Bulletin N° 602
Subject: ON REVENGE, REMORSE, AND REPLAY --A CYCLICAL THEORY OF LIFE IN THE FAST LANE.
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Every school child knows that murdering terrorist suspects and their entourage serves to create more terrorists for at least three reasons: 1) it incites revenge from friends and relatives of the murdered victims; 2) it emboldens the murders on both sides to kill more people, more often; and 3) it inspires young and immature minds to imitate the acts of their “political leaders” and "heroes" by killing “bad guys” in order to be really “cool” and to create the illusion of belonging to an elite, at a level somewhere above ordinary people.
The famous conservative anti-psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, in his book, The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct, wrote that the 11th Commandment is the most important:
Thou shalt not get caught.
But occasionally, people are caught: Michael Moore caught Presidents Bush and Obama and a majority of US lawmakers in bed with former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Henry Paulson and the other Big Bankers.; Medea Benjamin, and Jeremy Scahill caught Obama in his virtual slaughterhouse using Drones to murder men, women and children by remote control around the world from high altitude.
The Real News Network reports on the current status of Julien Assange, founder of Wikileaks :
Documents Reveal NSA and GCHQ Efforts to Destroy Assange
And Track Wikileaks Supporters
Today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators' summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.
Power, wrote John Kenneth Galbraith in his book, The Anatomy of Power (1983), is the ability to make people submit to the will of another. With this pithy definition of power, the famous Harvard University economist began to develop an original descriptive analysis of power, as it has existed in human society, and perhaps as it exists in the entire animal kingdom. Apes are not capitalists, nor are dogs and rabbits ..., nor are most of us. Nevertheless the lives of all of us are interwoven into power networks, of which we are more or less conscious.
Galbraith offers us some useful categories with which to examine this network of which we are a part.
I have been concerned to make wholly visible these constants –to identify the sources of power in personality, property, and organization and to see the instruments by which power is exercised and enforced.(The Anatomy of Power, p.2)
He goes on to explain what he means by instruments of power :
It is a measure of how slightly the subject of power has been analyzed that the three reasonably obvious instruments of its exercise do not have generally accepted names. These must be provided: I shall speak of condign, compensatory, and conditioned power.(pp. 21-22)
According to historic periods and specific situations, these concepts can be applied with some measure of success. In 17th Century Europe, for example, we can see how the power of charismatic personalities of absolute monarchs and emperors, and how the pecuniary power of wages and investments (i.e. property) which created bonds between people in the political economy of mercantile capitalism shaped people’s behavior. Later beginning in the second half of the 18th Century, with the appearance of a new political economy of liberal democracy and industrial capitalism, the power of personalities was displaced in large part by another source of power, that of organization, and with this displacement of the power source other instruments of power were found to be useful: conditioned behavior was more reliable than the fear of punishment (i.e. condign power); and, as time went on and consumerism took over the cultural landscape, compensatory power lost its monopolistic hold over many people. In short, in the contemporary political economy to see power relationships as they really exist, we are advised to look at organizations today (above all corporations, of course, but also churches, the military, and other associations of highly disciplined people) as the primary sources of power; the dominant instrument of contemporary power being explicit and/or implicit indoctrination, which creates individual habits and mass conformities that secure individual and group submission to the will of others.
Galbraith goes on to discuss “the dialectic of power” –how sources and instruments give rise to a symmetrical oppositions—and how the concentration and diffusion of power at any given time is decisive in achieving established goals, but always with unforeseen consequences. His chief concern in the 1980’s is our concern today: the condign punishment administered by military/police organizations to make people submit to the will of government policy makers, and the conditioned power of corporate organizations (including the mass media) to impose the will of the few on the population at large, with maximum private profits going to the former while the latter suffer from the growing inequalities.
Galbraith, as always, fails in his analysis to give priority to social class relationships, but the concepts he offers are useful in demystifying the every-day relationships we encounter in the institutions and neighborhoods where we live and work.
The 14 items below offer CEIMSA readers an unmistakable diagnosis that capitalism is sick and has contaminated all of us. The question we are confronted with is whether or not to keep this comatose body alive using an artificial life-support system (by employing conditioned and condign instruments of power rather than exercising compensatory methods) or to let the old body politique expire and replace it with a democratic socialist political economy which would be capable of giving birth to new creative energies, inspiring hope, conviviality and wide participation. The answer to this question must come from us collectively, before we find ourselves chained to a stinking corpse.
