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The whimsical anarchism of the White Bicycle revolution
03.19.2015
06:02 am

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Amusing
Class War
Music
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002whitebike.jpg
 
In the summer of 1965, Dutch designer and political activist Luud Schimmelpennink suggested a simple radical scheme that would eventually change the world. Schimmelpennink had an idea for creating a more sustainable environment by giving away free bicycles for communal use in Amsterdam’s city center. The suggestion was called the “White Bicycle Plan” and was part of a series of “White Plans” devised by the Dutch anarchist group Provo.

Provo is a Dutch word for “young trouble-maker” and was considered an appropriate name for a group of young anarchists to carry out political “happenings” and stunts that were inspired as much by DADA as by Herbert Marcuse. Provo was formed by artist and anti-smoking campaigner Robert Jasper Grootveld, writer and anarchist Roel van Duijn and activist Rob Stolk in May 1965. Their motivation, they explained, was to fight back against capitalist society that was “poisoning itself with a morbid thirst for money,” where its citizens were “being brought up to worship Having and despise Being.”

Because this bureaucratic society is choking itself with officialdom and suppressing any form of spontaneity. Its members can only become creative, individual people through anti-social conduct.

Because the militaristic society is digging its own grave by a paranoid arms build-up. Its members now have nothing to look forward to but certain death by atomic radiation.

Provo attracted anarchists, beatniks, activists, hippies, philosophers and even “charlatans,” “scratchers and syphilitics, secret police, and other riff-raff.”
 
00provbik.jpg
 
The group listed their beliefs as:

Provo has something against capitalism, communism, fascism, bureaucracy, militarism, professionalism, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. Provo has to choose between desperate, resistance and submissive extinction. Provo calls for resistance wherever possible. Provo realises that it will lose in the end, but it cannot pass up the chance to make at least one more heartfelt attempt to provoke society. Provo regards anarchy as the inspirational source of resistance. Provo wants to revive anarchy and teach it to the young. Provo is an image

In 1965, Provo announced their plan to stop all personal motorized transport within Amsterdam, making the streets safe for the public and only accessible by walking, cycling or public transport. Provo presented their proposal to the municipal authorities, suggesting that they should buy 20,000 white bicycles every year giving them away free for public use. This proposal was rejected by the local politicians. Provo then decided to supply 50 free bicycles themselves—this was the “Witte Fietsenplan” or “White Bicycle Plan.”

The White Bicycle Plan proposes to create bicycles for public use that cannot be locked. The white bicycle symbolizes simplicity and healthy living, as opposed to the gaudiness and filth of the authoritarian automobile.

 
00firstbikwhi.jpg
The first white bicycle is given away.
 
However, as soon as these 50 white bicycles were made freely available they were impounded by the police on the grounds the bikes were not “lockable.” Apparently, all bikes in Amsterdam at that time had to be lockable. Undeterred by the police actions, Provo waited until the bikes were returned and they then fitted each bike with a simple combination lock with the number painted on the bike’s frame. Of course, some of the bikes were stolen, but the White Bicycle revolution had begun.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Root for Gramsci, Debord, Guevara, and Trotsky in the first annual ‘Marx Madness’ tournament
03.17.2015
11:28 am

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Class War
Politics
Sports

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Did you all see John Oliver’s takedown of the NCAA on Last Week Tonight last week? If you are in any way concerned about the rapacious nature of collegiate athletics today and you haven’t seen it already, you really must. (I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post.) It’s tempting to say that they took it too far, but they simply didn’t—the NCAA deserves exactly that much vitriol and then some. They’re just that bad.

I’ve been a sports fan all my life, baseball football basketball, but it’s getting more and more difficult to reconcile any kind of progressive or left-wing identity with the cash-grab, bully-cities-into-building-expensive-stadiums, jockish wife-beating etc. mentality. It’s difficult to watch the Last Week Tonight footage of coaches abusing their charges on the court and not think that this is some sanctioned equivalent of slavery, much as (say) the nation’s prison complex is similarly enforcing a very nasty form of Jim Crow. The NCAA is so bad that it’s increasingly becoming a moral imperative to oppose it. I’ve recently made a similar decision regarding the NFL. (I’m hanging on to baseball for now, but we’ll see where that goes.)

