Archive for the ‘politricks’ Category.

STANDING UP TO POLITICAL POLICING AND SURVEILLANCE: Weds May 7th

Radical History Network public meeting

STANDING UP TO POLITICAL POLICING AND SURVEILLANCE
Wednesday May 7th
7.30pm, Wood Green Social Club
3 Stuart Crescent, N22 5NJ
[off High Rd Wood Green, near Wood Green tube]

– How and why are the police used to try to suppress public dissent and any challenge to the capitalist ‘status quo’?
– What tactics have protestors and campaigners developed to successfully defend public rights and struggles for a better society?

Including:

– Kevin Blowe from Newham Monitoring Project on community campaigns resisting
oppressive policing and seeking to hold the police to account.

– Dave Morris on London Greenpeace – possibly the most infiltrated group in
UK history. Despite that it continued to be a highly effective campaigning organisation
The group initiated the Stop ‘The City’ anti-capitalist mobilisations in
the early 1980s, and the global anti-McDonald’s and McLibel campaigns in
the ’80s and ’90s.

– John Eden on campaigns against police corruption in Hackney in the ’80s and ’90s.

All welcome to come and share experiences, anecdotes, photos, archive material and general thoughts.

http://radicalhistorynetwork.blogspot.co.uk/

Datacide issue 13 now available

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The London launch party was a lot of fun, with some great presentations and people.

The magazine is out now. It includes a great interview I did with noise legend Nomex.

Order from here or from the Praxis Shop.

76 pages.

Datacide: Introduction
Nemeton: Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War; Surveillance, Control and Repression
CF: NSU Update
Two in London: UK Anti-Fascist Round Up
Comrade Omega: Crisis in the SWP, or: Weiningerism in the UK
David Cecil: Confessions of an Accidental Activist
Neil Transpontine: Spiral Tribe Interview with Mark Harrison
Neil Transpontine: ‘Revolt of the Ravers’-The Movement Against the Criminal Justice Act in Britain, 1993-95
Split Horizon: What is This Future?
Fabian Tompsett: Wikipedia-A Vernacular Encyclopedia
Howard Slater: Shared Vertigo
Dan Hekate: Crystal Distortion
Howard Slater: Cut-Up Marx
Howard Slater: EARTH ‘A RUN RED
Marcel Stoetzler: Identity, Commodity and Authority: Two New Books about Horkheimer and Adorno
Nemeton: Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency (book review)
Christoph Fringeli: One Night in Stammheim. Helge Lehmann: Die Todesnacht von Stammheim – Eine Untersuchung (book review)
Christoph Fringeli: Anton Shekovtsov, Paul Jackson (eds.): White Power Music – Scenes of the Extreme Right Cultural Resistence (book review)
CF: Press reviews
John Eden: Emencified Shrill Out: Nomex at the Controls
Alexis Wolton: Vinyl Meltdown, Prt. 1
Record reviews by Zombieflesheater, Nemeton and Kovert
DJ Charts
Matthieu Bourel: Rioter
Sansculotte: Overdosed
Plus: The Lives and Times of Bloor Schleppy

 

EVENT: SUN 20th October: Datacide 13 launch party

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Datacide zine London launch event

The 13th issue of Datacide, the international magazine for noise and politics, is out this week. As well as a conference and release party in Berlin this weekend, there will be a launch event on Sunday 20th October 2013 in London, 7 pm to 10 pm.

The event will take place at Vinyl (4 Tanners Hill, SE8 4PJ) the new record shop/cafe/gallery in Deptford.

It will feature talks from Datacide contributors, including Neil Transpontine looking back on the movement against the ‘anti-rave’ Criminal Justice Act, and Christoph Fringeli on Datacide magazine. Further details to be announced.

Sunday nights sounds courtesy of DJ Controlled Weirdness, and there will be a bar.

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(I have an article in the magazine and will probably get some copies to sell/trade/blag. It will also be available at the London Anarchist Bookfair the previous day. But come to the launch event if you can, it will be good).

February updates

1. SPATIAL INTERVIEWED BY JOHN EDEN

An interview I did with Hackney-based producer Spatial is now published exclusively and for the first time at The Liminal.

This piece was originally intended for issue 5 of Woofah, but has been fully updated. (It’s the last outstanding thing I wrote for Woofah, which makes me a bit smiley and a bit weepy!). Spatial is an interesting guy and is well worth checking.

2. MORE TURBULENT TIMES ACTION

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Idwal Fisher did a lovely review of my Turbulent Times fanzine, along with other publications.

