— bureaux de vizKult

Archive
Europe

Open Letter from ‘Wretched of the Earth’ bloc, London, December 2015…

'Wretched of the Earth' bloc at Global Climate March London.

‘Wretched of the Earth’ bloc at Peoples March for Climate Justice and Jobs, November 29, 2015. London, UK.

The Wretched of the Earth are a collective of over a dozen grassroots Indigenous, black and brown organizations representing diaspora from the Global South. Over the past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to lead last weekend’s London climate march alongside Indigenous delegates from frontline communities on their way to the Paris climate summit. We know that our presence was only allowed so the NGOs could comfortably check the ‘diversity’ tick-box. While we knew it would not be an easy space to be in, the violence and hostility we faced on Sunday was worse than we expected.

As Wretched of The Earth speakers fired up the 50,000-strong crowd with a message of decolonization, delivered from a crane above them – another hard-fought-for concession – the march organizers carefully plotted for their animal props to move ahead of us via a side channel. With minutes to go, the mainstream banner suddenly appeared in front of us for the press photos. We stormed forward and unravelled our own banner, only to realize it was a stand-off. They wouldn’t begin the march unless we put our message behind theirs; theft of narrative – in some cases literally, as banners were physically pulled from people’s hands. From that point until the end it was a violent tussle to lead the march.

NGOs summoned the police on our black and brown bodies. Re-read that last sentence. Suggesting that our symbolic coffins – calling out BP and BHP Billington for the blood on their hands – were health and safety hazards, they attempted to remove them. Our placards placing British Imperialism in the framework of Climate Injustice were radioed in to be taken down, as they ‘didn’t fit the message of the day’. They tried to recapture the front of the march by stopping it in the middle of central London and moving their banner back. They then slowed down the rest of the marchers that followed us, effectively separating us off. But we stood our ground, together. We write our own rules.

The NGO narrative appealed to the perpetrators again, asking them to ‘do something’. Their narrative read ‘We do this #ForTheLoveOf Skiing’. Our narrative is one which has a context wide enough to contain the solidarity needed for systemic change. It is one which doesn’t compartmentalize the struggle into climate, racism, migration. It acknowledges that to be truly insurrectional, one must be intersectional.

We held placards and gave speeches that explained clearly that another war in Syria is a war on Mother Earth. That war and corporate climate genocidal mega-development is the main driver behind forced displacement and the migrant ‘crisis’. That the white-hetero-patriarchal-imperial ideology which premises this continued climate colonialism is that which perpetuates racist and patriarchal policing, prisons and austerity in the Global North.

Many of the major NGOs and March organizers went on a self-congratulatory tirade, talking about ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’, conveniently forgetting that – whether on the march or in the lead up – it was Avaaz, Greenpeace and cohorts who created obstacles for our communities to lead. Something needs to be made clear: the global climate movement starts at the frontlines of corporate colonialism, in Indigenous territories, where black and brown communities fight back against European-sanctioned climate genocide. And that’s why our placards read ‘We die first, We fight first, We march first’.

‘People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.’ The revolutionary Assata Shakur said it.

We ourselves in the Wretched of the Earth bloc have had to decolonize our minds in order to recognize the shackles on our bodies, in order to recognize the insidious and acute nature of our oppressor. We therefore have a duty to up the ante where the stagnant water of colonialism has trapped the fight for justice from flowing toward freedom. The Climate Movement needed the medicine, and we have the remedy.

‘The white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro, but pretend that they are smiling’. Malcolm X said it. Colonized peoples rising up recognize a forked tongue by necessity. We see the liberal foxes prowling between the ranks of the NGOs, dangling carrots before the people, knowing that the millions in their coffers are not for systemic change, but for their liberal methods of teasing people toward an empty empathy. The behavior of the NGOs – Avaaz at their head – on Sunday showed why climate campaigners need a decolonization treatment.

Now more than ever, we know that not only do we have to fight against climate change and the capitalist-colonialist system which it hails from, we also have to fight against the UK’s whitewashed colonialist climate movement which perpetuates the oppression, erasure and brutality we face daily.

