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Roots Strikers: ‘Socialism Is Love’ and other left-wing 70s reggae anthems


This is how Dillinger feels about your incremental liberal reforms
 
Albert Einstein did not ever once say that bullshit about “the definition of insanity” that your dimwitted boss has inked on one palm, but he did have some ideas you might actually find useful in the workplace. For instance, in his essay “Why Socialism?” published in the first issue of the Monthly Review, Einstein identified “the economic anarchy of capitalist society” as “the real source of the evil” that alienates and “cripples” individuals, and he advocated “the establishment of a socialist economy” in its place. Why not enliven your next PowerPoint presentation or office party with that fun fact? 
 

Bob Marley and Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley
 
“Gonna fight ‘gainst capitalists, gonna get rid of capitalists, gonna stamp out capitalism,” the DJ Dillinger thundered in 1975. He was one of several prominent reggae musicians who wrote explicitly socialist songs during the mid-70s in support of the policies of Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and the People’s National Party. Manley, a democratic socialist, introduced a minimum wage, equal pay for women, free education and free health care, and if his program sounds familiar, that’s because everybody already knows it’s what the absolute minimum of basic decency would look like.

But Max Romeo makes the case better than I can on his single “Socialism Is Love”:

You’re asking what is socialism and what it really means
It’s equal rights for every man, regardless of his strength
So don’t let no one fool you (Joshua said)
Listen as I tell you (Joshua said)
No man are better than none,
Socialism is love between man and man

Socialism is
Love for your brothers
Socialism is
Linking hearts and hands
Would you believe it?
Poverty and hunger’s what we’re fighting

Socialism is
Sharing with your sisters
Socialism is
People pulling together
Would you believe me?
Love and togetherness, that’s what it means

Mr. Big a-trembling in his shoes, saying he’s got a lot to lose
Don’t want to hear about sufferer at all
(Joshua said) One man have too many,
While too many have too little
Socialism don’t stand for that, don’t stand for that at all

 

Max Romeo at Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark, 1975
 
If I can extend an olive branch to Hillary’s supporters, I looked for reggae songs about raining death on civilians, glad-handing Wall Street bankers and bringing children “to heel,” but I couldn’t find a single one. I wonder why that is?
 
Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Anarchy!’ Malcolm McLaren, punk rock’s Molotov cocktail


 
Phil Strongman’s new documentary Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang is a politically-fueled, fashion-conscious deeper look at how the English punk explosion was ignited—how the bomb was built and under what circumstances, in other words.

Coming in at almost two and a half hours with an incredible cast of characters, Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang traces Malcolm McClaren back to his birth with loads of never before seen films and photos, personal information and interviews with family members, friends and others, taking us into the all important mid-sixties where the real nucleus of the Sex Pistols concept begins to form within the Situationist movement, King Mob (the UK equivilent), art school and observing the tribal customs and costumes of rock ‘n roll fanaticism.

The 1968 the French student riots had a huge influence on McLaren, who travelled to Paris at the time, and there were key players from that era who played recurring roles in his life. Much of the concepts and ideas—art, slogans, everything really—originated there and then. The interviews with the people from this period were what I wanted to see most and there was no disappointment. The interviews with Malcolm himself indicate that he still was speaking in slogans right up to the very end.
 

 
If you’re looking for yet another love letter to punk rock (yawn) with the same old crap stories, then keep on pogoing as this is a very interesting (for the most part) tale of politics, sex, drugs, bombs, rock ‘n roll, and the all important fashion accessories to wear whilst bombing and rocking and rolling and fucking on drugs. If punk never really happened and this was just a wild tale of a bunch of crazed young people that tried to accomplish what punk wrought and failed, it would still be just as interesting. The fact that first an entire country and then the entire world sat up, noticed, listened and actually feared this tiny group of absurd-looking lunatics (some leading, most following) on their search and destroy mission is incredible to contemplate. Today they’d just be given their own reality TV show.

It’s a bit of a revelation for those who think a few drunk idiots formed a band and yelled and jumped around a lot while desperately trying to learn how to play their instruments. (Even at this late date it is still being said that these guys could not play or sing, which is ridiculous as is easily proven by any Sex Pistols live performance video from any period.) However, someone could have done enough homework to know to leave out Ben Westwood’s totally wrong assumption (stated as fact, of course) that Sid’s mom and girlfriend gave him heroin that he overdosed on (I personally was there that night and I and enough other people have done countless interviews stating what really happened). He even calls Methadone, Methadrone (good name for a band actually). Other than these two minor problems, and the rather large objection that for a film titled Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang it’s quite light on the Westwood side of things, this very long film goes by very quickly, and is really well made. Director Strongman was good friends with McLaren, having worked in the Glitterbest offices (the Sex Pistols management company) and was an actual eyewitness to much of what he is discussing here.
 

