Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
From The Guardian:
Massive internal bleeding, which is now being blamed for Ian Tomlinson's death, can be triggered by someone being assaulted or simply falling over, according to a senior emergency medicine doctor.Read more...
Dr Charles O'Donnell, a consultant in emergency and intensive care medicine at Whipps Cross hospital in east London, said a person could have an abdominal haemorrhage as the result of suffering some kind of trauma.
"An abdominal haemorrhage is a fairly common occurrence as a result of a blunt injury, such as a road traffic accident, fall or assault," he said. "Most people who have trauma don't have [such] problems. But among people who have trauma, a small percentage will have life-threatening bleeding. It would not be common for someone to die from an abdominal haemorrhage in response to a simple fall, but it's not unknown. It can happen, but it's rare."
Consultant forensic pathologist Dr Nat Cary's new postmortem report states that, while Tomlinson's cause of death was abdominal bleeding, it was still unclear what led to that haemorrhage. O'Donnell said that the many potential reasons for it included someone having a liver that was already diseased, through heavy drinking, an infection or problem with the body's immune system. Liver disease causes problems by interfering with the person's ability to clot and stop their bleeding. "Something that wouldn't be a problem in the rest of us can be a problem in such patients," he said.
Trauma can also produce an abdominal haemorrhage - serious bleeding around organs such as the liver, spleen, intestine and bladder - by causing a large, solid organ to bleed, O'Donnell added. "That can lead to the person possibly dying or having a major haemorrhage which requires an urgent blood transfusion," he said.
The doctor who conducted the first, disputed postmortem on Tomlinson, Dr Freddy Patel, said he found that his heart and liver were diseased.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
By Buchsbaum, Jonathan
The New Face of Political Cinema: Commitment in French Film Since 1995 by Martin O'Shaughnessy. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007. 195 pp. Hardcover: $80.00. Before 1968, debates concerning politics and film in France were usually conducted in the film journal Positif. The more famous Cahiers du cinema had championed a "politique des auteurs," which had little to do with politics. That changed in 1968, when Cahiers moved radically left, profoundly influenced by intellectuals such as the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser and the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. In his new book, Martin O'Shaughnessy, a professor of film at Nottingham Trent University in England, tries to limn a recent "paradigm shift in the mode of appearance of social struggle in French cinema" since the concerted efforts of Cahiers to articulate a theory and criticism of political film.
O'Shaughnessy poses the central question of how films can formulate political critiques after the collapse of the grand leftist narrative(s) of the twentieth century. The book contests the analysis staked out by Cahiers after 1968, which he finds still regnant at Cahiers almost forty later. In so doing, the book uses a corpus of some fifty films made by roughly forty filmmakers. Some will be familiar to readers in this country (Laurent Cantet, Claude Chabrol, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Robert Guediguian, Bruno Dumont, Bertrand Tavernier), others less so (Laetitia Masson, Herve le Roux, Dominique Cabrera, Christian Vincent).
O'Shaughnessy chooses to begin his analysis in 1995, not only because of the release of new political films after that moment, but also because of the large protests mounted in France in that year against the government's attempts to reform social security benefits in the public sector. Filmmakers joined that movement, and subsequently led resistance on other fronts as well, notably the undocumented immigrants (the sans papiers), and part-time cultural workers, known as the intermittents du spectacle.
New political filmmaking, then, appeared as part of that resistance, and O'Shaughnessy wants to demonstrate the inadequacy of the old Cahiers schema, but more significantly, to proffer a new analysis that will recognize the value of contemporary political films that models inherited and adapted from the earlier Cahiers era dismiss. Cahiers continues to privilege films that not only engage clearly political issues, such as strikes, but also interrogate cinematic form (the Dziga Vertov group's Tout va bien, 1972, is a favored example). Films that adopt conventional forms cannot be political, for their enclosure in realism precludes reflection on these forms (as in Marin Karmitz's Coup pour coup, 1971).
To address the Cahiers position, or positions, O'Shaughnessy begins his critical account with Jean-Pierre Jeancolas, who writes, appropriately enough, for Positif, the old antagonist of Cahiers. In his writing from the 1990s, Jeancolas suggests a return to Andre Bazin's commentaries on realism, and O'Shaughnessy responds to that call, noting that Bazin's writing on Italian neorealism contains aspects that can be found in contemporary French committed cinema, specifically its loose narrative construction, the use of nonprofessional actors, and the absence of an overarching grand recit to connect cause and event, a particularly salient affinity for O'Shaughnessy.