If you’re on the Left and you can’t reconcile your love of sports with your progressive principles, then you should look into Marx Madness, the clever online bracket tournament that pits Gilles Deleuze against Angela Davis, Terry Eagleton against Mao, Louis Althusser against Slavoj Žižek, and Vladimir Lenin against Ulrike Meinhof.
 
Here’s the blank bracket:
 

(For both brackets on this page, you can click on the image to see a much larger version.)
 
The winners are decided by user votes—that’s right, you can have an impact on who wins this thing. The voting for Round 2 is open until Friday, March 20. The crowning of the champion will take place on April 20, so smoke up a doobie and invite your friends over for the Big Show (which will probably be anticlimactic because it takes just a few moments to find out who won it all).

Here’s the description of how Marx Madness works:
 

Marx madness relies on the power of the people. Click on the image of the bracket ... to zoom in at high resolution and see the match ups. Thinkers were randomly seeded into the first round. Each week, there will be a public online vote to determine which individuals move forward. Be sure to visit the site each week before Friday at midnight to cast your votes.

 
After the votes are tallied, the winners are announced and each matchup gets a little writeup in the breathless mode common to sports reporting—this is easily my favorite part of Marx Madness. For example, here’s the summary of the first-round matchup between Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Rancière:
 

Gramsci over Ranciere
In a clash European theorists of civil society from different eras, Gramsci strolled to victory over Jacques Ranciere in round 1. The little Italian theorist, dissident, and long-time prisoner quickly made the transition from war of maneuver to war of position, overwhelming Ranciere’s vaunted ‘police’ defense. Gramsci moves on to an Antonio derby in the round of 32 against Negri in a classic 20th vs 21st century match up.


 
Here’s the same bracket as the one above, with the results from the first round already filled in:
 

 
More Marx Madness after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
New York City squatters from the 1990s
03.17.2015
06:53 am

Topics:
Class War
History

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“Beer Olympics 1”
 
It’s strange to think of the 1990s as a bygone era, but artist and photographer Ash Thayer’s new book Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000 shows a New York that simply no longer exists. Thayer began living in a Lower East Side squat in 1992 after being kicked out of her Brooklyn apartment. As a young art student, she recorded the (mostly young and white) inhabitants of these crumbling buildings with a keen photographer’s eye and an unflinching focus on the decidedly unglamorous wreckage.

There is an optimism to the collection though; so many squatters looked at absolutely unlivable conditions and saw renovation potential—the picture of the pregnant women installing windows is particularly striking. Living in these buildings wasn’t even legal—they rarely had water or electricity, and were often infested with rats or roaches—so Thayer’s record of the LES squatters of the 90s is particularly precious, considering how covert many of these squatters had to be to evade eviction.
 

“Famous Pregnant and Building Windows”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
McDonald’s asks indie band to play for free during SXSW. Read their fantastic reply
03.05.2015
10:54 am

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Class War
Music

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Up and coming punky pop duo Ex Cops (Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding) were asked by one of the largest corporations in the world (#106 on the Fortune 500 currently) to perform for free during the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX—well not exactly free, they’d be singing for their supper, but when supper’s at fucking McDonald’s, who wants that shit?

The Ex Cops replied with a posting on their Facebook page that’s getting a lot of traction:
 

 

‘McDonald’s asked us to play SXSW. This is Brian’s open letter about it.

This week our band was asked to play the McDonald’s Showcase at the annual South by Southwest, also known to music insiders as “SXSW.”

Their selling point was that this was “a great opportunity for additional exposure,” and that “McDonald’s will have their global digital team on site to meet with the bands, help with cross promotion, etc” 

I don’t, and doubt that they know what this means either.

Getting past that rhetoric, at the very least a big corporation like McDonald’s can at least pay their talent a little. Right?

“There isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)”

As of 2013, McDonalds is valued at 90.3 billion dollars.

I won’t get into the internet semantics of things you’ve probably seen on your Facebook feed; like that thing where it takes a McDonald’s worker 4 months to earn what the CEO makes in an hour, or their GMO love affair, and I will certainly spare you the bounty of photos showing how they treat their animals.

In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”

We recently headlined a show at the Brooklyn venue Baby’s Alright. They are by no means a DIY venue, but they are still an independent small business. The owners are people our age who used to book shows at Pianos and busted their asses to open a venue of their own in Brooklyn.

