Friday, 16 March 2018

Remembering Rachel Corrie, still not forgotten ( 10/4/79 - 16/3/03 )

It has become customary  of me to pay tribute to the passing of  Rachel Aliene Corrie, 
a courageous  23 year old American Peace activist and humanitarian  from Olympia, Washington who was crushed to death by an Israeli military, caterpiller D 912 bulldozer in 2003, while undertaking non-violent direct action trying to protect the home of  innocent  Palestinian  homes from demolition in Rafah in the Gaza strip. whilst serving with the ISM - International Solidarity Movement.
Rachel went to Rafah  in the Gaza strip in January 2003 and  received  two days of non-violent resistance training. She was horrified at the destruction she found there. Homes were destroyed and people detained and killed on a daily basis. Rachel recorded what she observed and felt in letters and emails to her family. In one email she wrote, "Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means tat Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can't. People can't get to their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can't get home, and internationals who have a meeting tomorrow in the West Bank, wont make it."
In another email she wrote, "Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom... Honestly a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence off the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me."
So today day I reflect upon Rachel's brave stand in Gaza 15 years ago today and her courage to resist, and all  those who continue to live and struggle there. And all those passionate change makers across the globe who each day act with conscience and work tirelessly to try and make a difference.
Justice has never been served for her, along with many others who have been killed under the Israeli occupation. In 2005 Corrie's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the state of Israel, for a symbolic one U.S dollar in damages, to make the point that the case was about justice for their daughter and the Palestinian cause, she had been defending. Charging Israel with not conducting a full and credible investigation into the case and with responsibility for her death.  In August 2012, an Israeli court rejected their suit.
Her death they said was a " regrettable accident " for which the state of Israel was not responsible. According to Judge Oded Gershon of Haifa Court she had " put herself in a dangerous situation " whilst dressed in a bright orange and acting as a human shield, jacket when she was crushed to death. Israel to all intents and purpose declared itself not guilty of her murder. giving its stamp of approval to the flawed and illegal practices of the Israeli military. the verdict  failed to hold Israel's military accountable for its continuing violation  of human rights. 
The home Rachel died trying to protect was razed to the ground, along with hundreds of others.  and today Israel still acts with impunity, There is still no justice when their courts show such contempt for justice's meaning. There is no justice either , when the Gaza strip remains a sealed open prison, there is no justice when countless Palestinian families  are made homeless, their houses destroyed. Where is the justice for them or their friends after the uneccessary death of their loved ones.
Remember that what is happening in Palestine is no inexplicable cycle of violence where each side is as bad as one another.It is no more than an equal  cycle of violence than that seen in apartheid South Africa. Being against this injustice is not anti-Jewish, as is standing up to the British Government's injustices is seen as being anti- British.
Rachel Corrie understood these links and connections and would have known about an active Israeli peace movement, and of the hundreds  of Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, many of whom have been jailed for their stance. Israel has invaded Palestinian land in breach of international law. Rachel died while attempting to prevent a demolition of a home, a common practice that the  Israeli army, uses as a collective punishment that has left more than 12,000 Palestinians homeless since the beginning of the second uprising in September 2000. A practice that violates International Law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
So here's to the memory and bravery of Rachel Corrie  a true American hero,who courageously died whilst living her dreams, staying human and showing her solidarity with her beloved friends, the Palestinians. who continues to inspire activism and compassion across the globe, her  spirit lives on, challenging us to get out of our comfort zones and act with our convictions.
Rachel's death was tragic, but  brought the world's attention to the suffering and death of thousands of Palestinians.At least 6,500 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation since 2000, so thee international community must carry on fighting for their justice too, as well as that of Rachel's, the situation sadly in the West Bank and Gaza, still no different today.
The world must not stay silent, while the struggle continues against the demolition and occupation of Palestinian homes and lands, restrictions of movement, detentions, arrest, collective punishment, the siege of Gaza and the aggressive military attacks that continue on a daily basis.
Here is a link to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Pace and Justice set up in her memory :-

I'd Rather Be Dancing (Rachel Corrie;s Song ) -  Jim Page

The words of following song are based on actual letters Rachel wrote home to her parents, before she died.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Stop and Scrap Universal Credit.

