Swiss Police tear-gas, brutalize and fire rubber bullets at protesters
02:41 pm

police riot
Occupy Wall Street catches a lot of criticism for failing to develop a tangible political trajectory in the United States. In fact, despite being the site of the original occupation, other countries appear to have benefited more from the movement. Spain, for example, still has a cohesive anti-austerity movement, and the Quebec student activists won a tuition freeze last May. The core idea though, of claiming a space for the public, seems to be the most resilient concept, and Switzerland’s riot last Friday is the latest installment. Events leading up to the incident are slightly complicated, but here goes…

Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata and Swiss architect Christophe Scheidegger recently collaborated on an installation piece inspired by favelas, the shantytowns of Brazil that nearly 30% of Rio de Janeiro’s population calls home. Favelas aren’t exactly comparable to US ghettos, because though they exist in the midst of urbanity, they tend to lack any real infrastructure like running water or electricity. Kawamata and Scheidegger thought this was a cute concept for a trendy bistro, and so they opened the “Favela Café.” I guess when you don’t have any creative ideas yourself, imitating the resourcefulness of poor people seems like a good substitute—the ultimate bourgeois art, really. Very “Derelicte.”

The installation was actually commissioned by Art Basel, a prestigious and expansive international art show, named for the Swiss town of Basel where it’s held. Earlier this year, protesters from “Basel wird besetzt” (Basel will be occupied) attempted to reclaim an empty building in the town square for a public cultural center, but the cops evicted them after a month.

The occupation of the “Favela Café,” a particularly loaded symbol considering the “ritzy poor” aesthetic of the concept, was their second attempt at reclamation for the commons. It seems they had permission to protest for a period of time, but when they exceeded the limit, the police came down on them in full force. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this, along with the “Turkish Spring” protests.

People all over the world are making basic demands (though often with larger political undertones), for space that supposedly already belongs to the public, only to be met met with brutal repression—I suspect we’ll see more occupations of this kind in the near future.

Via Artleaks

Posted by Amber Frost
02:41 pm
‘Occupy Comics’ featuring work by Alan Moore, Douglas Rushkoff, Laurie Penny, Amanda Palmer and more

Occupy Comics is the first issue of a new project bringing together comic pros, storytellers and artists to create a time-capsule of the Occupy protests. Each issue of the anthology will tell individual stories and explore broader themes inspired by the months of protests that began in fall of 2011.

Halo-8’s Matt Pizzolo told Wired back in 2011:

“Adbusters created a really powerful image of a ballerina atop the Wall Street bull with protesters in the background, and that was enough to set this off,” he said. “Then Anonymous brought in the Guy Fawkes masks, and U.S. Day of Rage created more art challenging the relationship between Wall Street and Washington. So this is an art-inspired movement, and that’s part of what makes it so viral. It’s not intellectual, it doesn’t need a manifesto. People are banding together around an idea, rather than an ideology.”

Occupy Comics participants include Alan Moore, Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Susie Cagle (cartoonist arrested at Occupy Oakland), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night), Dan Goldman (Shooting War), Molly Crabapple, Amanda Palmer, Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan), Laurie Penny, Zoetica Ebb, Patrick Meany and Douglas Rushkoff.

Check out this PDF preview of Occupy Comics. You can purchase the 48 page first issue via Midtown Comics. There will be a hardback graphic novel published this Fall.

Occupy Comics was funded via the social-networking site Kickstarter and the profits were, and still are, being donated to Occupy-related groups.

Posted by Richard Metzger
02:15 pm
Occupy Your Rage Against the Machine: Bill Moyers interviews Tom Morello

Bill Moyers continues to make astonishing television with his truly great new PBS series, Moyers and Company. It’s unmissable, the most intelligent hour of programming on American TV today, bar none.

In the latest episode, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello—a man I have a lot of admiration for—joined Bill Moyers for a particularly moving and inspiring conversation. From the show’s website

Songs of social protest—music and the quest for justice—have long been intertwined, and the troubadours of troubling times—Guthrie, Seeger, Baez, Dylan, and Springsteen among them—have become famous for their dedication to both. Now we can add a name to the ranks of those who lift their voices for social and economic justice: Tom Morello.

Morello is the Harvard-educated guitarist who dabbled in politics, then chose rock music to make a difference. He played guitar for the popular band he co-founded—Rage Against the Machine—and then for Audioslave. Rolling Stone chose his album “World Wide Rebel Songs” as one of the best of 2011, and named him one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

As likely to be spotted at a grass-roots rally as he would at a concert hall, Morello was in Madison, Wisconsin last year, braving bitter winter weather to sing on the steps on the state capitol in support of public service workers. Morello defended their collective bargaining rights against Republican Governor Scott Walker.

He was in New York City at the May Day demonstrations, an honorary commander of a battalion of musicians they called the “Occupy Guitarmy.” That same night, Harry Belafonte presented Morello with the Officers’ Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, honoring his “advocacy for and support of working people across the world.”

Tom Morello shares his music, his message, and mission with Bill Moyers, who’s all ears.

Two badass motherfuckers in conversation….

Posted by Richard Metzger
12:19 pm