Category Archives: Revolution

A$AP Rocky Tasted Colours (I Have… Have You?), and other bits and pieces…

Fragments…

If you’ve never tasted colours, and I don’t mean with your tongue, there’s a guaranteed way you can… but it requires effort. And sometimes it can go wrong. A$AP Rocky can tell you.

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Growing up in a working-class household, with roots firmly in an underclass (here, I wave my great, great, great-grandfather’s life in your face – pursued across much of Scotland, Lower Canada, northern England, and then transported from the docks of Greenwich to Tasmania, to live the final 16 years or so of his life alone on Betsey Island), it’s astonishing that I abhor racism and other stuff. Racism is inbuilt into British society and its notions of British ‘pride’. So is sexism. So is speciesism. So is homophobia. Fear of the ‘other’ a vital component of colonialism.

University wasn’t even on my radar as a school leaver. The working classes are meant to work. Get a good job. Work hard. Save for hard times ahead. Retire and travel until you’re physically incapable of travel. Die, leaving a legacy of a few thousand pounds for your children. Inspiring.

The early years British education system, in particular, forms an apartheid based upon genitals. School uniforms reinforce this (to this day).

Every field you drive, walk, and/or ride past that has animals in is a death camp. Controversial?

Cruelty to animals is disguised by the mechanisms of capitalism. Factory farming of animals is excused because God says so. Eating dead flesh is normalised through massive effort and will, but kept that way through ignorance and selfishness.

Take a moment. Consider your job. In 200 years’ time will anyone credit it as being vitally important to humanity and the planet we live on? How so?

Humanity is not humane. But people get upset when reminded of this.

Space exploration is pointless given our current attitudes.

It is hard to read/watch works of fiction with half a planet starving, with the history of violence on this planet.

That there is an arms industry is testament to human stupidity. Redundant notions of human ‘nature’ sustain violence.

When I have time I will document the various flyers and paraphernalia from (mainly) illegal house party events and club nights. Once, in Blackpool police station, having spent the night in a cell, and having listened to R.E.M.’s ‘Shiny Happy People’ coming from goodness knows where, and with the person in the next cell singing repeatedly, ‘I’m just a mixed-up kid, don’t know what I did’, the arresting officer had the audacity to ask me to supply him with such paraphernalia. My face said it all…

Yet, for all this, I am optimistic that humans will evolve in ways far better than we currently see of them. Veganism, and ending speciesism, is key to this, I believe. Lovely nights out, pondering dead flesh on menus with loved ones. Stopping in the middle of shopping trips to gulp down cow lactation. Chewing on such colourful sweets, held together with the stuff that oozes from cracked, boiled animal bones – yum. Life’s a carefree hoot, until you question everything…

So question everything…


“The Market” and the potential Counter-Effect on Radical / Subversive / Revolutionary Thought (with links to posts on Russell Brand, Adam Curtis, Stephen Hawking, Paul Mason, Akala, and The Tarnac 9 (or 10))

A nagging doubt that continues to linger after reading/hearing/viewing what might be considered to be radical/subversive/revolutionary works in the form of films/documentaries/podcasts/books, etc., is that can such works actually be so radical/subversive/revolutionary if the owner of such works simply profit from them through the controlled and controlling system of “the market?”

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Basically, if what you want to change is the present system (and it’s worth clarifying that what’s being discussed here is the present post-industrial Westernised system of capitalism based on the rampant consumption of goods), then how can you hope to do so whilst profiting from it – because bringing the system down will ultimately disrupt that source of profit.

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Surely, there has to be some sort of self-sacrifice on the part of the owner of the works, where rather than merely accepting royalties, etc., and using them to fund cars, multiple properties, holidays, pension funds, and the like (which serves to uphold the status quo of the present system), the profits are used in a way in which they are directed against the system itself – use the money to do the things that the system will never do.

It seems logical that to subvert the system you must first cease to consume all else than that of the very basic necessities (food, clothing, housing). This might (depending on geographical location) mean a household imposing its own limits of expenditure, where a figure acts as a barrier to excessive spending, and that all other monies above that figure are used in altruistic ways – and not in the current “philanthropic” way that sees money given to charities only for it to be reduced from a person’s tax bill (and note the inefficiencies of charities in their handling of donations). No. Instead, this form of giving should very much be plentiful, anonymous, and given freely and willingly.

