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Category: 1111DC (November)

Daniel Hind the UK author of two acclaimed books ‘The Return of the Public’ and ‘The Threat to Reason’ has published an article on Aljazeera, speaking out on the UK’s irrational faith in capitalism. Hind the winner of the Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize, speaks in the article of a “child-like faith in market forces”, and “for decades, the advocates of free markets dominated public discussion, but the rest of us are now talking … in ways that are becoming increasingly audible … this is not an initiative of the established powers. Instead, a few thousand concerned citizens have occupied a piece of land in front of St Pauls … as a venue for free deliberation, discussion and debate … I hope … people join this conversation, on their own terms, in ways and in places that seem right to them … surely time we put more faith in each other than in markets.”


Inspired by Daniel Hind image source thersa

Matthew Chapman the UK journalist and descendent of Charles Darwin has participated in a debate with the motion being ‘The world would be better off without religion’. Chapman was partnered by philosopher A.C. Grayling for the argument in support of the motion, while Rabbi David Wolpe and Dinesh D’Souza argued against the motion. Elizabeth Weingarten described for a Slate article, the question put by Chapman in his opening statement, stating “Chapman said … is not whether religion does good in the world. “Of course it can and it has,” he conceded. “The question is: Can we come up with something better that does not depend on dangerous and childish faith and thousands of competing gods? Can we persuade people that it’s possible to live a good, peaceful and happy life guided only by human conscience and modern knowledge?”


Inspired by Elizabeth Weingarten image source prettyawfulgiraffes

Frances Fox Piven the 78 year old US sociologist and political scientist has published an article on Aljazeera supportive of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Piven states “… (OWS) movement has already made the concentration of wealth at the top of this society a central issue in US politics … By making Wall Street its symbolic target and branding itself as a movement of the 99 per cent, OWS has redirected public attention to the issue of extreme inequality, which it has recast as, essentially, a moral problem … Economic policy, including tax cuts for the rich, subsidies and government protection … was shrouded in clouds of propaganda  … Now, in what seems like no time at all, the fog has lifted and the topic on the table everywhere seems to be the morality of contemporary financial capitalism.


Inspired by Frances Fox Piven image source moonbattery

Anselm Kiefer the 66 year old German painter and sculptor has declared in a German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ that he wishes to purchase the Mülheim-Kärlich, a disused nuclear power plant in western Germany. Kiefer has written to the head of the utility RWE seeking permission to acquire the plant or at least the cooling towers, located along the Rhine River 10 kilometers from Koblenz. Kiefer stated in the interview, “This nuclear power station is so fantastic, wonderful. It is my Pantheon.” Although Kiefer indicated he was not yet exactly sure what he would create with the plant, he has ruled out “I would definitely not paint cows and clouds on the outside.” Kiefer although living and working in France for the past two decades, is renowned for addressing controversial issues and taboo subjects from Germany’s recent history, including themes from Nazi rule.


Inspired by Artinfo image source apollosgirl

Mike Mayo the managing director at Credit Agricole Securities has called for a better version of capitalism in his book “Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst’s Fight to Save the Big Banks From Themselves”. Mayo states in his book “What we need is a better version of capitalism. That version starts with accounting: Let banks operate with a lot of latitude, but make sure outsiders can see the numbers (the real numbers). It also includes bankruptcy: Let those who stand to gain from the risks they take—lenders, borrowers and bank executives—also remain accountable for mistakes … A better version of capitalism also means a reduction in the clout of big banks. All of the third-party entities that oversee them need sufficient latitude to serve as a true check and balance.”


Inspired by Mike Mayo image source hereisthecity

Karla Black the 38 year old Scottish sculptor renowned for her use of everyday objects in her work has been nominated for the 2011 Turner Prize. Black’s work has been exhibited at various well placed galleries including the Tate Britain, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, and the Saatchi Gallery. Black has a Master of Arts from the Glasgow School of Art, and uses feminine objects in her work including cosmetics, toiletries, textiles and pastel colours. In an interview with Coline Milliard, Black stated “I didn’t study art at school. I left when I was 16 and got a job … I started to read a lot and go to galleries in my late teens … I had a feeling that I wanted to “do” something but I didn’t know what  … I started making sculptures and never stopped.


