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Power to the Parents: Occupy the Department of Education!


 
This warms the cockles of my Trotskyite heart: Wednesday night in New York City, schools Chancellor Dennis Wallcott and the members of the Panel for Education Policy (or PEP,  the body which enacts policy for the New York City DOE), got more than they bargained for when annoyed parents took a page from Occupy Wall Street and commandeered the meeting with the “people’s mic.” Unsurprisingly, rather than attempt to engage the parents and find out what they wanted, the panel just fucked off.

Nice work, folks, keep the pressure on these clowns.

There is a revolution going on that will touch every aspect of American life. Anyone who think this genie is going back in the bottle is dreaming.
 

 
Thank you Glenn E. Friedman of New York City!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Flash-point: Occupy Oakland, Tuesday October 25, 2011


 
This is a pretty incredible bit of “you were there” style video. The camera was quite near the epicenter of what was happening at Occupy Oakland on Tuesday.

You can see Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen just moments before, and after, he was felled by a projectile.

Video by Raleigh Latham.

 

Via Business Insider

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Slavoj Žižek: ‘What will replace capitalism?’


Slavoj Žižek at Cooper Union in NYC, 2009

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek poses some interesting questions in a new essay titled “The Violent Silence of a New Beginning,” which was prepared from the remarks he made at Occupy Wall Street on October 10th (video of that below).

This except from the full essay, which you can read at In These Times, discusses answering conservative’s hollow critiques of the OWS movement:

The direct conservative attacks are easy to answer.

Are the protests un-American? When conservative fundamentalists claim that America is a Christian nation, one should remember what Christianity is: the Holy Spirit, the free egalitarian community of believers united by love. It is the protesters who are the Holy Spirit, while on Wall Street pagans worship false idols.

Are the protesters violent? True, their very language may appear violent (occupation, and so on), but they are violent in the sense in which Mahatma Gandhi was violent. They are violent because they want to put a stop to the way things are done — –but what is this violence compared to the violence needed to sustain the smooth functioning of the global capitalist system?

The protesters are called “losers” — but the true losers are on Wall Street, bailed out by hundreds of billions of our money.

They are called socialists. But in the United States, there already is socialism for the rich.

They are accused of not respecting private property — but the Wall Street speculations that led to the crash of 2008 erased more hard-earned private property than if the protesters were to be destroying it night and day. Think of the tens of thousands of homes foreclosed.

They are not communists, if communism means the system that deservedly collapsed in 1990. The communists who are still in power run the world’s most ruthless capitalist system (China). The success of Chinese Communist-run capitalism is a sign that the marriage between capitalism and democracy is approaching a divorce.

The only sense in which the protesters are communists is that they care for the commons—the commons of nature, of knowledge—that are threatened by the system.

The protesters are dismissed as dreamers, but the true dreamers are those who think that things can go on indefinitely the way they are, just with some cosmetic changes.

The protesters are the awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare. They are not destroying anything. They are reacting to a system that is gradually destroying itself.

We all know the classic scene from cartoons: The cat reaches a precipice, but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is no ground under its feet; it starts to fall only when it looks down and notices the abyss. What the protesters are doing is reminding those in power to look down.

Read more of “The Violent Silence of a New Beginning” by Slavoj Žižek at In These Times
 

 
Part 2 after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rise up: Nationwide General Strike set for Nov 2?


 

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”—Abraham Lincoln

At this point, it’s probably too early to report this without recomemmnding the rhetorical “grain of salt,” but according to several tweets from Mother Jones, Occupy Oakland and elsewhere, last night at Occupy Oakland, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a nationwide general strike on November 2nd, with 1184 votes of approval. I can’t wait to hear what happens in NYC this evening and if Occupy Wall Street will also vote to approve a General Strike in their assembly. Via Washington’s Blog:

Mother Jones tweets:
 

 
JackalAnon tweets:
 

 
There are also rumors of a global general strike planned for next year. Why plan for just one?

I say bring it the fuck on! It’s about TIME for a general strike in this country!

