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Anti-propaganda street posters tell the truth about the police

001totalpolicingstrike1.jpg
 
A series of posters questioning the London Metropolitan Police’s record on racism, violence and corruption have appeared on advertising hoardings across London. The billposters are the idea of STRIKE! Magazine, which produced them in response to the Metropolitan Police’s own promotional campaign—as the magazine explains:

The Metropolitan Police Force spend ridiculous sums of our money trying to convince us – and themselves – that they’re not violent, racist and corrupt. In 2012 it was £12.6m and in 2013 it was £9.3 – in two weeks alone last year they wasted nearly half a million pounds of public money on pointless poster campaigns. This is from the webpage promoting the local policing pilot scheme:

“Evidence tells us that giving people very local information about police action in their area may increase the confidence they have in police. These boroughs were chosen as places where confidence in policing is lower than average.”

It’s propaganda pure and simple: they want us to forget that they murdered Mark Duggan, an unarmed civilian, and caused the 2011 riots; they’d rather you didn’t talk about being 28 times more likely to be stopped and searched in London if you don’t have white skin; and if the heavily redacted Operation Tiberius report is anything to go by, they definitely don’t want you to know about the 42 corrupt senior Metropolitan Police officers caught literally letting criminals get away with murder. Their entire barrel is rotten, so they want to keep the lid tight shut.

STRIKE! Magazine is a bi-monthly anti-profit, advertisement free newspaper covering politics, philosophy, art, subversion and sedition. The magazine launched the campaign two months ago, but claim they do not know who is behind printing the posters and putting them in bus shelter advertising hoardings.

However, one designer from STRIKE! told Vice UK that he had seen about twenty posters since they first appeared on Saturday December 13th, and was “[e]normously pleased” with them. Photographs of the posters have been shared by many users on Twitter.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Real estate cosplay: NYC developers trying to make ‘Steampunk Luxury Condos’ happen
12.11.2014
02:49 pm

Topics:
Class War
Design

Tags:
New York City
steampunk


 
They say that “money don’t buy taste,” but if you can afford to live at N°15 RENWICK, one would assume you’ve at least got the cash for a “style consultant” to tell you how fucking corny you are. The luxury development (whose logo is an obvious homage to CHANEL N°5) is trying what may be the lamest of all marketing angles to attract a wealthy and “creative” clientele—they’re making it steampunk. Their advertising is an utterly confusing photo-spread of classically influenced modern architecture inhabited by Victorian-ish “characters”—it can only be described as real estate cosplay…

From the website:

The Characters of 15 Renwick pay homage to the Victorian era in which the street’s namesake, James Renwick and his son, lived (1790-1895). Renwick was a pioneering author, engineer and professor at Columbia University while his son, James Jr., was one of the most celebrated architects of his generation. The Characters also embody the creative persona of today’s Hudson Square resident and the insider nature of the single-block Renwick Street.

Look, pining for “Olde New York” is a rite of passage no matter what year you moved here, but these people are paying an insane amount of money for a New York that never even existed! One of the developers, Eldad Blaustein joked that the ideal tenant might be a “Wall Street trader, but he’s writing songs, he’s writing poems at night.”

Sounds about right. Who else would be so dead inside that they’d want to come home to LARP?
 

 

 

 

 
More real estate steampunk cosplay after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Riot Squad toys: Train your tots to quash rebellion for their capitalist overlords


“Police Force Role Play Set for kids with Combat Vest, Riot Shield, Badge, Handcuffs, Machine Gun Toy, Grenade, Club & Knife”
 
I’m not actually particularly against “war toys.” Kids have violent little imaginations, and I don’t think there’s any causal correlation between acting them out and actual shootings—lots of kids have toy swords, but it’s not like we’re dealing with a rash of impalements. That being said, there is something about riot squad dress-up sets and riot squad vehicle LEGO sets that’s particularly gross, probably because it’s a much more literal representation of a visible violent institution. I mean, when kids play soldier, there’s the antagonist of a foreign “enemy” that keeps it a distant fantasy. Even when kids play “policeman,” it’s a kind of generic take on justice, like being a “sheriff,” but come on, a riot squad? What are they supposed to be doing, playing Ferguson?

I would expect this from a dress-up kit (costume companies are run by insane people, for insane people), but I feel so sad about LEGO stooping to this level! Look at those little minifig pigs! You have to wonder who among the children who will receive these toys will grow up to be dissidents, and who among them will join the other side, right? This is probably about as insidious as war toys are, of course, but can’t we at least agree there’s something creepy about tiny little running dogs of capitalism with itty-bitty riot shields?

EDIT: The “LEGO”-looking toys are not LEGO-brand, but a counterfeit block set, much to our relief. Apologies to readers for the misunderstanding, and apologies to LEGO for besmirching their noble name.
 

Riot Police Car, 325 piece set
 

Minifigs from above LEGO set

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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If you really think it matters which party controls the Senate, answer these simple questions
11.06.2014
11:37 am

Topics:
Class War
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Republicans
Democrats


 
This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. Read his essays daily at his Of Two Minds blog. Smith’s latest book is Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

Please don’t claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.

If you really think it matters which political party controls the U.S. Senate, please answer these questions. Don’t worry, they’re not that difficult:

1. Will U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast change from being an incoherent pastiche of endless war and Imperial meddling? Please answer with a straight face. We all know the answer is that it doesn’t matter who controls the Senate, Presidency or House of Representatives, nothing will change.

