James acknowledged their centrality in the opening of the play. James remained firmly convinced of the effectiveness of drama as a medium for exploring what he considered to be the key political questions — the relationship between individual and society, the personality in history. Later, in when he was planning to write a second play based on the life of Harriet Tubman, he recognised the difficulties inherent in such a project:.
The play will represent a conflict between slaves and slave-owners, an exemplification of the age-old conflict between the oppressed and oppressors. It will, therefore, be of exceptional interest in the world of today and particularly of tomorrow. Politics is a profession. Only people who know about politics can write about it. Politics is made by people, people who live for politics, but who hate, love, are ambitious, mean, noble, jealous, kind, cruel.
And all these human passions affect their politics. That is true but that is the appearance. But the essence of the thing is different. Political and social forces change the circumstances in which people live. Now the job is to translate the economic and political forces into living human beings, so that one gets interested in them for what they are as people. If that is not done, then you will have perhaps a good history, good politics, but a bad play. His analysis was deeply marked by his particular political allegiance, though a number of the ideas central to his interpretation of the slave revolution raised, implicitly, a challenge to certain assumptions which were commonplace on the revolutionary Left.
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First of all, he cast doubt on the assumption that the revolution would take place first in Europe, in the advanced capitalist countries, and that this would act as a model and a catalyst for the later upheavals in the underdeveloped world. Secondly, there were clear indications that the lack of specially-trained leaders, a vanguard, did not hold back the movement of the San Domingo revolution. The problem James, and many others, faced in the s was to define their position as revolutionary Marxists opposed to the Stalinism of Moscow and its British wing, the Communist Party.
The question of the nature of the Soviet Union dominated debate among intellectuals and activists as the world drew closer to another war, raising again the spectre of revolution in its aftermath. World Revolution was such an attempt. James relied largely on secondary sources, gathered from across Europe, to build a devastating case. The consequences were far-reaching; not just in the barbarities Stalin perpetrated domestically, but also in his suppression, through the Third International, of the workers' movements in France, Germany and Spain.
He attempted to expose the dialectical interplay between the key personalities, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, and the much greater historical and political forces at work in this critical period. Despite the vigorous discussion in Mexico in between James and Trotsky on a number of the issues raised by World Revolution , James had already begun to chart a new course in the interpretation of the method and ideas of revolutionary Marxism.
At a time when Stalinism was pervasive among the British intelligentsia, James was often reminded that it was his Trotskyist politics which stood in the way of a promising career as a writer, historian and critic. But by James had moved a long way from his early ambitions. Europe, in turn, now confined his extraordinary energies and intellectual range.
He seized the chance to visit the United States; and the conditions of the New World inspired his greatest and most original work. These topics formed the basis of the nationwide speaking tour which James embarked upon shortly after his arrival in November It was towards the end of his exhausting schedule, at a meeting in Los Angeles, that James first met Constance Webb. Almost immediately he began his correspondence with her. Something powerful had been unlocked by his experience of America. He sought to articulate it through his exchanges with Constance; and the exploration of the differences between them in background, race, gender and age became a creative force behind their remarkable relationship.
The synthesis he was seeking, the full and free integration of his own personality within the context of his love for a woman, he recognised as a general need among people in the modern world. Consciously employing the dialectical method, James examined the relationship between chance and necessity within his own life. But his letters showed, too, how far he could extend his analysis, from the very personal details of self-discovery to some of the most fundamental questions concerning the future of humanity. At the centre, however, was Constance, the young American woman, who grasped instinctively the connections between those facets of human experience which he had to work hard to bring into an active relationship.
The question of human creativity, the central theme of the letters, not only enabled James to make a direct connection with Constance Webb, particularly through his encouragement of her writing of poetry; but, at the same time, it took him to the heart of the civilization process itself. He recognised it as the expression of the experiences of a twentieth century American woman. He saw Constance as a product of the most conscious age in human history; growing up with material advantages unknown to her European counterparts and taking for granted, as the property of everyone, some of the most advanced political ideas known to mankind.
Her poetry reflected this. But it also, inescapably at its core, gave expression to the conflict which raged through modern society, nowhere more intensely than in America — the conflict between her highly developed sense of her own unique personality and the form of society which dissipated or stifled all creative energy.
These exchanges with Constance Webb, during the s, cannot be considered apart from the very ambitious project — to understand American society on its own terms — which James had set himself soon after his arrival in the United States. His approach was to see America as a civilization in its own right. But he saw, too, that it contained within its essential features the key to the future of civilization as a whole. For almost a decade James pursued this project privately, while being deeply immersed in more conventional political work which arose through his involvement in the Trotskyist movement.
These two areas of his life were kept separate, indeed they often appeared to be in conflict; but the connections between them were profound and released, in James, an explosion of intellectual creativity. This raised again — now with great political urgency — the question of the nature of the Soviet Union and whether it could still be defended as a revolutionary society, albeit one with serious flaws. In order to clarify his position, James embarked on a serious study of the Russian revolution and the development of the Workers' State.
It was a question of what was the type of Marxism which led to one conclusion and the type of Marxism which led to the other. Two of his closest associates were women — Grace Lee, a philosophy Ph. In one of his letters to Constance Webb, James gave a valuable picture of their collective working method:. Grace, Rae, I and another friend.
We have just worked out the basis for the defence of Germany — pointing out its great contribution to civilization in the past and the necessity of its incorporation into the Europe of today — a serious contribution — the only contribution I fear that will be made to any serious understanding of the problem of Germany.
It is going to be fine. As we talked I felt very very pleased. One person writes but in the world in which we live all serious contributions have to be collective; the unification of all phases of life make it impossible for a single mind to grasp it in all its aspects. Although one mind may unify, the contributory material and ideas must come from all sources and types of mind.
The best mind is the one so basically sound in analytical approach and capacity to absorb, imagination to fuse, that he makes a totality of all these diverse streams. Towards the end of the s the members of the Johnson Forest Tendency began to publish the results of their intense collaborative exercise. It is one of the very few places, too, that James offered a definition of socialism — the complete expression of democracy — mindful as he always was of its distortion through identification with Stalinism.
