Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gil Scott-Heron, 1949-2011)

Gil Scott-Heron, poet and ‘bluesologist,’ dies

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“All of us must be Bryan Simpsons” (Defend the Right to Protest, UK)

defendtherighttoprotest.org

Bryan Simpson – a university student facing charges for occupying Millbank against education cuts

SHOW SUPPPORT FOR PROTESTERS AT THEIR HEARINGS
City of Westminster Magistrates Court, 70 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2

THURS 9th JUNE, 9AM
Hearings of students including Alfie Meadows

FRIDAY 10th JUNE 10AM
Hearings of students including Bryan Simpson
(www.defendbryansimpson.org)

MONDAY 4 July, 9AM
Hearing of Fortnum & Masons occupiers
(www.fortnum145.org)

LEAFLET TO DOWNLOAD

The right to protest is under serious threat in Britain today.

The police are increasingly resorting to extreme tactics including kettling, mounted horse charges and battering protesters with extreme force.

The results have been horrific. For Alfie Meadows, a student on the anti-fees protests last year, this led to severe wounds to his head and emergency brain surgery to save his life. For Ian Tomlinson, an encounter with police on a demonstration proved to be fatal.

Peaceful activists have been targeted for arrest and arbitrary detention. 145 members of UK Uncut were arrested and charged for a sit-in at Fortnum and Mason during the mass TUC anti-cuts protest on 26 March. The extent of damage caused by them appears to have been one smashed chocolate rabbit. For this they have been charged with ‘aggravated trespass’ for which they could be sent to jail.

On the day of royal wedding, protesters and others celebrating an alternative party in Soho were arrested and detained on suspicion that they might be about to commit a ‘breach of the peace’. Here we are in an Orwellian world of ‘pre-crime’, arrested for something that you may do in the future.

We stand with all those who have been targeted by the police in recent months and those who are now facing jail terms simply for exercising their right to protest. The attack on Alfie Meadows, the Fortnum and Mason 145 and all the rest, is an attack on all of us and our democratic rights.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Encourage people to sign up to the Defend the Right to Protest petition and the petitions for Alfie Meadows and Bryan Simpson.

Build support for the campaign. Invite a Defend the Right to Protest speaker to your trade union or student union, campaign group or organisation. Pass a motion to affiliate to the campaign.

Contact us with ideas for future actions, or to let us know about any support you can give whether its web and press skills or just hours to dedicate to the campaign.

If you have been arrested or witnessed arrests or violent behaviour by the police please get in touch confidentially.

_____

Editor’s Note. Thanks to the infinitely valuable Infinite Thought for the heads-up.

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The Russian Economic Miracle

Deloitte, one of the largest financial consulting companies in the world, has predicted that more than 1.2 million people in Russia will become dollar millionaires by 2020. Russia currently ranks 16th on Deloitte’s World Wealth List, with 375,000 dollar millionaires currently living in the country, and will climb to 13th place in the next decade, Deloitte forecasted. Deloitte’s survey includes the 25 countries with the world’s strongest economies.

This year, the top-ten list of countries with the largest number of millionaires includes the United States, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Canada, China, Spain and Taiwan. The list is not likely to change much by 2020, Deloitte predicted, except Spain and Taiwan are likely to be replaced by South Korea and Australia.

In Deloitte’s research, millionaires were split into three groups: those worth up to $5 million, $5 to $30 million and more than $30 million. Russia already ranks in seventh place on the list of countries with the largest number of the “richest millionaires,” whose assets are worth $30 millions or more, behind the United States, China, Germany, the UK, India and France. Moreover, Russia’s millionaires beat out their foreign competitors by the wealth that is concentrated in their households: an average rich family here has $2.1 million, putting Russia in fifth place behind Switzerland ($4.2 million), Singapore ($4 million), the United States ($3.7 million) and Hong Kong ($2.9 million). Additionally, following the hardship of the economic crisis, Russia ranks third in the world in its number of billionaires, behind the United States and China. Moscow has become the world capital of billionaires (79 billionaires) ahead of New York City (58 billionaires).

