Borderline Projects

Borderline Projects Interested in the blurring lines that "separate" art from science, one culture from another, the intimate from the collective, life from death...

Operating as usual

The full interview - “We will never be free under a system with imperial tentacles. We will never be free with Pentagon ...
06/18/2020
Cornel West on US protests: The chickens have come home to roost

The full interview - “We will never be free under a system with imperial tentacles. We will never be free with Pentagon elite running amok with militaristic policies and killing people in Latin American, and the Caribbean and so forth.”

Activist and scholar talks to Middle East Eye about the Black Lives Matter movement and the roots of neoliberalism that need to be dismantled

05/30/2020
Culturas Populares Secretaría de Cultura

Singing La Lloronx in Zapotec during Let’s Get All Out of the Closet Concert #CDMX 2019

#ContigoEnLaDistancia

El año pasado, Natalia Cruz y la Istmeña interpretaron canciones tradicionales en zapoteco en el lanzamiento de la campaña "¡Salgamos Todxs del Clóset! ¿#QuéLenguaHablasTú?", en contra de la discriminación lingüística.

El concierto se realizó en el Monumento a la Revolución junto con otros artistas hablantes de #LenguasIndígenas. 🎶

05/02/2020
Oaxaqueños en el Mundo

Say nothing about this...

FALLECÉ HACE UNOS MINUTOS EL CANTANTE DE TROVA Y MÚSICA TRADICIONAL MEXICANA #ÓSCAR_CHÁVEZ. 🇲🇽

EL TROVADOR HABÍA DADO POSITIVO A #COVID19, SU CUERPO DE 85 AÑOS, NO AGUANTÓ LA DUREZA DEL #CORONAVIRUS...

DESCANSE EN PAZ EL MAESTRO #ÓscarChávez 🇲🇽

Borderline Projects
04/25/2020

Borderline Projects

Grave food offerings for the Quinming festival Lin Ling village, Daxin, 2018. Photo credit:Xu Xiaoming, PhD, Professor, Director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center in Guangxi.

Borderline Projects
04/12/2020

Borderline Projects

Tomb Sweeping Day in Times of Change

Saturday April 4th marks the day of the Sweeping of the Tombs Festival (Qīngmíng jié) in the Chinese 2020 year calendar. All across the country, people visit cemeteries on this day to clean the tombs of their dearly departed and honor their memory. Flowers, food, tea, and wine offerings, kowtow kneeling as well as joss paper burning ceremonies are all part of this celebration

This year Qīngmíng has been cancelled for the first time in many years due to the covid-19 outbreak, as cemeteries are off-limit places. Instead, the celebration has been dedicated to those who have died in the corona virus outbreak. And so, as the government flies the national flag at half-mast throughout the country and suspends all forms of entertainment, the population observes three minutes of silence, while air raid sirens and horns of automobiles, trains, and ships wail in grief.

Tomb Sweeping Day in Times of ChangeSaturday April 4th marks the day of the Sweeping of the Tombs Festival (Qīngmíng jié...
04/04/2020

Tomb Sweeping Day in Times of Change

Saturday April 4th marks the day of the Sweeping of the Tombs Festival (Qīngmíng jié) in the Chinese 2020 year calendar. All across the country, people visit cemeteries on this day to clean the tombs of their dearly departed and honor their memory. Flowers, food, tea, and wine offerings, kowtow kneeling as well as joss paper burning ceremonies are all part of this celebration

This year Qīngmíng has been cancelled for the first time in many years due to the covid-19 outbreak, as cemeteries are off-limit places. Instead, the celebration has been dedicated to those who have died in the corona virus outbreak. And so, as the government flies the national flag at half-mast throughout the country and suspends all forms of entertainment, the population observes three minutes of silence, while air raid sirens and horns of automobiles, trains, and ships wail in grief.

