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Hara Kiri: The magazine so ‘stupid and evil’ it was banned by the French government
04.27.2016
08:46 am

Topics:
Activism
Amusing

Tags:
France
satire
magazines
Hara Kiri

The cover of Hara Kiri magazine #132
The cover of ‘Hara Kiri’ magazine #132.The text reads: ‘What young people want? Eat the old.’
 
French adult satire magazine Hara Kiri, was one of a few magazine published back in the early 1960s that helped further along the proliferation of adult-oriented satire magazines like its American counterparts MAD and National Lampoon. Since the European outlook on humor was, let’s say, much more “open-minded” than in the U.S., Hara Kiri was able to blaze a trail bound straight for the gutter when it came to its unique brand of depraved comedic imagery.
 
A page from Hara Kiri magazine depicting a BDSM equipment salesperson
A page from Hara Kiri magazine depicting mother introducing her young daughter to BDSM ‘equipment.’ The sign reads ‘The Little Whore.’

So boundary-pushing were the staff of Hara Kiri (that for a short time included an illustrator revered by Fellini, Stan Lee and Hayao Miyazaki, Jean Henri Gaston Giraud who drew cartoons for the journal under the name “Moebius”), that it was banned from being sold to minors by the French government after the magazine lampooned the death of former President of the French Republic, Charles de Gaulle in November of 1970—suggesting that the press coverage his demise was excessive compared to the news reports surrounding the deaths of 146 people (most of them just teenagers) at the infamous fire at the French disco, Club Cinq-Sept eight days earlier.

Full of sharp and demented political satire, and gleefully dark, observational humor (such as portraying a child being usefully reappropriated as a broom, or the mother introducing her young daughter to BDSM equipment, pictured above), Hara Kiri never stopped going after organized political or religious institutions in the most inexplicable ways. To this day the decades-old images still resonate the rebellious, non-conformist spirit Hara Kiri embodied during its heyday.

I’ve included many images from the strange covers of the magazine (who enjoyed referring to itself as a “Journal bête et méchant” or “Stupid and evil journal”), as well as some of Hara Kiri’s perplexing pages from the magazine. What I wasn’t able to include in this post were some of the magazine’s best known images that are simply so perverse it’s just not possible for me to show them to you here in a family publication. But that’s what Google’s for, right?
 
The cover of Hara Kiri #186
The cover of Hara Kiri #186. The text reads (in part) ‘Pope condemns hammer blows to the mouth.’
 
A page from the French magazine Hara Kiri
A page from Hara Kiri. The text when translated reads: ‘Your child is stupid? Make it a broom!’
 
The cover of Hara Kiri #17
The cover of Hara Kiri #17. Text reads: ‘Beat your wife.’
 
Much more from the deviant pages of Hara Kiri, some which might be considered NSFW, follow after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
They bar-b-qued E.T.!!!
04.14.2016
09:10 am

Topics:
Activism
Food
Movies

Tags:
E.T.
BBQ
vegans


 
Maybe it’s because I cried my eyes out as a kid at the end of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that I felt a twinge of indignation when I saw that a bunch of Swedes had bar-b-qued E.T.

How dare they!?

So, of course I know that E.T. isn’t real even though he lives in all of our hearts, and neither is this E.T. effigy which was part of a project called Exploring the Animal Turn Symposium at the Pufendorf Institute in Lund, Sweden. The purpose of the project was to “provoke discussions and questions on what is at stake in our practices of eating.”

Some of those questions asked by symposium, according to their statement:

What would it feel like to eat an alien? How can we dearly love and grieve some non-human species while accepting the industrialised slaughter of others? How can we cater to the needs of eaters who seek a surrogate for the sacrificial and ritual aspects of convivial, meat-based, barbecues? What are our ethical responsibilities towards fictional organisms?

My question is “who in 2016 can even eat this thing?” Why do I ask?  THEY MADE IT OUT OF GLUTEN.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Art of the Black Panthers’: Revolutionary designer Emory Douglas
04.06.2016
04:12 pm

Topics:
Activism
Art
Media
Race

Tags:
Black Panthers
Emory Douglas


 
Emory Douglas served as Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party and artistic director of The Black Panther newspaper from its inception in 1967. Douglas is unquestionably one of the most important artists and designers working in the political realm in the last several decades, and his work is a necessary component of anyone’s understanding of the lived experience of activism, advocacy, and resistance.