While I haven’t asked Billy or Zach how much they make annually (that would be weird) I’m going to guess they’re not looking at brownstones in Prospect Park at the moment. Yet when we played, we were paid very very fairly, were provided with drink tickets, and each band member fed a full entree from their menu (try the Brussels sprouts)

I will also go ahead and save time for any schill / troll rebuttals; “Are the other showcases paying you? No one is holding a gun to your head!” This is true. It is our choice (pretty much) to fly to Austin, play shows without soundcheck, and get paid nothing to a little. But hear this loud and clear, we LOVE making music, it is what we do, and despite some of its very apparent flaws, SXSW still provides a decent venue to be heard by some people who are really there to hear new music and not just do blow with dudes who wear square toe loafers.

It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials. Doritos received a lot of flack for their stage a couple years ago, but i’m going to assume they paid Lady Gaga.

Oh, I almost forgot; “McDonald’s will offer free food to all audience members”

I don’t doubt that tons of bands will kowtow to this lame, lame attempt at a rock show. And I’m aware that to achieve any exposure is a Herculean task in 2015, but the Boethian Wheel is a real thing, and this will continue to exist if we, as artists, keep saying yes in exchange for a taste of success. Even if smells like a shitty Fish filet.’

The nice thing about the way this has played out, Ex Cops get to keep their integrity, they won’t have to play in a fucking McDonald’s and they get their music that “exposure” they were promised anyways.

Ex Cops are on Downtown Records and have collaborated with Ariel Pink and Billy Corgan. They’re excellent, give ‘em a listen at their Soundcloud page.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Anyone willing to spend $40,000 for a dab of 22-carat gold-laced caviar should be stomped to death
02.23.2015
10:01 am

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Class War

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Gold Caviar
 
Are you sick and tired of using rolled up hundred dollar bills for kindling? Have you found yourself suddenly wrapped up in some kind of Kafkaesque, Brewster’s Millions scenario? Do you often ask yourself, “What the hell am I supposed to do with all this excess scratch?” 

Here’s an idea! Why not sample what’s being called the world’s most expensive edible? Clocking in at an impressive $40,000 a teaspoon you can now drop some serious coin ostentatiously sucking down white caviar expelled from the body cavity of a rare albino sturgeon, dehydrated and laced with 22-carat gold.

Here’s what the website Oddity Central has to say about the ridiculously elite super food of the extravagantly wealthy:

The powdery caviar, also called Strottarga Bianco, is the creation of Austrian fish farmer Walter Gruell, 51, and his son Patrick, 25. According to Patrick, the Strottarga Bianco comes from the white roe of the extremely rare albino sturgeon. To make just one kilo White Gold, the father-son duo use five kilos of caviar, which is then dehydrated. Older sturgeon are used because the eggs are apparently more elegant, smooth, spongier, aromatic, and they simply taste better.

 
white gold
 

The albino beluga that produces the special caviar originally lived in the Caspian Sea, but it is now almost extinct in its native environment, making it a rare delicacy. Another reason for the prohibitive price of White Gold is the age of albino belugas. While sturgeons usually live over 100 years, few belugas reach that age due to a genetic flaw that shortens their life.

There’s a long list of things in this world about which I know nothing. Topping that list, however, would have to be the claim made by one the caviar’s producers that consuming a little dried up gold flake now and again is actually quite good for the immune system. I’m almost certain to never find out first hand.

Apparently, rubbing gold and caviar all over your face is also an option if you feel like jumping up and down and waving across the income gap to the rest of us pee-ons from time to time:
 

 
via Oddity Central

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Culturcide takes a massive shit all over the radio hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s
02.18.2015
07:25 am

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Amusing
Class War
Music
U.S.A.!!!

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This was one of the most impudent stunts in the history of art-noise provocations: in 1986, a Houston, TX band of shit-stirrers called Culturcide released their second LP, Tacky Souvenirs of Pre-Revolutionary America. The album consisted of parodic covers of then-recent radio hits by the likes of Springsteen, Huey Lewis and the News, USA For Africa, Pat Benatar, yadda yadda yadda. Some were hilarious, some brutally satirical, a few frankly just kinda dumb. But unlike “Weird Al” Yankovic, Culturcide didn’t re-record the music. Their vocalist Perry Webb simply warbled his own lyrical agitations atop the original recordings. No permission for that usage was obtained, as it was never even actually sought.
 

