The concept of the TAZ, or temporary autonomous zone, comes from “ontological anarchist” writer and poet Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson). It is intended to indicate a space of liberation, a space which is at once physical and real, if temporary, and metaphysical — a space of consciousness outside of the mental frames of social structure, from which a reimagination of the world may proceed.
For all the complaints many of us in the U.S. heard or voiced about the cold, this past January was the fourth warmest on record, and the 38th consecutive January and 347th consecutive month (almost 29 years) that global temperatures have been above the average for the 20th century.
“Power to the millions, not to the millionaires” (#Leftmaidan)
Three forms of democracy vie with each other in Ukraine today.
The first of these is what we might call authoritarian democracy. This is a hybrid of democracy and authoritarian rule, in which partially developed democratic institutions can be relatively easily played off against each other by the powers-that-be to maintain their rule.
Just as environmental media have a penchant for the spectacle of “disaster porn,” so does political media reveal a strong attraction to what Politico’s Sarah Kendzior, in “The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine,” calls the “apocalypstickle.”
An ugly word for political observers’ weird fascination with apocalyptic imagery. Brueghel, Bosch . . . and heightened internet traffic.
“COUNTRY UNDER RECONSTRUCTION. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.” (from Ukrainian anarchist group Blackmaidan)
“It is as if, for a moment, the ‘projection’ of the outside world has stopped working; as if we have been confronted momentarily with the formless grey emptiness of the screen itself…” (Slavoj Zizek, describing the scene outside a traveling couple’s window in Robert Heinlein’s “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag”)
Starting a discussion on these topics here.
Since I was traveling at the time, I failed to note an interesting story that got covered in the science press about the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement.
As reported in articles in Scientific American, The Guardian, and elsewhere, a recent peer-reviewed study published in Climatic Science by sociologist Robert Brulle supports many claims that have been made by environmental scientists and activists documenting the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement — a close to $1 billion a year machine of nearly 100 organizations.
Most revealingly (or rather, obscuringly), denialism has been able to cloak its funding sources behind what have effectively become “money laundering” operations like Continue Reading »
Over at A(S)CENE, we are starting to read Nigel Clark’s Inhuman Nature: Sociable Life on a Dynamic Planet as well as the Punctum Books open-access collection Making the Geological Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life.
Clark’s book has attracted some very intrigued — and a few rather ecstatic — reviews from geographers and social theorists, including a book review symposium in Progress in Human Geography. Back cover blurbers Barry Smart, Myra Hird, and Adrian Franklin call it “magnificent” and “compelling” (Smart), a “watershed for social theory” (Hird), and “possibly one of the most important books you are ever likely to read, Continue Reading »
Not that readers of this blog need to be reminded of this, but some of our friends might (if you have friends like Donald Trump)…
Generalizing about global climate change from a cold snap is like predicting who will win the world series based on a single ball or strike in pre-season. The two things are about the same thing — temperature, baseball — but there’s little real connection between them beyond that.
This Washington Post article from the last U.S. “polar vortex” is helpful in putting things into perspective.
Regular readers will know of my interest in Ukraine, where I lived for a year as a Canada-USSR Scholar in 1989-90, and where I’ve visited at least ten times since, for varying lengths of time.
I’ve been following events unfolding there from afar, and have begun a blog called UKR-TAZ: A Ukrainian Autonomous Zone, which collects statements by Ukrainian writers, scholars, and cultural leaders on the revolution (which is what it should be called, at this point).
The following is a pretty good summary of important facts about the revolution. It’s a complex situation, so there’s always a risk of oversimplification. But this is a very good start.