Currently Theresa May's toxic Tory government is pressing ahead and rolling  out Universal Credit, at a time when many claimants  are descending into debt, relying on food banks, getting into rent arrears and in many cases getting evicted from their homes because of in-built problems with UC. People with disabilities will be among the hardest hit of these cruel welfare reforms.
UC replaces five benefits - child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income based jobseekers allowance, income related employment and support allowance and working tax credit. Seven million households will be affected, including one million low paid part-time workers. For the first time ever people actually in work could face being sanctioned, having their benefits stopped if they are unable to prove to the job centre that there searching for better paid work or more hours, in a completely illogical measure by our current government.
The government is imposing UC, despite losing a parliamentary vote on its extension to millions more people. On October 18, Parliament voted by 299 votes to zeros to temporarily halt the introduction of UC. Opposition  parties in Parliament led by Labour, passed a motion calling for the government to pause the rollout of UC. The vote was allowed as part of an Opposition Day Debate.
In the face  of mounting anger in the population, Theresa May's crisis ridden government instructed its ministers and MPs to abstain. This was due to their fear of a rebellion by at least 12 Tories as well as MP's from its governing partner, the DUP, who were prepared to back Labour. The government responded to the vote by declaring it was not binding, and with no regard to the mounting anger will continue to roll out UC regardless.
The entire process is riddled  with problems. Despite having been dreamt up a decade ago and built up since 2010 at the moment, hardly any part of the programme is functioning as it was supposed to. So far UC has been plagued by delays and administrative errors.The Department of Work and Pensions looks to many to be wholly unfit for purpose. Independent analysis has shown that the cuts hidden within UC  will result in three million families losing up to £2,600 per year each.The Charity Child Poverty Action estimates that this will push a million more children into poverty by 2022. And this only if everything  goes as planned.
UC is supposed to be an attempt to make the Benefits system better, but things like housing benefit are all chucked in with everything else, one single payment going to the 'head' of the household, This could put women in abusive relations in a very bad place. All the money for childcare, which once would have gone to her, is liable instead to go to the abusive partner. Financially this will mean that it will be harder for her to be independent and harder for her to leave. Applying to the government for benefits to be paid straight to her would simply alert the abusive partner to her attempts to escape his control. And this is currently happening in the name of 'simplicity.' This is just one example of the flawed nature of UC.
For now the waiting time has been cut from six weeks to five and from next month, housing benefit claimants will continue to receive support for two weeks after making their first claim for UC. It will also be possible to get a 100% advance on the benefit, with a year to pay it back, instead of being allowed only a 50% advance and being given just six months to return the loan.
But lets be honest  nobody seems to know what's going on anymore. Claimants across the country will find their payments being arbitrally cut month in, month out, with no explanation. Random debts  are imposed and retrieved with minimum information. Already as it is claimants, living on a shoestring, this process I fear will make things far worse.The Conservatives claim UC is designed to help help people into work by ensuring they are better off working than the unemployed  but whatever they say the number of families who are in work but still living below the poverty line is continuing to rise. As a result, inequality increases too, with the poorest among us being left behind.All because of their policies.
This is all why on  Saturday 16th May 2018 I will be supporting Ceredigion Disability People Against the Cuts (DPAC) who will be meeting  it, outside the Guildhall, Cardigan 11.a.m, to raise awareness of the impact it will have on our community when it hits us in September. We will have petitions to be signed and latest information on the roll out and how it will affect individuals claiming benefits, in and out of work.
Personally do not believe it can be fixed, or modified it needs to be stopped and scrapped completely. It is crucial that we carry on campaigning against its implementation to defend those on the receiving end of brutal cuts and to push for the complete abolition of these policies that will hurt those who are already the most disadvantaged in our society who are merely being treated as collateral damage and will as a result of UC will be pushed even further into the depths of poverty. We must continue to resist these devastating policies, an end to this cruel austerity measure and give support to all those that currently need it. Remember no one is immune to becoming ill or losing their jobs.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Stephen Hawkings ( 8 /1/42 - 14/3/18) - A Beautiful mind R.I.P

