(NOTE: I wrote this a couple weeks ago for the huffington post, but they haven’t published it so whatever here it is )
Nobody understands Occupy Wall Street. At least not in the media. It is clear now, more than ever, how important framing is to politics in this country. We aren’t even being given the opportunities to ask the right questions about the Occupy movement, much less answer them. Media coverage reduces Occupy Wall Street to a protest about market regulation, and the bloodstained greedy hands of the 1 %. Even Liberal media doesn’t begin to suspect the power nascent at Liberty Plaza. Occupy Wall Street is about total revolution, just not the one you were expecting. Occupy Wall Street is a revolution in the lived lives of its participants. We should all be inspired by this.
Occupy Wall Street should be understood as a conference, not a protest. It is about sharing an emotional and social experience that creates a space for the unforeseen. It is a testament to the tenacity and creativity of a rag-tag group of people who are acutely aware of the fundamental space behind the curtain we have been presented as common sense reality. Capitalist sorcery is real and circumscribes our entire conversation about the potential for more fulfilling and just lives. We can barely begin to speak about, much less, address the dread and self-loathing that true consciousness engenders under present circumstances.
Of course, I cannot write “magic” and “true consciousness” without the need for a warning that I don’t mean New Age-y babble. Do you understand the power at play here? That I can barely speak of magic, even though it is quite literally the binding agent that defines the world around us? That a type of sorcery has been committed against us all, bearing branded sigils of protection against an outside world we see through the lens of a financially driven social system that has not, does not and never will serve us.
Occupy Wall Street is merely a charged space to draw energy from. It is not the solution. It is not the sign of the impending collapse. It is a place to share and dwell in power and resources, to visualize the possibilities for lives that overflow with fulfillment. Its real value is not in the demands it makes, or its duration, but merely in its existence. Occupy Wall Street tells white people what brown people have known for so long in America. This place is not for you. We will kill you if you get out of line. Stories of bootstrap success are no longer enough to keep us complacent. We are not bitter that we are not rich. We are bitter that a system exists where in the myth of a free and fair market confines us all. Living an entirely new life is only the beginning of necessary change. The fact that the job market is shit and that over seven million Americans are in jail, on parole or probation is one of many signs of the hubris of Capital — how lazy the system became in the face of its own largess. Job creation does not solve the problems that created the global Occupy movement. People want fulfillment, not just something to fill the time.
Still, we must ask, what is next? We must ask ourselves what resources we do control. To bring fulfillment into your life is the most radical act possible given the current degradation of life. We are being killed by the food we eat, the air we breathe and the media that enchants us to believe our dissatisfaction has no root cause. Consumption is offered as the cure. Infinite choice proves we are unique human beings. Sure, it will be worse if Michele Bachmann becomes the next president, but my dissatisfaction runs so much deeper then caring which face is given to the Capitalist hydra we let guard us. Occupy Wall Street is one expression of a universal need for meaning, regardless of political posturing.
We must begin by examining our lives. This is not a question of what consumptive choices you make, but what productive forces you unleash onto the world. We all have the potential to create spaces for fulfillment in our lives. What is the passion that drives you? Is it aligned with every moment of your life? What are the fantasies you have let wither inside you in fear of their impossibilities? Now is the time to bring them to the fore and think creatively about actualizing them. We are all deeply resourceful in our creativity and need only to be reminded of our true potential. Begin with small negotiable tasks like eating well, and creating time to do the activities that bring you the most joy. With each small step, the path becomes easier. #OCCUPYEVERYTHING
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27fQcatpWUg[/youtube]
Recent news report on Al Jazeera
It has been quite disheartening watching the post-election crisis in Cote d’Ivoire turn from yet another power struggle among African politicians to very dangerous and explosive situation. I’m watching this from a room in Brooklyn, a couch in Northern Virginia; seeing yet another African country on the brink of civil war after its leader refuses to step down gracefully following an election. Mind you, Ivory Coast is still healing and rebuilding from a recent civil war.
In late November, President Laurent Gbagbo, who has ruled the Ivory Coast for the past ten years, lost to opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara in the presidential elections, elections which Gbagbo has already postponed five times in the last six years, meaning polls taking place in 2010 should have happened in 2005! Gbagbo, backed by the national army and security forces/hired youths – “young patriots”/militias refuses to concede and hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, who is recognized as the clear winner by regional body ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and most countries. Ouattara also has the support of former rebel forces (fighters from the civil war still armed and active!)