The question is, will anyone be willing to do so?

Links to previous posts (lucky dip):

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Leaps of Imagination, Like When You Were a Kid

Having the chance to flick through old tales once read as a child, or variations of them, has led to a profound thought: why not just solve the world’s problems by employing a child-like “leap of imagination?” An evil stepmother infiltrates a queen’s bedchamber disguised as a nurse (queen just given birth so she’s a bit knackered and off-kilter) – now, yep, fully aware of the portrayal of gender, here, but the writing of the tale nothing to do with me (adaptation of Grimm’s tales???), and if it were I’d probably opt for some sort of gender-ambiguous setting (open pronouns and stuff) – and then this nurse/evil stepmother just assumes control of the situation, no border checks taken place, no visitors’ pass scanned in the hall, just basically a total bypass of security protocols.

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So, what if the average thinking-person who worries on a daily basis about the inequities of life, wishing that they could end wars, humans mistreating other humans (whether individually or as past of a corporation or country), and who views hunger and water poverty as completely reversible given a bit more emphasis on compassion and a lot less emphasis on profit, starts to assume the same sort of control, but obviously, not with the same wicked end in mind as the evil stepmother/nurse person?

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Watching yet another documentary that tries to pick its way through the “this is not a conspiracist tale but you’d better wake up” waters of contemporary views about “leftist, liberal intervention tactics” (Ethos Movie) left the impression that, well, it shouldn’t have to be all that hard to effect change if you really want it. What I do most days is think of a problem, say lack of access to clean water for a good deal of the world’s population, and then start to work through the layers of things that would need to be done in a conventional, ordered sense (contacting politicians, NGOs, etc.), and then think about how the shortage-of-water problem is often caused by corporations that are deeply embedded in the political scene, so that, really, you know before you start that things are not going to be easy after all, and then that’s kind of depressing and debilitating, and then the mind starts to drift and something comes along as a distraction and then it all seems too much because you’re just one small person in what seems like a huge system of unfairness.

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But here’s the rub. Breaking that feeling of uselessness could actually be simple to achieve by employing the Grimm Practice (that’s what I’m calling it – GP for short). Think of a solution, and make it so. Now, the suggestion at the end of Ethos Movieis that we as consumers, as a starting point, can choose where to spend our money, and in doing so can provide incentive to corporations (but this could also be applied to governments, but that will be attended to in another post) to act responsibly, ethically, and basically, as good human beings (because a corporation is made up of humans). My very simple suggestion in this regard is to set up a system of an international boycott on the purchasing of any and all items from corporations that exploit people for profit. The boycott can be levied according to how much a corporation needs to change its ways – one day per year just to keep it in check; one week per year to push the message harder; and so on, until the people see that corporations change their ways.

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If, say, a company like Starbucks (just for example) saw not one person cross its thresholds to buy its products for an entire day (anywhere in the world) it would likely start to change its ways (exploitation of low-paid workers; prices paid to coffee growers; the effects on communities where coffee is taken at a fraction of the price it will eventually retail at; and stuff like that). Now, if the opposite is true, that Starbucks turns round and says “fuck you, do this again and we’ll have to lay-off many of our workers,” what I’d say is ramp up the boycott action until it comes in line, which it will be forced to do (rather than go out of business altogether, which happens when a company’s turnover is 0 ($£€, etc.)). And here, we see the power potential at play. The Grimm Practice puts power in people’s hands. Don’t overthink things. Don’t analyse the possibilities endlessly (because that is debilitating), simply use the tools that we now have at our disposal – the internet to spread the word, social media to chart our successes, and our disposable incomes to withhold from those corporations that do not act in the interest of humanity as a whole. Vote GP.

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Current Adam Curtis Obsession #1

Tying in with a recent article on the “unstoppable rise of veganism,” a podcast of Russell Brand’s interview with Adam Curtis, “Do We Really Want Change?,” offers a potential route forward from the seemingly destined-to-fail calls for change that we have witnessed over the last decade or so, whether the Occupy Movement in the west, or the ripples of revolution around the middle-east.

