. It’s just the way people are.