LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social and ecological injustice

Posts by photolangelle

CEPA Gallery presents Portraits of Struggle, a selection of photographs spanning four decades by award winning photographer and activist Orin Langelle.

An opening reception with the artist will take place on Friday, January 26, 2018 from 7-10pm.

See more at CEPA’s Portraits of Struggle page.

Spree Magazine previews Portraits of Struggle.

#PORTRAITSOFSTRUGGLE

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January 26 – February 24, 2018 at CEPA’s FLUX Gallery (1st Floor), 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203

Shut out – Indigenous Peoples’ protest at United N Climate Conference. (Bali, Indonesia 2007)

CEPA Gallery is pleased to present, Portraits of Struggle, a selection of photographs spanning four decades by award winning photographer and activist Orin Langelle. An opening reception with the artist will take place on Friday, January 26, 2018 from 7-10 p.m.

Continued on CEPA’s Portraits of Struggle page.

 

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Marchers at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark point at Corporations and Bankers as the drivers of climate change. photo: Langelle (2009)

This article is by Dave Bleakney, 2nd National Vice-President Canadian Union of Postal Workers. It was originally translated and published in a German daily, OXI, about the recent UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Congress of the Parties 23 (UNFCCC COP 23) in Bonn. The German translation follows the English below.

I chose the image above as part of my goal of illustrating articles on this website with relevant historical photographs in an effort to ensure that movement history is never forgotten nor the lessons lost. – Orin Langelle

Deutsche unten

COPPING OUT AT COP, Avoidance and possibility in a burning world

During the recent Bonn summit a taxi driver provided a clear summary. Asked what he thought of COP 23, he replied “the climate is in crisis, but here, this is about money”. He had provided what had been missing inside. As we race toward certain and expanding catastrophe, he underscored that profiteering off a destructive cycle production, consumption, shipping, the unnecessary transport of products over vast distances and continuous growth models form the basis from which these discussions are framed. It is as though the elephant in the room is never acknowledged, with few exceptions.

How does this appear? In North America you can try this experiment. Turn down the volume of your TV and watch the myriad of commercial advertisements where someone is unhappy until they possess a certain product and suddenly, presto! Everything is great and everyone is happy. The same rubric repeats, again and again. Buy and smile. Smile and buy. Crave to belong as if this will somehow connect us together and create momentary windows of happiness while the earth burns. A crude system of modern feudalism has engulfed the planet where a handful of men – eight, to be precise – own half the planet. In this obscene reality a man can be worth more than a nation. Political leaders and major institutions act as though by convincing a handful of rich sociopaths we can save life on the planet.

Yet power does not, and never has, surrendered anything without a fight or creation of something new. Our uncomfortable future demands that climate criminals should not be enabled with our caps in hand with appeals to do the right thing – certainly those outcomes have been far too modest to date. The rules of the game must change that would remove them from their pedestals of power and our addictions to things we really do not need (and often having them increases the cycle and need for more) while altering the current definitions of value including patriarchal approaches thousands of years old of competition and “winning” at the expense of another.

At COP we are like hamsters on a wheel, living off the ripples of colonialism and wealth accumulation while discussing the speed at which the wheel turns through a series of silos and frameworks. What is needed is to get off that wheel and reconnect with our essence, the earth, and one another.

In this madness, the darker your skin the more you pick up the slack now resulting in myriads of climate refugees fleeing a crisis created while a minority of the planet went shopping. Under current conditions this phenomenon will play out over and over. Hungry people intent on survival will be blamed and shamed, even attacked for doing the only thing left to them: escape to a better place. When people are hungry, what can you expect? Famine breeds war and conflict. The world’s greatest militarist, the United States, built on dispossession has essentially been at war with someone on a continuous basis for nearly two centuries of conquest, often aided by one ally or another. Since 2001, that nation alone has spent $7.6 trillion on the military and Homeland Security in an ongoing war economy.

Little was accomplished at COP, a few very modest breakthroughs (or diversion) lacking any enforcement mechanisms or meaningfully incorporating a gender or Indigenous analysis into the core of action. While climate talks are essential, they are rendered ineffective by living in this bubble. One former UNFCCC official told me that people know this but are locked into a series of “frameworks” and disconnected silo building that does not dare upset the apple cart, a centuries-long mercantilism built on exploitation, greed and accumulation at the expense of the other and all living systems. This same system that uses the atmosphere as a chemical sink for profit. The oil continues to flow and the coal dug.

No longer can it be business as usual where the new normal is unprecedented and frequent catastrophic weather conditions (which can only get worse) and will be normalized for new generations. A tweak here and there won’t cut it.

