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Syrians swiping and trashing portraits of al-Assad
08.16.2011
06:27 pm
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The destruction of a dictator’s likenesses has always proved symbolically powerful, whether it’s a Haitian kid taking a pick-axe to a Jean-Claude Duvalier poster in 1985 or Libyan protestors shoeing the televised image of Muammar Gaddaffi more recently.

It’s been a spring and summer of brave protest in Syria, and a bloody crackdown by the country’s president Bashar al-Assad has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,600. A squad of Madrid-based Syrian expatriates have taken a cue from fellow protestors in the Arab world and offered their own show of solidarity.

No portrait of Assad in a Syrianair office is safe now. Oh, and sorry, trash-bin.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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08.16.2011
06:27 pm
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DeLoot London: The opposite of a boycott
08.15.2011
04:50 pm
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Rioters may have helped themselves to the inventory of local shops, but DeLoot London wants to help insure that none of them shuts by pointing out to concerned people how they can support these damaged businesses with their purchases. DeLoot London aims to help these small business owners to get back on their feet with the opposite of a boycott:

DeLoot London’s mission is to make sure that not a single shop that was looted during the riots is forced to close. While a small number of people did the damage, we can all help our local, independent businesses recover by spending our money with them.

This map will show you where your money will do the most good. If you know a looted shop that’s not on the map, send details to help@delootlondon.co.uk and we’ll add it. Let’s go shopping, and DeLoot London!

I’m normally not one to try to encourage consumerism, but DeLoot London’s heart is in the right place. Find out more at De-Loot London’s efforts to mitigate the damage of the England riots at their official website.

Thanks, Gabriella Wingådh!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.15.2011
04:50 pm
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Eric Clapton’s DIsgusting Racist Tirade
07.03.2011
05:08 pm
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I was only made aware of this speech by Eric Clapton at a 1976 gig in Birmingham, UK, the other day, but It’s truly disgusting. Here’s a relatively short sample (quoted from Rebel Rock by J. Street (1986) and sourced from New Musical Express, Melody Maker, The Guardian and The Times):

Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back.

It goes on for a lot longer than that - the entire speech can be heard in the animated YouTube clip below. The “Enoch” Clapton is referring to is the notorious English politician Enoch Powell who in 1968 made the infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech, also in Brimingham. How Clapton didn’t get crucified at the time in the popular press is beyond me, as is the fact that the rest of the concert continued as normal, with no rioting or no bottling. The activist group Rock Against Racism was set up as a direct response to these remarks. Clapton has never properly apologised  - how does he still get away with receiving so much praise and acclaim? Fuck Eric Clapton.  
 

 
Thanks to Joe Spencer for alerting me to this.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.03.2011
05:08 pm
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‘U PAY YOUR TAX 2’
06.25.2011
08:02 am
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From last night at the Glastonbury festival, where U2 made their debut. The balloon reads “U PAY YOUR TAX 2?”, referring to the fact that U2 don’t pay taxes in their native Ireland, despite being one of the country’s biggest exports. Methinks Ireland, which is pretty fucking broke, could do with Bono and co’s extra dollar right now…

From BBC News (where you can also see footage of the balloon and the Glastonbury festival security’s over-the-top reaction to it):

[U2] played a greatest hits set that included Where The Streets Have No Name, One, With Or Without You and Beautiful Day. They also played on as protest group Art Uncut inflated a 20ft balloon emblazoned with “U Pay Your Tax 2”.

Scuffles broke out when the protest balloon was removed by festival security, although many of those in the 50,000 crowd were probably unaware of the minor incident. Security staff sought to stop the protest by about 30 people at the end of U2’s opening song Even Better Than the Real Thing.

So the next time you see or hear Bono patronisingly droning on about some sanctimonious twaddle, just think these three words: “Pay Your Taxes”!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.25.2011
08:02 am
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EFIL4ZTULS: A report from a Slut Walk
06.13.2011
07:59 pm
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My first reaction on hearing of the international “Slut Walk” movement was “brilliant.” About bloody time! What a horribly demeaning word, one loaded with judgement that denies a person the basic enjoyment of their own sexual activities and bodies. “Slut” is rife for reclaiming - because there is no term for a person who enjoys copious amount of sex that is not pejorative. Why not, as other social groups have done in the past, take an already existing term of abuse and strip it of its negative meaning? It’s hard to fathom that the word “slut” still holds so much power in this, the twenty first century. Are we still to feel shame for our sexual desires and appetites? Does Michael Sanguinetti believe that if all women were to suddenly don burkhas all rape would be wiped out? No, because a rapist will commit a rape regardless of what a person is wearing, slutty or otherwise - the risk factors lie with the rapists not the victim.  

So, my partner and I turned out for Slut Walk Manchester on last Friday evening, to show our faces and bodies and in some small way reclaim the place will live as being safe from harassment and abuse. Of course it’s only a small gesture but that in itself does not make it invalid or worthless. By all accounts Manchester is a very protest-friendly city, but the turnout of roughly a thousand was very healthy and exceeded expectations. We walked for over an hour, winding our way through the city centre streets, stopping traffic and emptying public transport. The reaction from passers by was supportive and not negative like I had assumed it would be, and even though no official license had been granted for the march by the council, the police were helpful and friendly, and guided the mass of people on their way rather than hemming them in.
 

 
The crowd was mixed, with a lot of men walking and a good range of ages (though most on the march were young). There were a handful of drag queens and queer activists as well - Manchester has a large gay population and an active male sex industry, so male rape is not uncommon. If I have one gripe it was with the placards handed out to the crowd by the Socialist Worker Party, an act that to me seemingly hijacked an apolitical march for its own ends. The placards read “No Means No” on one side, with “Clarke Must Go” on the other. Sure, Ken Clarke, the British Secretary of State for Justice made some very unwise comments on rape a few weeks ago, but I did not need the SWP to help me call for his resignation, or tell me that my body was my property. It just came across as petty point scoring. Other placards of interest held by members of the march included “Police Rapists, Not My Fucking Wardrobe”, “My Minge My Rules” and “Queer As in Fuck You (But Only If You Consent)”.

At one point during the march I was approached by a man for a cigarette an we got chatting. He seemed not to be of the typical student/protester mould, more a working class guy fond of a few pints, but I had noticed him before and though he might have been one of the organisers. As we were walking he asked me if I had been raped. I answered that thankfully I hadn’t, but I still wanted to show my support as I know people who have. Almost with a sense of confrontational pride he told me that he had been raped, and that it had happened while he was 9 years old and living in care. He asked me what the march was about and if it was specifically for women. He didn’t know what a “Slut Walk” was, he had never heard of it, he just happened to be in town and saw it passing. So I explained about the concept, the reclaiming of the word, and the comments on rape Ken Clarke had made. He kept clarifying that he was not gay - at first I thought this might have had to do the leather gear I was wearing, but soon realised it was more to do with the societal taboo of male rape and this man’s own experience of it. Eventually he turned to me, looked me in the eye and said he had never told another man about this before. I shook his hand. I understood where the confrontation was coming from - it was not with me but it with himself and the fact that he was facing up to a dark part of his own past he had buried for god knows how long. A part he probably would not have faced up to had it not been for the Slut Walk.
 

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.13.2011
07:59 pm
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