Arts Against Cuts: ica x-mas presents

Erm, last post of the year is not a happy one, rather fucking outrageous – I used to like the little ICA bookshop…

December 23, 2011 //

With x-mas just around the corner and all the gifts wrapped under that perfectly decorated pine tree. As the anticipation builds, interrupting the final two nights sleep before His day. Whilst distant family satellite in ready for an unhealthy dose of nostalgia and brandy. One little present is leaving the front of house ICA staff wishing they’d been given coal.

Over the past week, some of the lowest paid staff members (the ones which guard your coat at the cloak room, check your tickets at the cinema, invigilate and discuss the dull artwork in the poorly curated Bloomberg New Contemporaries show) have received an ultimatum;take an approximate 10% cut from your wages or lose your job. What amounts to nothing other than passive-aggressive bullying by managers, a new contract has been drafted that would see paid breaks removed under the new working conditions and if this contract is not signed, the staff have no job in the new year.

“Paid breaks, that’s a bit of a luxury! They’re not even working then.” I hear the more conservative of the readers cry. Well let’s do a little simple maths, using conservative figures of course, to establish what this actually amounts to. On a £7.25 hourly wage (as advertised on their website) working a generous 30 hours per week, expecting at a minimum 3 hours for lunch over this period, the staff would currently earn a gross of £217.50 a week. Working, again generous considering times between shows, 50 weeks a year comes to a meagre annual gross pay of £10, 875 (obviously before tax an NI deductions). Under the contracts proposed to kick in at the beginning of 2012 (a year likely to see increased foot flow and revenue to the ICA, especially as events are set to take place opposite) this would see this hypothetical weekly wage reduced by £21.75 a week and £1,087.50 a year. For those that this is their sole income, that is extremely substantial not a luxury.

So, as the sun sets for the final few days before the ICA closes until the new year. Their staff have the wonderful gift of choice, either to work at a greatly reduced daily rate or start the new year in the dole queue. I know which one I’d rather choose #solidaritywithunemployedworkers

Have a great x-mas!

AAC x

p.s. The ICA telephone number is 020 7930 0493 and twitter @ICALondon

#occupy Dataran: Mask up for Malaysian New Year

 

This just popped up on you tube and I’d like a ticket. If you have a mask, and you are in KL, this is the new year party to ring in something special. (Londoners, see you at Holloway)

I do, like many of you, enjoy lepakking at home and watching TV.

I appreciate the comforts of every day routine, the security of familiar things, the tranquillity of repetition.
But in the spirit of celebrating the New Year, with much partying and revelry, I thought we could mark this December 31 with something special.
There are, of course, those who don’t want us to speak. I suspect even now orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way.
Why?
Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.
Words… offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen…the enunciation of truth.
And the truth is…there is… something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?
Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression.
And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.
How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable.
But again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be?
MAY 13, RACE RIOTS, FEAR OF COMMUNISTS, OPERASI LALANG.
There are a myriad of problems which conspire to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.
Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to Barisan Nasional.
BN promised you order, BN promised you peace and all they demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.
Today, I seek to end that silence.
2011 will go down in history as the Year of Peaceful, Non-Violent Revolutions. It began in Tunisia, culminating in Tahrir Square, Egypt.
Tahrir Square is now the symbol of human freedom and liberation in the 21st century.
We also saw the uprising of the Indignados, which occupied Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain, giving inspiration to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
This democratic wave, driven by ordinary peoples on the street – as opposed to leadership by elites the world over – is a major turning point in our time.
As the year draws to a close, dark clouds still hang over the Malaysian sky, no different from the previous years.
Repression of human rights continue unabated. Malaysians suffer these abuses in different forms and at different levels. It is often hard for the ordinary Malaysian to articulate and give voice to their suffering and plight.
We want every person to find his or her own voice, formulating his or her own demands.
Some of these demands may spring from a litany of injustices:
the repression of street protests (for example Bersih 2.0),
the passing of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011,
the Lynas debacle,
the continuous land-grab of Orang Asli & indigenous land in Sabah & Sarawak,
corruption in government,
exploitation and repression of local and migrant workers’ welfare & rights,
deaths in the custody of the MACC and THE POLICE,
the suppression of academic and student freedoms by the UUCA.
And the list goes on!
So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain insignificant to you, then I would suggest that you allow the 31st of December to past unmarked.
But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me and wear you V Mask on New Years Eve at the stroke of midnight, at Dataran Merdeka, and give them a New Year that shall never, ever be forgotten.

Marx at the Movies Conference 16&17 March 2012

I’m speaking at this…

Marx at the Movies Conference
University of Central Lancashire
March 16-17, 2012

As the Lehmans Brothers filled for bankruptcy on September 15 2008 an era came to a halt. No more was there a belief that ‘the Market’ would work for the greater good as long as it was left un-regulated. As the belief in neoliberal theory and practice collapsed, many turned to the alternative theory – that of Marxism, not least because for Marx the challenge for human thought was not simply to understand the world but to change it.

Not for the first time Marx is ‘fashionable’. As David Harvey observes in his introduction to The Communist Manifesto: ‘The Communist Manifesto of 1847 is an extraordinary document, full of insights, rich in meanings and bursting with political possibilities. Millions of people all around the world – peasants, workers, soldiers, intellectuals as well as professionals of all sorts – have, over the years, been touched and inspired by it.’

The same can be said about filmmakers, film academics and students, in view of the fact that cinema, as a collective endeavour and as an industrial art, is an excellent ground to test Marxist dialectical thought. But how has cinema engaged with Marxist theory and practice? How has cinema engaged in processes to create radical social transformation, including decolonisation and the liberation of women? Is there a revival of Marxism in contemporary film theory and practice?

