Beauty Plus Pity
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David Harvey, anthropology professor, geographer and authority on Karl Marx's work Capital, has just published Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. The book addresses the state of inequality in capitalist society, the role of the city as concentration point of struggle around that, and the prospects for a different world.
Aaron Leonard spoke with him recently in his office at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Aaron Leonard: Why do you call the book, Rebel Cities?
The literary critic and Marxist political theorist, Fredric Jameson, has written Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One, a book that revisits Karl Marx's most important work, Capital.
On one level it may seem odd evaluating a book almost 150 years old. How much relevance and practical applicability could it have to the world we currently inhabit? Yet to overlook Capital -- as is too often the case -- is to miss its searing critique and keen insight.
Interview between Dr. Gavin Fridell, Chair of the Department of Politics at Trent University, and Dr. Trevor Norris, Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. This interview is a shortened version of the discussion that took place during the book launch of Consuming Schools: Commercialism and the End of Politics in the Hart House Library on Thursday Feb 24, 2011.
Gavin Fridell: To begin with, the forward to your book is written by Benjamin Barber who talks about consumerism as "a new ethos of infantilization" as corporations corrupt children and "dumb down" adults. I wonder what you think of this idea of "infantilization"?
Once widely considered a vast, unremarkable frozen landscape, realities of climate change are changing the north's façade. Previously obscure concepts like Arctic sovereignty and categories of off-shore waters are now glaringly pertinent as the polar ice continues to melt.
In Polar Imperative, clarifying the history of the Arctic is precisely what Shelagh D. Grant sets out to do. Drawing on extensive archival research and personal experience, Grant covers the entire spectrum of Arctic history, starting with the area's first inhabitants and moving through 19th century colonial land deals, the development of sovereign titles, World War II and the Cold War, as well as the discovery of Arctic oil and the recognition of Aboriginal rights.
The Voice of Hope is based on recorded conversations between Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements that took place in Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon, Burma between 1995 and 1996. At the time, Aung San Suu Kyi had been officially released from six years of house arrest, and unknown at the time, more years of house arrest were soon to follow.
Originally published in 1997, this book is a timeless tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi's unwavering vision of peace and commitment to democracy in her military-run home country of Burma. Reading Aung San Suu Kyi's words, it is clear that years of seclusion under house arrest have not damaged her spirit or political aspirations. In fact, it appears as though her resilience and hope has taken on renewed strength over the years.
The first of this two-part interview can be found here.
The final question that Alan Clements asked Aung San Suu Kyi in the making of their book, The Voice of Hope was: "On the chance that you are re-arrested and held incommunicado, may I invite you to speak to those of us in the world who wish to support you and your people's aspirations for democracy and freedom?"
Stevie Cameron's On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver's Missing Women, was published last August after the Supreme Court upheld Pickton's multiple-murder conviction and lifted a publication ban. Cameron sat down for an interview on Oct. 6 while in Vancouver to give a talk in the Downtown Eastside, the troubled neighbourhood from which many of the missing women were abducted.
As I was interviewing Sheema Khan about the debut of her collection of essays Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman (TSAR Publications), The Globe and Mail columnist shared a truly Canadian moment with me.
"In 2002, my husband was making the Hajj in Mecca and I hadn't heard from him in a couple days," recalls Khan, a patent agent living in Ottawa, who is also a hockey mom and a Habs fan.
"He called me, and this was during the Olympics, and I told him the men's and women's hockey teams had won gold. He was so happy and he told his fellow Hajji's because they had no news. Well, he returned home after two weeks and the first thing he asks me is: 'who did we beat?'"
On Nov. 30, the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Seattle we spoke to organizer David Solnit about his new book compiling stories and evaluations of the success of the protest in Seattle. Solnit discusses the negative messaging in the mainstream media during and after the Battle of Seattle and how activists need to control their messaging.
Solnit also speaks about building a sustainable movement. After Seattle activists moved on to other projects and didn't evaluate the successes and failures of the Battle. 10 years later activist movements are combating crimes against the climate and need to learn from and build on these successes.