 
There lots of great interviews with everyone from Adam Ant to Don Letts to Tracey Emin to Boy George (who tells a great story about when he sang for Bow Wow Wow) to Sex Pistol Paul Cook (with amazing black and white footage of the Pistols hanging around at the Berlin wall). The music is honestly the least of the subjects focused on. In fact much of the film is framed with scenes of girls modeling Dame Westwood’s fashions (partially topless) to a modern soundtrack with an operatic vocal sung onscreen. (And thank god for that. I’m sick of these formulaic punk rock docs, aren’t you?)

There’s a lot to get out of this film, historically speaking. It’s intelligent and everything a documentary should be. It just may not be about what you thought it was going to be about. This is the history of European Anarchism as it helps beget the birth of the Sex Pistols. It’s also the story of a man who broke all the rules before that was fashionable, who ran blindly into the fire more than once and always came out the other side… many times with the prize. Or at least some money. I’ve already watched Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang three times and I’m not the type to really ever watch anything even twice, certainly not in the same day.

All Malcolm McLaren ever wanted was to be something akin to the “next Andy Warhol.” It’s an idiosyncratic aspiration to be sure, but one category that he (and perhaps he alone) truly belonged in.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Feel the Buff Bernie: ‘A Coloring Book For Berniacs’
04.11.2016
10:16 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Bernie Sanders


 
Okay, this pretty good: Dig my new favorite thing, Buff Bernie: A Coloring Book For Berniacs by illustrator Nicole Daddona. The book features a freakishly muscle-bound Bernie Sanders in different scenarios. In one, a seemingly nude Bernie with strategically placed mixing bowl reads “I’m cooking up some tasty AF universal healthcare.”

According to Nicole, “Politics can get so angry and heated,” she said. “They tend to separate people rather than bring them together. Coloring is something that everyone likes to do — regardless of your race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. My hope is that this book makes people take a step back and not take things so seriously.”

Feel the buff Bernie! (And why not donate to the good Senator’s campaign?)


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Black holes: Censorship’s handiwork creates eerie photographs

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Under a black sun farmworkers labor in fields. They harvest crops oblivious to the strange eclipse in the skies above them. On closer inspection the sun is perhaps a spot on the lens. Or a camera fault, or perhaps a mistake in printing. There are more photographs, but here the faces of the farmworkers have been devoured by this black spot—eaten like a cancer. It’s now apparent these black dots, these black holes, have been deliberately made.

During the 1930’s Great Depression the US Government set up the Farm Security Administration to help combat the country’s rural poverty. As part of the FSA’s remit was a photography project set up by Roy Stryker to document the lives of the people who lived and worked on the land.

Stryker hired some of the best photographers of the day such as Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, and Edwin and Louise Rosskam, among many, many others. The photographers were briefed as to what the FSA wanted documented. When the rolls of film were sent back from locations across the USA, Stryker rigorously examined each and every negative. His system for discarding images was brutal—he used a hole punch to pierce any negative he didn’t like—making it unusable.

It is not known on exactly what grounds Stryker rejected an image. Was it aesthetic reasons? Bad teeth, ugly people? Political? Images of farm life that did not coincide with the government’s desires narrative? Whichever—of the 164,000 developed negatives, only around 77,000 were made available for use. That’s a helluva lot of rejected photographs.

Stryker’s vandalism killed many historic and irreplaceable photographs. Of those that remain, Stryker’s hole punch handiwork has created strange yet still compelling images. Some conspiracy theorists suggest the photos were censored because of UFOs, or strange deformities, or odd background figures—and similar flights of fancy. In truth they were probably censored because the reality of human deprivation never sits easy with a government’s self-image.

I think one can safely assume that artist John Baldessari is well aware of these images.
 
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More of striking examples of Stryker’s censorship, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘President Trump is up for re-election, HIS FIFTH RE-ELECTION’: ‘Batman vs Trump’: Official Trailer


 
I’ve called our readers’ attention to the work of comedy genius Vic Berger a couple times before here on DM, and here I am doing it again for his mega-incredible “Batman v Trump: Official Trailer.”