At the moment, tensions are high. The situation gets awful, more dire with each news report. With more than 170 people reported killed in the post election violence, thousands are fleeing into neighboring countries – with most people seeking refuge in Liberia and Guinea. ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) initially talked about armed intervention using its military wing ECOMOG (which was instrumental in bringing peace to Liberia and Sierra Leone albeit criticisms of abuse and property theft during the civil wars in those countries) but later open the door for more discussions with Gbagbo. In the Ivorien capital, Abidjan, Gbagbo’s security forces/militias are conducting raids, and killing dozens of Ouattara’s supporters, and also threatening to invade the UN-protected hotel in which Ouattara and his ministers are staying/trying to conduct a state business.
International pressure on Gbagbo is failing and the mediation/action from ECOWAS is providing immediate results. We hope for a peaceful settlement, but some sort of resolution must be reached soon so the situation doesn’t escalate. Something radical has to happen to turn this situation around.
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMjuzMcDeYI&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]
Streets of Abijan – CIAfrica’s Greendog “Afristepdub“
I’ve never been to Ivory Coast (not completely true, because my mother went to Abidjan several times when she was pregnant with me) and I don’t speak or understand french (well, I resisted learning another Euporean language through my high school and college years.) I mentioned these things because I want to say I don’t completely understand CIAfrica’s lyrics and the topics raised in their songs. If you don’t know, CIAfrica is a militant, pan-Africanist rap/reggae/bass music collective based in Abidjan. The collective came of age during the turbulent years of the Gbagbo administration, marked by civil and military unrest. According to the song descriptions/summaries of the tracks on their album on Dutty Artz, CIAfrica makes defiant music, speaks out against fraudulent, hoggish leaders who are determined to stay in power no matter how much blood is spilled, against corruption and brutalization. They are making music in this currently political chaos, and are hustling and trying to visit Europe and North America in 2011. Listen to the track “Negro Politicien” –
Chief Boima held down the dopest African night in San Francisco at Little Boabab. Now that he has relocated to NYC there’s talk of a new African music night in collaboration with Lamin Fofana…… until then, you’ll have to settle for rare guest appearances at parties like Old Money Massive’s Van Setima at Panda this Thursday in NYC.
You know that feeling, when you don’t hear much from your favorite artists for a while, but you know its not caus they fell off, but caus they’re cooking some next-level shit. That’s how it is for Boima right now- but just hold tight, CAUS THE INTERNET CAN WAIT for B. That’s how ahead our mans game is. Some people are “right on the zeitgeist,” but Boima is zeitgeist producing. Africa is the future, and you’d be stupid not to try and grab a glimpse on Thursday.
“iHop” excels as a futuristic dubstep number with its focus on strong shuffling rhythms, thick bass melodies, and soulful, pitch-shifted vocal sampling on par with UK funky’s finest” – Patric Fallon, XLR8R
“excellent throughout… It’s always possible that he just went so deep into Detroit that he arrived in Africa by mistake.” – Eddie Stats, The Fader
Matt Shadetek – iHop
Earlier this afternoon, the good folks over at XLR8R liberated a track “iHop” from Flowers, Matt Shadetek’s first solo instrumental album which drops June 8th – just a couple of weeks from now. This will be the first time we announce the album on this blog! We’re all excited about Flowers, which is Matt’s most beautiful and light-hearted work to date. Read Patric Fallon’s review and download the tune at XLR8R.
We’re speeding up the content production/consumption cycle in the instant update world… and no one does snarky music world twitter better then Disco Shawn (who was also dropping gems on Muddup a couple weeks ago LISTEN HERE) h/t to him for this video which defies commentary beyond the fact that sometimes its cool to live in America where something like Sensation (source of some of the clips below) could NEVER happen.
Cool Dutty Artz interview/mini-doc featuring Shadetek and Jahdan over at XLR8R – part of their Labels We Love Series. Check iTunes for XLR8R Presents Labels We Love, Vol. 1 featuring a new tune from Chief Boima titled “Techno Rumba” (an official release will be out soon) and the Jahdan Blakkamoore banger “Buss It Pon Dem” (produced by Chancha Via Circuito.)
I’m unsure about the execution (voodoo-blackface?) too, but this is a great idea, no?
American televangelist/Christian evangelical ‘douchebag‘ extraordinaire Pat Robertson blamed the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on the on the Hatian people and their religious/cultural practices– voodoo. Additional article: What is Pat Robertson Really Saying About Haiti?