Another star just went out. Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning his family said.
Professor Hawking, one of the world's finest scientific minds, was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 21 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and was given only a few years to live. Though 80 percent of those with ALS die within five years of diagnosis, he managed to survive for many decades, perhaps longer than any other patient with the disease in medical history. Eventually  he was completely paralysed, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, except through his  trademark computerised voice system for communication.
Despite all this, he continued to travel the world giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws of the universe, Black holes  and time that earned him comparisons to Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.He also embraced popular culture with enthusiasm  and humour, apprearing in cartoon series the Simpsons, starring in Star Trek and  providing the voice over for a British Telecom commercial that was later sampled by Pink Floyd on their album ' Division Bell. '
This physicists inspiring and turbulent personal story was dramatised in the 2014 movie "The Theory of Everything" which won the actor who portrayed  him, Eddie Redmayne an  Oscar for best actor.
A huge loss to science and humanity, his brilliant and extraordinary mind were obvious, which shined bright to the very end, but it was his courage in refusing to allow a disease that was a death sentence, that faced him daily and  his refusal to  allow it to defeat him, alongside his sense of humor that was to become an inspiration to millions.
He also stood for truth , justice and freedom of Palestine, supporting the academic boycott of Israel, and last year, he asked his millions of facebook followers to contribute financially to the Palestinian Advanced Physics School, a physics lecture series for master students in the occupied West Bank. " I support the rights of scientists everywhere to freedom of movement, publication and collaboration," he wrote.Bravely spoke too against the Iraq war and warned us too about the risk Nuclear weapons pose to the survival of humanity also must not be forgotten. He was also  a vocal champion of the NHS who, in the final months of his life, battled with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over the future of the health service. He had recently said he would not have had such a long life without the NHS. Less than two months ago a campaign group backed by Professor Hawking was granted permission to challenge MR Hunt in the High Court over plans to allow private companies to play a greater role in the service. The scientist had warned it was an " attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS" to allow commercial businesses to run parts of the health and social services. The judicial review into the proposal was expected to take place as soon as possible after Wednesday incidentally the day that he died.
After his sad passing many people are now sharing his words of wisdom and moving quotes.
I will  add one, he once remarked : " I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God: No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful."
So long Stephen Hawking, such a beautiful mind. R.I.P your extraordinary legacy will live on for years, may your mind roam the cosmos for eternity.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Defending Afrin

In recent days thousands of Kurdish immigrants have been taking to the streets  of Europe to protest against the Turkish military operation in the Kurdish region of Afrin in the Democratic Federation of North Syria. Afrin is part of the revolutionary process in the region based on multi-ethnic grassroots democracy and women's liberation.
After the US announced the Turkey/Syria Border Security Force, since  January 20, the Turkish military has been attacking and trying  to invade, night and day, towns and villages, refugee camps, historic and sacred sites that  have been  consistently been bombed by Turkish war planes and artillery.During the first 10 days of these attacks, many civilians have been killed and heavily injured. Among the casualties are women, men children and refugees from other regions of Syria.
The regime in Turkey has openly announced   that its aim of military aggression in Afrin is in  wiping out the democratic autonomous self-administration of Rojava (the Kurdish name for Northen Syria) where the Kurds have defended themselves from Isis and set up an autonomous state where equality, civil engagement, and democracy are manifest in every level of organisation.
Turkey's aim is to occupy this region and crush the will of it's people.Turkey's war on Afrin is an attack not only on Kurdish self-determination, but on democracy and women's liberation in the Middle East. The YPG (People's Protection Units) and YPG (Women's Protection Units) have been one of he main forces defeating ISIS, and are in the process of eliminating religious extremism and terrorism from the region. This invasion threatens all of this. Many women joined the YPJ after being liberated from ISIS or to free their families from ISIS.
Whilst the people of Rojava have been organising themselves in networks of grassroot assemblies and co-operatives, using the model of Democratic Confederalism, which emphasises direct democracy, feminism and ecology, and a multi-ethnic society without discrimination , compare this to the Turkish Government, which has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights for torture, enforced disappearances and the mass imprisonment of journalists and politicians.
The Kurdish people have a saying "we have no friends but the mountains" which is  often repeated when referring to the countless massacres, injustices and betrayals that the people of Kurdistan have experienced throughout their history. Stretching over four of the most important counties  in the Middle East - Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and constantly threatened with genocidal attacks from all sides, this expression resonates with lived experience far more than it should.
The international community to its shame has basically been silent. Turkey is a NATO country like Britain.The UK government has spoken of its support for Turkey's aggression,  Britain  just happens to be a major supplier of arms to the Turkish state and these arms are being used in a conflict where the deliberate targeting of civilians is taking place.
The Kurdish communities actions across the world, are an attempt to break this silence and International solidarity and the contribution of those not in Afrin canton are vital to help the Kurds struggle.In the battle for Afrin, we see the universal dimensions of popular struggles against fascism, dictatorship and death, and for democracy , freedom and justice.
We should strive to stop  the dictatorship of Turkish President Recep Tayvip Erdogan from spreading further its oppression, building it's road  of terror, full of despotic ambition, racist attitude  any further in the Middle East.
The Kurds deserve more than the friendship of their mountains, they deserve our solidarity, because not only is their existence and identity in danger but so too are the hopes of radical democracy and women's liberation  in the Middle East. Inside and outside Rojava, defending Afrin must become our imperative.
The Turkish army is now just a few kilometres from Afrin city where hundreds of  thousands of civilians are trapped.We must act now before its too late. raise our voices with spirit of the Kobane resistance! Try and find common cause with their struggle, to take a stand against these attacks  against one of the region's and the world's most hopeful movements.Who are currently building a new world in the shell of the old, planting seeds of imagination. Showing us another world is possible. Please join the Kurdish community and their friends in solidarity.No pasaran! defend Afrin , defend humanity.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