This article preceded the much more detailed discussion of method in the documents James wrote from Nevada Notes on Dialectics , With tremendous verve and historical sweep, James sets out to trace the development of mankind — the objectification of the subject, the search for completeness, integration, universality. At the centre of his analysis stood the Russian revolution, for it opened a window on this process. It represented an advanced stage in this historical movement; and yet it was still imperfect, not fully realised.
It is the creative power, the democratic desires, the expansion of the human personality, the record of human achievement that was the Russian revolution. It is these which have called forth the violence, the atrocities, the state organised as Murder Incorporated. Only such violence could have repressed democracy. For James, however, Stalinist Russia expressed in the most extreme form the contradictions which ran throughout modern society, as the increasing power and self-knowledge of ordinary people came up against enhanced powers of rule from above in the form of bureaucratic structures.
James was aware of these tensions all around him in the United States. It was to be seen nowhere more clearly than in the contradictory position of blacks, their integration and segregation, within American society. It was, and remains, a remarkably prescient document. The problem became one of thought. Following Hegel, James contrasted the operation of dialectical thinking, creative reason, with the static categories of understanding which he identified as the fundamental flaw in the Trotskyist method itself.
The Class Struggle was an important statement on this question. In putting forward the theory of state capitalism, James and his associates in the Johnson Forest Tendency offered a set of conceptual tools inseparable from the dynamic of historical development, that is, one which matched the development of capitalism itself. In contrast, they concluded that Trotsky and his followers, trapped within the sterile Stalin-Trotsky debate, had separated their understanding of the Soviet Union from the more general movement of modern history, failing thereby to root the analysis of bureaucracy in an understanding of the stage capitalism had reached worldwide.
According to James, the contradictions of the Workers' State were still to be found in the process of production. Nationalisation had transferred the struggle between capital and labour to the level of the state, a characteristic of advanced capitalist systems everywhere, including the United States. In the case of the Soviet Union, however, the Party had become fused with the state.
Having reached this position, James and his associates broke with the notion of the Party as the revolutionary vanguard. The logical development of their analysis was to see that the next decisive stage in history would be the overthrow of the party itself, the emergence of the people against the structures of bureaucratic rule. Cumulatively then the philosophical and political conclusions which James reached during his American years made his severance from the Trotskyist movement inevitable.
Through his work on history and the dialectic and his engagement with pressing political questions in the United States, particularly the black question, James had identified serious problems in Trotskyist ideas and method. Furthermore he had defined a new position with respect to the nature of the Soviet Union and the role of the vanguard party. He recognised, though, that the tradition in the twentieth century had become distorted and obscured through the bitter struggle between Trotsky and Stalin; and in establishing the foundations of his new, independent Marxist position, James traced his ideas directly from the work of Lenin.
He often said so himself. Undoubtedly, the documents he wrote as a member of the Johnson Forest Tendency constitute a major contribution to the theory and practice of Marxism, extending the tradition to incorporate the distinctive features of the world in which James lived. But they represent more than this. They made possible the original work which came in the following years. The year was a watershed for James. He felt palpably his freedom from the narrow questions of revolutionary politics which had, for so many years, absorbed his energies.
At the same time his intellectual confidence was secure, rooted as it was in his mastery of the philosophical foundations of his Marxist perspective. Although in some ways he was returning to the themes of his early years, his approach was deeply marked by the new and original conception of political life which he had developed by the end of his stay in the United States. It had been shaped decisively by the conditions of the New World. At the centre of this vision was his recognition of the creative energies of ordinary men and women and their critical place in modern history as the force for humanity.
If the conventional political work James had carried out in the Johnson Forest Tendency had brought him to this point, it was, above all, his experience of living in America which changed and moulded his mature perspective on the world. What James had discovered in the New World was that the question he considered to lie at the heart of the civilization process itself — the relationship between individual freedom and social life — was most starkly posed.
He understood the movement of the modern world to be one of increasing integration. The growing interconnectedness of things through the expansion of communications, the centralisation of capital, the accumulation of knowledge, the breakdown of national boundaries, was mirrored, in his view, by the increasing sophistication and awareness of the human subject.
But never before had the individual personality been so fragmented and restricted in the realisation of its creative capacities. James uncovered in America an intense desire among people to bring the separate facets of human experience into an active relationship, to express their full and free individuality within new and expanded conceptions of social life.
James was conscious of the struggle within his own life, for he, too, was seeking integration. It found striking expression in the handwritten note to Constance Webb which James attached to the back of his essay, Dialectical Materialism and the Fate of Humanity. He wrote:. This is the man who loves you. I took up dialectic five years ago. I knew a lot of things before and I was able to master it.
I know a lot of things about loving you. I am only just beginning to apply them. I can master that with the greatest rapidity — just give me a hand. I feel all sorts of new powers, freedoms etc. You released so many of my constrictions. We will live. This is our new world — where there is no distinction between political and personal any more. Unfortunately for James the distinction was etched deeply in his personality.
It had been reinforced over many years by his involvement in the revolutionary movement, particularly by the difficult conditions under which he had carried out his definitive political work while in America. By the late s the tensions between his political role in the Johnson Forest Tendency and his personal commitment to a shared life with Constance Webb were almost tearing him apart.
He knew that his future work would take him in new directions; and he felt, acutely, the expansion of his creative powers as he made the leap from Europe to America and shook himself free, at last, from the confines of intellectual and political discourse. His work on American civilization was an attempt to give expression to this newly found freedom.
We will honor the innocent victims of gun violence as well tackle some of its root causes such as poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, and mass incarceration. After the march and rally there will be on the spot employment opportunities, information on home ownership and affordable housing, mentorship and summer camp for kids, and entrepreneurship opportunities for neighborhood residents. Highlighted on this day will be Young Empire Detroit. YED This is a collaboration of over 60 groups, individuals, and organizations who have come together with knowledge experience and expertise in creating businesses.
