The murderer whose reputation John Lennon worked to restore
04.09.2014
08:16 am

Topics:
Activism
Movies
Music

Tags:
Yoko Ono
John Lennon
James Hanratty

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
 
In 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono became very interested in a convicted murderer who had been hanged for a heinous crime seven years earlier. In Britain it was one of the most famous crimes and trials of the era.

What is not in doubt is that in 1961 an individual raped Valerie Storie and murdered Michael John Gregsten, who just a little while earlier had been occupying a car together on the A6 highway in the vicinity of Bedfordshire. Storie was paralyzed from the waist down, while Gregsten, having suffered two point-blank bullets to the head, had died instantly. It does not appear to have been a robbery gone wrong or anything like that, just brutality for brutality’s sake.

There was an initial suspect named Peter Alphon, whom the police held briefly before letting him go. Many people feel that he is the likely murderer. The eventual defendant, the man who would hang for the crime, was James Hanratty. A lot of the ins and outs of the evidence-gathering phase hinged on police lineups. The trial was said to have been the longest in British history for a single murder defendant. The evidence against Hanratty was somewhat circumstantial but also not all that weak either, as far as I can tell. The jury deliberated for an unusually long time and sought clarifications from the judge in the process. Eventually the jury yielded a verdict of guilty. Six weeks later, Hanratty was executed.

A lot of social norms were changing fast in Britain—in 1965 the death penalty was outlawed in Britain for the crime of murder. The excitement over the “A6” crimes never really died down during that era, it had captured the public’s imagination. There were several books exploring the idea of Hanratty’s innocence. Hanratty’s parents and brother appear to have campaigned tirelessly on behalf of his innocence, and they were exceptionally sympathetic.

In late 1969 Hanratty’s parents visited a wealthy friend in Ascot named John Cunningham, who promptly introduced them to his pal John Lennon who lived nearby. John and Yoko quickly seized the case as another opportunity for peculiar protest; they were very much in their “Bed-In” phase.
 
Lennon
John Lennon and Yoko Ono with the parents of James Hanratty
 
Together with Hanratty’s parents, John and Yoko announced their intention to make a film to back the campaign for an enquiry at an Apple press conference on December 10, 1969. Apple Films released a documentary with the title Did Britain murder Hanratty? This movie is universally referred to as “John Lennon’s movie” and yet it’s unclear how involved he was. His name isn’t on the movie, and it’s not listed in his credits on IMDb. Well, whatever sells, right? 

The single public screening of the 40-minute movie eventually took place in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London, on February 17, 1972.

The fight to outlaw capital punishment in Britain was a large topic of the day, even after it had happened; it was on the minds of a lot of people. Hanratty had a pretty serious criminal record before the A6 crimes, he had spent the bulk of the previous seven years in prison for burglary and auto theft. In 2002 DNA tests apparently confirmed Hanratty’s guilt, although Hanratty’s defenders question that result based on the use of a spoiled sample.

On John & Yoko’s “Live Jam” album (recorded December 15, 1969), which was released with Some Time in New York City, Yoko can be heard shouting “Britain, you killed Hanratty, you murderer!” and then chanting Hanratty’s name throughout the opening bars of “Don’t Worry Kyoko.”

“Don’t Worry Kyoko,” off of Live Jam/Some Time in New York City

 

 
via Beatles Video Of The Day
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
The best (serious) April Fools’ Day video (seriously!)


“Introducing Anti-Unional, a new, long-lasting anti-worker suppository…”

The anti-union push by the wealthy elites, the corporations and the reichwing politicians who do the bidding of the highest bidders is shameful. As someone raised in a union household, what went down in Tennessee recently made me feel heartsick. Mike Elk’s epic article “The Battle for Chattanooga: Southern Masculinity and the Anti-Union Campaign at Volkswagen” is a must-read if you want to understand the depths these middle-management class-traitor assholes will sink to and the psychological warfare they engaged in vs. the workers. One word for it: Shameful. (This is an important piece of journalism, absolutely worth your time.)

Why not ask the Germans how they feel about union membership? They have a strong economy. They have LOTS of union members. Their unions prevent them from getting screwed over by the oligarchs. They have good wages and can raise their families without struggling. They even get a month or more of vacation. Coincidence? I should think not.

