Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greek riots: ritual outlet for frustrated nation

Christopher Torchia reports for Forbes:


A stun grenade exploded in the hand of a Greek riot policeman, severing a finger. Police and demonstrators ceased combat and scoured the debris-strewn street, uniting in a frantic search for the missing digit.

They found it. The finger was rushed off in a wet towel to a hospital, where doctors reattached it to the injured man. The brief scene of solidarity, witnessed by an Associated Press photographer, was one of many twists in a wild drama on the stage of central Athens this week.

[ ... ]

Greeks had indulged in another contained eruption, heavy with choreography and symbolism, to convey disgust with their political class. The culture of protest and violence by a hardened minority is now a routine form of collective therapy.

Musical Innerlube: Rage Against The Machine - Sleep Now In The Fire

In Defense of Flogging

A crazy idea came from a dinner in New Orleans. I had cold-called (or whatever the e-mail equivalent is) a writer and his wife because I was a fan of his work and thought we had much in common. They were gracious enough to arrange a meal and treat me, without much justification, as a professional equal more than a stalker. The conversation turned to corporal punishment in public schools. They were amazed not that such a peculiarity existed in a city ripe with oddities, but that such illegal punishments were administered at the urging of and with the full consent of the students' parents.

"Fascinating," I drolly replied, but I wasn't shocked. If I'd learned one thing as a police officer patrolling a poor neighborhood, it was the working- and lower-class populations' great fondness for corporal punishment. No punishment is as easy or seemingly satisfying as a physical beating. I learned this not because I beat people, but because the good citizens I swore to serve and protect often urged me to do so. It wasn't hard for me to resist (I liked my job, and besides, I wasn't raised that way), but I agreed that many of the disrespectful hoodlums deserved a beating. Why? Because, as the old-school thinking goes, when people do wrong, they deserve to be punished.

For most of the past two centuries, at least in so-called civilized societies, the ideal of punishment has been replaced by the hope of rehabilitation. The American penitentiary system was invented to replace punishment with "cure." Prisons were built around the noble ideas of rehabilitation. In society, at least in liberal society, we're supposed to be above punishment, as if punishment were somehow beneath us. The fact that prisons proved both inhumane and miserably ineffective did little to deter the utopian enthusiasm of those reformers who wished to abolish punishment.

Incarceration, for adults as well as children, does little but make people more criminal. Alas, so successful were the "progressive" reformers of the past two centuries that today we don't have a system designed for punishment. Certainly released prisoners need help with life—jobs, housing, health care—but what they don't need is a failed concept of "rehabilitation." Prisons today have all but abandoned rehabilitative ideals—which isn't such a bad thing if one sees the notion as nothing more than paternalistic hogwash. All that is left is punishment, and we certainly could punish in a way that is much cheaper, honest, and even more humane. We could flog.

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A new book explores the highly peculiar legacy of Wilhelm Reich

From The Great Proselytizer of Orgasm by Peter D. Kramer:

Christopher Turner, author ofAdventures in the OrgasmatronToday when sex combines with politics, the likely result is humiliation. We think of the crotch shot, the Sofitel suite, the airport restroom stall, the stained blue dress. The sex, which we see as sleazy and compulsive, is a sign of a defective self: risk-prone, greedy, compartmentalized, deluded, and hypocritical.

It's hard, perhaps, to recall that once sex was—in the ideal—radical politics conducted by other means. When Wilhelm Reich coined the phrase "the sexual revolution," he meant transformation in every sphere: health, marriage, economics, morality, and government. It was in sex, he believed, that we found the integrated self, liberated from the alienating culture and the authoritarian state. Christopher Turner's Adventures in the Orgasmatron is in part a report from that past, when sex held the promise of social reform. His book bears the subtitle, How the Sexual Revolution Came to America, but mostly what Turner offers is a sex-centered biography of Reich, the great proselytizer of orgasm.

Because of his belief in orgone, an imagined form of energy, Reich is now a figure of fun. (Orgasmatron is Woody Allen's name, in Sleeper, for a parody of Reich's orgone accumulator, a telephone booth-sized plywood and metal box said to store a healing and enlivening force.) But Reich is a fascinating, unfairly overlooked figure. If he had done nothing else, he would perhaps be known for the great work of his youth, Character Analysis, a book that forever changed the way psychotherapy is done. What he went on to do—crazily, confusingly—was to elaborate a dream of a society saved by sex.

Women against sexism - the new French revolution

By John Costello, Independent


They may have a reputation for being skilful and sensuous lovers, but when it comes to sex it appears Frenchmen are more Benny Hill than Casanova.

Despite its reputation for cultural superiority and sexual sophistication, a tidal wave of revelations in the wake of the scandal surrounding former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn has unmasked France as the dirty old man of Europe.

Since Strauss-Kahn was charged with sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid, complaints against "casual" sexism in the country have rocketed an astounding 600%.

Women have been marching on the streets of Paris vowing to expose the pervasive macho culture in France, where sexism and abuse can thrive.