Indigenous peoples appear to have a better grasp of living with the earth rather than against it as their lands continue to be exploited for resource extraction and profits. Indigenous voices are tolerated, welcomed even, but rarely is this wisdom applied to our reality. In the Canadian context, this vision is met by a system where Indigenous colonized peoples are undermined by super mines, pipelines and general disrespect.

It does feel good to see any progress whatsoever and we hang our hat on that. Political cachet can be earned by playing to domestic audiences as part of this theatre. No better example exists than the myth of Canada as a progressive nation and its new proposed phase-out of coal policy. Through carbon offsets, which shall keep the coal burning until at least 2060 and exports continuing after that date (hardly a victory). While presented as progress it is ineffective, and a diversion which obscures the continuing plan to build pipelines and keep dirty Canadian oil flowing. The tyranny of oil extraction and the use of the atmosphere as a chemical sink for profit remains while the human and animal population subsidize this senseless tragedy.

Who will take on international transport, shipping and aviation? If these sectors were a country they would be the seventh largest polluter where products that could be produced locally at less environmental cost are shipped vast distances.

What does this mean for workers? As we say, don’t oppose, propose. The Union I represent, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers know that a just transition out of destructive practices requires better approaches that we all need to be a part of. We live in a society where some work too much and others have no possibility at all. Incorporation of other more holistic and sustainable values allows us to step outside the box and refocus. Our Delivering Community Power initiative, driving Canada Post to be an engine of the next economy including the use of renewable non-polluting energy, transforming and retro-fitting post offices to produce energy at the local source and eliminate carbon from delivery systems– the latter which has already happened in over 20 cities in Norway (and is growing). Putting more postal workers on the street and less cars also means more face to face contact and added community value by checking in on senior citizens who are isolated. Postal workers have put climate change on the bargaining table. By incorporating Indigenous and feminist values of nurture and care into our future we shift the nature of work and become meaningful actors in solutions. This approach was energized and inspired by the LEAP Manifesto which calls for a restructuring of the Canadian economy and an end to the use of fossil fuels. This is framed by respect for Indigenous rights, internationalism, human rights, diversity, and environmental stewardship. We cannot leave it to corporations and politicians. We are all part of this solution now and have the opportunity to claim the space to do it.

The indigenous Ojibwe have a saying about the seven generations. They say that for every move we make, it must always be done with a view on how it could impact people seven generations from now. The leaders of this planet would do well to listen to that advice.

We require a new kind of COP. There will be no shopping on a dead planet and reassembling the deck chairs of the Titanic will not help. Creativity and better value systems can.

 

Dave Bleakney (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) über den Bonner Klimagipfel, die Notwendigkeit Spielregeln zu ändern und feministische und indigene Ansätze in die Bekämpfung des Klimawandels zu integrieren. Ein Gastbeitrag.

Ein Taxifahrer fasste den vergangenen Klimagipfel in Bonn sehr treffend zusammen. Auf die Frage, was er über den Gipfel dachte, antwortete er: »Das Klima ist in der Krise, aber hier geht es um Geld.« Und genau das ist das Problem. Was der Taxifahrer meint ist, dass es im Hinterkopf der Beteiligten nicht etwa die drohende Klimakrise ist, sondern die Profite aus destruktiven Produktionszyklen, Konsum, Verschiffung, Wachstumsmodellen und dem Transport von Produkten über weite Strecken. Bis auf wenige Ausnahmen wird dieses Problem ignoriert.

Wie äußert sich das? In Nordamerika ist es beispielsweise so, dass man die Lautstärke des Fernsehers runterregeln kann und auch ohne Ton sehen kann, dass eine Vielzahl an Werbungen anhand eines Schemas ablaufen: Jemand ist so lange unglücklich bis er ein bestimmtes Produkt besitzt und dann ist alles toll und jeder ist glücklich. Dieses Schema wiederholt sich immer und immer wieder. Kauf und lächle. Sehne dich nach Besitz als ob dieser uns irgendwie verbinden würde und ein Glücksmoment kreieren könne während die Erde brennt. Die Erde wurde von einem primitiven System des modernen Feudalismus verschlungen. Nur eine Handvoll Männer – um genau zu sein acht – besitzt die Hälfte des Planeten. In dieser empörenden Realität kann ein einzelner Mann mehr wert sein als eine ganze Nation. Führende Politiker und wichtige Institutionen tun so, als ob man durch das Überzeugen eine Handvoll reicher Soziopathen das Leben auf der Erde retten könnte.