The march organizers, ITV, BBC, all of the echo chambers of the status quo will have you think we weren’t even there. Yet ’Still fighting Co2onialism’, was the banner leading the Britain’s biggest climate march, because we can no longer afford to place the onus on people recycling and expect the polluters to lead us to liberty. Neither the government nor the NGO liberal line will lead us to justice. This is a war of narratives, and ours is decolonial.

This article was amended on December 3, 2015 to better reflect the role of different NGOs in these events.

 

 

Letter from OWS Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies Group posted on Embros website along with others like Raoul Vaneigem and Jenny Marketou. It goes without saying that any government that seeks to criminalize and arrest artist along with members from the supporting community is a government that should be declared illegal and it’s acts of repression should be condemned. For culture is the one thing in life that requires nothing and gives everything. And perhaps this is one of the most threatening aspect of art which governments seek to crush within its citizen.  Furthermore it is through cultural platforms like Embros that the people and culture will persist in this transitional anti-capitalist period of Athenian history as well as in other parts of the world…

 

Letter in Support of Embros  from Arts & Labor Alternative Economies
November 12, 2013, New York

We stand in solidarity with the Embros Theater community and condemn the persecution of the two performers arrested for rehearsing in the theater on October 31, 2013.  All charges brought against these individuals should be dropped and their court cases should be dismissed. [1]

Artists Against The Police State

The work that is currently being done at Embros embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of fostering a creative and responsive cultural space in which alternatives to the current system can be explored [2]. In this time of urgency and economic crisis around the world, Embros is forging new directions that should be enthusiastically supported and celebrated by the local and national government rather than aggressively repressed and threatened.

Culture is a basic sign of being alive, a space of reflection and growth, and most importantly it is the place where the processes that define democracy such as freedom of speech,  expression, and criticality, is apparent in more ways than a set of law books can ever describe. Governments from Russia to China, United States and Europe [3] seek to crush within its citizens the freedom of cultural expression. It has become apparent that the democratic, life-expressing aspects of art are being systematically repressed and commodified into pure spectacle and entertainment by these governments, institutional bureaucrats, and their capitalist cohorts. We will not stand-by as they reduce culture to an admission fee, VIP bonus, or something you can buy at the gift shop. We wish to dance, to perform, to visualize, to speak, all without being restricted by the amount of money we have or the so-called credentials and permits that these institutions have invented. Because for us, this is true freedom, this is true a democracy that no currency can equate.

Embros helps to provide much needed free and open community space that brings people from all walks of life together to learn, engage, and create. Therefore, we ask artists and communities around the world to look closely and continue to follow these events as you would a canary in a coal mine, so that we may provide support for artists and cultural spaces when similar events that arise. Furthermore, these instances should provide a lens to reflect on the situation in our cities and to better understand the mechanisms of cultural control, repression, cooptation, and exploitation so that we can continue, through this solidarity network, to expose and ultimately overcome this political, economic, and cultural crises that has become the marker of our times.

Arts and Labor Alternative Economies
Maria Juliana Byck, Emily Baierl, Antonio Serna and Laurel Ptak
www.whatdowedonow.info
www.artsandlabor.org/alternative-economies

[ photo above: Arts & Labor March in Solidarity with Quebec Students (March Against Anti-Protest Laws) and Protesting the Arrest of Takeshi Miyakawa (‘I (heart) NY’ light artist) May 22, 2012. Photo by: Stacy Lanyon]

- – -

[1] Communique from Embros on the Arrest of 2 performers. October 30, 2013
www.embrostheater.blogspot.gr/2013/10/blog-post_31.html

[2] On October 19, 2013, as part of ‘What Do We Do Now?’ the first annual Alternatives Fair in New York City, we invited members of Embros Theater to participate in an international panel on autonomous spaces along with members from other autonomous spaces in Mexico. Through this panel we hoped to learn how autonomously run cultural spaces function to provide a more horizontal way to operate while remaining inclusive to all members in the community. From this exchange we learned how Embros’ organizing by way of a weekly general assembly has become a dynamic and invaluable community-run space in which creativity and innovation is encouraged to thrive.