Can’t have that here, now, can we? The wealthy might not like it. Look at this chart, it tells the story of what’s happened in America rather succinctly and as the saying goes, numbers don’t lie.
 

 
Utterly brilliant work, this video speaks for itself, so I’m just going to get out of its way:

Ten out of ten CEOs recommend Anti-Unional to their workers!

Time-released effects ensure that the 1% continue to take in a greater share of the nation’s wealth!

Fast-acting formula decimates wages and benefits and a secure retirement!

Certified and approved by Koch Brothers Laboratories.

If you approve of this satire, SHARE IT. So far they’ve only had a handful of views, this needs to go viral stat.
 

 
Via AFSCME

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Edward Snowden’s testimony to the European Parliament is a must-read for EVERY concerned American

Edward Snowden
If Edward Snowden isn’t very careful, they’re going to crush his head!

The fate of Edward Snowden continues to be excruciatingly unresolved. The former NSA contractor who made international headlines in 2013 when he illegally disclosed details about the shocking scope of federal surveillance programs via The Guardian and other news outlets has been obliged to seek asylum from various non-U.S.-aligned governments, such as Russia, Ecuador, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Nobody really disputes that Snowden has committed criminal acts—no matter how justified—and yet the intransigent stance of the U.S. to hold over Snowden’s head the most draconian penalties (short of the death penalty, praise Jeebus). Attorney General Eric Holder promised that Snowden would not be tortured if Russia, Snowden’s current home, were to turn him over to U.S. authorities, but in the wake of Bush/Cheney and Obama himself, such promises ring hollow. In the end, the behavior of the U.S. government and other western governments has, unfortunately, tended for the most part to substantiate Snowden’s more “paranoid” claims. The optimal outcome at this stage would be for the United States to offer a more “reasonable” prison term of 3-5 years—such a gesture would go a long way towards confirming to suspicious citizens that the U.S. intends to get its house in order.

Short of that, acceptance by U.S.-friendly western goverments of the European Union would likewise tend to send the message that U.S.security-related surveillance interests don’t trump every other value in the geopolitical system. One of the dispiritng lessons of the Snowden affair thus far has been the lack of counterbalancing perspective in the global system, in other words, the only apparent recourse Snowden has had to escape punishment from the United States has been various “bad guys” like Iran, North Korea, Russia and so on.  The strong impression has been left that countries like Germany, France, U.K., and so on, which once may have acted as sensible, fair brokers are all (a) unduly beholden to the U.S., and (b) compromised in their own right, as each country has its own semi-legal regime of espionage and surveillance. If all western states are but satellites in the U.S. sphere of influence, then Snowden’s revelations become all the more urgent.

For this reason, Snowden’s testimony (delivered in the form of a written statement) to the European Parliament on March 7 is a huge story—one that, sadly, has gone largely unnoticed by major U.S. media outlets. (At this point it’s a little difficult to distinguish sinister anti-Snowden propaganda from regular Snowden fatigue.) You can read Snowden’s entire testimony here.

In his testimony, Snowden related that he has requested asylum in from a number of EU countries, only to be told by European Parliamentarians that the United States would not permit its EU partners to make such an offer. “I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, ‘will not allow’ EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.”
 
The NSA
 
In Snowden’s view, the NSA and the security agencies of various EU states have created a “European bazaar” in which the perception of shared interests among the EU states trump the rights and expectations of western citizens to conduct their affairs in private. Wrote Snowden:

“The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn’t search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn’t search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government’s spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ [U.K. Government Communications Headquarters], FRA [Försvarets radioanstalt, the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment], and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.”

Snowden has gone out of his way to put up a non-threatening front to the EU, insisting that he left the Russian secret service frustrated in its attempts to procure from Snowden further classified information about the United States. To the question “Did the Russian secret service approach you?” Snowden replied:

“Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that’s their job. But I didn’t take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I’m sure they were disappointed, it doesn’t take long for an intelligence service to realize when they’re out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high. I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.”

According to Snowden, the NSA itself, which has well-nigh unregulated status within the U.S. federal government, has itself been pushing for EU states to take actions that do not benefit EU citizens:

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

The Snowden “affair” is a highly sensitive “node” in the incredibly complex network of institutions that touch on so many important aspects of our lives—the federal government, telecom companies, Google and Facebook, credit card companies, the U.S. military, Russia, the UN, and so on. If the European Parliament denies Snowden’s requests, it will be another depressing sign that those interrelated interests do not have your or my well-being at heart.