A New World In Our Hearts - Spaceheads

Have  had a wild weekend dancing my socks off, a magical blend of  musical adventure, a shout out to the wonderful Red and the hogweeds, Becky the Bullet and the Bloody frights, down at my local music venue the Cellar Bar, and the mighty anarcho punk band Mwstard  down at the Small World Theatre where the company of friendship  picked  me up so much, after a rather fraught week, bottom a little tender though , alas one move too far resulted with a collision with dance floor,whilst dancing to following band,  picked myself up again carried on doing what I do. 
I present to you the Spaceheads, trumpet player Andy Diagram and drummer Richard Harrison who last night released a joyful mix of jazzy , free form virtuosity, accompanying my journey with a backdrop of images from one of my favourite films, the 1928 Eisenstein film October: Ten Days That Shook the World, who through the medium of music manage to release a powerful optimistic call for change. Truly fantastic stuff. Which  serves to remind  me of old poem of mine slightly updated. lets all keep laughing in the face of power, and if you can keep on fiercely dancing

Spaceheads Introduce A New World In Our Hearts

Spaceheads - The Revolution Sashays Up the Mall

Spaceheads -  What is to be done

A New World In Our Hearts

We are building a new world in our hearts
Red and black flags united against the system,
With courage to demand nothing for us alone
But everything for everyone else,
Following a map towards tomorrow
Developing our own journeys,
Both individually and collectively
As we travel.

We don't want to rule others
And we will not be ruled,
We have no masters, our thoughts are free,
We have removed the chains that bind us,
Demanding the impossible 
Disintegrating capitalism,
Creating the world we want.

They try to reject us
Degrade us, belittle us,
Shame us and ignore us
Because together we are strong.
In unity we are fearless
As we try to eradicate their consensus
Growing kinder and more content.

Keep on laughing in the face of power
Filling emotions with love and rage,
Travelling far from webs of deceit
The daily delusionary shackles of greed
Living only now to feed our need,
Among widening circles that reach,
                              out across the world,
Believing in hope, it's enduring glow
And the messages that we share,
We fill our pockets with resistance
Keep on building  new worlds in our hearts.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

On International Women’s Day solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers

At the beginning of the 20th Century women across Europe and America were finding their voice.That wanted and demanded decent jobs, better pay, emancipation and the right to vote and hold public offices. It was out  of this air of dissatisfaction,  that International Women's Day was born. A day that today we can still recognise the oppression that still flourishes, caused by both capitalism and patriarchy. Still an unfortunate and undeniable reality for many women today. The fight for woman's  rights might look a little different today, but many are still facing discrimination and injustices across the globe.
In recent times, issues of woman's political and economic inequality have been joined by broader struggles against racism, war, violence, oppression, for  social justice. So today as I observe International Women's Day, I stand up for all women still trapped by injustices. I believe the women's struggle is a struggle for the freedom of all  people, recuperating the fair value of people over things. I recognise the practice and theory of mutual support that women have laid, that are the foundations of social change that we must keep building.
Today in particular  I acknowledge those who are among the most vulnerable in the present moment of time- the refugees. In the same month that we have celebrated the centenary of (some) women's suffrage in the UK, we should not forget over 100 women who have been on hunger strike since February 21 against the inhumane conditions at the Yarl's Wood detention centre and the government's practice of indefinite detention, and their lack of human rights.
"We feel it is our responsibility to call the Home Office out, and take action with our bodies too," the Freedom Fast Yarl's Wood campaigners said in a statement."It is outrageous that 100 years after some women got the vote, elected governments can still openly enforce these inhumane and racist measures."
Some of the demands include an end to charter flights, snatching people ftom their beds in the night, an end to menial work for £1 per hour and to stop detaining vulnerable people and victims of abuse. They are also asking for adequate healthcare and amnesty for people who have lived in Britain for more than 10 years.The hunger strikers demands are for a fair system and an end to the hostile environment policy towards people with legitimate reasons to remain in the UK.A full list of the strikers demands can be found here:-
Each year over 1,500 women who have sought asylum in the UK are detained  at this infamous detention centre which has been the site of numerous scandals. Most of the women detained there are survivors of rape, torture ,sexual and gender based violence and  other abuse. The UK is currently the only country in Europe with no time limit on detention. A practice opposed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and many other civic and political organisations. This barbaric policy has no place in a so called civilised society.
However the Home Office has failed to acknowledge their demands has since taken punitive action, including attempting to deport two hunger strike participants Florence and Opela Kgare on Saturday 3rd March, before there case was complete. This deportion attempt was halted thanks to pressure from the women's friends, the involvement of Labour MPs and the intervention of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.
Today activists from across Britain will be taking part in a 24 hour fast on International Women's Day in solidarity with the Yarl's Wood hunger strikers. Migrant's right campaigners have united with the friends of those in the detention centre to call for a Freedom Fast on this day. They have urged " all people of conscience" to join.We must support the protestors and their demands, and stand with them in denouncing the Uk's  inhumane and fundamentally wrong treatment of them.
This International Women's Day, I simply ask everyone to stand in solidarity with female refugees, whatever the stage of their journey, and keep building a society where women's human rights are respected and in which they are free from persecution. Important  steps are already being taken, but it is a long road ahead. Today celebrate the women who are walking it: migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and women in the wider community working together. On the centenary year of women's suffrage in the UK , lets not forget those women, whose voices are too often not heard.It is also  time to keep on calling for the  closure of Yarl's Wood detention centre.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Yemen concerns