We’ll be watching this space closely, hoping this isn’t another “Radiohead rumor.” Stay tuned…

A history of the 1946 General Strike in Oakland

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Everything You Know About Occupy Wall Street is Wrong


 
Well, perhaps not quite everything, but enough that were you to personally experience the demonstration and look around with your own eyes, you’d likely come to regard the mainstream media reports about Occupy Wall Street (especially the lamebrain stuff printed in The New York Post or heard on Fox News) more like loose gossip, bullshit or random fiction, than actual journalism or considered opinion.

I had the extreme privilege of visiting Zuccotti Park on three of the five days I recently spent in NYC and I’m here to tell you that I am much more excited about Occupy Wall Street—and prospects for real progressive change in this country—now than I ever could have been admiring it from afar. It was a life-affirming and quite moving thing to personally experience and hopefully I can get some of those good feelings across here.

On Wednesday, I was picked up at JFK by my old friend (and frequent Dangerous Minds Radio Hour DJ) Nate Cimmino. I checked into my hotel and since I hadn’t been to NYC for a few years, we decided to just walk from Houston Street to the OWS site. It was raining, not exactly a heavy downpour, but the rain had been steady for most of the day. When we arrived at Zuccotti Park around 4pm, it was starting to get dark and it was pretty much locked down with everyone trying to keep dry. Plastic covered everything and people huddled under makeshift tarps just trying to keep their shit together. It resembled a water-logged shanty town and hardly anything was going on. The lines for the brightly-lit food carts on the southern side of the park were the most noticeable thing at that time (these guys must be making bank, especially the falafel vendors). CNN had a mobile video van with a crane and a “crow’s nest” for getting aerial shots of the park. Dozens of NYPD officers in rain gear ringed the park, many of them female officers.
 

The medical area of Occupy Wall Street.

This wasn’t the right moment to get much of a feel for what’s been going on there, obviously, so I resolved to return on the weekend. Some initial observations though: Zuccotti Park isn’t much of a park at all. It’s more like a concrete plaza and it’s not very big. Keep in mind when you hear people scoffing at the size of the demonstration, that about a thousand people (give or take) is all this area would hold. If many more people tried to join in the demonstration, it would not be possible to move about. It’s already densely packed as it is.

It’s also right across the street from Ground Zero. In my mind, it was in a different (southeastern) part of lower Manhattan, so when we walked down Broadway, the sound of the drumming got louder and then all of a sudden there it was, that came as a surprise.
 

Greg Barris and me mugging for the camera on one of the OWS live video feeds.

On Saturday I returned to OWS with my friend Greg Barris, a stand-up comedian and restaurateur. Greg’s been taking pizza from his restaurant to Zuccotti Park since the demonstrations began. The festive carnival atmosphere that morning was a striking contrast to Wednesday’s wash-out. Colorful flags, costumed characters and people of all ages, races, creeds and personality types circulated around the square. You could see people who were arriving alone with a look of apprehension in their eyes, but soon afterward, that same person would be seen joining right in.

Several people distributed free copies of The Occupy Wall Street Journal and a lefty books lending library operated efficiently (there were even a few books that I had published). Everyone was smiling at one another and a feeling of fun and solidarity was palpable. I saw no overtly negative signs and I saw no placards whatsoever for either of the major political parties (I’d put the number of Republicans at Zuccotti Park at slightly north of “zero,” but still I saw not a single pro-Democrat or pro-Obama item anywhere, either). There’s a medical area where minor things can be tended to by volunteer nurses and medics and a food area manned by park residents. Greg pointed out one earnest-looking California blond skater-type and told me he’s seen that same guy dishing out plates of free food since the earliest days of the demonstration. The park was notably clean, not at all the unsanitary mess Fox News viewers have been repeatedly told about.
 

