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Showing posts from July, 2014

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With Palestine, Social Media Has Seriously Changed Perception

Social media has seriously altered the way we comprehend war.

I'm not going to relay any of the pictures of the children murdered by the state of Israel in this article - all of the ones I have come across have been posted in the Radical Second Things Facebook page. I encourage everyone to look at them and I'm not opting out because of the sort of cowardice exhibited by pro-Israel tools who can't handle the reality of what they support - I just don't think it'd be appropriate for this context.

The Middle East has been immersed in war for a long time and this is not the first time Israel has launched missiles and bullets at Palestinians. Both bombing raids and suicide bombings (inflicted by the other side on Israeli civilians) have occurred for a long time. What is the difference now? Why are we suddenly so profoundly disturbed?

Only ten years ago, social networking and digital technology was nowhere what it was now. Digital cameras existed but were much more comple…

Looking For Optimism In Israel And Palestine, As Hard As That May Be

It can be hard to feel good about the world like it is right now. We see mass death, endless war and those taken from us because of such conflicts are among the most vulnerable of us. This has plagued human history a long time but the advent of social media and iPhones means that we can see it up close and unfiltered – more than likely the pictures we are familiar with of past conflicts are only what made it through the dark room and to publication.
The scenes of carnage from Israel and Palestine are certainly jarring and the larger world with its violence cannot seem any better. However, there may be reason for some optimism. Amongst the various reports of carnage in Palestine has come scenes of religious cooperation. Check out this story from the Telegraph out of Britain, in which “hundreds of Palestinians seek refuge in schools and churches run by Christians as they flee their homes from Israeli bombardment.”
That story was apparently removed from the Telegraph website, not surpri…

Red Flag, MH17 and the new world disorder

I discovered a new magazine, Red Flag, today. It describes itself as "Australia's top radical newspaper" and provides a pretty refreshing break from the radical media here in the United States. Despite some significant victories such as that of the election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle, radicals are not pushing themselves in to the mainstream quite as forcefully as is common practice in countries like Australia.

Anyways, the analysis on the Russia situation by writer Alex Chklovski is what really stood out to me. Take a peek:

A new world

The conflict in Ukraine shines a spotlight on changes in global imperialist relations. Since the collapse of the USSR, the US has been the world’s undisputed imperialist power. Yet its incursions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left it weakened. Russia has at least partially recovered from its economic collapse in the 1990s, and is starting to challenge Western interference in its sphere of influence. The rising powerhouse of China also…

Kansas City Progressives Demonstrate For Palestine

I have mentioned Luis Panclasta and Josh Deeds before. They are easily my best friends in the political world, unapologetic anarchists and socialists. Luis lives in Kansas City and provided some photos of the Progessive Youth Organization, which organized one of the hundreds (?) of demonstrations across the world against Israel's genocide of the Palestinian population:

More On "Unhitched"

When I went on a trip to the used bookstore with a friend, I took a look at Unhitched again. I couldn't help myself - Hitchens is really critical to the way I think, my outlook and the way I form opinions. I'm nowhere near on the page he was on when he died but I did adopt his dialectical thinking. It's very easy for me to adopt views that might seem diametrically opposed if I think they both are valid on their own, something he did alot. I have no doubt that if I had read someone like, say, C.S. Lewis in my formative years, I'd have a harder time doing that.

I read a couple portions and unsurprisingly, it was all stuff I already knew about him. However, the way Richard Seymour put together Hitchens' various triangular thinking is very damning. As Seymour notes, Hitch wasn't an ex-leftist, he continued on with Palestinian solidarity and his anti-Vietnam war past as he became an apologist for the Iraq war. However, even if he really believed that the Kurds and o…

Why I Loathe Capitalism

Of all the political communities I have ever been involved in, the people I met through Gonzo Times are my favorite. I have been involved with these guys for about four years now and Luis and Josh especially, the latter of whom will be contributing here soon, are some of the most sensible people I've ever met. At the most critical part is that we come from the same place.

All three of us are former libertarians. I was at CPAC in 2010 and met Ron Paul - I volunteered for Campaign for Liberty. I used to write for websites like United Liberty and Liberty Papers, writing impassioned naive stuff influenced by all the libertarian literature I read in school and elsewhere. When you're in your 20s, libertarianism makes alot of sense - you've been a ward of your parents so long that you want to prove you don't need anyone else telling you what to do. Libertarians also are some of the most sanctimonius and self-righteous assholes you will ever meet - most of them seem physically…


I found this book today. Debated whether to buy it or not and I....didn't:

When I read Hitchens back in the 2000s, he would often be proceeded in interviews by how "hard to pin down" he was and he loved to floss this. His memoir, Hitch 22, said he had "a life in contradictions" while one of his most widely distributed books was called Letters to a Young Contrarian.

