Wed 6.22.11| The Great African Land-Grab

Oakland Institute

OI reports by Joan Baxter on Mali and Sierra Leone

 

 

 

Huge tracts of fertile land in Africa are being gobbled up, not by Africans but by foreign investors with deep pockets. Many African governments, in cahoots with the World Bank, are doing all they can to encourage these land deals, but the consequences for ordinary Africans and the environment are staggering. Joan Baxter has done extensive on-the-ground investigation in Mali and Sierra Leone.

Tues 6.21.11| Behind the Mexican Drug War

John Gibler, To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War City Lights, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's incredibly bloody -- and incredibly misunderstood. What has come to be known as the Mexican drug war, but would be better viewed as the US-Mexico drug trade, has claimed 40,000 lives since 2006, including those of many journalists. Mexico-based writer John Gibler talks about the politics and economics of an industry that involves enormous sums of money, territorial violence, mega-profits, and the collusion of governments and banks.

Mon 6.20.11| Representing the East, Viewing the West

Adel Iskandar & Hakem Rustom, eds., Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation UC Press, 2010

 

 

Edward Said spent much of his distinguished career combatting Western stereotypes of the Arab world. Laura Nader explains what Said meant by "Orientalism," and describes what Arabs who visited the West in past centuries came to think of Western practices. Also, Adel Iskandar talks about the volume in which Laura Nader's article about Said appears.

Wed 6.15.11| The Politics of Gardening

George McKay, Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism, and Rebellion in the Garden Frances Lincoln, 2011

 

 

 

From utopian experiments with garden cities, to guerrilla gardeners planting on abandoned or misused land, the garden appears to have abundant radical potentialities. Cultural critic George McKay unearths its complex politics, looking at the thorny questions of militarism, gardening, and the fascist right, as well as myriad experiments by those on the left, and concludes that gardens remain a fertile site for political action.

Tues 6.14.11| Studying Lifespan

A groundbreaking study, conducted over eight decades, has shed light on what makes some of us live longer than others from the same socio-economic background -- and many of the results are quite surprising. Leslie Martin, one of the scientists involved in the Longevity Project, discusses the findings, which challenge conventional wisdom about the links between long lives and optimistic personalities, as well as marriage, divorce, religious belief, and work.

Mon 6.13.11| Moving Toward Socialism in Bolivia?

The actions of militant social movements in Bolivia over the past ten years, which led to the election of indigenous president Evo Morales, have heartened many radicals in Latin America and beyond. But what if Morales, and his Movement Toward Socialism, represent not a break from the past quarter-century of neoliberalism, but a reconfigured version of it? Marxist scholar Jeffrey Webber makes that assertion, tracing the recent political economy of Bolivia and analyzing the trajectory of social movements toward the ballot box.

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