Monthly Archives: May 2005

Radical Bookfair, radical books, radical audio and radical media

The Radical Bookfair is over, and after having been so happy about the stall organisation, the committment deflated with the further proceedings of the bookfair, hampered by the incredibly good weather we had for a change here in Scotland, with most of the group members disappearing to the beach or to holidays.
Which basically left me and two other accidentially present friends to pick up all the stuff and carry it back to the local infoshop. Including television, table and a papmachee head of – aeh- probably Tony Blair, but could have been Bush either, and about 1 kg of some greek filled wineleaves or something and bread and butter, and an incredibly heavy lot of leaflets, posters, merchandise.
I also cycled so that was definitely my work-out for the day.
And that still leaves me a bit angry, that some people don’t seem to carry through their projects sometimes, but give up in the middle and don’t even ask anybody else for help. I really do love the song on the German solidarity CD with the line “I organise in groups for a high efficiency”, of course, a line which would probably never pop up in any other country in a song by and for revolutionary movements, but it would be nice if it would, sometimes.

This year, I got two books, keeping in mind I still haven’t read the ones I got last year, I went for the history of the IWW in comic format and for a collection of short stories, journalistic reports from the 19th century up to today. I was also very intrigued by the US centric book “Who owns the media?” with the astonishing price of £20, and also the new 2005 book about “Project Censored”, also about £20, a collection of the most censored news reports over several years, but it has a good presence on the internet.
There is also a campaign “Take back the media” about bringing light to media ownership, here is their website.

I went to some of the book presentations and discussions and recorded some of these on audio, especially in regards, that many writers prepare incredibly good summaries of their books and researches, giving away their knowledge to the audience and then discuss it.
Anyways, the first days everything was fine and alright, but on Saturday more people asked questions trying to prevent me from doing audio recordings, but mainly not of themselves, but on behalf of others, mainly in my opinion this were people involved in some sort of socialist party type of thing at first, thoug I did not record any of these, as they tend not to transfer much knowledge, but basically just rant along with the aim of subscribing more and more people to their frontgroups or party or similar.
The big disappointment was on Sunday, when my favourite author objected to his talk going up on Indymedia – even in parts.
Just can’t and couldn’t understand it really, though of course it would be more polite of asking people before they actually start speaking, but I am usually always later and last minute and so just swished into the room.
Most people here in Britain seem also to think asking uncomfortable questions would be a sign of dislike, but in Germany, that is more seen usually as a sign of engagement and real intrest, and of stimulating interesting debate.
Anyways we made a kind of compromise that I could use some of it in an article written down in some kind of journalistic way.

Radical Bookfair

This weekend the Radical Bookfair is on in Edinburgh, organised by Word Power.
It was quite good yesterday whe I went to the opening event, quite a lot ofpeople were there, and even our campaign stall has been set up beautifully, and it also seemed like the shifts were all sorted out, too.

This really left me buffled- most of time, it seems nothing I would want to see personally works out except if done by myself, but this time – WOW- what a pleasant surprise! Anarchism does work !!!, yes, indeed it does, sometimes, with everybody contributing and caring, then it is unbeatable and such a brilliant entusiastic, happy and friendly movement, sometimes. Of course the opposite can happen, too, as in nobody seems to care nor contribute, but hey! this weekend I am definitely on the up! Hopefully this experience and entusiasm carries on till after the G8, though, aeh, as usual i have some pessimistic doubts about it.

Also read jebbas blog entry about the DADA IMC destructor, and Anas blog on the privatisation of the Benefit Agencies and Job Centres in London. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to save my thoughts about it, as it timed out and it all went into the black hole of cyberspace, but of course, both entries are very recommendable to read! I do enjoy the indymedia bloggers syndication site quite a lot, good to read up what different Indymedia folks are concerned with in their daily life, and what happens in different parts of the world.