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Curtis identifies an actual, though brief, moment in history that resulted in monumental change, and which came from the Civil Rights movement in the southern states of the U.S.:

“White activists and black activists joined together and they spent years giving their lives, and in many cases literally, up to trying to change the world, which they did, and they surrendered themselves to that” (0:22:20 – 0:22:30).

Curtis details the success of the movement and the subsequent failure of the New Left as the rise of “individualism” takes hold, disrupting the coming together of groups of people, instead spreading the message that to be “true” to yourself is the real “goal” in life and that from that (being an individual) the world will change as a result (which it hasn’t). So, with veganism on the rise (around 1% of the U.K. population is believed to be vegan) is it time to recognise that when veganism is most challenging and difficult that it is at its most effective?

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What I mean, here, is that the growing trend for multinationals to assimilate veganism into their practices (many of them dubious in nature) is perhaps yet another example of individualism working for the benefit of the corporations and managers of capitalism. The capitalist model has tapped into the fact that being vegan is not always easy (you can’t just nip into any old shop to buy a snack without inspecting the contents of that pack in the first place (and even then you need to be clued up to the names that are used to describe the ingredients).

So, instead of the practices of old, where (and this is true, I’ve heard many a vegan testify to this) vegans would meet with other vegans to discuss foods that they can eat, sharing knowledge, and maybe even discuss activism and the like (perhaps they can be called We-gans), “new vegans” are being presented with a rich array of products that save them from having to do so, thus removing some of the discomfort and inconvenience of having to “go out of your way” to source information. In doing so, vegans are being kept isolated from one another in that there is a lack of incentive to grow the vegan community (perhaps they can be called Me-gans) – instead, becoming individual vegans, just as the markets require us to be.

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A great example of this has to be McDonald’s new “Vegan” Burger, which reads like a contradiction in terms, or just a really sick joke. One of the largest killers of animals on the planet asking vegans to come into their “restaurants” and sit side-by-side with carnivores? Bizarre, but true. The motives behind the launch of the McVegan can only be linked to profit, for there can be no ethical reasons behind the decision, as the animal slaughter continues unabated.

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So, try not to get too excited at veganism going “mainstream” because you may just get what you didn’t ask for. Instead, think of the myriad ways that you, in your small but perfectly capable way, could disrupt carnivore practices. You could write about it, talk about it, or just do something about it (pouring super glue in the locks of McDonald’s doors as you pass a closed store (making sure that it was dried in time that no McD’s employee would suffer any harm in the process) would be illegal and childish, of course)…


(Still) Troubled by #MrRobot and the #Infinite Loop of Insanity

On the 4th or perhaps 5th time of watching, Mr. Robot, Series 1, episodes 1-3 still do not disappoint, and so the question remains… at what point will the show start to fail its subversive underpinnings and come crashing down to reveal nothing but rubble with no sign of the essential footings required to maintain the kind of integral structure I’d once imagined was possible? (Architecture metaphor?).

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There’s just no other word for it. Subversive. That’s what it is. It’s just so subversive in its first incarnation that it’s almost impossible to fail to notice its subversiveness. So, what went wrong with Series 2.0? A question I’ve been grappling with all summer, and until attending a Rosi Braidotti masterclass I’d imagined I’d be struggling with such a question a good while longer.

But now a glimmer of hope.

Perhaps there’s a need to apply Deleuzian principles in order to make sense of the shift from subversiveness to a kind of style over substance? But, better check back later when more reading has been done…


(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – Symbolism #MrRobot #HackingRobot

Episode four of Mr. Robot, Season Two, provides a piece of symbolism that may or may not be pointing towards one of the greatest unexplained, and largely unreported, events of the 21st Century. It is hard to say whether it is, or whether it isn’t, because the show is quite confusing with respect to the messages it sends out (see most of the previous Mr. Robot posts for an expansion of this thought).

