According to the Situationist theorist Guy Debord, a dérive is "a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances." Who would be a better companion for such an unplanned, quixotic metropolitan escapade than McKenzie Wark? In a long audio interview with Sean Gittins, originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM, the author of The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International roams around the area of Limehouse, in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.
"A vivid biography, bringing the man back to life by decoding his prose expertly"—this is how writer and critic Lesley Chamberlain describes S. S. Prawer's Karl Marx and World Literature in a review for the New Statesman.
By delving into Marx's literary taste, Prawer's classic sheds light on how being an eager reader contributed to turn a young German doctoral student into a great political thinker, with a gift for vibrant metaphors, Chamberlain writes:
Alienation, fetishism and a topsy-turvy world that needs setting aright all began as moments Marx encountered in world literature. He conceived of literature, in a Goethean fashion, as Weltliteratur, the repository of universal human imagination. ... Literature taught Marx about life. There was scope for him to become carried away by his facility for coining metaphors and then to see them enacted in the industrial towns of his age.
White Riot editors Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay were recently interviewed on WNYC Souncheck, where they discussed the complicated and problematic racial politics of punk rock.
Using Black Flag’s “White Minority” as an example—a song proclaiming “white pride” but sung by Puerto Rican Ron Reyes, accompanied on drums by Colombian American Roberto “Robo” Valverde, and produced by African American Glen Lockett (a.k.a. Spot)—Duncombe and Tremblay demonstrate that
The “white riot” was never white from it’s conception, yet it’s been remembered and thought of and articulated as white. And this creates an immense amount of frustration, of course, for punks of color.
Ducncombe and Tremblay took questions and comments from listeners with varying perceptions on punk and racial politics.
Listen to the interview in full below.
For the Guardian, Chris Hall reviews All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities by Michael Sorkin, "a flâneur with a sense of public purpose." The incisive critique of contemporary architecture by "America's most outspoken architect ... doesn't pull punches."
Hall points out how Sorkin questions the triumphal nature of the planned Ground Zero memorial in New York. Instead, Sorkin calls for "open, public space that encourages 'peaceable assembly'":
He is undistracted by the false debate about which was the best design in the Ground Zero competition, questioning the very idea that there must be buildings to replace those lost and looking at the wider context of the ecology of Lower Manhattan and beyond.
The creation of a "free school" system has been the lynchpin of the education policies pursued by the coalition government since spring 2010. "But what does this mean for Yorkshire schools?" asks Melissa Benn, author of the acclaimed School Wars: The Battle for Britain's Education, in an article for the Yorkshire Post.
Benn underlines that the budget cuts introduced by the government are hitting Yorkshire schools hard, particularly those situated in the most deprived areas. No fewer than 82 schools in the county have already been forced to drop their refurbishment plans. In Benn's view, government policies are creating a sort of a two-tier system, widening the gap between elite and non-elite schools:
while schools in affluent parts of the county, and selective schools such as grammars and private schools, are, unsurprisingly, doing well, many secondaries and primaries in poorer areas are still floundering.