NOW AVAILABLE! A limited edition (100 copies) of A Critique of State Socialism by Michael Bakunin (with illustrations and commentary by the extraordinarily talented artist Richard Warren). Long out of print, this new edition clearly shows how Bakunin’s classic critique of state socialism — that all statist approaches to social change are doomed to authoritarian results — composed a century and a half ago, was borne out by the events of the 20th century. Just as Bakunin’s concerns about power-hungry socialists and communists proved prescient, this comic retains its value today, when new politicians and parties are attempting to co-opt popular movements. (ISBN 978-1-873976-45-6, £12.00 inc p+p. Available from both ChristieBooks and Central Books)
The Mark of Cain (Russian – English subtitles), a feature-length documentary by Alix Lambert, is an exploration of life in The Zone, a term for the Stalinist Gulag, the Russian prison system, and chronicles the vanishing practice and language of Russian Criminal Tattoos. Filmed in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons, including the fabled White Swan, the documentary traces the animus of the flowers of this carnal art by way of the brutality of its origins – the penitentiary and the criminal environment. Through interviews with inmates, family members and prison officials, Lambert paints a grim picture. Life in any prison is tough, but the conditions recorded by Lambert are barely credible with cells so overcrowded that inmates must agree on who will stand and who will sleep. Lambert does a great job of imparting to us the importance of The Thieves Tradition of the caste system, without which arbitrary clashes would surely take a toll. From the Downcasts to the Godfather-esque Thieves-in-the-Law, inmate skins boast markings that measure a man’s provenance – a second passport stamped with crimes committed and sentences served. The quality of the artwork is surprising, considering that the tattooing must be completed covertly with nothing more than a customized electric razor.The ageing generation of inmates offers observations that are cross-cultural. They frown upon the newer generation of inmates buying, rather than earning, the ink intended draw the required respect.The Mark of Cain stamps an honour and order to an otherwise caged chaos.
See also FILMS: TATTOO (1976 — John Samson)
Sex in Chains — Geschlecht in Fesseln (Silent w/English intertitles): ‘A young man is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term in prison. There he forms a close relationship with his cellmate and upon his release his wife is concerned as to how prison has changed the man she married. Brimming with visual invention and breathless erotic angst, Sex in Chains uniquely combines gorgeous cinematic craftsmanship with bold subject matter. Made at the peak of the German silent era, Sex in Chains defines the Weimar era artistic freedom that would shortly fall prey to the Nazis. An astonishing mixture of love story, socially conscious exposé and lurid melodrama, Sex in Chains assuredly balances tender romance with candid erotica and uninhibited imagination with crisp realism.’ See FILMS
Morte accidentale di un anarchico (English trans.) è una delle commedie più note di Dario Fo, vincitore del Premio Nobel per la letteratura nel 1997, rappresentata per la prima volta il 5 dicembre 1970 a Varese da Fo e il suo gruppo teatrale “La Comune”.
La commedia è dedicata alla “morte accidentale”, come ironicamente ricorda il titolo stesso, dell’anarchico Giuseppe Pinelli, avvenuta al commissariato di Polizia di Milano in circostanze inizialmente non chiare, poi archiviate dai un’indagine della magistratura come un caso di malore attivo, il 15 dicembre 1969, cadendo dalla finestra del quarto piano durante il suo interrogatorio. A seguito della violenta campagna politica che ne seguì fu ucciso il commissario di polizia Luigi Calabresi.
See FILMS: Il filo della memoria ; Storia Stragi di Stato — Tre ipotesi sulla morte di Pinelli ; L’Orchestre Noir — The Strategy of Tension ; Italian Fascism ; Gladio 1 ; Gladio 2 ; Gladio 3 ; NATO’s Secret Armies ; Piazza Fontana 2 anni dopo ; Prendiamoci la vita 1 ; Prendiamoci la vita 2 (1968-1978) ; Nella perduta citta di Sarzana ; Gli anarchici nella Resistenza; D’Amore’ e D’ Anarchia ; Rome, Open City ; Ostia ; Il Conformista ; 7 Beauties ; Antonio Ruju ; Rumore di fondo-Storie di semplici resistenti ; Controstoria Rossa Partigiani ; Sera tutti sovversivi – a Franco Serantini; Franco Leggio: An anarchist of Ragusa ; Libera, my love – Libera, amore mio ; Men of Marble - Carrara ; Salvatore Giuliano ; The Leopard – 1 ; The Mystery of Oberwald
The Chicago Conspiracy (see FILMS) is a documentary three years in the making by Subversive Action Films. The project was filmed in Chile, and the story extends into the Mapuche indigenous lands of Wallmapu. The concept for the film was born with the death of a former military dictator. We celebrated in the streets of Santiago with thousands of people after hearing the news: General Augusto Pinochet was dead. His regime murdered thousands and tortured tens of thousands after the military coup on September 11, 1973. We celebrated both his death and the implication that the political and economic system which put him in power might itself be mortal. We began this documentary with the death of a dictator, but we continue with the legacy of a dictatorship.
The Chicago Conspiracy takes its name from the approximately 25 Chilean economists who attended the University of Chicago and other prestigious universities beginning in the 1960s to study under the neoliberal economists Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. After embracing Friedman’s neoliberal ideas, these economists returned to assist Pinochet’s military regime in imposing free market policies. They privatised nearly every aspect of society, and Chile soon became a classic example of free market capitalism under the barrel of a gun.
‘The declared aim of the film On Modern Servitude is to reveal man’s condition as a modern slave within the context of the totalitarian mercantile system, and to illustrate the forms of mystification masking his servile condition. Its purpose is to attack, head on, the dominant world organisation and to offer an accurate critique of the society we must combat. This film is, above all, a militant tool whose purpose is to inspire the greatest number of people to question themselves and to spread this criticism to where it has had no access …’