'Currently Tory Prime Minister Theresa May  is welcoming vile and  misogynist Saudi Arabian tyrants with open arms, with the aim of selling them even more British weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Salman is starting a three-day visit to the UK amid protests planned against his country's role in Yemen.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of "colluding" in war crimes by selling arms to Riyadh.
The 32 year old crown prince,who is seen by some as a modernising force in the Gulf State. He has already had lunch with the Queen and Duke of York, and is due to have dinner with the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge.
The UK hopes to capitalise on the Saudi economy's opening up, but this decision has been met by protesters outside Downing Street against the killing of thousands of  Yemeni civilians in air strikes by a Saudi -led multinational coalition, backed by the UK and US, in what is is considered to be a forgotten war, where this crisis  grows daily, spawning an escalating, political, military and humanitarian crisis.
Also if  this Saudi Crown  Prince is truly a reformer, he must stop the execution of 18 young people for the'crime' of attending protests and put an end  to the shocking abuse of human rights.

Petition here:-

Here is a letter I managed to get published in my local paper Tivy-Side Advertiser yesterday expressing my concerns :-

THIS week the UK Government is rolling out the red carpet to Mohammad bin Salman the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, even as innocent children are being killed by the ongoing Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign in Yemen.
Since 2015 British weapons companies have made a staggering £6 billion from arms sales to Saudi Arabia the country leading the coalition bombing Yemen
At the same time, the British taxpayer is sending more than £200 million in life-saving aid to the Yemeni people.
As one of Saudi Arabia's key allies and arms suppliers, there is a risk that British bombs are being dropped on Yemeni children.
Thousands of innocent young lives have already been lost in airstrikes and explosions, and thousands more from hunger and preventable diseases like cholera and diphtheria.
Yemeni children are dying every day from preventable causes like hunger, disease and war.
It may be a far-away conflict, but I believe Britain has a moral obligation to help end the suffering.
I think our Government should stand up for Yemen's children and ensure food, medicine and fuel get into the country and that children are protected from bombs and bullets.

                                                                                                 Dave Rendle
                                                                                                 Teifi Terrace

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Alan Moore on Art and Magic

Comics legend Alan Moore, who has long been an inspiration is the the author of titles including Watchmen, The league of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta and From Hell.and the epic novel  Jerusalem . Not only being a prolific writer and visionary , he also happens to be a ceremonial magician and co-founded the Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels. Alan also sees an  inextricable link between magic and artistic creativity. Do we not all hold the keys to transformative power that lies within that has also has the power to change society for the benefit of all mankind.
Beyond general consensus, and ideas of conformity, we can find different rules to follow, actually alter the world around us., shape it and in the process create a better society. There is nothing more powerful than when our perceptions can change, collectively can actually impact on others and change awareness.Through art and creativity , we can connect to our senses , bodies and minds  and in the process this can enable us to spur thinking, engagement and even action, that has the possibility to motivate others into new ways of thinking. From the local to the global help us seek solutions to the challenges that face us all in the world today, a necessary persistence of the imagination that in this age of sceptical attitudes can actually alter and change consciousness and at same time, our trapped mindsets.

