Freer|Sackler and the Opioid Crisis

19 10 2017

Some food for thought the next time you find yourself “Encountering the Buddha” at the Freer|Sackler . . .

As reported today on Democracy Now! (and elsewhere previously:  “The Secretive Family Making Billions from the Opioid Crisis,”  “How the American opiate epidemic was started by one pharmaceutical company” ), the same Sackler family for which the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian art is named is making billions from the manufacture and sale of Oxycontin.

Democracy Now! interviews journalist Christopher Glazek, who writes in the Esquire:

The newly installed Sackler Courtyard at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the most glittering places in the developed world […] The Sackler Courtyard is the latest addition to an impressive portfolio. There’s the Sackler Wing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses the majestic Temple of Dendur, a sandstone shrine from ancient Egypt; additional Sackler wings at the Louvre and the Royal Academy; stand-alone Sackler museums at Harvard and Peking Universities; and named Sackler galleries at the Smithsonian, the Serpentine, and Oxford’s Ashmolean. The Guggenheim in New York has a Sackler Center, and the American Museum of Natural History has a Sackler Educational Lab.

Esquire pull quote:

The family’s leaders have pulled off three of the great marketing triumphs of the modern era: The first is selling OxyContin; the second is promoting the Sackler name; and the third is ensuring that, as far as the public is aware, the first and the second have nothing to do with one another.

As Glazek reports, the Oxy market in the U.S. is diminishing due to regulatory issues and bad press, and so, “borrowing from the Big Tobacco playbook,” the Sacklers are turning to overseas markets.

The Democracy Now! interview concludes:

AMY GOODMAN: In May, a dozen members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to the World Health Organization that warned the Sackler-owned drug companies were preparing to flood foreign countries with legal narcotics. The letter mentions the Sacklers by name, notes they own Purdue Pharma, and reads, quote, “Purdue began the opioid crisis that has devastated American communities. … Today, Mundipharma is using many of the same deceptive and reckless practices to sell OxyContin abroad.” Mundipharma, owned by the Sacklers. And the L.A. Times reporting the company circulated a press release in Colombia that suggested 47 percent of the population suffered from chronic pain. Your final comment on all of this, Christopher Glazek, and where it goes now?

CHRISTOPHER GLAZEK: Well, the big question is complicity, and it’s a really tricky question. You know, is Tufts University complicit in the opioid epidemic because they’ve taken huge amounts of money from the Sacklers? You know, is a third-generation Sackler heir, who maybe is a documentary filmmaker or restaurateur—do they have some burden or complicity to address here? And I think that’s a complicated question. But the solution to complexity is not secrecy. And what we’ve seen again and again is that people who have taken Sackler money, and the Sacklers themselves, have concealed their connection to OxyContin. And that cannot be the solution to the problem.

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#NoBanNoWallSF – Send in the Clowns

5 02 2017

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Mike Honda

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SF March: Castro, Mission, Civic Center

13 11 2016

Photos taken in San Francisco on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.  Collective grief, anger, passion, but without the trauma of violent aggression.  No smashy-smashy, no arrests, no confrontations.

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#FireKatehi Day 7: Protesters march to her House amidst growing Support

17 03 2016

fox40Fox 40: UC Davis Protesters March to Chancellor’s House

When Fox 40 tried to get Chancellor Katehi to come outside for an interview, she refused and sent her provost instead, who refused in turn to comment on Katehi’s controversial board seats or how she personally benefited from them.  From Fox 40:

Protester Bernadette Fox had a strong reaction to the provost commenting Wednesday night instead of the chancellor.

“I think it’s a smart move on their part given the chancellor’s history of mishandling things. It’s clear to them it would have been embarrassing,” said Fox, a fourth-year UC Davis student double-majoring in international relations and gender studies.

#FireKatehi now has its own very active Facebook page, Twitter @FireKatehi, and wordpress blog.

