3/11:The Fallout

3/11:The Fallout
Just what the heck is going on?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Sound of the Crowd

PIC: Carlos Arredondo.

Last week was a highly disturbing week. While the Brits were getting their knives out for Thatcher's funeral and singing along to 'The Witch is Dead", America was in shock from the Boston Marathon horror and a highly suspicious explosion in Texas.

Rebecca Solnit, in "A Paradise Built in Hell", and Patrick Fox, in "3/11: The Fallout", both wrote about the effect of a sudden, catastrophic shock on human communities. That shock could be the result of terrorism - such as the destruction of the World Trade Centre, or the poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway system; or it could be through natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina or the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. In each case, evidence was found that the majority - the majority - of citizens responded by helping each other,  in some cases, placing themselves in danger to help others.

With this in mind, I have been extremely interested in the reports of those brave individuals who rushed to help others in the first few moments after the Boston Marathon explosions. If you have any thoughts on what this says about human nature in the face of an unstable, traumatic future, please leave your comments below.


The week has also shown that the destroyed Fukushima No. 1 plant is still in a highly fragile state, TEPCO are still struggling to understand how to cope with it, and that radioactive contamination of food and water supplies is a very real danger.


This was also the week when the Japan Times ran an article on another book with 3/11 in the title. This was "3/11: Disaster in Change in Japan", by the director of the Center for International Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and expert on Japanese politics, Richard Samuels. It makes for highly sobering reading.


"While there have been important changes in some areas, this was not a rebirth of Japan ... Normal politics are very powerful. Ideological divisions are very hard to overcome."

- Richard Samuels.

If you want to do something to help, then go here. 


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More

So we've had the "Witch is Dead"party in Trafalgar Square, now we're building up to the funeral on Wednesday - a funeral that will bring back memories of Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, J G Ballard, William Burroughs. The media are issuing reports that 'anarchists' will try to disrupt the funeral.

Anarchists? Really? 

My name is Winston Saint, and if you truly want to know what anarchism is, you need to talk to me. Use the comment box below or send me a mail on excaliburbooks@gmail.com.

Members of Excalibur will be attending the funeral. Watch this space. 

You also need to read these books -

"A Paradise Built in Hell", by Rebecca Solnit

"Ontological Anarchy" by Hakim Bey

"3/11: The Fallout" by Patrick Fox

In Japan-related news, the nation has been rattled by another major quake, this time in Kobe;

We have also had our own version of trade unionists on the streets, as the old vested interests keep trying to resist change of any kind. The main Japanese religion is not Shinto, or Buddhism; it is the worship of the Status Quo.

And finally, here's a nice note to end on; TEPCO admitted they have no idea how to stop the leakage of radioactive water out of the holding tanks and into the ground and water table beneath the destroyed Fukushima plant. I love nuclear power!

"Wild Boys, running amok through Ballardian landscapes of burning buildings and overturned cars. Riot cops, with flames reflected in the plastic visors covering their faces, standing guard in front of the steel and glass of the half-finished Olympic Park ..."

- Patrick Fox, "3/11: The Fallout". 

"And so, it really upends not only the sense of what happens in disaster, in these extreme moments, but I think it upends our sense of human nature, who most of us are and who we want to be. There’s enormous possibility in disaster to see how much people want to be members of a stronger society, to be better connected, to have meaningful work, how much everyday life prevents that. "

- Rebecca Solnit, "A Paradise Built in Hell" (quoted on the "Democracy Now" website 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Who Wants the World?

Dear Readers,

Let me be quite clear about the situation.

Here at Excalibur Books, we need your thoughts, your ideas and your comments. "3/11: The Fallout" belongs to no specific religion or political affiliation. All it aims to do is to make people think, and to ask questions.

Questions such as -

WHY have the families in Tohoku made homeless in the 3/11 disaster been left to fend for themselves?

WHO is intent on restarting Japan's nuclear program, despite the numerous safety problems and earthquake threats?

WHAT would you do if your home were destroyed by a natural disaster such as a flood, a hurricane, an earthquake, or a tsunami?

You see, "3/11: The Fallout" is not really about Japan. It's about what could happen in your own backyard. Furthermore, this blog does not pretend to be the definitive word on the subject. You will notice that because of time constraints and health problems, we cannot write long blog posts anymore. All we can do is put links together in one place where they can be useful.

So, we can't tell you to buy the book, but we can ask you to at least think about it. We need Facebook likes, we need Twitter followers, we need blog comments.

We need you to think about what you would do, and what you would be capable of, if everything was suddenly taken away.

If you want to do something to help the homeless families of Tohoku in their fight for justice, then go here. 

If you want to follow us on Twitter, go here. 

Now, on with today's links.

The movement to set up a network of Temporary Autonomous Zones (what are they?) in Tohoku gathers pace, with architect Shigeru Ban explaining how architecture can change the society that depends on it.

Shigeru Ban, The People's Architect

The destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant continues to be an environmental time bomb.

Massive leakage of radioactive water discovered

And finally, in "3/11: The Fallout" Patrick Fox discusses the draconian rules that the Japanese government uses to stifle forms of creative expression, seeking to blend everything into some harmless, mindless, kawaii, saccharine mush. Another journalist picks up on it here.

The War on Dance

Keep the Faith!

Yours Sincerely, 

Winston Saint. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ghost Town

Last week gave us the chilling but fascinating news that Google has given us a chance to see into the heart of one of Fukushima's irradiated ghost towns and the Ballardian landscape now bereft of human presence.


Sat 30th March - Easter Sunday - saw the Excalibur posse at the gates of the Imperial palace, where there was a regional goods fair (bussanten). Some of the stalls were promoting Tohoku businesses, such as Kaishuichi sake from Fukushima

and kamaboko (fishcakes) from Miyagi.

In "3/11: The Fallout", Patrick Fox writes on what constitutes Revolutionary Art, and how it is relevant to the growing Occupy Movement and the growing civil protests around the world. Vivienne Westwood, one of the world's greatest Revolutionary Artists, has been stepping up her campaign on climate change and the coming energy crisis.


In Devolution news, this intriguing article tells us of the growing Atheist Church in Britain. this confirms the UK's growing trend away from Christianity, and back to its Pagan roots. This also explains why we Brits find it so difficult to understand the American obsession with evangelical Christianity and all its offensive, oppressive, paternalistic rubbish. If you are a Christian and you are reading this, by all means defend yourself by using the comment box below.


Japan also thinks it can reach Paradise by walking backwards. There is an old saying that "Any country gets the government it deserves", and Japan seems to have resigned itself to the fact that the old guard will not relinquish power, it is opposed to change, and its answer to 3/11 is 'Status Quo is God'. These two articles prove, however, that the cracks in the pork-barrel construction politics are already starting to show.



Furthermore, the Japan Times has bid a sad farewell to the hard-hitting journalist Roger Pulvers, who has done so much to shed light on this post-3/11 world.


Want to know more? Want to do something to help? Go here. 

Yours Sincerely,

Winston Saint.