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Category Archives: war
10.09.2011 10:49For immediate release:
Protesters confront battleships en route to world’s largest arms fairHMS Dauntless is Daunted
Today, warships en route to the world’s largest arms fair were disrupted by protesters angry at a trade that inflicts untold misery and death across the planet. Protesters, including locals, manoeuvred six kayaks in front of the ships to prevent them gaining access to Royal Victoria Dock.
At a time of austerity and government cuts, East London will be hosting Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi) from 13th – 16th September, with much of the cost borne by the taxpayer.
Every 2 years the ExCeL centre in London’s dockyards welcomes dictators, arms dealers and suspected war criminals in an attempt to persuade them to buy British weaponry. Many of the weapons used by dictators to kill demonstrators during the Arab spring were procured from DSEi exhibitors.
This year DSEi falls on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. It is worth remembering that (according to the British Medical Journal) nearly 400,000 people die every year from armed conflict.
A spokesperson for Disarm DSEi stated “The same politicians that shed crocodile tears for the 9/11 victims are fuelling the fires of war and armed conflict around the world. It is up to ordinary people to intervene to stop the obscene traffic in arms. DSEi, the world’s largest arms fair, must be stopped.”
This is just one action in a concerted campaign. Protesters have vowed to disrupt DSEi throughout the week, including a day of action on the 13th to blockade the DLR and prevent delegates attending the event.For further information and pictures contact – 07592 769 907 or 07415 810 637
Notes for Editors:Several warships will form part of this year’s DSEi – hosting receptions and showcasing military technology, including HMS Dauntless, the pride of the British Navy.
Over 1200 arms companies will be selling their wares to 25,000 buyers from around the world, including military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive, human rights abusing regimes.
DSEi is held in Newham, one of London’s most impoverished boroughs. Whilst the government has subsidised DSEi by £320,000 and paid up to £4million for policing, Newham council are being forced to cut
£116 million from their budget over the next four years.
For years leading up to the “Arab Spring”, arms companies have exported equipment to the regimes which are now being condemned by governments rapidly backtracking on their support. A report issued in April this year confirmed that since 2009 the UK have exported components for military helicopters to Algeria, sub-machine guns and tear gas to Bahrain, machine guns to Egypt and hand grenades to Jordan. British defence contractors have also sold small arms ammunition to Syria, hand grenades, sniper rifles and tear gas to Saudi Arabia and shotguns to Morocco.
Stop the world’s largest arms fair!Photos of Kayaks vs The Dauntless here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67368949@N04/
The University is the last uneasy comfortable place that is not yet in 100% total denial of the white supremacist neo-imperialist war-mongering social privilege and violence that is, frankly, the condition of the whole of Western capital, the ruling class State, and its many comprador clients, including, of course, the University itself (approx 2% of 100 makes the total pretty thin). The circular sentence and bad math does not mean anything is ok. Everywhere else there is also denial, but perhaps the ongoing complicity of the critic is the most jarring. That said, I don’t think giving up the possibility of teaching jar-heads a critique of everything is the best next move. A ruthless critique of everything that exists, said Marx, in his famous Letter to the Rube. Where else will those one day a year adventurers (two days this year already, stop and admire) get their fill or fillip and citation to carry to the afterparty?
I am waiting to hear more of the anti-war movement. The raids on Libya continue unabated. The French are arming the Rebels, from whom we hear less and less. Britain’s Apache attack helicopters raid the city. Saudi Police snipers are UK-trained with a ‘it will save lives’ rationale. A vast war apparatus at home services the military effort – a cultural industry itself – worse than Mother Courage in Brecht’s old play, selling her kids to service the troops – ‘war will find a way’, and for 30 years the battle for the Holy Roman Empire rages. The present war effort for Empire stalls in Afghanistan, and Iraq is a twisted failed and abandoned building site. Yet more and more money is ploughed into the profit making venture of arms sales and the reckless escalations are bantered palab katakata style by William Hague in the Parliament, while the so-called opposition leadership of Millibrand can only gurn and insult. The burning issue (ouch!) that will only be glossed as an inconvenience to parents when the teachers defend their pensions is as far from an adequate politics that can win as chalk is to cheese-sticks.
