In it’s war against Nature
Civilization has already lost

Realizing my Angst is nothing but me
staring into the Abyss of the terrible forgetfulness of Infinity
that will ultimately swallow is all in its embrace

Only to be confronted in the fleeting Moments
of the only true Magic we have at our disposal
in Love and Friendship

The little Ants that we are coexisting in the Web of Life
You on this side of the World
Me on the Other

You once asked for a sign that the Thing
called the Group still had any Meaning,

This intangible thing into which we poured all our Hopes and Dreams
perhaps now only exists by the grace of a lack of form much like the
unpredictable lives that we live

As we grow older Mystery easier to Witness,
yet harder to Bear
favoring the small and meaningful as the Real to dictate what we cherish

As we grow tired of those still chasing towards Progress in their
Arrogance and their Greed, into the Abyss

I am grateful that on this journey into Nowhere which is my Life
I can still call you my Friend,

‘Signed’
Me

Recently I was invited to join a Sociology Day at my old university. As an old alumni I was going to join a discussion table for a day with my old teacher, someone I still hold dear as a spiritual guide in finding a meaning ethics in our current hectic times. In a spur of inspiration I wrote this little piece on responsibility and friendship  right down below.

A friend of mine wrote a little piece as well, he elaborated on friendship more. We accidentally did something we did not really do in a long time. We thought together and this is exactly where we want to be as the Middelburg group.

At the Sociology day we discussed the text a little further after my old teacher gave some feedback. I wrote the piece informed by a ssense of ethics that i developed inside the classroom together with some of my very special friends from back then.

You see, Sociology day in this setting is not about sociology as such. Our classes were essentially classes in ethics informed by readings from the Decolonial School of Thought, a group of Latin American philosophers that aim to imagine a new way of thinking from which we can start to abandon the capitalist ways we are pursuing right now. Google ‘Buen Vivir’ if i caught your attention with this, just a small example of what I am referring to.

We speak much about history and how things that happened in the past still influence society today, but even more than that we aim to figure out what our place is in the world, referred to as a ‘positionality’. We want to understand what our place in the world is when other people lead such different but somehow connected lives. Doing so we continue to discuss our ‘relationality’ to the world. Or how we engage in meaningful relations. See, we believe that the relations we have are the most important aspect of our lives and even if we do not always manage to stay readily in touch, we know that through our engagement we have made a little place for this thing we have there.

This introduction has become much longer than I initially inteded it to be, however, it is good stuff.

There is a plan to add a few pages with some theory to this blog. Some background reading through which those who are interesting can get a better understanding with what sort of a perspective the content of this blog is chosen to be shared, or produced.

So here we go:

In the end, whatever it is what are gonna talk about today, what I want is that you think about how you are going to make your life meaningful to yourself, to the people around you, your family and friends, to the people far away even if they don’t know it, to the people in the future and to the heroes that have struggled for the rights that you have today and for the people that still suffer from the wrongdoings from the past. I want you to think so and so that you will raise your conscience, that you will improve your character so you will become stronger, but not only to the benefit of yourself. I want you to become stronger for the benefit of the world, I want you to want to carry responsibility.

Because if there is one thing we need in this world its people who want to carry responsibility, people who understand that life is more than having a proper job and a family, people that understand that if we don’t struggle for justice, there are no jobs and no families.

People who are strong enough to look at the world and who see its ugliness and its beauty all at the same time, people who look at the complexity of the world and accept it for what it is, that there are no clearcut answers to the problems that exist, that understand that this doesn’t mean that we can only be happy if we look away. People that keep on loving despite all the ugliness hidden in all the turmoil, because they know that this is the only way they can stay happy in a meaningful way, meaningful to themselves and meaningful to others.

As a gift I want you to share with you how I found how friendship is the best motivator to keep carrying on. In a mutual understanding of what we are going for we find the strength to keep on standing up for justice and peace in a society that increasingly less dares to hold on to its dreams of freedom and equality and openness.

Storm is coming, therefore we need to firmly grasp hold of each other’s hands, so we can look each other in the eyes when the storm hits and still remember what we once dreamt and carry on.

My friend’s piece

I would like underlining what my friend Jurre said about friendship. In an ethical or emancipatory sense, friendship is about much more than how to spend your spare time. Having friends that you share values, convictions, dreams and aspirations with, is maybe the most important seed for action and transformation. Knowing that you are not alone, accommodated and supported, not only motivates but puts you in motion. True friendship allows you to be vulnerable, that is to be honest to others and to yourself, to be transparent. Real friends will hold you accountable, especially when your position is on of privilege. Friendship gives us the courage to act against all odds, to deal with fear and trauma. Friendship is a constant reminder of the need to be humble and attentive. Friendship gives us energy and joy. It is the retreat and safe space where we can relax and refresh.

