Radical media, politics and culture.


Anonymous Kumquat submits:

"Creative Activism"

Ammiel Alcalay, Al Ahram

The Third International Black Panther Film Festival provided a rare opportunity for politics and imagination to intermingle.

Much of the global media's attention on the anti-war movement and dissent in the United States has focussed on a very small range of opinion and experience, usually discussing whether or not American citizens support or do not support the Bush administration's policies regarding Iraq, or how people feel about the erosion of what are generally called civil liberties. Much less attention gets paid to the core of long-time activists, former or current political prisoners, and younger grass-roots community activists for whom things like US Middle East policies and the introduction of the Patriot Act are simply extensions, expansions and continuities of long standing issues that continue to disenfranchise poor, working class, and largely black and Latino communities.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

"Bert Brecht, Minstrel of the GPU"

Ruth Fischer

Introduction By Bob Gould

The 75th anniversary of the first performance of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera occurred recently. Over the past few years there have been several major critical biographies of Brecht, and studies of his relationship with his female artistic collaborators. There is no question that Brecht was one of the two or three most influential playwrights of the 20th century, and his artistic influence has been generally progressive. Nevertheless, his work includes a hard Stalinist aspect, which, for instance in the 1970s, made a kind of romantic Stalinism acceptable to some intellectuals and students. The play Ruth Fischer discusses below is better known in English as The Measures Taken, and is still in print in the comprehensive Methuen library of Brecht plays. Fischer's book, Stalin and German Communism, is of great historical interest, particularly to people who may have followed the discussion of the notion of Zinovievism.

Science Fiction for the Multitudes

Interview with Christoph Spehr

By Geert Lovink

Much like Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones and P.M. Bolo'Bolo,
Christoph Spehr's The Aliens are Amongst Us! is a classic in politcal
underground literature. None of the work of this German writer has yet
translated into English. Spehr's writing is a mixture of utopian
science fiction and a radical social analysis of today's global
Aliens are Amongst Us is a story for the post-deconstruction age where the
question What is to be done? opens up new spaces for the collective
imagination and action.

What makes Spehr, a historian and political scientist, unique is his free,
non-academic style of writing. As a theorist, Spehr brings together
contemporary social science, practicalities of everyday life with
for autonomous movements. Spehr has the ability to load up concepts with
meaning. In The Aliens are Amongst Us! Spehr makes a distinction between
three social categories: aliens, maquis and civilians. Much like in a
science fiction novel, all three have their own civilizations. It would be
too easy to describe 'aliens' as evil capitalists. Aliens, in Spehr's
are first and foremost friendly parasites, post-1945 creatures that are
interested in any type of surplus value they can extract from humans.
don't do this in an old manner by attacking or surpressing people but by
'assisting' them. Power is no longer personal but abstract and can no
be reduced to characteristics of individuals. Alien power is free, open
most of all: on the search for creative, new ideas. Typical aliens would
intermediates such as cultural enterpreneurs, social democratic welfare
state officials, NGOs or (ruling) green party members that all live of
movements, events, ideas and expressions of others. What these aliens have
in common is their good intentions. Alien hegemony is politically correct,
multi-cultural, feminist, ecological and almost impossible to defeat on a
discoursive level. In Spehr's 'science friction' the antagonists of the
aliens are the 'maquis', French for bush, a term used by the French
resistance to describe zones not occupied by the Nazis). I would suggest
that maquis can be read as a synonym for 'multitudes'. It is the maquis
experiment with post-economic models of 'free cooperation'-a topic that
Spehr further explored after finishing his political novel and brought him
in contact with the free software movement in Germany that discusses ways
establish a 'GPL-society.'

nolympics writes "Paralax View is a forum for critical work from film/video, radio, activism and scholarship. It happens in Austin, texas from the 19th to 21st september and is free to the public.

this years line up

Friday night

Can the media tell the truth about anything, ever?

Journalist Alexander Cockburn presents a lecture on the state of the US and the media, followed by "The Universal Clock' about the making of La Commune and the work of Peter Watkins, one of the foremost radicals in the documentary world.


The return of the social

Illustrators and art provocateurs Eric Drooker and Robbie Conal present slide shows of their work and engage with their public.

"Production Notes", the making of the ad. (and its unmaking)

Richard Porton (author of Anarchism and the Film Imagination and film critic for Cineaste) presents "The Liberal War" from 1972, a fantastic study with dolls and animation of the manner in which the media was instrumentalised during the Vietnam War (by Nick Mcdonald), and "Winstanley", a film about the digger uprising in the 1640's. Christopher Hill worked as a historical consultant on the making of this masterpiece and helped generate the script from the writings of Winstanley in the British library, the same writings used by Marx in developing his early ideas about communism. Both of these are an absolute must see and I urge attendance no matter what the cost.