Having the assassination cheer squads on heavy rotation on the Jingo channel (BBC news) is embarrassing us all. No critical voice yet on tv, as far as I’ve seen. Worse than the Saddam execution on the Hanging Channel. Who needs media critique when they cartoon it up so bad by themselves? And to think that the rest of the election campaign just inaugurated is gonna be built up on this four-fronts-war led by the Geronimo-killer Kool-aid seller. Thank Obiwan for Jodi Dean, who can at least think past the ‘barbarous variant’ of ‘capitalist anarcho-fascism’:
Cheerleaders, chants, and beach balls are barbaric responses to the announcement of a political assassination.
Political assassination is not an act of justice. It does not bring about justice in some kind of cosmic tit for tat. It is not the doing of justice. Justice is not done when another is killed in retaliation.
Retaliation, retribution, revenge–are these now the common terms through which justice is understood in the US? Do we think that victims are avenged when their assailant is killed? The victims are still dead, still gone, still mourned. Are they brought back in the acts of terror, torture, and imprisonment enacted in their name? Are they memorialized daily in airports as we take off our belts and shoes, as we put our hand behind are heads, spread-eagled, and searched, as we are x-rayed and scanned?
For a moment, the twenty minutes or so when the intertubes were alive with the news and before the president spoke, I felt something–something like relief, the sense of an end, perhaps even hope. It was, I think, the anticipation of an end to the disaster of the last ten years of ritualized humiliation, electronically stimulated fear, widespread surveillance, and the enjoyment of camps and torture.
The television media quickly made it clear that this sort of anticipation has no place: the war on terrorism is endless, total. It won’t stop. We are not the same people. We have been reconfigured in a massive psycho-political experiment in transforming democracy into fascism, or a new barbarous variant of fascism, capitalist anarcho-fascism.
We are now the sort of people who cheer for death and murder, who repeat mindless lies, who glory in inequality–not bread and circuses but cheetos and reality tv. Everything is a game, yet we don’t even recognize the levels on which it is played, the levels on which we aren’t players at all but the targets captured or shot as the real players, hot shots, move on up.
Can we glimpse post-terrorism? Can we use it as an opening to something else, a focus not on war but on global capitalist exploitation? Can it be a chance to remake the decade’s choice for barbarism into a new choice for socialism?
|Join the protest: Saturday 14 May
12 noon opposite Downing Street
Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Palestinian Forum in Britain
|Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, UNITE the Union, University & College Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun|
|Support the Freedom Flotilla: Follow‘Britain 2 Gaza’ on Facebook or@britain2gaza on Twitter|
|To sign the petition to end the siege click here.|
|Join the PSC:www.palestinecampaign.org|
|‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’
— Nelson Mandela
|PSC is campaigning to end the siege on Gaza, is demanding that the right of Palestinian self-determination is respected, and that Palestinians finally achieve freedom, peace and justice. Together, we can change the future. Join the PSC today!|
Memorandum to the Malaysian Defence Minister
By Malaysian NGOs on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending,
April 12, 2011
In 2009 alone, global military spending rose to an all-time high amount of $1.53 TRILLION! Because we encounter countless crises in today’s world -poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor health care, and environmental issues – it is essential that we come together and create a global movement focusing on what IS important: human lives and their needs. It really is up to us… if not, then who? But we must act NOW!
A Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12, 2011 has been organized to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. On this day, people on all continents will join together in joint actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.
Join us in this historic Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This day of action has been coordinated by:
The International Peace Bureau (IPB), dedicated to the vision of a World without War. IPB are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of its officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. They have 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Their current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. They work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.
Statement by Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending, 12 April 2011
Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively. The Education Minister said recently that 600 schools in the country are in critical condition, most of these in East Malaysia.
The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating.
In 1997, Malaysia was described as one of “East Asia’s Big Eight” countries devoting “lavish resources” to develop its military industries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that these countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia – were enhancing their capabilities in military organization, arms purchases, and military industrialization.