If you are trying to push an issue forward on the grass-roots level, whether it’s women’s health issues, the crimes of the 1%, or the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, the work of Emory Douglas is relevant to you.

Douglas was a native of the Bay Area; as a “guest” of the California Youth Authority (today it’s called the California Division of Juvenile Justice)—basically prison for teenage offenders—he was told to work in the print shop, which he called “my first introduction to graphic design.”
 

 
Huey P. Newton asked Douglas to provide the Black Panther newspaper with an effective visual style. Douglas and Eldridge Cleaver did many of the early issues pretty much by themselves.

One inspiration Douglas had was to mimic woodcuts for their ability to communicate ideas very clearly in a simple and stark visual style, an approach that proved very effective for his entire career. One factor that influenced Douglas’ style was that the Panthers could only afford one other color (aside from black and white), most of the time. So the picture would be conceived in a powerful black-and-white way and then the single color would be used to highlight some portion of the picture. In a way, it helped that the pictures weren’t too complex in terms of the color palette.
 

1969
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Sign this petition to allow open carry of guns at the Republican National Convention


 
A new Change.org petition is currently circulating demanding that the Quicken Loans arena, site of the 2016 RNC, allow the open carry of firearms. The convention will be held in Ohio, which is an “open-carry” state, but the venue itself strictly forbids the carry of firearms on premises.

According to the petition, the gun ban is a “direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk”:

As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” 

Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.

*snip*

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

*snip*

We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THEIR FAMILY. With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a “gun-free zone” for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger.

We must take a stand. We cannot allow the national nominating convention of the party of Lincoln and Reagan to be hijacked by weakness and political correctness. The policies of the Quicken Loans Arena do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.

 

 
It’s no secret that many top GOP officials are not at all happy about the possibility of Trump getting the party’s nomination, and there has been much speculation about the possibility of a brokered convention where the popular will of their base could be superseded. If Trump is denied the nomination, there’s a very good chance of an angry backlash from his supporters. You can count on it. Trump himself has even suggested that his supporters may “riot” if he is not the party’s nominee.

Imagine the 1968 DNC riots all over again, except move the venue over to the RNC and replace anti-war hippies with bitter old white people… WITH GUNS.

So, hey, go ahead and sign the petition—just to see how interesting it makes the 2016 RNC. The problem of Trump’s supporters may just solve itself.
 

 
Sign the petition HERE.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Help atheist group troll Noah’s Ark ‘genocide and incest’-themed water park


 
In July, the $101 million “Ark Encounter” water park will open in Kentucky and now a group calling themselves the Tri-State Freethinkers—representing exasperated non-believers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana—are seeking to raise some money in order to put up billboards trolling the Creationist-themed amusement park.  The Ark Encounter destination is specifically a water park based on the myth of Noah’s Ark. The park, created by a consortium of investors headed by creationist Ken Ham—the hapless silly person who debated Bill Nye—and his “Answers in Genesis” group, includes a 510-ft model of Noah’s Ark and an interactive teaching exhibit that er… uh… “teaches” the rather silly notion that it was in fact the Great Flood which separated the world’s continents.

On their Indiegogo page, the Tri-State Freethinkers write:

“They are portraying the story of Noah’s Ark as an actual historical event. This is scientifically not possible.”

Ye of little faith continue:

“The park celebrates a biblical parable of genocide and incest. While they have a legal right to celebrate their mythology, we find it immoral and highly inappropriate as family entertainment.”

Tax-supported family entertainment to boot. I wonder if they’ve hired any Muslims? Might there be a single Jew working at the Ark Encounter?

If you donate just $500 you can be pictured on the Tri-State Freethinkers’ billboard yourself “drowning” under the Ark. You’ll also get a rain poncho. just in case God gets angry with you. You never know when Biblical retribution will occur.

The first $2,000 raised by the campaign—which they have done already—will go toward setting up a single small billboard for a month. If they’re able to raise $6,000, the group will be able to mount six small billboards or one big one along an interstate highway.

If they are able to raise $150 million, the Tri-State Freethinkers say “we will build our very own Genocide & Incest Park.” The group, which has over 1300 members, are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donations are tax-deductible.

There’s a short video explaining the “Genocide and Incest Park” campaign, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Socialist artist Vladimir Mayakovsky’s agitprop posters for revolutionary Russia

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Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930) was a poet, playwright, artist and actor. He cut a rather dashing, nay swashbuckling figure—with his shaved head and Crowleyan features—during the height of the Russian Revolution. He dressed like a dandy. He was hailed as the “artistic genius of the Revolution.” Performed poetry exhorting workers to rally to the cause. Produced plays that were considered the greatest of their day. And he created a series of agitprop posters—promoting news and political ideas—that became an art form launching a whole new approach to Soviet propaganda and graphic design.