Mentors are created from this to help young people become entrepreneurs. This 5o1c3 specializes in entrepreneurship, job readiness, activism, and community development. At the event will also be support groups for families dealing with grief and organizations created after the tragic loss of a loved one to help others now being affected by gun violence. At 10am we gather for the rally. At 11am we march. At 12noon we network and strategize. The next day we continue to go to work on behalf of those who no longer have a voice.
Stand with us, march with us, work with us. Let us put an end to gun violence!!! Barry Randolph Please share the video! April 22, in Living for Change. Hantz Farms is briefly back in the news this week. That means Hantz is getting a more than 10 parcels for every one he is giving up. And he is getting these additional parcels for 8. That is the price he negotiated six years ago with the Bing administration. It is a sweet deal for Hantz. He is getting ten times the property and at one tenth the cost.
In addition to helping consolidate the land the city wants to give to Fiat Chrysler, this little deal will allow Hantz to consolidate his one square mile farm dream. All of this is happening without any public oversight or comment. The proposal has been rushed to City Council and they are set to vote on Tuesday April 23, The last time City Council discussed a deal with John Hantz, the chambers were packed.
An open meeting with them on the East side saw more than people turn out to voice their objections on one of the coldest nights in January. But it makes some things very clear. The purpose of the Land Bank is not to stabilize neighborhoods or keep people in their homes. It is to enable the Mayor to give away the city at the lowest possible price to the richest, whitest people he can find. We are exploring options. It is hard to believe any developer could have come up with a better set of options than those offered by Mayor Duggan.
He wants to take land off the speculative market to drive the prices up. The consequences of rising prices are clear. Higher property taxes, higher insurance, more financial speculation and less stable neighborhoods. While the City Council is not likely to stop this deal, there is a great deal they can do to stop the worst consequences of it in the lives of people. They should immediately establish a moratorium on property tax increases for currently occupied homes, develop the capacity for community land banks, and put a moratorium on water shut offs and foreclosures.
They should also establish effective rent controls and mechanisms for people to hold absentee land lords accountable. This latest land grab by Hantz is an outrage to any sense of fairness or justice. It reveals who the city values and the extraordinary efforts this mayor will make to assist white businessmen in getting what they want. The tour and the reflective conversations provided a space to share the evolutionary thinking as we carry out our mission to nurture community leadership based upon visionary organizing.
In the tour format we are able to tell the story of the rise and fall of the American Dream and the question what it means t be living in a moment of great transition from one historical epoch to the next stage in human evolution.
Fanon:The Journey Begins (A:TLAR)
Dakarai Carter shared his involvements with Detroit Summer, Wayne Curtis talked about the importance of the urban farming, peace zones for life ,and his involvement with the Black Panther Party. Kim Sherobbi shared her work at Birwood with middle school student, the evolving block club network and Women Creating Caring Communities. Our visitors learned the importance of placed based organizing, the need to create liberated territories, and about efforts to create new, value based relationships among people.
We are facing an epochal crisis in capitalism requiring us to redefine our relationships to each other and to the planet. Today we have responsibilities and opportunities to usher in a new system. It is our time to create the beloved community rooted in local history and emerging contradictions. Our tours begin at Elmwood Cemetery , acknowledging the presence of ancestors who give us wisdom and strength. Here, in land holding the shape of centuries of wind and water, we remember the resistance to colonialism by Chief Pontiac and honor Bloody Run Creek that still flows defiantly.
Carlos and Tyree introduce people to challenge rationalism and linear thinking through unleashing their imaginations as they relate to upcycling and creating wind power for energy and through found art initiatives. They represent the challenge to find your passions and commit to do what we really, really want to do. The Michigan Coalition for Human rights began in In that year the US elected Ronald Reagan as president, ushering in the political power of counter revolutionary forces. In those days it was called the New Right. Still fighting communism and determined to re-establish US military might after its defeat in Viet Nam, Reagan solidified the organizational and intellectual foundations of the forces that would ultimately bring Donald Trump to the White House.
In Detroit, as industry continued to leave and as federal supports disappeared, we faced deep questions about the kind of city we would be. We organized to keep Casino gambling out of the city and to create peace in our communities with Save our Sons and Daughters and d We the People to Reclaim our Streets. The struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and the divestment movement inspired national civil disobedience and organizing on campuses, town halls and churches as people took a stand for human rights.
Rashida Tlaib was the guest speaker, offering clear direction and analysis for this time. She then shared the following:. MCHR then gave out awards. The first award wen to Jonathan Roberts who also talked about movement building, the urgency of now and the need to focus on liberation. In , he spearheaded city-wide campaign preventing homes from being auctioned off after foreclosure.
The program closed with a call for young people, to join the and Freedom Tours. This gathering acknowledged the spirit that we live in movement times, in times of urgency and calls for actions beyond voting, beyond calling your representatives. The future is now! Thank you MCHR for a spirited and engaging evening. April 15, in Living for Change. Sanctuary cities are back in the news.
Trump has renewed his efforts to punish cities that have declared sanctuary for people coming to this country seeking safety and new ways of life. In both a speech and a tweet, Trump vowed he is thinking about rounding up people who are being detained at the border and sending them to cities that have declared sanctuary.
He is taking special aim at California. No one but Trump and his advisor Stephen Miller support this. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. The notion of shipping people to Sanctuary cities has been pushed repeatedly by Miller. Trump pays little attention to the law in his efforts to whip up anti-immigrant hatred and to intimidate those who oppose him. He has persisted in efforts to block funds to sanctuary jurisdictions. At least seven federal courts have blocked Trumps unilateral efforts to cut funds to sanctuary jurisdictions.
It is immoral. It is unethical. It is sophomoric. It is petulant. And it is par for the course. Bennie G. This is the context giving rise to equally cruel, cowardly, and immoral efforts at the Michigan State Legislature. The bills were originally introduced with names that clearly explained what they intended. In an effort to make them more palatable the names were changed Tuesday. But changing their names does not change their intent. Nor does it change the reality that this is an effort rooted in racism and xenophobia. It is an attempt to bring Michigan in line with inhuman and callous policies advocated by Trump.