The zine now has its own page if people are interested in ordering it or knowing about distributors etc.

I have properly started work on the new issue but can’t say when it will be out!

3. AND FINALLY, SOME ADVERTS:

radical hackney

TRIPWIRE_AD

 

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3rd Official Trailer for A Noisy Delivery, by Pete Cann from GX Jupitter-Larsen on Vimeo.

Datacide issue 12 published

release date: 20 October 2012. 68 pages

This looks like another great issue!

It includes an exclusive interview I did with industrial music superstar Jordi Valls about his work as Vagina Dentata Organ and The Valls Brothers.

Also a bunch of my reviews (including some of the lengthier ones intended for Woofah).

CONTENTS

Datacide: Introduction
Darkam: The Art of Visual Noise
Nemeton: Political News
Christoph Fringeli: Neo-Nazi Terror and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany
Cherry Angioma: Communisation Theory and the Question of Fascism
Christoph Fringeli: From Adorno to Mao – The Decomposition of the ’68 Protest Movement into Maoism (extended book review)
Split Horizon: Control and Freedom in Geographic Information Systems
Riccardo Balli: “Bolognoise ain’t a Sauce for Spaghetti but Bologna’s Soundscape”
Polaris International: Documents and Interventions
TechNET insert:
– Noise and Politics – Technet Mix
– No More WordS
– Listener as Operator
– The Intensifier
– No Stars Here
– Techno: Psycho-Social Tumult
– Dead By Dawn – Explorations inside the Night
– Psycho-Social Tumult (Remix)
Dan Hekate: Kiss me, cut me, hurt me, love me
Howard Slater: Useless Ease
John Eden: The Dog’s Bollocks – Vagina Dentata Organ and the Valls Brothers (interview)
Neil Transpontine: Spannered – Bert Random Interview
LFO Demon: When Hell is full the Dead will Dance on your iPhone (Review of Simon Reynold’s “Retromania”
Christoph Fringeli: “Fight for Freedom” – The Legend of the “other” Germany (extended book review)
Nemeton: “West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California” (book review)
Datacide: Press reviews
terra audio: 2023: A Spor remembers ‘Reclaim the Streets’
John Eden: Christopher Partridge: Dub in Babylon (book review)
terra audio: Jeff Mills: Violet Extremist
terra audio: Keeping the Door of the Cosmos open – on Sun Ra’s Arkestra directed by Marshall Allen
Record Reviews
The Lives and Times of Bloor Schleppy (12)
Comic by Sansculotte

ORDERING

1) “You can order it now for just 4 euro which includes world-wide postage. We can only offer this super-cheap price by shipping the copies in bulk, meaning if we ship something like 50 copies it costs about half of the normal price of 3 euro for postage per copy (which obviously would make no sense). We will do the first mailout on monday or tuesday, and won’t do another one for at least another 2-3 weeks.

So to get your copy hot off the press, please either send 4 euro via paypal to datacide@c8.com or take out a subscription, which costs only 10 euro for 3 issues. You can also include back issues 10 and 11 in the subscription deal – in case you don’t have them yet – so you wouldn’t even have to worry when the next issue is coming out!”

2) You can order online now from the Praxis Records shop.

3) I will get some copies in a week or two, so chase me up.

4) There will be a Datacide/Praxis Records stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on 27 October.

There will be a 20th anniversary Praxis Records party on the SS Stubnitz in London on 2 November.

notes on sigue sigue sputnik and the boardroom fetish

As part of the post-hack clean up, I found a few drafts of things I’ve not been able to finish – here is the first… comment welcome!

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Some musings on Sigue Sigue Sputnik and their hyper-glamorised capitalism.

A wilfully optimistic reading of Mclaren’s “Rock N Roll Swindle” was that punk aimed to make “cash from chaos” as a fall back position. If you fail to destroy society, you may as well be rich.

“a group has to represent what’s exciting around in the world today”
– Tony James, South of Watford TV documentary on Sigue Sigue Sputnik, 1986

Sigue Sigue Sputnik revelled in products, affluence and multinational corporations like Sony and EMI. Not because these things signified wealth and success, but because they were exciting in and of themselves. Tony James (the band’s defacto ideas man) had previously been a punk alongside Billy Idol in Generation X. Punk’s DIY “get off your arse” ethos translates well in to the business world – every “self made millionaire” has exactly the same attitude.

But before we get to Sputnik and their 80s “sado capitalism”, what are the precedents for bohemians adopting the aesthetics of commerce?