Malaysia’s rivalry with Singapore springs not from ideological differences but from the latter’s forced separation from the Malaysian federation in 1965, after a crisis emanating from the racial politics of their ruling classes. From this rivalry we can see how the ensuing arms race has burdened the peoples in the two countries with billions in arms spending.
Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”. Today we have seen the growth of such a complex in many countries, including Malaysia. An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries.
It is clear that the BN Government could get away with such huge defence budgets during the last few decades because of the erosion of these safeguards in our democratic system, viz. dominance of the executive over parliament; loss of public accountability; absence of Freedom of Information legislation; inadequate separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary; poor safeguards for civil rights. The National Defence Policy is as good as giving a carte blanche to the Ministry of Defence for “deterrence and forward defence”.
The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.
Disarmament must ultimately be inclusive of all the nations within ASEAN. The peoples in ASEAN deserve a better quality of life compared to the status quo which is committed to an irrational arms race among the ASEAN countries themselves and deprives their peoples of valuable resources for social development.
Minimising the defence budget in Malaysia and throughout ASEAN can free more valuable resources into urgently needed social services and socially useful production. Wasting money on arms prevents it from being spent on health, education, clean water or other public services. It also distorts the economy and diverts resources, such as skilled labour and R&D away from alternative economic activity.
Leaders have the responsibility to initiate that fundamental change and involving everyone in that peace-building process. It involves overcoming the fears, prejudices and other contradictions that give rise to misunderstanding, violence and conflict. It involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms to the social well-being of all our peoples.
Facilitating greater democracy in our society also creates a culture of peace since the more that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the running of their society and the freedom to express their aspirations and criticisms, the less likely are they to take up arms to overthrow the government.
To achieve a culture of peace would require a profound reformation but reform we must. Cooperating in shared goals and nurturing positive interdependence can help to build this culture of peace. A culture of peace should be our nation’s vision. It is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights. It is an environment that can settle conflict and differences through dialogue and democracy and not through threats and repression.
Social change will only happen when the people are mobilised in a movement for peace. Only such a movement and consciousness can divert the billions spent on unnecessary and wasteful armaments to peaceful and socially useful production. Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending have a responsibility for initiating this movement.
CIVILIANS FOR PEACE
7th April, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BRITISH PEACE DELEGATION HEADS FOR LIBYA TO CALL FOR AN END TO THE KILLING
LONDON – ENGLAND A twenty-five person peace delegation made up of academics, lawyers, journalists and
professionals will be departing for Libya on 9th April, to call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and an end to all hostilities. This is the first half of a two stage process that will involve reconciliation talks with tribal leaders, government officials and key opposition fig- ures.
After almost three weeks of continual bombing by Coalition forces and heavy fighting in key cities, countless civilians have lost their lives and there appears to be no end in sight to the untold suffering of the people. An immediate end to the conflict and the protection of civilian lives is the aim of this mission.
The Civilians for Peace Delegation will be meeting with key officials and parties to the conflict and calling for:
1. An immediate ceasefire and an end to hostilities from all sides, including NATO. 2. Immediate peace talks between representatives of government and the opposition. 3. Fair and honest arbitration between the opposing forces. 4. The immediate positioning of credible and impartial International Observers to monitor a possible ceasefire. 5. Humanitarian corridors to provide Medical assistance, food and water to civilians in the affected areas.
In addition, the Civilians for Peace delegation will be calling on the African Union to take a lead role in arbitrating peace and for the United Nations to call an immediate meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Libyan situation and the broadening crisis in the region.
The delegation will be leaving on Saturday 9th April @ 5.45pm from Terminal 4, Heathrow Airport. There will be a press statement made from Terminal 4 @ 2.30pm and members of the public are encouraged to attend and to support the delegation.