Bis heute hat Macht noch nie etwas ohne Kampf aufgegeben oder etwas Neues erschaffen zu haben. Unsere unbequeme Zukunft verlangt, dass die Klimasünder nicht auch noch mit den Möglichkeiten ausgestattet werden sollten, für uns zu handeln. Sie haben bisher nur sehr selten das Richtige getan. Die Spielregeln müssen sich ändern. Die Klimasünder müssen vom Sockel der Macht gestoßen werden. Und wir müssen gegen unsere Sucht nach Dingen, die wir nicht wirklich brauchen ankämpfen. Diese treibt uns nur in einen Strudel aus Besitz und Verlangen. Außerdem muss man die gültigen Definitionen von Wert anpassen – auch indem man jahrhundertealte patriarchale Ansätze von Konkurrenz und Gewinn überdenkt.

Wir sind wie die Hamster in einem Rad. Wir zehren von den Wellen der Kolonialisierung und Wohlstandsakkumulation. Auf dem Klimagipfel konnten wir lediglich die Geschwindigkeit, mit der sich das Rad durch Silos und Gerüste dreht, diskutieren. Wir müssen von diesem Rad runterkommen und mit dem Wesentlichen in Einklang kommen: mit der Erde und miteinander.

In diesem Wahnsinn gilt: je dunkler die Hautfarbe, desto mehr ist man betroffen von den Auswirkungen der Klimakrise. Unzählige Klimaflüchtlinge fliehen von einer Krise, die sich entwickelt hat während eine kleine Zahl an Menschen auf dem Planeten einkaufen war. Unter den gegenwärtigen Bedingungen wird sich das nicht ändern. Hungernde Menschen, die versuchen zu überleben, werden selbst verantwortlich gemacht, ja sogar attackiert, dafür dass sie das Einzige tun, was ihnen übrigbleibt: an einen besseren Ort zu fliehen. Was kann man anderes erwarten, wenn Menschen hungern? Hunger verursacht Krieg und Konflikte. Die USA, die auf Enteignung gegründet sind, führen seit fast zwei Jahrzehnten ununterbrochen Eroberungskriege – oft mit Hilfe von Verbündeten. Seit 2001 haben die USA über 7,6 Billionen US-Dollar nur für Militär und Staatssicherheit in einer dauerhaften Kriegsökonomie ausgegeben.

Wenig wurde beim Klimagipfel in Bonn erreicht. Es gab einige, sehr kleine Durchbrüche, doch denen fehlt es an Durchsetzungsmechanismen. Indigene und Geschlechteranalysen fehlen völlig. Obwohl solche Klimagipfel essentiell für unsere Zukunft sind, sind sie unwirksam. Ein früherer Mitarbeiter der Klimarahmenkonvention der Vereinten Nationen erzählte mir, dass dies den Menschen durchaus bewusst sei, Rahmenbedingungen die Handlungsmöglichkeiten jedoch einschränken würden. Man würde nur die Pferde scheu machen, wenn man versucht, alles über den Haufen zu werfen: den jahrhundertealten Merkantilismus, das System aus Ausbeutung, Gier und Akkumulation auf Kosten anderer. Und so fließt das Öl weiter, wird die Kohle weiter abgebaut.

Es kann nicht weitergehen wie bisher. Das neue Normal ist beispiellos und die katastrophale Wetterlage kann auch nur noch schlimmer werden. Wir können den Zustand nicht für künftige Generationen normalisieren. Es hilft nicht, nur hier und da ein wenig zu verändern.

Indigene scheinen ein besseres Verständnis vom Leben im Einklang statt gegen die Erde zu haben während ihr Land weiterhin für Profite ausgebeutet wird. Indigene Stimmen werden oft ignoriert und nur selten wahrgenommen. Ihr Wissen nicht genutzt. Im kanadischen Kontext zeigt sich dies folgendermaßen: Indigene wurden kolonialisiert und heute durch Superminen, Pipelines und generelle Missachtung gefährdet.

Jeder Fortschritt, so klein er auch sein mag, fühlt sich gut an und wir halten daran fest. Politische Mehrheiten werden gewonnen, indem ihnen etwas vorgespielt wird. Es gibt kein besseres Beispiel als der Mythos des progressiven Kanadas und seinem Weg aus der Kohleabhängigkeit. Der Emissionsausgleich lässt die Kohle noch bis mindestens 2060 brennen und ermöglicht Exporte, die auch nach diesem Jahr noch weitergehen können. Was als Erfolg verkauft wird, ist in Wahrheit ineffektiv und eine Ablenkung von den Plänen, weitere Pipelines zu bauen und das dreckige kanadische Öl weiter fließen zu lassen. Die Ölgewinnung und der Schadstoffausstoß gehen weiter, zu lasten von Mensch und Tier.