As Stewart Home has noted, the mail art movement had parodied and imitated bureaucracy from the early 70s onwards:

“Most of those participating used the new ‘hot medium’ of xerox alongside old fashioned rubber stamps. Certificates were produced in great number, which, like the rubber stamps, were used to parody officialdom.” (The Assault On Culture, Chapter 13)

Mail art was influenced by Fluxus. Genesis P-Orridge participated in both these movements and would continue to imitate and parody the structures and signs of corporate bureaucracy with Industrial Records, Throbbing Gristle’s “Annual Reports” and Psychic TV as band/TV Station/cult.

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At the end of the seventies Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and Johnny Rotten became John Lydon, director of Public Image Limited: “We’re a communications company, not a group”.

The transformation happened immediately after Rotten has spent three weeks in Jamaica with hip capitalist Richard Branson, scouting out talent for Virgin’s “Frontline” reggae sub-label: “Virgin offered me a job. It was the perfect break for me after the Sex Pistols split up.”

Early interviews with the band include reference to six Company Directors, including their accountant and Jeanette Lee (a non-musician who helped with mixing down tracks, video and interviews – Lee is now co-director of Rough Trade).

PiL’s business focus was a result of their frustrations with the music industry (being dictated to, being tied up in legal hassles) and a lack of autonomy. Adopting the guise of a businessman is punk’s DIY translated from the artistic to the economic. Like punk, it demystifies the role of “the artist” – as a special category for people with divine inspiration. But it also assumes that the corporate model is the correct/best one…

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The PiL Corporation was followed by Heaven 17 and their “British Electric Foundation”

The BEF are not just a group, they are a registered company with Marsh, Ware and Bob Last as the three shareholders – a business enterprise that is truly enterprising, and the essential tightness of The BEF is based around its organisation.

Ware: “What we’re doing is a much more realistic way of approaching things, you have just got to get out of the old cliched way of organising groups. I think that there are going to be more organisations like this in the future, with more of a business ambience about them.

I don’t think PiL have succeeded at all, they’re still just a group. Let’s face it, Public Image Limited are a moderately successful group. I can’t see any evidence of them being a business organisation at all.

I think that people may find it interesting, in as much as it’s an entirely different way of organising ones’ abilities and creative talents. It’s just getting away from the standard format of how groups are organised.”

And:

So you’re trying to create an almost Tamla-like stable of artists?

Ware:  “Yes, because obviously it gives you more flexibility, and it also enables you to close down an enterprise that is not paying off. Not just financially, but also artistically.”

From an interview in Sounds, 11 April 1981 online here.

Ware, in the thrall of the business model calls for cutting of red tape, downsizing, flexibility. Heaven 17’s modus operandi here is very similar to the gradual breaking up of large workplaces in the into smaller units (with the consequent reduction in the influence of collective bargaining for workers). Or at least it would be if they had ended up being in any way distinguishable from any other group. As time passed there seemed to be less and less mention of BEF and more focussing on the core business of the Heaven 17 brand.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik might be the first band to admit that their branding was more important than the music. Indeed, Tony James never allowed record executives to hear SSS demo tracks, instead playing them a short video collage of futuristic and science-fiction movie clips.

The group signed to EMI, reportedly for 4 million quid. This arrangement was celebrated and presumably exagerated – in stark contrast to anarcho punks like Conflict who identified Thorn EMI’s links with arms trading and gave EMI groups like New Model Army a hard time:

Conflict’s ascetic vegan anti-capitalism is the polar opposite of Sputnik’s total embrace of hi tech corporate culture. The  video for “21st Century Boy” includes a shot of Martin Degville licking a Sony Discman. Sigue Sigue Sputnik embraced commercial sponsorship at a time when this was still thought of as massively uncool by most “serious” music fans.

They also provided the press with  enough ammunition for either pro (slogans, excitement, good quotes, video) or anti (they can’t play, they are immoral, it glorifies sex and violence) coverage. According to James they were accompanied on a UK tour by tabloid journalist Garry Bushell who proposed that they entered News International’s Wapping compound on top of a tank as a publicity stunt during the lengthy picket by sacked printworkers. James et al didn’t do it (and haven’t said why) but Sam Fox did.

Ultra futurism dates quickly, but alongside the brick like mobile phones, corporate logos (Sony/EMI/Atari), anime, video nasties, et al – the group scored some bonafide “crystal ball” moments:

“Flaunt It”, the debut album, included adverts between the tracks for products like hair gel, youth culture magazines, the never-to-appear Sputnik video game, pirate TV station Network 21 and of course The Sputnik Corporation itself. This prefigures “free listening” services like Spotify which squeeze in ads between tracks.