 
The album never saw and surely never WILL see another issue after that initial self-release. The threat of lawsuits pre-empted any further editions, so once the recording became notorious, it also became impossible to get, which only magnified its legend. According to a 1998 article in the Houston Press:

A blatantly illegal work of manic-dub genius, the album (now unavailable) ransacked 14 of the 1980s’ most vapid radio hits—everything from “We Are the World” to “Ebony and Ivory.” In keeping with its lo-fi, anti-technology stance, Culturcide simply rerecorded the tracks, changing the titles (for example, “We Aren’t the World”) and superimposing nasty, disparaging vocals, jarring cut-and-paste clatter and dizzying loop effects over the original versions—all, of course, without authorization.

Despite the band’s haphazard distribution methods, Tacky Souvenirs managed to find its way to a number of critics, several of whom commended the band for brazenly going where no other indie outfit had gone before. (Some of those same writers commented on the album’s one-off feel—funny, considering the album took the band five years to complete.)

Though Tacky Souvenirs wasn’t always easy for the layman to track down, it did earn Culturcide a kind of cult celebrity. But the costs far outweighed the benefits: Representatives for three artists whose work was desecrated on Tacky Souvenirs threatened legal action, and subsequent settlements emptied the band’s already piddling coffers. The ensuing lull in Culturcide’s spirits, combined with various creative conflicts and substance abuse issues, eventually led to the group’s calling it quits in 1990. Naturally, Tacky Souvenirs is now a collector’s item.

Of course, 1998 was before discogs.com existed, and the album is nowadays findable with a mouse-click, though it ain’t necessarily gonna be cheap. And as you’ll soon see, it’s not really for everyone, anyway. Be mindful, ahead lie naughty words and extreme jadedness:
 

They Aren't The World by Culturcide on Grooveshark

 

Love Is A Cattle-Prod by Culturcide on Grooveshark

 

The Heart of R'n'R (Is the Profit) by Culturcide on Grooveshark

 

 
More of this shit after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Bring back the feminists of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell)!
02.06.2015
07:16 am

Topics:
Class War
Feminism

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1969 WITCH protest in front of Chicago Federal Building.
 
Of all the second wave feminists who exploded into action over the 1960s and 70s, no group seems to have had quite as much fun as WITCH—the fabulous acronym for Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell. Like so many other groups, WITCH was formed from a split, this one from New York Radical Women. Their counterpart, Redstockings, became the more famous “intellectual” feminist group, producing such visionary minds as Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone (who, among many other far out things, argued for the option of robotic wombs to liberate women from childbirth). WITCH on the other hand was the wild and wooly protest group, easily identifiable by their Halloween get-ups.
 

Protesting beauty pageant circa 1969.
 
The group specialized in disruption of the sensational bent, shrieking and chanting in black clothing and white face paint, and “throwing hexes” at enemies of the people. Among their many targets were beauty pageants, Wall Street, bridal fairs, Chase Bank, the presidential inauguration, and even sexists in the politically left anti-war movement. Some of the more famous work was actually quite modest in its goals (hey, all politics are local politics), including protesting public transportation fare hikes with this little hex:

Witches round the circle go
to hex the causes of our woe,
We the witches now conspire
To burn CTA in freedoms’ fire.

Bankers gall, politicians guile,
Daley’s jowl, lackey’s smile,
Trustee’s toe, bondholder’s liar
These we cast into our fire.

Meetings held, messages sealed
When the fare hike is revealed
We, the people, are the prey
Of the demon, CTA….

 
WITCH were one of many radical feminist groups of the second wave (1960s and 70s), and one of many that is sadly understudied and overlooked. Luckily women like director Mary Dore work on projects like She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a new documentary that chronicles the feminist lay of the land in the days of the counterculture revolution. It’s baffling to think that explicitly socialist groups like WITCH and the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union started out on the same footing as Hillary Clinton boosters like the National Organization for Women, but we all know that even in the feminist movement, the game is rigged towards Wellesley girls.
 

 
You can find a screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry here, and I say it should be mandatory viewing for all girls under the age of eightteen. Where else are we going to get the next chapter of WITCH from?
 

