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Friday, November 29, 2013

Why is Anarchism so Beautiful?



The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation.

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime. What does society, as it exists today, know of the process of despair, the poverty, the horrors, the fearful struggle the human soul must pass on its way to crime and degradation. Who that knows this terrible process can fail to see the truth in these words of Peter Kropotkin:

"Those who will hold the balance between the benefits thus attributed to law and punishment and the degrading effect of the latter on humanity; those who will estimate the torrent of depravity poured abroad in human society by the informer, favored by the Judge even, and paid for in clinking cash by governments, under the pretext of aiding to unmask crime; those who will go within prison walls and there see what human beings become when deprived of liberty, when subjected to the care of brutal keepers, to coarse, cruel words, to a thousand stinging, piercing humiliations, will agree with us that the entire apparatus of prison and punishment is an abomination which ought to be brought to an end."

The deterrent influence of law on the lazy man is too absurd to merit consideration. If society were only relieved of the waste and expense of keeping a lazy class, and the equally great expense of the paraphernalia of protection this lazy class requires, the social tables would contain an abundance for all, including even the occasional lazy individual. Besides, it is well to consider that laziness results either from special privileges, or physical and mental abnormalities. Our present insane system of production fosters both, and the most astounding phenomenon is that people should want to work at all now. Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope.

From Emma Goldman, Anarchism: What it Really Stands For



For those who do not understand why black bloc activists use militant tactics to destroy the property of corporations: black bloc activists are not protesters! They are not out there to protest! They are out there to carry out direct action against symbols and mechanisms of oppression. Their actions are aimed at causing material damage against oppressive institutions.

However, even more importantly, they act with performative intent so as to illustrate dramatically that people have the power even when they're faced with the overwhelming force of a police state; that corporations and institutions are not as powerful as they would like to convince us, and when they try to deter us it's really in our hands to resist.

Since they insist on attacking us, let us challenge authority and subvert the order and the laws. This does not mean that we should abandon ethics, humanity, or quit supporting one another. These are vital lessons that people should remember now more than ever. The police blatantly disregard the rights of human beings. To them, people are only a docile mass, easily controlled and manipulated.

Most would agree that those in Power should fear the people, and apparently they have lost this healthy fear; thus militant activism is the effort to keep this threat alive—because conducting sit-ins and waving placards never will.

The more we forget we hold the power to rebel against anyone who tries to dominate us, the more they dominate us.



Jaydee performs an acoustic cover of Baby, I'm An Anarchist originally by Against Me!

This version of the song is the theme tune for The Circled A Radio Show hosted by Yodet Gherez which broadcasts every Tuesday 9pm on Resonance 104.4 FM and www.resonancefm.com.

Shot & Edited by Greg Hall for Broke But Making Films.

Graham Chapman on Peer Pressure - Do as you would be done by and think for yourself



Monologue from the late great Graham Chapman (of Monty Python fame). Televised in UK on November 16th, 1984.

Chapman’s entry is a remarkable blend of Pythonesque madness and brazenly unfiltered confessional of a type that utterly absent from, say, the Flying Circus run—nakedly autobiographical was the one thing the Circus never was. As a result, Chapman’s Opinions piece, from the viewpoint of 2013, feels distinctly modern. In tone, It’s not far off from one of Stephen Colbert’s “The Word” segments, although far more dangerous in more or less dispensing with the use of a “persona” outright.

Similar to a TED Talk in length and scope, Chapman dedicates his allotted time to a discussion of the role of peer pressure in fueling overpopulation—the subject is a clear proxy for a subject close to Chapman’s heart, the feelings of alienation that a gay man experiences; Chapman alludes to this aspect a couple of times directly, as does the voiceover intro. Watching it, you have the distinct feeling of Chapman finally getting something off his chest, and at times his actorly anger seems entirely synonymous with his own actual anger—the contempt and pain that mention of his “neighbors” elicits seems wholly unfeigned. In the years of Thatcher and AIDS, such a talk must have seemed bold indeed. Towards the end of the program, Chapman talks quite frankly about sex, links repression and substance abuse, and even addresses the proper attitude towards death.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Paris was a Woman - Bohemian Women in Paris in the 1920s


