Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stuff to Check Out

***Naomi Klein, whose book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism offers incisive observations on the use of torture as “a silent partner in the global free-market crusade,” has an essay online at the Nation discussing the exciting shift in the political landscape of Latin America. As she notes, it takes a generation to recover from “shock” tactics (something we in the US need to bear in mind). Most exciting and promising is her description of how Latin American leftists have been building defenses against “the shocks that worked in the pastthe coups, the foreign shock therapists, the US-trained torturers, as well as the debt shocks and currency collapses. Latin America’s mass movements, which have powered the wave of election victories for left-wing candidates, are learning how to build shock absorbers into their organizing models.” Among the interesting examples she offers: “In Argentina, it is clearest in the movement of ‘recovered companies,’ 200 bankrupt businesses that have been resuscitated by their workers, who have turned them into democratically run cooperatives. For the cooperatives, there is no fear of facing an economic shock of investors leaving, because the investors have already left.”

So I wonder what will happen when a year or so from now “the lease on the largest and most important US military base in Latin America will run out. The base is in Manta, Ecuador, and Rafael Correa, the country’s leftist president, has pronounced that he will renew the lease ‘on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami–an Ecuadorean base. If there is no problem having foreign soldiers on a country’s soil, surely they’ll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.’” The whole point of being an empire, of course, is being able to dispense with reciprocity…

***Locus Online reports that Cat Rambo and Jeff VanderMeer have a joint collection, The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories out from.Two Free Lancer Press.

***In the new issue of The Lambda Book Report, Judith Redding reviews Kelley Eskridge’s Dangerous Space and concludes:”Eskridge is different: her writing has teeth. First they flash a bright smile at you, but later they bite, and they chomp down hard.”

***Racheline Maltese has posted a thoughtful review of Sue Lange’s We, Robots. She characterizes it as “a slim volume that manages to be both a hilarious critique of hyper-consumerist and protect-the-children-from-all-dangers-real-or-perceived-at-all-costs-always culture and a pointed meditation on the uses of pain, physical and emotional, in the formation of character, personality and ambition.” She notes that “the story, narrated by Avey is a staccato prose of robot precision and strange digressions that often gives the book the feel of a Google search run amok. This is funny and delightful and gives the book a strange mechanical rhythm that makes is both a quick read and the perfect backdrop for some truly surprising ways of thinking about our world.” And she concludes “Lange gives us a quiet and sad look at the world of institutionalized timidity we are heading towards with or without robots, intertwined with a hilarious send-up of just how we’re getting there.”

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