In this his newest masterpiece, Berger takes his political pop culture détourné art form to another level. He’s the culture jammer extraordinaire of YouTube. SNL, The Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel… Hollywood needs to hire this man now. One of the best, most-effective anti-Trump propaganda memes yet, and obviously there have been tons of them.

Just hit play. And share.

Follow Vic Berger on Twitter.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sign this petition to allow open carry of guns at the Republican National Convention


 
A new Change.org petition is currently circulating demanding that the Quicken Loans arena, site of the 2016 RNC, allow the open carry of firearms. The convention will be held in Ohio, which is an “open-carry” state, but the venue itself strictly forbids the carry of firearms on premises.

According to the petition, the gun ban is a “direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk”:

As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” 

Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.

*snip*

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

*snip*

We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THEIR FAMILY. With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a “gun-free zone” for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger.

We must take a stand. We cannot allow the national nominating convention of the party of Lincoln and Reagan to be hijacked by weakness and political correctness. The policies of the Quicken Loans Arena do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.

 

 
It’s no secret that many top GOP officials are not at all happy about the possibility of Trump getting the party’s nomination, and there has been much speculation about the possibility of a brokered convention where the popular will of their base could be superseded. If Trump is denied the nomination, there’s a very good chance of an angry backlash from his supporters. You can count on it. Trump himself has even suggested that his supporters may “riot” if he is not the party’s nominee.

Imagine the 1968 DNC riots all over again, except move the venue over to the RNC and replace anti-war hippies with bitter old white people… WITH GUNS.

So, hey, go ahead and sign the petition—just to see how interesting it makes the 2016 RNC. The problem of Trump’s supporters may just solve itself.
 

 
Sign the petition HERE.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Trump meets Ralph Wiggum: Quotes from one cartoon character put into the mouth of another

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When Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons grows up he’s gonna be Donald Trump. In fact, he already is.

Meet Trump Wiggum. A mash-up of non-sequitur quotes from one cartoon character put into the mouth of another cartoon character.

If I didn’t know this was a mash-up, I’d swear these were genuine quotes straight from Donald’s gob.

Find more of these delights at Trump Wiggum.
 
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06trumpwig.jpg
 
More from your future President, after the chump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
There’s a petition to make Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ the U.S. national anthem


 
Who’s your favorite candidate for the presidency? The one who plans to carpet bomb ISIS? The one who wants to murder the families of terrorists? Or the architect of our disastrous intervention in Libya, who once threatened to nuke Iran? Whose saber-rattling do you think demonstrates the blithest disregard for civilian lives?

While bellicose enough to reflect our leaders’ thirst for human blood, our current national anthem has a few deficiencies. No one can sing it, its melody is ripped straight from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and it has a truly awful third verse that disses slaves.

One Shannon Madden of Birmingham, Alabama, has proposed an elegant solution: replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” This is an idea whose time has come. For starters, you can sing it. “Satan, laughing, spreads his wings” is a more realistic image of the aftermath of our merry adventures than “our flag was still there.” And though I seldom take in a game of sports, on those rare occasions when I do, I would rather lend my voice to an Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and Ward composition than a song by a slave-holding anti-abolitionist. Wouldn’t you?

Sign the petition here.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Socialist artist Vladimir Mayakovsky’s agitprop posters for revolutionary Russia

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Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930) was a poet, playwright, artist and actor. He cut a rather dashing, nay swashbuckling figure—with his shaved head and Crowleyan features—during the height of the Russian Revolution. He dressed like a dandy. He was hailed as the “artistic genius of the Revolution.” Performed poetry exhorting workers to rally to the cause. Produced plays that were considered the greatest of their day. And he created a series of agitprop posters—promoting news and political ideas—that became an art form launching a whole new approach to Soviet propaganda and graphic design.

In the 1980s, I was fortunate enough to see an exhibition of Mayakovsky’s artwork at the the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. The exhibition was dominated by his bright, colorful posters with their (often simplistic) political messages. These fragile yellowed sheets of paper had once been displayed in shop windows or distributed to the countryside to inspire the largely illiterate Russian populace.

When he was a student in 1907, Mayakovsky claimed that he’d:

Never cared for fiction. For me it was philosophy, Hegel, natural sciences, but first and foremost, Marxism. There’d be no higher art for me than “The Foreword” by Marx.

He was expelled from college for non-payment of fees the following year. He then involved himself with the Bolsheviks—distributing leaflets, organizing meetings, and on one occasion he helped a female prisoner escape from jail. Such activities led to his eventual sentence of eleven months in prison. Here he started writing poetry and the fusion of “Revolution and poetry got entangled in [his] head and became one.”

