Latest News: Archive for the ‘excerpt’ Category

SANCTUARY by Brian Francis Slattery from WELCOME TO DYSTOPIA

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

SANCTUARY

Brian Francis Slattery

 

 

Dear Mari,

First: Jess, Efraín, Pete, Lucretia, Carlos, and Serena are all dead. I haven’t found Mya, Hugh, Will, Beth, Dolores, Tom, or Anabel yet, but I think they’re dead, too. I’m so sorry.

We were on stage when the first bomb went off. It was down the street and we were playing too loud to hear it. Efraín and Jess were playing so well, better than ever. You should have heard them. Efraín was breaking in a new kit. Jess had the same shitty guitar she’s always had, the one she’s made sound great. It was a big night, crowded from the stage to the back door. I remember someone screaming from the back. Then the second bomb went off, right outside.

There was a flash and the windows blew in, and the flames shot in right after them. The people near the windows were shredded and set on fire. The whole building shook and the ceiling above the bar collapsed. The power went out and the room filled with smoke. I grabbed Jess’s hand—I was standing next to her—and started to drag her toward the front door. You know it’s only five feet from the edge of the stage, but somehow in those five feet I lost her. I spilled out on the street with a pile of people. My bass was still strapped to me, but the neck had snapped. There was a scrap of bloody cloth hanging from the broken place. Maybe a dozen other people were on the street with me. We scrambled away from the heat and waited. No one else came out.

I read somewhere that there are people who don’t panic, and I guess I’m one of them. I watched Eight State burn. It scares me now what I felt then. I wish I could say I cried, or that all my sadness turned to rage. Instead I felt my blood pressure drop. The sound in the world got a little quieter. I looked down the street and saw a row of fires, bomb after bomb. I heard tires screeching and machine gun fire, and I knew—just knew—that there was nothing I could do for anyone at Eight State, and half my friends had been in there. But maybe if I got to Temple in time, I could save the other half.

You know on the news they said it was a paramilitary outfit. I say it was a bunch of assholes who decided to get a lot of guns, make a lot of bombs, buy up some Army surplus vehicles and make their own uniforms. The news said they came at our city because we said we were a sanctuary, because our mayor spoke out, because we marched. They said they did it in the name of law and order. But I didn’t see any order that night. I saw burning buildings, shat­tered glass, flames, and rising smoke. I heard people screaming and shooting, shooting that wouldn’t stop. I heard sirens everywhere. Police cruisers racing from block to block. An ambulance on its side, on fire, in an intersection. And body after body, ruined and run over, or smoldering, or just full of holes. The couple the police captured said they just attacked wherever the people were. It was a Friday night, so that meant clubs and restaurants, downtown streets. It meant us.

Everyone was on the street in front of Temple. They hadn’t hit the place yet. I found Jacob there. He still had his guitar. We stood there and wondered what we were supposed to do. Nowhere felt safe.

Then we all saw it, a tan Humvee barreling down the street toward us. It ran over a dozen people and looked like it would plow through the rest of us, except that another car, racing in from a side street, crashed into it and knocked it on its side. 

This is our city. You understand what it’s like. As soon as the Humvee stopped, we were all over it. We got two of the tires off. They’d locked the doors, so we broke the glass, dragged three of those motherfuckers out, and threw them in the street. They got shoved around a lot. One of them shouted at all of us: We’re the New Patriotic Army of the East and we are coming for you. 

[to be continued in the book]

“You cannot trust what you read or hear in the news—and I don’t mean in the “fake news” sense, which is a term that has come to mean anything insufficiently obeisant to our current president.”—an extract of Welcome to Hell World by Luke O’Neil in The Observer

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

An extract from Luke O’Neil’s WELCOME TO HELL WORLD

The lie is what is known as objectivity and balance, a standard of journalism that insists no matter how obviously and comically vile one party in any given event may be, it is nonetheless necessary to consider things from their perspective as well, in order to triangulate some amorphous center of fairness.

None of this is news to you, obviously, you’re not stupid. But here we are, still doing this shit, day after day. Maybe we don’t have to be like this?

That was the idea behind my newsletter Welcome to Hell World, which started about a year ago, and then, much to my surprise, actually became kind of a modest sized thing, and was recently published as a book. As exhausting as it can be reading the traditionally neutered news model—that we all constantly complain about online now—it’s even worse having to write it. After a lot of years of in the freelance media trenches, I didn’t want to do that anymore.

Read the full extract here.

