David Bollier: Imagining a New Politics of the Commons: A Fresh Way of Thinking about Life Beyond the MarketOctober 11, 2010
The commons is hugely generative in its own right. It is a value-creating sector that rivals the marketplace, and therefore deserves the same protection from government and respect from citizens.
Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 stab at sci-fi, Alphaville, is one part nineteen fifties crime flick and one part Orwellian prophecy.
Though the economic crisis has bred xenophobia in our political climate, Democrats should know better than to blame China for our woes.
On the occasion of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize, a video of Liu discussing freedom of expression in China.
Isabella Rossellini’s series of short films on the mating habits of certain species educates and entertains.
Getting into a war is generally a piece of cake. Getting out tends to be another matter altogether—especially when the commander-in-chief and his commanders in the field disagree on the advisability of doing so.
Luddites, rejoice. Letters of Note is a glimpse into the lives of famous historical figures, and an homage to their low-tech means of expression.
Having poured millions into the pockets of the Pakistani military and the civilian government, the US sees itself as having purchased the right to go wherever and whenever it wants, and kill whoever it deems an enemy.
This summer, the author of this post set out to explore just why long-term unemployment had risen to historic levels.
Wall Street will set up its casino wherever financial gambling is least regulated. The race to the bottom is now official.
One Massachusetts public school’s decision to include advertisements in their take-home notices proves that not even our public schools are free from the inundation of advertising.
Stephan Salisbury: Surveillance, America’s Pastime: A Hall of Shame of State Snooping, Prying, and Informing Aimed at Destroying the Fabric of Civil SocietyOctober 4, 2010
The tainting of character, the undermining of basic trust, the disruption of democratic politics—these are the great achievements of state surveillance. The goal of this furtive activity is not to dismantle terrorist networks but to disrupt legitimate civic activity.
Borrowing an idea from Colombia, Portland opens its streets to non-motorized traffic on Sunday celebrations.
The international non-profit Reprieve has filed legal action against the government of Pakistan for its role in the abduction and detainment of seven Pakistani citizens being held in Afghanistan without charge. What does this mean for the unstable democracy?
After having borrowed seven hundred billion dollars since 2001 to pay for tax cuts, it might be time for Congress to let them go.
Our generals are hooked on spending. Don’t expect them to discipline themselves. They won’t.
In the wake of the international outcry over Sakineh Ashtiani’s sentence to stoning for adultery, some Muslim activists have argued that stoning is theologically unfounded and Islamic Sharia is not inherently opposed to women’s rights.
An imagined conversation between Obama and a middle class resident from Des Moines, Iowa about the state of the economy.
Just as most of us finally learned that rivers should not be used as toxic dumps, so today we must learn that environments have the equivalent of operating systems.
In the wake of Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner’s beef with the New York Times over their star treatment of Franzen’s Freedom, we at Guernica Mag decided to review our own stats to see how we stack up in the male-female literary battle.
Last Friday, Guernica interviewee Fatima Bhutto appeared on Democracy Now to talk about her memoir and the devastation following the floods in Pakistan, a disaster that she says “ought to have been contained [and] could have been contained.”
Herbert Hoover and Andrew Mellon thought their economic policies would purge the rottenness out of the system. Instead, it purged morality out of the system and lead to strife for millions of Americans. Current Republican House leader John Boehner could do the same.
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward’s latest book contains hints of a story beyond gossip mongering, the significance of which seems to have eluded its author.
The authors of this post give their manifesto for the commons—twelve points to help us reconstitute our capacity for shared ownership, collaboration, and stewardship.
Given the growing economic strength of China, Brazil, and India, among other rising powers, the peak American moment as the sole superpower is now well past.
September 24, 2010
Our fiction editor’s theory on New York as a place of neutrality and a refuge from soul crushing lunches at Applebee’s…and his call for proselytizing Christians to leave New Yorkers alone.
Robert Reich: Why No Amount of Fiscal or Monetary Stimulus Will Be Enough, Given How Small A Share of Total Income the Middle Now ReceivesSeptember 23, 2010
After three decades of flat wages during which almost all the gains of growth have gone to the very top, the middle class no longer has the buying power to keep the economy going. All the coping mechanisms are exhausted.
