to do list

envision : nap : whisper : laugh : caress : sing : love : consider : hug : create : wonder
but above all

Traveling Hopefully

"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

-Arundhati Roy

Monday, May 31, 2010

Quote from: The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception

“Amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work. It is sought after as an escape from the mechanised work process, and to recruit strength in order to be able to cope with it again. But at the same time mechanisation has such power over a man’s leisure and happiness, and so profoundly determines the manufacture of amusement goods, that his experiences are inevitably after-images of the work process itself. The ostensible content is merely a faded foreground; what sinks in is the automatic succession of standardised operations. What happens at work, in the factory, or in the office can only be escaped from by approximation to it in one’s leisure time.

All amusement suffers from this incurable malady. Pleasure hardens into boredom because, if it is to remain pleasure, it must not demand any effort and therefore moves rigorously in the worn grooves of association. No independent thinking must be expected from the audience: the product prescribes every reaction: not by its natural structure (which collapses under reflection), but by signals. Any logical connection calling for mental effort is painstakingly avoided. As far as possible, developments must follow from the immediately preceding situation and never from the idea of the whole. For the attentive movie-goer any individual scene will give him the whole thing. Even the set pattern itself still seems dangerous, offering some meaning – wretched as it might be – where only meaninglessness is acceptable. Often the plot is maliciously deprived of the development demanded by characters and matter according to the old pattern. Instead, the next step is what the script writer takes to be the most striking effect in the particular situation. Banal though elaborate surprise interrupts the story-line.”

— Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, 1944

Friday, May 28, 2010

Commodification of Sexuality

"We need to recognise that pornography is, and can only ever be, a commodification of our sexuality; genuine sexual liberation cannot be purchased, it does not come in a consumer package." --antiplondon

Comment by Tim: "...all too often, people aren’t ready to face that truth. They claim to agree with anticapitalism but aren’t ready to challenge consumerism. They say they are feminist or pro-feminist but then deny that what they watch/buy/endorse has anything to do with the oppression of women."

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality & Relationships

"Nothing shows any better than pornography what you get from capitalism." -- Richard Wolff

"Pornography delivers patriarchal messages to men’s brain by the penis." -- Gail Dines

"To us, pornography presents an opportunity to examine the roots of the problems we are facing – patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy – in their most blatant, naked and rawest forms. When this exploitation can stir and stimulate our most irrational and uncensored sexual core, we know how deep we have internalized and naturalized such inequality." -- The Filmmakers

A full-length 'watermarked' video, as well as copies for purchase, are available at Media Education Foundation.

The film web site.


During the "porn war" in the 1980s and early 1990s, the feminists focused on the harm that pornography has perpetuated on women through its producers and consumers. Although some of the interviewees did experience or witness such horrendous sexual violence done to women that was connected to pornography, we think for the majority of men and women the effects of pornography were less overt and dramatic but still no less profound. That is why the focus of the film is on sexuality and relationships. But when we explored deeper and deeper into the issues, what concerned us the most was beyond how pornography affects, but what it reveals about the world we live in and the mechanisms that shape and maintain it.

J.M. Productions' Gag Factor is indeed hard to watch when the female performers choke and cry because the male performers' penises are inserted in their throat so deeply. The crucial issues are not whether a woman freely "chooses" to work in the film, but why an economic system would pay the women who are willing to be gagged 50 times more money than her McDonald's job and whether this is the best way to organize our labor system. Also, condemning the producers as being particularly misogynistic does not go far; instead, we should question: why would a system reward private enterprise to make a movie like this; why there are so many consumers who would watch it and gain sexual pleasure? Pornography is where patriarchy and capitalism meet.

Theme-wise, this whole film can be summed up by two short statements: "Nothing shows any better than pornography what you get from capitalism," by Rich Wolff (Professor of Economics) and "Pornography delivers patriarchal messages to men’s brain by the penis," by Gail Dines (Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies).