“Sin-eaters: journalists devour the sins of others but to what end?” —an excerpt from Luke O’Neil’s WELCOME TO HELL WORLD published in The Guardian

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Sin-eaters: journalists devour the sins of others but to what end?

In 2010, a fundraiser was held to repair the grave of a man named Richard Munslow. In the century since Munslow had been buried in the town of Ratlinghope, about an hour outside of Birmingham, the stone that marked his life had fallen into disrepair.

After a few months, the £1,000 needed to hire a local stonemason was raised and the work was done. “This grave at Ratlinghope is now in an excellent state of repair,” the Reverend Norman Morris, the town’s vicar, told the BBC at the time. “But I have no desire to reinstate the ritual that went with it.”

The ritual in question was known as sin-eating, the art of which Munslow is believed to have been the last practitioner. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the surrounding area and up through Scotland and Wales, sin-eaters would have been a familiar sight if not one exactly sanctioned by the church. Having a monopoly on the redemption of souls, they would have seen such a practice as muscling in on their corner.

Read the full excerpt here.

“ICE has not let up on its horrors and barbarities against immigrants and their families. Luckily the movement to abolish ICE has racked up victories that other activists can learn from.” —an extract from ABOLISH ICE written by Natascha Elena Uhlmann published in Jacobin

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Keep The Pressure on ICE

Zero tolerance is big business for US corporations. From private prisons to tech conglomerates, companies across the globe are scrambling for a piece of the pie. The Department of Homeland Security has awarded billions in federal contracts to surveil, detain, and terrorize immigrants.

Just a week after the 2016 election, stock prices for the nation’s two largest prison companies rose by nearly a third. In June 2018 they rose further on the assumption that they would benefit from the expansion of family detention facilities throughout the country amid the child separation crisis at the border.

Just what sort of company could bear to profit from the indefinite detention of children? Meet CoreCivic and GEO Group.

Read the full excerpt here.

“Privatization is Theft” – Read an excerpt from A NEW HOPE FOR MEXICO in Jacobin

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

In terms of our collective wellbeing, the politics of pillage has been an unmitigated disaster. In economic and social affairs, we’ve been regressing instead of moving forward. But this is hardly surprising: the model itself is designed to favor a small minority of corrupt politicians and white-collar criminals. The model does not seek to meet the needs of the people, or to avoid violence and conflict; it seeks neither to govern openly nor honestly. It seeks to monopolize the bureaucratic apparatus and transfer public goods to private hands, making claims that this will somehow bring about prosperity.

Read the full article here.

“The record will show the game securely rigged in favor of the rich.” – Read an excerpt from MONEY AND CLASS IN AMERICA at Literary Hub

Monday, November 5th, 2018

At the higher elevations of informed American opinion in the spring of 2018 the voices of reason stand united in their fear and loathing of Donald J. Trump, real estate mogul, reality TV star, 45th president of the United States. Their viewing with alarm is bipartisan and heartfelt, but the dumbfounded question, “How can such things be?” is well behind the times. Trump is undoubtedly a menace, but he isn’t a surprise. His smug and self-satisfied face is the face of the way things are and have been in Washington and Wall Street for the last quarter of a century.

Read the full excerpt here.

“Dear President Trump, no wall will stand forever.” – read an excerpt from A NEW HOPE FOR MEXICO in Literary Hub

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

The desert that extends toward the south of this city is an immense graveyard. Thousands and thousands of Mexicans and Latin Americans have been left to die of hunger, thirst, or exposure. Miguel Méndez, born here, in Arizona, to Mexican parents, migrants from Sonora, spoke of the border thus.

Read the full excerpt here.

“Fred W. McDarrah’s iconic photos are being reissued. You can help bring the book to life.” – PRIDE: PHOTOGRAPHS AFTER STONEWALL in the Advocate

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Fifty years ago this coming June, the Stonewall uprising occurred in Greenwich Village — an event that marked the coming-out of New York’s gay community and a refusal by gays to accept underground status that was as important in its way as the Montgomery bus boycott was to the civil rights movement..

Read the full article here.

“An accurate telling of the Israel-Palestine conflict would tell of Israel violently colonizing Palestine with US support.”- read an excerpt from THE WRONG STORY in Jacobin

Monday, October 1st, 2018

To understand why Western news outlets proffer narratives about Palestine-Israel that favor Israel, it is necessary to consider these media outlets’ political function. Joseph Uscinski explains that, “There is no doubt that systemic economic forces such as the need to sell advertising space and manage expenditures, determine the actions of news firms.”