 
A woman who identified herself as “The Knitting Granny” sat knitting sweaters and scarfs to give to the occupiers. Children in face-paint or costumes carried signs marching with their parents. An elderly gentleman using a walker who must’ve been in his nineties told some of us that he’d been an engineer working with dams and waterways his entire career and what he knew about the “fracking” that’s planned for locations upstate less than ten miles away from New York’s main water supply scared him to death. He came to share his expertise, he told me, and to see OWS with his own eyes.

Several “super heroes” circulated around. A man in his early 30s, who came to OWS alone from Delaware, brought along a solar electrical generator and set it up so people could charge their cell phones. One fellow, who we later saw on the subway, was dressed in a barrel. He must’ve been cold. Another guy carried a “Ross Perot for President” sign and wore a Ross Perot t-shirt and badges.over his coat. He might’ve been the weirdest guy I saw there.
 

 
When you hear dismissive asses braying about how it’s “all white people”—that’s a bunch of utter nonsense. You’ll encounter as diversified a group at OWS as you would if you were in a New York City DMV office and that’s really saying something, so these sorts of haters and naysayers, can go jump in the lake. All white? Maybe in the first few days, but now, that’s simply not even in the slightest bit true.

There are TONS of attractive people at OWS and the mood is so festive and jovial that making conversation with members of the opposite sex is very easy to do. I may get shit for saying this, but it’s true: If more guys knew how many super hot women were milling around OWS, there’d immediately be a massive increase in attendance and foot traffic in the area around Zuccotti Park.

Gay? Fret not, there is a “Queer Camp,” too (look for the feather boas on the northeast side of the park). We even saw someone who identified herself as a “T-girl pornstar” make herself hoarse shouting anti-capitalism things and the very wonderful Reverend Billy is a frequent visitor. The age range is all over the place, as well. In fact, it’s hard to generalize anything at all about the people you meet there except to say that they’ve got their eyes wide open about the problems of advanced capitalism and American democracy. That’s the bottom line. THAT was the commonality amongst all of us.
 

Greg Barris and his sign.

Most people, it would seem, sleep at their homes but come downtown whenever they can. I got the feeling that there was a small percentage of the occupiers who were the ones who were sleeping there. When you walk around in the interior of the plaza, it becomes somewhat apparent that the folks who the media are derisively describing as “hippies,” “punks” and “homeless people” are in fact, quite often hippies, punks and homeless people. They form the more hardcore inner group that performs the very important task of holding down the park. Without their presence, Mayor Bloomberg would have put fences around Zuccotti Park in two seconds flat, so remember that when you’re there and drop a few bucks in their cans. They’re not merely scruffy panhandlers, they’re there in YOUR place if you support the aims of OWS. 

Aside from the resident demonstrators and the day-trippers getting their protest on, there are also thousands of tourists milling about taking pictures. The photos they take are then uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and their blogs. The stories they bring back home and to the water-cooler at work and to their online lives will continue to spread the word about what’s going on in Zuccotti Park.
 

 
Sunday afternoon at Occupy Wall Street, I met up with Em, the “undercover banker” who sometimes writes incendiary essays for DM, Nate Cimmino, his wife Nicole and my pal, noted photographer Glen E. Friedman. It was another gorgeous, glorious day like the one before it, with intelligent and engaged people joining together for a higher purpose. (I’ve already mentioned about all of the beautiful woman down there, but I’m going to mention it once more so it really sinks in, okay?).

My favorite moment—or moments, I should say—of my three visits to Occupy Wall Street was watching the open-air Big Apple double-decker tour buses drive past, full of tourists with their fists in the air! That was an amazing thing to see. Witnessing that sight, repeatedly, I might add, was as sure a confirmation as anyone should require that a little over a month after its improbably beginnings, OWS is becoming a mainstream phenomenon. When is the last time the mainstream media took up a progressive cause? The Civil Rights movement? The Vietnam War? This is a real thing, not a flash in the pan. The fist-pumping seniors on the tour buses are but one of the signposts of the shift that’s happening in this country. Is there anyone out there stupid enough to still ask “What is their endgame?” Even someone who only watches Fox News has probably figured THAT out by now!

