Race, Race Everywhere

raceI sometimes work on or write about things that pertain to race.  And, sometimes I write about my own relationship with race, growing up in the South. In the last few days, I’ve seen a few compelling articles zigzagging around Facebook that range from …

Portland drivers ‘clearly’ show racial bias at crosswalks, PSU study says (poll) to an obituary for Fred Ho … and:

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? Thoughts about the Donelle Woolford Debate

Racism Doesn’t Work the Way You Think It Does

Junot Díaz condemns creative writing courses for ‘unbearable too-whiteness’

The Case for Reparations

Last night I stumbled across a Facebook thread that goes …

“I think being a brown person has really informed my view on all debates within the “queer” community, whatever that is. It’s always been that second minority status that has made me find my way in the world differently than a lot of my friends.  I think “queer” is a word trap. It’s beautiful that we’ve come up with such an all-encompassing self-identifier that fosters a sense of community and family. But the flip side to that is we’ve come to feel that we should have a strong opinion about every argument that erupts under the “queer” umbrella, even when it’s none of our business.  I am ___ in a light skin aspirational society. I am often effeminate in a society that hates nothing more than feminine men. I love men in an often homophobic society. I can speak to these attributes directly. I am not interested in discussing the validity of these struggles with people who don’t understand them first hand, and I frankly find it offensive when people who don’t live these experiences debate them.”  — Facebooker

… to which I commented:

I tend to agree with you. Yet I think it might be essential for white people to discuss things – albeit with intentional, nuanced respect – they can’t have experienced in the process (or journey) of finding ways to be in solidarity.



Meet me in NYC, he says … #ClimateSummit2014

article_for_actionkitIn a recent article in Rolling Stone, Bill McKibben asks people to meet him in NYC:

This is an invitation, an invitation to come to New York City. An invitation to anyone who’d like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.

My guess is people will come by the tens of thousands, and it will be the largest demonstration yet of human resolve in the face of climate change. Sure, some of it will be exciting – who doesn’t like the chance to march and sing and carry a clever sign through the canyons of Manhattan? But this is dead-serious business, a signal moment in the gathering fight of human beings to do something about global warming before it’s too late to do anything but watch. You’ll tell your grandchildren, assuming we win. So circle September 20th and 21st on your calendar, and then I’ll explain.

OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Gets 90 Days and Probation for Assaulting Cop

Martin-Stolar-Cecily-Sentencing-ZachDRoberts-Whereas the sentence has been handed down for Cecily since last week’s expose in the Voice – or perhaps because of last week’s expose in the Voice … in its relative leniency – the situation offers a view line into the police state (even if periodic) that occurs when the judiciary preferences making an example of a citizen over all else.  Perhaps baby demos is not dead, but the miscarriage of justice certainly neutered our little one of any hint of popular sovereignty.

Thank you Zinn + Baldwin

zinnSeems there’s a lot to get into this week in NYC.  On Thursday, I’m going to catch the 1:45 panel, Zinn as Activist at the Symposium, Howard Zinn: A Lifetime of Teaching, Writing, and Activism.  And, then on Friday at 2pm, I’ll be on the front row of After Giovanni’s Room: Baldwin and Queer Futurity [Rich, I know you came up w/ this title] at the Year of James Baldwin Celebration @ New York Live Arts.  Anybody wanna join me?

And, yes, I knew I could find a picture when I was naming the blog … cool, eh?

Disobedience Archive

disobedeThe Disobedience Archive curatorial project dates back to 2005, when Marco Scotini planned a traveling exhibition of videos, graphic materials and ephemera whilst in Berlin. From there Disobedience became an ongoing, multi-phase video archive and platform of discussion that deals with the relationship between artistic practices and political action. 

Planned as a heterogeneous, evolving archive of video images, the project aims to be a “user’s guide” to four decades of social disobedience seen through history and geography. From the Parco Lambro revolt in Italy in 1977 to the global protests before and after Seattle; from the recent insurrections in the Middle East and Arab world to the Gezi Resistance in İstanbul; from the historic videotapes of Alberto Grifi to videograms of Harun Farocki; from the performances of tactical media activists Critical Art Ensemble to those of the Russian collective Chto Delat?; and from the investigations of Hito Steyerl to those of Eyal Sivan, Mosireen and Videoccupy collectives, the Disobedience Archive has over the years gathered hundreds of documentary elements.