& here’s my request to johnnyvoodoo and all America voodoo doll makers, please make a doll of this man, David Brooks of the New York Times —
If you read his Op-Ed column last Thursday, I’m sure you will sympathize with me/my request. For a better understanding, Matt Taibbi clears the thickets by translating excerpts of Brooks’s essay so we can further appreciate his timely insight —
“This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services. On Thursday, President Obama told the people of Haiti: “You will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.” If he is going to remain faithful to that vow then he is going to have to use this tragedy as an occasion to rethink our approach to global poverty. He’s going to have to acknowledge a few difficult truths.
The first of those truths is that we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.
In the recent anthology “What Works in Development?,” a group of economists try to sort out what we’ve learned. The picture is grim. There are no policy levers that consistently correlate to increased growth. There is nearly zero correlation between how a developing economy does one decade and how it does the next. There is no consistently proven way to reduce corruption. Even improving governing institutions doesn’t seem to produce the expected results.
The chastened tone of these essays is captured by the economist Abhijit Banerjee: “It is not clear to us that the best way to get growth is to do growth policy of any form. Perhaps making growth happen is ultimately beyond our control.”
TRANSLATION: Don’t bother giving any money, it doesn’t do any good. And feeling guilty about not giving money doesn’t do anyone any good either. In fact, you’re probably helping by not doing anything.
Read more @ True/Slant
Ahmed Janka Nabay gets mentioned in a New York Times CMJ rundown;
There was also an African apparition: Janka Nabay from Sierra Leone, wearing a straw skirt and singing and dancing to recorded tracks of what he said was a 500-year-old tradition called bubu music. The tracks were modern, and the beat, fast and skeletal and driven by bell taps, was unstoppable, demanding wider dissemination.[audio:http://www.strawvsgold.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/janka3-introduces-true-music-bubu-music_.m4v]
listen to more audio from an interview Janka did with Straw vs Gold several months back.
Jahdan is “one of the most versatile vocalists in the world.” Exclaim
Respect to Maga Bo for the production on this.
Here’s a list of key US retailers; where you can pick up a physical copy of the album:
AKA Music – Philadelphia
Amoeba SF / Berkeley / Hollywood
Angelos – Colorado
Bull Moose – Maine (9 locations)
Cheapo – Minnesota (4 locations)
Criminal Records – Atlanta
Dimple – Sacramento
Disc Exchange – Knoxville, TN
Disc N Dat – Tacoma, WA
Everyday Music – Oregon (Multiple Locations)
Ear Xtacy – Louisville, KY
Easy Street – Seattle, WA
Electric Fetus – Minneapolis / St Paul, MN (2 locations)
Fingerprints – Long Beach, CA
Graywhale – Salt Lake City, UT (7 locations)
Grimeys – Nashville, TN
Park Avenue – Orlando, FL (2 locations)
Twist And Shout – Denver, CO
Independent Records – Colorado (6 locations)
J&R – NYC
Melody Records – Washington, DC
Music Millenium – Portland, OR
Newbury Comics – New England (Mass/RI/CT)
Other Music – NYC
Rasputins – SF/Bay Area (7 locations)
Salzers – Ventura, CA
Shake It – Cincinnati, OH
Silver Platters – Seattle / Tacoma, WA (3 locations)
Sonic Boom – Washington (2 locations)
Soundgarden – Baltimore, MD
Streetlight – San Jose/Santa Cruz, CA (2 locations)
Vons – Lafayette, IN
Waterloo – Austin, TX
Zia – Arizona + las Vegas (10 locations)
Story Julianne Shepherd
Photography Jason Nocito
Encyclopedic, scholarly and wielding deep faith in riddim and vibes—the alchemy of the Brooklyn-based Dutty Artz crew is completely mystical and slightly awe-inspiring. Its main proprietors, the power trio of DJ/producers Jace Clayton aka DJ/Rupture, Matt Schell aka Matt Shadetek, and Roberto Fernandez aka Geko Jones, are dudes preeminently known for soliciting and disseminating the globe’s bangingest dancehall, dubstep, and cumbia beats. They have explored metropolises, townships and favelas to seek out music in its indigenous state and found likeminded friends in Brazil’s Maga Bo, Montreal’s Ghislain Poirier, and Cape Town’s African Dope Records crew, and when they can’t get to the most outward of dance music’s niches themselves, they have a gang of colleagues to carry the load. When a friend recently traveled to Distrito Federal in Mexico City, Jones begged him to bring back whatever wild music he could find. Thus, when you Google “tribal guarachero,” duttyartz.com is the only non-Spanish blog that results. They are archaeologists scouring the globe’s nooks and crannies with the curiosity of scientists, not conquistadors. They are so passionate about the beat, and generous with their knowledge of it, you almost don’t know where to begin the discussion.
Click HERE to read the rest of Julianne Shepherd’s intelligent and sincere article from The FADER #61.