In this video, Democracy Now! looks at the three most important of Snowden’s revelations:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Dozens of Fela Kuti albums available for free streaming
02.10.2014
04:33 am

Topics:
Activism
Music
Politics

Tags:
Fela Kuti
Afrobeat


 
A Metafilter user going by the wonderful handle “flapjax at midnite” has alerted the world to the existence of a Bandcamp page full of complete Fela Kuti LPs. 48 of them, in fact, which I don’t believe is even his complete discography.

If you’re unfamiliar, good lord take this opportunity! Fela (1938-1997) was an inestimably important African artist who began making music in the late ‘50s, and in the ‘60s pioneered a compelling fusion of psych-rock, funk, jazz, and traditional Nigerian music that he dubbed “Afrobeat.” His music dealt with themes of social justice, which, as he was a Pan-African and a Socialist, got him in major and repeated deep shit in the repressive milieu of Nigeria. The mid ’70s album Zombie, for example, was a blistering attack on the Nigerian military, whose response to the insult included fatally defenestrating his mother in a brutal raid on the Lagos commune in which he, his family, and his band lived. The 1989 release Beasts of No Nation—the recording that served as my introduction to his work—was a lengthy and stunning piece he wrote after being freed from a stint in prison on a politically motivated and trumped up currency smuggling charge.
 

 

 
Now, as heroic as his political struggles were, the man was not unproblematic. It’d be plain wrong to lionize him for his musical innovations and political engagement while leaving out that he was a polygamist who could be disturbingly misogynistic.

There are plenty of good entry points into Fela’s work, but among my favorites is the absolutely KILLER Live With Ginger Baker. The Cream drummer’s African sojurn is a story unto itself, and had no small impact on the development of that continent’s rock music in the ’70s.
 

 
Lastly, here’s some great footage from Catalonian television in the ‘80s, mixing interview material with a live concert, a combination which imparts a good sense of the man and his work.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
The Clash play ‘Safe European Home’ in newly unearthed live footage
02.07.2014
05:37 am

Topics:
Activism
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash


 
Web series The Big Fun Show, a project of One Billion Acts of Peace, has unearthed some unreleased footage of The Clash performing at Detroit USA’s Motor City Roller Rink in 1980. They’ve posted “Safe European Home,” from the LP Give Em Enough Rope, with the promise that if the video gets 100,000 views, they’ll post more of the show.

The video has been up for a few days now, and the hit count is still well below 5,000, so maybe we could give them a little hand? One Billion Acts of Peace is a charitable organization worth knowing about. A project of Peace Jam, it’s “an international global citizen’s movement led by thirteen Nobel Peace Laureates and designed to tackle the toughest issues facing humanity.”

Between now and December 31, 2018, average citizens around the world will work together to create one billion high quality projects addressing the root causes of the most important problems facing our planet—crucial areas like rights for women and children, access to clean water for all, and alleviating extreme poverty.

Additional information on the project is available at their web site. But OK, optimism, social change and Nobel Peace Prizes are all maybe a little hippie-ish for some of you, and you clicked on this to see The Clash. I’ll not keep you waiting.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Disgraceland: Steven Van Zandt rips on Paul Simon
02.03.2014
09:48 am

Topics:
Activism
Music

Tags:
Paul Simon
Apartheid
Steven Van Zandt

Little Steven
Little Steven at a press conference where Coretta Scott King accepted the first $50,000 check (on behalf of The Africa Fund) from Artists United Against Apartheid, 1985
 
Perhaps one of my least punk predilections is a weakness for Paul Simon, and the album Graceland, specifically. It’s not that I have any compunction about liking “mom rock,” (moms are awesome, and my love for Carole King is also well-documented), but Graceland is steeped in some pretty nasty history. For one, I’m inclined to believe Los Lobos, who appear on the last track, “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints,” when they say Simon should have given them a writing credit. The album made bank, and he certainly could have stood to give them credit and a little compensation.

