Monthly Archives: November 2004

trip to Germany

[ from the dept. ]

At the moment I am travelling through Germany, have been at the leftwing radical bookfair in Nuremberg – [Linke Literaturmesse] where I did a stall advertising several campaigns and selling books from AK Press and Chiapas merchandise for the Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, as well as the Stewart Home Society.
It was really great and thoroughly enjoyed it. [pics and report on Indy Germany].
It was particularly lovely to share the stall with folks from Indymedia Germany, as they really helped a lot with staffing the stall,helped me out with the costs of photocopying flyers and posters and Counter Information, and showed the European Indymedia NewsReal and other video clips on their laptop.
Apart from doing a talk about the G8 coming to Scotland, which was kind of sabotaged by the previous reading about the armed struggle in Germany, read by somebody who has been in prison for 17 years, and who refused to stop her reading, running over for more than 40 minutes. This was a very discouraging experience, and really pisses me off. It certainly had to do with her arrogance a bit as well as she very much enjoyed the appreciation she got through the public, I think, nethertheless it was quite disrespectfull towards me. I found it extremely discouraging that she also put it to a vote with the audience “if she should continue or not”.
As if anybody would dare to go against her!
Afterwards a member of the audience even gave me shit for interrupting her and asking her to finish after having overrun for 40 minutes.
I really found this quite bad, and I broke out into tears afterwards, because of the disappointment and the lack of support by the organisers of the bookfair, I complained being felt treated quite discriminated and disevaluated, as well as I had to swish through my talk in 15 minutes, getting interrupted by people who already wanted to secure the best seats for the reading and discussion following afterwards. There, the members of the audience threw me out on time, I even had no opportunity to take away the television and the videorecorder and the rest of my equipment.
But I should also say something positive and not complain all the time, because that was really the only negative thing I came across, otherwise it was fantastic.

After the bookfair I went to Leipzig, and got some great clothes from Mrs Hippie. The shop is situated in a big complex in Leipzig, which is known as “Feinkost”. The complex is in discussion to be torn down, but a strong movement to save the building and the left wing initiatives situated there, has begun. [Rettet die Feinkost]. The complex is quite famous because of its lovely advert of a family eating soup: Löffelfamilie.
Just today the local newspaper announced, that the plan to build a massive discount superstore has been abolished, and that the initiatives have now a chance to build up a neighbourhood centre there. [Leipziger Volkszeitung, 26.11.2004].
Some years before, the advert was in discussion to be torn down, too, but luckily enough a strong initative stopped it.
Apart from the clothing shop, there is also a bicycle receycling project named Rücktritt situated there, as well as a computer receycling project named Absturz, an old furniture store, at which I got fantastic old furniture for a really low price, a little bit more expensive than the common students’ IKEA furniture, but much more individual and charming, as well as I DIY to make them look nicer.
I also went round to NATO, short acryonym für : Die nationale Front, which is a left wing pub and community cinema.
The name is a bit odd, but it is a leftover of the former GDR.
They do fantastic cocktails there, and also organise the favourite bath tube race every summer, and a community football tournament including the famous antifascist football team Roter Stern Leipzig, and other funny things.
I did not have time to come round earlier for the carneval, starting last weekend, or to visit Conne Island or other fantastic places, such as Moritzbastei, Ilses Erika,
Werk II.
I just got a newspaper called “incipito” which reminded me a bit of my favourite newspaper “klarofix” which was printed and distributed about 5 years ago. Unfortunately Incipito is not that good compared with “klarofix” – the calendar is missing, and the stories are written from a much narrower perspective, and some even from an perspective of the odd german left sectarian “anti-deutschen”, which is really disappointing. E.g. the article about the ESF in London is so completely crap, I have to say, and I have been there, the article is quite distorting.
Aparantly Leipzig is the only city in former East Germany, where the right wing parties lost, and not gained in the last elections. This is also consolidated by the last fascist march, where the fascists got a proper beating and got their asses kicked by the antifascists, and never got much further than the square in front of the central station. [Report on Imc UK].

Later, I travelled further to Berlin, to participate at some meetings and to join in at the Media activist gathering. Yesterday, I was watching some films at the film festival which is accompanying the Media Activist Gathering, and some were really good, whilst at others I fell asleep for at least an hour or two, and when I woke up, the film was still playing.
There were some good videos downloaded from the internet, such like the Argentina Indymedia clip,which unfortunately made difficulties in playing and an incredible good film about Seattle done by a film student from Stuttgart, and a film made by Swiss television about PGA, the People’s Global Action in 1998, where there was much more enthusiasm.
I was a bit lazy organising somewhere to sleep and ended up and crashed in a political project space, which seems to be run on anarchist principles. It was a bit odd tbecause nobody seemed to speak with me for the first day, and then the second night, another guy started sleeping there and suddenly everybody seemed to be concerned about me- they even slept next door on the floor in case the guy would have made some advances. Now this let to a very intensive discussion if this place should allow people to crash there or not, but luckily enough I’ll hopefully be gone till they decide there can’t be anybody anymore staying overnight.