While Strauss-Kahn's alleged behaviour caused outrage, it was the reaction of prominent Frenchmen who questioned the victim's judgment and the seriousness of the charges that sparked the reaction from French feminists.

Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy claimed Strauss-Kahn had been "thrown to the dogs" and asked why had the maid entered his hotel suite alone and without knocking.

Globalization, Governance, and Rhizomes Of Reality

As Mr Lamy says there is a lack of governance in the global economy. This is in my mind code for the need for social control or socialism. My contention is that a world government is emerging but there are key impediments, one is the persistence of the nation state, and the tendency for local interest to overwhelm the interests of the whole. This is very evident in the EU where Greece may end up leaving the body finding restrictions to be intolerable. Germany resents having to bail out Greece, after German banks were allowed to promote such great debt. The problem is the German people were not involved in generating the loans that incurred the debt but they must participate in the bailout. This is the same with the Greek people. They were not asked if they wanted the government to go into debt. They were simply told that the government had things under control and when they didn't they were asked to pay as if it was their responsibility. Even if they had benefited from going into debt with better salaries etc., it was essentially not their choice. 

That is the problem with globalization as far as I can see. There is no mechanism for a world vote by citizens. Only governments which are theoretically representing the people are represented in the UN. Economically there is the dictatorship of the capitalist class, with economic democracy limited to shareholders, similar to the 19th century concept of the vote being limited to property holders, now it is limited to proxy holders. This is obviously the next step in democratization, direct economic voting power for all workers, whether they are owners or not. With the logical development that the capitalist class becomes superfluous except as some sort of coordinating body responsible to the voting workers. This would make the executive of any corporate entity responsible to the workers who have become the voters instead of merely the stock holders, although there could be a vote for stock holders and workers.


Red State Update Ad for Aleister Crowley in 2012


It’s about freedom, and government oppression, and slave morality…

That is, the same government oppression and slave morality as mentioned above, in the section on human sacrifice. Freedom of speech and sexual expression are two of the major issues that Aleister Crowley confronted in his activities and writings, including his commentary on the Law of Thelema and his political essays, often quoted here on AC2012.

Jan Svankmajer - Virile Games (1988)



Jan Švankmajer (born 4 September 1934 in Prague) is a Czech surrealist artist. His work spans several media. He is known for his surreal animations and features, which have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay and many others.

Švankmajer has gained a reputation over several decades for his distinctive use of stop-motion technique, and his ability to make surreal, nightmarish and yet somehow funny pictures. He is still making films in Prague at the time of writing.

Švankmajer's trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses very sped-up sequences when people walk and interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Food is a favourite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though his feature films also include live action to varying degrees.

A lot of his movies, like the short film Down to the Cellar, are made from a child's perspective, while at the same time often having a truly disturbing and even aggressive nature. In 1972 the communist authorities banned him from making films, and many of his later films were banned. He was almost unknown in the West until the early 1980s.

Today he is one of the most celebrated animators in the world. His best known works are probably the feature films Alice (1988), Faust (1994), Conspirators of Pleasure (1996), Little Otik (2000) and Lunacy (2005), a surreal comic horror based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis de Sade. Also famous (and much imitated) is the short Dimensions of Dialogue (1982), which shows Arcimboldo-like heads gradually reducing each other to bland copies ("exhaustive discussion"); a clay man and woman who dissolve into one another sexually, then quarrel and reduce themselves to a frenzied, boiling pulp ("passionate discourse"); and two elderly clay heads who extrude various objects on their tongues (toothbrush and toothpaste; shoe and shoelaces, etc.) and use them in every possible combination, sane or otherwise ("factual conversation"). His films have been called "as emotionally haunting as Kafka's stories[1]."

He was married to Eva Švankmajerová, an internationally known surrealist painter, ceramicist and writer until her death in October of 2005. She collaborated on several of his movies including Faust, Otesánek and Alice. They had two children, Veronika and Václav.


~ ~ ~


Alex Jones: Hell is Coming Rant!!

Amnesty condemns Greek crackdown on anti-austerity protests

Amnesty International has condemned the use of "excessive force" by Greek security forces in suppressing protests against EU-IMF-imposed austerity.

In a statement issued Wednesday (29 June) night, the human rights group described how their supporters had catalogued a series of abuses against the largely peaceful demonstrators in Athens' central Syntagma Square in front of the national parliament.

"Video footage and witness testimony points to the repeated use of excessive force by police in recent demonstrations, including the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of tear gas and other chemicals against largely peaceful protesters," the group said in a statement.



"Amnesty International representatives present in Syntagma square have witnessed incidents of peaceful protesters being beaten by police officers."


Throughout the day, riot police numbering some 5,000 fired multiple volleys of tear gas and stun grenades into crowds, including into the metro station where a makeshift medical shelter had been set up.

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Athens ablaze as Greece austerity riots continue into the night


UPDATE: Syntagma Square was repopulated with peaceful protesters in the early hours of the morning and they intend to continue their efforts to bring meaningful change.

How To Pick Up Women Protesters

Learn from LamHaklam, practicing among Real Democracy NOW! protesters in Thessaloniki:


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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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