While the book accepts a description of the films as broadly realist, O'Shaughnessy adds a crucial idea from an article by Patricia Osganian: the esthetic of the fragment. As O'Shaughnessy relates it, the fragment refers to "the evacuation of the social so that what is left is the uncushioned conflict between individuals." O'Shaughnessy elaborates this idea throughout the book, recurrently invoking the "central characteristics" of this paradigm shift, "the raw, quasi-mute corporeality that ensues from the individualization of social struggle and the loss of collective voice."
The argument of the book draws perhaps even more crucially on the work of French political thinkers (Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, Alain Badiou, Jacques Ranciere, Robert Castel, Etienne Balibar). O'Shaughnessy cogently synthesizes a number of their claims to argue that the once powerful organized left, built through soldering class analysis to collective struggle, has imploded. Privatization and the globalization of capital have defeated that left, leaving workers ma rooned from the mooring of unions, shunted to precarious employment, reduced to elemental struggles to subsist. The collapse of a leftist imaginary has deprived these atomized individuals of a common language: "a Marxist or related viewpoint is no longer available to provide an overarching, totalising vision that can connect local and specific struggles to a broader narrative of emancipation."
Joining these cinematic and political interpretations, the book traces the "shift from an esthetic of the totality to an aesthetic of the fragment." Curiously, although the book concentrates almost exclusively on fiction films, a much-discussed documentary film emblematizes the transition of the paradigm shift, and elicits the longest and most fully realized film commentary in the study. Herve le Roux's Reprise (1995) is organized around a short film from 1968 made in the courtyard of the Wonder battery factory in a Paris working-class suburb after the union leadership had agreed to return to work. Le Roux tracked down many of the workers seen in that film, most of whom take positions coinciding with their identifications with political formations, whether management, Communist, or Maoist.
One woman, however, in the original film, but never located, objects strenuously to the capitulation of labor, animatedly gesticulating as she speaks, and Le Roux repeatedly returns to her image. For O'Shaughnessy, "the corporeality, emotional intensity and melodramatic self-representation which the woman has to call upon when she feels that she is no longer being represented" are the strands that O'Shaughnessy picks out as the expression of "raw, untheorized revolt." O'Shaughnessy finds that this woman's exaggerated gestures figures exactly the kind of untamed excess characteristic of the contemporary resistance no longer armed with the once powerful language of the organized left.
In rich, compelling, and often brilliant detail, O'Shaughnessy charts the conceptual trajectory from the films of the "emergent fragment" to the fully formed esthetic of the fragment. In the emergent fragment, memories of the past organized struggles and their explanatory narrative remain, but they no longer have purchase on the present. The hard to see early films of the Dardenne brothers introduce this category, which also includes many others. Guediguian's films fall into this group, where older characters recall that past, while younger characters are struggling in the present.
Some readers, including this one, might regard Guediguian's films as indulging in a demobilizing nostalgia. O'Shaughnessy's analysis deflects that criticism by placing these films in the trajectory of the fragment. That is, they are part of fictional efforts that bear witness to the dissolution of the old, recognizing that that option is no longer available. The book does not necessarily deny their nostalgia, but rather asks persuasively to see these films of the emergent fragment as transitional, caught between the familiarity of the past and the still exploitative but perplexing contours of the new.
In the esthetic of the fragment proper, signs and hopes of the past have disappeared. The later and more familiar films of the Dardenne brothers serve as exemplary illustrations, among many others. The young protagonists may have inconstant, marginal jobs, at best, but they cannot turn to worker organizations for support or understanding. Instead, they act out violently in interpersonal, often familial, relations. The teenage son of The Promise (1996), fired from his automobile apprenticeship because of the demands of his father's illegal trafficking in immigrant labor, eventually defies his father by helping an African family widowed by the father's negligence. The so-called banlieue films (see special dossier in Cineaste, 33:1, Winter 2007) are set in former bastions of a militant working class outside Paris. Despite the estheticized photography of La Haine, the encounters of its young multicultural protagonists when they leave their home turf for Paris dramatize class tensions, illustrating the exclusion of new immigrant groups from the official promise of universal inclusion in French citoyennite, or citizenship.
Most of the critical apparatus concentrates on the esthetic of the fragment, but O'Shaughnessy adds one important, if more controversial, piece. While he notes that Bazin lamented the Italian filmmakers' penchant for melodrama, O'Shaughnessy sees melodrama as an important complement to realism. Following the theory of melodrama advanced by Peter Brooks, O'Shaughnessy writes that just as core features of melodrama were used by realist writers of the nineteenth century to fill in the absence left by the French Revolution, which overthrew the explanatory regime of the sacred, melodrama can be used today to make the now hidden oppression of capital visible. The violence of exploitation has not ended under today's accelerated globalization, and the excessive expression of melodrama can help to bring that violence to the surface, restoring a "transparency" lost by the defeat of the workers' movement and obscured by the new multinational opacity of capital flows. The insistence on melodrama, as O'Shaughnessy acknowledges in citing Bazin, is normally seen as antithetical to realism. Clearly, O'Shaughnessy wants to analogize the French Revolution's smashing of the old order to the shattering of the traditional left narrative, in both cases leaving the survivors without a replacement world view to navigate the new landscape. Using melodramatic devices such as contrived situations may indeed bring characters into unexpected dramatic confrontation, but these moments would seem to contradict the earlier approbation of episodic plot construction, whose appeal lies in the apparently random construction of the narrative episodes. Nonetheless, O'Shaughnessy's critical intelligence may outstrip the theoretical ambition here, for many of the descriptions of the films do highlight revelatory moments of pantomime, muteness, as well as excess that do indeed foreground eruptions of resistance and revolt.
The book, then, provides a grid to read characteristics of the films as illustrative of persistent, if still incipient class analysis. Unlike most books on film, which devote serially one passage to the consideration of one film, the chapters return polyphonically to many of the same films, applying varied criteria to detect the new signs of revolt. Workers on the shop floor in Human Resources refuse management overtures either mutely or in one case by literally barking, "the workers' loss of a collective voice." The buffeted camera movements following the title character in Rosetta stress the physicality of both suffering and struggle of the young woman, "an isolated and driven social atom moving through space, encountering obstacles and colliding with others." Slaughter of a bourgeois family shatters the calm surface of a superficially consensual world in The Ceremony, "the continuation of class struggle in worlds from which it had seemed banished and in which there remains no language with which to name it."
O'Shaughnessy stresses the element of raw and corporeal resistance to distinguish political cinema from a "social cinema" that only records the predicament of the exploited submitting to the violence, fixing them in passive identities. The task of political criticism is to show those individuals in struggle, even at the most elemental, at times atavistic, levels: "a probing of the real that must be worked upon to bring socio-economic violences, divisions and barriers back into visibility in a way that allows the voice of refusal and alternative values to be heard and make sense (or their silencing to be seen and understood)."
O'Shaughnessy has written a powerful and eloquent polemic for retaining a class analysis of film. Theoretically sophisticated, the book also provides a model of what form that analysis might take, directing us to the signs of resistance which criticism can make politically meaningful.-Jonathan Buchsbaum
Copyright Cineaste Spring 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Source: http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/7173 (Retrieved April 12th, 2009)
The situationist arch-rebel has finally been recognised as a 'national treasure' in France – but would he have appreciated it?
Guy-Ernest Debord would be spinning in his grave – had he not been cremated following his suicide in 1994. The arch-rebel who prided himself on fully deserving society's "universal hatred" has now officially been recognised as a "national treasure" in his homeland.The French government has duly stepped in to prevent Yale University from acquiring his personal archives, which contain almost everything he ever produced from the 1950s onwards: films, notes, drafts, unpublished works and corrected proofs, as well as his entire library, typewriter and spectacles. The crowning jewel is, of course, the manuscript of The Society of the Spectacle, Debord's devastating pre-emptive strike on virtual reality. The small wooden table on which his magnum opus was composed is also thrown in.
It's difficult to convey how bizarre it is to hear Christine Albanel – Sarkozy's minister of culture – describing the revolutionary Debord as "one of the last great French intellectuals" of the second half of the 20th century. A love-in between a resurrected Andreas Baader and Angela Merkel would be only marginally more surprising. Then again, intellectuals have been something of a Gallic speciality ever since the Dreyfus Affair. They're accorded the privileged status usually reserved for the likes of Bono on these shores. Jean-Paul Sartre's funeral, in 1980, attracted some 50,000 punters. I doubt whether Noam Chomsky or Tom Paulin will top that.
But however incongruous her position, Madame Albanel is spot-on: no one – not even his sworn ideological enemies – can deny Debord's importance. Even though the young prankster soon turned into a curmudgeonly old soak, his influence is all-pervasive. In fact, it was precisely because he hated the modern world with a passion that he was able to analyse it so presciently. "All that was once directly lived has become mere representation," he observes in the opening pages of The Society of the Spectacle – a statement that's only grown in truth since he made it, back in 1967.
