Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April: The Price of Fire

This month's reading group had a lot of questions.
We started out with this one: What is neoliberalism? Thankfully Roberto photocopied several copies of the Wikipedia definition I'd brought in the month before; that got us started. Roberto wondered if there were new IMF/World Bank rules that protected nations from privatization that have been so destructive. I don't know-- does anyone else?
There were also questions like: Is greediness inherent? Can you run a company and have investments without screwing over others? Is there a solution to the "Goliaths" that seem to always trump the "Davids"? Then we came back to familiar places-- Rapheal (who I wrongfully stated as Ralph in my last post) continues to make eloquent statements about a culture that puts human care and relationships first. David thought about how changes have to be made on an individual level to change the culture of greed. J" and George thought that people will always just want to care for "me and mine" before taking the risks demonstrated by those in "Price of Fire". Cragg asked a great questions: "Do average Americans feel exploited?"*** and the group thought, no, they don't and therefore we don't mobilize. But after a lot of discussion on this point, people thought that gentrification is a time/place that people feel exploited and do mobilize. Some men talked about Rogers Park and other parts of town, that they knew before incarceration. They have talked to family and hear that the place "looks different now" that they "wouldn't recognize it". So we thought about parallels of the gas and water wars in Bolivia to space/place wars in Chicago.
***after the group, I thought to bring up the idea of exploitation and the rhetoric of groups like the Tea Party or others who feel exploited by paying taxes. I don't know if this is relevant, but it seems like that is the visible/publicized uprising we have here in this country now.

We came up with some questions for Ben:
1) What is he doing how-- is he still involved with people in Bolivia?
2) On page 125 a woman named Olga complained about the uprisings b.c they hurt her business. How popular was that viewpoint?
3) Now that water and gas are nationalized, what are the differences to people on the ground?
4) Roberto's question (typed and e-mailed to you all).

Finally, we are working on getting a picture made of all of us to send to all of you! Hope it happens! I've been told I can't bring a camera in, however others have been able to, so we will see. I tried to convince the artist in our group Chris Garner (who is pretty quite and therefore I haven't posted much of his voice here) to do a portrait of all of us, but he said he was pretty swamped with other work. I'll check in with him again next month. And and and, there was a suggestion to play "Inside Job" over the institutional channel. I will try to get the prison staff to do it.

Best, Sarah

No comments: