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10 Reasons to Hate Capitalism
09.05.2014
03:28 pm

Topics:
Class War

Tags:
capitalism


 
10. Capitalist corporations suffer from a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and are rewarded by shareholders for acting that way. If corporations could be sent to a criminal psychologist’s office they’d be diagnosed as psychopaths and locked away forever.
 

 
9. Capitalism encourages greed. But greed is only good for capitalists. For normal people it is anti-social and soul destroying, not to mention very bad for our communities, which rely on altruism, compassion and a generalized concern for others.
 

 
8. Capitalism is a system of minority privilege and class rule based on the private ownership of means of livelihood. This gives a few rich people the power to buy and sell jobs, which means they can build or destroy entire communities that depend on those jobs.
 

 
7. Capitalists praise freedom and individualism, but they destroy freedom and individualism for everyone but themselves. The vast majority of us who work for a living are daily asked to uncritically follow orders, to act as if we are machines, and limit our creativity to what profits our bosses.
 

 
6. Capitalists denigrate cooperation and collectivism, but create mass production processes that rely on both from workers. Their system requires us to be cogs in a giant profit-making machine, but because they fear the power this gives us we are told working together for our own interests is illegitimate and bad. Thus capitalists undermine unions and other organizations that encourage workers to cooperate with each other and act collectively.
 

 
5. Capitalism requires the largest propaganda system the world has ever known to convince us it is the only system possible. It turns people into consumers through advertising, marketing, entertainment and even so-called news. Millions around the world are employed to use their creativity to twist our feelings of love, desire, human solidarity and fairness into tools of manipulation, so that ever more profits can flow into the hands of a tiny minority.
 

 
4. Capitalism is a system in which the principle of one dollar, one vote, dominates that of one person, one vote. Those who own the most shares (bought with their dollars) control giant corporations, many of which are more powerful than all but a few governments. Rich people also use their money to dominate the elections that are supposed to give us all one, equal vote. Under capitalism those with the most money are entitled to the most goods and services as well as the most say in directing our governments and our economy.
 

 
3. Capitalism proclaims the virtue of naked self-interest, but self-interest without regard for morality, ecology or common sense leads to environmental degradation, destruction of indigenous communities, colonialism, war and other forms of mass destruction. Self-interest leads capitalists to seek profit absolutely everywhere, regardless of the damage done to other people and the health of the planet’s ecosystem. Self-interest leads capitalists to destroy any rival economic system or way of thinking (such as indigenous communal land use and respect for nature) that can be a barrier to their endless quest for profit.
 

 
2. Capitalism is not a friend to democracy but ultimately its enemy. When pushed, capitalists choose capitalism over democracy. If people use democracy to weaken the power of capitalists the rich and powerful turn to various forms of fascism in order to keep their privileges.
 

 
1. Capitalism is a cancer taking over our planet. Capitalists make profits from global warming, from destroying our oceans, from pumping ever more chemicals into the atmosphere and from patenting everything they can, including life itself. Only by getting rid of capitalism can we rescue our environment.

This is a guest post from Gary Engler. It originally ran on Rabble. Engler is a Canadian journalist, novelist (The Year We Became Us, about the Saskatchewan Doctors Strike) and co-author of the recently released The New Commune-ist Manifesto: Workers of the World It Really is Time to Unite. You can find more of his work at the New Communeist website

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Moving 1960s short interviews the ‘Bowery Bums’ of old New York
08.28.2014
01:34 pm

Topics:
Class War
History

Tags:
1960s
NYC
homelessness


 
Despite former Mayor Giuliani’s highly successful war on the homeless, the destitute faces of “Old New York” remain some of our most recognizable mascots. One of the misconceptions about present-day NYC is that the streets are now “scrubbed” of the homeless, but nothing could be further from the truth. The post-Giuliani policing of the poor was however, an unmitigated success when it came to dispersing indigent bodies—in other words, busting up homeless communities. Simply put, it’s not illegal to die in the street, it’s just illegal to fraternize with your fellow undesirables.

The video below, shot in 1960 and 1961, doesn’t dig deep—it doesn’t have to. Men are quick and open about their lives. The tragically predictable culprits of addiction, prison, disability and the lack of work brought them to the Bowery, and they’re rightfully resentful of their grim sanctuary. Still, it’s an odd thing to be wistful for a time when the homeless were at least able to commiserate fraternally in New York City. Like the gentlemen say, “misery loves company.”
 