As we watch appalled as the UN decides to declare war with No Fly Zone and more, this is the onward march into the new crusades on the part of David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron. With his arms-trader interest in weapons sales and colonial intervention as a sideshow, he can secure his ‘legacy’ with the every-leader-must-have-one bespoke middle east war. Its clearly not just daft daft daft, its criminal – and it worked out so well for his twin Thatcherite brother Bliar. Both of a type…
so, as we watch this car crash unfold…
…a reminder to read the Vijay Prashad piece on Ghadafi in The Paper.
Write me for actual paper copies while they last.
Note with contempt and scorn the efforts of the British Prime Minister to appear relaxed walking through Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the way to his important gloat over the first Gulf War, accompanying his arms-trader mates heading to a Lords-of-War fest in Abu Dhabi. View the PMs itinerary in the context of over a thousand UK weapons and ‘defense’ contracts signed in Kuwait since 2003, and recall that it was US tear gas used recently against protesters in Egypt, and that Libya’s Colonel was so recently embraced by Blair, Obama and, no surprise given the Pretorian angle, Berlusconi. Be amazed, but understand that with the current apoplectic convulsions of the Western elite vis a vis the people’s uprisings across the world – of course the right, just and timely thing to do now is visit a weapons sales conference! The consequences of the financial crisis, banking bailout and housing mortgage collapse means repressive gun-belt-tightening cut-backs at home, but it also entails a frantic drive for quick fire investment in unstable markets. Its an old play called cowboy capitalism, and the infamous likes of Halliburton, Blackwater (now Xe) and Aegis (formerly Sandline), are joined by the PMs own arms-’trade delegation’ that includes manufacturers of attack planes, Riot control vehicles and CS gas, armaments and other radar, surveillance and secret ops specialists. Alongside Cameron on the trip are decorated scions such as: Ian King of BAE Systems; Charles Hughes, of defense/security service communications systems specialist and top 100 defense contractor, the Cobham Group; Douglas Castner of Ultra Electronics Airborne bomber designers with radio communications interests; and the managing director of military ‘nuclear market leader’ Babcock International, and more. Yes, of course these are the travelling companions you want with you when you head into Kuwait to commemorate 20 years of war with Iraq. Along the way, the discussion must turn to the volatile oil price, which bucks and trends with more than a little in-flight turbulence. What was conceived in one crisis plays out as a scramble for contracts during another – and the alibi of meeting a few ‘genuinely inspiring’ people who ‘have risked a lot for what they believe in’ while flanked by dodgy security grunts in Tahrir only reinforces the disingenuous hypocrisy of a man who believes in nothing but the short-term advantage for his gunslinger mates. If any tyrannical regime needs urgently to be defeated and changed, it is the ongoing market imperialism of the British Arms Industry, financed by bank bailouts and opportunist-militarist sales-talk even amidst cuts and crisis. These travellers should be kicked off the plane, the plane should be refused reentry and ditched, the PM dumped at sea. We need a Tahrir of our own, and it surely starts in Parliament Square SW1. -TW.
This is the documentary to watch, harrowing stuff, do not put an axe through your screen – though it may seem to suggest you need to do this.
watch the video here: http://svt.se/embededflash/2258254/play.swf
Apparently this vid version is only going to be up till January or so.
A search engine for wikileaks would of course be handy and lo and behold: But apparently the searches are a bit ‘hit and miss’. Nevertheless, developing search engines for the leaks is clearly good – the issue will be algorithmic I suppose as the volume of leaked pages rises… do add more search options as you find them:
Wikileaks ‘Cablegate’ search engine: http://cablesearch.org/
RELEASE ASSANGE – Letter to the Australian High Commissioner London to be delivered Mon D13 (original location here)
Australians in UK for Immediate Release of Julian Assange, 12.12.2010 17:07
*If you are an Australian based in UK, or presently travelling through,
and wish to sign this letter.
Make contact through…..releasejulianassange at gmail.com Ph.079 392 90 576
**This letter will be hand delivered to the Australian Embassy, London, Monday December 13th. 2010.
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
London WC2B 4LA
Dear Mr Dauth,
We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange?s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.
Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to the presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.
We welcome the Government?s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange?s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him ?all appropriate consular assistance.?
We learn from an Australian Government website that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange ?is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.? UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange?s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.