[…]

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Moscow Higher School of Economics (HSE) found that 60 percent of the population in Russia has the same real income it had 20 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed, and some even became poorer. HSE’s research found that income inequality between the late 1980s and the late 2000s in Russia has grown eight times faster than in Hungary, and is five times greater than in the Czech Republic. At present, the Gini coefficient, a statistic that determines income and wealth inequality worldwide, is twice more in Russia than in Sweden, and equivalent to those in Iran, Turkmenistan, Laos, Mali and Nigeria.

— Svetlana Kononova, “A Country of Beggars and Choosers: The Number of Millionaires in Russia Will Grow in the Next Decade, While Income Inequality Will Remain on the Level of African Countries,” Russia Profile, May 16, 2011

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Bitter Winter in Belarus

Bitter Winter in Belarus

http://www.fidh.org/Bitter-Winter-in-Belarus

The FIDH 7-minute video Bitter Winter in Belarus denounces the violent repression exercised by the Belarus authorities against all the dissident voices that have protested against the rigging of the December 19, 2010 presidential elections.

Following the announcement of the election results, about 700 persons demonstrating peacefully in the centre of Minsk to denounce electoral fraud were arrested and sent to prison; many of them were severely beaten. Among them were seven opposition candidates, along with political activists, independent journalists and human rights defenders. Some of the activists received arbitrary prison sentences, while others had their offices raided and ravaged repeatedly by the security forces, without access to fair means of defence; all were subjected to threats on the part of the regime. President Lukashenko himself declared, the day after the election results were announced: “Let’s finish the job! There shall be no more senseless democracy in the country! […] They shall all go to prison, in accordance with the law.”

Today the repression continues. Two former presidential candidates, Andrei Sannikov and Vladzimir Niaklayev are still in detention and under house arrest, respectively. Several lawyers of the detained activists have had their licences withdrawn. The two independent newspapers “Nasha Niva” and “Narodnaya Volia” risk being banned shortly. Six journalists have been accused of having participated in “massive disturbances of the peace,” and one of their colleagues has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. And the human rights defenders are more than ever targeted by the regime, and are interrogated, searched and subjected to smear campaigns broadcast all day long on the public channels.(1)

The FIDH web documentary shows damning testimonies of a society stifled by a regime that is trying at all costs to suppress all independent voices.

The web documentary is available at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHWvuXFvdyE

FIDH will shortly issue a detailed report on the repression.

Press contacts:
Karine Appy: +33 1 43 55 14 12 / +33 6 48 05 91 57
Arthur Manet: +33 1 43 55 90 19 / +33 6 72 28 42 94

(1)  See the urgent appeals of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT), May 15, 2011 http://www.fidh.org/Expulsion-of-Ms-Victoria-Gromova-and-Mr-Alexander and April 20, 2011: http://www.fidh.org/Human-rights-defender-from-Ukraine-was-denied and the press release of May 4, 2011 : http://www.fidh.org/Belarusian-President-and-national-TV-journalists

_____

Belarus ‘Accepts’ $3Bln Loan
The Moscow Times
18 May 2011
By Anatoly Medetsky

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Tuesday that Belarus appeared to have accepted the terms of a $3 billion loan offered by a Russia-led group of former Soviet republics to save the teetering Belarussian economy from a disastrous collapse.

He was reacting to news reports that quoted Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko as saying, after a telephone conversation with President Dmitry Medvedev, that the loan was a done deal.

“We believe it means the terms of the loan have been accepted,” Kudrin told reporters at an unplanned briefing after a regular Presidium session.

Russia, the biggest donor of the Eurasian Economic Community’s anti-crisis fund, has insisted that Belarus privatize $3 billion worth of its enterprises this year and draw foreign direct investment as conditions for the fund’s loan, Kudrin said Tuesday. He didn’t specify the required amount of investment.

Lukashenko is widely believed to seek divisions in Russia’s ruling tandem of Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in order to gain concessions — a tactic that has borne little fruit so far. Putin is expected to raise the loan issue during his visit to Minsk on Thursday.

“I hope we will be able to clarify the details there,” Kudrin said.

Divided into $1 billion tranches over three years, the planned loan is to help Belarus strengthen state finances after its national currency suffered a sharp devaluation in recent weeks.

Russia has long sought a way for its companies to buy stakes of Belarussian companies, such as its refineries.