It is an effort to ask us to endorse cruelty. We should resist these bills forcefully. By now it sure is clear that we cannot appease Trump and his ilk. If history has taught us anything, it is that only fearless love can overcome hate. A tiny house program in Detroit helps people avoid homelessness, and get a head start on building equity. April 9, in Living for Change.
As most of you know, a devastating fire burned down our main office early Friday morning. Thankfully no one was inside the building and no one was injured. We also found a symbol connected to the white power movement spray-painted on the parking lot connected to the main office. While we do not know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally. Their attempts to increase in size and scale impact the realities of our daily lives here because the majority of Black people in this country reside in southern states.
We know that anti-Semitic attacks have rocked the Jewish community. Even in the face of these realities, the southern freedom movement is alive and well. Our folks are winning campaigns. People are fighting for progressive policies and using direct action to hold people in power accountable. Highlander is a sacred place built by communities of the most affected people and it has become a home to those who believe in freedom and collective liberation here in the south, across the U. S and around the world. Because of our history we are not surprised that this space, one where marginalized people working across sectors, geographies and identities show up consistently, has been repeatedly targeted over our 87 years of existence.
The safety of our people is and has always been our first concern. The investigation is nowhere near over. We are continuing to survive and monitor the process that takes more time in a rural geography with limited public resources. The Tennessee Bomb and Arson people will continue to do theirs. We are not confused about how rarely people are ever charged with arson; however, we are surviving and monitoring these investigations.
This is a time for building our power. Now is the time to be vigilant. To love each other and support each other and to keep each other safe in turbulent times. Now is not the time to dismiss how scary things are, which makes it even more important to have concrete assessments of concrete conditions, and sophisticated strategies to build a new world. It is the day Martin Luther King Jr. It is also the day he was murdered, one year later. Over the past two years, this day has been acknowledged widely.
In thousands of people gathered to read Breaking the Silence and discuss its meaning 50 years later. Last year, people gathered to consider how movements live beyond individuals, shifting and changing to overcome the challenges we all face. This year, these events received little public attention. Perhaps these moments of collective experience are dimming.
Most of the people who were part of them are gone now, especially those closest to King. Still, in honor of that day, I always read King words. I find them a searing indictment of who we are, and a compassionate longing for who we might become. So, it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. There he announced. These words were followed by another threat to close the border and more bluster about the wall.
Trump was especially flattered by a plaque that his Secretary of Homeland Security had installed in October of , to ensure that Trump got credit for a little over two miles of new fence, initiated by his predecessor. Border Patrol. Last week the people held under a bridge, sleeping on gravel, were let go and the ACLU is filing a suit on their behalf. Without immediate attention and oversight, we will continue to risk the lives of those seeking refuge in our country. Our children will remember what has happened to them and what we choose to do. These are critical days.
April 4, in Living for Change. As we continue to mourn this great loss in our community, remember her family, close friends, and comrades. A legend, mother, sister, wife, a righteous woman of immovable conviction, water warrior, tireless champion for the people and challenger of the status quo, fierce anti-racist, a trainer and educator of generations, Lila Mae Leaks Cabbil will be sorely missed. Congrats, Mama Aneb! Aneb Kgositsile, or Dr. You can read more about her honor here. Ending White Supremacy, Here, and Now The physical destruction of White Supremacy in all of its embodiments requires a political clarity about the moment in which we are living.
How much of this still applies today? Of the failure of so-called White allies to support unapologetic calls for uncompromising Black liberation in our lifetime, is El Hajj Malik El Shabazz not speaking prophetically then about our now? Listen with intent to act. The Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy HALA is a free in-school or after-school arts education program designed to empower students in grades 4 through 12 with the tools they need to be active change agents in their community. Click to check out the HALA brochure or visit the website for more information.
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We love you, too! Our mailing address is:. April 2, in Living for Change. April 2nd, This marks a victory for one of the most sustained, imaginative, and persistent campaigns for environmental justice anywhere. Across Detroit people who pulled babies in carts to protest pollution can now share the good news with their grandchildren. I vividly remember going to one of the first hearings held by the Environmental Protection Agency with James and Grace Lee Boggs more than 30 years ago. James had agreed to give testimony against the incinerator on behalf of the Detroit Greens.
He argued that the incinerator was taking us in the wrong direction. Its need for trash to burn to produce electricity depended on increasing consumption and waste. Instead, he argued, we should be developing policies to decrease our consumption and encourage recycling and reuse. He also talked about the finances of the project, predicting that Wall Street banks would become an increasing burden on city finances. He concluded his remarks reminding people that our major hospitals, meat packing, and fresh food centers all were in the path of daily cancer producing pollutants.
People were being placed at risk every time they ate something or went to the hospital to be cured of the asthma or cancer caused by that very air. Then, with a dramatic gesture, he ripped the shirt off, revealing another. Then another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another. Harold walked up to the panel and asked them to look closely at the bird. He wanted his grand-children to be able to see such beauty, to hear its song.
He warned that if the incinerator continued, it would be a death sentence to such fragile life. Dressed for tea, a young mother read her remarks. I was not prepared for the depth of her testimony. She explained her group started talking about the smell of the incinerator at social gatherings. They had seen some of the protests and had started to wonder if the air carrying the smell was carrying other things into their community. They developed a process to test air quality systematically and had found alarming levels of pollutants, well above the levels allowed by the EPA.
They had also found that in the first three months of the year, the air contained especially high levels of lead, cambium, and mercury as well as toxins related to the burning of plastics. The three months after Christmas, she said, were the worst, because toys and batteries were tossed away. For years these arguments have been repeated, deepened, and become more insightful. But their basic truth continues.
There are many lessons to learn from this long struggle. Learning to listen to voices motivated by care and compassion, rather than corporate greed, protects life. Amp has a new Mission and Vision. Want to visualize inequality? View cities from above. March 26, in Living for Change. Wright Museum of African American History, Barclay has been filling up the airways, giving interviews and penning columns. These sources mention the controversy over the Jefferson exhibit, but not a single one has reached out to the Black Legacy Coalition for comments. Nor have they asked any of the organizations that oppose the exhibit, including a leading professional association of African American scholars, and human rights groups.