But the most well-known controversy of Graceland is Simon’s refusal to cooperate with the cultural boycott of Apartheid—most of the album was recorded in South Africa, but Simon apparently considered himself exempt from the politics of the situation, since he had been invited by South African musicians and didn’t play live shows in the country. I’ll be the first to admit that cultural boycotts can be difficult to understand. From an artist’s perspective, no one wants to be told to avoid an audience or a musical collaboration because their governing body is corrupt. But Paul Simon pulled what we refer to in radical political circles as a “total dick move.”

If he was really committed to solidarity with South Africans (which he insists, to this day, that he was), it would have been incredibly easy for him to just ask the African National Congress if it was cool for him to visit, just to make sure that he wasn’t, ya know… undermining the struggle for liberation of a long-suffering people. He was even explicitly advised by Harry Belafonte to do just that, (and when Harry Belafonte gives you civil rights advice, you’d best just listen). Simon decided he was just going to go, and upon his arrival, he was treated to protests, with signs demanding, “Yankee Go Home” and “Go Back Simon.”

And here’s the thing—he still hasn’t fucking apologized. I’m not sure if it’s because the album was incredibly successful or because it broke South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to a larger audience, but he seems to think the legacy of Graceland completely excuses his totally politically unconscionable transgression. In Under African Skies, the 2012 documentary on the album, he’s still a smug dick about it.

And this is why I love Steven Van Zandt. In addition to being a truly brilliant musician, a dedicated and studious curator of rock ‘n’ roll history, and Silvio Dante, Little Steven is down with the people, and a committed activist. In a recent interview with rock critic Dave Marsh on his Sirius/XM radio program Kick Out The Jams with Dave Marsh, he discussed his work with Artists United Against Apartheid. The whole thing was fascinating, but the very best part is Van Zandt hilariously calling out Paul Simon.

Picking up from the point where Little Steven tells the armed resistance movement, the Azanian People’s Organisation, not to just fucking assassinate Paul Simon for his bullshit…
 

Dave Marsh: I was with you the first time you saw Paul and talked to him about this, at [entertainment attorney] Peter Parcher’s 60th birthday party.

Van Zandt: That’s right, that’s right, that’s right! I’m glad you were a witness, because wait’ll you hear the latest on that. Anyway, I said to them, “Listen, this is not gonna help anybody if you knock off Paul Simon. Trust me on this, alright? Let’s put that aside for the moment. Give me a year or so, you know, six months,” whatever I asked for, “to try and do this a different way. I’m trying to actually unify the music community around this, which may or may not include Paul Simon, but I don’t want it to be a distraction. I just don’t need that distraction right now; I gotta keep my eye on the ball.” And I took him off that assassination list, I took Paul Simon off the U.N. blacklist, trying to…

You mean you convinced them to take him off…

Yeah, because this was a serious thing…

Because this was gonna eat up the attention that the movement itself needed.

Yes, and the European unions were serious about this stuff, man. You were on that [U.N. blacklist], you did not work, okay? Not like America, which was so-so about this stuff, man. Over there, they were serious about this stuff, you know? Anyway, so yeah, this was in spite of Paul Simon approaching me at that party saying, “What are you doing, defending this communist?!”

What he said was, “Ah, the ANC [African National Congress, the organization of which Mandela was President at the time of his arrest and imprisonment], that’s just the Russians.” And he mentioned the group that [murdered black South African activist Steven Biko] had been in, which was not AZAPO…

Was he PAC [Pan-Africanist Congress]?

It doesn’t matter [for this story], but [Paul Simon] said, “That’s just the Chinese communists.”

Yeah, yeah. And he says, “What are you doing defending this guy Mandela?! He’s obviously a communist. My friend Henry Kissinger told me about where all of the money’s coming from,” and all of this. I was, like, all due respect, Paul…

I remember it very vividly, because it was aimed at everybody standing in the general direction.

Yeah, but mostly he was telling me.

Well, yeah, you were the one… Everybody knew who to get mad at first. [laughter]

He knew more than me, he knew more than Mandela, he knew more than the South African people. His famous line, of course, was, “Art transcends politics.” And I said to him, “All due respect, Paulie, but not only does art not transcend politics… art is politics. And I’m telling you right now, you and Henry Kissinger, your buddy, go fuck yourselves.” Or whatever I said. But he had that attitude, and he knowingly and consciously violated the boycott to publicize his record.