 
Via Bowery Boogie

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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ChávezPro: Hugo Chávez’s handwriting is now a revolutionary, anti-imperialist font
08.19.2014
07:47 am

Topics:
Class War
Design

Tags:
Hugo Chávez
fonts


 
Hugo Chávez’s regime was a mixed bag, but though the Bolivarian bureaucracy has its issues, the advances he made have seen him canonized among poor and working class Venezuelans. He’s responsible for massive developments in infrastructure like rural schools, free university and excellent, free hospitals. He democratized natural resources and largely dismantled the oligarchy that previously ran the country—these are the sorts of accomplishments that predictably produced a palpable cult of personality around Chávez as a leader. 

Still, it’s a little odd to see his handwriting commemorated in an “anti-imperialist” font. A group called Creative Trench actually reproduced his penmanship from his prison letters, and are giving it away for free (naturally), on their website.
 

 

For the full effect, try picturing the scrawl over this letter to his daughter, written from prison in February of 1992 after the failed coup. By the way, “Maisantera” is the name of their home, “the boy” is probably Chávez’s son, and the cuatro is a Venezuelan instrument.

My love: Hello, my heart!

I want you to know that day and night I carry you in my heart and in my mind.

I’m so happy that you are well.  As always, I am proud to have a daughter like you, pretty, intelligent and brave.

Maria, I’m in good physical health and above all have a tranquil conscience. I did what I had to do, with the hope that things would change, with the Bolivarian hope that there will be a better world for you in the future, a world where there is not so much injustice and such corruption, were children have food, shelter, medicine, toys, schools.  All of Venezuela’s children.

You are already a young lady so I’m sure you understand me.

The only thing, my baby girl, is that now I will not be very close to you [...] as before.  But my heart and my spirit are always there in the “Maisantera” and wherever they [the family] go.

Remember to apply yourself to your studies and to your reading, as well as to art and music. It will cultivate a noble and libertarian spirit that you will carry within.

Likewise with sport, to have “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. Keep going to the pool (be very careful).

I entrust the boy to you.  Encourage him to learn to play the cuatro, to write stories and to draw, and to keep going to swimming and to baseball. But please take care of him.

I must go now, my Maria, with the hope of seeing you soon and with the greatest love from,

Papa

ChávezPro (yes, that’s what it’s actually called) isn’t completely unprecedented. In Venezuela, Chávez’s handwriting is on all kinds of swag, from buildings to clothing. Still, the best use of ChávezPro has to be for covert trolling, no? I know exactly what font I’m using for my Republican relatives’ birthday cards, anyway.

Below, Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chávez documentary South of the Border:

 
Via Fast Company

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Karl Marxio Brothers: An 8-bit ‘Marxism for Dummies’ for the digital generation

marx8bit1.jpg
 
Dialectical materialism as explained by 8-bit philosophy, a kind of “Super Marxio” or “Marxism for Dummies” for the digital generation. Why bother with boring old Das Kapital when you can bluff your way through the exam with this four-minute video?

More low resolution gems of useful information on Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre, Zeno, Descartes and Kierkegaard can be found here, or better still, read the books.
 

 
H/T Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Creepy anti-communist propaganda from Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation, 1952
07.16.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Art
Class War

Tags:
propaganda
anti-communist


 
Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation is most famous in the design crowd for its futuristic advertising campaigns—absolutely gorgeous (and totally campy) illustrations of all the products they dreamed of one day manufacturing. (There’s one of a firetruck that’s so New Wave it should probably be a B-52s album cover.)

Lesser known is that the Detroit-based company was in constant conflict with the quickly radicalizing United Auto Workers membership—the local was actually the first to elect a black president, a surprise to many, despite Bohn’s primarily black labor force.

Sensing danger, Bohn produced an anti-communist campaign, perhaps hoping that a bunch of ominous posters might mold dissent into model employee patriotism. It’s difficult to imagine that any Bohn workers were inspired to fealty by corny sloganeering and a few creepy disembodied (white) hands, but one would hope that the heavy-handed (geddit?) propaganda gave the Detroit proletariat a giggle as they occupied factory floors, organized work stoppages and staged sit-down strikes with over 12,000 workers.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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You must sip it: DEVO’s Jerry Casale and his blue-collar wine
07.09.2014
10:31 am

Topics:
Class War
Food

Tags:
Devo
Wine


 
Celebrity wines are fairly common, even Megadeth bonehead Dave Mustaine has one (along with Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, Primus’s Les Claypool and, of course, Sting), but for founding DEVO member Gerald Casale to start his own wine estate and brand, 50 by 50, is a downright subversive act.

