Monthly Archives: August 2004

political activism – is it really worth it?

[ from the dept. ]

This morning I woke up to the headline on global Indymedia that one of the authorities is making again trouble for Indymedia. So, that as such is not news, but it seemed it is a bit of a double trouble not only with the US secret service trying to stick their long nose into non existant (hopefully!!) log files, why the hell haven’t they just asked to get the stuff hidden? Well at least half a million or so protested yesterday in New York against Bush, which is at least a bit of a relief and hopefully annoying enough for the US administration of intimidation and human rights violation. Anyway another feature – posted only in italian, though, talks about legal trouble for Indymedia in Italy.
Apart from that I am getting quite sick of the whole G8 stuff. I am wondering if to withdraw completely from the mobilisation as its no fun anymore at the moment.
Locally everybody seems to be busy and have dropped out by now or not yet back from travelling the world and the whole PGA bit is really going of in a direction i don’t like, with involving people and structural tendencies which I (we) had problems before and who I prefer never ever to see again, actually.
[No it’s not Ireland Indymedia, who behaved quite dishonest at mayday 2004, though the discussion about log files really should concern and include them, too.]
I am wondering if we could do any better next year. However, at the moment it looks very unlikely to me.


Political or Peer Pressure – or PPP. Anyway, if I wouldn’t try to keep the political stuff out of the blog for the next months, actually I would have liked to have ranted on for several pages now about the local chaos experienced here.
May the force be with you!

Telewest Broadband is crap!

Anyway, after having signed the contract with the telephone, internet and digital television company they have let me down. On several levels. Should somebody say that privatisation would improve things. In my experience it doesn’t. Let’s nationalize all the electricity, telephone, water and transport companies again, it can only be better, and would take loads of worries out of the population, I am sure the mental health status of the population would also improve tremendously!

So these workers came to install the telephone line and the digital television, and instead of working within the arranged hours 4pm- 7pm, they came at 6 pm and stayed till 9.30 pm, which actually was as such quite intrusive. The workers were nice though, and I felt quite sorry for them working overtime. At the end they vanished and the telephone still did not work, though they assured it would all be sorted out the next day. Of course it wasn’t, and it wasn’t the day after that either, and when I tried calling the company I was given the run around- or better the phone around several times disconnected and several hours hanging on the phone trying to get through to somebody competent enough to tell me whatg is going on. When I got through at last they told me they would not have enough coonections/switches rented in the area, and that it was impossible to connect me. They couldn’t even say when there would be the next one available and how long the waiting time would be, they would not give me any discount, but would charge me the full line rental nevertheless, and above all, they wanted to increase the rent for the “extra” digital television to 20 pounds a month!

Well, at least I was happy that my boyfriend insisted that the workers would not use the BT telephone line, but had to install their own, otherwise it would be much more complicated to get a telephone connection with BT instead. Anyway, the offer was good, but maybe too good to be true. But the most upsetting thing was that they seem to do that all the time. Meeting a neighbour of mine, exactly the same thing happened to her, apart from that she had to give them a huuuuuge deposit and had troubles getting it back. The phone company refused to give any compensation, and asked why they are able to break the contract, whileas the customers can not, they only replied that they are very sorry and will come and de-install and take away all the equipment. Apart from that it has the side effect that i get addicted to digital tv, and for some strange reason I suddenly can receive ALL channels, not just the 5 or 6 opriginally subscribed to.

But flicking through, the main channels are still BBC 4 with its brilliant documentaries, they had the Cuban missile crisis on, the history of Indonesia (very very interesting), and yesterday was photography time with documentaries of Frank Hurley and Robert Capa. Robert Capa’s stroy was fascinating, his photography soo grapping. He was the only photographer to photograph the D-day, and also photographed the Spanish civil war on the side of the anti-fascists, as he had to flee Hungary and Berlin because of them. He was finally killed in the Vietnam war. So, I get totally addicted to documentaries, particularly Storyville:

and for the first time, British television actually is usefull and interesting, mind stimulating and transferring knowledge. All the other channels are a bit crap in my opinion, the documentaries in the history channel and documentary channel seem to be produced rather cheaply, and their style is offputtingly populist and superficial. There is also a french, and italian and a german channel. Actually the german language broadcast wasn’t too bad, in fact it was quite good, about stem cells, cloning, and the ethics and science around it. I was a bit disappointed about “Al Jazeera – control room”, because the film seen before in the Filmhouse was much, much more thrilling. I did not like the interviews with the US army press officer; in my opinion, they were more than a show rather than actually helpfull for the story. Also the reporting was quie distant from the people, the other film about Al Jazeera was much mre gripping. There was one film made by ARTE and produced by a french team, which was also great, have forgotten the name. However, there is also an older film made by BBC2 Al Jazeera Exclusive, which can be downloaded via IndyPeer and which is going much deeper than the new one.

