Oct 082011

See ChristieBooks Films:
A documentary about what it means to be an anarchist today in Mexico City, a city of 25 million inhabitants. It reminds us of the possibilities of other ways of living. Toby, now 50 years old, was a punk, and together with Marta, they run the Bilbioteca Social Reconstruir, a project launched by the Spanish anarchist Ricardo Mestre. The library contains files of considerable historical importance, as well as more than five thousand titles on the subject of anarchism. Here, Jacinto and Claudio, historians, studied anarchism, from the time of the Flores Magón brothers to today’s decrepit labor system; Ignacio started the Cultural Multiforum ‘Alicia’ 15 years ago The film has much to teach us about contemporary Mexico and a generation which is searching for another, more just world.

Oct 082011

See ChristieBooks Films:
Parts 11 and 12 of Spain at War, a 30-part documentary series produced by Spanish TV in 1986. The films contain many rare and difficult to find images and footage: 11) They shall not pass! 12) Madrid resists

Oct 022011

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Geordie anarchist-marxist miner and author of the extraordinary autobiographical trilogy ‘Stardust and Coaldust’ (‘Geordies – Wa Mental’; ‘The Wheel’s Still in Spin’; ‘Ghost Dancers’) Dave Douglass lives for a week with Chief Scout Lord Rowallan and tries to educate and enlighten him – unsuccessfully, of course, but a fascinating and very funny lifestyle documentary’ . .

Oct 022011

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In the early part of 1978, following a series of Special Branch-led raids, Iris Mills, Ronan Bennett, Vince Stevenson, Trevor Dawton, Dafydd Ladd and Stewart Carr were charged with conspiring, with ‘Persons Unknown’, to cause explosions. When the trial opened at the Old Bailey in September 1979 Dafydd Ladd jumped bail and did not surrender for three years, when he received a nine-year sentence on separate charges. Stewart Carr pleaded guilty to everything the police put to him and received a 9-year sentenced. All the others were acquitted. After the not- guilty verdict the judge, Alan King-Hamilton QC, read out Stewart Carr’s ‘confession’ (when they could no longer be challenged in open court!) and berated the jury for, in his view, delivering the wrong verdict.

Sep 222011

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Moscow Ain’t Such A Bad Place, Barry Jones. ISBN 978-1-873976-48-7, published in 2011 by ChristieBooks, Hastings, East Sussex UK —   eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

MOSCOW 1987: With Gorbachev’s Soviet Union in a state of flux and uncertainty, Londoner Norman ‘Nobby’ Robert Jackson — amateur Classicist, fluent Russian-speaker, business consultant and blackmarketeer living comfortably in Moscow with two mistresses — is approached by a fellow British businessman to locate the ‘Apsheron icon’. All is not what it seems, however. Next day ‘Nobby’ discovers the man brutally bludgeoned to death in his hotel room. Who has killed him, and why? Pursued to Yalta with his mistresses, he finds he has become the target for a killer. Determined to find those responsible for a series of brutal murders of friends and associates attending a British trade exhibition in Moscow, ‘Nobby’ finds his quest entangling him with Major Shcheglov of the Moscow Police, Grigori Vladimirovitch of the KGB, and George Trenden, head of the SIS’s Soviet Desk, taking him from Yalta to Moscow, London and Devon and back to Moscow again on the trail of a mysterious and powerful international cabal conspiring to change the course of history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I first met Barry Jones  in Moscow in the late 1980s when I was travelling regularly to Russia (as publisher of Arguments and Facts International, and Central Asia and the Caucasus in World Affairs) and I promised him at the time that I would try to ensure his novels saw the light of day. MOSCOW AIN’T SUCH A BAD PLACE is the first of his ‘Moscow’ novels, a compelling story peopled by fascinating characters, and providing a sympathetic and unique insight into the people and pattern of daily life in Moscow during the heady days of glasnost, perestroika, and the dramatic buildup to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Barry Jones was Moscow’s own cross between Sir Kenneth Clark and Arthur Dailey, a scholar, raconteur and Mr Fix-it, well known for his ability to arrange almost anything in the city that he made his home from 1976 until his expulsion — in chains — from the Russian Federation in 2001. He had made one powerful enemy too many. Barry died seven years ago, in Cornwall, in unexplained circumstances. Before he died, however, he sent me the manuscript of the sequel work, MOSCOW AIN’T THE PLACE IT USED TO BE, a massive three volume novel on a par with War and Peace: 1991 – The Gangland Speculation; 1993 – The Political Option; 1996 – The Terrorist Solution, gripping stories which we will seek to publish in due course.

(Barry Jones lived and worked in Moscow for twenty-five years (1976-2001) as a translator, translating over sixty books in a variety of specialist and non-specialist subjects, eg. economics, philosophy, politics, sociology, taxation, customs documentation, music, sport, art, philately, circus & entertainment, and much else.

From 1991 to 1994 he was Head of Legal and Business Translation at the INTERFAX News agency in Moscow where he translated the Constitutions of the Russian Federation and those of each of the former Soviet Republics. He also translated dozens of laws, statutes, presidential decrees and other legislative and legal documents as well as a continuous flow of articles on oil and gas, agriculture, mining and minerals, finance and banking, and commerce in general.

In 1995 he began work on a two-year project to translate the archives of more than 100 Russian museums for the US Library of Congress, part of which can be viewed on “ArcheoBiblioBase: The Archives of Russia

From then until his expulsion in chains on trumped up charges in 2001 he worked as a freelance translator. His biggest projects were “The Celestial Garden” – by the playwright, Azat Abdullin — on the life of Rudolf Nuriyev — and a series of learned articles on medieval Georgian astronomy.)