May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange ?has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers? and to do so ?without interference by public authority.?
Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be ?presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law? and to be given a fair trial.
As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm to an Australian citizen outside
Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.
In light of the above, we, the undersigned:
1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange?s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.
2. Call on the Gillard Government to robustly defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.
3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.
4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.
We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.
 ?Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas? ( http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)
 Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.
 ECHR, Art. 10(1)
 ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere
 Including ?harm to a person?s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;? and conduct that ?endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person?s life? (s146)
Sincerely, your compatriots,
- John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia) http://www.johnpilger.com/
- Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
- Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics,
Goldsmiths University of London.
- Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) concerned citizen.
- Ciaron O’Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
- Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) musician “Lovers Electric”.
- David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), musician “Lovers Electric”.
- Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) classical musician.
- David Warburton (from Adelaid, Australia), Coffee Brewster
- Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
- John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths Univrsity of London.
- Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
- Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
Ben Watson is pretty much on the money here when he writes (in an antidote to most of the half-digested theory and rad-posturing drivel written about war and music of late):
Edgard Varèse brought the noise of sirens and bombs into music in the 1920s, a response to the terrors of World War I. His Hyperprism predicted the Nazi strategy of the Blitz, when civilian populations first became long-distant targets of military hardware. Unlike his ‘objectivist’ follower Iannis Xenakis, Varèse bent the shapes he heard into organic ovaloids which speak for the suffering ear. This is why, of all the pre-war orchestral composers, only Varèse has a non-salon, yet humanist ruggedness: a realism that moves the blood and shakes the entrails. Sonically, Varèse can stand comparison to Coltrane and Hendrix, who provided lasting testimonials to a different noise: a struggle against racial oppression in America and genocidal war in Vietnam.
THE TIME TO GO FROM AFGHANISTAN IS NOW
National Demonstration • Afghanistan: Time to Go
Saturday 20 November • Assemble 12 Noon
Speakers’ Corner • Hyde Park • London
Called by: Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, British Muslim Initiative. Supported by: War on Want, UNITE the union, University and College Union, Pax Christi, Islamic Forum of Europe, The Cordoba Foundation and Friends of Al Aqsa
Speakers will include Tony Benn, Eric Joyce MP, Guardian journalist Seumas Milne, rap artist Lowkey, human rights’ lawyer Phil Shiner and academic Terry Eagleton (more to be announced soon).
Defend the democratic right to protest
We will defy the ban on the demonstration assembling at Speakers’ Corner.
More details and how to complain here…
The war in Afghanistan has entered its tenth year, making it longer than World War I and World War II combined. Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband support continuing the war, at least till 2015. Thousands more Afghan civilians and Nato soldiers will be killed in a pointless and unwinnable war, when over 70 per cent of the British public want all British troops withdrawn now. Join this crucial demonstration which will give voice to the anti-war majority in the country and tell the politicians the time to go is now.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Call 0207 801 2768 or email office[at]stopwar.org.uk
1. Volunteer. Everyone can make a difference. Volunteers are needed to prepare for the demonstration.
2. Publicise in your neighbourhood. Publicity for the demonstration should be visible in every city, borough, town and village. Posters, flyers and stickers are available to use now from the Stop the War office.
3. Get involved with a local Stop the War group. In towns and cities around the country, local groups are booking transport, organising meetings, leafletting and campaigning to mobilise the widest possible support. Contact the Stop the War office for details of a group in your area.
4. Spread the word online. Online media can reach millions. Use Facebook, Twitter, your email, website, blog etc. Our online resources page has banners, images, Facebook and Twitter avatars, counters etc.