Inspired by Coline Milliard image source facebook

Calvin Gibbs the 26 year old US Army Staff Sergeant known as the ringleader of the ‘kill team’, a rogue army platoon in Afghanistan has been convicted of murder and will be released in less than nine years with parole. A court martial hearing resulted in Gibbs being convicted on fifteen charges including three of premeditated murder, and the use of medical shears to sever fingers from his unarmed victims, keeping them as a form of trophy collection. During the military trial, the prosecutor informed the jury panel that Gibbs had often referred to the Afghan people as savages, “These people are all savages, look at how they live”, then setting about to disguise the murders as legitimate combat kills with the use of ‘drop’ weapons to make it appear the victims were armed.


Inspired by Aljazeera image source

Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas known as Alfonso Cano the 63 year old commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) a Marxist rebel group has been killed in action by the Colombian Army in an air raid. Vargas was shot and killed in during a government led offensive in Cauca named ‘Operation Odyssey’. The Colombian president Juan Santos confirmed the death on national television, following the pursuit of Vargas when he fled his stronghold in Tolima months earlier. Cano believed the rebellion was a class struggle which initially set out to reduce the wealth gap between rich and poor in Colombia, and did not hesitate to kidnap politicians and the wealthy as hostages to fund the war effort or to exchange for hundreds of his jailed colleagues. Vargas assumed the leadership of FARC in 2008 after the founder and leader Manual Vélez died of a heart attack.


Inspired by Simon Romero image source victimasdelterrorismo

Marco Polo “Mark” di Suvero the 77 year old abastract expressionist sculptor has been requested by the Arts and Culture committee of Occupy Wall Street movement to speak out against the barricades surrounding his work, ‘Joie de Vivre’, a towering red sculpture in Zucotti Park, New York City. Di Suvero’s sculpture is the backdrop of the protest camps and has been cordoned off by police following an incident when a protestor climbed up onto the work. In the open letter drafted to di Suvero, the committee stated “We believe that cordoning off your gift to the people of New York goes against your intentions for the work, as well as the very spirit of public art.” The letter also references di Suvero’s renowned 1966 work titled ‘Peace Tower’ which became symbolic in Los Angeles for the anti-Vietnam protests.


Inspired by Artinfo image source newyorksocialdiary

Michael Donald Kirby the 72 year old retired Justice of the High Court of Australia has told a Sydney forum of Accountants that WikiLeaks has created a world that is more open and transparent. Kirby stated “WikiLeaks has made the world a more open and transparent place, and therefore a bit more just, and that’s where I stand at the moment … It is part and parcel of the new technology … On the whole it’s probably been a good thing for all of us, to hold governments to account.” Kirby after his retirement as a distinguished Justice of Australia’s highest court over a fifteen year period, he has been appointed to numerous academic roles with twelve Australian universities. During his term as Justice, Kirby delivered controversial lectures relating to whether judges have the right to interpret the law in light of its intent or merely just follow the letter of the law.


Inspired by Doug Conway image source newsinfo

Eliot Laurence Spitzer the 52 year old US former Governor of New York has put forward a series of suggestions to the Occupy Wall Street movement for consideration from an organizing perspective. “Harness the energy and passion of college students … ask some well-known musicians who might be sympathetic to the cause to participate … Schedule OWS rallies and events at the various State of the State addresses delivered by governors …  Recognize that there is insufficient diversity on the ranks of OWS … Call for a full rollback of the Bush tax cuts for all those above $1 million in annual income …  Demand true accountability on Wall Street … Demand that a financial service transaction fee be imposed … Demand that the New York Fed have “public” board members who truly represent the public”.


Inspired by Slate image source

Suha Arafat the 48 year old widow of the former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat is now the subject of an arrest warrant relating to a high level corruption investigation by the Tunisian authorities. The investigation relates to the International School of Carthage, founded in 2006 by both Suha Arafat and the former president Ben Ali’s wife, Leila Trabelsi a former hairdresser. A WikiLeaks cable has revealed the Tunisian government under Ben Ali granted his wife a $1.5 million grant along with land for the schools development. Arafat was born in Jerusalem, has French citizenship, and lived in Tunisia for three years following her husband’s death. She became a naturalized citizen of Tunisia, until her citizenship was revoked following a dispute with Trabelsi over the closure of the school. Forced to leave Arafat now lives in Malta.