The only disharmonious incident I witnessed in my three visits was when a dopey-looking born again Christian crew (I’m talking total Ned Flanders-types) started telling the people assembled there, but especially the ones sleeping in Zuccotti Park, that they were possessed by demons and bound for Hell. As you might imagine that message went over like a lead zeppelin. A late 40-something gutterpunk guy and a hilariously confrontational black kid got right up in their faces with such intensity (and volume) that they quickly left. When they fucked off, deflated, everyone cheered.
 

 
Having said that, the overall scene at Occupy Wall Street does feel, in some respects, almost biblical, with one thousand iPhone carrying Joshuas shouting down the walls of a very high tech Jericho. Let there be no doubts, dear reader, I, and everyone around me there knew that we were witnessing and participating in history. It’s not going to be an overnight change, but anyone who thinks that things can or will continue on indefinitely the way they have been are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

Obama and the Democrats are going to have to move quite far to the left to satisfy their base as we move into 2012 and from what I saw, I reckon that OWS is pretty much 100% bad news for the Republicans, who are going to get the free market and tax cuts for the 1% shoved right up their goddamned asses on election day (I’m looking at you, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan). I mean, shit, once the election season kicks fully into high gear next year, I expect to see some completely hilarious stuff happen, don’t you? It’s going to be the best election ever! Or the funniest, at least.

As the drumbeat for change in the way we “do business” in America gets louder and louder and louder, the elites will have no choice but to respond. 99% vs. 1%? Who’d be dumb enough to bet against odds like that? The changes that are destined to take place in the next decade of American life are going to make people of a conservative political disposition very uncomfortable indeed. The rest of us are going to be thrilled, though, so fuck ‘em.
 

 
From my point of view as an “old school” New Yorker parachuting into Manhattan after a few years away, Occupy Wall Street is functioning like a sun that is radiating its heat throughout all of New York City, and then via the media, to the rest of the planet. It’s extremely inspiring. As someone who lived in the city for the better part of three decades, NOW is the best I have seen NYC since the early 1980s. The energy in the streets is near an all-time high. New York is just killin’ it. Something is really happening at the moment and it’s an exciting time to be there. If you live in Philly, CT, New Jersey… go down there and check out Occupy Wall Street for yourself. If you live in the NY metro area and you haven’t been downtown, shame on you for watching it on tee-vee…

Trust me when I tell you that it pained me, absolutely pained me to be the old fart saying “New York used to be better back when I was young”... but I’ll never be tempted to say that again anyway, not after what I saw last week.

Believe.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Original Occupy Wall Street: Stop the City, 1984

All photographs taken by Greg Barris from his Flickr page.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
An Ode to the Chip Shop: Tickle v Dead Prez
10.07.2011
01:44 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop

Tags:


 
More Scottish food shenanigans, only this time it’s not curry or chilli but an ode to the good old humble Chip Shop by the Scottish rapper MC Tickle, set to the beat of the classic “Hip Hop” by Dead Prez. Scottish people do indeed love their chips (or “fries” for my American friends) and lots of other deep-fried delights, like Mars bars and pizza slices. So much so that it can be hard to find decently priced non-Scottish cuisine on in the major cities without paying top dollar, a fact which is reflected in the poor health of the Scottish people. Yeah, it may not be the healthiest fare, which Tickle acknowledges, but at least eating at your local chippie (rather than McDonalds or KFC) has an upside in that it is supporting your local businesses and agriculture:

“Pizza Hut we say “nuh”
We say fuck Mackie D’s
BK shut your face or that mutt KFC
Pre-chewed meat pseudo food
What is this total shit?
Try and support local business
Aye and buy a poke o’chips”

Tickle v Dead Prez “cHip sHop”
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Gil Scott Heron was right - the Revolution will NOT be Televised


 
So I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel about Occupy Wall Street and the media coverage (or non-coverage) of the demonstrations the last few days, when I found this clip and realised that one of the most brilliant poets of the last hundred years had already summed it up perfectly. Of course.