‘What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair’ was organized by Alternative Economies, a subgroup of OWS Arts and Labor. Alternative Economies working group explores alternative methods of sustaining the livelihood of artists, art-workers, and other communities interested in alternatives to the current system. We view the concept of labor through the lenses of time, choice, and value, and we research the ways that ideas like the commons, solidarity economies, precarious worker centers, and participatory budgeting can nurture more sustainable art worlds. Believing that vibrant creative communities come from the bottom up, we encourage relationships based on mutual aid rather than competition, and we advocate for cultural institutions rooted in a framework of social, economic, and environmental justice.

[3] Links to similar crack down on autonomous cultural spaces and artists:
- ZAM is Culture, Eviction of ZAM by Milan Police, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zam-e-cultura/
-Footage of Police Eviction of ZAM w/ minute by minute account, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zona-autonoma-milano-eviction-today
- Missing Pussy Riot Inmate Turns Up at a Tuberculosis Hospital, Nov 14, 2013
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/missing-pussy-riot-inmate-turns-up-at-a-tuberculosis-hospital-20131114
- Extreme show of force by of Swiss police at Basel, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/artists-activists-make-art-come-alive
- “Art Makes Money” Communique from ‘Basel Will Be Occupied’ after the Art Basel raid:
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/communique-art-makes-money
-NY Police Arrest of artist in Brooklyn for Decorating the Street  “I (heart)nyc” bags, May 2012
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2012/05/ny-goes-hard-on-street-art/

15.06.13 from Basel wird besetzt (Basel Will Be Occupied)
original German version below…english translated using Google, sorry for the loss in translation!

Kunst mach geld (Art Makes a Money) Communique from Basel wird besetzt

Art Makes Money
by Basel Will Be Occupied
15th June 2013

Had it not been bold enough to earn anything with millions while others starve, no, the Art Basel went even further. A slum, a “favela” was built on the exhibition space, in which, surrounded by poverty romance may sipping bigwigs glass of champagne.

Disgusted yesterday it had a little more genuine “favela” the fat cats “favela” connected and enlivened the place until late in the evening with music, good humor and a critical look at poverty.

The police responded to this blatant threat of poverty romance with a Stosstrupp robo cops, pepper spray and rubber bullets. If poverty is not recyclable, then they should kindly hide well.

We would like to greet all the people quite fond who animates the exhibition site and hope you gehts all good.

There kiss the busy residential ends

 

- – - – - – -  GERMAN VERSION – - – -

 

Kunst Macht Geld
Basel wird besetzt
15. Juni 2013

Wäre es nicht schon frech genug, mit irgendetwas Millionen zu verdienen, während andere hungern, nein, die Art Basel ging noch weiter. Ein Slum, ein „Favela“ wurde auf den Messeplatz gebaut, in welchem, von Armutsromantik umgeben, Bonzen Cüpli schlürfen dürfen.

Angeekelt davon hatte sich gestern ein etwas echteres „Favela“ dem Bonzen-“Favela“ angeschlossen und den Platz bis in die späten Abendstunden mit Musik, guter Laune und einem kritischen Blick auf Armut belebt.

Die Polizei reagierte auf diese eklatante Gefährdung der Armutsromantik mit einem Stosstrupp Robocops, Pfefferspray und Gummigeschossen. Wenn Armut nicht verwertbar ist, dann soll sie sich gefälligst gut verstecken.

Wir möchten all die Menschen ganz lieb grüssen, die den Messeplatz belebt haben und hoffen, euch gehts allen gut.

