Friday, April 3, 2009

April showers shorts

It's a rainy April day here in New York, despite which lots of people, including me, will be rallying on Wall Street and marching on AIG this afternoon to protest the continuing use of our tax dollars to bail out banks while millions of people lose their homes and their jobs--an astonishing 2 million layoffs already in the first three months of 2009.

Next up: May Day.

Speaking of layoffs, outrage at the carnage unleashed by management at the University of New Mexico Press continues to grow. Earlier this week the UNMP announced that three employees were being laid off, with nine more likely to be let go soon, and all of their jobs to be outsourced, which always means somebody else will be exploited more for doing the same work. The UNMP workers, especially angry that all those laid off are women and include the press's only Latina employee, aren't going gracefully, however. They issued a press release excoriating management and vowing to fight the firings.

Meanwhile there's good news from Iowa, a few states up and over. The state supreme court has overturned Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage. Teresa, my lover of 20 years, and I are toying with taking a day trip some time soon to Connecticut, the closest spot available, to get married. Not because we are in any way drawn to that institution born of the patriarchy, but because if we get married we can then sue my employer to demand equal benefits, untaxed as are those that employees' husbands and wives get. By the way--here comes a little plug for my own writing-- a story of mine on this topic was published in Crate literary journal's 2007 issue. Set 800 years in the future, it takes the form of a high school student's term paper about how the right to same-sex marriage was finally established, in the long-ago bad old days before the revolution. Things are barreling along so quickly now that the, er, extreme tactics imagined in this story most likely won't be needed, but I'm still fond of the idea I had for how to win this struggle, which is the focus of the story.

Head back down and left for another bit of good news: a jury has found in favor of Professor Ward Churchill in his lawsuit against the University of Colorado. The jury agreed with Churchill that he was fired for his politics, strongly left of course, not for any supposed academic failing.

Finally, the various big-money book awards are rarely of much interest to me, although I should probably blog at some point about how they're funded and various other aspects of what role they play in the class struggle, literary division. In any case one of them, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, has just announced its 2009 short list, and it does interest me to note that of the eight nominees I've read five, all of which could be classified to varying degrees as political fiction. On the progressive side of the continuum, that is. Checking out the brief descriptions I see that at least two of the other three are also political, on the anti-communist side which no doubt makes them strong contenders. We'll see.