The show probably gets away with this very piece of symbolism because it takes place during a dream sequence, and so, the weird, dreamy kind of stuff taking place perhaps softens the effect. But still. To have a high-rise building suddenly collapse in free-fall, in New York of all places, seems kind of bizarre, and it must have crossed the producers’ minds that adding such a scene references the collapse of World Trade Center 7.

WTC7 is rarely mentioned. So much so, that there is even a campaign to raise awareness of its collapse. Now, whether you’re into “conspiracy” theories or not is beside the point. A skyscraper collapses at around 49:40 of episode four. It suffers no damage. It just collapses in free-fall. When you see it you think: demolition. Given that it is widely recognised that buildings do not just collapse in such a manner, and that WTC7 is believed to be the only building to have ever done so, in New York on 11th September 2001, are the producers directly referencing this event, or is it just a coincidence?

There is probably a whole range of possibilities here. But here are two that I grapple with on an almost daily basis.

  1. Mr. Robot is a vehicle for expressing subversive thought, and it speaks to those who long for an alternative to the present capitalist system of Western industrialised nations. Referencing WTC7 in this way is a reminder to not believe the mass media, and to recognise the ways in which it manipulates current events to fit with the propaganda of the dominant ideology (or something like that).
  2. Mr. Robot wants its viewers to believe the above statement. Because most viewers stream the show as and when they choose, there is a record of those viewers (those who are meant to lean towards the sentiments of statement A). Here, there is the potential for a Minority Report kind of tactic – recognise those with conspiracist/anarchist/revolutionist/whatever leanings, and monitor them (or worse).

Or it could just be a TV show, and there’s nothing more to say than that.


(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 #MrRobot #HackingRobot

So, where to begin with this one? For those interested, there are previous posts that cover Mr. Robot Season One and such things as metaphors and references; White Rose; is any of it real?; and the end of consumer-debt society.

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Well, the trailer is out and things are set to get darker in the world of Mr. Robot, and Sam Esmail seems to have full control of his project, but the one thing that is still being wrestled with, and that has not fully been shaken off since first binge-watching season one, is: at what point will Mr. Robot and its anarchic sensibility be corrupted by the inner-workings of a “Hollywood” system that rarely engages with such subversive forms of fiction, or is there scope to consider that the eventual, and perhaps unintentional outcome of the show will be a nationwide, perhaps even part-global raising of the collective state of consciousness to such an extent that people will start to wake up to the fallacies (freedom (generally), autonomy, the capitalist model and “democracy” as fundamentally linked, and so on…) of contemporary life in, primarily, post-industrial cultures?

Or is there nothing more to it than that it’s just another form of contemporary media that keeps us glued, zombie-like, to our screens? Surely not…

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Anecdotally, is the Insurrection Coming? #Brexit

This is an important question and, anecdotally, from opinions garnered from those within both Leave and Remain camps, public opinion seems to reflect unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction felt with politics in its current late-capitalist mode – hence my notion that #PoliticsIsDead (click the pictures if you want, and stuff)

 

So, is the Insurrection on its way? Is there, as the Tarnac community is alleged to have suggested, a Coming Insurrection? It seems wrong to sit by and watch as economies shuffle from one disaster to the next, as has been the case throughout much of the present capitalist model, arguably. But do the people have the will to mount an insurrection?

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I guess we’ll see…


What Would This World Look Like? #Trump #BoJo

Here’s a very short post, for a change. It may be nice to pause, amidst the political goings on of the moment, simply to ponder the following. In a world where it is possible, although not altogether plausible or desirable, for Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump and Boris Johnson @BorisJohnson to become head of state, respectively, what would such a world look like?

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Would it look like this? Might The Donald reach across the Atlantic and smack a big wet one on BoJo’s fleshy lips? Worse things could happen, don’t you think?

#VoteWhatever (it probably doesn’t matter anyway) #PoliticsIsDead

(ooh… Soul II Soul)


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It does make you wonder what was the inspiration behind the temporary art project, Dismaland…

It’s kind of hard to think…

Oh, yeah…


“…it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

…it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

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In Banksy’s letter to the children of Bridge Farm Primary School, Bristol, the above words appear as a sentiment that expresses the need to sometimes just do things rather than wait around forever for permission before doing so. Now, obviously, there are limits that all decent people would expect to impose upon themselves before doing things that might just harm others, but looking past this to the kind of mentality that seeks its own liberation from restrictive practices seems to speak of the possibilities that are now opening up as a direct result of technological advances.