The Cuntocracy or How well is David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ going these days?

 Anarchist ideas, Article, Essay, Ideas, PDF, Power elites and brokers, Society  Comments Off on The Cuntocracy or How well is David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ going these days?
Jul 192011

Why not call the present political system a ‘cuntocracy’? It is most certainly not a democracy—at least not the type any one would want.  We need a new name for not just what our leaders do to us because of greed and stupidity.  We need an accurate irrefutable term for all of society’s organisation as an undesirable but innate feature of the effects of the power hungry.  We need a term who’s very existence will drive the science of self-understanding in a way that returns power to the ordinary people—giving them a voice and a simple way to talk back to those who pose as leaders but take us nowhere.  If people in power object: it’s working.

But what are our base assumptions? Well, there is probably only one ‘law’ that we could say social science ‘discovered,’ and this seems to have been axiomatically engendered by sheer flippancy. This was Lord Acton’s statement (in a letter to a Bishop) that all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. No one has thought to extrapolate our one law further to establish its social determinants. You are simply not allowed to.  We can adapt Acton’s Law into: all power tends to create cunts and absolute power creates total cunts.  If power and cuntishness are thus implacably entwined we can say that they would form a metaphysical pathos.  An inescapable trap of becoming a cunt awaits the power hungry: fate and vanishing freedom, confusion or loss of values, emotional colouring whether they are aware or not.  If you really believe that you rather than all the others should be in control the result is pessimism and fatalism towards all else, including analysis of the situation.  This trap gives rise to a functional rationality to keep the illusion going: the cuntocracy.  Max Weber’s concept of the inescapable ‘Iron Shell of Bureaucracy,’ or Marx’s ‘Barbarism’ as the incurable ‘leper of civilisation’ point to its social psychology.[1] PDF

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Britannia Hospital (1982 – Lindsay Anderson) – see FILMS

 Anarchist cinema, Drama, Feature, Films, Society, Socio-political theatre  Comments Off on Britannia Hospital (1982 – Lindsay Anderson) – see FILMS
Jul 072011

Britannia Hospital, by Lindsay Anderson, is a social satire, a bleak metaphor for British society in the early 1980s, an allegory of Thatcherism (and a prophetic vision of Cameronian Britain). Strikes, police violence, police corruption, riots, all present in daily life today, and all represented in this black comedy. In the hospital’s 500th anniversary year, Britannia Hospital administrator, Vincent Potter (played by Leonard Rossiter), is desperately trying to restore order prior to a visit by the Queen Mother, who is coming to open the Millar Centre for Advanced Surgical Science. Meanwhile, in an effort to produce a supreme being — which he calls Genesis — Professor Millar himself (played by Graham Crowden), is secretly conducting Frankenstein-like experiments on human cadavers. With the British government’s failure to provide funding for hospitals, the new Centre is being financed by the Japanese company, Banzai Chemicals, the owners of which are also present for the special day. Intermittent telephone services and a faltering electrical supply add to Potter’s frustrations, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. An undercover team of journalists (led by Malcolm McDowell, the rebel public schoolboy from If . . . ) are about to stop at nothing to uncover Millar’s clandestine project, and there is a growing number of protesters (including many of the staff) at the main gate demonstrating against the preferential treatment of the hospital’s private patients, including an Idi Amin-type African dictator (Val Pringle), who has installed most of his aides and servants in the hospital too (Anderson’s original inspiration for the film came from the staff of Charing Cross Hospital in the 1970s who refused to treat private patients). The kitchen staff go on strike when they learn that the food for the special guests has been ordered from top London food specialists Fortnum and Mason. Potter wins over their union representative by promising him an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List …

See also: LINDSAY ANDERSON – A Celebration (1994)CB FILMS

ALL WATCHED OVER BY MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE – 3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey (2011 – Adam Curtis) see FILMS for full version

 Anti-Capitalism, Documentaries, Essay, Ethics, Films, Ideas, Society, Socio-political theatre, Video essay  Comments Off on ALL WATCHED OVER BY MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE – 3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey (2011 – Adam Curtis) see FILMS for full version
Jun 072011

(First segment above) In this third and final episode, Curtis’s compelling video essay explores a pair of uniquely modern occurrences: our growing understanding of genetics, and the changing theories about the role our genes play in both our development and the way we interact; the rise of computers, particularly in the last two decades, which has seen a murderous land-grab for the precious minerals – specifically, copper from places such as the Congo, which is rich with the stuff – and how they inform political policy and the balance of power. Curtis explores the dehumanising effects of political power and computers suggesting that corruption extends even to the materials from which our computers and other electronic gadgets are made, with the control of mines in places such as the Congo resulting in civil unrest, genocide and the appearance of despotic regimes. Meanwhile, the theories of influential biologists, from Bill Hamilton onwards, help perpetuate the idea that we’re all “soft machines”, driven by the impulses of our genes. Even a trait as apparently unique to our species, altruism, can be explained in practical terms – “A gene would destroy itself in order to allow its future self to survive,” we’re told. Curtis concludes with the assertion that we’ve all willingly adopted the idea that we’re genetic machines, and that we’ve done so because it explains why there are so many dreadful things going on in the world – things that we’re powerless to stop. . . Except we are never powerless to rebel against the machine and change things for the better, are we …?!
‘I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never be conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning.

Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.’

Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate