Rosa Luxemburg was celebrated in New York at NYU's Tishman Auditorium on March 14th, where actress and writer Deborah Eisenberg brought Rosa's remarkable correspondence to life on stage. Eisenberg joined a distinguished panel of Luxemburg scholars who reminded us of the continuing importance of Luxemburg's work today: Paul Le Blanc, Anthony Arnove, Helen C. Scott, Peter Hudis and Annelies Laschitza.
Deborah Eisenberg, an American short-story writer, actor and teacher who received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2009, is the author of several collections of stories including The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg,which has just been awarded this year's PEN/Faulkner Award.
Many thanks to Noel Benford for making this footage available. This event was organized to launch The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg.
Each year, some 6,000 young people apply to intern in the White House, where only a few hundred positions are on offer. Many famous media outlets, high-flying finance firms, and Hollywood studios now take fewer than 1% of their internship applicants-such is the crazed demand even for illegal, unpaid roles heavy on grunt work. But all this pales in comparison with the endlessly-"liked" and much-Tweeted "Tiger Blood internship" brought to you by Charlie Sheen and Internships.com: your chances of landing that were about .0012%.
That's right: 82,148 people from around the world applied for a single spot to help "The Machine" "leverage his social network", i.e. to serve a self-immolating celebrity known for bizarre tirades, cocaine and alcohol addiction, threesomes with porn stars, and domestic violence. Okay, at least it's paid-although probably not generously enough, considering a TV star who was making nearly $2 million per episode and whined about being "underpaid".
Interns, meet celebrity culture.
In the midst of simultaneous eruptions of resistance and escalating global turmoil, one can't help but wonder why, after years of repression, these particular people have found the strength and the will to organize and rebel? In a beautifully written article, Rebecca Solnit recently examined global events the context of social boiling points and the necessary conditions for revolution. Solnit, an acclaimed author, historian and activist, begins her piece with a poetic survey of recent uprisings:
Revolution is as unpredictable as an earthquake and as beautiful as spring. Its coming is always a surprise, but its nature should not be.
Revolution is a phase, a mood, like spring, and just as spring has its buds and showers, so revolution has its ebullience, its bravery, its hope, and its solidarity. Some of these things pass. The women of Cairo do not move as freely in public as they did during those few precious weeks when the old rules were suspended and everything was different. But the old Egypt is gone and Egyptians' sense of themselves-and our sense of them-is forever changed.
José Antonio Gutiérrez of the Latin American Solidarity Centre has reviewed Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment for the Irish Left Review:
This new edition provides an additional chapter which updates us with the events in Haiti after and around the earthquake. These fateful events don't alter the conclusions Hallward arrived at in the first edition; if anything they're re-enforced and proved right. The speed at which a humanitarian tragedy was turned into an opportunity to further deepen military occupation, allowing the US take over the island, proves that Haiti has not lost its appeal for the "Humanitarian Interventionists" in any way. Also, the widespread acceptance of the occupation as a positive action by most of the world's media shows that popular perception has come to accept that it is natural to keep Haitians at gun point, even in the most extraordinary and tragic circumstances. Lastly, it sadly proves through the series of logistical blunders, such as the primacy of military over humanitarian aid, the state of neglect in which the victims were abandoned for weeks before they saw any meaningful help (with the exception of understaffed Cuban doctors), and by the fact that most aid which was promised by foreign donors (both agencies and governments) has not been delivered more than one year later, that Haitian people's lives are a very low priority on the international community's agenda. This year's anniversary of the earthquake was one of shame for all the self-proclaimed "friends" of Haiti.
In a posting today for the Seattle Stranger's blog, Slog, Charles Mudede lets on that he'll be reviewing Richard Dienst's The Bonds of Debt next month and in the meantime cites it as "the best thing I read this weekend." Mudede goes on,
The most original thing about Dienst's reading of debt, a reading that is very close to the truth, is that it locates it at the very center of human sociality. We are naturally indebted; each of us owes so much to people we know and do not know. To be an animal whose sociality has a significant cultural component is to have a high degree of indebtedness. The less an animal is culturally social, the less debts it has.
Visit Slog to read the post in full, and watch this space for Mudede's full review when it appears.