Mark Vallen notes: Arts Stimulus Plan Petition – A petition calling on the new Obama administration to create a stimulus package for the arts was launched on January 20, 2009, by the Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) Washington D.C. think tank in alliance with the Split this Rock Poetry Festival.
Shelley Ettinger: “The Crab-Canning Ship is the story of a struggle by shipboard workers horribly exploited by the crabbing and processing industry. Its 1929 publication caused a sensation in Japan, and drew the imperial government’s attention and enmity, driving Kobayashi underground. In 1933 undercover police agents trapped him, captured him, beat and tortured him and, when he refused to squeal on his communist organizer comrades, murdered him. Fast forward to 2008-2009: the book is in the midst of a huge revival in Japan, where its message of class struggle resonates with masses of young workers facing cuts, takebacks, layoffs, rising prices, all the ills of the deepening capitalist economic crisis.”
Ettinger on the Acclaimed Young Writer and lit establishment ideology: “Virtually every time I’ve ever seen the case made that a politically conscious approach to art is illegitimate, and this certainly applies to the case made by Mr. AYW, it relies on three logical (actually political!) bases. None is explicitly stated. Each is assumed to be understood. Each is mind-bogglingly wrong.”
Wikileaks – “Harry Nicolaides’ Verismilitude“: On 19 Jan 2008, the Australian author and academic Harry Nicolaides was sentenced by a Thai court to three years prison for Lese Majeste — criticizing the King. The sentence follows Mr. Nocolaides arrest in August 2007, allegedly for this passage in his 2005 novel:
From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The Crown Prince had many wives “major and minor” with a coterie of concubines for entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed indiscretion. He subsequently remarried with another woman and fathered another child. It was rumored that if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever.
For the full novel and further information, see: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Imprisoned_Australian_author_Harry_Nicolaides_censored_novel:_Verismilitude%2C_2005