This lack of coverage was most glaring last week as members of the Black Legacy Coalition went to the Detroit City Council with their concerns. Coalition members asked the Council to exercise its authority and stop the current exhibit. They also asked that the Council insist on community-based representation on the Museum board of directors, and that the Council increase the annual funding of the Museum to support needed repairs and program development.
Instead the mainstream media has focused on recycling the arguments for the exhibit, this time delivered by the new CEO. He raped a 14 year old girl whose life he totally controlled. This is not fathering. The use of the term father is intended to obscure the sexual violence inherent in this relationship. It is precisely this kind of confusion that has fueled objections to the exhibit. Visitors are not greeted by Jefferson when they walk in.
Instead they walk over a tombstone with the names of people who were enslaved. Jefferson is a little further in, still on his pedestal. We need to talk about race. But the place they are aiming to encourage dialogue is among African Americans. They are targeting four African American museums around the country.
African Americans know full well that slavery was evil. This reasoning is much like the infamous Kerner report that found the causes of rebellion in the US to be white supremacy, and then made a host of recommendations to change African Americans. This exhibit, based on lies, is as dangerous for white people as it is insulting to African Americans.
It wants to keep Jefferson as focus, not confront the violence he perpetuated. It is part of the current white supremacist thrust to rewrite history. This museum was built by public funds, voted for by the citizens. The city budget allocates funds to it every year. We must insist that there is at least one place in or city where truth matters. Save the date. Save the Wright. April 13th p. Outer Drive, Detroit MI. Fearless Woman — Dr. Russ Bellant. On March 7 contractors showed up at a house on W. This house has been owned since by a family with 6 children that has been restoring the house so that they can move their family in.
It was secured until the contractor flattened the doors and broke out windows that they did not remove. They also broke out some basement glass block windows. The owners were alerted by neighbors and arrived to stop the destruction of their house. The contractor was rude but eventually called their boss who said to stop work. By then one of the contractors, Brickworld, had bundled up 4 pallets of bricks and the fencing was gone. They demanded to see the paperwork authorizing contractors on their property but no paperwork was provided at that time.
She advised them to leave her bricks but by the next morning all 4 pallets were gone. No apology or admission of error was forthcoming. The house has been open to the elements since. After a BSEED employee threatened to have the contractor come back and finish the demolition, Supervisor Arthur Edge who I consider a man of his word promised a suspension of the demolition activity, according to the owner. Later documents shared with the owner regarding the contract had dates going back to So, how can a contract be valid when the owner the City sold the property and thus forfeited its right to solely determine the fate of this property.?
The house was, after all, secured by the rightful owner until the contractor destroyed the security. How can the City and contractor not immediately begin discussions with the owner to make the family whole for the harm that they caused? From my point of view, multiple crimes were committed — breaking and entering, vandalism and theft of property. Somebody needs some jail time. March 12, in Living for Change. Kim Sherobbi welcomed about women and men to the event, this year emphasizing Love, Purpose and Power. Ashley Scales of the UAW gave a powerful perspective on the role of the union to support women and to develop the community.
She asked us to think about how it has always been the bonds of community and labor that have moved our country forward. She concluded by pointing to the emerging efforts to fight against greed and self-interest, from fights for a living wage, to teachers strikes, and women elected to congress on progressive platforms. Quoting John L. Lewis, Ms. Tiffany Ruff shared her journey from incarceration to becoming an activist.
She explained how critical having a vision of where we want to go is to finding and developing our own sense of purpose. Cindy Estrada brought the discussions to a close talking about power. She challenged all of us to do more and to think more deeply about the relationships between the community and labor. She talked of her own beginnings as an organizer, working with Dolores Huerta and farm workers. There she saw how women were able to come together for a common purpose and demand dignity.
Often undocumented and fearful, facing harassment and corruption, women confronted power. We have to figure out who we are going to be, how we are going to move forward. For me this means we need to get quiet, listening to that voice inside of each of us, where we are not fixing and blaming others, but asking what is my purpose, what do I want to do in the next phase of life? This is the power within us. March 5, in Living for Change. For the first time in more than a generation, Detroit will see a new auto plant.
Most of these jobs will be in Detroit. This is an extraordinary commitment. S, but not in new plants. In the last 15 years, only seven new auto plants have been built by any auto companies in the entire United States. Gretchen Whitmer said. Vice President Estrada also raised the importance of thinking beyond the immediate issue of jobs. All of this expansion comes less than two months after the announcement by General Motors that it will be closing 5 auto plants.
Buried in the story of expansion here was the announcement the same day that FCA was cutting 1, jobs from the Jeep Cherokee assembly plant in Belvidere Illinois. People working in the plant in Saltillo, Mexico are also likely to face job loss as some truck production shifts to Warren. While we welcome this expansion, and encourage a strong commitment to a Community Benefits Agreement, it is important to think very differently about how we are building our economic and social life for a sustainable future.
This is the same old story of openings and closings, winners and losers, temporary gains and long-term consequences. City mayors lure corporations with tax breaks. The government lifts environmental regulations which industry claims impede economic growth, Union leaders, to keep their own jobs, urge workers to accept cutbacks.
We know capitalism operates by displacing human beings with machines, so plants which today employ will soon employ We know U. We know modern war needs technicians and scientists more than it does ground troops and workers, and stockpiling weapons only brings a nuclear holocaust closer. But rather than accept responsibility for changing the system which has turned us into slaves to constantly-expanding toxic wastes, and constantly-expanding multi-national corporations, we beg the master to give us back our jobs so he can lay us off again.
This new expansion and the process of creating a real community benefit agreement provide an opportunity for us to ask fundamental questions about what kind of work we need to develop ourselves, our children, and our communities. A just, sustainable future means thinking about more than a job.
February 28, in Living for Change. Many of us are especially grieved to learn that she had been in the hospital the last several days in ICU with the flu and pneumonia and we did not know this. I spoke briefly tonight with her husband and assured him that we are ready to do anything he may need from us in this difficult time.
He says he and the family are making home-going arrangements and should have more information on Monday. Meanwhile, services will take place on Saturday, March 9th. It was only five months ago that we said our goodbyes to her beloved Mother Edna Leak. I already miss my friend immensely. Thinking for Ourselves What Detroit Future? Shea Howell. After a contentious, widely criticized community engagement process, Detroit Future City produced a year plan nearly a decade ago.
The plan laid out a blueprint for shrinking our neighborhoods and established a framework for a transition to a whiter, wealthier city. The bankruptcy process overshadowed this effort. Now Mayor Duggan has dropped the signature concept of the plan, the shrinking of the city. Instead, Duggan is all about growth. Everyone knows that the current growth and development under the Duggan administration has left most neighborhoods feeling neglected.
Recognizing the racial tensions that are simmering, Detroit Future City offers a view of development to encourage middle class African American families to come into the city. It gives hard figures to something almost everyone knows. One of the reasons Detroit has become smaller, is because African-Americans have moved out. Many of them were middle class. But there is something insidious at work here. This latest intervention into policy decisions provides another justification to ignore actions that would actually stabilize existing neighborhoods and make life better for people who live here.
The report points our thinking away from what it means to build an inclusive city, while pretending to be concerned with increasing an African American presence. This denial of the creativity, ingenuity, and inventiveness that characterizes most of the people who have stayed here and love this city fosters race and class antagonisms.
It continues the idea that there is nothing and no one of value in our neighborhoods as we currently exist. Thus, the report provides yet another justification for the continued assaults on neighborhood residents. A report rooted in justice would begin with some sense of history. For decades our residents have been under attack. Many middle classes lives in Detroit have been directly targeted. All of these factors have solutions, many in the hands of the mayor and city council. We should have a moratorium of school closing, foreclosures, water shut offs, layoffs of public employees and punitive bail policies.
Each one of these steps would have an immediate impact on neighborhood stability and on the quality of life of our people. Detroit Future City continues to obscure the real challenges we face. It would do well to begin with a different question. As we face climate catastrophe and growing inequity, will more middle-class people create to a sustainable future? Can the earth continue to bear ways of living that foster individual, highly consumptive ways of being? Can we imagine a future based on sharing and caring? Until we ask real questions, we will continue to foster a culture that is destroying us all.
February 12, in Living for Change. Last week the Boggs Center hosted two conversations as part of the Black Genius series sponsored by the Michigan Roundtable. James Boggs life and legacy were discussed at the first event. Knowing this, he deeply believed that we could create a better country, where we cared for each other, found meaning in providing for our basic needs, and had joy in creativity. We were fortunate to have Clem join us via Facetime from her home in Tennessee.
Clem said she had decided to participate, not because she thought she was a genius, but because of all the geniuses we had lost because of the lives cut short by violence. Saying that every child had a right to a full, productive life and their deaths by guns, police, or other forms of violence meant that everyone of us had lost something. We lost that unique contribution of what could have been. Clem said understanding this was the basis of love. One of the most powerful images of the evening was that of Dorothy Garner, walking down the street of her neighborhood, surrounded by small children, leading a group of mostly elders to confront drug dealers.
We got to do better. Jimmy, Clem, and Dorothy gave us a lot to think about and a reminder of what we can do together. FRED Talks Facing Race, Elevating Democracy are online videos produced at local events where activists and leaders share their stories and effective strategies for change. In November , the glow surrounding Detroit? It further exposed Donald Trump? In fact, Trump? The city exploded in the Great Rebellion of because of persistent problems with racism in employment, housing, education, and policing.
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February 6, in Living for Change. Thousands of homes, offices, schools and public facilities face burst pipes and are preparing for what will likely be intense flooding as warm weather brings rain on top of melting snow. Roads are closed as concrete crumbles. Its crash signals the vulnerability of all our bridges and overpasses. Meanwhile, Sunday morning warm breezes brought a disturbing smell of natural gas throughout the region.
I could quibble about trivialities and rate it four but this would be churlish. Eagleton's argument could have been tighter, the Marxist framing was somewhat biased, and the polemic could have been more tactical in the referencing of its opponents arguments. But these are minor points which do not detract from the overall impact of Eagleton's scathing rebuffal of the so called new atheism.
In fact, such quibbles are arguably indespensible to Eagleton's assertion that reason must be earthed in faith and commitment. The passion of Eagleton's polemic is fuelled by his own Marxist and Catholic beliefs. But this means he has declared his hand having made no bones about his own position as opposed to his antagonists Ditchkens who claim unbiased rationality but are according to Eagleton biased liberal humanists who make a straw man of Christinaity painting the whole church with the same brush of fundamentalism and evangelicalism as it stands today.
The book should at least make you reflect on not just the God debate but the broader implications of where the West stands in the face of rising fundamentalist religious fervour. It is unfortunate that many proponents on both sides of the debate are unlikely to ever consider reading a view other than one which bolsters their own biases.
As Eagleton quips at the end somewhat ironically in light of Hitchens recent departure: "Will either side listen to the other at present? Will Ditchkens read this book and experience an epiphany which puts the road to Damascus in the shade? To use no less than two theological terms by way of response: not a hope in hell. Apr 29, Ben rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. This is a very generous gesture that bespeaks of a non-ideological, subtle and creative mind. His criticism of all those who would willfully conflate faith with knowledge, or ignore their necessary interrelation, in whatever context of thinking, be it secular or religious, could be seen to echo Reinhold Niebuhr's insight that "Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt.
It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. Himself a Marxist, it's to E. Eagleton has a penchant throughout for hyperbolic analogies as a springboard for humor, but there are other nice one-liners strewn about as well, such as: -- "Truly civilized societies do not hold predawn power breakfasts. All of which keeps the reading pretty lively. Eagleton himself also writes, in one of his many pithy but perceptive comments, "It was Christianity, not the French intelligentsia, which invented the concept of everyday life" p. Dec 04, Wallwaster rated it did not like it.