Inspired by Aljazerra image source

Paul H. Rosenberg the US journalist and Senior Editor of Random Lengths News, an alternative bi-weekly newspaper in Los Angeles has hit out at the Obama presidency in an Aljazeera article. Rosenberg states “Obama’s implicit dream – based on his own successful political trajectory – was that he could negotiate a truce within the one per cent to substantially improve the overall management of the US political system … For almost three years now, Obama’s attitude has been: “Why listen to them? They have nowhere else to go.” But now they do: to occupy Wall Street, public squares across the land, and the dreams and imagination of America. This is only the beginning … There comes a time when a dream deferred can no longer be delayed. That time is upon us now. Another world is not just possible: It is absolutely necessary”.


Inspired by Aljazerra image source commondreams

Martin Kippenberger the deceased German artist at age 44 renowned for his prolific use of media and styles, along with his often provocative but jocular public persona, has had one of his works scrubbed clean by an overzealous cleaner at the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund Germany. The installation piece titled ‘When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling’ consisted of a trough placed underneath a slatted wooden tower. Kippenberger had painted the inside of the trough representing dried rainwater. The female cleaner made the bucket look like new again, removing the residue. The installation valued €800,000 was on loan from a private collector to the museum. A spokesperson for the museum stated “It is now impossible to return it to its original state”. Kippenberger is regarded as one of the most talented German artists of his generation known as the German ‘enfants terribles’.


Inspired by Shane Ferro image source fansiter

Michael J. Sandel the 58 year old US political philosopher and Harvard University professor of political philosophy has referred to the grass root uprisings initiated during the ‘Arab Spring’ in an Aljazeera interview as “one of the most important political developments of our lifetimes. I think we will look back decades from now and see it as such. We don’t know how these revolutions will play out, one country to the next, but what we do know is that this is a historical moment… I think it should be an inspiration to those of us in established democracies to try to embody more fully the ideals of dignity and justice and above all of citizenship… The future is unpredictable, but I think that what will be remembered historically, whatever false starts there may be – and there may be many false starts…”


Inspired by Aljazerra image source roycecarlton

Alexey Sitev the 39 year old Russian marine engineer who postponed his honeymoon for 18 months, after only two weeks of marriage before embarking as commander of simulated mission to Mars, has returned. Although Sitev did not actually leave, he has returned from his confinement on the Mars500 simulated voyage to Mars and back taking a total of 520 days to complete. The experimental simulation is unprecedented in isolating six highly trained professionals for such duration, and subjected to elaborate and often invasive experimentation. Mars-500 is an international multi-part experiment simulating a manned flight to Mars, with a crew of volunteers living and working in a mockup spacecraft with limited supplies of consumables. The objective of the simulation is to yield medical and psychological data on the effects of long-term isolation. Sitev is a specialist in life support systems.


Inspired by Ian Sample & Miriam Elder image source ESA

Naomi Wolf the 48 year old US author and social critic has lashed out at American politicians following her arrest in New York during a supportive visit to the Occupy Wall Street movement in Lower Manhattan. In an Aljazeera article, Wolf claims America’s politicians “have had their fill of democracy. Across the country, police, acting under orders from local officials, are breaking up protest encampments … sometimes with shocking and utterly gratuitous violence”. Wolf states, “…most commentators have not fully grasped that a world war is occurring. But it is unlike any previous war in human history: for the first time, people around the world are not identifying and organising themselves along national or religious lines, but rather in terms of a global consciousness and demands for a peaceful life, a sustainable future, economic justice and basic democracy. Their enemy is a global “corporatocracy” that has purchased governments and legislatures, created its own armed enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud, and plundered treasuries and ecosystems”.


Inspired by Naomi Wolf image source David Shankbone

Glenn Greenwald the 44 year old US constitutional & civil rights litigator and columnist, has released a controversial article implying the top one per cent of US society is enjoying a two-tiered system of justice and politics. He states “In lieu of the rule of law – the equal application of rules to everyone – what we have now is a two-tiered justice system in which the powerful are immunised, while the powerless are punished with increasing mercilessness. … That is what has changed, and a growing recognition of what it means is fuelling rising citizen anger and protest. The inequality under which so many suffer is not only vast, but illegitimate, rooted as it is in lawlessness and corruption. Obscuring that fact has long been the linchpin for inducing Americans to accept vast and growing inequalities. That fact is now too glaring to obscure any longer.”