" Magic is a state of mind. It is often portrayed as very black and gothic, and that is because certain practitioners played that up for a sense of power and prestige. That is a diservice. Magic is very colorful. Of this. I am sure."

" I believe that magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing , sculpture, or any other form. is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness, and  that i why I believe that an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman..."

-Alan Moore

Alan Moore on Magic

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Society of the Spectacle- Guy Debord / Poetry of the Spectacle

( a vastly updated blog post from 2015)

"The society whose modernisation has reached the stage of integrated spectacle is characterised by the combined effect of 5 principal factors; incessant technological renewal, integration of state and economy, generalised secrecy, unanswerable lies and eternal present - the spectator is simply supposed to know nothing and deserves nothing. Those who are watching to see what happens next will never act and such must be the spectator's condition ."

- Guy Debord.

                                            Guy Debord

In his fascinating book written in 1967, the Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord leading figure of the French Situationist International  argued that to succumbing to alienation caused by capitalism we have let our lives become colonised by an immersive experience.
" In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immene accumulation of spectacles," Debord's book begins, "Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation." The political consequence of this separation from shared felt experience is key to understanding both how we experience the world and how we can change it.
This spectacle has replaced social interaction and human needs. While this is superficially satisfying it makes us isolated and lonely individuals. It is still one of the greatest theoretical examinations of our social-cultural conditions describing  in pinpoint accuracy the dreadful corporate globalization sweeping the planet, The spectacle accompanies us throughout our lives via news propaganda, advertising and entertainment, and yes social media,alienating us from ourselves and our desires in order to facilitate the accumulation of capital..
For Debord the spectacle presented itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned, It's sole message is :"What appears is good; what is good appears," The passive acceptance it demands is already effectively imposed by its monopoly of appearances. its manners of appearing without allowing any reply. Debord , warned us that mass media had replaced religion in offering repressive pseudo-enjoyment of the world. Real life has become subordinated to its mediated appearance. " The medium is the message" declared Marshall McLuhan around the same time. Few appreciated the significance of the statement back then, but now we bear witness to rapid changes in the way we relate to each other and our planet.
The text was a primary influence not only on the near- revolution of May 1968 in Paris, but also on the ethos of London's underground press and certain aspects of punk ideology, The SI developed out of an earlier Left Bank mix of avant garde politics, influenced by Dada, Surrealism and Lettrism, carrying out programmes of provocation, graffiti and anti-party revolutionary outrage. The Situationists were concerned to articulate a 'theory of moments," propagating ideas of pleasure and depicting the personal as intrinsically political ("boredom is always counter revolutionary " sneered one of their mottoes.From 1962, the Situationists increasingly applied their critique not only in culture but to all aspects of capitalist society. Seeking to free us from the power of the spectacle in order to mount a credible challenge to capitalism, the Situationists introduced the tactic of detournement, an attempt to turn the  powers of the spectacle against itself.
Guy Debord emerged as the most important figure among their number: he had been involved in the Lettrist International, and had made several films, including Hurlements en faveur de Sade (1952)  Inspired by the libertarian journal Socialisme on Barbarie, the Situationists rediscovered the history of the anarchist movement, particularly during the period of the First International, and drew inspiration from Spain, Kronstadt, and the Makhnovists. They described the USSR as a capitalist bureaucracy, and advocated workers' councils. But they were not entirely anarchist in orientation and retained elements of Marxism, especially through Henri Lefebvre's critique of the alienation of everyday life.
Debord dissolved the SI (proclaiming its victory over history) in 1972, their impact has been assured. Again today, we need to break with conventions, consensus, break out of our desolate paradigms, and learn to be free.
Sadly in 1994 aged 67, in the isolated village of Champot high in the Auvergne, Guy Debord shot himself with a single bullet to the heart.He remains however one of the most important contemporary thinkers, with a capital place in the history of ideas from the second half pf the second half of the 20th century.
The following film La Societe du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a black and white 1973 film  based on his book. It was Debord's first  feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society.
The 88 minute film took a year to make and incorporates footage from feature films, industrial films, news footage. advertisements and still photographs. The films include The Battleship Potemkin, October, Chapeav, The New Babylon, The Shanghai Gesture, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Rio Grande, They Died with Their Boots On, Johnny Guitar and Mr Arkadin, as well as other Soviet films.
Events such as the murder of Lee Harvard Oswald (who assassinated U.S, President John F, Kennedy in 1963), the Spanish Civil War of 1936 -1939, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Paris riots in May 1968 are represented, and people such as Mao Zedong, Richard Nixon and the Spanish anarchist Durutti.Throughout the film, there is a voiceover (of Debord) and inter-titles from The Society of the Spectacle  but also texts from the 1968 Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne, Machiavelli, Marx, Tocqueville, Emile Pouget, and Soloviev. Without citations, these quotes are hard to decipher, especially with the subtitles (which exist in the French version) but that is part of Debord's goal "to  problematize recept" (Greil and Sanborn) and force the viewer to be active. In addition , the words of some of the authors are detourned through deliberate misquoting.
In 1984, Debord withdrew his films from circulation, because of the negative press and the assassination of his friend  and patron Gerard Lebovici. Since Debord's suicide in 1994, Debord's wife Alice Becker-Ho  has been promoting Debord's film. A DVD box set titled  Guy Debord: Oeuvres cinematographiques completes came out in 2005 and contains Debord's seven film.
The cover of the film is derived  from a photo of Life magazine photographer J.R. Eyerman.
On November 28, 1952, at the Paramount Theatre(Oakland, California), took place  the premiere screening of film Bwana Devil, by Arch Oboler, the first full-length, color 3D (aka ' Natural Vision') motion picture. Eyerman took a series of photos of the audience wearing 3D glasses.
Life magazine used one of the photos as the cover of a brochure about the 146-1955 decade. The photo employed by Debord shows the audience in " a virtually trance-lie state of absorption, their faces grim, their lips pursed," however, in the one chosen bt Life, " the spectators are laughing, their expressions of hilarity conveying the pleasure of an uproarious active spectatorship "Cheers to Ubuweb
I'm sure if Debord was alive today, he would almost certainly be extending his analysis of the spectacle to the Internet and social media. He would no doubt be horrified by social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, which monetize our friendships, opinions and emotions.It seems that our
internal thoughts and experience are now commodifiable assets.His viewpoint still bears an uncomfortable truth on our present day lives. One could say that our age is not so much the Society of the Spectacle, as it is the Society of immersion and manipulation, and many simply are so immersed they do not not realize it is happening.
Do we remain passive, carry on being manipulated, relying on the artificiality of  the spectacle,or  start thinking beyond it's confinement?The future is unwritten

Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle)

Poetry of the Spectacle

Here the SPECTACLE is captured and made to expose itself (if even for a brief moment) by turning its most beloved mystifying commodity, the computer, back onto itself to the benefit of language. It slowly dies a dramatic death of Lettritic convulsions.


In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived is now merely represented in the distance.

The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images. The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.
The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual description produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized.

Understood in its totality, the spectacle is both the result and the goal of the dominant mode of production. It is not a mere decoration added to the real world. It is the very heart of this real society's unreality. In all its particular manifestations - news, propoganda, advertising, entertainment - the spectacle represents the dominant model of life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choices that have already been made in the sphere of production and in the consumption implied by the production. In both form and content the spectacle serves as a total justification of the conditions and goals of the existing system. The spectacle also represents the constant presence of this justification since it monopolizes the majority of the time spent outside the production process.

The spectacle is both the meaning and the agenda of our particular socio-economic formation. It is the historical moment in which we are caught.

The spectacle presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Itssole message is: "What appears is good, what is good appears." The passive acceptance it demands is already effectively imposed by its monopoly of appearances, its manner of appearing without allowing any reply.

The first stage of the economy's domination of social life is brought about an evident degradation of being into having - human fulfillment was no longer equated with what one was, but what one possessed. The present stage, in which social life has become completely dominated by the accumulated productions of the economy, is bringing about a general shift from appearing -all "having" must derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances.


The problem of language is at the heart of all the struggles between the forces striving to abolish the present alienation and those striving to maintain it. It is inseperable from the very terrain of those struggles. We live within language as within polluted air. Despite what humorists think, words do not play. Words work - on behalf of the dominant organization of life. Yet they are not completely automated: unfortunately for the theoreticians of infomation words are not in themselves "informationist", they contain forces that can upset the most careful calculations. Words coexist with power in relation analogous to that which proletarians have with power. Employed by it almost full time, exploited for every sense and nonsense that can be squeezed out of them, they still remain in some sense fundamentally alien to it.

Under the control of power, language always designates something other than authentic experience. It  is precisely for this reason that a total contestation is possible. The organization of language has fallen into such confusion that the communication imposed by power isexposing itsef as an imposter and a dupery. An embryonic cybernetic power is vainly trying to put out language under the control of the machines it controls, in such a way that infomation would henceforth be the only possible communication. Even on this terrain resistances are beng manifested, electronic music could be seen as an attempt ( obviously limited and ambiguous) to reverse the domination by detourning machines to the benefit of language. But there is a musch more general and radical opposition that is denouncing all unilateral "communication," in theold form of art as well as in the modern form of informationism. It calls for a communication that undermines all seperate power. Real comunication dissolves the state.

