Saturday, April 08, 2023

Main Blog Moved to Kersplebedeb.com!

Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.

What this means in practical terms is that everything you are used to seeing on Sketchy Thoughts is now being posted straight to Kersplebedeb and simply being automatically mirrored here. So in general, you will probably have a better reading/viewing experience if you head over to Kersplebedeb.

For those who prefer the Sketchy Thoughts blogger layout for whatever reason, this page will continue to be automatically updated whenever something is posted to Kersplebedeb, for at least the short-term future. However, as additional functionality is added to the Kersplebedeb site via wordpress, the Sketchy Thoughts page will probably begin to show its age more and more.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Terror Incognita

A useful series of musings on consent, seduction, and queerness in the realms of sex and politics; from the people at Crimethinc

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Teaching women self-defence still the best way to reduce sexual assaults: study

The four-year study tracked nearly 900 women at three Canadian universities, randomly selecting half to take the 12-hour “resistance” program, and compared them to a second group who received only brochures, similar to those available at a health clinic. One year later, the incidence of reported rape among women who took the program was 5.2 per cent, compared to 9.8 per cent in the control group; the gap in incidents of attempted rape was even wider.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

7 Fortune 500 companies with the most employees



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Thursday, June 11, 2015

What I Do Know: The Colonial Evisceration of Cindy Gladue

What I do know is that Cindy Gladue was not killed by an Indian man. Bradley Barton is a white man. I suppose, however, that Cindy Gladue’s case wouldn’t even be factored into this type of statistical analysis since, according to the courts, she wasn’t murdered at all.

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Are Beethoven’s African Origins Revealed By His Music?

There are two reasons he was careful to organize his image for posterity. First, he must have thought that the rumours and social pressures existing during his lifetime would continue immediately after his death. What would have happened if in the 19th Century, historiography had discovered this deception? The risk was that his music would no longer be played. He had spent his life convincing the public to believe that he had only European origins. After composing one of the most important monuments of the history of art and the human spirit, he wished above all that his work would be passed to posterity.

A second, more important reason exists: to play his music as he played it, to understand it, to hear it, so that it produced the same enchantment as when he played or led it when alive, one had to understand that an important part of the music education that he received in his childhood and early adolescence was an intimate knowledge of polyrhythmic science and art. And, he was a bit of a joker. He must have been amused to see that with the scores he had produced, interpreters were unable, and still are, to produce the same music that came out these texts when he played it. He often said, “It will take at least 50 years before my music is understood.” In actuality, his calculation was off by 150 years. Today, we realize that to play it properly, one has to understand that he had a dual identity. That he was also an African.

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Monday, June 08, 2015

Imagining the Cosmos: Utopians, Mystics, and the Popular Culture of Spaceflight in Revolutionary Russia

This essay investigates the explosive Soviet interest in space travel during the New Economic Policy (NEP) era of the 1920s, as expressed through amateur societies, the press, literature, painting, film, and other popular culture. In recovering an obscured history of the roots of Russian cosmonautics, it shows how the cause of space exploration in early twentieth-century Russia originally stemmed from two ideological strands: technological utopianism and the mystical occult tradition of Cosmism. The former (seemingly modern, urban, international, materialist) alternately clashed and meshed with the latter (superficially archaic, pastoral, Russian, spiritual), creating an often contradictory but urgent language of space enthusiasm. Cosmic activists, who saw themselves as part of a new Soviet intelligentsia, actively used both ideals to communicate their views directly to the public. The essay argues that despite superficial differences, technological utopianism and Cosmism shared much of the same iconography, language, and goals, particularly the imperative to transform and control the natural world. In other words, the modern rocket with its new Communist cosmonaut was conceived as much in a leap of faith as in a reach for reason.

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Idea of Muslim National Communism: On Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev

Not having any pretensions of giving an overview of all of Muslim national communism, I am interested here in someone who remains its major figure, the Tartar Bolshevik intellectual and militant Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev, whose first arrest was remarked upon by Trotsky in 1923, when he cited Kamenev’s words:

Do you remember the arrest of Sultan-Galiev? […] This was the first arrest of a prominent Party member made upon the initiative of Stalin […] That was Stalin’s first taste of blood.4

But let’s take things up from the beginning.