Belarus is servicing its debt to Russia, which amounts to another $3 billion over the past four years, Kudrin said.

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“Kind of a sticky situation”: RT on Police Repression of Khimki Forest Defenders

The squeaky clean, neatly coiffured Anglophone kiddies on RT (formerly known as Russia Today) offer up a four-and-a-half-minute lesson in collaborationism:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

_____

Back in the non-RT-filtered real world, “security guards,” unidentified thugs, and “the police” continue to whack on the Khimki Forest defenders, both on and off the court:

www.ikd.ru

In the early hours of May 14, around 3 a.m., one of the members of the environmentalist camp [in the Khimki Forest], Yuri Petin, was subjected to a vicious attack. Around three in the morning, Yuri was near the grocery store on Vashutino Highway (in the Khimki municipal district), trying to hitch a ride in order to go home. Right at this moment a black Hyundai sedan (whose license number was either х531см or х513см) pulled up. Four men got out of the car and rushed towards Yuri, crying, “Now we’ve got you!” They began to beat Yuri. They threw the activist to the ground and ordered him not to look at them, threatening him with bodily harm.

A man wearing a uniform from the private security firm Vityaz approached the assailants, who began to give him orders in a commanding tone. “I got the impression that they were coordinating the actions of the security guard. Concretely, they told the security guard the following: ‘Tell the police that he [Petin] was tossing firecrackers in the Khimki Forest.’ Then the police drove up. The policemen began chatting with the men who had been beating me and security firm employees. I was then taken to police precinct No. 2, at Kudryatsev Street, 4, in the town of Khimki,” Yuri recounts.

[Petin] was delivered to the police station at 5:30 a.m. and taken to the on-duty interrogating officer. The officer refused to let Yuri file assault charges and began accusing him of setting off firecrackers in the forest. The officer then took a statement from Yuri and questioned the security guards. Police attempted to photograph Yuri and take his fingerprints, threatening to send him to a pre-trial detention facility, but he refused to let them do this. Yuri was held in the police station until 12:00 p.m. At noon, Yuri was sent home, accompanied by police officers, to retrieve his [internal] passport, and at 1:00 p.m. he returned to the police precinct. There Yuri was turned over to a second interrogating officer, who drew up an arrest protocol alleging that Yuri had violated fire safety rules. The officer told Yuri that the protocol would be sent to the fire inspectorate. The accused activist was not given a copy of the protocol. “The interrogating officer told me that he could do with me anything he wanted, that if he wanted he could plant narcotics or a weapon on me and send me to prison,” explains Yuri.

The victim has petitioned the prosecutor’s office, demanding the arrest of the people who attacked him. He has also demanded that the prosecutor take measures against the assailants and Khimki police officers, who violated the law on the police and refused to file assault charges, as well as against the private security guards who gave false testimony to police officers.

Yesterday (May 15), a dozen or so activists from the Russian Socialist Movement, Left Front, and the Pyotr Alexeev Resistance Movement (DSPA) carried out what is fondly known in Russia as an “unsanctioned” march to protest the new round of illegal felling in the Khimki Forest. Five activists were almost immediately arrested by police, and four of the arrestees were later charged with “disobeying the police” and released with a summons to appear later in court. IKD has the details (in Russian).

______

How to help the Khimki Forest defenders, who are risking life and limb in the forest

khimkiforest.org

The situation in Khimki Forest near Moscow is very serious. Several times during the last month activists have succeeded in stopping illegal preparatory works for a motorway being carried out at the site, but at the price of repeatedly being beaten and arrested. Every day, activists get beaten up and injured. This morning, Yevgenia Chirikova suffered a leg injury which doesn’t allow her to move for the next 2 days.

Despite all these attacks, the camp in Khimki Forest is still continuing.

Please help and protest:

Ask the Russian government or the Russian embassy in your country to stop immediately this shameful involvement in illegal forest destruction and covering up of criminals! Attacks against activists must be stopped and investigated.

Russian embassy contacts can be found at:
http://www.rusembassy.org/

You can also send a letter to President Medvedev through the online form at:
http://eng.letters.kremlin.ru/

Ask the involved French international construction company Vinci to stop being involved into the Moscow-St.Petersburg road construction project which is clearly associated with violation of civil and human rights, corruption, arbitrary and unlawfulness.

