We are a generation raised on zombie movies. Of the 5,000 ads each one of us saw today, explosions punctuated more than a few.

So how can you blame us when we get a taste for destruction?

We live the revenge-torture films we’ve been spoon fed. I remember the first time I saw a cop break someone’s arm. Let me set the scene: A cloud of pepper spray was slowly settling on us as we ran. From a hill overlooking the street that 80 of us had been marching down moments ago, our coughing and wheezing fused the strange mixture of fear and exhilaration into a single feeling. Suddenly, we saw four cops pounce on one of the stragglers. Tackled, she fell hard. Her howls became part of a single emotion. Like a fine wine, or better yet, expensive perfume, my memories of protest have a distinctive smell composed of many complex notes. And I protest like any good connoisseur, avoiding boring or bland actions, while seeking out every chance to experience a slice of the sublime. Continue reading “destruction”

The Feminist Critique of Microfinance

Dear V, It was a pleasure presenting with you on Saturday night.

My research experience with microfinance comes mostly from a feminist perspective, in particular, feminist academic work that critically considers how “empowerment” rhetoric shapes global development.

The crux of the argument is that global governance now operates primarily according to “inclusion,” “participation,” and “empowerment.” However, it is not “no strings attached” inclusion, participation, and empowerment, but actually has a tight set of rules, all set up to extend the current global imbalances. For instance, look at how international debt relief under the Millennium Development Goals regime is just another way to expand Structural Adjustment Programs, while allowing nations like the US to look like saints. [AC: “Neoliberal Corn Laws“, if you will] Continue reading “The Feminist Critique of Microfinance”

Emotional Politics, or “Solidarity Not Charity: Radical Responses to Poverty”

presented on April 14, 2012, as part of a joint Occupy/Justice Action Ministries panel discussion on poverty entitled “The Poor Can No Longer Afford the Rich.” [for my previous pieces of public scholarship i/r/t Occupy, look to Nightmares and Ghost Stories]

In our modern world, poverty is not natural, but the result of institutions that are set up to benefit a few at the expense of the many. Relief efforts are currently failing because they do not address the root causes of poverty. These causes are not mystical or hard to identify, as the most important ones are global property law, international debt, unfair trade, top-down privatization programs, corporate tax shelters, the those problems are social and political. Furthermore, there is a history to these problems, and poverty will not be addressed until this history is reversed.

Continue reading “Emotional Politics, or “Solidarity Not Charity: Radical Responses to Poverty””