Protest Report: A Future That Doesn’t Work

Unison at the TUC march 20th October

Protestors at the TUC's "Future That Works" march

24hr General Strike in UK?

Tories OUT!

Protestors of all ages attended the march

Rally in Hyde Park

Disabled protesters out in large numbers as cuts hit the most vulnerable

We attended the TUC’s Future That Works rally in London at the weekend, to stand with those that oppose the Tories’ relentless austerity measures, and to take a few photos of what went on. Hampered by injuries and fatigue, we maybe weren’t pumped into our usual revolutionary fervor, but I couldn’t help but notice it wasn’t just us that seemed subdued. There can be no doubt that the turnout was good (estimates range from 100,000 to 250,000 participants), there was a lot of good drumming, placards and chants – but that’s where it seemed to end. It’s not that the mood was defeatist, it was more that the methods were conservative and the aims watered-down. While there were many calls for a General Strike amongst protesters on the street, there was little in the way of direct action, anger or real dissent. I’ve noticed that TUC rallies tend to me more populist and ‘middle-of-the-road’ than Occupy and UK Uncut et al, maybe necessarily so, but the real revolutionary contingent seemed missing this time around. What with Ed “One Nation Tory” Milliband speaking at the rally, with what basically amounted to a watered-down version of the Condem’s view on cutting the deficit, and a march that seemed more like a procession – it did appear that the movement had lost a little momentum, and was beginning to settle for ‘the lesser of two evils’.

This seems particularly strange in the current climate, as austerity begins to bite across the globe, with riots, general strikes and murmurs of revolutionary ideas beginning to appear in Greece and other European countries, my initial thought was maybe there just isn’t an appetite for that sort of conflict here in the UK.

But, on doing some reading when I got home, about what went on running up to the march on the 20th of October, it seems that the TUC were complicit in making the march as passive as possible. Read The TUC collaborate with the Met to sew up October 20 for more info on this. Further commentary on how the TUC handed the Met a list of 150 “violent activists” – from Libcom.org

If the trade unions are pushing to get Labour re-elected, and want to improve their image with the powers that be in order to do so, then this sort of conformity is to be expected, and their ‘Future that Works’ amounts to nothing more than ‘we’ll shut up for a promise of slightly less austerity’.

Another good post from Libcom.org, on the ‘state of the movement’ seems to confirm my suspicions that the right wing of the left was laying down the rules of engagement on the 20th of October. Read it here.

redeyewitness

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Putin Lights Up the Fires

New single from Pussy Riot

From The Guardian

The Pussy Riot Trial

Madonna in Moscow supporting Pussy Riot

I never thought I’d say this, but massive respect to Madonna for her stunt supporting Pussy Riot. People like Yoko Ono and Sting have made statements in support of the band and stuff, but only Madonna went to Russia personally and performed in front of a crowd of thousands of people with their name scrawled across her fucking back! I know she’s a master of cynically using controversy for her own publicity and everything, but fair play to her for this one – I just hope it makes sufficient impact. The fact that sentencing has been delayed may indicate that they are wavering under growing public support for Pussy Riot’s plight.

Madonna’s performance certainly seems to have offended the right people, with a Russian deputy Prime Minister (and former ambassador to NATO) tweeting “With age, every former slut tries to lecture everyone on morality” and a priest from the Russian Orthodox church urging believers to call in bomb threats to disrupt the gig! It sounds like they are clutching at straws to me. You can read more on this in The Guardian.

Pussy Riot’s closing statements yesterday took the form of a rousing speech against the authoritarian regime in Russia, leaving no doubt in my mind that these women are true freedom fighters and intelligent artists who have been demonized as part of a wider crackdown on dissent in the country.

Pussy Riot - Illegally held in custody

The closing statements from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in trial. 8 august 2012:

“Yesterday (on the 7th of August according to the website lenta.ru) Madonna’s performance took place. Madonna performed with the inscription “Pussy Riot” on her back. More and more people see that we are kept in pre-trial prison illegally and because of an absolutely false accusation. I am astounded by it. I am astounded by the fact that truth really triumphs over lies though we are physically here, in the cage. We are freer than all the people sitting opposite us on the side of the prosecution because we can say everything we want and we do it. As for the people from the side of the prosecution, they say only words passed by a political censor. They can’t say such words as “punk-prayer” and “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin!” They can’t say the lines from our punk-prayer that are related to the political system. They probably think that another reason why we are to be put into prison is our rebellion against Putin and his system. But they can’t say it because they are prohibited to do it. Their mouths are sewn. Unfortunately, they are just puppets at this trial. I hope they will realize it and will also head for freedom, truth and sincerity because all this is more important than static nature, affected decency and hypocrisy.