Howls for Sade, his first movie, certainly was not "mere representation". It was the cinematographic equivalent of a meeting between Yves Klein's monochromes and John Cage's 4' 33": the screen remains blank throughout – all-white when there is some dialogue and all-black the rest of the time. During the last 20 minutes, the film plays itself out in total silence and obscurity.
Guy Debord co-founded not one, but two, radical movements: the Lettrist International (1952) and the more famous Situationist International (1957), which popularised concepts such as "dérive" and "détournement". The situationists' hour of glory was undoubtedly the student uprising of May 1968, which they partly shaped, but their influence has kept on growing ever since, from Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid's work with the Sex Pistols to the current crop of British psychogeographers (Iain Sinclair, Will Self, Stewart Home et al) via Factory Records and The Idler's anti-work ethic.
In 1959, Debord and the artist Asger Jorn published Mémoires, which was bound in sandpaper so that it would attack any book placed next to it. For years, this lethal dust jacket served as a perfect symbol of Debord's abrasiveness: he was the ultimate outsider whose ideas could never be assimilated by the mainstream. So what went wrong?
The official recognition of Debord's work tends to dissociate the revolutionary from the writer whose classical prose style has been compared with that of great memorialists such as Saint-Simon. This negates the situationist belief that politics, literature and art must go hand in hand: "The point is not to put poetry at the service of revolution, but to put revolution at the service of poetry". Revolution was supposed to lead to the "supercession of art" by enabling human beings to live poetry and become works of art. From this point of view, Debord belongs to the tradition of dadaists and surrealists such as Jacques Vaché, Arthur Cravan or Boris Poplavsky.
"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book," Oscar Wilde famously wrote. "Books are well written, or badly written. That is all." The French have long made this aphorism their own, as exemplified by the reception given to the likes of Rimbaud, Céline, Jean Genet or Dennis Cooper. It seems that the only crime an author can commit on the other side of the Channel is poor writing – although you can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.Read more...
Olympic Torch Promo Tour Protested in Waterloo, Ont
WATERLOO—Friday April 3, AW@L activists and members of the Climate Change Containment Unit (CCCU) descended on Coca-Cola’s promotional event for the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.
The torch relay is currently scheduled to come through Ontario in December 2009. The 2010 Olympics are occurring on stolen native land and causing dramatic environmental destruction and unconscionable gentrification and criminalization of the poor in the city of Vancouver.
The Coke van, which is travelling across the province, was in Kitchener yesterday and Waterloo today, attempting to spread hype for the Games.
However, today AW@L crashed their party—not once, but twice—sending action teams to both of the van’s scheduled stops.
For the first stop, at a local Sobey’s, AW@L dispatched the CCCU who,
dressed in ‘haz-mat’ suits and armed with large fire-extinguishers, warned the Coca-cola Olympic Torch Relay team that if they were to attempt to light the flame while inside Waterloo or Kitchener, it would be promptly extinguished. “The Olympic torch must be seen as a symbol for the massive scale of the ecological destruction being caused in the building and preparation for the 2010 Games. It is all of our responsibility to refuse to participate in the brazen display of celebration for the environmentally and socially destructive behaviour that the Olympics represent,” said a member of the CCCU.
AW@L activists were also on hand with a large banner that displayed the
no2010 Thunderbird and the message: “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land.”
One of the activists emphasized that the Olympics are an “embodiment
of neoliberal colonialism, and that the absurd overspending on the Olympic security operation is a sign of creeping fascism and militarism in our police forces and the government’s response to land protection and the struggles of marginalized and oppressed populations.”
At the second stop, at a local Galaxy cinema, members of AW@L handed out
flyers and argued with management and police before vacating the premises. AW@L activists have said that the Torch Relay, if it is to pass through Kitchener-Waterloo, will be met with resistance, as it will across the province and the country.
AW@L is a direct action group based out of Kitchener-Waterloo that works
on anti-war, ecological defence, and indigenous solidarity campaigns.
AW@L’s Climate Change Containment Unit has taken up the task of shutting
down some of those corporations that are most guilty of propagating climate change and environmental destruction. AW@L has endorsed the Olympic Resistance Network’s Statement on Solidarity and Unity. AW@L can be found online at peaceculture.org and reached by email at email@example.com.
Eternally Concerned Citizen
peaceculture.org Read more...
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
IT’S TOUGH being an anarchist these days. After all, what’s the point of owning a black balaclava, combat boots and a personal eyewash dispenser if the object of your hatred causes its own downfall?