The archive includes materials by 16 Beaver, Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (AAA), Mitra Azar, Nanni Balestrini, Gianfranco Baruchello, Petra Bauer, Franco Berardi Bifo, Pauline Boudry, Brigitta Kuster and Renate Lorenz, Bernadette Corporation, Black Audio Film Collective, Ursula Biemann, Copenhagen Free University, Critical Art Ensemble, Cem Dinlenmiş, Dodo Brothers, Marcelo Expósito, Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica, Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas, Grupo de Arte Callejero, Etcétera, Piero Gilardi, Alberto Grifi, Felix Guattari, Herkes için Mimarlık, Ashley Hunt, Sara Ishaq, Kanal B, Khaled Jarrar, John Jordan and Isabelle Fremeaux, Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante, Carla Lonzi, Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, Enzo Mari, Angela Melitopoulos, Mosireen, Carlos Motta, Toni Negri, Non Governamental Control Commission, Wael Noureddine, Margit Czencki/Park Fiction, R.E.P. Group, Oliver Ressler and Zanny Begg, Roy Samaha, Eyal Sivan, Hito Steyerl, Superflex, The Department of Space and Land Reclamation, Mariette Schiltz and Bert Theis, Ultra-red, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Trampoline House (Morten Goll and Tone O. Nielsen), Dmitry Vilensky and Chto Delat?, Videoccupy and James Wentzy.

The Disobedience Archive is currently at SALT Beyoğlu in Istanbul.

The Disobedience Archive makes me think of that wonderful project, Mesoamérica Resiste! by the Beehive Collective as well as one of my fave joints in Brooklyn, the Interference Archive.


Airbnb vs. New York AG

pt_1427_9607_oI’m reposting this letter (mass email) from Airbnb, not because I’m startled at what the New York Attorney General is capable of, but because it is so exemplary of how our ‘democratic’ country and capitalist system work.  Maybe best to couple it with the recent Princeton University study that empirically shows the US to be an oligarchy.

Dear Todd,

Last year, we were shocked when the New York Attorney General demanded personal information about thousands of New Yorkers who share their space on Airbnb. But we were amazed at what happened next.

Everyone in the Airbnb community, people who care about privacy and countless New Yorkers said enough is enough. This attack on thousands of regular New Yorkers who occasionally rent out their homes was a wrongheaded waste of time and law enforcement resources. We weren’t going to take it.

I heard you speak out at meetings in New York and online. And I was honored to stand with you. But I didn’t anticipate sending this email because I never thought we’d be talking about this issue so many months later.

The Attorney General said he was going after a few bad apples, so we were optimistic that we would resolve this matter.  But actions speak louder than words. Time and time again, the Attorney General has demanded personal information about thousands of New Yorkers. He professed to be interested in collecting more tax dollars for New York. Last week, we once again campaigned to change the law so our community can contribute $21 million in taxes to New York.

In response, the hotel lobby said it would fight this common-sense proposal and the Attorney General made it clear that he will seek personal data on our users until the end of time.  The Attorney General has now modified his request for data about our community. Barely. If you’re one of the thousands of New Yorkers who has ever rented out your place while you were away for a weekend, the Attorney General still wants to know who you are and where you live.

So, the fight continues. I want you to know what happens next.

On Tuesday, Airbnb will be in court in Albany, fighting the Attorney General’s demand for your data. The government will accuse Airbnb hosts of being bad neighbors and bad citizens. They’ll call us slumlords and tax cheats. They might even say we all faked the moon landing.

That’s OK.  We know the truth and we’ll fight to make sure the court and everyone in New York hears some simple facts:

  • The vast majority of our community members are regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet.
  • We want to collect and remit taxes on behalf of our hosts, and lobbyists for the big hotels are standing in our way.
  • Short term rental laws were never meant to apply to New Yorkers occasionally renting out their own home.
  • The small group of bad actors that abused our platform aren’t part of the Airbnb community anymore, or they are on their way out the door.
  • Our community will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York in this year alone.