 

A recent example of this kind of thinking, witnessed only y/day, is that of design-led technology company Red Ninja Studios (@RedNinjaStudios), based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. Red Ninja held a hackathon with a non-profit organisation whose business is concerned with the care of older people in the community. The optimism shared by all at the event that technology could indeed improve the lives of many older people was boosted by the attitudes of those involved with Red Ninja Studios, where the company ethos appears to be, pretty much: “Make Things Happen.”

 

An anecdote shared y/day w/r/t “making things happen” in the NHS involved new pieces of technology that take so long to be approved for use that by the time they are, they are less relevant and potentially even obsolete. Similar anecdotes exist w/r/t other huge organisations. Perhaps a bit more Banksy/Red Ninja philosophy is required?

 


Intersectionality: #brockturner and the Pity Project of a White, Privileged, Male Rapist, and Why the Law, and educational institutions such as Stanford University, are on His Side (even though they wouldn’t say that to your face)

Should you blame Stanford University’s rape culture for Brock Turner, the rapist? Should you blame Brock Turner’s father, Dan, who appears to regard his son’s rape “antics” as an inconvenience, w/r/t his son’s career? Should you blame Brock Turner, the rapist, himself? The answer would (almost) appear to be no to all of the above. Why? Because after raping an unconscious 18 year old behind a dumpster, and in the process unleashing a lifetime of change upon the 18 year old that only she will fully understand, but that the whole world will have a view on, Brock Turner may have to serve 3 months of a 6 months’ sentence for a crime that could have earned him 14 years behind bars.

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Brock Turner’s case makes clear that the Law, which dispenses the most lenient sentence for a most despicable crime, and Stanford University, which treats such occurrences as a minor irritation, in the way that its administrators barely even acknowledges them [the rapes and sexual assaults], do not work to end the practices of rape culture if you, as perpetrator of such crimes as listed above, are a white, educated, and reasonably well-off male (meaning you can stump up money for a sizeable bail without breaking a sweat).

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The 7,000-word letter detailing events from the unconscious 18 year old’s point of view just made Dan Turner angry. And so he responded in kind. The conclusion to be made here is that women are viewed as worthless by some men, and by some women for that matter. They are also viewed as worthless by the Law and by educational institutions such as Stanford University. If the outrage over this particular case of rape blows over and is forgotten (but never by the 18 year old), then the wider society must also be said to be complicit in this respect. So, will it blow over? Do we just move on? Perhaps consider Leah Francis and the #standwithleah campaign, which, according to a quick Internet search, shows that we stopped standing with Leah at some point in 2014. If we fail to remain standing for the time it takes to end rape culture behavior it will not end, and we can expect many more Brock Turner’s to behave in similarly despicable ways.


Philosophical Enquiry 1.0 #MoneyForAll

Late Stage Capitalism, for all its faults, and there are many, is still the dominant political force in the world. What’s perplexing is that with so much disaffection aimed at the present world structure, dominated as it is by Late Stage Capitalist thought, there exists little in the way of alternative thinking that might lead to a better way of managing progress in the world.

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Such disaffection can be seen in many Western capitalist societies. Examples of this, and this is not an exhaustive list by any means, are: the coming farce of the 2016 U.S. elections, which will evidently be so judging by the proposed presidential nominees, where neither candidate appears to be winning over the masses, despite the hype saying that they are; the EU referendum in the U.K., where so many untruths appear to cloud the issue entirely and where voter apathy could lead to a very low turnout; the battle in France between its workers and their protests against a socialist government that aims to strip away worker rights; the brain drain happening in other E.U. countries who cannot retain talent due to economies stagnating; and the list goes on ad infinitum.

