USA

At last! Wonderful Presentation on Orange Is the New Black & On Prisons and Learning

This presentation is a great example of what an advanced learner is capable of. I want to thank students who, like Marta and Isabel, have allowed us to record their work because it is truly precious for everybody’s learning! ❤

Although our speakers make some mistakes, it is obvious their relationship to the language is very natural, at the advanced level, too, that they are able to analyze their experience with it, in complex ways. I mean, apart from the interesting points they make, apart from bringing in their worlds to the analysis (this indicates they understood what they were reading beyond “the language problem”), they can explain it all, complex ideas, in a natural way, and when they can’t find the words, they manage to find a way to make their point anyway.*

Use this to learn to listen to yourselves as you speak, so you can fix the mistakes you make which you can actually fix! And enjoy! It’s very enjoyable!

  • (except with one word Isabel utters very quickly and probably makes up! 😀 😀 😛

I’d also like to invite you to listen to some writing by Angela Davis, one of the most brilliant and honest thinkers I have read, socially committed, too, because this philosopher is an expert in the prison system, and also an activist fighting it, to humanize our world.

  • Are Prisons Obsolete? – a collection of essays on the topic. Here is one of the essays
  • Chapter 1 of OITNB, which I recorded, in case you want to see how the memoir starts
  • Also, here is a page where I share my work on language when I read this work by Piper Kerman, and some resource material I created for a workshop on “Crime and Punishment”, one of the topics in C1 tests

Finally, I believe the topic should be called “Crime and Justice”, really, but this is the world we have: we think that if we don’t use violent words or behave violently that means we are not doing anything against violence — a very patriarchal piece of thinking, in my view! Fighting violence and crime is rooted in VALUES and when the values a certain culture chooses are violent, then it’s all about nurturing the same problem. The only “punishment” a prison should offer is privation of freedom, and only for certain crimes, crimes against people (not so much property — if people were not subject to poverty, the only criminals we would have in prison are those corrupt people who steal and never get to prison), not all the other humiliating and terrible things it involves. While preventing those criminals to harm other people, prisons would be places to learn good things, to learn. But then, here and now, many of us would want to go there because of unemployment! 😀

Anyway… I hope some year we can have this workshop in this course. The kind of education based on not seeking becoming independent and resourceful, and absentism* have terrible impact every year, because we cannot count on people’s initiative, work, participation and collaboration. Teamwork is always utopia and there’s like no hope because it’s so justified we don’t have the time to work with others.

*(I do wonder why people think that you can tell people in one course you signed for that you cannot join them because you have to attend another course. I know I get to learn about this reason for them not coming to class only from people who appreciate me and respect my work, but it always hurts to see how anything is more important than learning in a course you wanted to do, right? I mean, if you have enrolled in a course, and don’t find time to follow it, why would you find time to follow another course? It’s funny how we find the most positive things for our learning, the least interesting to pursue, really. It’s like when we learn without suffering: people truly believe in practice that they learn more when they suffer in the process. Well, excuse my sharing this insight. Feel free to disagree! It could bring us hope! 😀

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Outing to the movies?: “Hidden Figures”, Don’t miss it!!! (Lucía’s proposal)

Today Lucía told me about this movie. She was deeply impressed. ANd I replied that if people knew about Women’s History, or Herstory, they would all be feminists, for sure! Gerda Lerner, who studied both these topics, says so, too, in her book “The Creation of Patriarchy”. I’m reading it in English, and it’s on our wish list for the Feminist Library we’re trying to put together. Anyway, here’s the info Lucía also sent me for you all:

“Hidden Figures” takes us back to 1961, when racial segregation and
workplace sexism were widely accepted facts of life and the word “computer”
referred to a person, not a machine. Though a gigantic IBM mainframe does
appear in the movie — big enough to fill a room and probably less powerful
than the phone in your pocket — the most important computers are three
African-American women who work at NASA headquarters in Hampton, Va.
Assigned to data entry jobs and denied recognition or promotion, they would
go on to play crucial roles in the American space program.

Info on the movie at Miramar Cinesur – wonder if it’s OV

USA: News on Manning’s & Peltier’s Cases

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be set free on May 17, after Obama reduced her sentence from 35 years to seven.

❤ Well done, Obama!

https://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2017/1/18/chelsea_mannings_attorneys_obamas_commutation_willTranscript

President Barack Obama has denied clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, dashing what may be his final hopes to ever see freedom again. Edward Snowden was not granted pardon.

Shame on you, Obama

Hurricane Matthew Lashing the Bahamas

BREAKING NEWS: 1 DEAD, HOMES CATCH FIRE IN FLORIDA, 650,000+ IN THE DARK

65 ° Washington, DC
US °F

Hurricane Matthew Lashing the Bahamas
weather.com
Posted: Oct 6 2016 12:00 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 6 2016 01:39 PM EDT
Meteorologist Danielle Banks gives us the latest update as Hurricane Matthew moves through the Bahamas and towards the U.S.

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-matthew-lashing-the-bahamas

Resources I mentioned: Maths, Disability, History

friedan.jpgBook TV. In this video, Zinn speaks, a key thinker in the 20th century, but before that the reporter interviews people about the books they enjoyed that year (1998) and there is the presentation of a program(me) on a feminist classic by Betty Friedan (not intended by me!), a middle-class suburban feminist who made the point we didn’t have the language to speak about what was wrong!

PS: I’d like to tell you about something. In countries at war pacifists are considered people with no patriotism, no love for their people, and “therefore” public enemies. Ask Women in Black Belgrade, what they learned/learnt from the war in the Balkans in the 1990s. And being a pacifist is considered a great violence towards their Fatherland. Because in the USA patriotism is as strong as classism in Europe, or perhaps much greater, really! (It’s so extreme!) — and I don’t mean all the progressist people from the USA we know about in Europe but about the general trend, the public opinion so to put it — pacifists are seen as very bad people. (Yes, imagine the hippie movement and their peace work against Vietnam, that was exceptional and actually resulted in the putting into practice of Low Intensity Warfare, with Reagan on, in 1980.) And what about “reds”? Just remember the witch hunt. Just consider the US Congress has no leftwing parties in it. Being someone with leftwing ideas in the USA is being a suspect of the worst kind, for the general population. In the same way, not having religious beliefs in the USA equals being a suspect of being a bad person. (Ironical that freedom of religion would rule out the option of not having a religion.) Religion in the USA is intimately linked to Patriotism and War, for tradition says they are the chosen people. And that is why aliens in scifi movies always contact the US president! 🙂 Well, this is my view, as a US American-Spaniard who lives in Europe because I feel there is more freedom in many ways that matter to me.