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Treme Rewrites Post-Katrina History. And That’s a Good Thing.

Source: Common Dreams

After three and a half seasons, HBO’s Treme concluded in December, and last week the entire series became available as a box set. The show started with low ratings that got lower as time went on, never won many awards, and divided critics. But as time passes and more audiences discover the show, it may rise to the position it deserves, as a groundbreaking and important work of art and as a powerful political statement on what happened in New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. read more

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At World Social Forum: Unity and Dissent Within Global Movements

Source: Truthout

An estimated 50,000 people from 5,000 organizations in 127 countries spanning five continents participated in the World Social Forum in Tunisia over the past week. By choosing to come together in Tunis, this year’s forum evoked the spirit of the 2011 revolt that inspired uprisings around the world. But the annual convergence also raised questions about the trajectory of these movements, as well as the continued relevance of the World Social Forum process.

The WSF, which started in Brazil and has featured appearances by Hugo Chavez and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the past years, has been credited with helping to build and consolidate a broad left in South America and establish connections and shared strategy between movements around the world. However, the WSF has always been divided. There are frequent protests against the forum from within – notably in 2007 in Nairobi, when protestors took over a food stand that they said symbolized a corporate sellout by the forum and a lack of accessibility to locals without means – as well as struggles by leadership over its direction. read more

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From NYPD Spying to Trayvon Martin: Current Policing Makes Us Less Safe

When I heard that my name was featured in a NewYork City Police Department report, I should have been outraged.  I had followed revelations of NYPD spying, but it hadn’t occurred to me that they would come to New Orleans to watch me speakat a film festival.

However, I also knew that the NYPD, in their crusade under the guise of safety, had gone whitewater rafting with college students and aggressively monitored and infiltrated mosques and Muslim businesses. They operate in at least 9 foreign countries, so why shouldn’t they come to New Orleans, listen to me say a few words at a public event, and write a classified report about it? Perhaps the only strange thing about the case is that I don’t fit their regular profile. As a white US citizen, I feel my case is a bit of an anomaly for a department that has developed a reputation for targeting immigrants and communities of color. My privilege has given me a certain amount of security and expectation of privacy that many others simply don’t experience. read more

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Five myths about Mardi Gras

Source: Washington Post

The calendar may say that Mardi Gras arrives Tuesday, but in New Orleans, celebrations related to the holiday have been consuming the city for weeks. In the rest of the country, mentioning Mardi Gras often brings a shrug or a smirk: Isn’t that just a spring break beerfest for college kids? Let’s undress Mardi Gras and explain why it’s a much richer holiday than commonly mischaracterized. Yes, New Orleans Carnival is a time of excess. But it is an excess of generosity, creativity and culture — as well as pleasure. read more