With respect to someone we have lost, Hitchens wasn't really any of those things. Christopher Hitchens' motivations were pretty easy to figure out. It's not easy to make a living as a writer and he was determined to do so. His books had incendiary titles like "The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa In Theory And Practice," "god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" and "No One Left To Lie To: The Triangulations Of William Jefferson Clinton" - designed loudly to get attention and therefore easy distribution and sales.

His support of the Iraq war…

Russia: The Remaining Hegemon?

I had a really illuminating discussion with Colin Jenkins of the Hampton Institute about Russia. Vladimir Putin has aggressively taken a country that was emasculated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and made it quite clear that he doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks.
There is a very real possibility that, say a decade from now, Russia could be the world’s hegemon. This will not come from ever taking the United States head on – although he came strangely close to that during the Syria gambit – but will come from a receding United States. While the use of drones by this administration does show that President Obama is cynically patching up a wounded empire instead of finding a new way, it also illustrates that the American appetite for wars abroad is very much wounded.
The United States is a wounded hulk, an empire in decline, a wasteland that will never again be the magnet of immigrants from around the world that it was. It enjoys daily mass shootings, a depressed econ…

Amitav Ghosh's "Sea Of Poppies" Review Part Two

Sea of Poppies is one of those books that was so well received by critics that, in its paperback version, there are pages of excerpts from warm, glowing reviews. One of the best ones is from Hirsh Sawhney, who compared the book to George Lucas and the Star Wars trilogy for the New York Observer, comparing it more to a "cinematic epic" than a typical novel.

Indeed, it is alot like Star Wars. Like Star Wars, nearly all of the characters have had to face either the worst ugliness of the world (for Deeti, it was drug addiction, rape and attempted murder) and yet somehow unite on the vessel of the Ibis. The most notable protagonist is Zachary Reid, who like Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of Star Wars seems to be subscribing to a mix of naivety and heroic predilection that keeps him from ever being beaten down by the horrors he sees.

The odd twist on Reid (and which I don't think is a spoiler seeing as it's described bluntly in the back of the book) is his being Mu…

Amitav Ghosh's "Sea Of Poppies" Review Part One

Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies is easily the most engaging and enthralling book I have read since Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. People say that literature is dead due to the internet, the Kindle, television, etc. but the production of such classics in our modern age tells a whole different story. Like Chabon, Ghosh knows that a truly engaging story is holistic - it spans time, distance and many different characters, bringing all those elements in to create one big magnum opus.

I started my review before completely finishing the book because I wanted some of the emotions that the book stirred to still be recent. Ghosh goes alot of places with this book and some are very uncomfortable. In the second part, Ghosh jumps from a ridiculous scene in which a English girl who had grown up in India, Pauleene, tries desperately to become a member of the ship Ibis, the center piece of this book and the other two remaining books in the Ibis trilogy, to a very raw…

Unpaid Internships and the College Racket

My home base when it comes to policy and political commentary is the Hampton Institute. I wrote an article a couple weeks ago on Kshama Sawant, a Capital-S Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman, and her awesome attack on the phenomenon of "unpaid internships." Here it is: 

‘Racket’ is an old slang term for organized crime. It was often used to describe criminals who took over alcohol and drug distribution, but can be used in many ways to describe the act of making a profit by making people illegitimately dependent. It is defined by Wikipedia as a system in which “the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party.”

This is exactly what the university system does. As progressive as faculty of many universities are, or claim to be, secondary education remains a profit-making enterprise. Since college students are ‘broke’ by definition…

Creation, Evolution, History And Why The Bible Still Resonates

I obtained a book recently called The Penguin History Of The World.The book was originally put together back in the 1970s and has been updated a whole bunch of times as world history has progressed.

There are many different histories of the world. The Penguin one is much more objective - there are also People's History of the World and even more histories of just the United States alone (like the famous one by Howard Zinn),of South Africa, etc. This holistic history books are fun - they often weed out the confusion about why things have ended up like they have by creating a good, linear storyline of a people or country.

What is striking about the History of the World is its juxtaposition with the Bible. J.M. Roberts is not religious and, like People's History, spends alot of time exploring exactly what time mankind came out of trees, discovered fire and started making tools. In both People's History and History of the World, that time is pretty brief - only a chapter cover…

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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