In the 1980s, I was fortunate enough to see an exhibition of Mayakovsky’s artwork at the the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. The exhibition was dominated by his bright, colorful posters with their (often simplistic) political messages. These fragile yellowed sheets of paper had once been displayed in shop windows or distributed to the countryside to inspire the largely illiterate Russian populace.

When he was a student in 1907, Mayakovsky claimed that he’d:

Never cared for fiction. For me it was philosophy, Hegel, natural sciences, but first and foremost, Marxism. There’d be no higher art for me than “The Foreword” by Marx.

He was expelled from college for non-payment of fees the following year. He then involved himself with the Bolsheviks—distributing leaflets, organizing meetings, and on one occasion he helped a female prisoner escape from jail. Such activities led to his eventual sentence of eleven months in prison. Here he started writing poetry and the fusion of “Revolution and poetry got entangled in [his] head and became one.”

On his release, Mayakovsky dedicated himself to the socialist cause. Not as a revolutionary leader but as an artist producing “Socialist Art.” He performed poetry, wrote plays, disseminated political pamphlets and produced agitprop posters. His work as a playwright and poet brought him considerable success and fame. He became the leading figure among the young revolutionary writers and artists of the day.

Come the Russian Revolution, Mayakovsky saw no question on what had to be done. He embraced the revolution wholeheartedly.  In 1919, he joined the Russian State Telegraph Agency (ROSTA). Here he was responsible for designing and writing many of the now legendary political posters. Unlike many of contemporaries, Mayakovsky kept to the tradition of hand-made posters—using linocut and stencils, rather than the more clean cut graphic design of Alexander Rodchenko—though the two did later collaborate on several designs.

Mayakovsky also embraced the artistic Futurist and Constructivist movements, which caused him to lose favor with some Party members including the new soviet leader Josef Stalin, who had replaced Lenin after his death in 1924.

During the 1920s, Mayakovsky became involved with the Left Art Front. In their manifesto the poet controversially stated the group’s policy as:

..[a] re-examining [of] the ideology and practices of the so-called leftist art, rejecting individualism and increasing Art’s value for the developing Communism…

As the decade progressed, Stalin implemented radical and oppressive changes which caused Mayakovsky to question the direction the Communist Party and the country were heading. He was deeply concerned by the oppression of the arts and the silencing of any dissenting voices. Mayakovsky raised some of his hopes and fears in a poem “Conversation with Comrade Lenin” in 1929, where he imagined himself giving a progress report to the dead soviet leader:

Without you,
        there’s many
              have got out of hand,

all the sparring
        and squabbling
                      does one in.
There’s scum
        in plenty
              hounding our land,

outside the borders
            and also
                  within.

Try to
    count ’em
          and
            tab ’em -
                  it’s no go,

there’s all kinds,
          and they’re
                  thick as nettles:
kulaks,
    red tapists,
          and,
              down the row,
drunkards,
      sectarians,
            lickspittles.
They strut around
            proudly
                as peacocks,
badges and fountain pens
                studding their chests.
We’ll lick the lot of ’em-
                but
                  to lick ’em
is no easy job
        at the very best.

Stalin and his cronies branded Mayakovsky as a “fellow traveler”—which damned the poet as untrustworthy. A smear campaign was orchestrated against him. He was denounced in the press and loyal party members barracked him during poetry readings. It seemed his fate had been sealed.

On April 12th, 1930, Mayakovsky committed suicide by shooting himself through the heart. His suicide note read:

To all of you. I die, but don’t blame anyone for it, and please do not gossip. The deceased terribly disliked this sort of thing. Mother, sisters, comrades, forgive me—this is not a good method (I do not recommend it to others), but there is no other way out for me.

Mayakovsky’s agitprop posters were never intended to be exhibited in galleries or museums. They were propaganda used to spread revolutionary ideas, to satirize and expose injustices, and inspire the mass of the Russian public to take control of their lives. Ironically, the message was lost and it was the museums and galleries that have kept Mayakovsky’s art and ideas alive.
 
01maya1.jpg
 
02maya2.jpg
Do you want to join? (circa 1920).
 