Vinci contacts can be found at:
http://www.vinci.com/vinci.nsf/en/locations/pages/homepage.htm

Petitions are ongoing at: (aimed at Vinci)
http://www.change.org/petitions/save-khimki-forest-stand-with-russias-hu…

and (aimed at President Medvedev):
http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_khimki_forest?vc

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The Empty Plan/Theatre for a New Time (Oslo)

www.kunsthalloslo.no

Anja Kirschner and David Panos: The Empty Plan

Trine Falch: Theatre for a New Time

May 14 — June 26, 2011

The exhibitions open on the evening of Friday 13th May with a screening of The Empty Plan at 18.00 (78 min.)
Performance by Trine Falch at 19.30.

Kunsthall Oslo is pleased to present two projects concerned with performance and politics, contemporary artistic reexaminations of the theory and practice of radical theatre. 

The Empty Plan is a new feature-length film by Anja Kirschner and David Panos that centres on Bertolt Brecht’s time in exile in Los Angeles. Theatre for a New Time is an exhibition produced by performance artist Trine Falch, presenting scenes from the radical, collectivist early years of the 40-year-old Norwegian institution Hålogaland Theatre.

The Empty Plan
Part documentary, part historical reconstruction and part melodrama, The Empty Plan (2010, 78 minutes) interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht. The film contrasts scenes from Brecht’s exile in Los Angeles with productions of his play The Mother (1931) in the Weimar Republic, New Deal America and post-war East Germany, exploring different modes of performance and their relation to changing historical and political circumstances. The title comes from Brecht’s Messingkauf Dialogues, an unfinished theoretical work written during his exile, which considers the possibilities of ‘committed art’ and its practical, theoretical and formal limits at a time when revolutionary mass movements had been defeated and theatre was supplanted by Hollywood cinema as the dominant form of popular entertainment.

Through the figures of Brecht, his collaborator Ruth Berlau and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, the film reflects on conflicting personal, artistic and political ambitions, raising questions about the nature of art and the unrealised dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice.

Anja Kirschner (b.1977, Munich) and David Panos (b.1971, Athens) live and work in London. Their long-form narrative films collide popular culture references, historical research and literary tropes, and address contemporary aesthetic, social and political questions. Their productions involve amateurs, actors and specialists from other disciplines in the creation of speculative histories and spectacular fantasies that comment on social reality.

Theatre for a New Time
Theatre for a New Time presents scenes salvaged from the archives of the 40-year-old Norwegian institution Hålogaland Theatre, uncovering its beginnings as a radical 1970s collective that sought to reinvent theatre ‘in the service of the people’. The company attempted to apply the principles of the revolutionary left to cultural production, and intervened directly in political conflicts in their adopted community. Their antagonistic productions intentionally polarised opinion, and the questions their early experiments raised remain uncomfortable and mostly unanswered today. In February this year, performance artist Trine Falch assembled the members of this first generation of Hålogaland Theatre to produce a new work, Allmannateater, in the form of a series of public meetings.

This project led to the exhibition Falch has made for Kunsthall Oslo, which reworks materials from the archives of the theatre’s first decade, accompanied by a new performance from Falch herself. Kunsthall Oslo will also screen the 1974 television production of the play ‘Det e her æ høre tel’ (‘Here is where I belong’), and a newly-commissioned film of the Allmannateater production from Dramatikkens Hus, Oslo.

Trine Falch has worked in live art and experimental theatre since the 1980s. She dropped out of the Theatre Studies course at the University of Bergen in 1986 to work with Verdensteatret, and in 1988 she joined the influential performance collective Baktruppen. Baktruppen gained an international reputation for performance work that explored the boundaries of the genre, emphasising ideas over traditional performance skills. Since 2007 Falch has been working independently on a series of productions rooted in an exploration of theatre history.

Kunsthall Oslo would like to thank Dan Kidner; Kai Johnsen and Dramatikkens Hus; the cast of the Allmannateater; and NRK for their assistance. Kaja Rastad has made the models and Hilde Honerud has made the film from Dramatikkens hus.

