Joanne Knight

November 15, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan and the Economics of the Spectacle

Those who heard the impassioned plea of the Naderev Saño, head of the Philippines climate delegation at COP19 in Warsaw, could not fail to be moved. The Philippines has been battered by record breaking typhoons twice in the past year. Climate scientists have shown that such extreme weather events are brought on by climate change. The IPCC report earlier this year announced that global concentrations of CO2 emissions had reached 400 ppm. The threshold for catastrophic climate change is 350-450ppm. The paralysis of the international community in relation to the clearly accelerating instability of the global climate is extraordinary. This inability to act is another side effect of the society of the spectacle.

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November 8, 2013

Image Warfare and the Civilian Drone Deaths in Pakistan

Former Air Force pilot, Brandon Bryant, has now added his name to the growing list of whistle blowers on US government overreach. His story highlights the ways that the “society of the spectacle” interacts with the media and the image escapes the control of the government. Bryant humanizes the victims of drone bombings when the military would rather they remain distant inhuman enemies. Similarly Amnesty International’s report brings the area of northwest Pakistan from the realm of image into reality and provides a picture of people caught in the middle of warring forces Taliban, war lords, the armies of Pakistan and US attempting to scratch a living from the earth and avoid running afoul of these powers.

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Hybrid Labour Activism: OUR Walmart and US anti-unionism

Filed under: Uncategorized — joanneknight @ 7:27 pm
Coming from Australia with its history of labour representation in Parliament, reflected in a liveable minimum wage and an adequate welfare system, it was a shock to comprehend the disempowered position of labour in the US. The creation of the body OUR Walmart highlights the anti-unionism rife in the political and economic system. It amounts to the type of networked, flexible political body which is the antithesis of the enormous Walmart Corporation. Some have declared it a new type of organization which draws on the tactics of a union but sets out to avoid being legally defined as such. Unions are so constrained by legal requirements that they have been made largely ineffective in the US. Like networked terrorism and some social movements, OUR Walmart seeks to operate beneath the radar.
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