The defenders of pornography like to say that pornography is just a symptom or a reflection of a male-dominated culture. But pornography does more than passively "reflect;" it represents masculinity in such a way that male dominance and aggression becomes natural, normal and even beneficial. As pornographer Ernest Greene puts it, "There is a natural component of power as an erotic stimulant in all sexuality." Or in the same vein, pornographer Joe Gallent states, "Every woman I have ever met has had a rape fantasy at some point. Men have violence fantasies about domination, and that’s just how it is." Pornography indeed perpetuates, reinforces and normalizes sexism, but burning all porn will not end male violence and sexual exploitation.

To us, pornography presents an opportunity to examine the roots of the problems we are facing – patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy – in their most blatant, naked and rawest forms. When this exploitation can stir and stimulate our most irrational and uncensored sexual core, we know how deep we have internalized and naturalized such inequality.

So we go to the roots. The ambition of the filmmakers may seem very modest but actually no less profound: we want people to really see what they have been watching all along. It is fascinating that almost without exception, the porn users who were interviewed admitted that they felt uncomfortable or guilty when they watched certain scenes because they knew the women on screen were not treated right, and they did not want to be there. Greg, a 20-year-old college student, said at the end of the film, “The second I have an orgasm and that passion kind of sinks out of my body and you’re still watching the movie, you start to really see what’s going on and it’s kind of just foul… and you just kind of wonder like, this is not sexy, this is not sex, this is not how I want to experience sex."

We wish that viewers of our film do not ignore the discomfort – not turn down the volume, not fast-forward the bothering scenes, and not use "This is free speech," "She chooses to do it" or "This is free porn, I didn't buy it" to justify their consumption. Let's just simply and honestly see what exactly turns us on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection

61, rue Henri Stacquet, B-1030 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 230 6813 / Fax: +32 2 245 6297

Barcelona, May 15th 2010


May 15, World Conscientious Objection Day in Barcelona

On World Conscientious Objection Day EBCO board held its annual meeting in Barcelona and supported a series of activities organised by EBCO’s Catalan member organisation,Moviment per la Pau (Movement for Peace), to commemorate the anniversary of 10 YEARS WITHOUT MILITARY SERVICE IN SPAIN AND 25 YEARS OF THE MOVIMENT FOR PEACE, a key actor in this process. The representatives of conscientious objectors in Europe were received by the President of the Catalan Parliament Mr. Ernest Benachand held a one day conference in the Open University in Barcelona.

The abolition of military service was a popular and democratic conquest, as a result of social and civic participation, and it’s important to extract good practices from the results obtained with the abolition of military service for other dynamics, analyze the role Catalonia played in its abolition and serve as a platform to set out the peace agenda in the European Union”, stated Mr. Jordi Tolrà, Representative of the Movement for Peace.

We are deeply disappointed that the E.U. gives no solution to the grave human rights violations persisting in Member States and Candidate Member States regarding conscientious objectors, although the right to conscientious objection is recognised under Article 10 of the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights. Conscientious objectors in the E.U. should be able to exercise their right to refuse to kill without facing any discrimination or prosecution. Conscientious objectors from third countries should be granted refugee status when they are seeking asylum in E.U.”, said Mr. Gerd Greune, EBCO President.

"It is not the time to split the Union because of self-made financial crisis as politicians and media in various countries are trying, but to end the waste of resources for military spending and to reduce the number of soldiers within the E.U.. Tax payers in the E.U. are spending more than 400 billion Euros for the military. 1.2 million soldiers in Europe are more than unacceptable", Mr. Greune added.

EBCO criticises Britain where a former professional soldier, Joe Glenton, had refused to serve in Afghanistan "for reasons of principle", is still imprisoned, having lost his appeal against a nine-month sentence. EBCO urges Britain to fully recognise the human right to conscientious objection and stop the prosecutions of conscientious objectors.

EBCO criticises Greece where already in 2010 two conscientious objectors were convicted to prison sentences by military courts: Giorgos Monastiriotis, former professional soldier who refused to participate in the war in Iraq on ideological grounds in 2003, was convicted to five-month suspended prison sentence; and Evangelos Mihalopoulos, ideological conscientious objector who refused to serve the punitive civilian service in 2007, was convicted to eight-month suspended prison sentence. EBCO urges Greece to stop the prosecutions of conscientious objectors and fully comply with the European standards on conscientious objection. EBCO welcomes the decision of the Greek Minister of Defence to review the Greek law on civilian service and calls for a purely civilian service of equal duration to the military service, with no restrictions and exclusions.

EBCO criticises Turkey, where Enver Aydemir, is still in prison sentenced to ten-month imprisonment because of his conscientious objection based on his religious beliefs as a Muslim. EBCO urges Turkey to fully recognise the human right to conscientious objection, stop the prosecutions of conscientious objectors and implement the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Ülke case.

EBCO criticises the last 7 out of the 27 E.U. member states which are still imposing conscription this year (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Germany), and especially Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece where civilian service remains punitive (in the northern part of Cyprus the right to conscientious objection is not even recognised).

EBCO welcomes the recent Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)4 of the Council of EuropeCommittee of Ministers to member states on the human rights of members of the armed forces (24 February 2010). The Recommendation stipulates amongst others that “professional members of the armed forces should be able to leave the armed forces for reasons of conscience” and that they “should not be subject to discrimination or to any criminal prosecution”.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Marxian View (Airdate May 8th - see below)

Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Marxian View from UVC-TV 19 on Vimeo.

Lecture by Professor Rick Wolff, Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst on October 7, 2008.

Full version (1 hour) available at


Timezone: P M C E
Saturday, May 8th
03:00 am

Category: Documentaries

In the 1950s, the economy was booming and America was flourishing. Wages were rising, and shopping malls had to be built to keep up with our mad desire to consume. Production and wages led to abundance. And when we couldn't afford to buy it, we started to borrow to get it. Capitalism ruled the world; we were living the American dream.

Now, after all those years of blissful prosperity, we suddenly find ourselves waking up in an economic twilight zone. What happened? Is this a normal bust, or is it what happens when "Capitalism Hits the Fan?"

To answer these questions, we turn to renowned economist Richard Wolff. Clearly and understandably, he explains the origins and scope of the economic meltdown we're in. Is it almost over? Or are there further catastrophes ahead? Find out in Capitalism Hits the Fan: Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown.

Peace of the Anarchy: Ammon Hennacy and Other Angelic Troublemakers

Google Video is having problems lately. I'll keep this here to hold the place until I can get video that works.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Yes Men

Everyone needs to know about the vigilante justice of The Yes Men. In these two great articles, Richard Marcus does an excellent job of introducing them. The first is an interview with Yes Man Mike Bonnano and the second is a review of the DVD.

Media Education Foundation

Media Education Foundation, which makes "documentary films, challenging media" is a great resource for materials that expose and examine the effects of capitalism on the human psyche. Below is a tiny sampling of their videos, many of which can be found online free.

Consuming Kids
The Commercialization of Childhood

"Consuming Kids throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine..."

Generation M
Misogyny in Media & Culture

"The film tracks the destructive dynamics of misogyny across a broad and disturbing range of media phenomena: including the hyper-sexualization of commercial products aimed at girls, the explosion of violence in video games aimed at boys, the near-hysterical sexist rants of hip-hop artists and talk radio shock jocks, and the harsh, patronizing caricatures of femininity and feminism that reverberate throughout the mainstream of American popular culture."

Tough Guise (Unabridged)
Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

"While the social construction of femininity has been widely examined, the dominant role of masculinity has until recently remained largely invisible. Tough Guise is the first educational video geared toward college and high school students to systematically examine the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century."

Killing Us Softly
Advertising's Image of Women

"One of the films that struck me the most was 'Killing Us Softly', the documentary on how advertising and the whole media in general can basically run this entire world." --Essayist

Killing Us Softly 4 is available at

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Politics

Documentary featuring Tom Ferguson, Noam Chomsky and other prominent thinkers...

...another must see by Jonathan Shockley (aka mr1001nights)

How Capitalism Constructs Reality for Children


Complete documentary available at

Slim Hopes: Advertising & the Obsession With Thinness