Wer kann es mit dem internationalen Transport, dem Schiffs- und Flugverkehr aufnehmen? Wären diese Branchen ein Land, wären dieses der siebtgrößte Umweltverschmutzer. Produkte, die zu geringeren ökologischen Kosten lokal produziert werden könnten, werden über große Distanzen in diesem Land verfrachtet.

Was heißt das für die Arbeiter? Wir sagen: bekämpfe nicht, mache Vorschläge. Die Gewerkschaft der kanadischen Postangestellten (Canadian Union of Postal Workers), die ich vertrete, weiß, dass der Übergang aus einer zerstörerischen Praxis besserer Ansätze bedarf. Wir leben in einer Gesellschaft in der Arbeit sehr ungleich verteilt ist. Einige haben sehr viel, andere gar keine Arbeit. Ganzheitliche und nachhaltige Werte erlauben es uns, aus unserer kleinen Blase herauszutreten und uns neu zu orientieren. Unsere Initiative »Delivering Community Power« treibt die kanadische Post dazu an, ein Motor für eine neue Ökonomie zu sein – unter Einbeziehung von lokaler erneuerbarer und umweltfreundlicher Energie und der Nachrüstung von Poststellen. So kann die Post den CO2 Ausstoß ihrer Zuliefererkette reduzieren. In über 20 norwegischen Städten wird die Post schadstofffrei ausgeliefert. Weniger Autos auf den Straßen, dafür mehr Postangestellte. Das bedeutet auch mehr Kundenkontakt. Wir Postangestellte haben den Klimawandel auf den Verhandlungstisch gepackt.

Wir können das Wesen der Arbeit ändern, in dem wir indigene und feministische Werte für die Erziehung und Pflege einbeziehen. Unsere Ansätze werden inspiriert und angetrieben vom LEAP Manifesto, das eine Restrukturierung der kanadischen Ökonomie und ein Ende der fossilen Energien fordert. Dieses wird gerahmt vom Respekt für indigenes Recht, Internationalismus, Menschenrechte, Vielfalt und ökologische Verantwortung. Wir können es nicht der Politik und den Konzernen überlassen. Wir alle sind Teil der Lösung und haben Möglichkeiten, den Raum einzufordern, um etwas zu verändern.

Ein Sprichwort der indigenen Ojibway sagt: Jeder Schritt, den wir tun, muss immer mit Blick darauf passieren, wie er die Menschen in sieben Generationen beeinflussen kann. Den Einflussreichen der Welt täte gut daran, diesem Rat zu folgen.

Wir fordern eine neue Art des Klimagipfels. Auf einem toten Planeten kann man nicht mehr einkaufen. Es wird nicht helfen, die Stühle an Deck der Titanic wieder aufzubauen. Kreativität und ein besseres Wertesystem hingegen können helfen.

Dave Bleakney
2nd National Vice-President
Canadian Union of Postal Workers

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Tetet Nera-Lauron from IBON INTERNATIONAL (with offices in the Philippines, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, and Europe) wrote the featured article below after the UN Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany ended on Saturday.

Tetet is a colleague and friend who I met during UN climate talks years ago and we’ve kept in contact ever since.

I quit going to the UN Circuses after the Durban climate conference in 2011 where I was accredited as a photojournalist by Z Magazine. A top UN security official slammed my camera into my face for taking a photograph of a clown dressed as ‘Uncle Sam.’ I filed a formal complaint and although I had witnesses (and a photo of the the incident), the UN never interviewed them. Instead the UN had an “internal investigation” which naturally found no fault in the action of the security official.

An Indigenous man watches decision-makers from the balcony at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany. (May 2008) photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Although I longer go to UN meetings, my presence every now and then is felt. In November 2013, the yearly UN climate talks were held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. IBON INTERNATIONAL and the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change helped put on an exhibit of my photographs during the High Level Sessions of the meetings.  The exhibit was titled Neoliberal Globalization and Climate Chaos and was on display at the IBON INTERNATIONAL booth. Above is one of the photos from that exhibit. I took it at the UN in Bonn…but in 2008.