Admittedly i'm a Sam Harris fanboy, simply meaning i find it hard to disagree with him and find that he usually asks the questions i, too, find important to ask. Almost the same with Dawkins and Hitchens. So when Olly at Philosophy Tube talked about them not being perfect i was really happy, because i'm annoyed by how perfect i find what they say the only thing i could criticize is how they say it.
Now Olly suggested this book so i read it. Again i'd like to reiterate i actually really wanted Admittedly i'm a Sam Harris fanboy, simply meaning i find it hard to disagree with him and find that he usually asks the questions i, too, find important to ask. Again i'd like to reiterate i actually really wanted to know why "Ditchkins" isn't right, i really wanted to see their arguements shattered. This did not happen at all. Now, the book admits that "Ditchkins" is right about almost everything, then goes on to defend a version of faith for half the book which he - again - admits is a version that almost nobody believes.
I should have stopped reading at this point, but i was really eager for who seem to be my idols being criticized to death. I'm not really fond of idols in any way. Olly said "he attacks the model of religion Dawkins and Hitchens work from" and sure, he does, while admitting that no real believer believes in a way he is defending Then comes the other half of the book, which is mostly about culture and civilization and faith, which somehow ends on how marxism is awesome.
Now, i would totally be interested in marxism, and some questions about the role of faith in the lives of people are interesting, but it just doesn't go anywhere. Maybe it's just because i was severly bored by the first half that i don't see it. One thing's for sure, the main reason i love the writings of Sam Harris is the clarity he has and this book is anything but clear with over a page long references to novels and philosophers later claiming them to be surely not correct but interesting again it might just be that i'm not educated enough. The book explicitly sets out to criticize Dawkins and Hitchens but i think it doesn't even come close to it.
If you want an alternative way to react to faith, check out street epistemology Peter Boghossian might be too agressive still, but Antony Magnabosco is as nice as it gets Dec 20, Maughn Gregory rated it really liked it Shelves: religion-about-for-and-against , philosophy , social-justice. The set of ideas on which I agree with Eagleton form the basis of my own pedagogical creed: 1.
Western culture, which is based on Protestant, Enlightenment values of political liberalism and economic capitalism, is meant to be a form of civilization in which people are free to pursue ultimate kinds of meaning in their own ways and on their own terms. This, for me, is a good thing, in general.
But the human condition is marked by pain and confusion, and tendencies to shallowness, selfishness an The set of ideas on which I agree with Eagleton form the basis of my own pedagogical creed: 1.
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But the human condition is marked by pain and confusion, and tendencies to shallowness, selfishness and cruelty -- a condition the religious, wisdom, philosophical and political traditions of the world have tried to call our attention to, and to mitigate or ameliorate. There will always be inner work to do — to reduce selfishness, anxiety, anger, etc. However, Western civilization tends not to recognize this, because as a ground for its political freedoms, it has also produced the myth of human perfectionism: "A new, prestigious image of Man This myth is hubristic and dangerous, given 2.
Add to this that Western liberalism overemphasizes individualism to the extent that "it fostered an atomistic notion of the self, a bloodlessly contractual view of human relations, a meagerly utilitarian vision of ethics, These are among the "metaphysical articles of faith" of "liberal rationalism" 95 , and therefor make caring and working for the oppressed difficult. They are this by virtue of what they do, not just of what they believe The problem is that this cultural climate also tends to undermine the metaphysical values on which [socio-]political authority in part depends" Therefore, when Church and State are separated, and especially when Church and Popular Culture are separated, many if not most people can't manage to find any kind of ultimate meaning to pursue, and spend their lives chasing after money, sex and power.
When this happens, capitalism shifts from being a liberal freedom of livelihood to an existential creed: something that can give your life meaning. That makes Western culture not merely religiously-neutral but spiritually vacuous. There is simply no consensus of political and ethical morality to object to the shallowness and depravity of crass materialism. Much less is there political and ethical consensus to reign in those who are able to get so much money, sex and power that they become monsters who treat those with less power, including the Earth itself, like garbage.
This problem is exacerbated by "globalization, meaning the right of capital to exercise its sovereign power wherever and over whomever it chooses" Western "civilization Advances in science and technology, being conducted and utilized apart from any shared sense of ethical or political morality, become more powerful tools of mindlessness, selfishness, cruelty and injustice, as well as of dignity, compassion and justice.
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But in the West, "The idea that science might actually have contributed to our degradation as well as to our refinement is not even cursorily considered" Mainstream Western Christianity today is part of this whole problem. It has become about as far-removed from the life and message of Jesus as it can be -- more worried about church attendance, sexual purity and identity politics than about feeding the hungry and freeing political prisoners.
For the most part, it has become the creed of the suburban well-to-do, not the astonishing promise offered to the riffraff and undercover anticolonial militants with whom Jesus himself hung out" p. The rise of Christian and Muslim fundamentalism is largely a response to all of this, as is the rise of new-age spirituality, which "offers a refuge from the world, not a way to transform it" p. And let's not forget, please, that "the West But there are also religious, philosophical, spiritual and socialist critiques of the dark side of Western civilization, which ought to be taken seriously by believers and non-believers alike, and apart from any supernatural meaning that believers tend to bring to these issues.
This critique has two parts: one warning us against thinking that capitalism can be a source of existential meaning Eagleton: "If by sin, one means violence, aggression, envy, exploitation, aquisitiveness, possessiveness, and so on, then that these damage our creaturely and affctive life can scarcely be denied" p. Of course we need to defend the liberal values of free speech, separation of church and state, etc. It is simply a liberal paradox that there must be something close-minded about [our commitment to] open-mindedness, and something inflexible about [our commitment to] tolerance.