Read the full excerpt here.

Modi’s Political Grammar – read an excerpt from STRONGMEN at Indian Cultural Forum

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

An old Persian fable – The Devil’s Syrup – highlights the purpose of the Devil: to disrupt, create chaos and gain power through anarchy. An honest man enters a confectioner’s shop. The Devil quietly drips a drop of sugar syrup on the confectioner’s balding head. A fly sits on his head and begins to suck the syrup. The honest man sees the fly, takes off his shoe and whacks the fly on the confectioner’s head. The confectioner is angry. He doesn’t believe that the honest man was merely hitting the fly. The honest man says that was the only reason, but the confectioner does not believe him. A fight ensues. Others arrive. The shop is destroyed.

Read the full excerpt here.

Read an excerpt from FOR THE MANY: PREPARING LABOUR FOR POWER in Ceasefire

Monday, August 6th, 2018

While some general election results, like 1970 and 1992, are surprising, 2017 was genuinely astonishing. Labour’s result did not just defy all media expectations and assumptions, it reduced Theresa May’s Conservative Government to a minority administration. Labour won over 12 million votes, a 40% share of the vote — 10% up on Ed Miliband’s score in 2015 and higher than any in the last forty years, except Blair’s two landslide victories.

Jon Snow confessed live on Channel 4 News: “I know nothing. We, the media, the pundits, the experts know nothing. We simply didn’t spot it.” This was perhaps the starkest, although by no means last, admission of failure from commentators and politicians alike.

Read the full article here.

“Israeli “self-defense” against Palestinians is logically impossible.” – read an excerpt from THE WRONG STORY at The Electronic Intifada

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

News media outlets frequently present outbreaks of large-scale violence in Palestine-Israel in terms of “Israel’s right to defend itself.” This narrative says that whatever Israel may be guilty of, the state is justified in using military force to respond to Palestinian attacks.

But such media narratives about Israel’s “right to defend itself” mislead readers by ignoring the permanent violence of Israel’s colonization of Palestine and the aggressive pursuit of ethnic supremacy that this colonization entails.

Read the full article here.

How Vanya on 42nd Street Captured a Changing New York City – read an excerpt from WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CITIES (AND LOVE) in Literary Hub

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Raymond Carver had a hero and role model: Chekhov. After Carver died, many obituaries suggested Carver was “America’s Chekhov.” The accolade would have likely thrilled, if embarrassed, the humble Carver. He loved Chekhov, even inserted some of the Russian’s poems into his own book of poems, never claiming they were his own, merely happy to see Chekhov there beside him, in print. Carver said, “Chekhov is the greatest short story writer who ever lived.” “Anyone who reads literature,” said Carver, “anyone who believes, as one must, in the transcendent power of art, sooner or later has to read Chekhov.” Tess Gallagher wrote how “Ray had somehow won permission through a lifetime of admiration [of Chekhov] to take up his work with the audacity of love.”

Read the full excerpt here.

Corbyn and the Manchester speech – an excerpt from THE CANDIDATE in Red Pepper

Monday, May 28th, 2018

In the middle of the 2017 general election campaign, disaster and tragedy struck with the Manchester terror attack. In this extract from the second edition of The Candidate, Alex Nunns tells how the Corbyn campaign responded this time last year with a speech that was careful, but radical.

Read the full excerpt here.

“We got to a point of thinking that there is nothing left to do but tear everything down. ” – JONATHAN LERNER interviewed in the New Haven Independent

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Jonathan Lerner was lucky. He didn’t end up killing anybody.

But as a member of the Weather Underground in the 1960s, he did help people who killed people — and carried out narcissistic violence in the notion that they were making a better world.

Fifty years later, he has revisited how he got caught up in that mess. He sought to understand how that happens to people. And what lessons he can offer for young people today who are similarly convinced they need to take dramatic action at a time when America’s political system seems hopelessly broken..

Read the full interview here.

The Birth of the Focus Group – read an extract from DIVINING DESIRE in Quirk’s Marketing Research Review

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Read the full extract here.

London’s ‘War Zone’: What Trump and Others Don’t See – read an excerpt from TALES OF TWO LONDONS at City Lab

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Trump angered Brits when he cited London’s increasing knife violence recently, saying a city hospital there was “like a war zone.” In this excerpt from Tales of Two Londons, the authors describe the joys and threats in a London neighborhood..