Jerry grew up in Akron, Ohio at a time when being around good wine was still confined to families with money. Self-taught working-class sommeliers and oenophiles were not populous groups. He told wn.com:

Listen, I grew up blue-collar in Ohio. I ate what people ate there, which was basically macaroni and cheese, pizzas, overcooked brown rump roast, bologna sandwiches … any cheese was Velveeta and any wine was Night Train.

Moving to California with the band in the ‘70s, he became interested in wine and over the years educated himself in the finer details of his hobby here and abroad, visiting vineyards while on tour. A life-changing epiphany-like wine boner occurred in France when a tour promoter gave him a glass of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. “Discovering wine is one of the most special experiences you can have, like seeing a great film or falling in love,” he said in an interview with Wine Searcher. “When you taste a great wine, and you haven’t grown up privileged to be around wine, that makes you understand why people talk about wine. It’s unforgettable.”

Jerry told Wine Spectator:

When we signed with Warner Bros. Records and moved to California [in the late 1970s], a world opened up to me. We hit California not only when there was an explosion in the music scene, but there was a revolution in cuisine. All the restaurateurs were now famous and had cookbooks out and were new and young and were stretching food consciousness… I met them all, and they were DEVO fans! I got to eat and drink in their restaurants and ask a lot of questions. I started from zero and learned and learned and learned. Touring completed the picture. In Europe, I was able to visit vineyards. It was a revelation.

Eventually Jerry was well versed in wine lore to be qualified to work for the Wine House in Los Angeles, teaching classes about wine appreciation for three years in the ‘90s when DEVO was not active. (Interestingly, the Davis Enology & Viticulture Organization program at UC Davis’s acronym is DEVO). He is down to earth, completely lacking in snobbery, and talks about wine like a normal person, not like a pretentious ass. He described his wine classes as being unintimidating:

I taught beginning and intermediate courses. But I guess I had the same basic advice for them that Famous Amos (Cookies) did: ‘Start from where you are’. Quit worrying about it. Let’s demystify things. Wine is 50 percent farming and 50 percent artistry. But the farming is really the foundation. It’s as easy as ‘I like oranges, I like bananas, but I don’t like pineapples.’ You don’t like zinfandel? Fine, don’t worry about it, no matter who shoves a zinfandel at you and says ‘this will blow your mind and it’s $300 a bottle.’ You can find decent wines at every price point.

In 1985 he was set to buy land in California on which to start a vineyard but this plan was scrapped when Warner Brothers dropped DEVO. Four years ago he was still talking about starting his own vineyard with a partner, going so far as to have soil tests done in Napa, and now with the help of winemaker Kenn Vigoda, he has started a 23-acre estate, with a tasting room based on the “50 by 50 house,” the legendary, never-built, 60-year-old blueprint of a glass house designed by architect Mies Van Der Rohe (one of whose apprentices was the grandfather of musician and producer Vess Ruhtenberg). The DEVO merchandising potential for the 50 by 50 estate is endless, aside from pun-heavy wine names. DEVO energy dome hat wineglass charms?

Jerry on Burgundy:

When you get a great bottle of Burgundy, it blows away a great bottle of anything else. You can drink your way through mediocre Burgundies in the pursuit of the ultimate one, so it’s a holy grail quest. What I love about Burgundy is that the wine is so friendly when you get a good one, and it doesn’t leave you beat up. It’s so personal with the food—anything from grilled salmon to lamb chops to duck. You can even have it with some pizza.

Jerry on Pinot Noir:

It’s like a high-strung woman. When it’s right it’s so right. When you get a good one, they just turn you around; you’re addicted.

Jerry on wine and class structure:

Luckily, there’s a certain amount of middle class egalitarian ethic left in the wine world. The rest of the world has gone back toward medieval times when 10 people owned everything and everyone else was serfs.

“Wine Booty” with Gerald Casale, taped in front of a live audience of wine aficionados in Napa Valley back in May:

 

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Punk Rock and the Situationist International
07.01.2014
04:21 pm

Topics:
Class War
History

Tags:
Situationist International
Guy DeBord


 
“The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an ‘immense collection of commodities.’”—Karl Marx

“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”—Guy DeBord

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”—Guy DeBord

“We are not working for the spectacle of the end of the world, but for the end of the world of the spectacle.”—Raoul Vaneigem

“Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs.”—Guy DeBord

“We’re not here to answer cuntish questions.”—Guy DeBord

On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972 is an interesting short film by Branka Bogdanov primarily documenting the work of ultra-leftist French philosopher Guy DeBord, author of the influential post-Marxist study of late 20th capitalism Society Of The Spectacle. The film explores the Situationist International’s role in inciting the Paris riots of May 1968 and the influence of the SI’s nihilistic aesthetics on the punk rock era.