Power lives of stolen goods. It creates nothing, it coopts. If it determined the meaning of words, there would be no poetry but only useful "infomation."  Opposition would be unable to express itself in language; any refusal would be nonverbal, purely lettristic. What is poetry if not the revolutionary moment of language, inseperable as such from the revolutionary moments of history and the history of personal life?

Society of the Spectacle Pt 1 &2

Here Debord's  1967 text is  remade into a contemporary context.
Also  includes Marshall McLuhan and John Berger

Made by Aska (check the credits for more)
Sound by the amazing Pippin Kenworthy

Pt 1

Pt 2

                                Put the mirror to the moment  make yourself aware 
                                Facilitate, reconcile, get a new idea  
                                The pulsating spectacle, is not easy to forget 
                                Today randomly ordinarily, perception shifts
                                When the prism cracks, get yourself a new silhouette
                                Unharness camarardie, viva situationniste! 


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Pethau Bychain Dewi Sant - Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion (geiriau / lyrics)

Today as has become traditional I mark St David's Day/ Dydd Dewi Sant. Saint David is the patron saint of Wales. This day was chosen to  commemorate St David's death on this day around 589 AD. It has been celebrated as a national day within Wales since the 18th century.
I love my country,  but avoid the nationalism,  I prefer the  mystical  deep streams.
So here I offer you this beautiful song from Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion called Pethau Bychain Dewi Sant ( St David's Little Things) from the album Dore .Happy St David's Day/ Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus.  Heddwch/peace

Pwy oedd Dewi Sant. Who was St David?
Dewi Sant oedd nawdd sant Cymru. Yn ol straeon amdano, bu fyw  am dros 100 mlynedd a bu farw ar Dydd Mawrth, y cyntaf o Fawrth  (Gwyl Dewi Sant heddiw). Ei eiriau i'w ddilynwyr oedd mewn pregeth ar y dydd Sul blaenoral. Meddai Byddwch yn llawen, a cadewch eich ffydd ac eich cred. Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd yt ydych wedi fy ngweld i yn ei wneud. Fe gerddaf i y llwybr y troediodd ein cyndeidiau.

It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day) His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday. Rhygyfarch transcribes these as ' Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and  heard about. I will walk the path  that our fathers have trod before us.' 'Do the little things in life' ( Gwnewch y  pethau bychain mewn bywyd) is today a very well known phrase in Welsh.


Pethau bychain Dewi Sant
nid swn tan ond swn tant.
Nid derw mawr ond adar mân,
nid haul a lleuad ond gwreichion tân.

Ond o, dyna chi strach, trio cael hyd i sach
 i gadw'r holl bethau bach.

 Pethau bychain Dewi Sant,
 y ll'godan ond nid yr eliffant.
 A darnau'r gwlith nid dwr y moroedd,
 ond yn y briga', stwr y mae.

 Ond o, dyna chi strach, trio cael hyd i sach
 i gadw'r holl bethau bach.

 Pethau bychain Dewi Sant,
swn 'yn traed ni yn y nant.
Yr hada' yn disgyn yma a thraw,
a'r tamad, y tamad ola' o wenith yn dy law.

Ond o, dyna chi strach,
trio cael hyd i sach i gadw'r holl bethau bach.

Map y byd yn llyfr y plant,
pethau bychain Dewi Sant.

Y pellter sydd rhwng dant a dant ar ol nawdeg naw a chant
 pethau bychain Dewi Sant.

Ond o, dyna chi strach,
 trio cael hyd i sach i gadw'r holl bethau bach.

English Translation Lyrics:

St David's little things,
not the sound of fire
but the sound of chords.
Not a large oak but small birds,
not the sun and moon but the sparks of fire.

But oh, what a hassle it is to try and find a sack
to keep all of the little things.

St David's little things,

the mouse but not the eliphant.

And the dew drops, not the water of the seas,
but in the branches, uproar is found

But oh, what a hassle it is to try and find
a sack to keep all of the little things.

St David's little things,
the sound of our footsteps in the stream.
The seeds fall here and there,
and the scrap, the last scrap of wheat in your palm.

But oh, what a hassle it is to try and find a sack
to keep all of the little things.

The world's atlas in a children's book,
St David's little things.

The distance between a tooth and a tooth between ninety nine and a hundred - St David's little things. But oh, what a hassle it is to try and find
a sack to keep all of the little things.