media and culture

Hong Kong: Where anarchists and blackbirds sing about freedom

Brief report on anarchist elements in the Hong Kong activist scene ca. 2009, focusing on Lenny Guo of the band Blackbird, veteran of the 70s Front.

Also deals with HK independent media, the Social Movement Resource Centre, and the 2005 WTO protests. By Norman Nawrocki of Rhythm Activism. Published in Fifth Estate #381 (2009). Posted here with permission. Photos in PDF

Marut, Ret: The Early B. Traven - James Goldwasser

A 1990s article surveying the then recently-acquired Ret Marut archive, now residing with the University of California. The documents confirm certain known facts of Marut's life and times, prior to his (now generally accepted) transformation into the reclusive anarchist novelist B. Traven. The collection also provides some further fuel for speculation on the life and identity of the enigma that remains B. Traven.

Marut and his partner Irene Mermet published the anti-war anarchist magazine "Der Zeigelbrenner" (The Brickmaker or Brickburner) throughout the 1st World war - and continued post-war, after Marut became a fugitive wanted for his participation in the Bavarian Council Republic.

I blame the parents!

youths

Popular media coverage often lays the blame for youth problems at the feet of parents. New report shows that contrary to received opinion, parents actually take greater interest in what their kids are up to now and monitor their activities more.

You know what it's like, you turn on a radio phone-in show or watch some soapbox commentator on TV talk about the rise of 'anti-social crime' or 'youths misbehaving' and you don't have to listen longer than two minutes before someone embarks on a hysterical rant with 'you gotta ask, where are the parents?' and starts whinging about the 'DeCl1Ne oF f@mILee VaLeWs!1!!!1!'.

Surrealism in the Arab World

Artilce printed in the journal Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion no.3, 1976. Includes The Manifesto of the Arab Surrealist Movement, 1975.

The current resurgence of surrealism in the Arab world is a revolutionary development of the greatest significance, demonstrating once more that the strategy of the unfettered imagination is always and necessarily global.

Muzak to my ears - canned music and class struggle

Public space and muzak as policing.


Muzak to my ears
"If you want more Mozart in your life, start loitering."

Art as Form of Reality - Herbert Marcuse

Marcuse discusses the traditional conservative role of art in society, artistic challenges to traditional art forms in the 1970s - and what role art might still play in a liberated society.

"Art itself appears as part and force of the tradition which perpetuates that which is, and prevents the realization of that which can and ought to be."

Notes On The Balkan War and the Media, 1999

A critique of the media's relation to the Kosovo war of 1999, coming out of the group "No War But The Class War". It includes a leaflet produced by the group for an anti-war demo. Written in June 1999.

The photo on the left was taken from a Tirana demonstration in support of NATO, May 18th 1999
- strangely, no irony was intended.

The End Of Music As We Know It

Brief leaflet from the 1980s.

"There isn't much difference between rock 'n' roll and teaching, mind you. It's the same job. You're entertaining delinquents for an hour."

- Sting, ex-teacher.

When The Police disguise themselves as pleasurable, and are accepted as such, then the State's overt cops in blue or in the classroom can retreat into the background.

The Arts and other Social Diseases

Art arrives abstracted and objectified into a poor substitute for real human presence, even in the presence of humans. The arts are a freakish sideshow. It’s a tonic for the troops that detracts from the barren terrain of everyday life. Students of the arts are the only masturbators to act as carriers of social disease.

The author would like to thank the Institute of Comparative Boredom for hot meals and counselling.

First published by Pentagon, 1992.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this pamphlet are not necessarily those of the ICB or the author.

Acknowledgements

I would especially like to thank Rebecca Gadd, Benjamin Franks and Alexis Lacheze-Beer for their support and ideas.

The Closed Window Onto Another Life - endangeredphoenix

Culture is the commodity that sells the whole of the commodity economy. But a critique of art and of culture is virtually absent amongst the revolutionary milieu in the UK, an absence we try to make up for here.

A prisoner who cannot see the sky from his cell window may paint on his wall a scene of birds flying amongst clouds against a blue haze of space. Outside in the wider society art plays a similar role; what is denied and seems unreachable, but possible and desirable, is represented via the window of the picture frame or TV screen.