On a different level, when we think about organizing, friendship can guarantee informal interaction. Growing up in an environment saturated by hierarchies, bureaucracies, protocol and many other forms of inherited implicit or explicit forms of formality (and coloniality), friendship can protect us from alienation and fragmentation. It alerts us in case we get lured into abstraction and (pre-)mediated forms of interaction that contradict our understanding.

 Friendship in this sense is more than teamwork (or group work). Friendship is care and compassion, the ground on which we stand, and by extension the ‘method’ through which we grow and open ourselves to differences and learn.

 Friendship is the heart of companionship.

With each other – through/ via each other – to each other.

(Miteinander, Durcheinander, Zueinander)

 Simply put, there is no transformation without action, no action without collectivity, and no collectivity without friendship and love. Thus, it is not DIY, but DIT (to it together).

 If you want to open spaces for engagement in your localities, build alternative structures for autonomy and self-determination, for hospitality and healing, don’t just team up and look for members, make friends and foster these friendships. 🙂

If you read this piece until the end, thank you!

If these words inspired you, resonated with you or made you feel better in anyway

….. Thank You!

 

 

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

October 4, 2013

Dropping Knowledge, What can a woman from African tell about Europe?

Languages are a beautiful thing. Anthropologists like the master storyteller Wade Davis call for a wider understanding of humans in all their diversity through concepts like enthodiversity, because a language does not only consists of words and gramatical rules. Its an actual living record of a way of understanding, in Wade’s world ‘an old growth forest of the mind’ thus languages are much like ecological families the richness of the world including much of our collective histories. Only this time it captures the diversity of human understandings. Ask humanity a question and it will answer in a thousand languages. The same goes for the question ´What is love?´ this article selected ten words from different languages in order for us to make a beginning with finding out what those thousand voices would have to say.

Urbandud

mamihlapinatapei

1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.

yuanfen

2. Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.

cafune

3. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.

retrouvailles

4. Retrouvailles (French):  The happiness of meeting again after a long time.

ilunga

5. Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.

la douleur exquise

6. La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.

koi no yokan

7. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall…

View original post 92 more words

Picture 7

“Slavery remains as the most telling event and process in the formation of Western Civilization and the modern/colonial world in the Atlantic, from the XVI to early XIX centuries. An aberration upon which Western modernity built its economic foundations at the same time that managed to “normalize” the dispensability of human lives. Dispensable where lives of people considered lesser human and subjected to be enslaved and dispensed with when they were no longer necessary. Slavery was not only a set of processes and events. It was, above all, the consequence of a frame of knowledge that established a hierarchy of human beings. That frame of knowledge was and is what today we know as “racism.” Slavery was deeply rooted in epistemic un-justice.

The fourth edition of the Middelburg Decolonial Summer School focus on ” Slavery: The Past and Present of Social (Un) Justice.” It is designed to investigate the logic and presupposition of Global Un-justice in the modern/colonial world, from 1500 to 2000. The seminar takes place in Middelburg, a key city of the Dutch slave trade and it is set against the backdrop of the 150 anniversary of the abolition of slavery in The Netherlands.

The ‘Decolonial Option’ aims to open new perspectives for understanding global (un) justice as well as to overcome them in the process of imagining and building just and convivial futures. If coloniality, as unfolded in the collective project “modernity/coloniality”, is the logic behind social un-justices, it remains hidden under the rhetoric of modernity, Decoloniality shall be—therefore—the process of disclosing and undoing coloniality to promote and contribute to enact social justice. Global un-justices operates at all levels of the socio-economic and cultural spectrum, from economy to politics, from religion to aesthetics, from gender and sexuality to ethnicity and racism, and above all, in the control of knowledge.

The Decolonial Summer Seminar will take advantage of what Middleburg has to offer to understand the history of slavery and its connection to the formation of Western power. Building on the local history of Middelburg, we will theoretically explore the nature and consequences of slavery and we will draw the continuities between the colonial past and current forms of social un-justice around the world. We will pay special attention to emerging project, parallel to the project modernity/coloniality/decoloniality who are working toward overcoming the legacies of the South-North divide. If the colonial matrix of power encompasses several domains (economy, politics, gender, cosmology, aesthetics, racialization), the task of overcoming coloniality requires of many people in many areas of knowing and doing. Activists, artists, scholars, journalists will, among others, contribute to the goals of the 4th edition of the Decolonial Summer School at Middleburg.”

http://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/index.php?type=courses&code=S21

 

bebop-2013-flyer

“After its outstanding debut last year, this new edition of the series BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS is expanding with live performances and an all-day screening commemorating Malcolm X´s birthday at the Hackesche Höfe Kino, in cooperation with AfricAvenir.

DECOLONIZING THE “COLD” WAR is the first Afropean performance showcase and will be accompanied by roundtable discussions on the aesthetic legacy of the Black Power movement in the radical imagination of Diaspora artists. Parallel to this, its influence in liberation and decolonization struggles in the Global South during the so-called “Cold” War will be approached from the continuities of coloniality. According to Enrique Dussel, a liberation philosopher and decolonial thinker, this war was never “cold” in the Global South.

We are witnessing a kind of global revivalism on documentary material on the Black Power movement (a good example is the release (2011) of Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, by Göran Olsson) and dozens of seminars and conferences are mushrooming all over Europe on the so called “Cold” War. In these hegemonic narratives the global South is usually considered as a mere recipient of Western imperialism.

During this festival, the story will be told from the perspective of the self-affirmation of Black Power. The emblematic figure of Angela Davis created a planetary movement of solidarity that went beyond the term “Black Internationalism”. These narratives of re-existence will be analyzed in relation to Frantz Fanon´s fundamental role in global South liberation struggles during that period. His interactions with Jean-Paul Sartre will be the focus of some of these unprecedented debates. The worldwide solidarities resulting from the Black Power movement united people beyond racialization and political agendas. BE.BOP 2013 celebrates a paradigm shift that transformed the Black Body into a source of inspiration and beauty prevalent until today.

The festival takes place in English.”

http://decolonizingthecoldwar.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/program/

ROUNDTABLE pre-registration: http://decolonizingthecoldwar.eventbrite.com/

Hope from the margins – By Gustavo Esteva

These notes offer a quick glance to ways, in the south of Mexico, in which people are regenerating the society from the bottom up. It is a new kind of revolution without leaders or vanguards, which goes beyond development and globalization. It is about displacing the economy from the center of social life, reclaiming a communal way of being, encouraging radical pluralism, and advancing towards real democracy.

the oaxaca commune

From June to October 2006, there were no police in the city of Oaxaca (population 600,000), not even to direct traffic. The governor and his functionaries met secretly in hotels or private homes; none of them dared to show up at their offices. The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) had posted 24-hour guards in all the public buildings, radio and TV stations. When the governor launched nocturnal attacks against these guards, the people responded by putting up barricades.

Some observers began speaking of the Oaxaca Commune, evoking the Paris Commune of 1871. The analogy is pertinent but exaggerated, except for the reaction these two popular insurrections elicited in the centers of power. Like the European armies that crushed the communards, the Federal Police of Mexico, backed by the army and the navy, conducted a terrible repression on November 25, 2006. They could not use the ways of the 19th century, but they inflicted a massive violation of human rights using an approach that can legitimately be described as state terrorism.

 

Third or Imperfect Cinema

January 9, 2013

“Just a short time ago it would have seemed like a Quixotic adventure in the colonised, neocolonised, or even the imperialist nations themselves to make any attempt to create films of decolonisation that turned their back on or actively opposed the System. Until recently, film had been synonymous with spectacle or entertainment: in a word, it was one more consumer good. At best, films succeeded in bearing witness to the decay of bourgeois values and testifying to social injustice. As a rule, films only dealt with effect, never with cause; it was cinema of mystification or anti-historicism. It was surplus value cinema. Caught up in these conditions, films, the most valuable tool of communication of our times, were destined to satisfy only the ideological and economic interests of the owners of the film industry, the lords of the world film market, the great majority of whom were from the United States.
Was it possible to overcome this situation? How could the problem of turning out liberating films be approached when costs came to several thousand dollars and the distribution and exhibition channels were in the hands of the enemy? How could the continuity of work be guaranteed? How could the public be reached? How could System-imposed repression and censorship be vanquished? These questions, which could be multiplied in all directions, led and still lead many people to scepticism or rationalisation: ‘revolutionary cinema cannot exist before the revolution’; ‘revolutionary films have been possible only in the liberated countries’; ‘without the support of revolutionary political power, revolutionary cinema or art is impossible.’ The mistake was due to taking the same approach to reality and films as did the bourgeoisie. The models of production, distribution, and exhibition continued to be those of Hollywood precisely because, in ideology and politics, films had not yet become the vehicle for a clearly drawn differentiation between bourgeois ideology and politics.” – Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino

read on

“Revolutionary cinema […] can only be collective, just as the revolution itself is collective” (Jorge Sanjinés (1983) Problems of form and content in revolutionary cinema)

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