Well, to make his record. That’s the violation of the boycott — to make his record.

Yeah, and he actually had the nerve to say, “Well, I paid everybody double-scale.” Remember that one? Oh, that’s nice… no arrogance in that statement, huh? [laughter]

Now, the punchline. Cut to 30 years later, or whatever it is. He asked me to be in his movie [Under African Skies, the documentary on the making of Graceland, included as a DVD in the album’s 25th anniversary boxed edition]. I said, “Alright, I’ll be in your movie, if you don’t edit me. You ready to tell it like it is?”

He says, “Yep.”

“Are you, like, uh, apologizing in this movie?”

“Yep.”

“Okay. I’m not gonna be a sore winner. I’ll talk to you.”

I did an interview. They show me the footage. Of course, they edited the hell out of it to some little statement where I’m saying something positive about Paul. [laughter] And I see the rest of the footage, where he’s supposedly apologizing, with Dali Tambo [founder of Artists Against Apartheid and son of late ANC leaders Adelaide and Oliver Tambo]. He says, “I’m sorry if I made it inconvenient for you.” That was his apology.

In other words, he still thinks he’s right, all these years later!

You’re the only person who’s ever met Paul twice who thinks that’s surprising. [laughter]

I mean, at this point, you still think you were right?! Meanwhile, that big “communist,” as soon as he got out of jail, I see who took the first picture with him. There’s Paul Simon and Mandela, good buddies. I’m watchin’ CNN the other day. Mandela dies, on comes a statement by Bono and the second statement’s by Paul Simon. I’m like oh, just make me throw up. You know, I like the guy in a lot of ways, I do; and I respect his work, of course. He’s a wonderful, wonderful artist, but when it comes to this subject, he just will not admit he was wrong. Y’know, just mea culpa. Come on, you won! He made twenty, thirty million dollars at least, okay? Take the money and apologize, okay? I mean, say “Listen, maybe I was wrong about this a little bit.” No.

Well…unfortunately we live in a country where the money means you don’t have to apologize, and let’s leave that there.

 

 
Via Backstreets

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Want to become Anonymous? There’s a workshop for that!
01.31.2014
05:17 am

Topics:
Activism

Tags:
Anonymous

Anonymous
 
A curious listing popped up in the registration section of Machine Project, a grassroots educational facility in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Bearing the title “Becoming Anonymous,” the listing proposed to teach registrants to learn the techniques used by the infamous and admirable hacktivist collective Anonymous. The class costs $95 for Machine Project members and $110 for non-members; the three 180-minute sessions are scheduled for March 4, 11, and 18 at 7pm.

Here’s the course description in full:
 

Becoming Anonymous is a three-session workshop that will focus on methods for the circumvention or blocking of digital and real-world surveillance. Browse the internet anonymously. Lock down your computer and passwords. Encrypt your email messages. Build a new you or a new identity. Learn about the benefits of burner phones and bitcoin. Stop individuals, corporations, or the government from tracking you. A toolkit for a new era!

Taught by Professors X & Y who are real-life professors, technology enthusiasts, and privacy advocates. But perhaps we’ve already told you too much.

Participants should have laptops and be 18 or over.

 
Given the inordinate interest that law enforcement officials are likely to have in such an event, I would imagine that the “teachers” will be present in the form of one or more computer monitors. Although it’s not like you can just arrest some dude called Anonymous anyway.

Here’s a taste of the kind of righteous mayhem you can perpetrate after taking the class, specifically blitzing the websites of the Westboro Baptist Church:
 

 
via Internet Magic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Killing Nazis with kindness—by ‘liking’ them on Facebook
01.29.2014
04:51 am

Topics:
Activism
Politics
Science/Tech

Tags:
Facebook
Nazis

Like Attack
 
January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this year an ad-hoc German collective called Laut Gegen Nazis (Loud Against Nazis) staged an intriguing protest against the Nazi Party of Germany, or the National Democratic Party of Germany, as they style themselves (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD), by using the innocuous tools of Facebook to call attention to the damnable persistence of Nazi ideology in Germany.