The following is the last paragraph in Tetet’s analysis. I wholeheartedly agree. – OL

As the curtains go down on COP 23, the world sees more of the same, i.e. governments forever locked in negotiations with the same deep divides over the future of humanity and the planet, while cooking up ‘solutions’ that intensify environmental problems, to prop up the global system of economy, trade, finance and politics that has brought the world to its current state of multiple crises.

Too little, too late: Climate talks go overtime with underwhelming outcomes

November 18, Bonn – The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) wrapped up its 2-weeks negotiations early Saturday morning, hours behind its scheduled closing, which was suspended for several times as governments tried to find an acceptable compromise solution on hotly-contested matters. Fiji, as the first ever island state to hold the presidency of the COP, had its hands more than full as it strived to make Parties agree on the ways forward in implementing the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

The annual summit aimed to move closer towards agreeing on a rulebook to guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which saw governments submitting their pledges towards keeping global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible, below 1.5 degrees. The negotiations also focused on designing the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue (which is now more popularly referred to as the ‘Talanoa’, a Fijian term for an inclusive and transparent dialogue,) in order to review progress in achieving the temperature goal that would inform the revision and improvement of countries’ contributions to climate action, including financing. Critical questions on where the world stood in terms of the reality and impacts of climate change, where it wants to go to address the problems, and how to get there will be raised at this dialogue.

The talks have been rocky from the start, as developing countries pointed to developed countries’ intransigence to commit to pre-2020 actions, which were crucial building blocks for implementing the Paris deal, which will start only in 2020. Rich countries countered this by saying they have almost already made good on their standing commitments to reduce emissions and provide finance, and as such the talks should delve on how to implement the new climate deal. This of course, was refuted by developing countries, who said that these supposed achievements by developed countries were made by double-counting development aid (ODA) and buying their polluting way out through carbon markets.

Negotiations on the Paris rulebook have been particularly difficult with regard to making sure that developed countries fulfill their historical responsibility towards providing finance and technology transfer, and that developing countries have a way to track what has actually been provided and not just promised. There were intense disagreements on whether the Adaptation Fund (established under the Kyoto Protocol) would be carried over as well to the Paris Agreement, called for by developing countries, as the fund had been relatively successful and accessible at supporting initiatives at local level. The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) set up in 2014 in recognition that huge losses and damages (both economic and non- economic) occur both from sudden (supertyphoon, cyclones, etc.) and slow onset (sea level rise, desertification, etc.) events till did not have concrete financial commitments. The US, European Union, Australia and other rich countries blocked agreements on new financial commitments to resource the WIM, and as the talks closed, all that was agreed on was to form an expert group to discuss the matter.

And so COP 23 wrapped up, thanks to skillful diplomacy, with drafts of chapters of the Paris rulebook. This will be taken up and decided on at the next COP in Poland, and soon after, countries that have ratified the agreement will have to start implementing domestically.

There were some positive takeaways from this year’s COP. Among these include the adoption of the Gender Action Plan and the Indigenous People’s Platform – both already provided for in the Paris Agreement and yet there was still much disagreement among governments on how to actually make good on these, despite having agreed on these two years ago.

A number of initiatives in margins of the negotiations are also worth keeping an eye on.

InsuResilience Global Partnership (IGP) for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions was launched at the COP 23, bringing together G201 countries in partnership with the V202 nations, World Bank, civil society, international organizations, academia and the industry. The IGP is a voluntary platform resourced from donor-provided public money, which seeks to promote climate risk insurance for countries and communities affected by climate change. Some analysts see this asa form of rich countries skirting their responsibility and commitment in providing finance to developing countries while at the same time attracting private investors and companies with the use of government budget allocations.

There was also the establishment of the ‘Power Past Coal Alliance’, led by the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada together with other countries and states, businesses and organizations supposedly committing to the rapid phase out of ‘traditional coal power’ as energy source and to cease all investment in coal domestically or abroad. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest consumer of coal, getting 40% of its energy from lignite, is not part of this coalition. However, the integrity of this alliance is already in question, since they endorse a convenient escape hatch with the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) which means they would still be able to keep coal plants operational by trapping their carbon dioxide emissions underground.

As the curtains go down on COP 23, the world sees more of the same, i.e. governments forever locked in negotiations with the same deep divided over the future of humanity and the planet, while cooking up ‘solutions’ that intensify environmental problems, to prop up the global system of economy, trade, finance and politics that has brought the world to its current state of multiple crises.

–Tetet Nera-Lauron

 

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Marilyn Anderson’s new book (El libro está en inglés y español)

Feature by Orin Langelle

Grabados del libro Guardianes de las artes
Images of the book Guardians of the Arts

Amherst, NY, 26 October 2017–Artist and author Marilyn Anderson gave a presentation to the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village on her new book Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts.