Read the full excerpt here.

The 2017 General Election – How could they all be so wrong?- an excerpt from THE CANDIDATE at Ceasefire

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Although Labour did not win the June 2017 general election, its result was astonishing. The party increased its share of the vote by 9.5 points, the biggest gain between elections since 1945 — all the more impressive as it had only been two years since voters last went to the polls. Jeremy Corbyn became the only Labour leader other than Tony Blair to break the 40 per cent barrier since 1970. A dizzying 12.9 million people voted for the party. Apart from the 1997 landslide, Labour had not won so many votes since 1966.

Instead of losing seats, Labour gained a net 30 (the first time the party had added to its tally since 1997), while the Tories lost 13 along with their overall majority. The resulting hung parliament — with the Conservatives occupying 317 seats and Labour 262 — gave Corbyn’s party great political clout in the House of Commons, reflected in the immediate dropping of noxious parts of the Conservative manifesto such as grammar schools and a vote on fox hunting.

Read the full excerpt here.

How the U.S. and Iran Got to This Tense Moment – an excerpt from INSIDE IRAN at Truth Dig

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Iran has a long history of interacting with the rest of the world—initially as the various empires discussed in earlier chapters, and now as the Islamic Republic. The resentment and suspicion of foreign interference found in the Iranian political culture are a direct result of historic deals with foreigners that took power away from the local elites, including bazaaris and the clerics.

Through the 1800s to the early half of the 1900s, Russia and Britain were the main foreign interventionist forces and therefore became the focus of the public’s vitriol. As the 20th century evolved, the United States began playing a larger role in Iran, due primarily to Cold War dynamics. As American policy in Iran came to resemble the earlier Russian and British imperial policies, anger towards the United States grew. That resentment boiled over and was a key factor in the 1979 revolution.

Read the full excerpt here.

Will the Iran nuclear deal survive Trump’s wrecking crew? MEDEA BENJAMIN in The Guardian

Monday, April 30th, 2018

On 12 May, President Trump will decide whether or not to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. If the US pulls out, as Trump has threatened to do, we could be careening down the path of another catastrophic, senseless war in the Middle East. That’s why the countervailing forces of European leaders, the UN, the US Congress and the American public are so pivotal.

The US already made a catastrophic blunder in Iran, a blunder that is still reverberating six decades later. In a foreign policy speech delivered in September 2017, Senator Bernie Sanders talked about the 1953 CIA coup that toppled Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, on behalf of western oil interests, and the reinstallation of the corrupt, brutal and unpopular Shah.

Read the full article here.

Can Gaza Survive? – an excerpt from MOMENT OF TRUTH at Jacobin

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Three decades of Israeli-imposed closure have wreaked havoc on the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure, natural resources, economy, and, most importantly, its people, who are denied the right to engage in dignified, productive work. Factory equipment and skills atrophy as raw materials are banned, markets are cut off, and power shortages make production too expensive. Universities are isolated from the cosmopolitan exchange that is their lifeblood. High-tech entrepreneurs are constrained by Israeli restrictions on 3G smartphone technology and the inability to meet clients face-to-face. Families are separated. Patients struggle to access adequate care.

Read the full excerpt here.

Creating an economy that works for all – read an excerpt from FOR THE MANY in Red Pepper

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

It’s widely recognised that Jeremy Corbyn’s success, along with that of Bernie Sanders in the US and Pablo Iglesias and Ada Colau in Spain, is a product of a deep and widespread disaffection – to the point of anger and contempt – with the political class, and politicians themselves. ‘They are all the same’ is the response that party canvassers hear from every other house they visit. Corbyn, Sanders, Iglesias and Colau are popular precisely because they are different. They do not behave like normal politicians. They are clearly not conventional politicians.

Read the full extract here.

Did saving a pool mean losing a community? Read an extract from TALES OF TWO LONDONS in The Guardian

Monday, April 16th, 2018

One summer day in 2003, the local residents of Hackney, north-east London, were invited on a tour of the abandoned site of London Fields Lido. Although closed since 1988, the pool was not empty. Squatters had moved in, and held raves in the old pool tank – much to the annoyance of campaigners, who had cleaned it up for community events. The tour was to introduce locals to a bold new redevelopment plan for the lido: to reopen the pool, install a cafe and evict the squatters.