Part 4: Racism | Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for MulticulturalismThe soviet quest for an egalitarian society fre...
03/28/2020

Part 4: Racism | Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism

The soviet quest for an egalitarian society free of racism was perhaps the most publicized piece of USSR propaganda, clearly because it sharply contrasted with the state of affairs within the United States regarding race and racism during the entire Cold War period, and up until the 21st Century. The seriousness of the problem of racism in the so-called Western World in general, and in the US in particular, is far from an exaggeration of soviet propaganda. In that sense, Cold War, soviet anti-racist rhetoric was a remarkably progressive thing at the time, because it was raising awareness about the routine violations of human rights inside supposedly free, democratic countries, and also because it challenged dominant notions that had emanated from so-called scientific racial theories, notions that were being used to uphold white supremacy around the world. Moreover, and notwithstanding the instances in which reality deviated from the ideal, the aspiration for a modern soviet society free of racism was not mere discourse: rather, it was ingrained in the ideology and debates at the heart of the Party, and it was the State’s official policy, reinforced and disseminated throughout the USSR in the early years, before the Stalin era.

The USSR’s antiracist quest was also particularly real for black American activists and intellectuals who not only found inspiration in communist ideas directly, but also found a refuge in the USSR, and an ally in the Communist International in the middle of the 20th century. In fact, some of these black activists and intellectuals played an important role in shaping the soviet antiracist program themselves, criticizing it and keeping it in check. Already in 1922, the Fourth Commitern had declared its support of all black liberation movements fighting imperialism around the world, while appointing an African American, Otto Huiswood, as the head of its “Negro Bureau” as it was called. It was in part through this relationship with soviet antiracism that the notion of an African American nation was pushed forward when the 1928 Sixth Commitern Congress declared African Americans as an oppressed nation, with the right of self-determination, and at the vanguard in the worldwide fight against racial imperialism.

One of the key figures behind this declaration was another African American communist: Harry Haywood, who together with people like Otto Hall, James Ford, Ray Mahoney, and many others, would push forward the debate about the American Black Nation in the years to come, laying the foundations for the greater agenda to defend the rights of African Americans inside the US. This agenda was pushed forward and expanded to other minorities in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, heralded by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, among others. The Black Lives Matter movement and its allies pledge to keep pushing this same agenda forward in the 21st century.


Today
The soviet take on diversity and antiracism really clashes with mainstream views on the same topics within the United States. Whether it’s back in the 1920s and 1930’s, with K*K and N**i rallies being held and accepted as normal on US soil, or today, when the K*K is still a thing and the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim vitriol of the 2016 Presidential campaign were able to sit a US president, it is clear that the United States has really gotten immensely behind in the race to end racism worldwide.

The Trump regime, police brutality and selectively targeted policies such as stop-and-frisk, as well as voter suppression laws that target the non-white population, all of these are proof of deeply ingrained, institutionalized racism in the United States. The school to prison pipeline and a failed correctional system used to incarcerate black and brown minorities, just add up to the stark statistics on sexual and religious discrimination, the epidemic of domestic terrorism, the effective use of plain racist rhetoric as a way to obtain political power, etc. The Cold War is effectively over. The moon landings did not age well, and white supremacy refuses to be taken out of life support. It’s time to rediscover the roots of today’s complexity, and find some inspiration beyond propaganda. From the sandbox to the seesaw. From the seesaw to the swing.

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism | Part 3 The Liberation or Women. The question of the liberatio...
03/15/2020

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism | Part 3 The Liberation or Women.

The question of the liberation of women was complex for soviet Muslims, as is notably exemplified in the multifaceted and sometimes contradictory attitudes towards the unveiling of women displayed by different actors in Islamic soviet society, including women. For example, the idea of the removal of the paranja veil as a symbol of the liberation of the soviet woman from “the oppression of a patriarchal feudal system” not only clashed with local sentiments in different towns and regions, but even with other soviet ideals and policies at large. One was the preservation of regional identities under the Korenizacija, which had had a good amount of success (even when this policy was meant to be transitional in nature) in the first years of soviet rule. Korenizacija popularized the use of the paranja as a symbol of national identity in the Soviet Republics of Islamic heritage.

In other cases, the unveiling clashed with the ultimate goal of empowering women, as the paranja was, for many women, a mean and a sign of security and social prestige within their communities. This was clearly evidenced during the unsuccessful and very unpopular unveiling campaign known as the Hujum, which was aggressively enforced under Stalin in 1930. During this effort, the female branch of the party organized public unveiling ceremonies in which women would “liberate” themselves by taking off their paranjas. The Hujum was a symbolic performative act, and usually also a mere performance as most participants simply picked up the veil again afterward, in order to go back to their everyday lives and their families. Still, this trend didn’t prevent some local groups who took offense on the unveiling from attacking and even murdering women who had participated in Hujum ceremonies. The issue of the unveiling even became an unexpected problem for a sector of the population who had traditionally never used the paranja: prostitutes that had recently adopted it as a way to protect themselves from harassment. In sum, the unveiling as a token in the dispute about women’s liberation was already a very complex and nuanced issue in the USSR, as it is in many countries still today.