The Empty Plan film production was funded by Arts Council England through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, co-produced with City Projects and supported by Focal Point Gallery, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo.

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Carlos Motta: We Who Feel Differently (Bergen/Oslo)

Carlos Motta
“We Who Feel Differently”
wewhofeeldifferently.info

Launch Events
May 19: Gallery USF, Bergen, 7 pm
May 20: Torpedo Books, Oslo, 7 pm

Ctrl+Z Publishing
ctrlz.noarne@ctrlz.no

Ctrl+Z Publishing and Gallery USF, Bergen are pleased to present “We Who Feel Differently”(wewhofeeldifferently.info) a new database documentary, book, and online journal by artist Carlos Motta.

…People are not provoked by those who are different. What is more provoking is our insecurity: When you say, “I am so sorry but I am different.” That’s much more provoking than saying “I am different,” or “I have something to tell you, I can see something that you cannot see!”

With these words, Norwegian Trans activist Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad situates sexual difference as a unique opportunity rather than as a social condemnation. “Difference” is a way of being in the world, and as such it represents a prospect of individual and collective empowerment, social and political enrichment, and freedom. Freedom implies the sovereignty to govern oneself: Being human is being beyond parameters, being without sex or gender constraints.

Has this ideal been attained in the four decades of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Questioning politics?

“We Who Feel Differently” features Interviews (wewhofeeldifferently.info/interviews.php) with fifty queer academicians, activists, artists, radicals, researchers, and others in Colombia, Norway, South Korea and the United States about the histories and development of LGBTIQQ politics in these countries. The interviewees have been active participants in the cultural, legal, political, and social processes around sexual difference; they frame the debates and discuss the mainstream LGBT Movement’s agenda from queer perspectives. Interviewees include: Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Douglas Crimp, Emily Roysdon and Edmund White (USA); Kim Friele, Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad and Åse Rothing (NO); CHOI Hyun-sook, MONG Choi and PARK Kiho (KOR); María Mercedes Gómez, Diana Navarro and Esteban Restrepo (CO).

The Book (wewhofeeldifferently.info/themes.php) (co-edited by Carlos Motta and Cristina Motta) presents five thematic threads drawn from the interviews and puts forth an assemblage of queer critiques of normative ways of thinking about sexual difference.

The Journal (wewhofeeldifferently.info/journal.php) is an online publication that presents in depth analyses of LGBTIQQ politics. The first issue, “Queerly Yours: Thoughts and Afterthoughts on Marriage Equality,” presents commissioned essays by activists and academicians: Bruno Bimbi (AR), Ryan Conrad & Jazmin Nair (USA), Shelly Eversley (USA), Kheven LaGrone (USA), Nick J. Mulé (CA), and Senthorun Raj (AU).

“We Who Feel Differently” attempts to reclaim a queer “We” that values difference over sameness, a “We” that resists assimilation, and a “We” that embraces difference as a critical opportunity to construct a socially just world.

Launch Events

Thursday, May 19, 2011, 7pm
Gallery USF, Bergen
Georgernes Verft 12; gallery-usf.no

Panel Discussion with: Deniz Akin (Gender Researcher), Tone Hellesund (Researcher, Uni Rokkan Centre), Carlos Motta, Annika Rodriguez (Intl. Advisor for The Norwegian LGBT Association) and Arne Skaug Olsen (Curator).

Friday, May 20, 2011, 7pm
Torpedo Books, Oslo
Trelastgata 3; torpedobok.no

Panel Discussion with: Heidi Eng (Professor, Diakonhjemmet University College), Carlos Motta, Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad (Trans Activist) and Arne Skaug Olsen (Curator).

Carlos Motta (b. Bogotá, Colombia, 1978) is an artist whose work has been presented in venues such as Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA/PS1, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá; Museu Serralves, Porto; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; and “X Biennale de Lyon.” Motta is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and a member of the faculty at Parsons The New School of Design and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

Ctrl+Z Publishing is non-commercial and project based; its publications are made by artists, artists groups and curators. Ctrl+Z is part of the self-organized field, its profile is transient and its catalogue is not defined by one aesthetic, political or institutional program. Our goal is to investigate structural conditions for art production, art mediation and art discourse in the form of printed matter. ctrlz.no

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