More of Comrade Mayakovsky’s posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
NYC’s Beatnik ‘riot’: How singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ kicked off the 60s revolution

04folkizzyriot.jpg
 
The protestors were peaceful. They didn’t look like revolutionaries. They were dressed in suits and ties. They were singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

But the cops still attacked them with billy clubs.

In the spring of 1961, Israel (“Izzy”) Young taped a sign to the window of his shop in Greenwich Village, New York. The handwritten sign announced a protest rally at the fountain in Washington Square Park at 2pm on Sunday April 9th .

Izzy was the proprietor of the Folklore Center at 110 MacDougal Street, a shop that sold books, records and everything else relating to folk music. Since it opened in 1957, the Folklore Center had been the focal point for young folk singers, beatniks and assorted musicians to gather together, hang out, talk, play and listen to music.

After the Second World War, Greenwich Village was the gathering point for all the disaffected youth who wanted to escape the conformity and boredom of suburbia. They were brought by the district’s association with the Beats and jazz musicians who had lived and played there during the 1940s and early 1950s. Often their first point of call was Izzy’s shop. Among the many youngsters who visited there was a young Bob Dylan. Izzy arranged Dylan’s first concert at Carnegie Hall. He “broke [his] ass to get people to come.” Tickets were two bucks apiece. Only 52 people turned up—though later hundreds would tell Izzy they were there.
 
03izzyshop3.jpg
Izzy Young in the Folklore Center circa 1960.
 
Since the late 1940s, folk musicians had gathered at the fountain in Washington Square Park. They brought their guitars and autoharps to play and sing songs. It was peaceable enough but some residents thought the Sunday gatherings brought “undesirables” to the neighborhood—by undesirables they meant African-Americans.

In April 1961, the new Commissioner of Parks Newbold Morris decided to take action. He banned singing in Washington Square Park. As Ted White later reported the events of that fateful day in the park in Rogue magazine, August 1961:

For seventeen years folksingers had been congregating on warm Sunday afternoons at the fountain in the center of the small park, unslinging their guitars and banjos and quietly singing songs. There would be a varied number of groups—perhaps ten or more—rimming the fountain, each singing a particular variety of folk music, from Negro work songs and blues to Kentucky hillbilly bluegrass, with perhaps an Elizabethan ballad from the West Virginia hills thrown in occasionally. As the years passed, the city government began showing an increasing hostility to the use of public facilities by the public, and for the last fourteen years, permits have been required before “public performances” could be given in any park. What this means is that a group of kids singing to each other on a weekday evening would be forcibly silenced by the ever-patrolling police for failing to possess a “permit,” or a young man playing a harmonica to himself quietly while sitting on a park bench might be suddenly ordered, “Move on, you!” and find himself run out of the park.

...

And now the new Parks Commissioner has refused a permit to the folksingers for their Sunday afternoon gatherings. Why? The same old story: “The folksingers have been bringing too many undesirable elements into the park.”

“Undesirable elements?” Yes, healthy young kids, racially mixed and unprejudiced enough not to care, concerned only with having the chance to assemble in the open sun and air and to be able to enjoy themselves harmlessly and happily. Sam Schwartz, a Brooklyn father, told me “Sure I let my kid—he’s a teenager—come and sing here. Why not? It’s a good, healthy activity. What’s wrong with folksongs?”

Ron Archer, a young jazz critic who lives in the West Village (an apparently less troubled area), said “Why shouldn’t people sing in the Square? If Morris is so concerned about the safety of the parks, why doesn’t he clean out the muggers and rapists in Central Park, where it isn’t safe to walk at night? Why doesn’t he go after the local punks who prowl the edges of this park at night? Why take after a group which is as harmless as the old men who play chess here, and who are just about as ’undesirable’?”

“You know what ’undesirable’ means, don’t you?” a name jazz musician told me. “It means ’Negro’. A few of the folksingers are Negroes.”

“I came up here from Mississippi,” says Bob Stewart, a Realist cartoonist who lives in the Village, “to get away from the prejudice, and now I get complaints from my landlord whenever I have a Negro friend up in my apartment.”

“The racial bias is definitely behind the whole thing,” Izzy summed it up. “It’s part of the big squeeze on the Italians.”

In response to the ban, Izzy applied for a permit to sing in the park. It was rejected. He therefore organized a protest rally.
 
06izzypksun6.jpg
Izzy Young talks to a cop at the start of the demonstration.
 