Item A., from The Nation, is an article by Tom Engelhardt on what Edward Snowden didn’t leak.
Item B., from NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, founder of New From Underground, is an article by Norman Solomon on Amazon.com $600 million contract with the CIA.
Item C., from The Nation, is an article by David Sheen and Max Blumenthal on the new racist policies adopted by Israel against Black Africans.
Item D. is an audio interview on Electronic Politics with Dr. Stephen F. Cohen speaking about the crisis in Ukraine.
Item E., from Mother Jones, is an article by Benjy Hansen-Bundy on the coming extinction of the human species.
Item F., from Jim O’Brien of Historians Against War, is a series of recommended recent articles.
Item G., from the Al Jazeera, is an article by Hyder Iftikhar Abbasi on the danger of reporting U.S. drone strikes.
Item H., from Truth Out, is an article by Tony Kashani on Bob Dylan and his recent collaboration with “Market Fascism.”
Item I., from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article by Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev on the making of a police state in the USA.
Item J., from The Guardian (UK), is a January 2014 article by Seumas Milne on 21st-Century Fascism on the move in Ukraine.
Item K., from Common Dreams, is a follow-up article one month later by Jon Queally on further destabilizations in Ukraine: Was President Viktor Yanukovich displaced by Astroturf democracy or by an authentic grassroots movement? Will the new elections on 25 May 2014 bring positive change for the Ukrainian society or new bondage under the yoke of transnational bankers?
Item L., from The Raw Story, is an article by John Byrne on the apparent epidemic of suicides among young bankers.
Item M., from Melanie Jones, is a Watch Dog petition against the recruitment of suicide labor in Japan.
Item N., from UCSD Professor of Photography Fred Lonidier, is an announcement of the national exhibition on “The Health and Safety Game,” an artistic expression of how corporate capitalism is "handling" industrial injury and disease, featuring “Corporate Violence” by Allan Sekula, who points to the systemic character of everyday violence in the workplace depicted by Fred Lonidier.
And finally we invite CEIMSA readers to view with us Jay Paul’s interview with Medea Benjamin on The Real News Network :
“I Was Born a Rebel” - Code Pink Co-Founder Medea Benjamin
on Reality Asserts Itself
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
From The Nation :
Dates: 20 February 2014
Subject: Killing our own citizens ‘legally’.
The revelations of whistleblowers lead us to believe that we know a great deal about the secret world of Washington. This is an illusion.
What Edward Snowden Leaked Was Nothing Compared to What He Didn’t
by Tom Engelhardt
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 14 February 2014
Subject: Amazon fulfilling CIA's assassination orders.
President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. That’s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination. Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide the agency with “cloud” computing services. After final confirmation of the deal several months ago, Amazon declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.” The relationship means that Amazon -- logoed with a smiley-face arrow from A to Z, selling products to millions of people every week -- is responsible for keeping the CIA’s secrets and aggregating data to help the agency do its work. Including drone strikes.
If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination
From The Nation :
Dates: 21 February 2014
Subject: Killing our own citizens ‘legally’.
Around 60,000 African migrants have arrived in Israel since 2006, fleeing unrest in their home countries. But upon arrival in the ostensibly democratic country, the migrants have faced intense persecution and have been branded as "infiltrators" by right-wing politicians and activists.
Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land
by David Sheen and Max Blumenthal
From George Kenney :
Dates: 21 February 2014
Last Saturday evening I interviewed Dr. Stephen F. Cohen about the crisis in Ukraine. Because of timeliness I thought it best to turn this interview around as quickly as possible, so here it is. Steve has been an expert on things Russian for a very long time indeed -- he was a professor at Princeton for about thirty years and taught at NYU for about another ten years after that. You used to see him regularly on the news but his brand of sympathy for the Russians has gone out of style. Well, more than that really. Any sense of objectivity regarding Russia seems to be forbidden these days. Thus you have Steve being sensible about the crisis in Ukraine and 99.99% of the other commentators taking a "let's hate the Russians and let's especially hate Putin" line. It reminds me very much of the atmospherics surrounding the Yugoslav civil war, except at least in that case a vocal minority in favor of a more objective approach was able to be heard. This is much worse. If, indeed, I hadn't lived and worked through the Yugoslav civil war I wonder whether I would be able to understand that the public debate over Ukraine could be so tragically unbalanced!