These are some of the questions we want to discuss during the two-day conference, hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Communication in Preston –a town of great importance to the history of the working class, as testified by Marx and Engels’ writings. Papers are sought for topics such as:

The problems of conveying Marxist thought on screen (including attempts to screen Capital)
Representation of alienated and nonalienated labour and capital on screen
The work of Sergei Eisenstein, Bertolt Brecht, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Dušan Makavejev, Satyajit Ray, Ousmane Sembène, Alexander Kluge, Ken Loach, Lars von Trier. Are they Marxist filmmakers? Western and Eastern Marxist film theory and history
Socialist production, distribution and exhibition of films
Marxism, Third cinema and the cinema of revolt
Marxism and feminist cinema
Marxism, realism and non-realism
Screen images of Marx, Engels and Lenin

Gathering the old word horde together, on education

Am supposed to be writing about Education, but I have that de-ja-voodoo feeling for the good old days:

This a citation of a lost piece that was called ‘ What is to be done about Arizona Junkets’ on delegates who go to education conferences – from Richard Bates ‘Educational research and the economy of happiness and love’ in THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Volume 22, Number 1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1007/BF03219579

cfp Return to the Street

http://fuggbug.tumblr.com/post/14717201625/returntothestreet

 

return to the street – cfp

27-28 June 2012

Goldsmiths, University of London

A two day conference exploring the shifting role of the street as discourse and real physical space in the context of contemporary culture and politics.

Identity formation and public debate do not simply occur online or through new media technologies. As the recent excessive imprisonment of those involved in the UK riots this summer demonstrated, the control and regulation of real bodies within real spaces is still very much at stake. Within the context of riots, protests and occupations in the UK and worldwide – the street appears to have become once more the space where people gather to be heard and counted. Considering this ‘return’ (although it is questionable whether we every really left the street) how might a line be drawn between the type of discourse which pays lip service to banal, neoliberal fetishised notions of street as site and object of subversive cool – incorporating graffiti, fashion, skateboarding, hiphop – and a more critical and engaged examination of processes of exclusion, confrontation and violence which constitute the everyday reality of life on and in the street. The street is and should not simply be flagged up as a site where power relations are toyed with as part of an ongoing Damien Hirst-meets-Banksyesque flirtation between public and private space. Such fetishisation ignores or glosses over notions of territory, surveillance and fear.

Yet at every moment attempts to challenge existing power structures from within the space of the street are at risk of being recuperated in the service of bourgeois, neoliberal modes of consumption. The return to pedestrianised zones in major European cities is frequently part of gentrification processes and occurs within privately owned spaces with the aim of encouraging consumerism rather than increased social interaction precluded by motorised city spaces. The festival atmosphere at protests and occupations might also be considered not simply as a means of creating greater solidarity amongst participants but as embodying a Bakhtinian form of carnival in which the political impetus of the event or movement exhausts itself in a media circus of spectacle and rhetoric staged between protestors and law-enforcement. Similarly, how does the crowd or the collective end up reproducing existing forms of exclusion in claiming to speak for the masses as a homogeneous whole? Those whose access to the street is already restricted due to race, gender or disability must frequently concede their voices to those for whom the street is taken for granted as usable, occupiable and negotiable space. At the same time, a more critical stance is needed towards both the romanticisation and demonization of the crowd in public space. It is, for example, naive to think that issues such as the systemic street harassment of women in Cairo disappeared completely during the occupation of Tahrir Square yet this was the rhetoric widely presented. Conversely, how might the pervasive politics of fear which posits the crowd as unruly mob or herd, keeping people off the streets, through the imposition of curfews and devices like the mosquito be redressed? What needs to be done to encourage greater mobilisation on the street from different groups and individuals?

The aim of this conference is to rethink the street both in terms of its radical potential as site where dissent, critique and change can all be achieved whilst remaining critical as to the limits of such radicality. Where does the street lead us and what happens off the street? How might we avoid the dead ends and turf wars involved both in conceptualising and using the street? How might we set about building a new politics of the street? We welcome proposals for papers, discussions, short films, mini-workshops and other interventions engaging with the above issues and questions.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

– street as fetish object

– societies of discipline and control

– inclusion/exclusion/exchange

– street as site of resistance/containment

– subversive potential/impotential of street art

and fashion

– hiphop struggles and activism

– surveillance – cctv and self-mapping apps

– politics of the crowd

– negotiating the street – strategies and tactics

– territory/circulation

– politics of fear

– living and working on the street

– off the street

 

Abstracts/proposals of 300-500 words should be sent to: S.Fuggle@gold.ac.uk by 3 February 2012.

Programme will be confirmed in early March 2012.

Organised by the Centre for Cultural Studies with the generous support of the Department of Media and Communications and the Graduate School, Goldsmiths.

NEW YEARS EVE NOISE DEMONSTRATION – SOLIDARITY WITH IMPRISONED PROTESTERS

Saturday, 31 December 2011 – 4pm-6pm outside HMP Holloway Prison, Parkhurst Road, N7 0NU, closest tube station Holloway Rd.

Since student protests last year, when thousands took to the streets to demand an education accessible for all, and the large scale riots this summer in response to the police murder of Mark Duggan, hundreds of our youth have been targeted and many were given long custodial sentences.

This means many will be spending new year’s eve and the festive period in prisons up and down the country, away from their families, because they stood up to injustice.

Come along to this demonstration on New Year’s Eve outside Holloway women’s prison to show solidarity to some of those in prison. We are going to make lots of noise to make sure they hear us and know that we do not forget them. So bring instrument, pots and pans, banners or just yourself!

*poetry, spoken word, hip hop and music from different artists on the day coming to show their support*

visit defendtherighttoprotest.org and ldmg.org.uk for more info
supported by Defend the Right to Protest and Legal Defence Monitoring Group