Posts Tagged ‘Common’

Uninformed In Licking County

April 16, 2020

Politics was once the news. Now Covid 19 has usurped that title. Currently politics is attempting to wrestle the title back to itself. Evidence for this is Dear Leader’s claim of “total authority” to determine when it is over and safe to come out. Would you take his word for it? Since Dear Leader is without a plan, relying mainly on being a “stable genius”, the when has shifted variously – first “Poof” it will just disappear, then 4-12-20 (Easter), now 5-1-20 (has little to do with International Workers’ Day). When it will actually be determined resides with the virus, according to Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Who determines is the politics, only the virus has little regard for democracy. It votes without registering or being qualified. And it votes more than once. The Newark Advocate has once again shifted its coverage of the numbers. When the pandemic first started up in Ohio, the Advocate gave the daily box score of diagnosed infections in Licking County. Then when the numbers increased, the daily show ceased and went to weekly. Now with the numbers approaching 100, the daily tabulation has returned. Why does this matter? In California the Governor, Gavin Newsom, laid out the state’s plan for reopening. It has six major conditions that need to be met for the qualified “all clear” to sound – capacity for testing, isolating, follow up, etc., protection of vulnerable population, the health care system can handle resurgence, therapies are readily available, public institutions can operate while facilitating social distancing, and the ability to quickly reimpose self isolation if necessary. For the sake of generating public confidence, it is a plan based on qualifications that can only be achieved through open and available reporting. As of this writing the Licking County Health Department is reporting 91 cases of diagnosed Covid 19 in Licking County. Does anyone other than the Health Department know where these are located? When the Advocate ceased its daily tabulations Licking County was second to Delaware County in reported cases for the 6 counties adjoining Franklin County (Columbus). Franklin County is one of the major centers of the virus in Ohio. As of this writing Licking is now 4thbehind Delaware, Pickaway, Fairfield counties (in that order). All the counties adjoining Franklin now have almost half as many cases combined as the total in Franklin. The diffusion of the virus is inevitable. Is anyone reporting on this? For a plan based on conditional requirements (like Newsom’s) to work implicates open and accurate reporting. How would one know conditions are being met without such reporting?  Of the 91 current cases, what percentage of cases border Franklin County? Are in Newark? Or are they in Hebron, Hanover or Utica? For the sake of expediency, does the Newark Advocate/Dispatch prefer  the authoritarian “all’s clear” to a thoughtful and engaged reporting of what conditions really are? Crimes are reported by neighborhood, where registered sex offenders reside, as well as notification of habitual DUI’s (yellow license plates), even product safety recalls are grounded in specificity. When it comes to the Covid 19 virus, why are we so uninformed in Licking County?

American Factory

February 15, 2020

The Oscar winning documentary, American Factory, will be screened this coming Thursday eve, 2-20-20, at the USWA Local 244 Union Hall, 350 Hudson Avenue, Newark Ohio. It begins at 7 PM with an open group conversation to follow its airing. This is the February feature for the Third Thursday Film series sponsored by The Freedom School In Licking County. When informed of such group gatherings to watch a flick, the knee jerk response usually runs something like: “I can get that on Netflix. I’ll be sure to watch it.” Analysis determines this pretty much misses the point. In the first half of the 20thcentury a Russian literary critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, introduced the idea of a dialogic reading or viewing. For Bakhtin, when a work or text is considered by more than one individual, a richer, fuller, more complete sense of the work is available to those assessing it. Simply put, an individual person can’t see the back of their own head. But they can see the back of their friend’s head. Together, in conversation, the two can arrive at a richer and fuller understanding of each other’s makeup, which is incomplete when assessed individually. The same can be said for watching a film or reading a book. Dialogical consideration enhances the understanding by filling in the blind spots. Along with countless others, Newark News Analysis has written of the demise of the commons, and the detrimental impact it has made on social interaction in America. The pre-industrial age commons was an open space available to area residents for leisure, congregating, gathering, celebrating, play, etc. The voracious need for workers and consumers by the captains of industry exorcised the state sanction of the commons, essentially eliminating them entirely. Vestiges of this space for communal (common) interaction can be found with neighborhood parks and some city squares. These of course are subject to regulations, hours of admission and limits to interactions (permits). Netflix could be considered as antithetical to the space of the commons. Along with the demise of the commons was the fall of festival, the communal gathering of play, usually located in the space of the commons. Comparisons of play designated within the communal space of contemporary parks and the play found within the notion of festival would be akin to comparing New Orleans Mardi Gras and the NFL or MLB. True, there is a sort of competitiveness found between the tribes or the crews sponsoring individual lines or parades. But this is not the designated and deliberate (specific) competitiveness incorporated within the layout of most parks (individual or group sports). Improving one’s individual jogging time or winning the league tournament is not the stuff of festival. Both bring people together for play but the time and ends of festival differ from that of competitive play. Mardi Gras has no beginning though it does end. Parks have designated times when they can be accessed. The play of competitive sports is predetermined, hence some are better at it than others (some play while others can only spectate). The play of festival is all inclusive and enhanced by diversity. Competitive play results in active participants (players) and passive spectators (fans). Festival play is one of open participation. Festival participants make their play while most competitive sports spectators have it made for them (are not players). Watching American Factory individually on Netflix, with personal phone distractions and preoccupations (multi tasking) is not the same as attending a common space viewing with an active conversation afterwards. Festival makes for a dialogic understanding (celebration) by virtue of its all inclusive and diverse participation. Individual Netflix perusal is incomplete. The blind spots are never even noticed.

