Pedagogy of the Plants

Posts Tagged ‘Puppetistas

Puppetista

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Written by Cameron Brooks

November 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

¡Ya Basta!

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War veterans, socialists, Buddhists, Catholic nuns and priests, communists, chefs, puppeteers, Quakers, anarchists, teachers and children converge in solidarity each November for a solemn vigil at the gates of Fort Benning.

Each year the Puppetistas testify for memory and creative resistance.  The occupation of public space through puppetry arts has been around since the mid 1600s.  Here is an excerpt of an article on the history of subversive puppetry by Kerry Mogg:

Puppetry’s subversive political role effectively began in revolutionary 17th century England with the most famous puppet character of them all, Punch. Punch was a popular figure in a country reeling from tremendous social upheavals.

In 1643, the English authorities ordered the theatres closed due to their fear of the spread of revolutionary propaganda. England was about to be plunged into the middle of a civil war, and radical elements such as Winstanley’s Diggers and Albeizer Coppe’s Ranters were already active.

The country was in the midst of a brutal transition to industrial capitalism, which would destroy the commons and in the process, the peasant’s livelihoods. Puppetry was seen as a way of getting around the theatre ban and accusations from both clergy and out-of-work actors, raised concerns about the medium’s “corruption” of audiences. Perhaps they were right: Punch certainly was a corrupter.

This hunchback, with his large, hooked nose and insanely boorish manners, was a hero of the lower-classes. Punch broke the most sacrosanct laws imaginable in a time when conformity was imposed in every sphere of life, particularly entertainment. He mocked the law, God’s and king’s, and, by avoiding hanging, managed to trick even Death. As George Speight tells us in Punch and Judy: a History, Punch was a subversive jester, “the simpleton who could answer back to Bishop and King, the fool with the license to poke fun at anyone.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

SOA Watch

On March 7th, 2011, WikiLeaks released two cables from the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica “that offer insight into the U.S. pressure tactics to keep the SOA/ WHINSEC in business” (SOA Watch).

The cables are no longer available to the public, however, a concise summary of of the leaked information is available here.

Written by Cameron Brooks

November 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Red Maple, Acer rubrum

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I ran into a former student and his family Friday evening while rounding a sharp curve along the Greenway.  The oldest of four under ten was riding a blue mountain bike.  I challenged him to a race, so we peddled furiously down a straightaway for a hundred yards or so, then slowed in the forest under a shower of maple helicopters.

I remember throwing handfuls of twirling maple wings into the air as a child, imagining a dizzying ride aboard a miniature single-seater.

Flanked by maples, the Dillingham Street bridge spans the Chattahoochee River, connecting Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.  Each November, thousands converge in solidarity at the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus in an effort to shut down The School of the Americas, now called the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.”

Below is a recording taken while leaving the solemn procession which ended in approximately 20 indiscriminate arrests, including journalists, a 90-year old Jesuit priest, and a local barber who stepped out of his shop to watch the march.

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

SOA Watch

Each year the Puppetistas testify for memory and creative resistance.

On March 7th, 2011, WikiLeaks released two cables from the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica “that offer insight into the U.S. pressure tactics to keep the SOA/ WHINSEC in business” (SOA Watch).

Read the cables here:
Cable 1: http://213.251.145.96/cable/2007/11/07SANJOSE1999.html

Cable 2:http://213.251.145.96/cable/2007/12/07SANJOSE2073.html

All The People Who Are Now Red Trees

By Martín Espada

 

When I see the red maple,

I think of a shoemaker

and a fish peddler

red as the leaves,

electrocuted by the state

of Massachusetts.

 

 

When I see the red maple,

I think of flamboyan’s red flower,

two poets like flamboyan

chained at the wrist

for visions of San Juan Bay

without Navy gunboats.

 

 

When I see the flamboyan,

I think of my grandmother

and her name, Catalan for red,

a war in Spain

and nameless laborers

marching with broken rifles.

 

 

When I see my grandmother

and her name, Catalan for red,

I think of union organizers

in graves without headstones,

feeding the roots

of red trees.

 

 

When I stand on a mountain,

I can see the red trees of a century,

I think red leaves are the hands

of condemned anarchists, red flowers

the eyes and mouths of poets in chains,

red wreaths in the treetops to remember,

 

 

I see them raising branches

like broken rifles, all the people

who are now red trees.