5. Donate. Demonstrations come with a price tag. Help make this one a success – donate to Stop the War Coalition.
Steve Goodman’s book Sonic Warfare (2010) is full of interest and a vibrant new language for making sense of the sonic politics and affect – perhaps we should/must say attention – economies of contemporary capitalism. It also offers a useful note of prudence for those who too readily celebrate the sonic underground as opposition. ‘Global ghettotech’ is the agential site of an important potential, it remains to see whether Kode9 or the role of lecturer carries the day. I am not able to judge the inner dynamic of bass stylings over against scholarly erudition, but I have enjoyed much of the book. Especially so, where the discussion at the end takes up the thematic of piracy, just where perhaps the questions of solidarity and Party organization might have been placed in another kind of analysis. Nevertheless, as I prepare for a different kind of party tonight – at the Black Flag anarchist branded drinking house alongside Goldsmiths – Goodman’s examination of the pirate metaphor for business deserves a listen.
‘piracy… some commentators have noted … has become just another business model. When the most banal popular music is simultaneously mobilized as a weapon of torture, it is clear that sonic culture has reached a strange conjuncture within its deepening immersion into the environments of the military-entertainment complex’ (Goodman 2010:190)
The proposal Goodman has in mind here is the suggestion by Matt Mason that we think of piracy as the business model of choice for late capitalism (he means very late capitalism). This argument, more fully manifest in The Pirate’s Dilemma, sounds to me as if it is a logical extension of the capacity if Capital to adapt to hybridity by hybridizing itself. We have head this routine before. Romantic attachment to the newest so-called innovations of expanding capital has a pedigree as old as capital itself. Not for nothing was old beardo sticking it to the bourgeois professors who deserved nothing less.
Today, the attention economy is the pedestrian versioning of an explanation for hybrid or pirate capital, a development perhaps advancing on the neo-liberal parrot-talk of accellerationism and speed fetishism, but still unable to provide a diagnostic adequate to an opposition that could win. Insert details of Mao’s Party programme here/disregarding any disconnect consequent of the Badiou and Žižek auto-poetic personality cult (see the comradely love-letter to SZ at the end of Badiou’s latest Communist Hypothesis 2010).
Piracy of the creative high-seas low-fees kind is of course the navigation beta chart of future commerce lanes.
Indebted to Mike Davis’s problematic books Ecology of Fear and Planet of Slums, Goodman is at least full of interesting detail when he links pirate radio, pirate media, online file sharing, and ‘ubiquitous, decentralized insurgency networks such as al Qaeda under the slogan ‘piracy funds terrorism’, deciding that ‘the early-twenty-first century is a strange time to be an audio pirate’ (Goodman 2010:179). But this is a broad and abstracting brush nevertheless. The trouble with the import of Davis’s ideas on slums and cities is the undifferentiated mass flow perspective of the source commentator – like Žižek’s gloss on the slum as well, there is no nuance of distinction – the mass remain a mass of the old type, or even less organized. Hardt and Negri’s multitude are waiting in the wings and all we are left of wonder from afar at the coming conflagration. The migration of the ghetto-tech massive is celebrated as a threatening mutation of the global nervous system, a ‘rhythmachinic takeover of space-time’ (Goodman 2010:173) but not much more. Where this is dangerous is that there is an elevation of the commentary over the participation – the cult status of the DJ over the crowd, the named glory of the author is not far away. Badiou proclaims himself the last Maoist in France – a frankly Quixotic gesture. Davis does about the same for L.A. The real ecology of fear is, I think, a guilty anxiety of those intellectuals interpreting, while also wanting but unable to organize, that greater mass of those who will change the world. What we get here is a strangely familiar distanciation of the commentary, which of course then is readily lined up to do duty for the transformation and restoration of a new mode of capital.
‘Youth culture has reinvented, or rejuvenated, capitalism to the point that piracy has now become just another business model, a mutation from subversive cultural weapon to business plan; the situationist projection of art into the everyday becomes merely branding’ (Goodman 2010:181)
It is to Goodman’s credit that he is fully alert to these dangers: ‘sonic war machines’ he says, ‘may emerge out of turbulent, underdeveloped urban ecologies, but their bottom-up nature does not in itself constitute an index of a moral or political higher ground. Caution should be shown … in celebrating the pirate economies of music cultures’ (Goodman 2010:194).
