The union's real state — By the time this issue of MT hits the streets, President George Bush will have blitzed the mainstream media with his State of the Union address. For a reality check, try Peace Action of Michigan's "Counter-State of the Union and World Address," presented by Fran Schor, Wayne State University prof, contributor to Counterstrike and other lefty journals, and author of the new book Bush-League Spectacles: Empire, Politics, and Culture in Bushwhacked America (Factory School). Creating a counterculture to challenge the Bush administration's vision of an American empire is paramount "not just for sanity and security in the United States, but also for the long-term survival of the planet," Schor writes in his book. Schor reads selections from Bush League Spectacles as part of the event at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center, 4 Ridge Rd., Pleasant Ridge (west of Woodward and just south of 10 Mile); call Peace Action of Michigan for information, 248-548-3920.

Look (way) south — What can we in Detroit learn from Venezuela? To get an answer to that question you'll need to venture on down to the Cass Community Center on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. When there, you'll first break bread as part of a community potluck. Then it's on to the real meat and potatoes — what's billed as a "community dialogue" featuring Chesa Boudin, an activist and scholar recently returned from Venezuela, full of "critical insights on the new forms of popular power emerging there." Also on the bill is veteran welfare rights activist Maureen Taylor, who will look at the lessons drawn from our South American compadres and see how those tactics can be applied to addressing the problem of poverty in Detroit. 313-333-3112.

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