Liberalism cannot afford to be over-liberal when it comes to its own founding principles" But we need just as much to point out the existential despair beneath selfish materialism and the injustices caused by capitalism run amok. Western civilization would most certainly be altered for the good" Here's where I disagree: 1. Eagleton argues that nonbelievers should stop criticizing the everyday religious beliefs and practices of ordinary believers and instead see if their criticisms hold up to the more reasonable beliefs and practices of people like Eagleton himself, for whom religious faith is not belief in a Supreme Being but a commitment to "transformational love" made in recognition of the inherent pain and confusion of the human condition; and "is for the most part performative rather than propositional" In the first place, it's refreshing to read this kind of intelligent, humane construal of Christianity, and certainly, "liberalism, socialism, The US is about the stupidest, most greedy, shallow and war-mongering nations in the history of the world.
Actually, reading this book after the US election I can only half disagree with this. I agree with this but have to use it against Eagleton himself, whose caricatures of Dawkins and Hitchens and of every aspect of American culture are so hyperbolic as to be cartoonish. In fact, in general, his over-the-top wit is only exhilirating until it becomes tedious, by about page 3. There is virtually no evidence that Eagleton thinks he can learn anything from these thinkers — he even blames them for not going far enough in criticizing the horrors of religious violence that he already condemns.
The book is full of false dichotomies —or saying "the difference between science and theology Science has its high priests, sacred cows, revered scriptures, ideological exclusions, and rituals for suppressing dissent" Apr 17, Ross rated it liked it. The second half of this book is interesting, but you could probably just as well read some Zizek instead and none of that would be anywhere near as annoying as the first half of this book. That's where he gives his pet version of what Christianity's really about, and it turns out Christianity doesn't think Jesus was divine or even that God really "exists.
Basically a person can say whatever they want about Jesus, and there's a lot of value in what he does say about him and about "faith" in The second half of this book is interesting, but you could probably just as well read some Zizek instead and none of that would be anywhere near as annoying as the first half of this book. Basically a person can say whatever they want about Jesus, and there's a lot of value in what he does say about him and about "faith" in general, but you have to at least ask why so many people have believed something totally different for so long.
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Also Terry Eagleton I accuse you of not being funny and making way too many bad, unhelpful analogies. Still worth reading overall but just barely! Mar 17, Maggie rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , religious-inspirational-books , essay-collection. Terry Eagleton is smart. May 06, Marge rated it really liked it.
After reading Stanley Fish's blog review of Eagleton's book and then finding O'Hehir's review on Salon, I rushed to my library, which had the book, and I read it -- all in the same day! I've read Eagleton before, with pleasure, and this book, which I might have been able to follow more easily had it been written to be read, rather than as lectures, kept me involved throughout. Eagleton's passionate argument for a closer look at the actual Biblical Christ and the connection of that Christ to suff After reading Stanley Fish's blog review of Eagleton's book and then finding O'Hehir's review on Salon, I rushed to my library, which had the book, and I read it -- all in the same day!
Eagleton's passionate argument for a closer look at the actual Biblical Christ and the connection of that Christ to suffering humanity moved me deeply. His angry and at times witty attacks on sloppy thinking, wherever he finds it - whether in liberalism or in atheism, were convincing. I am glad I read this book. Apr 11, Anna Keating rated it it was amazing Shelves: recommended. The faith and reason chapter was superb. How delightful to read someone so funny and so attuned to the revolutionary character of the gospel and the ways in which it has been distorted.
Since branding others The faith and reason chapter was superb. Since branding others as inferior because of their race is no longer acceptable, relegating them to the outer darkness because of their religion may serve instead. May 10, Paul Rhodes rated it liked it.
Terry Eagleton is a funny, astute guy. He is a also my kind of guy, a theist and a leftist. Too bad he thinks Papal Infallibility is a joke. By the way, Jeri, who apparently is still a "friend" of mine thinks Papal Infallibility is joke, too. That's why she will defer to Scalia and not the Pope on matters of the Death Penalty. Her desire to kill apparently is stronger than her devotion to her faith. Sep 17, Lisa rated it liked it. I am in love with Eagleton's arguments on this topic, but my favorite presentation of them is still his article on Dawkin's God Delusion in the London Review of Books, entitled "Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching.
Jan 04, Ryan Jacob rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Eagleton is always charming and witty in that British academic way. The content is "meh" though in terms of really adding much to the topic. Still gave me room to reflect on some of ideas and quips, even if they didn't always make sense together. Caveat: didn't finish the book. Didn't feel the need to. Jun 30, Anwesh Satpathy rated it it was ok. Terry Eagleton is perhaps one of the most influential contemporary Marxist literary theorist and intellectuals in the world.
He is also sympathetic to Christianity. I was prepared to be confronted by a rational and reasonable breakdown of Dawkins and Hitchens. That's not what happened. Eagleton from the beginning admits that he knows "embarrassingly little about science and religio Terry Eagleton is perhaps one of the most influential contemporary Marxist literary theorist and intellectuals in the world. Eagleton from the beginning admits that he knows "embarrassingly little about science and religion.
Halfway through, I realized that Prof. Eagleton is no Christian at all. I was annoyed when he started stating demonstrably false and ambivalent statements about the Bible. In the whole book, Prof. Eagleton rarely quotes the Bible or his sources. This allows him to make a commodious argument. It is technically true that Aquinas was ready to concede the possibility of an eternal universe, however, that had nothing to do with God not being the creator of the universe.
Aquinas argued that the very existence of the universe or "fact of creation" as he termed it was dependent upon God, the creator. Not to mention the fact that he believed in a literal reading of the Genesis. Yes,he made way for some flexibility but the creation of Adam and Eve was a settled Christian doctrine.
So why did God create the universe? Eagleton says " for the hell of it. In other words, a deistic God. Not "an interventionist like George Bush". Needless to say, this is in contradiction with the God of the Bible who cares very much about his creation and often feels the need to intervene. He derisively refers to Dawkins and Hitchens and "Ditchkins".
The book is full of useless ad hominem. Some of which I'll mention below:- " Without God, Dawkins would be out of a job. Public Science himself It wasn't hard to decipher the motivations of the author. He doesn't have any theological disagreement with Dr. Dawkins and Prof. He says it again and again:- "God, in short, is every bit as gloriously pointless as Ditchkins tells us he is.
Jesus is a sick joke of a savior. The book barely quotes the Bible or elaborates on theology.