Venezuela, Edinburgh festival, pimples and BBC4

[ from the dept. ]

First I got addicted to blogging, and now I try desperately to wean myself off again. So here is again an unimportant summary of the last days.
Firstly my face is full of pimples, and am so happy that indymedia allows me to hide behind the computer; however, its going to be blamed on the senseless nights awake to cover events in Venzuela about the referendum, which are powered by Cola, coffee, excitement, adrenalin and fast food.
Though the excitement/adrenalin level was lower as usual, this might have had something to do with the lack of spanish language knowledge, which made reporting events for me more a guessing game. At least it seems that the referendum passed without the feared military attacks of the opposition, though there seemed to be some oppositional paramilitary killer squads around.

Apart from the pimples my whole body seems to be covered in red spots, as a blood-thirsty insect seems to have a crush on me. Still haven’t evaluated what it exactly is, but these spots are itching all the time, apart from that I also developped my first allergy in a decade or two, and still haven’t found out the cause.
Nethertheless, at least now I have got access to BBC4 , and at least some programmes are actually interesting now on television, like yesterday there was a documentary about Chernobyl, and now for the first time i know, why the nuclear power plant exploded in 1985. Not that it gives much assurance that it would not be possible to happen again.
Anyway there have loads of mistakes been made, which can be especially be blamed on AUTHORITY.
Also, I am looking forward to the documentary about Al Jazeera on Saturday and about the israeli-palestinian conflict on next tuesday.
I really like the storyville series on BBC4. At least some intelligent programs. The history channel seems to be disappointing, in that the documentaries are so populist; if something is called “The trues story of” then it is offputting before even switched on.
Also the Community Channel is quite interesting, though nobody ever knows what is on when and they seem to repeat quite a lot of programmes.
On the other side it is the Edinburgh festival now, and actually, its pretty disgusting. If you don’t have enough money you are fucked, basically.
Yesterday the “motorcycle diaries” about Che Gueveras travel events premiered at the film festical, entrance fee 10 quid. Ken Loach and Paul Laverty workshop, screenings and discussions: 10 quid per session, too.
So I try to avoid the inner city totally, these loads of happy tourist faces are off putting. The military tattoo is as well.

Yesterday there was an international day at the Forest, which was okay, they have got a license for august and sell organic gaelic Heather Ale for 2.50 pounds a bottle. It tastes nice, but is bloody expensive, too. And of course the toilets are always out of toilet paper, as usual, which can be pretty much annoying, if noticed too late. (further details censored)
Well, the international night did not work out as well as expected, i would have expected 60 or more people, but it seemed there were only about 30, and most of them were there with their group screening films and talk anyway.

The one event i watched this year at the Edinburgh festival was a comedy of Mark Thomas, it was excellent, and very refreshing and empowering, and he really gets his message across very sympathetically.
Also now, there is a Colombian Solidarity group, which is actually autonomously organised, and might be worth supporting. Though it looks quite professional, but was worried it would be another swp frontgroup, which it doesn’t seem to be.
Anyway Mark Thomas show seemed to be all about politics, and when he tells the stories of protest, even here the local ones, they actually sound like fun. Even if I can’t remember it like that, they sound like fun and successfull.

Edinburgh Streetparty, Community media, GAP

[ from the dept. ]

So, the hamster is back to his 5 year old owner. I was away the weekend for a course, about Community Radio, my friend was baby-sitting and luckily for him, he got sponsored a ticket for a pirate theatre comedy play, which he thoroughly enjoyed, too. The good thing about baby-sitting is, that all the fun things are possible to do again without getting too embarrassed.
(and also a good opportunity to escape political pure-ism: wanting to go into the zoo? having an urge to go to McDonalds to piss off environmentalists? Wanting to drink coke?
like to see the new walt disney film? enjoying Harry potter? Just blame it on the pestering kids!)
The hamster owner also came round for the pirate play, and the 7 year old started off to get interested in capitalism by selling her artwork for 2 pence each, though every kid-friendly method was tried to persuade her of a more anticapitalist way of getting rid of her masterworks… but the claws of society were stronger!
Anyway, babysitting and course made it impossible to participate at the street party, which was put together in a haste 2 weeks ago or so, and we had loads of discussions about it, as it has moved on now to a different organisation and theme to organise it, and as the last 2 street parties took about a year each of at least weekly meetings to organise, it was exciting to get to know if it would be a success or not. For strange enough reasons, this time, the mainstream media seemed even to be slightly positive reporting about it, at the last 2 their stories were more trying to scare people away and horrify them.
Apparantly there was a jazz festival and 2 football games on which kept the police quite busy, and I was so happy coming back and seeing the report on Indymedia, and also an exact report, and apparantly it went quite well ( but for the lack of music, banners, flags, leaflets, costumes…).
Anyway for the Community Media workshop it was to say that the BBC got apparantly an 100 000 pounds fund for community radio. Which is pissing off everybody, because they already have enough money, but every other community initiative hasn’t. The training was okay, but the people from the community radio stations here are such nice people, but many without any personality nor profile, it seemed to me. There were only few people I was really interested in, because I could feel in them the same urge and passion for setting up communal media projects, which drive me, too, and for many it seems mainly the urge for becoming famous; whileas my urge lies mostly in giving people enough information to empower them to doubt the aims and goals of the capitalist system and to lay the basis for wanting to free themselves of the forced common network of thoughts to see news angles and ideas and philosophies.
The Glasgow Autonomy Project GAP has problems with their lease, a commercial shop owner complained.