On Sunday April 9th at 2pm, around 500 men and women—smartly dressed, some in suits and ties and carrying placards—peaceably approached the fountain at Washington Square Park. They were stopped by a cop. He wanted to know who was in charge. Izzy Young made his way to the front of the crowd and talked to the officer. He explained they were allowed to protest peaceably. It was within their constitutional rights to do so. The cop told Izzy they couldn’t sing, that singing was banned. They would be arrested if they broke the ban. Izzy countered by saying singing was a form of speech and they had a right to freedom of speech. He added:

It’s not up to Commissioner Morris to tell the people what kind of music is good or bad. He’s telling people folk music brings degenerates, but it’s not so.

The cops were not impressed. They began to move menacingly towards the demonstrators. Izzy thought if they started singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” the police would not hit them “on the head.” He was wrong. As the demonstrators sang the national anthem the cops started laying into them.
 
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Ten demonstrators were arrested. Dozens were injured. The press hyped the story up as a ‘Beatnik riot’ where some 3000 people attacked the cops. This story was quickly dropped as it was widely known not to be true.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The book that could kill someone
02.17.2016
04:33 pm

Topics:
Activism
History
Politics

Tags:
Uwe Wandrey
Kampfreime


 
For intellectuals and leftists in continental Europe, the year 1968 has an iconic significance that it lacks in the United States and Great Britain. In France and Germany (as well as other places) the year was dominated by violent student uprisings, and to this day people are prone to identifying one another as being in or out of the group by just saying the all-important number 68: In Germany “ein 68er” is someone who developed a political consciousness during that pivotal summer. If you were born too early or too late to take part, well, tough titty, you missed out. The German student movement is interchangeably called the 68er-Bewegung, the movement of the ‘68-ers.

It’s now necessary to remind readers that when it comes to the German protest movement of the 1960s, we’re referring to West Germany, what was then known as the Federal Republic of Germany.
 

 
Born in Hamburg, Uwe Wandrey definitely qualifies as an ‘68-er par excellence. After getting trained as a shipwright in the late 1950s, he joined the army for a while and then enrolled at he University of Hamburg specializing in Germanistik (basically literature), and history and philosophy. In 1966 he founded a small independent press called the Quer Verlag (nothing to do with “queer,” the term Quer means “across” but also “oblique,” “askew,” etc.).

In 1968 he published a small volume called Kampfreime (War Rhymes), which is one of the few books in publishing history that was explicitly intended to be used in a confrontational protest context. It was small enough to fit in one’s pocket, and the edge of its metal sheath could be used to inflict damage of various types, not only against the bodily flesh of riot police, God forbid, but also for instance, to pry away the posters of the big bourgeois advertisements papering the walls where you would like to paste or scrawl your favored political message instead.
 

SHIT ON THE GERMAN FATHERLAND / RECRUIT THE RESISTANCE
 
Adam Davis at Spineless and Stapled writes:
 

I’ve often been told that the pen (and by extension, the book) is mightier than the sword. But what if the book is the sword?

Uwe Wandrey’s Kampfreime is a collection of rhymed chants meant for use during the German Student Movement. As far as my research can tell, it is also the first book to be designed as a weapon, and as such is a landmark in book design.

The book is small. It can be easily slipped into a protestor’s pocket. The chants are arranged thematically. The red card section dividers make it easy, presumably, to flip to the right chant even under the duress of a violent protest. The book takes full advantage of secrecy and random access - perhaps the two most historically useful aspects of the codex form.

The sharp fore edge of both of the aluminum boards extend about a quarter of an inch past the fore edge of the text. The book elegantly solves the structural problems inherent in a metal binding in that the upper board is curved at a 90 degree angle at the spine, while the lower board lies flat and is buttressed against the inward curve of the upper. Thus the book lies flat, yet is easily opened.

-snip-

Kampfreime had another use as well.

The business end of a book was also intended to tear away posters, flyers, advertisements - to clear an open space in an encroaching universe of bourgeoisie paper. After all, one of the main targets of the student protest was the Axel Springer publishing house. It belongs in the same lineage as another brilliantly designed book which in many ways laid a framework for the ‘68 protests—Guy Debord, Asger Jorn, and V.O. Permild’s psychogeographical masterpiece Memoires, which featured a sandpaper dust jacket to destroy any book it was shelved against.