This is an important show. I hope you listen. And if you like the show please forward the link.
From Mother Jones :
Dates: 4 February 2014
Subject: Humans will be the death of us, and everything else, if we/they don't wise up RIGHT NOW!
In the meantime, says the acclaimed New Yorker writer, we're causing the greatest mass extinction since dinosaur days.
Elizabeth Kolbert: "Humans Will Eventually Become Extinct"
by Benjy Hansen-Bundy
From Historians Against the War :
Dates: 20 February 2014
Subject: HAW Notes 2/20/14: Links to recent articles of interest.
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
"Misremembering America's Wars: The Pentagon's Latest 'Mission Accomplished' Moment"
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch.com, posted February 18
On the Defense Department's website purporting to give a history of the Vietnam War
"Are Protesters Overthrowing a Brutal Despot, or Merely Bad Losers at the Polls?"
By Patrick Cockburn, Common Dreams.org, posted February 17
A short essay on the past year's demonstrations in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, and Ukraine
"Does Nixon's 'Treason' Boost LBJ's Legacy?"
By Robert Parry, Consortium News, posted February 16
On private-channel maneuvers to sabotage a Vietnam peace agreement before the 1968 US election
"Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi, and Ukraine"
By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, March 3 issue
"The Talibanization of Hindu History in India"
By Jon Wiener, The Nation blog, posted February 14
The author teaches history at the University of California, Irvine.
"The Risk of Reporting US Drone Strikes"
By Hyder Iftikhar Abassi, Aljazeera, posted February 12
On the experiences of three human rights advocates in Yemen and Pakistan
"Clapper Reads from the Bush/Cheney/Nixon Playbook to Fear-Monger over Transparency"
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, posted February 12
The Intercept is the new on-line publication started by Glenn Greenwald along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill.
"In the Darkness of Dick Cheney: The Smile of Secret Power"
By Mark Danner, TomDispatch.com, posted February 11
From the New York Review of Books, the first part of an essay based on Cheney's memoirs
"The Illusion of AIPAC's Invincibility"
By Trita Parsi, Huffington Post, posted February 8
On three defeats suffered by the American Israeli Public Affairs Council in the past year
"JFK, RFK, and Some Myths about American Foreign Policy"
By William Blum, CounterPunch.org, posted February 7
Argues that President Kennedy would have continued the Vietnam War
Thanks for Steve Gosch, Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, Chad Pearson, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Al Jazeera :
Dates: 12 February 2014
Subject: Killing our own citizens ‘legally’.
Yemen researcher says he received a death threat after investigating deadly wedding-convoy attack.
The risk of reporting US drone strikes
by Hyder Iftikhar Abbasi
From Truth Out :
Dates: 15 February 2014
Subject: Bob Dylan & Market Fascism.
On Sunday, February 2, 2014, according to most reliable news sources, 111.5 million people (mostly US residents) participated in viewing the imperial spectacle known as the Super Bowl XLVIII. To be sure, this Super Bowl was not dissimilar to its predecessors; a made-for-television event of commodification, showcasing a package of mediocrity with a mind-numbing violent team sport to be utilized for selling useless junk. According to Bill Wanger, executive vice president for programming and research at Fox Sports, "Big-event television is a great way for people to have a communal event, to talk about it socially and to talk about it as a group."
Bob Dylan and the Ethics of Market Fascism
by Tony Kashani
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 15 February 2014
Subject: The Great Divide, a series about inequality.
One Nation Under Guard
by Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev
From The Guardian (UK) :
Dates: 29 January 2014
Subject: Ukraine I.
The story we're told about the protests gripping Kiev bears only the sketchiest relationship with reality.
In Ukraine, Fascists, Oligarchs and Western Expansion Are At The Heart Of The Crisis
by Seumas Milne
From Common Dreams :
Dates: 20 February 2014
Subject: Ukraine II.
From plotting a 'coup' to endorsing fascist elements of opposition, the Obama administration accused of playing with fire in Kiev
In Ukraine, Chaos and Violence Hide Nefarious Role of US
by Jon Queally
From The Raw Story :
Dates: 19 February 2014
Subject: The death of bankers.