I was gonna say that the oldstream media has been over for me since 2000, when I saw some peaceful protests badly misreported on TV and in the papers. I wanted to mention how my obsession with this summer’s “Murdochgate” sprang from a desire to see the established news channels I detest so much crumble, to lose all respect with their audience through their refusal to cover a story with such huge significance. I’ve been struggling to express how we don’t need validation through a mainstream that has always ignored us or deliberately misrepresented us, that people shouldn’t worry too much, the message is getting out there loud and clear.

But fuck it. Gil Scott Heron beat me to the punch (hard) thirty years ago. 

This incredible recording of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (as a spoken monologue with no music and some ad libs) is from 1982. It was performed at the Black Wax Club in Washington DC, as part of a documentary film on Scott Heron called Black Wax. His voice is a thing of rich, easy-going beauty but his words are like dynamite. Yeah, the times and technology may have changed, but this is still so prescient and just so damn relevant it’s amazing.

Gil Scott Heron died only four short months ago, and it’s a real pity he can’t be around now to see the people of his home town out on their streets and taking direct action, how he can’t be there himself to rally the crowds with this incredible monologue and share his no doubt sharp-as-a-pin insights into politics and society. It’s true - sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. But we DO still have this recording, and I hope that everyone, including all the people involved with the protests in New York, gets to hear it.

Because the revolution will NOT be televised.

THE REVOLUTION WILL BE LIVE.
 

 

You see, a lot of time people see battles and skirmishes on TV and they say
“aha the revolution is being televised”. Nah.
The results of the revolution are being televised.

The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things, and see there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown.
What you see later on is the results of that, but that revolution, that change that takes place will not be televised.

After the jump “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Black Wax monologue) transcribed, plus footage from the fantastic Gil Scott Heron “Black Wax” documentary/live film.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
American Juggalo: The Movie
09.28.2011
10:57 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music
Pop Culture
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


Wait, someone brought a child to this???

American Juggalo, a new short film by Brooklyn-based director, Sean Dunne explores (without judgement or editorializing) the distinctive youth culture of the Juggalos, adoring fans of Christian horrorcore metal rappers, The Insane Clown Posse. It is funny, fascinating and disturbing in turns.

Each year approximately 20,000 juggalos and jugglettes, meet up (usually in campgrounds far from civilization) for the four-day musical festival known as “The Gathering of the Juggalos.” Think of it as a white-trash version of Burning Man, but with a much lower collective IQ, no good-looking people, pregnant drunk chicks with cigarettes, and empty two-liter bottles of Faygo orange soda littering the landscape…

As one participant reflects: “These motherfuckers made me the motherfucker who I am today.” I believe him!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Download Dam Funk’s new EP for free
09.21.2011
06:25 pm

Topics:
Dance
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:

 
Sweeeet - In preparation for his upcoming US tour, king of the boogie Dam Funk has made his forthcoming InnaFocusedDaze EP available as a free download. The 10” vinyl of InnaFocusedDaze will be released through Scion A/V in October, when Dam goes out on the road with his band Master Blazter - tour dates and more info on the EP can be found on the Stone’s Throw website. You can download the EP here, and just in case you need to be reminded of just how cool this cat is (he really IS king of the boogie) here’s a video for the EP’s lead track “Forever”:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Beats Rhymes & Life’ a film about A Tribe Called Quest
08.31.2011
10:05 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Movies

Tags:


 
This looks great - a documentary about one of the greatest hip-hop bands of all time, featuring interviews with all the key players and some of the biggest names in the rap game. It also looks like it gets pretty hairy as the animosity between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg spills out onto the screen. The film is directed by the actor Michael Rapaport and has been opening in selected theatres around the US over the last couple of weeks - for more information on exactly when and where it is playing check out the Beats Rhymes & Life website. Here’s the trailer:
 

 
After the jump, some classic clips of ATCQ live on TV from the 90s, including “Oh My God” on Late Night, “1nce Again” live on Conan O’Brien, “Can I Kick It?” from MTV Unplugged and “Scenario” live with Busta Rhymes…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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