The Left Bank of Paris is a notorious bohemian hot-spot where some of the world's greatest artists and intellectuals found a haven in which to freely express themselves. Though traditional chronicles have focused on the illustrious men who lived there, this British documentary from 1996 looks at some of the women who lived there including Gertrude Stein and her lover Alice B. Toklas,publishers Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, painter Romaine Brooks, and Natalie Barney. Many of their stories are told with archival film clips coupled with modern interviews. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide From the late nineteenth century until World War II, Paris was a center of sexual freedom and same-sex sexual cultures. Lesbian American and European expatriates and France's own lesbian writers and artists created a Bohemian social, sexual, and creative milieu that makes this time and place unique in the history of lesbian culture. Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), an accomplished American photographer famous for her New York cityscapes, made memorable images of gay men and lesbians in Paris in the 1920s. Margaret Anderson (1886-1973) is best known as the editor of The Little Review in which she published some of the most important writers of the early twentieth century. Following a conviction for obscenity in the United States, Anderson spent much of the 1920s in Paris. Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was a writer who sought new forms of lesbian self-representation in her novels. Her Ladies Almanack (1928) playfully satirizes the lesbian culture she experienced while living in Paris during the 1920s. Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972), an American-born poet, memoirist, and epigrammatist, moved to Paris permanently in 1920. She established an influential literary salon that lasted more than fifty years, and documented her encounters with gay and lesbian writers she met there in two well-regarded memoirs. Sylvia Beach (1887-1962) was an American-born editor who founded Shakespeare and Company, a Parisian bookshop that had a significant impact on modern literature. Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) may have been the greatest teacher of musical composition in the twentieth century. Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem, and Aaron Copland were among the hundreds of students who came to her tiny Paris studio. Romaine Brooks (1874-1970) was an American expatriate artist whose life-sized female nudes and portraits of cross-dressed women made her lesbian identity and desire visible to the world. Claude Cahun (1894-1954), a French photographer, photo collagist, writer, and translator, photographed several noted lesbian expatriates in Paris. Colette (1873-1954) is one of France's most beloved writers. Her work includes a frank study of sexuality entitled The Pure and the Impure (1932), which addresses a broad range of sexual inclinations. Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was an American-born novelist, translator, and journalist best known for her fortnightly "Letter from Paris," which she wrote for the New Yorker from 1925 to 1975. Gisèle Freund (1908?-2000), an accomplished photojournalist, is best remembered as a chronicler of the vibrant Bohemian community of writers and artists in Paris during the 1930s. Agnes Noyes Goodsir (1864-1939) was an Australian painter who became part of the legendary lesbian scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s; her portraits of women have an erotic and radical edge.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Golden Age of Piracy: Terror at Sea (BBC Documentary)


Piracy is typically an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). The term has been used throughout history to refer to raids across land borders by non-state agents.

Piracy is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and also the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of States. It is distinguished from privateering, which is authorized by national authorities and therefore a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors. Privateering is considered commerce raiding, and was outlawed by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) for signatories to those treaties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. Historically, offenders have usually been apprehended by military personnel and tried by military tribunals.In the 21st century, the international community is facing many problems in bringing pirates to justice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

William S. Burroughs "The Bunker"



Set in William S. Burrough's New York City apartment, the Bunker, this experimental film mixes images and audio of the nuclear holocaust from Hiroshima, Burroughs, and real confessions. Format: NTSC / 24p / HDV 1080i / Color / 7 minutes. Film by Ram Devineni

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doris Lessing Speaks on the Sufi Way



Doris Lessing reading from her 1971 article, "An Ancient Way to New Freedom".

Thursday, November 14, 2013

If... (1968)


Lindsay Anderson’s If…. is a daringly anarchic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior in the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.

In an indictment of the British public school system, we follow Mick and his mostly younger friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse as any fond feelings toward these schools are destroyed. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark. 

The Day Of The Triffids Full Movie 1962



The Day of the Triffids is a 1962 British film based on the science fiction novel of the same name by John Wyndham. It was directed by Steve Sekely, and Howard Keel played the central character, Bill Masen. The movie was filmed in colour with monaural sound and ran for 93 minutes.

Triffids are plants. They are able to uproot themselves and walk, possess a deadly whipping poisonous sting, and may even have the ability to communicate with each other. On screen they vaguely resemble gigantic asparagus shoots topped with a flower-like 'head' which houses a whip-like, venomous stinger, and that resembles a Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid.

Bill Masen (Howard Keel), a merchant navy officer, is lying in a hospital bed with his eyes bandaged. He discovers that while he has been waiting for his accident-damaged eyes to heal, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Once he leaves the hospital, Masen finds people all over London struggling to stay alive in the face of their new affliction. Some survive by cooperating while others simply fight, but it is apparent that after just a few days society is collapsing.

He rescues a school girl, Susan (Janina Faye), from a crashed train. They leave London and head for France. They find refuge at a chateau, but when it is attacked by sighted prisoners they are again forced to escape. The Triffid population continues to grow, feeding on people and animals. Meanwhile, on a coastal island, Tom Goodwin (Kieron Moore), a flawed but gifted scientist, and his wife Karen (Janette Scott) battle the plants as he searches for a way to beat them.