On his release, Mayakovsky dedicated himself to the socialist cause. Not as a revolutionary leader but as an artist producing “Socialist Art.” He performed poetry, wrote plays, disseminated political pamphlets and produced agitprop posters. His work as a playwright and poet brought him considerable success and fame. He became the leading figure among the young revolutionary writers and artists of the day.

Come the Russian Revolution, Mayakovsky saw no question on what had to be done. He embraced the revolution wholeheartedly.  In 1919, he joined the Russian State Telegraph Agency (ROSTA). Here he was responsible for designing and writing many of the now legendary political posters. Unlike many of contemporaries, Mayakovsky kept to the tradition of hand-made posters—using linocut and stencils, rather than the more clean cut graphic design of Alexander Rodchenko—though the two did later collaborate on several designs.

Mayakovsky also embraced the artistic Futurist and Constructivist movements, which caused him to lose favor with some Party members including the new soviet leader Josef Stalin, who had replaced Lenin after his death in 1924.

During the 1920s, Mayakovsky became involved with the Left Art Front. In their manifesto the poet controversially stated the group’s policy as:

..[a] re-examining [of] the ideology and practices of the so-called leftist art, rejecting individualism and increasing Art’s value for the developing Communism…

As the decade progressed, Stalin implemented radical and oppressive changes which caused Mayakovsky to question the direction the Communist Party and the country were heading. He was deeply concerned by the oppression of the arts and the silencing of any dissenting voices. Mayakovsky raised some of his hopes and fears in a poem “Conversation with Comrade Lenin” in 1929, where he imagined himself giving a progress report to the dead soviet leader:

Without you,
        there’s many
              have got out of hand,

all the sparring
        and squabbling
                      does one in.
There’s scum
        in plenty
              hounding our land,

outside the borders
            and also
                  within.

Try to
    count ’em
          and
            tab ’em -
                  it’s no go,

there’s all kinds,
          and they’re
                  thick as nettles:
kulaks,
    red tapists,
          and,
              down the row,
drunkards,
      sectarians,
            lickspittles.
They strut around
            proudly
                as peacocks,
badges and fountain pens
                studding their chests.
We’ll lick the lot of ’em-
                but
                  to lick ’em
is no easy job
        at the very best.

Stalin and his cronies branded Mayakovsky as a “fellow traveler”—which damned the poet as untrustworthy. A smear campaign was orchestrated against him. He was denounced in the press and loyal party members barracked him during poetry readings. It seemed his fate had been sealed.

On April 12th, 1930, Mayakovsky committed suicide by shooting himself through the heart. His suicide note read:

To all of you. I die, but don’t blame anyone for it, and please do not gossip. The deceased terribly disliked this sort of thing. Mother, sisters, comrades, forgive me—this is not a good method (I do not recommend it to others), but there is no other way out for me.

Mayakovsky’s agitprop posters were never intended to be exhibited in galleries or museums. They were propaganda used to spread revolutionary ideas, to satirize and expose injustices, and inspire the mass of the Russian public to take control of their lives. Ironically, the message was lost and it was the museums and galleries that have kept Mayakovsky’s art and ideas alive.
 
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Do you want to join? (circa 1920).
 
More of Comrade Mayakovsky’s posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘I am f*cking white!’: Acid-dropping Trump fanboy freaks out
03.14.2016
11:22 am

Topics:
Drugs
Idiocracy
Politics

Tags:
Donald Trump


 
A goofy bandanna-wearing Donald Trump supporter—allegedly high on acid according to one of his friends—had a major YUGE bad trip when Trump’s rally was cancelled in Chicago last Friday night.

The, um… “dude”—who looks like he belongs at a Phish show and not a fascist rally—is seen freaking out, shouting “Fuck you” over and over and giving police(?) the finger. Via Raw Story:

According to a tweet from John Sheehan — who uploaded the video — a friend of the Trump supporter confirmed that his buddy “was high on LSD (acid)” and “freaks out when he hears that the March 11 Trump Rally in Chicago is cancelled.”

Outside the arena, the man is confronted by protesters and the conversation becomes garbled, outside of a few more “f*ck yous” and “I am f*cking white!”

Prior to being lead away, his friend can be heard telling the protesters, “He’s really f*cked up.”

Ya think?

The video was uploaded by The Video Catalyst Project:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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