From Globalisation to War

Video from Cancun where the WTO meet the previous weekend. Survivors will be on hand to recount their adventures.

"The fourth world war", US premiere of the new Big Noise opus which travels the world to find the world in which all worlds are possible.

David Martine (survivor of the Oakland docks shootings and the massacres of Aceh) screens video from SF of the shut downs there during the outbreak of the Iraq War.

Check cinematexas.org for times and venues and updates. Tell your friends in Texas."

hydrarchist submits

Tintin at the Barricades

The classic story of Tintin as a working class revolutionary in London's 1980s is now available online in both french and english. Therein is recounted the epic tale of a fight against gentrification that escalates in coordination with strikes and neighbourhood committees and flourishes in fullblow insurrection.

Herge, Tintin's creator, had political connections of a somewhat different complexion. In 1930 he drew the cover of a political pamphlet by Leon Degrelle, who formed the Belgian fascist party "Rex" a couple of years later.


"I Was a Teen-Age Reactionary"

Doug Henwood
Bad Subjects, (February 1998)

I have an embarrassing confession to make: in 1972, I cast my first ever presidential votes -- primary and general -- against Richard Nixon, because he wasn't conservative enough. The final straw was wage and price controls, a statist defilement of the market's purity.

I wasn't always a right-winger. My eighth-grade world history teacher, who was in all other respects a classic coach-style teacher, devoted a full period one day to a sympathetic lecture on Marx. When I got home, I announced to my parents that I was now a Marxist, and, supplemented by a bit of reading, thought of myself as one for the next four years.

But sometime in my senior year in high school -- in 1970, when the world was largely in rebellion -- I had a collision with one of William Buckley's collections and Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom. Subscriptions to National Review and the American Spectator soon followed. By graduation I was a raving libertarian.

Full story is at Henwood

Guinness Stout: From English to Corporate Colonialism

by Sean Dunne

EXTRACT: The effects of the Diageo ownership became clear in July, 2000, when Guinness announced plans to close the brewing and packaging plants in Dundalk, located just north of Dublin. The move came as a shock to workers and the community of Dundalk. This was the first Guinness plant closing ever to occur in Ireland. The closing eliminated over 300 jobs in a small community, as management justified the move as part of plan to remain globally competitive.


On March 17, 1737, Boston became the first city in the world to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Since that first celebration, the holiday has grown in popularity throughout the world. There are many activities and customs associated with the day, each designed to celebrate Irish culture. Parades are organized in cities all over the world, ever since New York City held what was considered the first St. Patrick’s Day parade, when Irish regiments in the British Army paraded through the streets in 1762. Irish food, such as corned beef and cabbage, is bravely eaten by people in all parts of the world. Irish dances, sports, literature, and music are also very important aspects of St. Patrick’s Day.

dr.woooo writes:

Forwarded message from "J.M. Adams"

Call For Papers: The Postanarchism Reader

"The Postanarchism Reader: Writings at the
Intersection of Anarchism and Poststructuralism"

Edited by Jason Adams

Deadline for Paper Proposals: November 2003

This callout is for a book proposal that I am putting
together for a publisher in NYC on the intersections
between poststructuralism and anarchism; the proposal
is for it to be a sort of anthology of writings by
various radical theorists who have looked at this
issue either directly in terms of articulating or
critiquing the idea of a "poststructuralist anarchism"
(Todd May, Saul Newman, Lewis Call, etc.) or by using
both poststructuralist and anarchist theorists
together in the same essay in a way that might be
thought of as a "postructuralist anarchist critique"
of some aspect of politics, history, society or

"The Examined Life: Enjoy Your Chinos!"

Joshua Glenn, 7/6/2003, Boston Globe

A few weeks ago, the trendy youth retailer Abercrombie & Fitch was slapped with a lawsuit alleging that the company discriminates against minority ''brand representatives'' (i.e., salespersons) who don't embody the brand's ''classic American'' look. Some may be surprised, then, to learn that the racy photos in the forthcoming ''Back to School 2003'' issue of the Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly are garnished with running analysis from a man who hardly embodies ''classic American'' ideas: the left-wing Slovenian philosopher, cultural critic, and theoretical omnivore Slavoj Zizek.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

"Only in America"

Eric Hobsbawm

Looking back on 40 years of visiting and living in the United States, I think I learned as much about the country in the first summer I spent there as in the course of the next decades. With one exception: To know New York, or even Manhattan, one has to live there. For how long? I did so for four months every year between 1984 and 1997, but even though my wife, Marlene, joined me for the whole semester only three times, it was quite enough for both of us to feel like natives rather than visitors.


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