As the locals were shown around, the squatters sat in front of the changing rooms, where purple buddleia had begun to grow above the doors, and watched them. One woman on the tour, meanwhile, enquired whether she would have to swim if she wanted a coffee. It was a moment that seemed to capture the extremes of life in Hackney: young homeless people facing eviction, and an affluent new resident who saw an opportunity for a latte.

Read the full extract here.

Oh Jeremy Corbyn! The Origins of a Political Chant – an extract from THE CANDIDATE in The Quietus

Monday, April 9th, 2018

What could possibly go wrong? A 67-year old politician going on stage at a Libertines gig… in front of 20,000 young people… on a Saturday night in a tough Northern town… in the middle of a general election.

It is 20 May 2017, just over a month since Theresa May shocked the political world by calling a snap election. There are 19 days until polling day. Jeremy Corbyn is in the Wirral. He has just addressed a rally of thousands of Labour supporters on the beach in West Kirby. In nearby Prenton Park stadium, the home of Birkenhead’s Tranmere Rovers Football Club, a music festival is underway. Rumours are buzzing around social media that Corbyn is going to appear with the headliners. “If Corbyn comes out with the Libertines then this could possibly be the best gig ever,” tweets one attendee. “Gonna vote Tory if Jeremy Corbyn comes out with Libertines. Not even joking,” posts another.

Read the full extract here.

Read an extract from WOMEN OF RESISTANCE: POEMS FOR A NEW FEMINISM in The Chicago Review of Books

Friday, April 6th, 2018

With contributions from 41 poets, Women of Resistance: Poems of a New Feminism moves across race, age, gender identity, class, sexuality, and life experience to present a full, complex picture of the true diversity of contemporary womanhood that’s too often overlooked.

Read the full extract here.

Read an extract from TALES OF TWO LONDONS in The Daily Mail

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Before I met Rosalind Hibbins, I had heard about her. I was buying an attic flat in North-West London and I had just exchanged contracts with its former owner, Holly, when she mentioned the woman who lived downstairs.

She spoke of Rosalind with such strained diplomacy.

‘She’s a character!’ she said with a nervous laugh. ‘Every street’s got one.’

I was moving from a large Thirties block where my neighbours had been too many and too fluid to get to know beyond the briefest of hellos in the lift. It suited me that way. I had grown up on a housing estate in Primrose Hill, after my parents returned to London from Pakistan, and as the only non-white family in our council block, we tried to live as quietly as we could amid the curiosity and occasional hostility.

As the post-war generation died off, our neighbours became far more unknown and indifferent to us, and we to them.

Read the full extract here.

Read an extract from WOMEN OF RESISTANCE: POEMS FOR A NEW FEMINISM in The Big Issue

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

A collection of poems ‘for a new feminism’, edited by Daniele Barnhart and Iris Mahan. We share five our favourites.

Read the full extract here.

“The new lonely Londoners…”: An essay by Claire Armitstead, editor of TALES OF TWO LONDONS published at Boundless

Monday, March 19th, 2018

I’m sitting in a Polish airport less than a fortnight after the Grenfell Tower blaze when an email pings into my phone. It’s from a publisher friend asking if I’ll change my mind about editing an anthology of writing about London. When he first asked, a couple of years earlier, I dithered and decided no: the world really didn’t need another book about this most documented city. But this time he’s more pressing. He’s been chatting with his daughter, ‘and she said, “You’d be mad not to do it now.”’.

Read the full essay here.

“The excitement; the dynamism; the heady, disorienting feeling of the impossible becoming possible.”: Read an extract from THE CANDIDATE at New Socialist

Monday, March 19th, 2018

It was the movement that brought the magic to the Corbyn campaign. Although a process was already underway within the Labour membership, what gave the Corbyn phenomenon its distinctive character was the participation of people from outside the party. It was the sense that Jeremy Corbyn was at the head of a broad movement that made his leadership bid so extraordinary. The excitement; the dynamism; the heady, disorienting feeling of the impossible becoming possible—these were the trappings of movement politics.

Read the full extract here.

“So how DO you build a “people’s Brexit”? Not by marginalising the already marginalised”: Read an extract from FOR THE MANY in Open Democracy

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

How do you analyse a moment, which was part of a process that is about everything, but was reduced to a yes – no decision? The EU referendum vote was both a mass participatory and mass exclusionary moment. This vote, and Brexit as a whole, can be described as a polarising conflict of marginalisations. The conflict exposed by the EU referendum constitutes an important point of entry into addressing the unmet needs and enabling the de-marginalisation of people who have been living violent marginalisation for generations.

Read the full extract here.