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Saturday, June 06, 2015

THOSE MYTHOLOGICAL MEN AND THEIR SACRED, SUPERSONIC FLYING TEMPLES

From this anxiety of imitation, it is a short step to seeking authenticity in texts from the past, even if one of those texts is itself a modern imitation. The effect is further magnified by a narrowly instrumental education, the shrinking of public debate, the subservience of media to business interests, the proliferation of social media, and an influential but alienated diaspora, especially in the United States, that seeks to find a glorious Hindu past that can be seen to have exceeded the very West upon which India’s recent success depends so heavily. When this past does not exist, it has to be created, often in less imaginative ways than the manner in which Sastry fashioned the V.S.

It has meant, for instance, the destruction of books with perspectives on ancient India that the Hindu right finds unpalatable. In 2001, when the Delhi University historian D.N. Jha wrote, in The Myth of the Holy Cow, that the ancient Vedic people were eaters of beef, he and his publisher were threatened, subjected to demonstrations, ritual book burnings, calls for the book to be banned, and a court order preventing its distribution. Jha’s work was based on extensive archaeological and textual evidence, and his argument itself is widely accepted by professional historians in India and abroad, but it went against the Hindu right’s insistence that beef-eating was an evil brought into the subcontinent by Muslims (a process it is determined to reverse by force, as in a recent ban in the state of Maharashtra that makes possession of beef punishable by a five-year jail term). Similarly, when University of Chicago scholar Wendy Doniger published The Hindus: An Alternative History in 2009, the campaign against it ran all the way from the United States to India, where the book’s publishers, Penguin India, after a four-year legal battle, agreed to an out-of-court settlement that involved withdrawing all copies of the book and pulping them. Among the arguments against the book in the lawsuit initiated by Dina Nath Batra, founder of a Hindu right-wing educational organization and author of textbooks depicting ancient glories, like television and cars, was that “your approach is that of a woman hungry of sex.”

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Friday, June 05, 2015

The Deep State: Germany, Immigration, and the National Socialist Underground

A weakness of large parts of the “left” opposition and the radical Left becomes apparent: after the pogroms of the early ’90s many abandoned the working class as a revolutionary force. They could therefore only turn to “civil society” and thus ultimately the state as an ally against the Nazis. This ally supported fascist structures and helped to establish them, while at the same time it gave the left-wing opposition the opportunity to turn itself into a force supportive of the state. This fact paralyses many Antifa and other leftwing groups. Instead of naming the state’s role in the NSU complex, they focus on the investigation committees and the trial, they lose themselves in the details which are produced there. There were no significant movements on the streets when the NSU became public. All this allows the state apparatus to minimize the NSU – but many people still feel the horror.

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Ideology and Practices (publicautonomy.org)

Some examples? Let’s start with something — an opinion or claim — that is not ideology, even though it might seem to be. Here’s one: “Canada is a democratic society that treats its citizens fairly.”

It may be bullshit, but it’s not ideology. The ideology is this: that one barely notices the fact that there are “borders” instituted around “nation states,” and that one of these is “Canada”; that this “Canada” is “a society,” in the singular, rather than multiple societies, or multiple systems and structures some of which cross borders, etc.; that “countries” can be labelled “democratic,” rather than institutions or practices or specific decisions, so that the question of whether it is or isn’t democratic is a sort of total judgment, appealing to some unspoken but supposedly obvious criterion; that many of the people in the supposed “country” are “citizens,” while some are “non-citizens”; that the standard for treating “citizens” “fairly” will differ from the standard for treating “non-citizens” fairly. And so on. Ideology lies here, in this stew of unexamined obviousness. None of it is stated in the claim under consideration (“Canada is a democratic society that treats its citizens fairly”). But all of it is presupposed by that claim.

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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Grandstanding

grand·stand
??ran(d)?stand/

verb derogatory
gerund or present participle: grandstanding
seek to attract applause or favorable attention from spectators or the media.
“they accused him of political grandstanding”


 

Just saying: i think there is a connection between neocolonialism as the current phase of global relations, and grandstanding as a personal practice within the multicultural middle class. On all sides.



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Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

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Un employé municipal sur deux en banlieue

Profession • % des employés qui ne résident pas à Montréal
Pompiers 82%
Policiers 81%
Contremaîtres 62%
Cadres 49%
Cols Bleus 48%
Professionnels 38%
Cols Blancs 32%
Brigadiers 5%
Total 49%

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Friday, May 15, 2015

A New Beginning or the Beginning of the End: A Question to the Leadership

It is said that history repeats itself. There is some truth to be found within this statement. All existing matter, be it organic or inorganic, and social phenomenon alike, have a history of endless development, a process of becoming, being, and passing away and into something qualitatively new altogether.

But development does not, nor should it be misunderstood, as proceeding along a straight line. Linearism is a product of the human mind, a human construct, that fails to correspond with the external material world and the laws inherent within it that govern the direction and development of its endless transformation.