Less plausibly Tony James also claims that their “Live TV” multimedia gig at The Royal Albert Hall influenced U2’s “Zooropa” tour. And the timestretching and pitch bending of the beats on “Love Missile F1-11″ has resonances with Jungle…

More notes:

  • The old eighties schism: Commodities, branding, adverts, contracts, suits VS inspiration, art, subversion, decadence, the triumph of the talented genius, culture.
  • P Diddy / Abba / Pink Floyd / Lady Gaga  all very successful brands, possibly because they are not “arch” about it. The brand is the music, the design, the concept of the band members as genius artists. Not grubby boardroom wheeler and dealers.
  • Vs Cottage industries – Martin Degville’s limited edition art prints, deluxe vinyl represses down “the long tail”. Both The Pixies and Florence and The Machine have released very expensive, hand signed and lavishly produced editions of their work.
  • Is exposing the inner workings of the music business still subversive in 2012? “It’s an [advertising] campaign, it has nothing to do with art.” to misquote Genesis P-Orridge on Heathen Earth.
  • Is all this simply boardroom fetishism – bohemian individualists getting excited about the slim lines of the company logo, expense accounts, power? Rubber suits, office porn. Tony James holding up an umbrella, the bowler hats from Clockwork Orange reinstated as the icons of London commuters of yesteryear.
  • The lie that this is glamorous (long hours, savage battles, insecurity, rules and regulations, budgets – work sucks!). The bohemian myth replaced with the American dream, that you can pull yourself up your own bootstraps and enter the terrain of the ruling class, by talent and tenacity alone.

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Afterword

Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s futurism looks old now, not just because it’s out of date but because futurism itself seems quaint.

Does anyone still sing about the future in utopian terms to escape from the harsh realities of the present? Maybe people realise that, whilst things are bad now, the future is going to be much worse.

Space travel has become mundane, computers have merely heralded new ways of shopping, new forms of alienation. And even shopping is less possible now.

Business, boardrooms and commerce look less sexy in 2012. Not because of the triumph of art or anti-capitalism, but because of the failures of business. Perhaps the re-emergence of the boardroom fetish will be the first signs of the recovery…

2011 London Riot Songs (Reggae roundup)

UK reggae has seemed increasingly detached from current affairs in recent years, but anyone who’s checked my eighties mixes will know it hasn’t always been this way. I guess the focus has moved to a more international market which means the particularities of life in specific areas of London or Birmingham don’t get a look in.

Plus of course, music is shaped by the society and economics around it. Perhaps Dan Hancox’s excellent article about Grime and the riots marks the beginning of a cultural shift (or perhaps it’s wishful thinking by youthful lefties like Dan, and knackered old ones like me).

Either way, I’ve been looking out for songs about recent events and have collected some of the better efforts below for your delectation. These are mainly thanks to the good people of the Blood and Fire board. I’ve not had much luck looking for things myself, but there do seem to be a bunch of people re-tagging their tunes on Youtube to tie them into the recent disturbances.

(Any further tips on 2011 riots tunes would be much appreciated, especially if they are any good – leave suggestions in the comments box if you find any…)

So here goes, in no particular order:

1. AMPASOUND – RIOT!!! FWD – London Riots!!! (Reggae Mix – Preview)

A skippy upful roots stepper, with suprisingly incisive lyrics (dissing Cameron for being on holiday), some good Darcus Howe samples and pretty great video.

2. Dub Investigation – Fire In The Town

Dub Investigation – Fire in the Town by Dub Investigation

Mournful, and melodic with a nice xylophone thingy. Reminds me a bit of Manasseh’s recent productions, which is a high compliment. Some different Darcus Howe and an articulate member of the public get sampled.

Dub Investigation are from Dublin, incidentally – a city with worries and troubles of its own. Indeed, the fucked up economy of the Republic of Ireland is one of the main reasons for Woofah not coming out and for its esteemed editor having to paddle twice as fast just to keep his head above water.

3. The Blackstones – Heat In The Streets

Languid one drop, in which the youth are instructed in no uncertain terms not to disrespect their culture or skimp on education. I think the Blackstones were a UK group who recorded at Studio One, but not entirely sure. Please note I have avoided googling them to bolster my credibility!

(Apparently this actually came out two weeks before the riots, so cue lots of “prophecy fulfil” type of talk… don’t call it a cash-in!)