Their blog features a lengthy and growing list of statements of support, daily news coverage, and more.  Rumor has it #FireKatehi will be on Democracy Now! soon…

#FireKatehi wordpress blog (click here to visit)

#FireKatehi wordpress blog (click image to visit)





#FireKatehi Sit-in at UC Davis Chancellor’s office

14 03 2016
#FireKatehi Sit-In

#FireKatehi protestors explain their position in words and song (Sacramento Bee)

Students at the University California, Davis, began a sit-in last Friday at Chancellor Linda Katehi’s office in Mrak Hall.  Katehi has thus far refused to meet with students.

On 2/22/16, Katehi was appointed to the board of a for-profit college that is under federal investigation for false advertising, and received $70,000 for her services.  She was forced to resign the position on 3/1/16 under pressure from a state assemblyman and consumer advocacy groups.  Katehi also failed to follow University of California policy requiring chancellors to have their service on outside boards approved in advance by the 10-campus system’s president.

Katehi also received $420,000 in cash and stock over three years from her seat on the board of textbook publisher Wiley & Sons.  All this in addition to her annual UC chancellor’s salary of $424,000.

Only since she got caught has she offered to donate $200,000 of the $420,000 from Wiley towards the students.

Katehi has a track record of ethical controversies preceding her tenure at Davis (video) (3/8/16)  This is the same Katehi that presided over the pepper spray incident in 2011 that led faculty to call for her resignation.

Why would a highly-compensated chancellor of a public university join the board of a private for-profit college under federal investigation, especially given the connection between for-profit colleges and the student debt crisis? Why would she take a lucrative board seat with a textbook publisher, given the outrageously high textbook prices that burden students?

Students want and deserve answers.

Katehi has remained in hiding, and instead, last night her subordinate issued an officious threat of disciplinary action.  UC president and former head of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has already voiced her unwavering endorsement of Katehi, based in part on the neoliberal rationale of Katehi’s ability to fundraise.  The implication is that the importance of Katehi to corporate welfare far exceeds any concern over ethical failure, and that beyond a slap on the wrist, business will continue as morally bankrupt as usual.

So is the only problem then, from UCOP’s perspective, that Katehi is too good at fundraising for personal gain?

Follow the #FireKatehi story on Twitter @OccupyDavis2 , #FireKatehi and Facebook Occupy UC Davis.





happy holidays

26 12 2015

happy holidays





Standing Against Yellowface @ The MFA: “Kimono Wednesdays” Cancelled

9 07 2015

AAPI Activism shuts down “Kimono Wednesdays” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Protesters display signs on June 23 in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The museum eventually canceled the 'Kimono Wednesday' event, which invited visitors to try on a replica kimono in front of Claude Monet's 'La Japonaise.' | AP / JOHN BLANDING / BOSTON GLOBE

Protesters display signs on June 23 in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The museum eventually canceled the ‘Kimono Wednesday’ event, which invited visitors to try on a replica kimono in front of Claude Monet’s ‘La Japonaise.’ | AP / JOHN BLANDING / BOSTON GLOBE (via Japan Times)

Stand Against Yellowface @ the MFA:

Follow Amber Ying on Twitter

HEADLINES

HuffPost:  Museum’s ‘Kimono Wednesdays’ Cancelled After Claims Of Racism

LA Times:  Boston art museum cancels kimono event after claims of racism

Japan Times:  Cries of racism prompt Boston art museum to cancel ‘Kimono Wednesdays’

BACKGROUND

MFA Kimono

Image and comment thread from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Facebook page, post dated June 19, 2015. (via bigredandshiny.org)

BigRedAndShiny:  Demonstrators Protest Cultural Appropriation in MFA Galleries

Yellowface at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, February 19, 2015.

Yellowface at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, February 19, 2015.

Our Post on Yellowface at AAMSF (02/24/15):  Yellowface is Such a Drag

Of course, what would an AAPI protest be without a counterprotest on behalf of honorary white status:

Just a reminder that Orientalism is indeed integral to white supremacist structural racism (and no need to call it “neo” Orientalism, because after centuries of investment in this system of “knowledge,” it is liberal fantasy to believe it ever went away—case in point: the genealogy of East Asian studies at major US universities, aka “American Orientalism“).

Andrea Smith’s Three Pillars of White Supremacy (2010).

Andrea Smith’s Three Pillars of White Supremacy (2010).

Politics of Cultural Appropriation








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