Because we don’t really have religious hatred, and never had it, our accusers have no choice but to resort to using a false witnesses. One of them – Motilda Ivashchenko -got ashamed and did not appear in court. And there is no more evidence of our hatred and enmity, in addition to this so-called expertise. Therefore, the court, if it would be honest and fair, must admit inadmissible evidence, due to the fact that this is not a rigorous scientific and objective text, rather dirty and mendacious piece of paper times of medieval inquisition.

Prosecution is ashamed to voice excerpts from lyrics by PussyRiot, because they are in fact the evidence of the lack of motive. I’ll present you this excerpt here, I think it’s very valuable. It’s from the interview for the “Russian Reporter” magazine, that was given on the next day after the performance in the Chuch of Jesus The Savior: “We feel great respect to any religion and to orthodoxy in particular, that’s why we’re so distressed about that, so great and so positive as it is, Christian Philosophy is being used in such a filthy way. Our brain is getting blown out by that all this beauty is being now used from the back. All of this is quite painful to observe.

14:47 In the end I’d like to quote one of the Pussy Riot’s songs, as if curiously enough all of them turned to be fateful. Including the one which says: “Head of the KGB, their major saint, guides the protesters to detention under escort”.

15:06 And what I’m going to quote right now is this very line: “Open all doors, take off your shoulder straps, feel the air of freedom with us”.”

Good luck Pussy Riot, you have our love and respect.

Free Pussy Riot Now!

Digital Amnesty

Operation Black March

Black March is coming…

black march

I’m a musician and DJ, I help to run a record label and have been involved in running live music events, promoting independent music and writing about it online for many years – I love music and the people that make it, but I don’t have much love for the music ‘industry’. Like most big business entertainment, the music biz leeches off the hard working and the talented, makes huge profits and routinely fucks over both the artist and the consumer.

Have a look at this link if you are still in any doubt about who this parasitic behemoth really benefits. It aint the musician.

These are the people that are lobbying governments worldwide to monitor online content, censor and remove websites they don’t like, and they support the introduction of draconian litigation such as the now infamous SOPA, PIPA and PCIPA bills, to defend their industry.

While I completely support the musician’s right to earn a living from their craft, clamping down on internet freedom is not the way to defend it. A free internet is vital for a free world. If governments and corporations have increased powers over internet content that freedom is threatened. The web is the most powerful tool we have for self-expression, inducing social change and for the dissemination of great art and music. We cannot allow these people to take that away from us.

This is why I support the Black March campaign.

Content Blocked

From the 1st of March 2012 to the 31st, we ask you not to buy any music, DVDs, computer games or books – don’t even torrent a song! Wait till the 1st of April and buy it then. No one will actually lose any money, but the visible dent in their profit margins for the first quarter will send a powerful message to the corporations and organisations that wish to push these online censorship measures. We can stop this going through. Wikipedia and others going dark last month, and the attacks by Anonymous have already made policy makers hesitate. If music consumers join the fray, they will have another powerful enemy. Vote with your wallet and support Black March – boycott the music industry next month.

Some of my friends have expressed concerns that this campaign will somehow hurt small labels and record stores, who of course have nothing to do with lobbying for increased control of internet content. My answer to this dilemma is very straightforward. Buy the music you would have bought in March now. And spend more again in April. Of course you should support the small businesses and record labels you respect. This isn’t about them. This about sending a message to the industry as a whole, the big distributors, the fat cats and to governments around the world. We will not tolerate internet censorship in any form.

If you care about online freedom, please get involved in this campaign. If you wish to see a fairer music industry, buy music directly from the artists and from small record shops. Fuck Universal. Fuck Disney. Fuck News Corporation. Fuck Sony Music Entertainment. Support freedom and creativity.

Sorry for the rant peeps! If you’ve read this far I salute you. Peace out.

Occupy Unmoved

Violence and Occupation

Police State Meme

The crackdown on the Occupy protesters in the US has been a violent, coordinated and federal attack on a largely peaceful, mainstream movement. Were they really that much of a threat to those in power?

Naomi Wolf writes in the Guardian on the shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

Very much worth a read, although I’m not as shocked, maybe, as she is. The Occupy movement is not just challenging the unregulated banking system and profiteers on Wall Street, it is challenging the right to excessive wealth in itself, it is effectively declaring war on the rich – and sadly, these bastards run the planet for their own profit, and historically, will gladly go to war to defend their vast fortunes against the rabble. The rich just struck first.