After five banker deaths in January, a sixth: J.P. Morgan exec jumps in Hong Kong
by John Byrne
From Watch Dog :
Dates: 22 February 2014
Subject: Abolish suicide labor recruitment in Japan: A Petition.
Dear Francis FEELEY,
labor contractors in Japan are "recruiting" homeless men and men to
work in the disaster area of the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, taking
advantage of their desperation to pay them less than minimum wage and with no
proof that their health is being protected.
In a devil's bargain between organized crime bosses and the nation's top construction firms, laborers are exploited by these contractors as they take in state funds for the cleanup, giving them miniscule cuts for the dangerous untrained work and then subtracting more for food and lodging.
We call on the government of Japan to investigate this shady practice, ensuring these workers are properly protected from the radiation and being well-compensated for the dangerous work. Don't let these companies keep preying on the homeless to expose them to radiation — write the Japanese government now!
PETITION TO JAPANESE GOVERNMENT: Protect your country's homeless from being exploited and exposed to dangerous radiation levels. Investigate construction companies to make sure they're paying a fair wage and training and protecting their workers.
Click here to sign -- it just takes a second.
-- The folks at Watchdog.net
P.S. If the other links aren't working for you, please go here to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4158?n=58163524.ldEgik
From Fred Lonidier :
Dates: 28 February 2014
Subject: The systemic character of everyday violence in the workplace.
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY GAME
UFCW Local 1222 office, August 1978, San Diego, CA
February 27 - March 30, 2014: Hours: Thu - Sun 12 - 6 P.M. and by appointment FREE
A Reception and Discussion will be held on Sunday March 9 at 2 P.M.
Simultaneous with the artist's participation in the 2014 WHITNEY BIENNIAL.
by Allan Sekula
A small group of contemporary artists are working on an art that deals with the social ordering of people's lives. Most of their work involves still photography and video; most relies heavily on written or spoken language. I'm talking about a representational art, an art that refers to something beyond itself. Form and mannerism are not ends in themselves. These works might be about any number of things, ranging from the material and ideological space of the "self" to the dominant social realities of corporate spectacle and corporate power. The initial questions are these: "How do we invent our lives out of a limited range of possibilities, and how are our lives invented for us by those in power? If these questions are asked only within the institutional boundaries of elite culture, only with the "art world," then the answers will be merely academic. Given a certain poverty of means, this art aims toward a wider audience, and toward considerations of concrete social transformation.
We might be tempted to think of this work as a variety of documentary. That's all right as long as we expose the myth that accompanies the label, the folklore of photographic truth. The rhetorical strength of documentary is imagined to reside in the unequivocal character of the camera's evidence in an essential realism. I shouldn't have to point out that photographic meaning is indeterminate; the same picture can convey a variety of messages under differing presentational circumstances. Consider the evidence offered by bank holdup cameras. Taken automatically, these pictures could be said to be unpolluted by sensibility, an extreme form of documentary. If the surveillance engineers who developed these cameras have an esthetic, it's one of raw, technological instrumentality. "Just the facts, ma'am." But a courtroom is a battleground of fictions. What is it that a photograph points to? A young white woman holds a submachine gun. The gun is handled confidently, aggressively. The gun is almost dropped out of fear. A fugitive heiress. A kidnap victim. An urban guerrilla. A willing participant. A case of brainwashing. A case of rebellion. A case of schizophrenia. The outcome, based on the "true" reading of the evidence, is a function less of "objectivity" than of politics maneuvering. Reproduced in the mass media, this picture might attest to the omniscience of the state within a glamorized and mystifying spectacle of revolution and counterrevolution. But any police photography that is publicly displayed is both a specific attempt at identification and a reminder of police power over "criminal elements." The only "objective" truth that photographs offer is the assertion that somebody or something - in this case, an automated camera - was somewhere and took a picture. Everything else is up for grabs.
