Perry Ferrall: the suffering artist interview

December 21, 2007

Black Homicides Fuel Nation’s Murder Surge

February 23, 2007

Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes that homicides are the number one killer of black males in the 16-34 age range. He calls for black homicides to become a high priority issue. The article is here.

Neruda Anti-Meme: Nomination for Worst Poem of the 20th Century

February 3, 2007

Okay, some blogs that I have been checking out lately have been publishing Chilean Pablo Neruda’s poetry in meme form. I would say his continuing popularity isn’t surprising as many famous artists are often celebrated in a historical vacuum. However, I’m not a fan of divorcing art from its political context. Neruda was a near life-long Stalinist from the Spanish Civil War to his death in the 1973, owing much of his fame (and pay) for cultural service to Soviet totalitarianism.

A particularly disgusting crime of Neruda’s was as a Spanish diplomat in charge of refugees of the Spanish Civil War. Neruda personally prevented non-Stalinist leftists and anarchists refugees from fleeing France, which no doubt lead to many of their deaths at the hands of Hitler’s war machine. Another crime was to help Mexican muralist (and Stalinist comrade) David Siquieros escape to Chile following his role in the murder of Leon Trotsky (not that he’s a great guy either) in Mexico.

I’m no poetry expert but I’m willing to go out a limb and call Neruda’s eulogy to Stalin the worst poem of the 20th century.

To be men! That is the Stalinist law! . . .
We must learn from Stalin
his sincere intensity
his concrete clarity. . . .
Stalin is the noon,
the maturity of man and the peoples.
Stalinists, Let us bear this title with pride. . . .
Stalinist workers, clerks, women take care of this day!
The light has not vanished.
The fire has not disappeared,
There is only the growth of
Light, bread, fire and hope
In Stalin’s invincible time! . . .
In recent years the dove,
Peace, the wandering persecuted rose,
Found herself on his shoulders
And Stalin, the giant,
Carried her at the heights of his forehead. . . .
A wave beats against the stones of the shore.
But Malenkov will continue his work.

On today’s anti-war rally and a response to Marc Cooper

January 28, 2007

Marc Cooper has a critique of the anti-war rally in DC, which he appropriately titles “Sorta Dumb.” Go here.

Here’s my little commentary in response:

Before I headed over to the anti-war march in SF, I looked at CNN’s website to see what was happening at the East Coast protests. Well, there was Jane Fonda face ‘representin’ as the top news story. I just wonder which ding-a-lings at the organizing meetings pushed her as a speaker. Can we name names?

SF had decent numbers but nowhere near as large (or rowdy) like the protests at the beginning of the war. We marched to a local labor struggle (, which all things considered was an intelligent connection to make IMO.

As far as the war goes in Iraq, I think putting a little Marx in our analysis might help. There is no way that the American capitalist class is going to leave and risk a likely spreading of the war into other countries. Not because of any concern for Middle Eastern lives, but because they don’t want chaos in the world’s oil region. Iraq might be in chaos but at this point its contained to a small region.

If enough pressure is asserted by the American public, we could expect some type of faux “retreat” to Kuwait or Kurdistsan or somewhere close by. There the US can set up base and jump back in and put a lid on things when and if necessary. Also the US will accomplish one of its goals in this war which is to maintain military bases in the region.

While I mostly agree with Marc here about the rally, I would disagree with thinking that the democrat party politicians on the whole are anything more than anti-war posers. Sorry I can’t offer any holistic solutions because the situation looks fucked.

Black/Latino conflict

January 23, 2007 has been having some discussion on black and latino relations or divisions. Here’s my comment (check link for original post):

During the very recent swearing in ceremony of Oakland’s new (black) mayor Ron Dellums, a few of his black supporters yelled racial slurs at his mayoral race’s opponent (Latino) Ignacio De La Fuente.

Having worked in some different urban immigrant communities, my impression is that many immigrant Latinos, as well as Chinese, Vietnamese, Arab are simply scared of black people. Oakland is a city with serious out of control crime/violence and a lot immigrants to some degree blame black people as the problem. While there is a definetly anti-black sentiments within Latino immigrants, they are not the only group harboring them just the largest.

Different immigrants communities definetly don’t see themselves as some larger romantized people of color. They see themselves as Mexican, Salvadorean, Korean, Chinese etc.

By reading some of the comments here clearly there are some that want to throw on gasoline onto this sometimes below the surface conflict. I would suggest that a (working) class perspectve that emphasizes what people have to gain through crossracial/cultural solidarity is the only antidote.

The continued emphasis of narrow ethnic agendas (or identity politics) will get the exploited of the world nowhere, It’s too bad the some progressive intellectuals continue to walk around in this cul de sac. However, I think that BlackProf is doing the right thing in laying this problem on the table, despite all the knuckleheads that love to exploit these divisions.

Oakland Homicides #1,2,3, and 4

January 15, 2007

While San Francisco has experienced a homicide surge of 14 murders in 17 days, Oakland is going at its more usual consistent rate of 4 homicides for the first of half of January 2007.

Homicide #1: A 24-year-old man found shot on Jan. 3rd on an East Oakland street became Oakland’s first homicide victim of 2007. He was identified as Verdair Laroy Mosley, also known as Curtis Twiggs. A tow truck driver spotted Mosley lying on the pavement in the 900 block of 89th Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene at 11:35 p.m.
Homicide Sgt. Rick Andreotti said police believe Mosley was killed elsewhere and left on 89th Avenue.

Homicide #2: A North Oakland man was shot to death outside his home Sunday night, moments after parking his van in the driveway, police said.
Killed was Ernest C. Johnson, 41, who lived in the 6100 block of Baker Street.
He was shot about 8:45 p.m. Sunday just after parking his van in the driveway. He had left the house a few hours earlier.
Police officers gave him CPR until paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they so far have no motive for the killing and no suspects.

Homicide #3: A guy killed in an argument over a parking space. Samuel Navarro, 33, was shot about 7:50 p.m. on Pearl Street between Harrison Street and Fairmount Avenue. Apparentely a father of two children.

Homicide #4: An unnamed homeless women was murdered near in a flood control canal behind an East Oakland recreation center was killed, police said.

A homeless man collecting cans found the body about 11:30 a.m. in the canal behind the recreation center on the 5800 block of International Boulevard.
He told a recreation center employee, who called police.
Morris said police believe she was killed where found “and was there less than a day.”
He said police have no ideas for the possible motive yet, and no arrests have been made.
Police think she lived at a nearby homeless encampment.
That belief was echoed by some bystanders who said they had seen the woman in the area before and thought she was homeless.
The woman is described as white, between 30 and 40 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 110 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

(information from Oakland Tribune)

Oakland’s Bloodbath: 555 homicides in 5 years

January 15, 2007

The SF Chronicle reports on Oaklands escalating homicide problem. Oakland is #2 (after Compton) in California and #8 in the US in per capita homicides.

A Plague of Killing: here.

Living Among the Killing: here.

2oo6 oakland homicide map: here

Voices of concern: here

Bay Area anti-war protests Thursday against Bush’s escalation

January 10, 2007

If you haven`t heard the news Bush plans to announce on Wednesday to escalate US troop involvement by 20,000 in Iraq. I can`t say I`m very inspired about the anti-war movement in this country. While the general population has been moving more and more against the Iraq war, the anti-war movement seems to be going in the opposite direction– shrinking instead of growing. Would it be wishful thinking to hope for a large and defiant response to Bush’s State of the Union address? Probably, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Anyways here’s some protests Thursday around the bay area:

  • Oakland
    – 4:30 p.m. at Thornhill Drive and Moraga Avenue in the Montclair section
    – 5 p.m. at the Fruitvale BART station
    – 6 p.m. at the Rockridge BART station
  • Berkeley
    – 5 p.m. on the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over I-80 at Addison Street
    – 6 p.m. at the Downtown Berkeley BART station
  • Alameda
    – 6:30 p.m. at Alameda City Hall, Oak Street and Central Avenue
  • San Francisco
    – 3 p.m. at the military recruiting center, 670 Davis St. (World Can’t Wait)
    – 5 p.m. at Market and Powell streets, near the Powell BART station (A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition)
    – 6 p.m. at Market and Post streets, near the Montogomery BART station (CODEPINK)
  • El Cerrito
    – 4 p.m. at San Pablo Avenue and Hill Street, near the Del Norte BART station
  • Mountain View
    – 12 p.m. at El Camino Real and San Antonio Blvd. (Raging Grannies)
  • Palo Alto
    – 4:30 p.m. at El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road (Peninsula Peace & Justice Center)
  • For a listing of nation-wide protests go here.
  • Oakland’s #1 Youth Killer: Murder

    December 20, 2006

    Last week the Oakland tribune reported the very depressing fact that homicide is the #1 killer of youth in Alameda County at about 3 times the national rate. Considering that there are many cities in Alameda county that have few or no murders, you can imagine that the statistics are actually even grimmer for Oakland and even more specifically Oakland’s young black (and to a lesser extent Latino) men.

    So let me skip to the recent killing of Sean Bell in NYC by the NYPD, which is certainly an issue to be concerned about. Many progressives rightly bring up the issue about the (lack of) value for black life in America and in particular treatment of blacks by the police. I hope the family of Bell’s can achieve some modicum of justice in that situation.

    Which makes me wonder, where’s the progressive outrage at the urban carnage taking place in cities like Oakland? For every unjustified cop killing there are hundreds of everyday homicides of urban residents, with young, black males the primary victims (as well as the perpertrators). Oakland is currently on an early 90’s and near record homicide clip this year. Again where’s the outrage?

    to be continued later…. Here’s the tribune article. Here.

    Iranian Student Protests

    December 20, 2006

    I had a somewhat random conservation with an anti-authoritarian leftist Iranian guy who had recently spent a fair amount of time in Tehran. His report was that their was significant hatred of the Iranian regime and that all Tehran over young people were rejecting religion. He mentioned that blogging was a popular (and risky activity) among regime oppositionists. I’ve read that their are estimates of around 80,000 to 100,000 blogs happening in Iran. Here’s some videos on the recent student protests against Iran’s president Ahmadinejad.

    Hat Tip: Harry’s Place