 

FOR BANNERS, WALLS, WOODEN FENCES, STONE WALLS, POSTERS, LEAFLETS, WALL NEWSPAPERS, CHALKBOARDS, AND TO BE CHANTED IN UNISON // GENERAL-POLITICAL / BUSINESS / ARMY / SCHOOL / UNIVERSITY / MORAL LIFE / TOOL
 

 
Read on, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Is this footage of a 21-year-old Bernie Sanders getting arrested in 1963?


This sure looks like my Bernie to me.

Yesterday on the In These Times website, Miles Kampf-Lassin alerted readers to a newly posted video that purports to be of a young Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights protest against school segregation in Chicago in 1963. The future Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate was then just a 21-year-old student at the University of Chicago.

Clearly—if this footage is indeed Bernie Sanders and it sure looks like him to me, he was rather a distinctive-looking fellow even in his younger years—then this is visual proof positive that Sanders has been consistent in his beliefs—and fighting the good fight—for his entire adult life. And yes, this was back when a young Hillary Clinton was a confirmed “Goldwater girl.” Feel the burn?

The footage was taken from Kartemquin Film’s ‘63 Boycott project, which chronicles the Chicago Public School Boycott of 1963, and was filmed by Kartemquin co-founder Jerry Temaner.

The protest on Chicago’s South Side took aim at racist education and housing policies being carried out in Englewood—namely the proposed construction of a new school for black students made up of aluminum trailers known as “Willis Wagons,” named after the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Benjamin Willis who first ordered them. These trailers were used by the city to deal with overcrowding in black schools, thereby preventing integration of black students into less-densely populated white schools.

 

 
Sanders was arrested for his civil disobedience—specifically resisting arrest—and fined $25.

Look at the glasses. Also, compare the big chunky watch in the clip below with the big chunky watch the young Sanders is seen sporting in the photo below:
 

 
I wouldn’t bet my life on it that it’s a young Bernie Sanders in this footage, but I’d surely wager a pinky or a toe…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Tactics for Evolution: Industrial socialist pioneers Test Dept, live in Berlin, 1997

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When Test Dept were at the end of their first incarnation, performing at the Island Open Air Festival in Berlin, during August of 1997, the group had progressed from their hard industrial sound (hammers hitting metal) to a more experimental electronica much related (a second cousin twice removed, perhaps) to rave culture.

Some artists and musicians need pricks to kick against in order to produce great art—otherwise they would all end up being as anodyne as Justin Bieber or as deluded as Kanye West. Test Dept had the extreme machinations of the British Conservative government to kick against when they formed in south London’s docklands in 1981. Test Dept described themselves as “an urgent reaction to the materialistic drift and reactionary conservatism of the prevailing musical and political culture.” They were the antithesis of the moronic inferno of commercial music and the perniciousness of right-wing politics. Their motto was:

EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES.

Test Dept were in opposition to the extreme conditions being created by the ruling Conservative party under the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher. Mrs. T. had been elected in May 1979 on a campaign that claimed the previous Labor government had created high unemployment. By 1981 the irony fairy had been working overtime and Thatcher’s policies doubled the number of unemployed. It eventually reached a massive high of over 3 million people by the mid-1980s.

Across the country, industries and businesses were closed. Essential social services were devastated by the Tory’s cuts, which will sound familiar to younger generations. Thatcher operated on the belief that the previous Labor government had made the British far too dependent on state hand-outs (welfare) and this was why she hacked away at the benefits system like a drunk gardener uprooting roses to kill the weeds.
 

 
Test Dept were a response to the obscenity of a new political order and the decay and poverty left in its wake. TD scavenged for the tools to make their industrial sonic attack—discarded sheet metal, hammers, oil drums. They were aligned to political activism—seeking like-minded collaborators—filmmakers, sculptors, dancers and politically active groups—to produce site-specific works to fight back and bring change. In 1984, at the height of the miners’s strike—when Thatcher closed the mines and starved the miners out of work—TD collaborated with miners and their families to draw attention to their plight and raise money for their funds.

Anyone who saw TD during this decade felt emboldened and empowered to fight back against the Tories and bring about a fairer more equal society. They are very much needed again now.

As if responding to some psychic Bat signal, Test Dept regrouped for the release of a book to commemorate their involvement with the miners’ strike. Next month they’ll premier their soundtrack to the recently rediscovered and restored Soviet silent film masterpiece An Unprecedented Campaign by Mikhail Kaufman. Test Dept will appear at the film’s premiere in Newcastle, details here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES: Test Dept’s industrial strength Socialism

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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