Read the entire post here: https://www.facebook.com/233073393395941/posts/2741016909268231?sfns=mo

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for MulticulturalismPart 2: Islam The relationship between the Soviet State and Isla...
03/05/2020

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism

Part 2: Islam

The relationship between the Soviet State and Islam was even more remarkable. Islam was the second-largest religion in the USSR. The vast territories of Central Asia (formerly the Khanate of Khiva and Kokand, and the Emirate of Bukhara), first appropriated by the Empire of the Czars and later by the Soviet regime, represented a big challenge for the Soviet State. In order to guarantee its control over these vast territories, the Soviet regime did resort to repression on many different instances. Acknowledging this, however, should not preclude an analysis of the unlikely processes through which the soviet socialist project tried to negotiate with, and make sense of Islam in the political, ideological and academic spheres.

Islam was a difficult subject matter for Soviet scholars. Some of them believed Islam was inherently communist in nature, while others found it so alien that they came to propose an alternative economic model, the Asian Mode of Production, to explain the historical phases of Islam in socialist terms (something that Stalin authoritatively ruled out). Ideas were coming from Islamic thinkers as well, since many Muslims had embraced socialism and ended up aligning themselves with the Revolution and the Party after 1917.

The soviet quest for a multicultural society with a shared political identity turned out to be not-so-new for people in the Central Asian territories, where unifying attempts such as the Pan-Turkish movement of the 1800s had already been tried. These are territories with a great historical and cultural heritage, with cities such as Bukhara and Khiva, which embody the Islamic Golden Age and once were home to prominent figures such as Avicenna, Al-Khwarizmi, and Al- Bukhari. There are also cities and territories that had suffered genocide and religious repression under the Tsarist Empire.

The Korenizacija was an early soviet policy of nativisation that sought the integration of non-Russian identities within the USSR. It took the form of a de-russification of soviet everyday life: it not only promoted minorities to occupy administrative positions of government at the local level (probably more of a pragmatic measure), but it also made the use and learning of local cultures and languages ​​mandatory, even for the ethnically Russian population living in those territories. The goal was to defeat that "Great Russian chauvinism" with which the Tsarist regime had tyrannized the non-Russian, non-Christian population, especially the Islamic communities. Therefore, the initial implementation of the Korenizacija under Leninism and Trotsky included a series of policies worth mentioning, even when many ended up being reversed in the mid-1930s with the great Stalinist purges.

In the Islamic territories, one of the most surprising policies was the implementation of a dual court system that combined Sharia law with the soviet Constitution. This allowed for a compromise between the two systems on questions such as polygamy, while outlawing severe Sharia sentences such as stoning or the cutting-off of hands. With this system in place, most cases could find a solution in the local sharia courts, but the parts had the legal right to move their cases to a court ruled by the soviet constitution if they desired. This could happen, for example, if an official in the sharia court was reluctant to grant divorce to a woman, or accept her testimony as equally valid as that of a man. In such cases, we can imagine that it may not have been easy for all individuals to navigate the system successfully, but its mere existence is a remarkable attempt. Moreover, there is evidence that there were actual cases that moved between courts, and legal principles permeated both ways between the two systems, with some sharia courts granting divorces requested by women, and judges in the constitutional court giving sentences to officials for drinking alcohol, or entering a place accompanied by an unveiled woman.

There were Muslim groups that fully embraced Bolshevism. One example were the Jadids, a reformist group of middle-class intellectuals who were asking for a liberal reformation of Muslim society since the time of the Tsarist regime. Their “westernized” demands included a secular education system and equality for women, which they saw fulfilled with the triumph of the 1917 Revolution. Soviet Muslims were the first ones in the world to legally free women from many traditional restrictions within Islamic societies when in the First All-Russian Congress of Muslims was celebrated in Moscow in 1917, and the delegates (200 of which were women) voted, among other things, for equal political rights for women, and an end to polygamy and purdah.