Couple this disaffection with some inventive “economics” designed to maintain the status quo: negative interest rates; 40 year mortgages; prime/sub-prime mortgage repackaging; and what we end up with, at some point in the future, is a system [capitalism] that has to keep reinventing itself in order to hang on, by its finger tips, to the power it so craves. An alternative to such crazy thinking might be to replace it with another kind of crazy thinking. Unlike factional and fictional depictions of anti-capitalist sentiment – Puritanism (English Civil War period) and The Sparrows (Game of Thrones) – where the alternative to excess is rather pious and boring, there is a very simple way to counter a capitalist model that seems only ever to benefit the few, and not the many.

The answer is to pay every citizen a fixed annual salary. In return, each citizen will do a job (probably the one they’re already doing or are already qualified to do). Citizens continue to spend. Businesses thrive. The rich can stay richer than the rest of the population. But, the poverty and hardship suffered by many is obliterated overnight. Money is not real in the sense that it is an abstract concept that is made to feel real because of the mechanics of capitalism, where if you don’t have enough money you’re life can be made to feel pretty crumby. It doesn’t have to be that way. There just needs to be more discussion around the issue, because if we can’t conceive of something it is unlikely to happen. #MoneyForAll

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Politics: Unworkable in Its Current Form

Just two examples relating to the current political landscape are enough to highlight the fact that politics is unworkable in its current form. David Cameron’s tax avoidance is most depressing and marks, in a way, if you think about it, the shift to a terminal phase for “Late Stage Capitalism,” although that probably requires a further post in order to make that point clear (watch this space).

The equally depressing state of U.S. politics is the other such example, where it appears that U.S. voters will end up with a Republican nominee who is to face, amongst other things, charges that his “Trump University” scheme was fraudulent, and a Democrat nominee who, it seems, is being hounded by the F.B.I. with respect to the “email server” scandal.

When you trace back through history to see the efforts of people who wanted politics to be about effecting change for the good of the many, and there were a good number, it is obvious that today’s political climate is not worthy of the name “Politics.” As such, citizens across the globe need to think about solutions to this current problem.


Shielded: @david_cameron

A brief search of the internet (well, Google) with the search term “petition over cameron tax avoidance” seems to falter around the middle of April 2016, where it appears that all interest in the Prime Minister’s financial affairs falls off a cliff. Either this shows a massive shift from anger to apathy from the British public, and if that is the case then I suppose we all get what we deserve with respect to a figurehead who publicly condemns others for tax avoidance activity whilst employing similar tactics with respect to his own financial affairs, or there is something else at work.

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Interestingly, the headline below is dated Friday 8th April 2016 but when you search the internet using the above term the first few pages bring back results dated no later than 13th April, a mere five days after the scandal hit the tabloids.

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In what universe does such a huge news story suddenly stop being big news? In our universe, apparently. Anyway, in an attempt at working towards a kind of politics that ceases to be about the exploitation of the masses for the benefit of the few, here’s a link to a 38 Degrees petition (click this underliney bit) calling for the PM to resign for deception and conflict of interest, which sounds fair enough. Politics in its current form is unworkable and needs a radical overhaul. A Prime Minister who lies to the public is not a Prime Minister, unless the apathy of the public allows it to be so.


Citizen Four versus Snowden – Who Wins?

It seems like yet another disappointing blow for counter cultural forces, if that’s even a term that applies here, when we learn that a feature film is coming out of Hollywood to fill us in on the “truth” behind the Edward Snowden whistle-blowing episode of recent times. What, and this really is a pressing question, is so wrong with Citizen Four that a Snowden even has to be made? Depending on how you like your conspiracy theory kind of stuff, it’s easy to imagine that O. Stone has done all manner of freaky stuff to ramp up the tension between the NSA and Snowden himself, and then presumably also the Kremlin, given Russia’s role in housing Snowden.

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But what is the overall effect of such profiteering meddling? Will we learn anything more from Stone’s film? Citizen Four seemed a pretty good effort at uncovering, potentially, a whole hornet’s nest of deception and lies and darn right Machiavellian plotting on the part of the NSA and GCHQ, so where does Snowden come in in all of this? If, yet again, we end up with a dumbed-down approach to something that, if true (Snowden’s accusations that the NSA (and GCHQ) has the ability to spy on ALL its citizens), should be investigated by all manner of responsible bodies (but not really sure who or what might fulfill such a role, given the state of governments these days). Perhaps the money that went into making and distributing Snowden may have been better spent spreading the word, and distribution, of Citizen Four. But then again, who’d have made serious money from that? Not Gordon-Levitt, nor Stone, nor Woodley, nor the countless studios involved in production, and on and on and on…


Troubled by Mr. Robot #3 – Is any of it real?

