Whenever I look around me, I wonder what old things are about to bear fruit, what seemingly solid institutions might soon rupture, and what seeds we might now be planting whose harvest will come at some unpredictable moment in the future. The most magnificent person I met in 2013 quoted a line from Michel Foucault to me: "People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does." Someone saves a life or educates a person or tells her a story that upends everything she assumed. The transformation may be subtle or crucial or world changing, next year or in 100 years, or maybe in a millennium. You can’t always trace it but everything, everyone has a genealogy. Rebecca Solnit in TomDispatch: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Dec 23, 2013 -
Dissent Is the Health of the Democratic State
- "We live in big, complex societies, which means we are thoroughly interdependent on each other, and that we will naturally have different ideas about how our life in common should go, and will have divergent interests. This means that politics we shall always have with us. It also means that political problems are largely ones about designing and reforming the institutions which shape how we interact with each other..." (via
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 6, 2013 -
Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent
- Adding to its long-running series
on corruption and abuse in post-Communist Russia, the New York Times has reported on Russian authorities using the pretext of software piracy to seize computers from journalists and political dissidents critical of current policies. In a surprising twist, lawyers representing Microsoft have been found working with Russian police, despite reporters and NGOs providing evidence of legitimate software purchases. An official response
to the NYT piece suggests impostors claim to represent Microsoft in Russia, and notes the company's offer of free software licenses to these and similar groups.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Sep 12, 2010 -
I think that the main reason for the practical intelligence and the political good sense of the Americans is their long experience with juries in civil cases. I do not know whether a jury is useful to the litigants, but I am sure it is very good for those who have to decide the case. I regard it as one of the most effective means of popular education at society’s disposal.
offers commentaries on jury duty from Alexis de Toqueville
, Joanne Barkan
, Paul Berman
, Susan Cheever
, Nicolaus Mills
, Maxine Phillips
, Ruth Rosen
, Jim Sleeper
, Michael Walzer
, and Darryl Lorrenzo Wellington
. [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea
on Feb 18, 2008 -
"In the Name of Politics"
(NYT) Rev. John C. Danforth, the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Republican Senator for 18 years, native Missouran and Episcopal minister worries that the Republican Party is turning very literally theocratic. In this short editorial he states "the only explanation ... is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law."
(Just as a side note, we're taking applications.)
posted by blacklite
on Apr 10, 2005 -
Salon has an interesting two part series on the tensions between antiwar protesters and law enforcement. Part 1: "Outlawing dissent:
Spying on peace meetings, cracking down on protesters, keeping secret files on innocent people -- how Bush's war on terror has become a war on freedom." Part 2: "A thousand J. Edgar Hoovers:
State and local police are taking it upon themselves to investigate antiwar activists -- and in the computer age, the threat to our civil liberties is even greater than it was in Hoover's day." Does Protester = Criminal?
posted by homunculus
on Feb 20, 2004 -
Two U.S. Combat Officers Speak Out.
"What I want to say as my final statement to America is 'Stop letting your proud men and women die so senselessly. If we are going to die for our country let it be for something we can really be proud of. I just don t see us making the US any safer from terrorists because of what we are doing in Iraq. Bring us back home so we can defend the US from real threats to our shores.'" "Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. I am proud to serve my country and even die for it. I know the risks of putting on the uniform and accepting command. But damn it, if we are going to die, make it for something that really is helping to defend the US. I agree that we are dying senselessly for an idea of democracy in Iraq that the US government will never really let happen. I just want to be able to look back on my service with total pride and that is not really what I feel right now. I hate the ones in power that have made me question my sense of duty and honor."
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Feb 7, 2004 -
The Internet is now basically banned and controlled for all but the elite
in Cuba. In Iran
, an unelected body has eliminated hundreds of reformist candidates from the general elections. That's what stiffling of dissent looks like. Stare it in the face, and ask your politicians and NGOs and friends to raise their voices against it as loud as they did against the war in Iraq. Promote freedom for people just like you around the world in a nonviolent way. (And I'm not talking about writing Bush to ask for Regime Change)
posted by swerdloff
on Jan 11, 2004 -
"I begin to feel like I was in the last generation of Americans who took a civics class.
I begin to feel like most Americans don't understand the First Amendment, don't understand the idea of freedom of speech, and don't understand that it's the responsibility of the citizen to speak out....When I write a political column for the Chicago Sun-Times, when liberals disagree with me, they send in long, logical e-mails explaining all my errors. I hardly ever get well-reasoned articles from the right. People just tell me to shut up. That's the message: 'Shut up. Don't write anymore about this. Who do you think you are?'" Roger Ebert chats about dissent, celebrities, the power of film to effect change, and Moore.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Apr 24, 2003 -
, the practice of attacking authors who make statements against the U.S. government or engage in dissent, gets a comprehensive overview with a book in progress
. As 72 year old author Dorothy Bryant puts it
, "More than ever, we need free exchange of facts and opinions. I hope that looking back on a few cases that have had time to cool off will help us to understand the psychology of literary lynching, and to resist it — not only in others but in ourselves." But in today's world, is there any distinction between a thoughtful response and a downright ugly rejoinder anymore? (via Moby Lives
posted by ed
on Apr 2, 2002 -
Another benefit of globalization: Third World-style political oppression right here at home.
From the Ottawa Citizen (of all places): "Officers from various police forces and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have infiltrated, spied on or closely monitored organizations that are simply exercising their legal right to assembly and free speech. Targets of such intelligence operations in recent years... [include] a senior citizens' satire group that sings about social injustice... Individuals have been arrested for handing out literature condemning police tactics... "
posted by tranquileye
on Aug 20, 2001 -