Democratic Socialism or Corporate Cronyism

It’s mid-April, and the 74-year-old democratic socialist senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders is not only still in the race for the Democratic nomination, he is in the midst of a spring surge to overtake the most inevitable candidate in modern political history. On Wednesday (April 13th), Bernie held a rally in Washington Square Park in NYC…

Philosophy and the City

A few good posts on the polis recently. One by Adam Robbert. Another by Bill Thorn. … Re-thinking politics is something the Athenian citizens never had to do. They had the comedians and tragedians to form and re-form their opinions for them at the theater. But then Socrates started taking philosophical walks with the city…

“black bloc” anarchists strike again…

Last fall, I expressed my frustrations with the “black bloc” tactics of some anarchists after attending the otherwise successful General Strike in Oakland (HERE and HERE). Now they are at it again, only this time in San Francisco’s Mission district. Across the country in NYC, there have been reports of white powder being sent to…

Cosmopolitical Reflections on Economy, Society, and Religion

  When was the day that money became an idol instead of an instrument? Was it August 15, 1971, when to pay for the Vietnam War Nixon shocked the world by erasing the Gold Standard, thereby unilaterally making the value of the US Dollar the reserve currency of the world economy? Or was it in the…

Reich speaks at #Occupy Cal

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich speaks at Occupy Cal in Berkeley yesterday (Nov. 15th): One thing that really sunk in: if the Supreme Court ruled that money is speech and corporations are people, then our government must also protect the rights of ordinary Americans to speak, and indeed, to speak in non-traditional ways (i.e., with…

Work and Play in Human Evolution

At the center of Robert Bellah‘s 700 page account of the axial turn in the evolution of religion (Religion in Human Evolution, 2011) is a theory of play. The relaxed field generated by playfulness, according to Bellah’s richly empirical story, is the source of all human ritual and religion, and indeed of culture more generally. Play is…

Anarchy of the Heart

I am still struggling to understand what motivates the black bloc vandalism of the anarchists. I gather that they believe the big banks of the world have lost the ability to communicate with anything but monetary ammunition. It’s true, the bank’s way of transacting with the world is inherently violent, since their modus operandi is…

Notes on the Occupation from the Mountaintop

I walked to the top of Grand View Park here in the Sunset district of San Francisco. I wanted to clear my head by ascending to the mountaintop, where place expands into space and time transforms into history. History, as we know it, has a beginning and an end. Civilizations, and the cosmopolitical habitats they…

Images from Occupy SF march on Oct. 15th

I’ve heard estimates from 5,000 to 15,000 people. I’d guess it was somewhere in between. We marched through the financial district and then gathered at City Hall.