Why bother travelling from Seattle to Quebec, to Halifax and around the world if the omnipotent forces of capitalism have done themselves in without any help at all from the brotherhood of the black hood? How frustrating to take on the man, if the man just hauls off and knocks himself cold?
What a cruel denial of validation, that so many protests had so little effect. Turns out the revolutionaries could have stayed home, saved the bail money and capitalism would have wrecked itself anyway.
How bad is the global recession? It’s so bad that even anarchists are out of work. That is if they actually worked, which they don’t.
For anarchists, the problem isn’t supply and demand or the vagaries of the market, because there’s not much of a market for their services anyway. It’s just that capitalism is collapsing, so what’s left to protest?
It’s pretty evident that some righteous steam has leaked out of the professional opposition movement. You could see it in the relatively mild melees at the G20 summit in London. The confrontationists did as much damage as they could, but judging from the television coverage, they lacked their usual gusto.
Sure, hooded men attacked the Royal Bank of Scotland and vandalized the lobby. But that seemed futile since the failed bank is pretty much owned by the British people now anyway.
In fact, the protest was so tame that the only fatality was due to natural causes. The bobbies never even got out their tear gas.
Things have changed out there, that’s certain. Some experts are predicting, if not the end of capitalism, certainly the end of the George Bush no-fetters, grab-what-you-can variety of it.
So who’s an anarchist to hate? The Americans will be out of Iraq pretty soon and have soured on foreign military adventures. Here in North America, we’ve never really had class hatred to exploit.
Sure, the black hood gang can still hate the bankers who got away with fortunes as the economy tanked. But lots of people are mad about that. You don’t have to be a radical to despise the greed heads at AIG who collected bonuses after almost bankrupting the U.S. economy.
But maybe the anarchists should thank the uber-materialists for fulfilling a prediction that goes back to Karl Marx. Marx believed that capitalism contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.
Certainly those seeds, if they exist, have been well watered over the past few years. Markets and industry are in crisis, companies are folding, some billionaires have been reduced to mere millionaire status and last week the G-20 ponied up another trillion dollars to bail out the global economy.
And surely the protest crowd takes heart in the fact that the crisis has recharged calls for curbs on international trade. They’ve demanded protected markets for years.
Now it seems that even industry itself is determined to calcify global trade. For evidence, look no further than the car business.
The North American auto industry is so weak from the economic slowdown and its own strategic mistakes that it’s no longer a threat to foreign markets, if it ever was. At the same time, American workers are losing their jobs and their incomes, so they can’t afford to buy foreign imports.
Emerging powers like India and China have used the liberalized global trade system to revolutionize their economies in ways not seen for 60 years. Life has improved for millions. But does the sudden economic introspection of countries like the U.S. and Britain mean that ends, too?
Even in America, where deregulation has reigned as the prevailing financial dogma since the days of Ronald Reagan, there are calls for economic controls. Leading European powers are demanding much stricter supervision of financial markets.
Where are we headed? All we know for sure is that it’s a time of massive change. Maybe things will get better sooner than we think, but they’ll never be the same. In retrospect, that might be a good thing, too.
Dan Leger is director of news content for The Chronicle Herald. The opinions expressed here are his own. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/angry-luddites-attack-google-street-view-car-589902 (Retrieved on April 8th, 2009)
A gang of angry Luddites in Ye Olde Middle England have set upon an innocent Google Street View car driver in an attempt to save their lives from ruin.
"Angry villagers formed a human chain to thwart the progress of a Google Street View car that was in the process of taking photographs of their homes," reads a report in The Times.
Police were soon on the scene in the leafy village of Broughton in deepest Buckinghamshire with the "furious villagers" blocking the progress of the Google Street View car.
A burglar's charter
Local man Paul Jacobs, was quickly able to identify this moving threat to civilisation with its 360-degree snooping camera eye and was quick to warn his fellow villagers of the presence of the Google alien in their midst.
He warned the driver, telling The Times: "My immediate reaction was anger; how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime.
"This is an affluent area. We've already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it's an invitation for more criminals to strike. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police."
Thames Valley Police confirmed that one of its squad cars "was sent to Broughton at 10.20am on Wednesday to reports of a dispute between a crowd of people and a Google Street View contractor."
World. Gone. Mad.
Via The Times
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
From BBC News:
The human-rights group, Amnesty International, has accused the French authorities of failing to investigate alleged violence by security forces.Read more...
Allegations of beatings, and even unlawful killings, were rarely looked into and those responsible seldom brought to justice, Amnesty said.
In a report, it cited cases of abuse, many involving ethnic minorities and foreign nationals living in France.