Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note

As I follow the “negotiations” between the Greek government and the troika on Twitter, it all just sounds like an elaborate ransom note to me. This is not a negotiation between “equal partners.” It is an entire country of people being held hostage by an international capitalist cartel intent on extracting every last drop of wealth and value from human life and labor, with zero regard for life itself. They speak on endlessly, genuinely content with their circular logic, which uses a sociopathic economic system as its starting and ending point.

If you accept the premise that capitalism is the best or only way to organize society, than it is easy to get caught up in their rhetoric because it generally follows an internally valid line of reasoning. But the fact is that capitalism is NOT the only or best way to organize society. Ultimately, as living beings whose survival depends on the functioning of an intricate ecosystem, it is actually quite illogical to base our society around a system of private profit and endless growth.

But, like parasites, the proponents of capitalism not only leech from us but convince us to love the leeching. In Greece, you can see this in the millions of people who still prefer to stay in the Eurozone at any cost, repeating the lies about their own “lazy” and “corrupt” nature as the source of the economic crisis. You see it, too, in the leaders of SYRIZA, like Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who speaks of these negotiations as a means of creating an “equal partnership” with their “lenders”. A Stockholm Syndrome of epic proportions.

The victory of SYRIZA has in many ways upset the balance of forces in Europe and there are important gains that can be won by this new government, if their feet are kept to the fire. But they are still negotiating with sociopaths, within the framework of a sociopathic system—perhaps asking for a bit less blood loss, a clipping of claws. We can only hope that such gains will be enough to breathe new life into the masses of people and break the parasitic spell. Because freedom will not be found within the rationale of a ransom note.

Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note

“Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note,” by Stavroula Harissis. [Printed paper, newspaper, ink, on manila folder]

Arts to Oppose NATO

Hi friends! Sorry that I haven’t been writing more frequently. I definitely have a lot to say, especially after attending the amazing People’s Summit at Occupy Chicago this weekend. But my ability to focus and compose my thoughts into words is still lacking. For now, I will let you know about an event I am honored to be performing at this Friday, International Voices for Humanity & the Planet: An Evening of Arts to Oppose NATO. I will be reading my poem “Hear No Evil” in three languages! There will be many other amazing artists there, so if you are in the Chicago area, please come by! And spread the word!

Verse Journalism

Check out my post on the JOT blog!: http://www.jot.org/blog/2012/03/22/verse-journalism-seminar-with-quraysh-ali-lansana/

It’s a recap of the three-part seminar I participated in, hosted by the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and lead by Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet, educator, and activist mentored by Chicago’s own Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks. The workshop focused on the technique of “verse journalism,” a term coined by Brooks to describe the method of using poetry to report the news.

Art has always played a crucial role in the fight for justice. Today, with our globally connected technology, we are also witnessing an unprecedented surge in citizen journalism. Verse Journalism weaves the power of art and activism into a single poetic punch.