The Harper Record
The following is an adapted excerpt from the new book Arguing for Our Lives: A User's Guide to Constructive Dialogue, published by City Lights Books.
"The universe is an undifferentiated whole. About that we can say nothing more."
This catchy aphorism from political philosopher Bruce Wright may seem nonsensical at first glance, but is worth exploring in the service of deepening our intellectual humility. Facing multiple, cascading ecological crises, we humans need science more than ever and more than ever we need to understand the limits of science.
We have been great friends for the last ten years. Judy comes from a history of left and feminist activism, Velcrow is an activist film maker who has focused on environmental and spiritual activism. Over these ten years, we have learned a lot from each other, leading to collaboration on each of our projects.
'The Left' has a funny relationship with the world of management.
On the one hand, it can be a dirty word; something the 'bad guys' do, a tool of 'the system.'
There's good reason for such associations.
Since its birth, the management field has largely served to reinforce the social and political status quo, manipulating the vast majority of those who fall victim to it, to work ever-longer hours and give up any sense autonomy, as well as both literal and symbolic ownership over the fruits of their labour.
One doesn't have to look far to find 'management' at the core of a range of problems, from labour disputes, to plain ol' soul-sucking bureaucracy.
In traditional leftist working class politics, 'management is the problem.'
On Tuesday, March 11 2003, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon phoned Donald Rumsfeld, his opposite number in the U.S., and told him Britain might not participate in the invasion of Iraq. "We in Britain are having political difficulties," he said, "real difficulties, more than you might realise." He explained that there was a real chance an upcoming vote in parliament would go against the war, in which case Britain would have to 'disconnect' its troops from the operation. That night, Donald Rumsfeld went public about Blair's problems at a televised White House press conference, admitting Britain might not be showing up for the invasion. He reassured the media "there are workarounds." Blair, Hoon and their colleagues were furious.
Realizing that 20th anniversary of Critical Mass was less than a year away, late last year we put out an international call for thoughtful analyses. We wanted to go deeper and further than the 10th anniversary book had done. Shift Happens! is the result, and we are extremely happy with the quality and breadth of the writing we received. Several dozen contributors and a wide range of experiences across the Critical Mass world fill these pages, where the original concept is still recognizable but has also mutated and shifted over time and space in fascinating ways…
Published in 2011, shortly after the Occupy movement began, This Changes Everything was published offering insights for the many already involved -- actively protesting or expressing support in other ways -- and for the millions more who sympathize with the goal of a more equitable and democratic future. This Introduction is excerpted from the book.
Something happened in September 2011 so unexpected that no politician or pundit saw it coming.
Thomas Friedman is the New York Times' three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs columnist, known for his sustained cheerleading of the Iraq war and his faithful service on behalf of the corporate elite.
In this excerpt from The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, Belén Fernández discusses various aspects of Friedmanomics, such as his detection in 2010 of the need for a "Root Canal Politics" to compensate for the global financial recession and the profligacy of the baby boomer generation-defined simultaneously as the offspring of "The Greatest Generation" and the offspring of "the Tooth Fairy."
Zuccotti Park is located in my least favourite neighbourhood in New York City, halfway between Ground Zero and the Stock Exchange. It's usually a grey and lifeless part of the city inhabited by gawking tourists and rushing traders. The moment I stepped off the subway, however, I noticed a difference. Lively discussions were going on everywhere, one on one and in groups. Even before I stepped into the encampment, something felt different. It took me a while to understand what it was.