In the final episode Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) asks: “is any of it real?” What are we meant to take from this, a TV show, a work of fiction that serves the primary function of entertaining us, and which does so by captivating us as viewers so completely that we sit zombie-like, staring at a screen filled with pixelated images on viewing devices that make those images look as real as, and often better than anything we experience in daily life?

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And is Mr. Robot’s proclamation supposed to be a revelation to us? How can it be when it is exposing what we already know we know? Has TV gone beyond its initial remit of pure entertainment? Is this TV with a conscience? TV that will eventually bring down TV? TV that has somehow by-passed irony and entered a new phase of enlightenment? Or is it really just entertainment, but way cleverer than it used to be? Would we even know what “real” looks like if it were presented to us?


Troubled by Mr. Robot #2

What does White Rose’s Trans character signify in terms of her appearance as a businessman in Season One’s final scene of Mr.Robot?

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Businessmen populate the interior of the Gatsby-esque mansion: drinking, talking, and enjoying entertainment. Those who are females are employed as servants (passing drinks/food around), and there is also a single female playing the harpsichord, watched as she is by Phillip Price and White Rose’s alter-ego. Is this gender-split, then, merely a reflection of how Sam Esmail views the world of the corporate “1%,” or is it more political than that, something that is meant to provoke a reaction from viewers?

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Hypothetically, we can assume that the very richest of the 1% will prosper and increase its wealth. After all, the 1% alone have access to tangible items of wealth: gold, gems, oil, etc. Everyone else will struggle to function in a world where access to money has been compromised – and this in spite of the fact that debts have been wiped out. White Rose’s actions as leader of the Dark Army serve only to make her wealthier.

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By subverting the present system of capitalism as White Rose, a Trans woman, she reaffirms her status as a businessman. In spite of such power, can she only ever appear as a “he” in the upper echelons of the 1%. What is this telling us about 21st Century capitalism? What would happen if White Rose were to reveal her identity amongst the 1%?


Peterloo Massacre Remembered #3

An interesting piece on tonight’s BBC Countryfile programme discussed the SNP’s plans to provide better access to the lands of Scotland for Scotland’s inhabitants. What was once common land was grabbed by the wealthy and shut off by fences and walls, and was turned into private property. Around 50% of land in Scotland lies in the hands of just 452 individuals (according to BBC sources).

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At the time of such change from common land to private property, much violence was used to subjugate Scotland’s people. My great-great-great grandfather, James ‘Elshender’ Alexander, lived at around this time and was subjected to terrible punishment for attempting to feed his family by living off the land. Living off the land becomes a difficult proposition when you cease to have access to the land. Good luck to the SNP, and good luck to the working class people of Scotland who may soon be free to use their land as they see fit.


Peterloo Massacre Remembered #2

A news item on tonight’s BBC’s 6 O’clock News featured New York and the new skyscrapers that are beginning to dominate Manhattan’s skyline. The buildings are some of the most expensive examples of real estate anywhere in the world, with one apartment reportedly selling for $100M. The interesting thing about the news item was the allegation that very few of these super-expensive properties are ever likely to be occupied by actual people. It is odd to think that in a city where 50% of working class people live on or below the poverty line (according to BBC sources) that buildings are being crammed into an already over developed site, only to be left to stand empty – all whilst feathering the nests of the very wealthy individuals and collectives buying said properties.

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New York’s poor and working classes were turfed off the land that eventually became the landscaped Central Park, and ever since, people have been forced to move farther out because of spiralling real estate prices. This latest example is only the most ridiculous manifestation of the gap that exists, and that continues to widen, between the rich and the working classes. Perhaps the Occupy Movement should extend its remit to include a form of squatting in buildings where people could be housed comfortably instead of being forced to live in poverty? What violence might today’s establishment mete out in the face of such peaceful protest?


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