 
Via Mother Jones

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Dreading Valentines Day? Have a laugh at Karl Marx’s godawful corny love poems!
01.30.2015
12:17 pm

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Amusing
Class War

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Yeah, but your poetry, dude…

As a socialist with a somewhat inconsistent commitment to Marxist orthodoxy, I’m often asked to what degree I will defend old Karl, and there’s no easy answer. For example, I’m sympathetic to central planning, though I have my doubts for its real-world potential under our current technology. I wrestle with the labor theory of value, but also find myself unable to mount a suitable critique. But if you’re just asking if there’s anything about Marx I find completely indefensible, hey, I can assure you that his terrible schmaltzy love poetry keeps me safe from the sin of idolatry.

We are talking about some terrible, corny, super-earnest high school boy in love stuff here, and I’m not the only one that finds Marx’s deepest affections majorly cheesy. In Edmund Wilson’s landmark history of socialist thought To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History, he has this to say of Marx’s mooning romantic overtures to his future wife.

In the summer of Karl’s eighteenth year, when he was home on his vacation from college, Jenny von Westphalen promised to marry him. She was four years older than Karl and was considered one of the belles of Trier, was much courted by the sons of officials and landlords and army officers; but she waited for Karl seven years. She was intelligent, had character, talked well; had been trained by a remarkable father. Karl Marx had conceived for her a devotion which lasted through his whole life. He wrote her bad romantic poetry from college.

If that sounds a little blunt, it should be noted that Marx himself acknowledge that his love poetry was mawkish. Here are some of my favorite lowlights from one of his many volumes dedicated to Jenny—this one actually called, The Book of Love:

TO JENNY
I
Jenny! Teasingly you may inquire
Why my songs “To Jenny” I address,
When for you alone my pulse beats higher,
When my songs for you alone despair,
When you only can their heart inspire,
When your name each syllable must confess,
When you lend each note melodiousness,
When no breath would stray from the Goddess?
’Tis because so sweet the dear name sounds,
And its cadence says so much to me,
And so full, so sonorous it resounds,
Like to vibrant Spirits in the distance,
Like the gold-stringed Cithern’s harmony,
Like some wondrous, magical existence.
II
See! I could a thousand volumes fill,
Writing only “Jenny” in each line,
Still they would a world of thought conceal,
Deed eternal and unchanging Will,
Verses sweet that yearning gently still,
All the glow and all the Aether’s shine,
Anguished sorrow’s pain and joy divine,
All of Life and Knowledge that is mine.
I can read it in the stars up younder,
From the Zephyr it comes back to me,
From the being of the wild waves’ thunder.
Truly, I would write it down as a refrain,
For the coming centuries to see—

Yeah, you’ll notice a lot of his works use her name. It’s a bit like going through a middle schoolers notebook and reading the same name over and over in swirly cursive with little hearts. This one actually has the exact same title.

TO JENNY
Words—lies, hollow shadows, nothing more,
Crowding Life from all sides round!
In you, dead and tired, must I outpour
Spirits that in me abound?
Yet Earth’s envious Gods have scanned before
Human fire with gaze profound;
And forever must the Earthling poor
Mate his bosom’s glow with sound.
For, if passion leaped up, vibrant, bold,
In the Soul’s sweet radiance,
Daringly it would your worlds enfold,
Would dethrone you, would bring you down low,
Would outsoar the Zephyr-dance.
Ripe a world above you then would grow.

Translation: Girl, I am so into you.

LOVE IS JENNY, JENNY IS LOVE’S NAME. MY WORLD
Worlds my longing cannot ever still,
Nor yet Gods with magic blest;
Higher than them all is my own Will,
Stormily wakeful in my breast.
Drank I all the stars’ bright radiance,
All the light by suns o’erspilled,
Still my pains would want for recompense,
And my dreams be unfulfilled.
Hence! To endless battle, to the striving
Like a Talisman out there,
Demon-wise into the far mists driving
Towards a goal I cannot near.
But it’s only ruins and dead stones
That encompass all my yearning,
Where in shimmering Heavenly radiance
All my hopes flow, ever-burning.

Okay, I’m gonna stop short on that one because it goes on for about 1000 more lines and every single one of them sounds exactly like all the others. It’s like, dude, we fucking get it.