The film retained some basic plot elements from Wyndham's novel, but it was not a particularly faithful adaptation. "It strays significantly and unnecessarily from the book and is less well regarded than the BBC's intelligent (if dated) 1981 TV serial." Unlike the novel, the Triffids arrive as spores in an earlier meteor shower, and some of the action is moved to Spain. Most seriously, it supplies a simplistic solution to the Triffid problem: salt water dissolves them, and "the world was saved". This different ending appears to be closer to the ending of The War of the Worlds than Wyndham's novel, as the invading aliens succumb to a common product of Earth (as the Martians died of bacteria) and both end with a religious tone. This ending was also used to similar effect in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Michel Foucault Beyond Good and Evil (1993)



Michel Foucault: Beyond Good and Evil, director David Stewart’s superb 1993 portrait of the social theorist of power in history manages to squeeze a lot of information into its short 42 minutes and provides a pretty adequate introduction to Foucault’s life and work.

Foucault’s acid trip at Zabriskie Point watching the sun set over Death Valley listening to Stockhausen (which the philosopher described as the greatest experience of his life) is recreated, as is a 1947 performance of Antonin Artaud’s Theatre Of Cruelty. Foucault’s drug use, his participation in the sadomasochistic San Francisco leather scene and death from AIDS in 1984 at the age of 57 are also covered.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Luis Buñuel directs Robinson Crusoe 1954 Las Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe


Robinson Crusoe (Spanish: Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe; also known as Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) is a 1954 film by director Luis Buñuel, based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Both English and Spanish versions were produced. Lead actor Dan O'Herlihy, playing Crusoe, was nominated for the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor.

Robinson Crusoe (Dan O'Herlihy), a third son with few prospects, goes to sea against his father's wishes. On a voyage from Brazil to Africa to collect slaves, a storm forces him to abandon ship. He swims alone to a deserted island somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on September 30, 1659.

To his delight, the abandoned ship turns up on an offshore rock, allowing him to salvage food, tools, firearms and other items before it sinks. He herds goats, hunts game, makes clothes, and builds a home, with only the company of the dog Rex and the cat Sam, fellow castaways. Crusoe lets Sam and her kittens run wild. When Rex dies of old age in 1673, Crusoe nearly goes insane from loneliness.

After 18 years, Crusoe discovers that cannibals are visiting his island with their victims. The next time he spots them with his telescope, he sees a prisoner (Jaime Fernández) make a break for it, pursued by two cannibals. He knocks out one and shoots the other; when the first one regains consciousness, the escapee kills him. Crusoe takes the man back to his stockade.

He names him Friday (after the day of the week on which they met). Crusoe teaches him English and Western customs, and turns Friday into a servant. Crusoe does not trust him at first, believing Friday to also be a cannibal who would kill him if given the chance. He builds a door to the cave in which he takes to sleeping. When Friday enters without permission late one night to get an axe, Crusoe puts leg irons on him. The next day, however, Crusoe relents and takes them off. He comes to trust his new companion completely.

After 28 years, Friday saves Crusoe from a cannibal sneaking up behind him. Seeing a large group, they flee back to their stockade. The cannibals, however, are driven off by white men with guns. Captain Oberzo (Felipe de Alba) and his bosun (Chel López) are the victims of a mutiny; the mutineers have landed to get fresh water and to maroon the two. Crusoe and Friday rescue the men and get away undetected. Friday then goes to the leader of the mutiny (Emilio Garibay), offering him a basket of fruit, but the mutineers are more interested in the necklace of gold coins (salvaged from Crusoe's ship) he is wearing. Friday leads the greedy men to the stockade. There, Crusoe, Friday, Oberzo, and the bosun capture them. Oberzo regains control of his ship. At Crusoe's suggestion, Oberzo agrees to let the mutineers remain on the island. Crusoe leaves them his tools and instructions on how to survive.

Crusoe leaves for home with Friday, having spent 28 years, two months, and 19 days on the island.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Page of Madness (1926)



A Page of Madness is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankaku-ha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka.

The film takes place in an asylum. Although cut together in an ever maddening maelstrom, the film loosely tells the story of the janitor of the asylum. His wife is one of the patients. One day their daughter shows up at the asylum to tell her mother about her engagement. This sets off a number of subplots and flashbacks which stitch together the family history (for instance, why the mother is a patient and why the daughter is unaware of her father's job as a janitor).

The film does not contain intertitles, making it difficult to follow for audiences today. The print existing today is missing nearly a third of what was shown in theaters in 1926. Showings in 1920s Japan would have included live narration by a storyteller or benshi (弁士) as well as musical accompaniment. The famous benshi Musei Tokugawa narrated the film at the Musashinokan theater in Shinjuku in Tokyo.

Eiko Minami in A Page of Madness.