Es küssen, die Besetztwohnenden

- -

image above from the police raid on the Art Basel Favela June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013. Artists-activists in Basel came out to enliven and comment on an otherwise stale and poorly thought-out Favela Café installation in ArtBasel. The people shown here partying as an act of protest to the work by Tadashi Kawamata and architect Christophe Scheidegge. Being an unsanctioned gathering, police raid the Favela Café firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Here are two views that show the scene:

View from above

This is a street level view

Artleaks perhaps did a better report on the event. Their report also links to the video showing the making of the Favela Café, complete with the preview event serving hor d’oeuvres and sparkling drinks:

Favela Cafe Art Basel preview party

In the media, the occupy activists have been portrayed as art hooligans who have allegedly attacked the police and are now facing serious fines, although the worst property damage they inflicted was drawing with chalk in the exhibition space. -Art Leaks

Read More at Artleaks
http://art-leaks.org/2013/06/17/police-v-s-favela-cafe-occupation-at-art-basel-switzerland


Zona Autonoma Milano communique

ZAM communique April 5, 2013 (before the eviction May 22, 2013)

2 gyms, 3 stages, 2 concert venues, 2 bars, 2 offices, 1 newsroom, dozens of sport activities for hundreds of people, 160 m2 of climbing wall, more than 200 gigs, more than 100 cultural events, one cinema and documentary festival, 1 theatre workshop, 1 hip hop workshop, thousands of people inside and through, more than 2 years of occupation and self-management.

Since January 2009 that has been Zam and it will still be there thanks to the everyday commitment and enthusiasm of thousands of people who are delivering to the site their desire of change.

The evacuation threatening has arrived strong and clear: the property is leading towards the usual grim procedure for property speculation.

The Police station is following the rules, the town hall falls silent otherwise it should talk about its inability to establish a concrete politics about spaces and self-managements which was flaunted during the political campaign and actually neglected in the end.

The guilty silent of the mayor and the city council has been paid with an higher number of evacuations in the city during the last 2 years compare to Moratti’s council: already 6.

This is who we are and here we are: Collettivo Politico (the political collective), Rete Studenti Milano (the Students Network Milano), Polisportiva Milano (the Multi Sports) Council with the gym, the martial arts and combat disciplines, dance classes, yoga classes, climbing classes; the hip hop Lab, the theatre for everybody, Zam Film festival; these are all projects at the Zam, that you can find here in Olgiati Street 12, Milan, Barona neighbourhood. For the past two years dealing with the crisis, fighting the crisis. Two years of self management and culture, two years of action in the City. Starting today, 4th April 2013, everyday from 5pm we are open: come visit, gather information, come join. For the evacuation day we already set an appointment for everyone in front of Palazzo Marino at 6pm.

We fear No evacuation. Zam is a dream tattooed on the living skin of the City: you can try to hide it underneath the maquillage of the City, window-shop of the Mafia and the eyesore of the Expo, but it’s trace is not erasable and it’s permanent. Here we are and here we will always be!

Stay Zam!

Stay Zam: the direct and the eviction from the parade at Palazzo Marino.
May 22, 2013
Updates from Palazzo Marino-parade #stayzam
zam-milano.org

19:10: the situation is now calm, the event is melting. No response from Palazzo Marino to the demands of the demonstrators. Zam Stay, Stay tuned …

18:34: The square is surrounded by tanks of the police. The protesters called for an open meeting with the mayor, which for now is not responding.

18:32: 4 injured among the demonstrators in 4 offices: wounds in the head and limbs. Have flown torches, now you face the two cordons of police and protesters.

18:29. the protesters continue to apply to enter, some guys injured in the face. tense situation and threats of new offices, and jostling melee with the police.

18:23: third charge, voltage square

18:22: two charges of violent police to prevent the access of protesters at Palazzo Marino.

18:20 people try to enter but are prevented, jerks and clubbing

18:07 A procession of about 100 people arrived at Palazzo Marino, “welcomed” by a vast array of police. The intention is to make an assembly there, seen that the area of ??ZAM was taken away from students, temporary workers and activists this morning, and saw that the city of Milan has not objected to this operation. # Stayzam
Appointments today:

16:00: all at Porta Genova.

18:00: at Palazzo Marino!

12.20 – The compagi fell on the roof! We will bring our demands unheard directly in the heart of the city, Palazzo Marino today at 18!

11.45 – The van, music, and all present were moved to the front gate of Zam, manned by the Police, in solidarity with two companions on the roof!

11.00 – Telephone connections from the roof.