The judge in this case could issue a ruling on Tuesday, or take weeks or even months to make up his mind. He could rule in our favor, or against us. He might ask the Attorney General to narrow his demand. If we are ordered to hand over any data, we will work to ensure you are properly notified before the government receives any information about you or your listing.

No matter what happens in the courtroom, we’ll be holding a community meetup in New York City on Wednesday at 7:00 PM and a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 AM. At each event, we’ll answer your questions and discuss the next steps. We’ll email additional details about these events in the coming days.

Taking on an Attorney General who is determined to fight innovation and attack regular people isn’t easy and we won’t succeed without standing together. We’ll do everything we can to keep you informed about this case and our work to fix the bad law that made it possible.

Finally, know this – New York is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to the sharing economy for now, but that won’t last forever.

City after city is embracing our hosts and the sharing economy.  Hamburg, then Amsterdam, and now France have all changed their laws and to support homesharing. San Francisco might be next.  Someday, New York will join them. Someday, our amazing community and the passion they have for New York will break through opposition from people like Attorney General Schneiderman.  We saw how our hosts banded together after Superstorm Sandy to open up their own homes to people in need, and that kind of love for New York and for New Yorkers manifests itself every day in countless other ways  Eventually, the small group of politicians who feel they must oppose us will fall away, and New York will truly become a Shared City.

Standing together, showing the world who we are and what we stand for, we will turn the tide in New York.

Thank you for all you do.


David Hantman
Head of Global Public Policy

Bandung Humanisms {April 16}

Orig_image_bandung-280x290I really wish I was at the Bandung Humanisms conference today!


April 16th, 2014

Heyman Center Common Room

Bandung Humanisms is a collaboration between the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia and the Seminar in Global Critical Humanities at UCLA.  This is the inaugural workshop for a longterm collective project, whose events —public conferences, workshops, joint publications, pedagogical innovations — will take place not just at our institutions but in various sites outside the Euro-American sphere.

The first goal of this project is to revisit the lost legacy of Bandung: the vast global landscape of political, social and cultural thinking and creative elaboration that insisted on the possibility of a human becoming in the disaggregated struggles against imperialism and racism across the world, from Hanoi to Oakland. The point is not only to recover some of the constellations—journals, organizations, exhibitions, writers’ congresses, film festivals, inter-national collaborations—that characterized the institutional landscape of Bandung cultural politics, but to show how more recent and proximate constellations of thought are in fact unthinkable without it.

Bandung cultural politics enacted a humanism that was radical and guiltless over its call to combat the dehumanization of societies, since Bandung thinkers and activists felt no need to cultivate the “anti-humanist” tendencies of the contemporary European intelligentsia, which still holds radical thinking in a deadlock. This distinction marks our second impetus: to explore in what ways humanist thinking, unencumbered by ‘Western’ commands, can serve as a new cauldron of radical configurations of thought and action against the rampant dehumanization of societies by the economic and political forces of capitalism in its “globalization” phase.


9:30 Introduction: Stathis Gourgouris (ICLS) and Aamir Mufti (UCLA)

9:45-11:00 Donna Jones (UC Berkeley)

To Turn Our Backs to Europe: The Interwar Year Origins of Non-Alignment

Respondent: Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French, ICLS

11:00 – 12:15 Bojana Piškur (Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana)

The Non-Aligned Movement and Cultural Politics in the Former Yugoslavia

Respondent: Kostis Karpozilos (Blinken Institute)

12:30-2:00 Lunch Break (on your own)

2:15 3:30 Duncan McEachern Yoon (UCLA)

Misreading Mao: Afro-Asian Cultural Exchanges and the Legacy of Bandung

Respondent: Lydia Liu (EALAC, ICLS)

3:30 4:45 Chris Hill (Blinken Institute, CU)

Crossed Geographies: Endō and Fanon in Lyon

Respondent: Aamir Mufti (UCLA)