An excerpt from the foundational work Whose Common Future: Reclaiming the Commons by environmental visionary Edward Goldstein.
Tom Engelhardt: One and a Half Cheers for American Decline: The Future’s Not Ours—and That’s Good NewsSeptember 22, 2010
Our country may be in decline, but the news isn’t all bad. It’s actually going to feel better to be just another nation, one more country, rather than the nation.
The author of this post attempts to humanize Ernest Withers, the FBI informant and civil rights photographer from the nineteen sixties, in the wake of the recent Memphis Commercial Appeal story.
Extending tax cuts to the top 2 percent richest Americans didn’t work for Bush, and certainly won’t work now. This is Reich’s call to arms for democrats to jump on the issue.
Kenya’s new constitution is more proof that we can learn from the developing world.
As its energy use ramps ever upward, China’s thirst for added energy could change the global power structure of the twenty-first century.
Why is Beethoven’s music still locked behind copyrights? Musopen attempts to release our shared cultural heritage to the world without restraints by freeing public-domain music from centuries ago.
|The Asia Society presents a live interview with Tariq Ali and Guernica editor Joel Whitney on Friday, September 17, on Obama’s foreign policy and the legacy of Bush.|
Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse: The American Way of War Quiz: This Was the War Month That Was (Believe It or Not)September 17, 2010
The first TomDispatch American Way of War Quiz. Pit your wits against the best the Pentagon has to offer.
On mission to give the Obamas a White House solar panel from the Jimmy Carter era, the author of this post and students from Unity College experience the enthusiasm gap first hand and learn that even symbolic acts are not free of bureaucratic politicization.
When artist Xiaoda Xiao was twenty years old, he was sent to a forced labor prison in his native China for defacing a portrait of Chairman Mao. This post features a documentary short of Xiao’s reflections on his experiences in labor prison.
Under escalating levels of traffic, the U.S. could (and should) follow Holland’s lead with a bicycle-friendly infrastructure.
The framers of the Constitution developed checks and balances to assure one branch didn’t accumulate too much power. But they never contemplated that one party could shut down the entire governmental system if it didn’t get what it wanted.
In response to Nick Turse’s critique of his recent war documentary Restrepo, Hetherington fires back: “I think his opinion of what needs to be said about the war has clouded his viewing of the film.”
Serious action on climate change may not be possible through legislation. We need hundreds of Howard Zinns and Edward Saids to prepare our youth for the climate-to-come.
American leaders have hailed the way Afghans are supposedly benefiting from the U.S. role in their country. But are they? Almost nine years of U.S. occupation has taken the country from unbearably dismal to something markedly poorer.
“Why teach the hard to reach — at-risk kids — in the first place?” It’s a fair question, one that deserves an answer.
In a reaction against recent anti-Muslim sentiments, Beacon Press celebrates five books published by Muslims.
Was the decision of the corporate media not to cover the Pakistan disaster intensively a major factor in the public apathy that followed?
This avatar-style animation video was designed by Consumer Watchdog to draw attention to Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s lack of regard for our online privacy.
The economy needs two whopping corporate tax cuts right now as much as someone with a serious heart condition needs Botox.
Tom Engelhardt: Will Our Generals Ever Shut Up?: The Military’s Media Megaphone and the U.S. Global Military PresenceSeptember 8, 2010
Today, you no longer need to be a retired military officer to offer play-by-play commentary on and analysis of our wars. Though nothing in the record indicates that anyone should listen to what these men have to say, the main narrators of those wars turn out to be none other than the generals running, or overseeing, them.
If food corporations rule, how do we avoid the mischief that our industrial food system is heir to? Could the days of an all-powerful national Food Czar be far off? Clean hands on sanitized cutting boards, building our own chicken coops, and bringing our voices loud and clear to city hall offer us a distinctly brighter set of possibilities.
The author of this post makes contact with a clandestine organization in an effort to obtain posters depicting victims of the Guatemalan genocide that killed two hundred and fifty thousand people.
In this piece, Bollier reveals how even your local post office isn’t free from the robotic arm of the marketing machine, and why an authentic face-to-face encounter during a monetary transaction is practically impossible in our day and age.
The new book by B.R. Meyers reveals why North Korea might be even stranger—and worse—than we thought and discusses the ideology behind this “racial state.”
For this author, the complicated, blurred relationships in The Kids are All Right hit close to home.
The stock market has as much to do with the real economy as the weather has to do with geology. Day by day there’s no relationship at all. Over time, weather and geology interact but the results aren’t evident for many years.
In this post, a photographer recounts the events of August 28, 1963 and shares a photo he took at the March on Washington.
On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to boost a policy of perpetual war. With his commitment to war in Afghanistan, President Obama is not only on the wrong side of history. He is also now propagating an exculpatory view of any and all U.S. war efforts.
Two years ago, the Secretary of the Swedish Academy that decides the Nobel Prize claimed that American literature had become too insular. The folks at ILP and Guernica are looking for any work that “broadens the landscape of North American literature outside of the borders of North America” to negate these charges of insularity.
With the economy so bad that the social fabric is coming undone, it is to the nation’s credit that many of the unemployed are receiving benefits.
David Bollier: The Founders as Mashup Mavens: Lewis Hyde Reveals How Knowledge and Culture are a Shared Legacy.August 31, 2010
Lewis Hyde’s book is a work of political history, legal scholarship, and a meditation on the commerce of the human spirit and creativity.
On August 25th, one of Guernica’s featured writers, Heidi Cullen, was the guest on the Colbert Report, where she discussed her book The Weather of the Future and was asked to “refrighten” Colbert about climate change.
In St. Louis, Detroit, and Houston, new parks foster economic opportunities and prove that investing in public space is a boost on local budgets.
|With two superfluous remakes soon to make their way to a theater near you, Wright takes a look at the top five movies that did not need do-overs.|
Andrew J. Bacevich: The Unmaking of a Company Man: An Education Begun in the Shadow of the Brandenburg GateAugust 27, 2010
Bacevich, a former military officer, discusses the moment twenty years ago when he realized orthodoxy is a sham and how the education of that epiphany forced him to reexamine the rules of Washington.
Subhankar Banerjee: Could This Be A Crime?: U.S. Climate Bill Is Dead While So Much Life On Our Earth Continues To PerishAugust 27, 2010
As trees in and around Santa Fe rapidly die due to a bark beetle invasion, the author of this post asks, “Will the economic-and-comfort-needs of our species always trump the survival-needs of all other species that also inhabit this Earth?”
The sooner we acknowledge that we live in the Age of Enclosure, the sooner we can develop the legal mechanisms for protecting that which belongs to all of us. This includes the latest endangered resource: yoga.
Republicans are calling the Democrat’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts on the richest 3 percent a “tax increase,” and demagoging that it will hurt the economy and small business. This is baloney, to put it politely.
In this excerpt, Roy Wilkins, a civil rights activist determined to live within the system, struggles to announce the death of W.E.B. Du Bois at the 1963 March on Washington.
For the author of this post, the premises of the debate initiated by Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent piece in Atlantic Monthly are palpably false and incredibly dangerous.
To commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28th, Beacon Broadside has published scans of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s program from that day.
How can a nation that has attained so much and claims such moral high ground in human rights and social values simultaneously pump out poisons that have sent American rates of birth defects, childhood cancer, asthma, and diabetes on an ever-rising trajectory?
Years before Wright County Egg had to recall of millions of rotten eggs for fear of salmonella, the company was an awful corporate citizen.
As Pakistan’s floods continue to rage, there seems to be no respite from the natural disaster compounded by poor infrastructure, corrupt and inept leadership and what Amnesty International USA is calling a ‘crisis of empathy.’
David Bollier: The Power of Open Data: How Large-Scale Sharing and Collaboration are Helping to Solve Medical MysteriesAugust 23, 2010
Science has always recognized the power of sharing in developing new knowledge, but the highly diverse research data on diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is not easily shared. This post emphasizes how the most fruitful way forward is to pursue an “open source” approach that places the basic building-blocks of knowledge into the commons.
Task Force 373 and its “capture/kill” policies may be a nightmare for Afghans. For the rest of us, it should be seen as a symptom of deeper policy disasters. After all, it raises a basic question: Is this country really going to become known as a global Manhunters, Inc.?
The fear of anonymity and oblivion keeps this novella by Lore Segal fresh and timely.
While Mitt Romney is right to focus his political efforts on the economy, Reich argues that Romney’s loony, wet-noodle economics won’t create American jobs.