Anderson states in her newest book that it “aims to foster a deeper appreciation for the beauty and history of Guatemalan arts…to inspire respect, empathy and support for Guatemalan artists and artisans.”

The book is illustrated by forty-three prints of her work, that were ten years in the making. Her prints illustrate long established Guatemalan arts and crafts techniques, and were inspired by traditional wood cuts and used some of the most ancient of printmaking techniques. They are organized into sections defined by fabrication techniques and raw materials.

Her involvement with the arts and crafts of Guatemala began in the 1960s and her fascination with the process of weavers and weaving.

Carol Pirson (l) of the Weavers Guild of Buffalo, admires a weaving that Anderson is holding. photo: Langelle

Anderson’s talk for the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo not only weaved a story of her learning from the people who were the artisans and how they work and the different types of processes involved, but her backstory of the history in Guatemala that shed light on the repression artisans and others lived through.

As a documentary photographer I found this history, in her talk, and in the “Supplementary Essays” at the end of her book, a fascinating and necessary historical look at what is so often forgotten – or not even known by many in the U.S. The information in Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts is a behind the scenes look at culture, Mayan arts, and change and ecology – plus a section on weaving and survival during La Violencia.

So why does art need guardians?

La Violencia: The 1954 coup d’état, which overthrew the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz, brought repression to the people. [OL Note: the coup d’état was a covert operation carried out by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).] The victims included trade unionists, leaders of cooperatives and peasants.  Armed resistance to the repression began in the 1960s.

During La Violencia, Mayas suffered massacres, bombing, dislocation and rape.  photo: Langelle

In the 80s extensive repression intensified, aimed especially at indigenous peoples.

“Nearly 500 Guatemalan communities were destroyed. Maya women and men from areas designated by the army as ‘subversive’ did not wear their traditional clothing whose patterns and colors identified their ethnic group and community,” Anderson explained.

She continued, “Hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans fled and found their way to safety in Mexico [many in Chiapas refugee camps] or other countries, leaving behind property, houses and animals. Through forests and over rivers and mountains, many Maya refugee women carried their backstrap looms. Even if they left their looms behind, they carried within themselves the knowledge to build and use new ones.”

Men and boys crocheted shoulder bags. Anderson shows an example of that work made in a Chiapas, Mexico refugee camp. photo: Langelle

Ecology and Arts and Crafts: Anderson describes in her book that “Guatemalan arts and crafts are connected to their environment…An holistic relationship existed between the earth, which gave the raw materials for the objects that artisans made, and the users of these objects.”

Sustaining Culture:

                                                   I will never stop wearing my traditional clothing until the day I die. – Desidria Camposeco of Jacaltenango, 1996

Anderson says Desidria’s wearing traditional clothing is a form of resistance. A commitment to one’s culture plays a part of resisting economic and political forces and confronts prejudice and consumerism.

“Mayas keep their culture alive in many ways: millions speak, write and appreciate the 22 Mayan languages; they understand the universe; the world and humans’ place in it through their cosmovisión; the ancient K’iche’ creation narrative, The Popol Vub, has continued importance to modern day Mayas; story-telling music, dance and plays are other examples of traditional culture that play an important part in the lives of many Mayas.” – Marilyn Anderson

So why does art need guardians?

Because without art, cultural identity can be lost or worse, destroyed, threatening the very fabric of peoples’ true history.

 

To order Marilyn Anderson’s new book Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts, Relief Prints, Coloring Books and Note Card sets, please go to www.proartemaya.org/ or email manderson@igc.org

From the Proto Arte Maya website:

The latest addition to the Pro Arte Maya Project is the book: Guardianes de las artes: grabados de artistas y artesanos de Guatemala/ Guardians of the Arts: Prints of Guatemalan Artists and Artisans.

Completed in 2016, work on this book has occupied Marilyn over the past ten years. Copies are available in the United States through this website as well as several bookstores and online stores. The publisher, Editorial Ediciones Del Pensativo, is located in Antigua, Guatemala and makes the book available in bookstores in Guatemala.

New York bookstores carrying the book include:

Greenwood Books, 123 East Avenue, in downtown Rochester
Before your Quiet Eyes, 439 Monroe Avenue, Rochester

Burning Books, 420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo
Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street and 951 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo (near Bidwell)

 

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After seven years and 32 art exhibits Myra Guerrero and Rick Williams closed Buffalo’s Casa de Arte Gallery on their annual El Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations to jump-start November. Thank you both for your efforts and the best of luck in all of your travels.