Inspired by Glenn Greenwald image source

Kevin Knight a US computer scientist of the University of South Carolina Viterbi School of Engineering, along with an international team have cracked the Copiale Cipher. Knight and his Swedish colleagues Beáta Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University decoded the secret encrypted 18th century document. The cracking of the 75,000 character cryptogram has revealed the rituals and politics of a German secret society. The document known as the Copiale Cipher, has had its secret meaning shrouded in mystery since discovery at the end of the Cold War, hidden at an East Berlin Academy. The document comprises 105 pages of handwritten messages in abstract symbols and Roman letters. Knight states “I’m happy that linguistic software can help us crack historical ciphers … Now I hope that decipherment techniques can help us build better translation software.”


Inspired by Mark Brown image source atvn

David Rolfe Graeber the 50 year old US anthropologist and anarchist is being hailed as the anti-leader of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Graeber has been profiled by Drake Bennett  in Business Week as “a key member of a small band of activists who quietly planned, then noisily carried out, the occupation of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, providing the focal point for what has grown into an amorphous global movement known as Occupy Wall Street.” Graeber although not the movements spokesperson, provides a favorable voice to the protests comparing them to the Arab Spring. Graeber, having an impressive history of both direct and indirect involvement in political activism, claims the contemporary Occupy Wall Street grassroots protest movement represents “the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire.”


Inspired by Drake Bennett image source David Graeber

Slavoj Žižek the 62 year old Slovenian philosopher and critical theorist has expressed concern for the future of western democratic capitalist societies. In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Tom Ackerman, Žižek analyses the contemporary mini revolutions taking place with the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the dissention in Europe with austerity issues. Žižek who is internationally recognized for his critical examination of both capitalism and socialism, states the “system [global financial and political] has lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy, and now the field is open … What I’m afraid of is with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don’t share the hope of my liberal friends – give them ten years, [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration – no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over.”


Inspired by Tom Ackerman image source Andy Miah

Luke Daniel Harding the 42 year old UK political journalist who had initially been refused entry into Russia, has been the subject of a brilliant article written with an interesting perspective by Edward Lucas. Harding in February 2011 became the first foreign journalist to be expelled from Russia since the end of the Cold War. Harding’s employer the Guardian linked his expulsion with his unflattering coverage of Russia and the Kremlin. Russia reversed the decision to expel him but granted only a short term visa. Harding did not further renew his visa and returned to the UK, alleging harassment during his Russian return, claiming the Federal Security Service were unhappy at the stories he wrote. Elsa Vidal of the media freedom watchdog, stated: “unprecedented since the Cold War … It’s an attempt to force correspondents working for foreign media in Moscow to engage in self-censorship.”


Inspired by Edward Lucas image source

Scott Olsen the 24 year old a former US Marine, Iraq War veteran, and a member of Veterans for Peace, suffered minor brain damage resulting from the police clampdown on the Occupy Oakland protest site. Olsen suffered a skull fracture caused by a projectile that witnesses believed was a tear gas or smoke canister fired by the police. Olsen is unable to speak, and only able to communicate with his family by writing notes filled with spelling errors. The police raid in the early hours of the morning on the Occupy Oakland site was described as violent and chaotic resulting in over 102 arrests. A so-called bean bag round projectile was found near where Olsen fell, he was subsequently rushed to hospital by other protesters, who were also shot at by police with projectiles when attempting to aid him.


Inspired by Will Oremus image source Kathy Pacconi

Julian Patrick Barnes the 60 year old UK writer has won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his book ‘The Sense of an Ending’ after three other books had been shortlisted in earlier years. Barnes had won several literary prizes in France where his crime fiction works earned him an officer of L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. ‘The Sense of an Ending’ is Barnes’s 11th novel, described by Julie Bosman of the New York Times as “a slim and meditative story of mortality, frustration and regret.” The head judge for the Booker Prize Stella Rimington, said the book “has the markings of a classic of English literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading”, and the panel thought it “spoke to humankind in the 21st Century”.