What harm would befall the United States if we actually decided, against all odds, to close those hundreds and hundreds of bases, large and small, that we garrison around the world? What would happen to us if we were no longer the “sole superpower” or the world’s self-appointed policeman?
Every week, billions of dollars and uncounted lives are sacrificed in the service of what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.” While history is not exactly repeating, it is rhyming. Like a dirge.
Russian court jeopardizes a historic seed bank—and our ability to adapt to climate change.
In a follow-up to a previous post, Robert Reich urges us to forget the Neo-Hoover deficit hawks who say we have to cut government spending and to distrust the supply-siders who say we have to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
Khadija Sharife’s “FIFA’s Love of Tax Havens”, which appeared exclusively on Guernica‘s blog, was the only article from an online-only or non-major media outlet to be mentioned as a “winner” in The Sidney Hillman Foundation’s “Winners & Sinners” wrap-up.
The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg introduces an eloquent debate on voting systems, including IRV or “Instant-Runoff Voting.”
Tom Engelhardt: What If Washington…?: Five Absurd Things That Simply Can’t Happen in Wartime WashingtonAugust 16, 2010
As a boy, Engelhardt loved reading what-if history and science fiction books. Here are his own five what-ifs, five possibilities that—given our world—verge on the fictional.
Sweltering heat and blazing fires in Russia have contributed to devastating mudslides in Pakistan and China. Guernica counts down its top five reports of natural disasters.
“Calculating the cost of a destroyed ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico…means putting a price tag on things that are not meant to be priced. If you accept that a harbor seal’s life is indeed worth seven hundred dollars, and a killer whale’s three hundred thousand dollars, pretty soon you must accept that your own life has a price tag on it as well.”
On August 11 and 12, 1834, a riot fueled by anti-Catholic fervor resulted in the burning of an Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in what is now Somerville. In this excerpt from A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900, Stephen Puleo examines the height of Irish immigration to the city in the years following the riot, and the deeply anti-Catholic and anti-Irish discrimination the new arrivals faced.
If we didn’t have the military jobs program, the U.S. unemployment rate would be over 11.5 percent today. But wouldn’t it be better to have a jobs program that created things we really need?
Although people’s rights to their commons are often recognized and validated in smaller communities, scaling these lessons to the global level will require a new dimension of popular legitimacy and authority.
“For those of us [same-sex couples] who have children, it is tremendously important to be able to show that our families are just as valued as everyone else’s.”
Small businesses may finally be fighting back against the big-box stores that pay lower taxes by operating subsidiaries in tax havens.
A Lower Manhattan prayer space designed to promote reconciliation has become the dreaded “Mosque at Ground Zero.” This post explores the virulent racism and grassroots efforts opposing the Islamic cultural center two blocks from the former World Trade Center.
In this Q&A, Greene discusses her frustration at how politics and religion merge in small-town Tennessee.
The good guy prevented Bedford Falls from becoming Pottersville in the movie. But what would happen in today’s economy?
Today’s photography may be taking place against a fractured mediascape, but the neat dichotomy posed by these two shows belies the true vibrancy of emerging photographers.
|Reich responds to the “rhetorical vacuity” in the Wall Street Journal’s Letters to the Editor.|
Carlos A. Ball: What Judge Walker’s Ruling Tells Us About the Right’s Twenty-Year Campaign of Spreading Fear on Same-Sex MarriageAugust 6, 2010
It is one thing to say, during a political campaign, that same-sex marriage constitutes a threat to society or to the family or to children. It is another thing to back up those claims through the introduction of specific evidence in a court of law. In this post, the controversy over Proposition 8 is a battle of facts versus nonfacts.
The energy of Yellowfever’s angular, minimalist pop is contagious.
TIME’s recent cover demonstrates that assessing the performance of the ten-year occupation in Afghanistan in the mutilated-yet-expectant features of a young woman serves as an appropriately graphic visual depiction of our failures in that country.
Bill McKibben: We’re Hot as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take It Any More: Three Steps to Establish a Politics of Global WarmingAugust 5, 2010
In the fight to stop global warming, this post suggests, “We may need to get arrested. We definitely need art, and music, and disciplined, nonviolent, but very real anger.”