The caution here should be about whether or not we trust the rendering of youth culture mouthed by the academy (including ventriloquist exhibit a: yours truly). A similar note of caution might be useful for all those scrapping around for a metaphor or a diagnostic code for making sense of the new war economy attention and acceleration hype of hybridized mutant youth digital sonic shared p2p capital2.0 today. To coin the terminology of appreciation is still merely to coin – that is, to offer up a market coding currency to those that will thrive on the ideological mismatch of critical commentary and institutional stasis. New formations of the eversame do not move us towards an alternative to capital; only joining the mobilization of the ghettotech troop surge, the creation and mobilization of the people’s army, can.
Badiou, Alain 2010 The Communist Hypothesis London: Verso.
Davis, Mike 1999 The Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster New York: Vintage.
Davis, Mike 2005 Planet of Slums London: Verso.
Goodman, Steve 2010 Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect and the Ecology of Fear Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Masson, Matt 2008 The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism New York: Free Press.
Dragnets of London (for Raul).
I was on my way home on the number 436 to Lewisham recently when a woman did something I thought was both impressive and unusual – she spoke out against the delay caused by the 20 police who had boarded our bus. She scolded them for wasting her time and for picking on certain passengers that, she said, should be left in peace to get on with their travel.
We have become accustomed to these all-too frequent Metropolitan Police (MET) dragnet style interruptions. Such hold-ups are now quite common in my part of London, a predominantly black suburb, where ticket checks are used as a cover for an immigration shakedown – itself justified as part of anti-terror vigilance. I watched the police officers explain to the woman, in escalating aggressive tones, that her demand to know why the bus was being delayed was misplaced because officers were ‘assaulted every day by people without tickets’. This seems a strange and disproportionate response to a legitimate query from a member of the public. Travelling in a uniformed strength-in-numbers group of (more than) 20, some of whom were armed, suggests an excess enthusiasm of the transport police for ‘ticket inspection’.
We might be concerned that such policing will soon again result in further deaths like that which was visited upon Brazilian commuter Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005 (shot seven times in the head by officers, no-one charged). There have been other unexamined incidents of deaths in police custody and the UK has an appalling record in terms of prosecution of official crime (see the 1999 film Injustice directed by Ken Fero and Tariq Mehmood). Another tragedy is primed to happen especially where commanders readily deploy disproportionate aggression if challenged by an impatient commuter. She was young, white, articulate, and had the sense to back down when the Officer in charge raised his voice and muscled up to her. No need to guess that any other appellant might not have got off the bus so freely. We other passengers, a few anyway, applauded her courage, but somewhat meekly. It does seem that a new anxiety pervades the streetscapes of the metropolis – a consequence of dubious foreign wars and suspect geo-politics, conjoined with institutional racism and a creeping resignation. Not many complain, but at least in this instance, someone did.
I was glad to have met her. We exchanged a few words:
Me: ‘That was great, well done.’
Her: ‘How can they do this, its intolerable.’
Me: ‘What is your name?’
This response is hilarious and smart – she identifies herself, sensibly choosing an alias, as the fabled storyteller who tames a despot with patient narrative over many many nights. Speaking truth to power, in coded repetition, Scheherazade offers a moral discourse through fantasy tales, Sinbad the Sailor and so on. Eventually the despotic ruler relents his power. The trouble is, I never saw Scheherazade again. But I remember her lesson – you do have to speak up.
Several months after the above incident, the MET have assigned dedicated public relations personnel to their inspection teams. Whenever I have seen the dragnet I have made a point of following that woman’s earlier tactic, and each time experienced the full force of MET customer relations, extending to a total bureaucratic run-around when trying to get a complaint about this heard. This is documented below in brief conversations where, while asking the most obvious questions, I find something very provocative – the ways speaking out can be channelled and contained are also to be examined.
In this first exchange, the ‘team’ were wrapping their operation up when I came by, so there was a sense of mild irritation with my questions, a kind of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ tone – which of course I took as an invitation to linger.
Me: [polite, ironic] ‘What’s all this then?’
Cop A: ‘We are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.’
Me: [politely] ‘Hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this over policing?’
Cop A: ‘Most people around here welcome this.’