History, like every other existing thing in this world, develops not in a straight line, like a recording on a reel that repeats itself continually, but in a cyclical like ascendancy, with each cycle repeating itself qualitatively distinct from the previous one, or as V.I. Lenin described: “A development that repeats, as it were, stages that have already been passed, but repeats them in a different way, on a higher basis (negation of negation), a development, so to speak, that proceeds in spirals, not in a straight line.”

At this particular stage in our struggle, we are coming full circle as history is once again repeating itself. This is a critical moment, and the life or death of our struggle is being decided by our response to the Security Threat Group and Step Down Program [S.T.G. and S.D.P. respectively] that we have allowed the state to impose upon us.

The fact that we are assisting the state to perpetuate its policy of social extermination under a new label directly reflects the deterioration of our collective unity and the resurgence of the vile individualism that has come to characterize the prison population of the last two decades.

If we are to take a correct measurement of our current situation and the trajectory we are now on, we must place the S.T.G. and S.D.P within its proper historical context, and this requires that we once again revisit the Castillo case with an understanding of the 602 process and the function it serves. The 602 process serves two main simultaneous functions: First, by seeking relief on an individual basis, it distracts and divides us from the issues that impact us as a group. Secondly, the administrative process is dragged out for so long and the petitioner is required to jump through so many hoops that eventually most petitioners grow exhausted and abandons all attempts at seeking relief from the violations committed by the state.

Embodied with this statement is the age-old strategy of “divide and conquer”, which the CDC has learned to employ against us with great efficiency. And everytime we utilize the 602 process individually as the only means of achieving transformation, like a ju-jitsu fi ghter we allow the state to turn our own individualism against ourselves as a means to deprive us of the unity and momentum necessary for waging a successful struggle. More important, this strategy is not limited to the 602 process alone, but is a common feature that permeates all interactions between the state and ourselves. This is inevitable being that the state’s apparatus of repression in all of its various forms—the judicial system, police, military, intelligence, etc., especially the prison system—is an inherently oppressive institution by design.

As most of us can recall, the Castillo case was a long, arduous legal battle that raged in the judiciary arena for some ten years in a noble effort to eliminate the state’s inhumane practice of “social extermination”, i.e., keeping us alive as living and breathing empty vessels without the social intercourse necessary for one to develop identity (emphasis added by Ed). For reasons left unexamined we failed to complement this legal battle with any other forms of direct resistance, while IGI fascists and the CDC bureaucracy remained adamantly consistent throughout in its own efforts to keep us divided. Despite the absence of subjective conditions (a politically conscious mass of prisoners), the state recognized that nonetheless the objective conditions were conducive for large-scale resistance. And once again, remaining true to form, we allowed them to exploit our own self-interests in a successful effort to prevent this potential from materializing. When, as Anthony Artiaga pointed out in his recent article: The six year “active/inactive gang status review” was created and implemented. A policy requiring a validated inmate to remain free of any and all gang related activity and association “for no period less than six years in order to reconsider (but rarely granted) general population release….

All hope for a unified resistance dissipated and “everyman-for-himself” was now consolidated and set in stone, with the initial release of a relatively insignificant number of validated SHU prisoners back into general population, we cultivated and insured our own further atomization from each other as we pursued our search for escape on an individual basis by way of the six year inactive review policy. Despite the fact that group oppression necessitates group resistance, the state has learned long ago that we are easily defeated when we are tossed a bone that appeals to our self-interest. The state accomplishes this with little effort, sadly, when it sold us on a false hope that we could all obtain inactive status as individuals.

To reiterate, Joseph Dzhucashvili stated that dialectical and historical materialism teaches us that: “…the process of development should not be understood as a movement in a circle, not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from … the simple to the complex.”

It has been roughly fifteen years since the Castillo case settled, and the empty promise of the six year inactive review policy was implemented—and here we are coming full circle. Like in the Castillo case, the state has initiated its imposition of the S.T.G. and S.D.P., pacifying potential resistance with the release of SHU prisoners back into the general population, although this time around the numbers have been significantly greater and have included elements from amongst the “leadership” thus creating an externally superficial illusion of victory.