Someone once wrote of the French photographer Eugene Atget that he depicted the streets of Paris as though they were scenes of crime. That remark serves to poeticize a rather deadpan, nonexpressionist style, to celebrate the photographer in his role as detective, searching for clues. Documentary photograph has amassed mountains of evidence. In this pictorial presentation of "fact," the genre has contributed much to spectacle, to retinal excitation, to voyeurism, and only a little to the critical understanding of the social world. A truly critical social documentary will frame the crime, the trial, and the system of justice and its official myths. Artists working toward this end may or may not produce images that are theatrical and overtly contrived, they may or may not present texts that read like fiction. Social truth is something other than a matter of convincing style.
A political critique of the documentary genre is sorely needed. Socially conscious artists have much to learn from both the successes and the mistakes, compromises, and collaborations of their Progressive Era and New Deal predecessors. How do we assess the close historical partnership of documentary artists and social democrats? The cooptation of the documentary style by corporate capitalism (notable the oil companies and the television networks) in the late 1940's? How do we disentangle ourselves from the authoritarian and bureaucratic aspects of the genre, from its implicit positivism? (All of this is evidenced by any one second of an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite telecast.) How do we produce an art that elicits dialogue rather than uncritical pseudo-political affirmation?
Looking backward, at the art-world hubbub about "photograph as a fine art," we find a near-pathological avoidance of any such questioning. A curious thing happens when documentary is officially recognized as art. Suddenly the audience's attention is directed toward mannerism, toward sensibility, toward the physical and emotional risks taken by the artist. Documentary is thought to be art when it transcends its reference to the world, when the work can be regarded, first and foremost, as an act of self-expression on the part of the artist. A cult of authorship, an auteurism, takes hold of the image, separating it from the social conditions of its making and elevating it above the multitude of lowly and mundane uses to which photography is commonly put. The culture journalists' myth of Diane Arbus is interesting in this regard. Most readings of her work careen along an axis between opposing poles of realism and expressionism. On the one hand, her portraits are seen as transparent vehicles for the social or psychological truth of her subjects; Arbus elicits meaning from their persons. At the other extreme is projection. The work is thought to express her tragic vision (a vision confirmed by her suicide); each image is nothing so much as a contribution to the artist's self-portrait. These readings coexist, they enhance one another despite their mutual contradiction. I think that a good deal of the generalized esthetic appeal of Arbus' work, along with that of most art photography, has to do with this indeterminacy of reading, this sense of being cast adrift between profound social insight and refined solipsism. At the heart of this fetishistic cultivation and promotion of the artist's humanity is a certain disdain for the "ordinary" humanity of those who have been photographed. They become the "other," exotic creatures, objects of contemplation. Perhaps this wouldn't be so suspect if it weren't for the tendency of professional documentary photographers to aim their cameras downward, toward those with little power or prestige. (The obverse is the cult of celebrity, the organized production of envy in a mass audience.) The most intimate, human scale relationship to suffer mystification in all this is the specific social engagement that results in the image; the negotiation between photographer and subject in the making of a portrait, the seduction, coercion, collaboration, or rip off. But if we widen the angle of our view, we find that the broader institutional politics of elite and "popular" culture are also being obscured in the romance of the photographer as artist.
Fred Lonidier is one of a small number of photographers who set out deliberately to work against the strategies that have succeeded in making photography a high art. Their work begins with the recognition that photography is operative at every level of our culture. That is, they insist on treating photographs not as privileged objects but as common cultural artifacts. The solitary, sparely captioned photograph on the gallery wall is a sign, above all, of an aspiration toward the esthetic and market conditions of modernist painting and sculpture. In this white void, meaning is thought to emerge entirely from within the artwork. The importance of the framing discourse is masked, context is hidden. Lonidier, on the other hand, openly brackets his photographs with language, using texts to anchor, contradict, reinforce, subvert, complement, particularize, or go beyond the meanings offered by the images themselves. These pictures are located with a narrative structure. I'm not talking about "photo essays," a cliché-ridden form that is the noncommercial counterpart to the photographic advertisement. Photo essays are an outcome of a mass-circulation picture-magazine esthetic, the esthetic of the merchandisable column-inch and rapid, excited reading.
Fred Lonidier's Health and Safety Game is about the "handling" of industrial injury and disease by corporate capitalism, pointing to the systemic character of everyday violence in the workplace. Some statistics: one in four American workers is exposed on a daily basis to death, injury and disease-causing work conditions. According to a Nader report, "job casualties are statistically at least three times more serious than street crime." (So much for T.V. cop shows.)