2. Will basic civil liberties be returned to the citizenry? You know, like the cops are no longer allowed to steal your cash when they stop you for a broken tail light and claim the cash was going to be used for a drug deal.

Or some limits on domestic spying by Central State agencies. You know, basic civil liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. constitution.

Don’t make me laugh—you know darned well that it doesn’t matter who controls the Senate, Presidency or House of Representatives, nothing will change.

3. Will the predatory, parasitic policies of the Federal Reserve that virtually everyone from the Wall Street Journal to what little remains of the authentic Left understands has greatly increased income and wealth inequality be reined in? Please don’t claim either party has any will or interest in limiting the Fed’s rapacious financialization. There is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim—it is pure wishful thinking.

4. Will the steaming pile of profiteering, corruption, waste, fraud and ineptitude that is Sickcare in the U.S. be truly reformed so its costs drop by 50% to match what every other developed democracy spends per person on universal healthcare? It doesn’t matter if ObamaCare is repealed or not; that monstrosity was simply another layer of bureaucratic waste on an already hopelessly dysfunctional system.

If you answer “yes,” please run a body scan on yourself to detect the biochips that were implanted while you voted Demopublican.

5. Will the influence of Big Money be well and truly banned from politics? If you answer yes, please pick up your tin-foil hat at the door.

6. Will the incentives in the Status Quo be reset to punish rapacious financialization and gaming the system and reward productive investment and labor? Before you answer, check out who’s buttering the Senators’ bread. Hint: Wall Street does not qualify as productive unless we’re talking about the production of life-draining parasites. Virtually none of the vast armies of skimmers and scammers, from those pursuing bogus disability claims to lobbyist leeches, will suffer any consequence.

Moral hazard is the Status Quo’s Prime Directive.

7. Will anything be done to dismantle the Neofeudal Debt-Serfdom known as student loans? You are delusional if you think either party has any interest in limiting the predation of an academic Upper Caste that came to do good and stayed to do well.

8. Will any prudent assessment be made of unaffordable weapons systems like the F-35 Lightning—$1.5 trillion and counting for aircraft that will soon be matched by drones that cost a fraction of the F-35’s $200 million a piece price tag? No way—parts of those insanely costly jets are made in dozens of states, so the pork is well-distributed. Never mind the plane is lemon, built to fight the wars of the past. It’s jobs, Baby—that’s all that counts. Never mind the $1.5 trillion—we can always borrow another couple trillion—the Fed promised us.

Do you really think the Senate controlled by either party will ask why the F-35’s price tag dropped to $120 million from $200 million? That’s easy—the revised estimate left out the engine and avionics. They’ll be added back in after the Senate approves open-ended funding.

If none of these key dynamics will change, you got nothing. Please don’t claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.

If you doubt this, please take the above quiz again.

This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. Read his essays daily at his Of Two Minds blog. Smith’s latest book is Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Rich kids and poor kids of Tehran duke it out on Instagram
10.09.2014
08:42 am

Topics:
Class War
Pop Culture

Tags:
Iran
Instagram


 
One of the enduring lessons of the Internet, if not life itself, is that if you’re rich you have to take care about how you present yourself. Most people like and admire the wealthy—or at least aspire to their status—but when rich people get together to show off what they have, in virtually no time it can lead to a nexus of pride, envy, and schadenfreude that can turn into a potent brew of ressentiment. In short, rich people got to watch out, it’s super easy to come off looking like an arrogant, clueless asshole, no matter what the original intent was.

Some affluent folks in Iran recently learned this lesson. In mid-September someone started an Instagram account called Rich Kids in Tehran showing wealthy young people posing in luxurious hotels, next to expensive cars, and dolled up in designer duds. In just three weeks, the account caught a little positive attention and blew up to 50,000 followers (it currently has more than 95,000 followers).

As The Daily Beast reported, the site quickly sparked a backlash, despite the purportedly innocent intentions of the Instagram’s creators. As one of the managers of the account wrote, “We are trying to show the good side of Tehran/Iran to the whole world. Iran is always in the news regarding negative things and we are not interested in that. We are just trying to show what they don’t show in the news channels.” There was no shortage of tut-tutting, for instance from Iranian-American author Firoozeh Dumas (Funny in Farsi) who objected to the sensationalization of “a slice of materialistic, shallow and downright embarrassing Iranian culture. I just want to shout, ‘We are not all like that!’”

Some clever person in Iran decided that the best way to fight back was through satire. On October 5 a new Instagram account called Poor Kids in Tehran materialized, showing the bitter reality behind the facade of all of the luxurious escapades the rich kids were enjoying. The account takes a deadpan approach; most of the images are more about squalor than actual want.

Rich Kids of Tehran may shrug off any accusations of ill intent, but they must be feeling more than a little defensive. The following message appeared on the Rich Kids’ Instagram yesterday:
 

We Love our city of Tehran. We are in no way trying to put a difference between rich and poor. We are trying to show the world how beautiful Tehran and people from Tehran are. The Middle East is always on TV receiving negative attention and we just wanted to show that Tehran is not like that. This page is in no way political and we never had any bad intentions. We never thought the page would make headlines all over the world. Some of the people featured in this Instagram account don’t live in Iran.

 
I’ve curated a little gallery of images from the two Instagram accounts. See if you can tell which ones came from which account—they’re all from the most recent images, so you can easily check your work.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Vocativ

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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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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