Interviewees include Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, the late Malcolm McLaren and Sex Pistols graphic designer Jamie Reid.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Anarchist icon Emma Goldman’s warning about capitalism from jail, 1893
06.23.2014
10:08 am

Topics:
Class War
History

Tags:
Anarchism
Emma Goldman

emma g mugshot
 
Red Emma’s mugshot

When state senator Wendy Davis held her 11-hour filibuster in Texas last year to block Senate Bill 5 and its restrictions on abortion, it was hard not to think how much better (and entertaining) anarchist firebrand “Red Emma” Goldman would have been if she’d have been the one speaking for so many hours. Davis incited a loud but well-behaved demonstration outside the capitol building in Austin. If Emma had been the orator, there would have been an actual riot. And fires.

Journalist Nelly Bly did a series of profiles of well-known anarchists for The New York World in 1893. She visited 25-year-old Emma in the notorious Tombs jail in New York City shortly after her arrest for inciting a riot at the Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia. Emma was demurely waiting for her friends to bail her out prior to the trial, where she was found guilty and sentenced to a year at Blackwell’s Island Penitentiary. After the obligatory description of Emma’s appearance and clothes (“a little bit of a girl” with “pretty and girlish” hair and dressed in “modest blue serge Eton suit, with a blue muslin shirtwaist and scarf” ), Bly elicited a prescient quote about, among other topics (like free love and marriage), capitalists:

Everything wrong, crime and sickness and all that, is the result of the system under which we live, she continued earnestly. ‘Were there no money, and as a result, no capitalists, people would not be over-worked, starved and ill-housed, all of which makes them old before their time, diseases them and makes them criminals. To save a dollar the capitalists build their railroads poorly, and along comes a train, and loads of people are killed. What are their lives to him if by their sacrifice he has saved money? But those deaths mean misery, want and crime in many, many families. According to Anarchistic principles, we build the best of railroads, so there shall be no accidents… Instead of running a few cars at a frightful speed, in order to save a larger expense, we should run many cars at slow speed, and so have no accidents.’

‘If you do away with money and employers, who will work upon your railroads?’ I asked.

‘Those that care for that kind of work. Then every one shall do that which he likes best, not merely a thing he is compelled to do to earn his daily bread.’

‘What will you do with the lazy ones, who would not work?’

‘No one is lazy. They grow hopeless from the misery of their present existence, and give up. Under our order of things, every man would do the work he liked, and would have as much as his neighbor, so could not be unhappy and discouraged.’

(I was going to include Emma’s famous blintz recipe, which she included in a letter to her long-time friend and lover Alexander Berkman, but to obtain a copy you have to donate $10 to the Emma Goldman Papers at the University of California at Berkeley. Other writings of hers can be found for free at the online Anarchist Library.)

Newsreel footage of Emma at a press conference upon her return to the U.S. in 1934:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist will be in the next ‘Atlas Shrugged’ movie


 
For those of you who haven’t been keeping tabs on the massive, slow-moving trainwreck that is the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, the first movie cost $20 million and made $4,627,375 at the box office, while the second cost $10 million and made $3,336,053. The third had to be partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign that yielded a cool $446,907—we have to wait for the September release before formally declaring it a failure, but I think it’s safe to say we’re not looking at a blockbuster here. It gives one the warm fuzzies to realize that a movie based on Ayn Rand’s epic paean to capitalism is a failure by her own measure, since the free market has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Atlas Shrugged cinematic “franchise.”

But wait—the final installment will be pulling out all the stops!

After toying with the idea that the third installment could be made into a musical (not kidding, look it up), the Randroids are bringing out the biggest guns: Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist. Hannity was apparently already in the second one, but conservative weirdos really work best in an ensemble, don’t you think? Apparently the pundit guest-stars weren’t even given scripts but were instructed instead to just “riff” off protagonist John Galt’s ten hour monologue. This should give you an idea of the professionalism of the movie.

They say politics is just show business for ugly people, but when show business gets political, some of that ugly is gonna get on the silver screen. For a preview, check out Ron Paul’s feverish endorsement of Ayn Rand below. Watch the crazy old man give his book report. Do it.
 

 
Via The Hollywood Reporter

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Anarchism in America


 
As the title promises, Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher’s Anarchism in America is a documentary survey of anarchism in the United States. The film presents an overview of the movement’s history, such as the Spanish Civil War, the 1917 Revolution, Emma Goldman, and the deaths of Sacco and Vanzetti, and takes these as the points of departure for what were then (1983) contemporary observations from the outside looking in on Ronald Reagan’s America. Whether viewed as a time capsule or as an able introduction to the various forms of anarchism, the film makes for fascinating viewing and has held up well after 31 years.