An observation: anyone who has ever lived or worked in an industrial working-class community can probably attest to the commonness of disfigurement among people on the job and in the street. I can recall going to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and visiting the coalmine there. Hoarse-voiced men, retired miners, led the tourists through a programmed demonstration of mining technology. When the time came to deal with safety, one off the guides set off a controlled little methane expulsion. No one mentioned black-lung disease in this corporate artwork, although the evidence rasped from the throats of the guides.
Lonidier's "evidence" consists of twenty or so case studies of individual workers, each displayed on large panels laid out in a rather photojournalistic fashion. The reference to photojournalism is deliberate, I think, because the work refuses to deliver any of the emphatic goodies that we are accustomed to in photo essays. Conventional "human interest" is absent. Lonidier is aware of the ease with which liberal documentary artists have converted violence and suffering into esthetic objects. For all his good intentions, for example, Eugene Smith in Minamata provided more a presentation of his compassion for mercury-poisoned Japanese fisherfolk than one of their struggle for retribution against the corporate polluter. I'll say it again: the subjective aspect of liberal esthetics is compassion rather than collective struggle. Pity, mediated by an appreciation of great art, supplants political understanding. It has been remarked that Eugene Smith's portrait of a Minamata mother bathing her retarded and deformed daughter is a deliberate reference to the Pieta.
Unlike Smith, Lonidier takes the same photographs that a doctor might. When the evidence is hidden within the body, Lonidier borrows and copies x-ray films. These pictures have a brutal, clinical effect. Each worker's story is reduced to a rather schematic account of injury, disease, hospitalization, and endless bureaucratic run-around by companies trying to shirk responsibility and liability. All too frequently we find that the end of the story the worker is left unemployed and undercompensated. At the same time, though, these people are fighting. A machinist with lung cancer tells of stealing samples of dust from the job, placing them on the kitchen griddle in a home-made experiment to detect asbestos, a material that his bosses had denied using. The anonymity of Lonidier's subjects is a precaution against retaliation against them; many are still fighting court cases.
Lonidier's presentation is an analog of sorts for the way in which corporate bureaucrats handle the problems of industrial safety, yet he subverts the model by telling the story from below, from the place occupied by the worker in the hierarchy. The case-study form is a model of authoritarian handling of human lives. The layout of the panels reflects the distribution of power. Quotes from the workers are set in type so small that they are nearly unreadable. The titles are set in large type: "Machinist's Lung," "Egg-Packer's Arm." The body and the life are presented as they have been fragmented by management. Injury is a loss of labor power, a negative commodity, overhead. Injury is not a diminishing of human life but a statistical impingement on the corporate profit margin.
The danger exists, here as in other works of socially conscious art, of being overcome by the very oppressive forms and conditions one is critiquing, of being devoured by the enormous machinery of material and symbolic objectification. Political irony walks a thin line between resistance and surrender.
Nevertheless, Lonidier's work documents monopoly capitalism's inability to deliver the conditions of a full human life. One realizes that the health and safety issue goes beyond the struggle for compensation, enforcement of safety standards, and improved working conditions. Against violence of this scale, violence directed at the human body, at the environment, and at working people's ability to control their own lives, we need to counterpose an active resistance to monopoly capitalism's increasing power and arrogance.
Copyrighted 1976 - Allan Sekula
Reprinted with permission of the Estate of Allan Sekula
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY GAME
has previously been exhibited at
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA, 1976
Mandeville Art Gallery, University of California, San Diego, CA, 1976
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 1976.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, 1977
Rutgers University Labor Education Center, New Jersey, 1978
AFSCME District Council 37, New York City, 1978
New Haven Central Labor Council, New Haven, Connecticut, 1978
Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut, 1979
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, 1979
Alberta College of Art Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 1978
Federal Building, Los Angeles, CA, 1979
Occupational Health & Safety Conference, Craftsmen Hall, San Diego, CA 1982
Gallery 1199, Hospital Workers Union, "Union Made," New York City, 1983
Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY/College at Old Westbury, Long Island, NY, 1983-84
Dowd Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY/Cortland, NY, 1984
Walter/McBean Gallery, S.F. Art Inst., San Francisco, CA 1992
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2015
114 ELDRIDGE STREET
NEW YORK CITY 10002