Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Day of Mournful Overcast 09/09/08

OPEC Agrees to Cut Oil Output. Al Jazeera: September 10th, 2008.

With record crude oil prices, OPEC and particularly Saudi Arabia have come under pressure by the United States to increase oil production. But instead OPEC is going to decrease production, raising prices even higher. This is so fucking excellent, thank you OPEC, because right now both Obama and McCain are calling for "offshore drilling" in the U.S. to make up for increases in the price of foreign oil. OPEC of course does not want oil prices to fall by too much, since their customers would then start looking for oil substitutes like solar or wind (like they started to in the 1970s.) So, actually, fuck OPEC.

New Orleans: The City that Won't Be Ignored. Naomi Klein, The Nation Magazine: September 3rd, 2008.

Klein's analysis of the new interest taken by McCain in the Hurricane Gustav situation, but sparing no lenience for Obama or the Democratic Party. The Hurricane should have been a time when we are opposed to offshore drilling, because look at the spill and waste! The increase in offshore drilling brought a decrease in gasoline prices, and both parties supported this as part of an "energy security" plan. "Obama created a political vacuum" by not mentioning New Orleans, which the Republicans have managed to fill using it as a backdrop to their campaign. The morning after Gustav made landfall, Bush called for more drilling, which is now one of the most important campaign issues. Palin's claim to national fame was telling cable shows that "we need to drill, drill, drill." Naomi Klein notes that "Gustav was one of those rare moments when political arguments are made by reality, not rhetoric."

What You Should Know About Psychiatry and Psychiatric Drugs. various authors.

Before you pop that Paxil or Prozac pill on your doctor's orders, there are some ideas you should be exposed to first. Increasing your serotonin, as these drugs are designed to do, leads to lots of adverse reactions, says Anne Blake Tracy in Panacea or Pandora? Mental illness and the way our society views it is entirely wrong, says Thomas Szasz in The Myth of Mental Illness. A Dose of Sanity by Sydney Walker tours of the big bigness side of the SSRI drug industry, and They Say You're Crazy by Paula Caplan critiques the way the elitist psychiatric profession views mental illness. This compilation of books on the topic is well worth looking at.

Power Dynamics, Donovan Bigelow: 2008.

This guy... is sort of ridiculous. But I'm posting his website here anyway. The Seattle area is teeming with ideas involving psycho-social development and psychotherapy. There is a large Freudian community here. And although still in its infancy, "philosophical counseling" is coming onto the alternative psychiatrist scene as a unique way of providing philosophical advice and instruction for the personal and philosophical problems arising out of false beliefs and 'faulty logic'. There is currently a crusade to get the activity going as a 'profession'. Donovan Bigelow provides a Nietzschean version of this method.

Doctrine-Centered Versus Problem-Centered Economics, Post-Austic Economics Network, Peter Dorman of The Evergreen State College: 2006.

This is a pedagogical paper. Bruce Caldwell, an influential economist known for his anti-formalist (or anti-mathematical) teachings in economic methodology, is critiqued here by Evergreen professor Peter Dorman. The post-autistic position (Dorman's) is not that the "level of math" is the issue (referring to Caldwell's argument.) Dorman says that economics should be taught as a set of problems, rather than being taught as a set of doctrines by which to guide students through economic decision-making and problem-solving... Agreed, economic departments claim to be "positive" and therefore the profession not supposed to be about ideology, but they refuse to acknowledge that ideology is in everything they do. Just teach openly, don't preach to us.

A Brighter Shade of Green. Ross Robertson, Enlightenment Magazine: October, 2007.

Bright Green Environmentalism, a new word (relatively) to describe
a movement that is "less about the problems and limitations we need to overcome than the 'tools, models, and ideas' that already exist for overcoming them. It forgoes the bleakness of protest and dissent for the energizing confidence of constructive solutions." Although protesting does serve an important function however 'bleak' it may seem to Robertson, whose life is a short history of the environmental movement, the message of the paper is in his statement that bright green environmentalism goes beyond Another World is Possible and reminds us that the other world is actually here already, and we have the choice to live it or not. Earth Ship anyone?

Computers Seized From Berkeley Activist Space. Electronic Frontier Foundation: August 28th, 2008.

The Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, CA is one of the longest-standing anarchist infoshops in the country. But just before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, their space was raided at the same time activist spaces were being raided all over Minneapolis and St. Paul. Computers that were used in the production of, for example, the Slingshot calendar system (a popular anarchist pocket calendar), an anarchist radio show and an anarchist newspaper, were seized and have not been returned. Wake up America! This is your war on the "homegrown terrorists", the war on free speech, the war on the Privacy Protection Act.

Towards Anarchism. Errico Malatesta, MAN!: 1930.
An early pamphlet written against the argument that anarchism is "a thing impossible" based on the false idea that anarchism would come about after an immediate revolution. Even at a time when capitalism seemed doomed to imminent collapse (this was the 1930s) anarchists made the claim that change you can believe in must come "little by little" rather than immediately - until the ideas grew in intensity and extension. But, Malatesta says, this does not stop the anarchist movement from opposing all forms of despotism right. fucking. now! So little by little, com padres, little by little.

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