So if you’re single and living in dread of having no sweetie for Valentine’s Day, just remember—love makes syrup of even the greatest minds.

Thanks to Ross Wolfe

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Happy Mondays’ Bez, now a politician, forgets to register his ‘Reality Party’
01.14.2015
07:26 am

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Amusing
Class War
Environment
Politics

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022bezrevrealpart2.jpg
 
Bez the talismanic dancer from the Happy Mondays launched the Reality Party on Monday and announced his intention to stand as a representative for the party at the UK’s parliamentary elections in May. Bez is running on a platform of “free energy, free food and free anything.”

The perpetually bankrupt Celebrity Big Brother contestant (real name Mark Berry) is hoping to be elected to the Salford and Eccles constituency in Greater Manchester—the seat of former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears who is standing down.

The Reality Party is a new political party founded in 2014, and this is the first time it will take part in a general election.

On Monday, under a billboard bearing the slogan “It’s Real – It’s Your Reality,” Bez announced his candidature, standing on an anti-fracking ticket. Bez says he wants to “create a permaculture society,” and his election manifesto includes plans for a zero carbon economy, an end to tax breaks for big business, more nationalisation, bee hives in every school, glow-in-the-dark roads and hemp to be grown on Salford’s Chat Moss. Bez is one of three candidates representing the Reality Party in the election.
 
bezrealityparty.jpg
 
However, as the Independent newspaper reports, Bez has one major problem—the Reality Party is not registered with the Electoral Commission. In fact, the party was “deregistered” on the very day Bez launched his campaign.

According to the Independent, the regulator for the Electoral Commisison wrote Bez “several times” informing him that the Reality Party would be removed from the register as its name was too close to that of the Realist Party. Under the Commission’s rules there cannot be “two parties similarly named” as it may cause confusion with the electorate.

Bez was given until 12th January to register a different name for his party but failed to get back to the Commission:

The Independent has discovered that Bez, along with two other Reality Party members hoping to become MPs, will in fact never be able to stand in any election under that name.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: “Following a review conducted last year, we contacted ‘The Reality Party’ on two occasions to tell them the party name they had registered, if seen on a ballot paper at a General Election, could mislead voters.

“We recommended what they could do to address this and whilst the party indicated that it was looking at ways to alter its name with the Commission, it did not submit a revised name before our 12 January deadline and so was removed from the register of political parties.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Bez and his fellow Reality Party candidates—Nigel Askew, a pub landlord is standing in South Thanet against Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and Jackie Anderson, “who is listed as the ‘west Salford and Eccles’ candidate, although the constituency does not exist anymore”—as a Commission spokesman said:

“There’s still time for the [Reality] party to submit a revised name to the Commission before candidates who want to stand for a party have to submit their nominations papers to Acting Returning Officers with the name of the registered party they are standing for.”

Which means Bez and co. could still stand for election but not under the name of the Reality Party.
 

 
Via the Independent.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Poverty Chic: $20 zippered change purse makes you look like a homeless beggar
01.08.2015
03:48 pm

Topics:
Class War
Fashion

Tags:


 
We here at Dangerous Minds are big fans of tacky, tasteless and kitsch, but there are pink flamingos (classic, respectable, fun), and then there is Poverty Chic (boo, we’re socialists!) These change purses are designed to look like the generic coffee cups that the homeless use to beg. If that isn’t enough, they go for $20 a pop. Don’t believe me? The designer dubs the accessory, “The Lucky Beggar.”  (At least the Museum of Modern Art had the good sense to rename the thing “New York Coffee Cup Pouch”!)

Check out the description:

George Skelcher was inspired to design the Lucky Beggar coin purse after seeing people using typical New York coffee cups to panhandle on the Bowery. This supple stitched faux leather purse mimics those cups and in turn helps the people who inspired them. Part of the proceeds of each purse sold is donated to HELP USA, an organization that has helped the homeless since 1986.

The Bowery is an area of downtown NY known for its homeless shelters and flophouses

Note the the vague allusion to charity to alleviate their obliviousness—though they’re not quite clear exactly what portion of the proceeds go to the homeless. Convenient. I can respect tacky crap, but when you start charging $20 for it, you clearly suck. And when the novelty of your ostensibly luxury product is “tee-hee, poverty,” you suck even more.
 

 

 

 
Via Aisha Keller

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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