Me: [politely] ‘No, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks, you know, corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….’ [the controversy over MP’s expenses was current news]
Later, to a different officer:
Me: ‘Why do you need so many police to check tickets on one bus?’
Cop A: ‘This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.’
Me: ‘Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.’
Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:
Cop B: ‘Why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.’
Bike-boy: ‘Its getting dark and my light is broken.’
… [some meaningless blather, bike-boy rides off]
Cop C to Cop B: ‘They’ll make up anything round here.’
I asked another cop who was in charge:
Me: [formal] ‘Who is the ranking officer?’
Cop D: ‘Why, do you need something?’
Me: ‘I want to make a complaint?’
Cop D: ‘Why?’
Me: ‘I think this is over policing.’
Cop D: ‘People think this is the free bus.’ (the 436 aka the free bus).
Next to him, a female cop:
Cop E: ‘You could talk to the sergeant.’
Me: ‘Him there?’
Cop E: ‘Yes, but he is busy now.’
Me: ‘He’s not that busy now?’
Cope E: ‘Just tap him on the shoulder.’
Me: ‘Surely that’s more your style than mine.’
I meet the ranking officer:
Me: [polite formal] ‘This is over policing, how do I make a complaint?’
Cop F: ‘Where do you live?’
Me: [taken aback] ‘Why do you want to know?’
Cop F: ‘You can complain to the duty officer at your local station.’
Me: [insistent] ‘Don’t you think this is over policing?’
Cop F: ‘Most people don’t think so.’
Me: ‘I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.’
Cop F: ‘You are entitled to disagree.’
Me: [exasperated] ‘Not for long it seems.’ [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]
And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way.
Another day, another routine: Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Daniel’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.
A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Daniel’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:
US: ‘[polite] Why are you stopping this bus here today?’
Daniel: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes.’
US: ‘Is it an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’
Daniel: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes.’
US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines.’
Daniel: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’
US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’
Daniel: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs.’
US: [incredulous] ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’
Daniel: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’
US: [exasperated] ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing?’
Daniel: ‘You can complain to me.’
There is no question that the border and border policing has moved from the airport and ferry terminal to the centre of the city and the micro-moments of everyday life. The border is right there on the street, caught between mild-mannered individuals and institutional authority, uniforms on the bus, exclusions and deportations before your eyes. A million minute forms of repression that amount to a generalized war economy. Always under suspicion, ready to have you tickets checked, your bags examined (announcements remind you to never leave them unattended), security fear becomes everyday and the power of the authorities to detain anyone that ‘looks the part’ becomes routine. A border has been crossed, a border has been crossed… we run willingly into battle.
This conference will present new research on issues related to the
points-based immigration system (PBIS) as it affects Further and Higher
Education. The conference will assess:
a) the wider significance of immigration;
b) the full consequences of PBIS;
c) the characteristics of new systems of regulation and surveillance in
universities and colleges.
The conference aims to offer both expertise in
research but also a focus for campaigners who object to the fundamentally
discriminatory nature of the rules.
Supported by UCU, ULU, Centre for Cultural Studies, Department of
Politics, Department of Media & Communications (all at Goldsmiths)
Les Back (Goldsmiths)
Tom Hickey (Brighton)
Georg Menz (Goldsmiths)
Liz Fekete (Institute of Race Relations)
Edgar Whitley (LSE)
Valerie Hartwich (Manifesto Club)
Joel Heyes (UKBA worker and PCS rep)
Susan Robertson (Bristol)
Andy Goffey (Middlesex)
Su-Anne Yeo (Goldsmiths)
Clare Solomon (ULU)
In response, a new Dunkirk? Another Malta convoy? Send all boats, Send in the navy, The Trident subs to find a use at last. To have the Gaza blockade broken for good would be the only viable response – and a show of what people organised can do against Military Muscular Zionist State Crazies.
Thinking of Ewa J from Goldsmiths, Edda M from the Border Infection event, and many others on the convoy.
(Pic of Lewisham STW on the way to Embassy with thousands – not the hundreds reported in tamed and insipid press)