I was able to sell all the books of AK press to another shop, and discovered that the 35% discount on book selling really is not enough to make a proper living. With all books sold, that would have made a profit of about 60 Euros, but I forgot to list 3 books I sold in the hand-over price, and one seemed to have been stolen, or I might have mismanaged 5 Euros.
From these 60 Euros I would also have to pay about even more than half for having the stall, and to cover the rest of the costs, such as travelling there, and similar. So, in total, I have no clue how AK Press or other small bookshops can survive, or even cover their staffs’ cost of living. As well as I would have had to give the other bookseller a discount, which I again miscalculated.

FLOSS workshops in Glasgow at the CCA

This weekend I was basically busy running around in Glasgow; there were the FLOSS – Free Libre Open Source Software – audio-visual workshops on at the CCA – Centre for Contemporary Art, in a new agile project to merge art with technology, particularly affordable software, which is mainly Free Libre Open Source Software.
It was organised by the main project Your Machines, and Paul from Indymedia Bristol was doing the Audio workshop with teaching Audacity, a sound editing tool. He is very good at teaching, his workshops are always very enjoyable and very practise orientated and he is keen to get involved in Adult Education as a teacher. I quite enjoyed multi-track editing I haven\’t done it for ages and usually only speech based whilst this time I enhanced the dramatic of the speech with sound.
I used the news announcement of the Indymedia server seizure for that. It is not quite finished, and unfortunately at home, my speakers aren’t working due to the latest Mandrake OS making a bit of a mess.
On Sunday, there was the film and video making workshop with activists from plugincinema and also from Indymedia Bristol. They were trying to teach us the use of Cinelerra and VirtualDub for Windows and Avidemux for GNU/Linux. we also got shown Dynebolic, the multimedia studio bootable CD, and recommended and introduced to Project Mayo an Open DivX codec and the importance of Xvid codec.
Unfortunately the laptops did not have enough memory for DIY a quick short film, so it was more theoretical and brain frying, but quite good for me to get an introduction to new programmes.
Anyway, maybe I should not say it, but the laughter of the woman was a bit distracting as in fingernails moving over chalkboard….

Scottish Anarchist Dayschool, Training for Activists, Anti-military demo

[ from the dept. ]

On Saturday the 4th Scottish Anarchist Dayschool took place in Glasgow, I did not go, was too exhausted from the last weeks and just wanted desperately a day off. Also was feeling kind of scared off by the Nationalism discussion and other topics, as I am more into hands on practical workshops rather than theoretical or ideological discussions. Anyway, was told that the Dayschool was “better than to be expected”, but am still happy to have had a weekend to relax.

On Monday there was the Training for Actions workshop in Edinburgh, it was more a Training for training workshop, as it focussed mainly on how to organise meetings, workshops and trainings and make them fun and enjoyable. It was organised by Seeds for Change, Skillsharing and Blatant Incitement.

Today and yesterday there were protests announced against the US military attack in Falluja. M. was already busy writing features for Indymedia Scotland about it, before it even happened. An astonishing and refreshing surprise were the odd 4 people with some red paint on the entrance of the Edinburgh US consulate, but the demos were horrible. I know I should not have expected much if they are called by the SSP- Scottish Sociailist Party and /or their pseudofrontgroup +/- one or two individuals or groups in the STW Stop the War thingy, but today they really overthrew themselves with stupidity in organising their protest.
Every time it feels like I have never ever been on an even more stupid, ineffective, membership-recruiting speeches plus 20 metres walk.
One thing which makes me a bit sad is that people who want to rebel against the way they are treated by the crap comrades of the swp mainly not so much the police, because of them it is expected, whereas if fellow protesters fall you in the back it is really bad. Anyway more and more people want to rebel against the way they are treated at these sheep demos by the “mass movement recruiters”, but here, there are so few, it is difficult to build an alternative; it really is.[Report on indymedia Scotland | Report on Indymedia UK].

Stuart Christie book launch: Granny made me an anarchist!

[ from the dept. ]

On Tuesday, Stuart Christie launched his booke: “Granny made me an anarchist” in Edinburgh, facilitated by Word power, Edinburghs radical book shop.
it was quite interesting; Stuart Christie was trying to assasinate General Franco and arrested in association with “The Angry Brigade”.
The book seems to be quite worth reading, but anyway his definition of Anarchism is very impressive, though of a different sort than nowadays common, somehow, can’t explain it, maybe more serious in a way, more “full time”, if that is an explanation.
Maybe going to prison makes you like that, like being more serious and more determined. Anyway he is still very nice and friendly and good humoured.
More about the book see Mike’s blog – 1820 [dot] communism .
More information also in this Guardian article and this excerpt from the book.