Seeing the economic opportunity in Siberian earth, Texas-based oil company Amoco quickly established an office in Nadym, Yamal following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Portraying the Yamal Region as devastated by decades of pollution by Soviet industries, a 1994 New York Times article titled “In the Defiled Russian Arctic, Hope Is a U.S. Oil Company”, the publication portrayed the Amoco vice-president Garry F. Howe as a kind of saviour descended upon an old world, bringing faith in new industry and economic prosperity to come through ecologically sensitive American drilling of the Yamal. “But Amoco has seen what happened to other companies when the needs of the local people are ignored. Texaco, for example, was stymied with its oil exploration in Ecuador when Indians were outraged about the lack of consultation. And company officials know the public relations value of producing oil in an environmentally safe way.” (The New York Times, Nov. 27, 1994). Attracting American investment in Siberian ‘natural resources’ became a priority for Russian business following the dissolution of the USSR and the conversion towards capitalist market economy, seeing the profitable manipulations of proprietary and land usage regulations, continent-hopping by bloated oil industries, and the ruthlessness of western investors and the World Bank that made it all possible. Even reports that spoke sympathetically about colonial exploitation of lands in Siberian regions – such as Osherenko’s study on the impact of changing property rights on the Nenets of Yamal Peninsula – would orient documentation in a way that would appear to support the preservation of Indigenous cultural and land rights, and self-governance, while somehow still promoting American investment and development of oil and gas fields: “according substantial property and even political rights to indigenous peoples need not constitute a barrier to larger national agendas for development of oil and gas resources” […] “The World Bank aims to enable the Russian oil and gas industry to improve oil recovery, reduce spills, repair broken pipelines, and reduce waste through improved environmental technology.” (Osherenko 1995: 2, 44).
* Osherenko, G. Indigenous political and property rights and economic/environmental reform in Northwestern Siberia. Post-Soviet Geography. 1995.
Абрам Архипов, «Прачки», 1898.
Man uses his old disasters as a mirror.
Barely an hour after dark
that man picks up the bitter scraps of his day
painfully places them next to his heart
and sweating like a consumptive who still hasn’t given up
sinks into his deep, lonely room.
Here, such a man chainsmokes
he concocts disastrous cobwebs on the ceiling
he loathes fresh flowers
his own asphyxiating skin exiles him
he stares at his cold feet
he believes his bed is his daily grave
his pockets are empty
But those men, those other men,
gladly bare their chests to the sun
or to the murderers on the prowl
they lift the face of bread out of ovens
like a benevolent flag against hunger
they laugh so hard with the children even the air hurts
they fill with tiny footsteps the bellies of blessed women
they split rocks like stubborn fruit in their solemnity
naked they sing into the refreshing glass of water
they joke around with the sea playfully taking it by the horns
they build melodious houses of light in windswept wildernesses
like God they get drunk everywhere
they settle with their fists against despair
their avenging fires against crime
their love of unending roots
against the atrocious scythe of hatred.
Anguish exists, yes.
As does despair
For whom shall the voice of the poet speak?”
– from a volume discarded by Mount Prospect Public Library.
(detail from “Four Visions of the Hereafter” (1505-1515) by Hieronymus Bosch)
from Paterson by William Carlos Williams (1946):
“We go on living, we permit ourselves
to continue—but certainly
not for the university, what they publish
severally or as a group: clerks
got out of hand forgetting for the most part
to whom they are beholden.
. . .
Who restricts knowledge? Some say
it is the decay of the middle class
making an impossible moat between the high
and the low where
the life once flourished . . knowledge
of the avenues of information—
So that we do not know (in time)
where the stasis lodges. And if it is not
the knowledgeable idiots, the university,
they at least are the non-purveyors
should be devising means
to leap the gap. Inlets? The outward
masks of the special interests
that perpetuate the stasis and make it
They block the release
that should cleanse and assume
prerogatives as a private recompense.
Others are at fault because
they do nothing.”
Yuli Rybakov, Peter and Paul Fortress, (1976). Via Monika Bernotas.
full article: http://www.berfrois.com/2017/07/lital-khaikin-justify-land-2/
The working class of industrialist Québec was integrated into the state project of Canada – the inclusion of a French workforce of “civil servants” in the federalist project – as an act of securing the legitimacy of a unified Canadian state. The federalist vision is dependent on a pacification that is bought by the inclusion of the working class and the poor in the further development of the state, via employment that provides them with marginal benefits that are otherwise not afforded or systemically denied. When there was resistance from Algonquin communities to the development of yet another inaccessible and consumerist project constructed on a sacred site, Windmill seized the opportunity to integrate a “progressive” employment policy that would allow underemployed Algonquin workers a chance to participate in the construction of a “world-class sustainable waterfront community”. In order to employ a quota of Indigenous workers, Windmill and the Gatineau municipal governments have created a special administrative zone to bypass regulations on the certifications, practices and working conditions set in place by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ). “For tradespeople and construction workers from Kitigan Zibi, it has been almost impossible to work off reserve because of complex Québec construction regulations. Windmill is negotiating to have parts of its site declared a special administrative zone. That would allow Algonquin tradespeople to work there.” [Zibi Press Release, Jun. 30, 2015]. There would be no need for this benevolent creation of a special administrative zone by Windmill and the Gatineau municipal government for the employment of Algonquin workers, if these barriers weren’t already entrenched within systemic practices of discrimination, and absence of required training, certification and employment resources.
Speaking of their collaborators, the Zibi developers write,
“For tradespeople and construction workers from Kitigan Zibi, it has been almost impossible to work off reserve because of complex Québec construction regulations. Windmill is negotiating to have parts of its site declared a special administrative zone. That would allow Algonquin tradespeople to work there. Historically, many people from Kitigan Zibi have gone to the United States to work in construction because they were unable to find work near home.” [Zibi Press Release].
“The video shows water pouring out of a ceiling light, a ceiling torn open to fix faulty electrical heating/cooling panels and master bedrooms so small that a closet door hits a bed when the door is opened.
“It’s not my fault — I just paid $1.3 million,” one owner says on the video.”
from “Condo owners at former Vancouver Olympic Village file lawsuit for refunds“, Vancouver Sun, March 18, 2011
Авраамов, Арсений Михайлович, “Рабочий похоронный марш”, 1923.
“Judas Ier à été l’objet de pressions irrésistibles (prison, camps, torture), il a donc cédé. Judas II a été vaincu par sa propre peur devant l’État-colosse, qu’il n’aurait jamais réussi à faire bouger. Judas III à pratiquer la soumission inconditionnelle. Judas III est victime des conditions misérables dans lesquelles il a grandi. En tout cela, «seul l’État est responsable».”
– Tzvetan Todorov on Grossman, Face à l’extrême, 1991.
“You cannot say it all in three columns of text. You can only sketch things out, and so have to expect misunderstandings, one-sidedness. What if this paper were to really open up to discussions, really listen to how people across the land are criticizing its articles, fearless and unedited? It is opportunistic to claim to be struggling against the conditions that one is actually reproducing. It is opportunistic to use the methods that stabilize a system and claim to be seeking change. It is opportunistic to clamp down on editorial freedoms and the extra-parliamentary opposition and cave into the market, i.e., to profits. It is opportunistic to limit the anti-authoritarian position to the authoritarian form of the column.”
– Ulrike Meinhof, Columnism, 1968.