Inspired by Julie Bosman image source Cure Byte

Polly Higgins the 43 year old UK barrister voted by the Ecologist as one of the ‘Worlds Top 10 Visionary Thinkers’ continues to strive for the United Nations to acknowledge ‘Ecocide’ as an international crime. The UN currently recognizes four significant crimes against Peace: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. Higgins proposal is to include ‘Ecocide’ as a fifth. “Corporations have no legal responsibility for the Earth, yet they have accrued silent rights – the right to pollute, to emit, to destroy – which have allowed enormous damage and destruction to take place without consequence.” Higgins claims the earth is treated unfairly and is “in need of a good lawyer”, however “the laws to protect the interests of the Earth do not exist” and it is “time now to change the rules of the game and eradicate the Ecocide”.


Inspired by aljazeera image source

Liliane Bettencourt the 88 year old French heiress, socialite and principal shareholder of L’Oréal with a fortune of US$23.5 billion is to be placed under the family guardianship of her eldest grandson the 25 year old Jean-Victor Meyers. Bettencourt opposed her estranged daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers attempts over the past three years to have her declared incompetent due to mental health deterioration from “mixed dementia” and “moderately severe” Alzheimer’s disease. Bettencourt a director of the cosmetic giant L’Oreal board, is mentally unfit to manage the vast fortune she had inherited according to her daughter Bettencourt-Meyers. Bettencourt was the only child of L’Oreal founder Eugène Schueller, forming a close bond with him after her mother died when she was 5 years old. At 15 she joined the company as an apprentice mixing and labeling bottles of cosmetics and shampoos.


Inspired by Tracy McNicoll image source

Tacita Dean the 46 year old UK Berlin based YBA visual artist who works primarily with film has unveiled her latest work in the darkened Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern as the 12th commission of the Unilever series. The work is a looped film installation, entitled Film, and is a homage to the declining analogue film industry under threat from the burgeoning digital and animation technologies. Dean is renowned for her work in analogue film, although she still explores a variety of other alternative media including photography and sound. The catalogue for this exhibition references international directors including as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese who provide favorable reflections on the power of analogue film. Dean laments the decline of the industry with the pending closure of her favorite London Soho Film Laboratory, announcing it will cease printing her chosen media the 16mm film.


Inspired by Charlotte Higgins image source Teresa Gleadowe

MJ Rosenberg the Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the Media Matters Action Network and former Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum (IPF), has struck out at the anti-Semitism being used to undermine the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Rosenberg claims “An ugly old tradition is back: Exploiting anti-Semitism to break the backs of popular movements that threaten the power of the wealthiest one per cent of our population. It is being used to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has conservatives in a state of near panic.” Rosenberg’s statement follows the release of a video by the Emergency Committee For Israel, “a far-right Republican group run by Bill Kristol … accusing Occupy Wall Street of anti-Semitism, with side swipes at leading Democrats … who have sympathised with the movement and are therefore, by implication, probably anti-Semitic themselves.”

Inspired by aljazeera image source

Stephen Mayne the 42 year old Australian journalist and shareholder activist, renown for founding an online independent news service has lashed out at News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch during the annual shareholders meeting in Los Angeles USA. Mayne, a director at the Australian Shareholders’ Association, former News Corp employee, and longtime shareholder has attended 12 previous annual meetings of News Corp. Other shareholders, including Tom Watson the British Labor politician who led the investigation into the infamous phone tapping scandal also spoke out at the meeting, unsuccessfully calling for Murdoch to relinquish his position to an independent chairman. Murdoch claimed he would get to the bottom of the scandal and establish a procedure to put things right. Mayne’s response was “You’ve been treating us like mushrooms for a long time … You’re still trying to do it.”


Inspired by Amy Chozick image source

François Gérard Georges Hollande the 57 year old French politician has won the Socialist Party’s presidential primary, entitling him to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy as the Party’s nominee in the 2012 presidential elections. Hollande considered a moderate won nearly 57% of the vote beating his rival Martine Aubry, who is largely credited with the introduction of the 35 hour working week. Hollande is the former partner of Ségolène Royal with who he has four children. Royal was defeated by Sarkozy in the 2007 French presidential election, and within a month of the defeat the couple separated over a relationship between Hollande and a journalist. Dominique Strauss-Kahn until his imprisonment in the US on rape charges alleged by a New York hotel maid, had been the front runner for the Socialist Party nomination.


Inspired by aljazeera image source Margaux L’Hermite

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