Read the entire post here: https://www.facebook.com/233073393395941/posts/2741016909268231?sfns=mo

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism | Part 1 Christianity Cold War propaganda ended up boiling down...
03/01/2020

Beyond propaganda. The Soviet Quest for Multiculturalism | Part 1 Christianity

Cold War propaganda ended up boiling down a complex series of world conflicts into a matrix of two opposite and mutually exclusive sides -freedom versus oppression, justice versus injustice, etc. Under this simplistic vision, both sides claimed to be the Right side, the adversary being, therefore, wrong, depicted as evil, oppressive, vicious and, ultimately, an existential threat to oneself, one’s goodness, and freedom.

However, the debate of ideas during this era was more than just a blatantly simplistic exchange between the United States and the USSR. Cold War propaganda confronted two visions of the world that were, ultimately, rooted in very specific cultures and histories that preceded this particular conflict, and transcend it. Thinking beyond the Hegelian seesaw, it is possible to see how Western and Soviet propagandistic efforts during the Cold War were equivalent only in surface; their context, and the roots of the ideas behind these efforts, have ramifications that are shaping our world even to this day.

A notable aspect of Soviet ideology during the Cold War was the aspiration for a multiracial and multicultural society, which the USSR kept as one of its hallmarks since the triumph of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. It was an ideal upheld amid complex tensions and contradictions within the USSR itself, and not lacking a dose of manipulative hypocrisy on the side of the State. The Soviet regime notoriously betrayed this ideal in a number occasions (especially under Stalin), all the while using it as an ideological weapon to highlight the superiority of the Soviet model vs the legalized racism of the United States, expressed in its Jim Craw laws, which were in place until the 1960s, and its segregation policies, sanctioned or not sanctioned.

The aspiration for a multicultural Soviet society was, in fact, rooted in the fundamental principles of Marxism, especially conceptual ramifications such as Leninism or Trotskyism. It was also rooted in the complex sociocultural context and inherent multicultural heritage of the territories that conformed the USSR. This particular combination of ideology and history led to specific actions and policies then without precedent in the world.

Christianity

From its beginning, the Bolshevik Revolution’s program was an atheist one, but not necessarily anti-religious. Lenin, for example, insisted on numerous occasions that religion was a phenomenon that belonged in the personal sphere. He was emphatic in saying that it would be political su***de for the party to demand that workers renounce their religion in order to be accepted as members. He also labeled those who insisted on this measure as "infant school materialists."

Lenin saw religious sentiment as the ultimate expression of the suffering caused by social oppression on the individual, because it was a metaphysical aspiration to escape from it, and therefore a fertile soil for revolutionary ideas. Let’s not forget that Marx’s denunciation of religion as the ‘opium of the people’ was directly connected to its use as a tool of capitalist imperialism, particularly British imperialism, to deceive, exploit ad oppress the masses. It followed, for Lenin, that the abandonment of religious ideas would occur in an individual as the natural result of his liberation from capitalist oppression through contact with socialist ideas.

When the Bolshevik party came to power in October 1917 the formerly influential Orthodox Christian Church lost all of its properties. It also lost its role in education, and its power to oversee matters such as births, deaths, marriages, etc. However, orthodox Christians did not lose their right to congregate, and the Church continued to exist as a religious group among others. In fact, the triumph of the revolution brought about a sort of boom for Christianity, as other Christian groups previously blocked by the Orthodox Church took advantage of the Soviet Constitution’s declaration of the freedom of all religious groups to engage in propagandistic proselytism. An interesting case occurred in 1918, when Trotsky allowed, for a few months, to exchange military service for medical volunteering to those who could prove that their religious convictions prevented them from participating in a war. This turned out to be very convenient to the Baptists, who used a pacifist rhetoric to attract people who wanted to avoid being sent to the front.

You can read the entire article here: https://www.facebook.com/233073393395941/posts/2741016909268231?sfns=mo

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Sugar Skull makeup and nail art... in preparation for the Borderline Projects Death in Mexico trip!
La Carmina's first post featuring Borderline Projects - Death in Mexico is up featuring you, hope you enjoy :) Please feel free to post / share !