Orin Langelle photographed by Anne Petermann at the closing of Buffalo’s Casa de Arte Gallery.

After moving to Buffalo from Vermont, I had my first show in Buffalo at Casa De Arte, Chiapas: Resistance and Renewal. It ran from 22 June to 28 July 2013. This exhibit was part of a larger show with my friend and colleague, Bil Jungels and artist Antún Kojtom from San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico.

La Catrina on balcony in Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico. (1999) photo: Langelle – This photo for Casa de Arte was printed on Aluminum micro film, in respect to printmaker – lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada.

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While getting ready to post this I realized that I had a photograph (right) in an El Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) Group Exhibit from 2 November to 15 November 2013 in the annual celebration at Casa de Arte Gallery.

More info on that photo, lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada, and El Dia de los Muertes can be found here

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Backstory of photo at the end of this post.

This photo of these three people was a strange happenstance taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night. I now wonder what was in the jug the person on the right was carrying.                         photo: Langelle

Another snippet of history. Happy Samhain!

Jefferson Airplane:

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the Dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head

[It’s Grace Slick’s birthday today. Jefferson Airplane’s Slick was invited to a tea party at the White House in 1969. She chose Yippie! Abbie Hoffman to be her escort and planned to spike President Richard Nixon’s tea with 600 micrograms of LSD. The plan was thwarted.]

 

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as acid, is a psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects. This may include altered awareness of the surroundings, perceptions, and feelings as well as sensations and images that seem real though they are not. It is used mainly as a recreational drug and for spiritual reasons.

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project during American legality of LSD and psilocybin, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Leary’s colleague, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), was fired from Harvard University on May 27, 1963 for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate student. Leary was planning to leave Harvard when his teaching contract expired in June, the following month. He was fired, for “failure to keep classroom appointments”, with his pay docked on April 30. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.

On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana “roaches”. Leary alleged that they were planted by the arresting officer, but was convicted of the crime. On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, and overturned his 1965 conviction.

On that same day, Leary announced his candidacy for Governor of California against the Republican incumbent, Ronald Reagan. His campaign slogan was “Come together, join the party.” On June 1, 1969, Leary joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Montreal Bed-In, and Lennon subsequently wrote Leary a campaign song called “Come Together”.

On January 21, 1970, Leary received a 10-year sentence for his 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively. On his arrival in prison, he was given psychological tests used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed some of these tests himself (including the “Leary Interpersonal Behavior Inventory”), Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening. As a result, he was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower-security prison from which he escaped in September 1970, saying that his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and leaving a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone.

For a fee of $25,000, paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary out of prison in a pickup truck. The truck met Leary after he’d escaped over the prison wall by climbing along a telephone wire. The Weathermen then helped both Leary and Rosemary out of the US (and eventually into Algeria).

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. The above photo photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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The backstory of this photograph is after the article.

Halloween 1983, Central West End (St. Louis), MO                                             photo: Langelle

A pagan-rooted holiday with references to Earth; trick-or-treat?

I’ve been curious about how Halloween came about. I started researching this in my spare time a little over a week ago and  found many references. After reading some of the material, it confirmed my belief that so much of what is considered history today is actually a fabrication of reality by whomever controls history at the present time to serve their purposes.

There are many accounts about the roots of Halloween. The information presented here is a synthesis of some of the versions I stumbled onto.

Most people that celebrate Halloween have no idea they are actually celebrating a holiday that that has deep pagan roots. Ancient (and modern) pagans practice earth-centered traditions that celebrate the sacred circle of life and live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Note that “Halloween” falls around the mid-point between the fall equinox and the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.

After reading numerous articles, it appears that the ancient pagans of Ireland referred to this mid-point as the Eve of Samhain. The Scots shared Gaelic ancestry and culture as well as did some inhabitants of England and France.

The traditional, or “pagan,” worldview of the pre-Christian Gaels of Ireland is typically described as animistic, polytheistic, ancestor venerating and focused on the hero cult of archetypal Gaelic warrior. The four seasonal festivals celebrated in the Gaelic calendar, still observed to this day, are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

The Eve of Samhain became a Gaelic festival which now is celebrated in popular culture as Halloween.

Traditionally, the Eve of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter and the “New Year.”

Experienced as a period when the normally strict boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead became fluctuating, on the Eve of Samhain, the veil between the two realms was the most transparent, allowing the spirits of those who have died to return to visit earth.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

“…The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death…”

And in The American Peoples Encyclopedia:

“Cats were held sacred since it was believed that they were once human beings that had been transformed for committing evil.”

In the Old Celtic calendar the new year began on 1 November (Samhain), so that the last evening of October was ‘old-year’s night’, the night of all the witches, which the Catholic Church co-opted into the Eve of All Saints and Samhain itself was changed to All Saints Day.

Boo!

Orin Langelle, 30 October 2017

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. This Dracula photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  Dracula was the cover. We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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Wally Menne with Ana Filippini of World Rainforest Movement in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, 2007. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

Cross-posted from Global Justice Ecology Project

Wally Menne: A Lion Among Men

The Loss of a Giant

Wally Menne in Kuna Yala 2010. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

My partner Orin Langelle and I were shocked and saddened this morning to learn of the death of friend and colleague Wally Menne who passed away on Thursday 26 October.

We had known Wally for many years and his loss was like a dagger. I had met Wally when he organized the founding meeting of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in his hometown in 2004.

Orin met him a couple of years later at a gathering of the Global Forest Coalition.

The loss of this important South African activist was sudden and surprising. Wally was a powerhouse, a giant. His force was impossible to ignore. He was dedicated and uncompromising with a seemingly endless supply of energy despite his years at the grindstone. Even now, it is difficult to imagine a movement without him.

I heard from Wally only a few days ago with information on a possible volunteer for GJEP—someone whose writings he had come across who impressed him with her no-nonsense critique on the problem of industrial tree plantations—his personal crusade.

The Durban Group for Climate Justice. Wally with arms folded, far left.

Anyone who knew Wally knew this about him. He was passionate about ridding the Earth of the scourge of timber plantations and was one of the most knowledgeable on their extensive social and ecological impacts. He had no qualms about laying the blame for this devastating problem squarely at the feet of those responsible–not merely the corporations whose plantations they were, but the agencies and organizations who laid their groundwork and made up excuses to enable their expansion. In particular he targeted the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The FAO won Wally’s wrath through their insistence on promoting a definition of “forests” that included industrial timber plantations. This despite the obvious fact that forests support communities, biodiversity, clean water and climate stabilization; and plantations destroy forests, communities, biodiversity, clean water and the climate. 2 + 2 will never equal 5 no matter how many reports the FAO puts out claiming it does.

Wally Menne, in center with hands above head, during a protest against a SAPPI pulp mill in South Africa. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

The FSC was dogged by Wally’s incessant criticism due to their support and legitimation of the timber plantation model. The FSC became a multi-billion-dollar brand by giving corporations sustainability certification for their timber monocultures, enabling them to sell their plantation-derived products as “green,” despite the real, on-the-ground consequences of that model.

On October 22nd, Wally wrote the piece below, promoting a new blog on the problem of plantations. I think it is a wonderful example of the anger and passion that Wally wielded with such skill, and of his ability to address not just the problem of plantations, but all of the issues connected to them. In this case, wood-based bioenergy. A timely post, given the upcoming UNFCCC Climate Convention early next month.


“The debate around the negative impacts of burning tree biomass to generate energy or to manufacture liquid biofuels has been escalating over the past ten years, with ample evidence having been presented of the harmful effects of government and UN policies that promote this false solution to climate change.

“However, the extremely greedy and powerful land-grabbing industry has managed to capture most of the international institutions that are supposed to act as the protectors of our planet, its people and its biodiversity. The prime example of this is the FAO. The FOOD and AGRICULTURE organisation of the United Nations, which has been co-opted by big bad business through tireless propaganda campaigns to undermine and to weaken the outcomes of political processes and to promote false promises under the guise of projects and programmes such as the Green Economy, REDD+, renewable energy targets and even targets to reduce biodiversity loss and deforestation.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that these efforts are highly unlikely to bring about their intended results, and that instead they are only creating a false sense of there being no urgency for governments and individuals to take the initiative and to act decisively on their own in implementing the changes that are needed. In other words, all the hot air being pumped out at meetings of the CBD, UNFCCC, FAO, UNFF and the rest, is only serving to delay the implementation of real solutions, so that the owners of the industrial corporations that benefit from these long drawn-out processes can continue to profit at the expense of the majority of the people on our planet.”

—Wally Menne, Timberwatch, South Africa


We will miss Wally and the huge hole left by his absence. We hold his wife Rose and son Adam in our hearts at this terrible time.

Rest in peace Wally. You’ve earned it.

We miss you.

Anne Petermann (Orin Langelle and the staff and Board of Global Justice Ecology Project)

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