Laut Gegen Nazis called it a “Like Attack”—they encouraged liberal opponents of fascist ideas to flood the NPD’s Facebook page by “liking” it and also by posting, as a comment, a link to a liberal-friendly image such as “Rassismus tötet!” (Racism kills!) or a rainbow version of the Nazi logo. In addition users were urged to adopt one of those very same images as their personal icons for the day (as they would obviously be seen on the NPD’s page itself).
 
Laut Gegen Nazis
 
The slogan for the day was “Wir überfremden die NPD!”—which clever phrase requires a bit of unpacking. The German word überfremden is not a common one; it appears to be a bit of neo-Nazi jargon, and it means to be overrun by foreigners—such sentiments are surely discernable enough in the U.S. and U.K. as well. The genius of the slogan lies in the fact that Laut Gegen Nazis was proposing to do just that to the NPD’s Facebook page—overrun it with outside elements.

As the Das Kraftfuttermischwerk blog pointed out, the project had the distinct drawback of having to oblige users, however briefly, to “like” such an odious entity as the NPD in order to function. But a sizable number of people appeared not to mind that particular taint, anyway.
 
NPD Facebook page
 
In the end, the NPD admins presumably had to work a little harder to maintain their page (it appears that many of the comments were scrubbed, although as of this writing—1/29—a few more recent comments could be seen on NPD’s website), and who knows how many minds, if any, were changed. But it remains a pretty clever implementation of social media to land a collective political point.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Jewelry made from seized guns and ammo
01.03.2014
09:14 am

Topics:
Activism
Art

Tags:
gun control
jewelry

jewelry
Bullet Aeternum Pendant Necklace: $245.00
 
I’m generally turned off by stuff like this (I blame Bono). So often we’re told political art is there to “raise awareness,” as if the issue can be solved with a some savvy public relations hustle and a t-shirt or two. Or, we’re told that the answer to problems of capitalism lie in some sort of ethical consumerism—if we all just do our research and vote with our dollar, we can save the world by shopping! (Check out the video at the end to hear Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek lay out exactly why that’s bullshit.)

But I kind of like this jewelry made from recycled guns, and it doesn’t get on my nerves for couple of reasons. One, the mission statement is pretty clear and the artistic concept isn’t overly ambitious or sanctimonious:

Liberty United recycles guns to make jewelry and art made in the U.S.A.

Guns and bullets are collected by partner communities. These are cataloged and checked by law enforcement and then released for recycling. Liberty United remakes the remnants of these guns and bullets, using ancient and contemporary techniques, into jewelry and art.

As we work to reduce gun violence, we provide jobs in America. Our pieces are handcrafted in the U.S.A., incorporating serial numbers and metal from guns and bullet shells that have been reclaimed and destroyed through the communities with whom we’re collaborating.

Second, 20 to 25% of the profits (not a bad cut) go to established anti-gun violence organizations—not just some paper moon charity the artists invented to appear “aware.” And third, it appears their labor practices are actually on the up and up.

But Liberty United doesn’t claim to be saving the world.They’re using recycled materials, they appear to be providing good jobs for skilled laborers, and they’re making something a hell of a lot more attractive than a pair of TOMS shoes.

The stuff is pretty pricey—even when a choice of metals is offered, the less precious of the two is no drop in the bucket. And we won’t save America from gun violence with swank accessories. But this is a cool concept, and I’ll be damned if I don’t need that claw bracelet at the very bottom.
 
jewelry
Skinny Bullet Cuff: $95.00
 
jewelry
Gunmetal Aeternum Cuff: $395.00
 
jewelry
Bullet Ring: $85.00
 
jewelry
Bullet Necklace: $95.00
 
jewelry
Silver & Gunmetal Inlay Cage Cuff with Turquoise: $1,295.00
 
jewelry
Silver & Gunmetal Talon Cuff: $1,545.00 USD
 

 
Via Liberty United

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Garbage in, garbage out: Portugal’s dirty protest against the banks
01.01.2014
08:05 am

Topics:
Activism
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
protests
banks

portbinrub.jpg
 
In Portugal the refuse collectors are on strike, so people are leaving their garbage outside the banks.

According to Euro News, the garbage has been “piling up on some of the streets of the Portuguese capital Lisbon – where refuse collectors have been on strike for three days over plans to privatise the sector.”

Unions representing the refuse collectors estimate 85% of the workers support the strike, which is due to end on 5th January.
 

 
Via Matt Bloom, H/T Trevor Ward

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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