What’s perfectly obvious is how much of a libertarian or individualistic route the American strain of anarchism takes—let’s call it “free market anarchism”—in stark contrast to European-style communal living experiments (such as squatters’ groups or farm co-ops). They’re just not quite the same school of thought, although if you were to draw a Venn diagram of what they do have in common, it would be significant but also… probably equally incompatible for the things which they lack in simpatico. Does anyone in Anarchism in America have any hopes for a revolution? Seemingly not in their lifetimes. (Many of them were right, of course. I’ve read that the filmmakers are planning a sequel, so I’d suspect that post-Occupy, post-Piketty, there would be more positive prognostications to be found along those lines today.)
 

Emma Goldman will not attend your revolution if she can’t dance….

The film also offers anarchist or anarchist-leaning thinkers uninterrupted camera time to make their points. Like Murray Bookchin, who says this:
 

I had entered the communist children’s movement, an organization called the Young Pioneers of America, in 1930 in New York City; I was only nine years of age. And I’d gone through the entire ’30s as a—Stalinist—initially, and then increasingly as someone who was more and more sympathetic to Trotskyism. And by 1939, after having seen Hitler rise to power, the Austrian workers’ revolt of 1934 (an almost completely forgotten episode in labor history), the Spanish revolution, by which I mean the so-called Spanish civil war—I finally became utterly disillusioned with Stalinism, and drifted increasingly toward Trotskyism. And by 1945, I, finally, also became disillusioned with Trotskyism; and I would say, now, increasingly with Marxism and Leninism.

And I began to try to explore what were movements and ideologies, if you like, that really were liberatory, that really freed people of this hierarchical mentality, of this authoritarian outlook, of this complete assimilation by the work ethic. And I now began to turn, very consciously, toward anarchist views, because anarchism posed a question, not simply of a struggle between classes based upon economic exploitation—anarchism really was posing a much broader historical question that even goes beyond our industrial civilization—not just classes, but hierarchy—hierarchy as it exists in the family, hierarchy as it exists in the school, hierarchy as it exists in sexual relationships, hierarchy as it exists between ethnic groups. Not only class divisions, based upon economic exploitation. And it was concerned not only with economic exploitation, it was concerned with domination, domination which may not even have any economic meaning at all: the domination of women by men in which women are not economically exploited; the domination of ordinary people by bureaucrats, in which you may even have welfare, so-called socialist type of state; domination as it exists today in China, even when you’re supposed to have a classless society; domination even as it exists in Russia, where you are supposed to have a classless society, you see.

So these are the things I noted in anarchism, and increasingly I came to the conclusion that if we were to avoid—or if we are to avoid—the mistakes in over one hundred years of proletarian socialism, if we are to really achieve a liberatory movement, not simply in terms of economic questions but in terms of every aspect of life, we would have to turn to anarchism because it alone posed the problem, not merely of class domination but hierarchical domination, and it alone posed the question, not simply of economic exploitation, but exploitation in every sphere of life. And it was that growing awareness, that we had to go beyond classism into hierarchy, and beyond exploitation into domination, that led me into anarchism, and to a commitment to an anarchist outlook.

 
Worth noting that Bookchin left anarchism behind, too, due to what he saw as the antisocial element to American style anarchist thought.

There’s one particularly amazing piece of footage (among several included in the film) that I wanted to call to your attention. It’s the demonstration of how a policeman’s truncheon fares against various food items such as an egg, squash, and an eggplant before moving on to a Yippie’s head. That clip comes from an “answer” film made by the Yippies in the aftermath of the Chicago riots that was played on television there due to the “equal-time” rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political parties who request it. When Mayor Richard Daley got to tell the city’s side of the story in something called “What Trees Did They Plant?” the Yippies got to tell their side in an extremely whacked-out short film scripted by Paul Krassner. That starts at 30:50 but if you want to see the entire thing, click over to archive.org, they’ve got it. (The guy with the truncheon is Chicago-based lefty humorist and radio broadcaster Marshall Efron, who played one of the prisoners in George Lucas’ THX 1138. He was also the voice of “Smelly Smurf” and works as a voice actor in animated films to this day.)

Toward the end of Anarchism in America, Jello Biafra and Dead Kennedys are seen onstage performing “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” while in the interview segment a level-headed young Biafra suggests that anarchy, or some sort of revolution in the USA, is probably a long, long way off. If they do make the sequel, he’s one of the first people they ought to interview for it. I’d be curious if he still feels that way. I would suspect that he’s much more optimistic these days.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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