In the days leading up to these mobilizations, a few critics on the left framed a stark dichotomy between these two kinds of actions. The PCM was cast as a depoliticized, corporate-friendly sellout, in contrast to more militant direct action, which Flood Wall Street soon emerged to organize….

Surely there are critiques to be made of last week’s mobilization—there is always room for improvement. But last Sunday’s march was an important step toward building a popular movement for climate justice, which, in turn, is a necessary condition for more radical actions—like the ones FWS organized. The dichotomy between the PCM and FWS is a false one. What the world saw last week in New York was a vibrant movement ecosystem in which a broad mobilization and its radical edges engaged in a critical interplay.

Jonathan Smucker and Michael Premo, “What’s Wrong With the Radical Critique of the People’s Climate March,” in the Nation.

I think this is correct. To succeed at any sort of popular movement, we need larger numbers than just those who are committed enough to engage in direct action, in addition to those who do such things. And to get them both working in concert with each other.

Things I didn’t know about: Shadia Mansour, “the first lady of Arabic hip-hop,” performing her song “El Kofeyye 3arabeyye.” 

The song, who’s title translates to “The Keffiyeh is Arabic,” is a response to people appropriating the keffiyeh, especially Israeli hip-hop artist Shemspeed’s Israeli Keffiyeh.

The Warriors NYC 2014, a photo-essay

About three weeks ago now, I went down to New York City for the Warriors NYC 2014 bike messenger race. I’ve got a lot of friends that go to other cities for these sort of events all the time, but I’ve never really been into that. But back when I was a wee rookie bike messenger, I did go to the Warriors Fun Ride 2002, which was an amazing experience. And now, in 2014, they finally got around to having a sequel. It was really the first out-of-town event that I was psyched for enough to make some actual effort to attend.

The basic premise of the Warriors race is to follow (very approximately) the path from the movie The Warriors, starting from way up in the Bronx after dusk, and ending at Coney Island at dawn. Like the movie, we rode in teams. Officially, the teams were supposed to be six to nine members, but a bunch of us Boston guys just formed an eleven person team and nobody stopped us. Aside from me, my team included Pete, Mike, Eli, Max, Orlando, Kevin, Ben, Julian, Opie, and Craig.

I’ve been getting into shooting film this summer, soI brought along my little Fujifilm Natura S point-and-shoot loaded with Kodak Tri-X for black and white shots, and my Canon Rebel SLR with a bunch of Kodak Portra 400 for color shots. I got about three rolls worth of pictures, which I have tried to set out into a coherent story below. If pictures aren’t really you’re thing, Eli’s version of the tale is a more literary take on the night. Better yet, read both.

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In case anyone’s wondering, here’s MGL Chap. 266, Section 126B, covering tagging.

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This was from Labor Day, preparing to do some boating on the Charles River. Unfortunately, my Mamiya C330 camera seems to have developed some issues with the film advance, pushing this last shot on the roll to the very edge of the film, hence the weird circles near the top. And it doesn’t seem to be working much at all now. Quite annoying.

Lil’ Boosie - “Fuck the Police” (feat. Webbie)

Just in that sort of mood.

In a sense, then, the Economist was right: enslavers were not simply evil villains. They were also under enormous pressure—the pressure of the free market. (There’s lots of evidence that the experience and culture of slaveholding shaped many of them into deeply evil individuals, but remember, I’m trying to write a review here.) Even the decision-making influence of the long-term investment they’d made in enslaved bodies shrank in comparison to the short-term demands of cotton markets and credit markets. Every piece of information that the market fed them in the form of prices pushed them to push slaves harder.
Edward Baptist, “What the Economist Doesn’t Get About Slavery—And My Book,” replying to the Economist's deeply embarrassing review of his book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.

Happy Labor Day, here’s Evan Greer’s “Picket Line Song“ for your listening pleasure.

Went to New York City this weekend. Got this souvenir. Who knew drinking in public wasn’t legal? I do it all the time. Oh, well, at least they let you plead guilty and pay the fine by mail. I really don’t need to spend my Halloween at Kings Criminal Court to give the City of New York $25.

The Washington Post on why getting beaten by the police is probably your own fault

So, the Washington Post has an article, “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me” written by an LAPD officer and professor of homeland security at a for-profit college. And, yeah, it’s pretty much an explanation of why everyone should just shut up and cooperate with the police no matter what. Here’s a bit:

Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority.

And a little later:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.

My sources indicate that this is an up-to-date picture of the author:



It is a cruel irony that this great promise of democracy is rarely realized in practice. Most of the great political reforms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been accompa­nied by massive episodes of civil disobedience, riot, lawbreak­ing, the disruption of public order, and, at the limit, civil war. Such tumult not only accompanied dramatic political changes but was often absolutely instrumental in bringing them about. Representative institutions and elections by themselves, sadly, seem rarely to bring about major changes in the absence of the force majeure afforded by, say, an economic depression or international war. Owing to the concentration of prop­erty and wealth in liberal democracies and the privileged ac­cess to media, culture, and political influence these positional advantages afford the richest stratum, it is little wonder that, as Gramsci noted, giving the working class the vote did not translate into radical political change. Ordinary parliamen­tary politics is noted more for its immobility than for facilitat­ing major reforms.

James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism, pp 16–17. (Quoted by Chris Bertram here)

Always worth the reminder that pretty much everything worthwhile our society has ever achieved has involved protesters willing to defy the law.

Oh, shit, apparently race has now been “injected” into the Ferguson, MO situation

The Democrats have been setting up voter registration drives in Ferguson. The executive director of the state Republican Party gives an interview to the website of the dead-but-still-vile Andrew Breitbart:

“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” Wills said, “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

Wills explained that the shooting death of Michael Brown was a tragedy for everyone.

“This is not just a tragedy for the African American community this is a tragedy for the Missouri community as well as the community of what we call America,” he said. “Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn’t help a continued conversation of justice and peace.”

(h/t: Simon Maloy at Salon)


The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a [person] to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world.
James Baldwin, The Devil Finds Work (via theeducatedfieldnegro)
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"The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution." - Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party (02/17/1942 - 08/22/1989)

"Machoism is Boring," Allston, MA, 2014