10.25 am – The police entered within Zam. From the roof we are told that the Digos tried to rise, but could not. It ‘started a negotiation. The conditions of the two boys on the roof to fall are: talk to the lawyer Zam, be made aware of the project that will involve the area occupied until now, have the boys and girls in sight in order to communicate with their , be able to return in the coming days to return the material that is still in Zam.

10.00 – The bulldozer is trying to break down the last parts of the fence. The cordons of police and carabinieri prevent the passage of the corner of Via Olgiati and via Cottolengo.

9.53 – Two people were on the roof of Zam. From the roof drops the banner “Stay Zam, the dreams continue.”

9.40 am – I am the fire department arrived to extinguish the fire in front of Zam.

9.37 – A barricade on fire. The flames rise up a column of smoke over the surrounding buildings.

9.33 am – The bulldozer moves towards the barricades in defense of Zam followed by dozens dozens of men. From behind the barricades raining objects, books, videotapes. The bulldozer stops.
9:32 – From Via Cottolengo police officers and police continue to arrive. There are at least another 30.

9.31 – The bulldozer is ready to overwhelm the objects that symbolize the two years of culture, social, sports Autonomous Zone of Milan.

9.30 – The police and the police are deployed between the students and the objects placed in the street. There comes a bulldozer police.

9:25 am – Police and the police continue to drag force with people. Are dragging students and prevent those who are already out of the way to get closer.

9:20 am – Thirty men between police and riot police are close to the people on the street. The first guys who oppose passive resistance is moved with force by the police. The chairs and tables placed in the street are dragged away. Many children are taken away weight. Behind them, the students remain seated.

9.10 am – A score of men are in the process of Digos Olgiati

9.00 – The first trucks are approaching in via Olgiati to clear Zam. We invite everyone to come and bring their solidarity!
The entire street Olgiati is invaded by a representation of the activities in these two years of self-management have animated the Autonomous Zone Milan.

Zam is sports, love is Zam Zam is socializing, culture is Zam Zam is students.

To welcome the police an unusual scene, which opens with a curtain. Behind this the audience and the stage that since January 2011, they hosted hundreds of concerts, theater performances, film screenings, cultural events and debates.

Between the auditorium and the police dozens of people line the street recreating spaces for social interaction: from popular gym for an assembly of students, from the presentation of books for the preparation of MilanoInMovimento!

 

 

PREVIOUS COMMUNIQUES (Comming soon)

Anakata Gottfrid Svartholm in "Steal This Film" (2006)

(via Metahaven, via ioerror)

Pirate Bay co-Founder Gottfrid Svartholm was taken from his room in Cambodia and has been held for almost two weeks. Apparently the Cambodian and Swedish governments are not giving straight stories on why he is being held, according to his good friend Niklas Femerstrand inn this article on Torrent Freaks: Sweden Kidnapped My Frienbd, Pirate bay Co-Founder Anakata:

“[...] The door was already open and there were approximately eight officers present and additional ones lurking in the shadows around the hallway. Kenny went in first and I followed. When Gottfrid saw me he immediately looked from officer to officer in what seemed like an attempt to figure out if there was something special related to my presence. I came in muttering “so this is where the terrorists hold the anti-terrorist.”

Some of you may know Gottfrid aka Anakata from his appearance in Steal This Film (2006), where he and the other founders explain how the US movie industry has been knocking at Pirate Bay’s doors for some time now. A point made in the film was that the torrent trackers like Pirate Bay only hold meta-data, so the real data is elsewhere, on the computers of the people who use it. And now with Magnets, PEX, DHT, this info is no longer even the, and had become something like meta-meta-data. Another ominous warning in the film, was the fact that arrest and threats of prison time don’t solve the problem, both in this case and other cases, it only multiplies the amount of followers’supporters. As the case against wikileaks has shown, the amount of corporate info leaked WILL go up. So for the culture industry it is shouldn’t be a question of how to penalize the public, but rather, how to understand this anti-copyright sentiment. Unless of course, they intend to try to capitalize on culture forever.

Advice from vizKult: use Creative Commons license when ever you can, otherwise pirating is simply the direct-action arm of the Commons, use it to liberate culture & knowledge when necessary.