Frann Michel's blog

against work

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The well-read Red has been reading about working and about not working.

With unemployment rates in the US hovering around 16 percent, we might take to heart comments from French activists  protesting changes in unemployment law some years ago. Taking a page from the Situationists, they protested that

The best way to abolish unemployment is to abolish the work and the money that are linked with it.

Haiti: Disaster: Capitalism

A briefer audio version of this was broadcast on the Old Mole Variety Hour January 18, 2010.

The Well-read Red has been reading up on Haiti. As many in the progressive press have noted, last week's earthquake was a natural disaster made much more disastrous by the political and economic context in which it occurred.

Of course, Pat Robertson and David Brooks are wrong to suggest that Haiti's suffering is the result of a pact with the devil, or of a lack of paternalism. It is instead the result of hundreds of years of exploitation.

imperial avatar

On the Old Mole Jan 11, 2010, Denise Morris & I discussed Avatar, the expensive and profitable 3-D blockbuster, written and directed by James Cameron.

The movie is set in 2154 on Pandora, the Earth-like moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri system, where the RDA Corporation is mining for the incredibly valuable mineral Unobtanium, and employs former marines as security. The local population includes the big blue Na'vi, who are in tune with all the life on their planet, venerate the mother goddess Eywa, and dress in a pastiche of scanty Native American and African tribal styles.

policing the boundaries of gender

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bodybuildre with nail polishfor the Old Mole Variety Hour 31 August 2009

Earlier this month, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced that they will be verifying the gender of South African runner Caster Semenya, who won the women's 800-meter event at the Berlin Games.

The incident raises a host of issues:  the incompatibility between conventional femininity and athletic prowess, the pressure on women athletes to be heterosexually attractive, the racism of dominant western culture and its beauty standards, the presumption of male athletic superiority and the question of gender segregation in sport, the invasion of Semenya's privacy by leaking the news of testing before the results are in.

sex from stonewall to sanford

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour June 29, 2009

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, when, for the first time in history, queer people fought back against decades of police harassment.

reproductive justice

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for the Old Mole Variety Hour, June 8, 2009

The funeral this weekend of Dr. George Tiller attracted hundreds of mourners, honoring the memory of one of the very small number of doctors providing late term abortions in the US, a man whose clinic motto was "Trust women."

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is popularly recognized as our national holiday for remembering those who were killed in wars.

As Barack Obama said the other day, it's a time to "pay tribute to our fallen heroes; and to remember the servicemen and women who cannot be with us this year because they are standing post far from home." He acknowledged that we have often "failed to give them the support they need" and promised that we are now "building a 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs with the largest single-year funding increase in three decades." Certainly veterans need better services and better access to them.

Some right-wing bloggers have been complaining about the President's confusion of Memorial day and Veterans day, but it seems reasonable to consider the larger context of what is being honored. We would not be remembering dead soldiers if they hadn't once been live soldiers.

We would also not be remembering so many dead soldiers if more of them had followed the model of Ehren Watada, the first commisioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. Last week he won a legal victory when the Justice Department dropped efforts to retry him after his court martial ended in a mistrial. But the Army still wants to punish him for declaring the Iraq war illegal and immoral, and for having the courage to call out "the deception . . . used to initiate and process this war."

SF, socialism, battlestar galactica

For the Old Mole Variety Hour, April 20, 2009.

The well-read red reads science fiction.

Maeve 66, in a blog post on the Solidarity webzine, notes that "a lot of socialists have a yen for science fiction":

domestic & dating violence

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for the Old Mole Variety Hour March 30, 2009

If there's one good thing about the publicity surrounding pop singer Chris Brown's arrest on felony assault charges for an incident that left pop singer Rihanna with visible injuries, it’s that it's raised awareness about violence in intimate relationships, and especially dating violence among young people.

racism and the economic crisis

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For The Old Mole February 9, 2009.

Racism is arguably both a cause and a consequence of the current economic crisis.

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