Adult Education

January 24, 2020

Like the swallows and Capistrano, global corporate authorities gathered once again in secluded Davos Switzerland this past week. For the rest of us the corporate media represents it as the World Economic Forum with pronouncement made and issued for, you guessed it, the rest of us. Dear Leader attended, of course. Before leaving he too issued a pronouncement representing things in the US as being just all around boffo. We should all be very happy. Aren’t you? Why Greta Thunberg was there is anybody’s guess as she doesn’t fly in that rarefied milieu. Someone, who does, attended along with his boss. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took offense at Thunberg’s lecturing the corporate elites. “U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested that Greta Thunberg isn’t the best person to give advice on economic issues related to climate change — at least not until she goes to college. At a press briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mnuchin criticized the 17-year-old environmental activist’s call to divest from fossil fuels immediately, according to the Associated Press. Asked how such restrictions would affect the U.S. economic model, Mnuchin responded, “Is she the chief economist or who is she? I’m confused,” the AP reported. He paused before adding that his comments were “a joke.” “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” Mnuchin said. Thunberg, who has been outspoken about the lack of progress on climate change, tweeted Thursday that “it doesn’t take a college degree in economics” to realize that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.” She did not name Mnuchin but said in a subsequent tweet, “either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments.”” (‘Who Is She?’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Questions Greta Thunberg’s Economic Expertise at Davos by Sanya Mansoor for Time, 1-23-20). For those of you keeping score at home Thunberg dropped out of Sweden’s version of high school to embrace activism (without much “formal” education in that, either). Mnuchin has a BA from Yale, a father who is a partner at Goldman Sachs, and had his first job with the investment bank Salomon Brothers while still a student at Yale. Secretary Mnuchin feels no need to learn anything about what we all share in common while Thunberg considers each day an opportunity to learn more. Analysis surmises that eventually she will be forced to give an accounting for why she chose to go to Davos. “The corporate state, however, is in trouble. It has no credibility. All the promise of the “free market,” globalization and trickle-down economics have been exposed as a lie, and empty ideology used to satiate greed. The elites have no counterargument to their anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist critics. The attempt to blame the electoral insurgencies in the United States’ two ruling political parties on Russian interference, rather than massive social inequality – the worst in the industrialized world – is a desperate ploy. The courtiers in the corporate press are working feverishly, day and night, to distract us from reality. The moment the elites are forced to acknowledge social inequality as the root of our discontent is the moment they are forced to acknowledge their role in orchestrating this inequality.” (Chris Hedges, America: the farewell tour)

The Ties Of Life

July 12, 2019

“60 channels to choose from and there’s nothing on” was the ironic response to the introduction of cable TV a lifetime ago (now there’s 190!). “Individual choice” was the primary pitch in the marketing campaign to wean Americans off their reliance on antenna TV. Antenna TV was broadcast indiscriminately (and equally) to anyone with, well, an antenna. All were subscribers to what was held in common. Cable TV was selective, discriminating, individualized choice. Subscription established the algorithm of personal, consumer individuality. Or maybe personal, consumer individuality established the algorithm? Either way, cable TV won out in the end. Today, marketing “individual choice” is an assumed, fundamental “bread and butter” of all product and service sales in America. In an interview with George Yancy, Judith Butler reminds us of difference (Judith Butler: When Killing Women Isn’t a Crime, George Yancy, NY Times, 7-10-19). Butler: “Ni Una Menos is a movement that has brought millions of women into the street across Latin America to fight violence against women, trans people and the indigenous. The slogan “not one less” means that not one more woman will be lost to violence. Importantly, this is a call that is uttered by a collective: “Not another one will be lost from the class of women, this expanding collective that resists the violence directed against them.” But also: “As women, we will not lose another life.” The movement is not based on a narrow idea of identity, but is a strong and intensifying coalition that draws support from women and trans people who are workers, who belong to unions and churches, who may or may not have any relation to universities.” “The movement is equally a struggle for freedom and equality, and it struggles for the right to abortion, the right to equal pay and the struggle against neoliberal economics that is intensifying precarity, especially for women, the indigenous and the poor.” “Collectives are formed through a realization of a common social condition and a social bond, one that recognizes that what is happening to one life, whether it is violence, debt or subjection to patriarchal authority, is also happening for others. And though they may happen in different ways, the patterns are there, and so also are the grounds for solidarity.” “But the “me” in #metoo is not the same as the collective we, and a collective is not just a sequence of the stories of individuals. The basis for solidarity, for collective action, requires that we depart from the presumption of individualism; in the United States, the tendency is to reaffirm that tenet of political liberalism at the expense of strong and enduring collective bonds.” “After all, when the lives of women and minorities of all kinds are taken, that is a sign that those lives are not treated as equally valuable. The struggle against violence and the struggle for equality are linked.” “The interdiction against violence is a way of asserting and honoring that bond based on the equal value of lives, but this is not an abstract or formal principle. We require each other to live and that is as true of familial or kinship ties as it is of transnational and global bonds. The critique of individualism has been an important component of both feminist and Marxist thought, and it now becomes urgent as we seek to understand ourselves as living creatures bound to human and nonhuman creatures, to entire systems and networks of life.” “We have to rethink the ties of life to know why we are obligated to oppose violence even when, or precisely when, hostilities escalate.”