Throughout the hunger strikes we paid an extraordinary amount of lip service to the necessity of collective unity, and yet when the state employed its own counter-tactics to create fissures and divisions amongst us once again, we assisted them in their endeavor. Without any consideration for long term consequences, or the immediate obvious fact that our current circumstances, or the immediately obvious fact that our current circumstances are far more dire now that when we first initiated our strikes, we could not trip over each other fast enough to sign release forms acknowledging guilt of past association, or membership, “post facto” in our scramble to get out. This fidelity to philosophic pragmatism and its application will come back to bite us. Within the last twelve months the state claims to have released seventy percent of those previously held within the tombs of the Security Housing Unit (SHU), and yet the number of those in isolation have remained consistently steady. Philosophically, idealism is a still a poisonous weed that continues to distort the mind of many. In spite of those who are proclaiming victory, reality is not determined by wishful thinking.

The demand to eliminate collective punishment was not only not achieved, but true to its fascist inclinations the CDC retaliated by making it policy and thus giving pseudolegitimization to its practice, via the new STG with the SDP, the IGI has extended its reach even further. Anyone having belonged to any group, or street gang (past or present), or possessing any political opinions reflecting a class position other than their own, can be isolated indefinitely without any connection to a particular prison gang. Our vulnerability has increased in direct proportion to the increase of state power.

Like the six year inactive review policy, the number of those now being released under the S.T.G. and S.D.P. will decrease dramatically and ultimately taper off to a trickle in correlation to our own struggle losing steam with the waning of outside support. If we are to inject life back into our struggle, we must absolutely understand the S.T.G. and S.D.P. for what it is, i.e., another means to perpetuate indefinite isolation under a new label. We have not achieved our goal of ending social-extermination. This is not a spiteful, nor rhetorical question, but we must sincerely ask ourselves—“is this truly a victory, or a failure being sold as a victory by those reactionary elements amongst us?

With each state in the historical development of our struggle, changes in policy alone have only amounted to a change in label, allowing the state to maintain it trajectory without interruption. If we are to eliminate social-extermination, “abstract” changes in policy must be facilitated with “concrete” transformations. We must transform the various Ad Seg and SHU facilities from within, otherwise indefi nite isolation will continue unabated and the state will manufacture a new label whenever circumstances necessitate, be in “program failure”, “validation”, or the latest gem from the CDC’s book of labels “S.T.G. and S.D.P.”, etc.

If we are to greatly reduce, or eliminate, their ability to permanently isolate us, we must struggle for the installation of two 4-man tables in each pod, phones, exercise bars (dip, pull up, push up combo) designed and fabricated by prisoners, cellies, Day Room time for social development and preservation of the individual’s identity. Social intercourse is a “human right” that needs to be established to facilitate these changes—both in policy and practice. To accomplish this, “limited association” must be our primary demand, and if collective unity is to be more than empty rhetoric, then we must likewise adjust our demands (which can be done without compromising the original five) and address the interests of those in G.P., such as weights, family visits, the question of prison labor and wages, etc. These are issues that concern all prisoners, S.N.Y.1 and solid alike, and therefore we should be appealing and accepting support from all corners of the prison system.

If we are to resuscitate life back into our struggle, we must adjust our tactics to meet the changing conditions. If there are any amongst the leadership or anyone politically conscious, who are still dedicated to our original goals, I believe we can achieve this with a small group of strikers consisting of 10, 15, maybe 20 “volunteers” willing to fast consecutively one at a time (or in pairs?) to the end. Each striker could initiate his fast with a new striker on standby joining in at 20-day intervals. And with leadership guidance and blessing, this could be complemented with a state with a statewide prisoner work-stoppage and halt of all movement.

Pre-written and recorded statements, interviews, photo, etc., of each “volunteer” could be provided to various media outlets, TV, radio, newspapers, internet, etc., prior to each striker initiating his fast, preventing the CDC from denying or sweeping deaths under the rug with minimal publicity. This may seem drastic but have we not already lost life with each strike, while not accomplishing anything substantial?

Nonetheless, I know this is a controversial issue with many sides and aspects to it and a proposal of this magnitude needs to be put on the table and discussed. And although the Comrade Ed and I are probably in more or less agreement with my analysis, we have gone back and forth on the issue of a smaller strike of dedicated “volunteers.” I believe that we have both made valid points, but we would encourage both the leadership and other potential volunteers for their contribution to this discussion.


This article first appeared in Prison Focus #44, Fall 2014

 

  1. Ed’s Note: The so called “convict code” is dead. Prisoners killed it. All any of us remember of the code is that we don’t rat. Yes, SNY has rats, get over it. They are prisoners fi rst, rats second. You leaders created the SNY, now you need to eliminate the need for such facilities. We need a new code, an “all of us or none” code.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Autonomedia Books via Leftwingbooks.NET



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Monday, May 11, 2015

Interesting (online) Things i have read recently



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