4. Big Youth – London’s Burning

Mad Professor production – nice to see some legends stepping up but this isn’t my favourite by any means. Looking forward to checking the dub though!

5. Fresharda – 2011

Some contemporary dancehall, complete with vocoder! I actually quite like this – consciousness wins though I guess.

Dan Hancox linked to this from his ace Guardian piece, but I’ve included it here for completeness. I think Fresharda was probably first out of the blocks in terms of riot songs, but the lyrics are quite general so he may have had it in the can already…

6. King Hammond – Riot In London Town

And finally, the ridiculous King Hammond with a tune recorded in March. A perfect pastiche of 1969 Skinhead Reggae which gets huge points for namechecking Clissold Park, Stamford Hill and Manor House as well as many other London haunts. Well cheeky, this one makes me smile a lot.

Bubbling under

From the not quite as good, to the downright cringeworthy. Includes some jaw-droppingly bad lyrics, but also the occasional genius moment.

Incidentally, that old William Burroughs quote “riot sounds produce riots” – that’s been rendered a bit redundant in the era of 24 hour media overkill, hasn’t it? Old Bill reckoned a group of you could wander about with cassettes of riot noises playing and people would get so agitated that they would actually riot themselves. But everyone in the UK has now heard more riot sounds than they know what to do with on the telly, with mainly zero result.

In the more innocent days of 1989, some courageous souls tried out Burroughs’ idea every day at The Festival of Plagiarism in Glasgow, “with mixed results”.

I was up there, but the experiment was too early in the morning for me, so I missed my opportunity to see it all for myself, as did the wonderful people I was staying with. But this did have the unexpected bonus value of us all being slagged off by Stewart Home for being “bohemians”, the first and I think only time that word has been used in connection with me.

Grime responds to the riots: ‘They have to take us seriously’

Tottenham notes

There’s too much happening to make much sense of it all right now.  I’ll try to write about Hackney soon.

I mentioned the death of Mark Duggan, shot by police in Tottenham, in my last post.

Thursday

There have been mixed reports about the circumstances of his death. Rumours circulated that Duggan was shot whilst on the ground, execution style.

A “non-police issue handgun” was collected from the scene. The media reported that a bullet had lodged itself in a police radio. It now seems that this bullet may have originated in a police handgun. There has been a lot of discussion about how many shots were fired, and by whom.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been  quick to deny the “execution” allegation. They are promising a ballistics report on the incident very soon.

Saturday

On Saturday afternoon some friends and relatives of Mark staged a protest outside Tottenham Police Station. They wanted answers and didn’t get them. It has been suggested that a sixteen year old girl was batoned by the police and this lead to the subsequent riots.

Stafford Scott, Tottenham resident and community activist gives the background and wider context in this interview:

(transcript here)

Sunday

LONDON — As political and social protests grip the Middle East, are growing in Europe and a riot exploded in north London this weekend, here’s a sad truth, expressed by a Londoner when asked by a television reporter: Is rioting the correct way to express your discontent?

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

The TV reporter from Britain’s ITV had no response. So the young man pressed his advantage. “Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere.

[from NBC News]

Bars For Change: who polices the police?

I wrote quite a lot about UK policing earlier in the year in relation to the failure of policing (at best) that lead to the death of Smiley Culture. News about that case was always going to ebb and flow, not least because it is now in the bureaucratic hands of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

But… it was never just about Smiley Culture. Since Smiley’s death a number of other people have died in suspicious circumstances in police custody. Many questions are being asked about heavy handed policing at demonstrations against the austerity measures being introduced by the UK government to pay for the banking crisis. In recent weeks London’s Metropolitan Police have been implicated in the “Hackgate” News International scandal.

Jody McIntyre’s series of films touches on some of the issues, asking the right questions and making the right links. The first episode is above and includes involvement from Benjamin Zephaniah, Merlin Emanuel (both of who have lost family members in police custody) and victims of police crime. The soundtrack includes contributions from grime artists Ghetts, Logic, Mic Righteous and DVS. A future episode will deal with the coalition government’s budget cuts.

The terrible truth is that hard times can bring people together. Four years ago it would have been inconceivable that student protestors and grime artists would find common ground.

Things aren’t about to get any better – an “anarchist threat” is already being talked up by the Met in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, with predictably hilarious consequences.

More seriously, Mark Duggan was fatally shot by the police in Tottenham last night, about a mile away from where I am typing this. Unusually, the IPCC were on the scene within hours – perhaps as a result of the scrutiny they have found themselves under this year?