International Networking Meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece

From 20th till 22nd of may an International Networking meeting to prepare for the resistance against the G8 took place in Thessaloniki, Greece. It was – and still is – an amazing break from home, and I just wished I would have travelled to Greece earlier. It is my first time here in Greece and it is fucking brilliant. It is usually very bright and sunny, so my mood is bright and happy, too. The Greek activists hold an incredible hospitality towards their guests. Now it is raining though and I am lucky enough to be stuck in an Internet Cafe when it happened. Internet Cafes have highspeed internet access, but usually individuals in their houses have only dial-up. Anyways, here is the invitation for the networking meeting.The first day there were meetings, but the discussion was more theoretically, which is not my strength. I do believe in a strong connection between political practise and theory and like to discuss it together.

On Saturday, the meeting started with incredible 5 hours delay. Unusual for me, but apprantly an hour or 2 later than arranged is quite common here. Not that nobody would turn up at the arranged time- apart from if it is earlier than 12 noon – but people like to socialise and talk together and wait for each other till they start. Anyways, the delay on Saturday was also caused by recent events in Athens, which basically kept the whole of the activists from Athen staying away from the meeting, as repression and tension was rising in the city.

The other thing we haven’t thought about is that for some strange reason it is fairly affordable to travel from Britain to Greece, but not the other way round. For activists here, it is very expensive, so of course, the theoretical question and answer session were more meaningfull than practicalities.

Also the convergence centre issue had been a series of disappointements, and till Tuesday evening no big convergence space was secured. Apparantly I hear the Council has now given in to provide possibilities for free? accomodation, but right now it is all rumours and more details to be known later.

People were impressed with the slide show though we could not screen the VHS videos due to cable problems. I wonder if there ever aren’t any cable problems if 2 technical gadgets meet.

The night there was a big party, and the organisers hoped for about 2000 people, but only about 250 or so made it, apparantly because of Greece winning the European Song Contest was distracting many.
I was one of the first one to go to sleep at about 4am, the last went to lie down and switch off the music at about 10 am, or 11 due to tidy-up. The activists in Greece are very weell organised and tidy. It is such a good feeling that it is not left to women to clean, but everybody here takes responsibility and this is really really impressive. Have never come across such tidy male activists ready for cleaning action in any other country.

On Sunday, all the workshops we prepared were scrapped, and only the Noborder discussion and the evaluation took place. The Noborder discussion was quite interesting: there will be a noborder camp – or noborder action days, not really a campsite as such – end of august near the Bulgarian – Turkish – Greek border. The Turkish – Greek border still has minefields due of the historical conflicts, and many refugees loose their legs, limbs or life or get heavily injured at the border crossing. As well as it is apparantly not particular well signed, so activists told us they were crossing the minefields without even knowing! The second issue that often, even though friends and groups might have official invitations, visas and all necessary papers, they are often not allowed to cross the borders from Bulgaria. It is hoped there will be a noborder camp there, too, and then an international border hopping could take place. The third issue is the (un)availability of political asylum in Greece, at the moment there is a hungerstrike going on for the right and acknowledgement of political asylum, and the activists in Thessaloniki have occupied a public place in the city centre and guard it 24hours a day, I helped a bit with the nightshift yesterday. There was a motorcycle demonstration on Tuesday, which was quite a view and experience.

On Sunday we also went to an anti-war theatre, which was aimed and produced for children and pupils, so it was good for internationals, to understand, too, and it was very very funny and incredibly inspiring.

On Monday we went to Xanthi, where the noborder action days will be, and talked to the local group. It was very interesting to hear about their group’s history and the experiences they had with their struggle against detention centres, whose conditions in these sound quite inhuman and also their struggle to make contact with the local muslim community. Moreover, their squat has just been taken over by a different group, and they have been kicked out. I was more for the frontal political accountability strategie: ‘Lets storm the squat and ask the people in there why”, but the greek activists did not want to do it this way, so we just went in there and had a look.

Today we will go and visit a factory where the workers are on strike, and have a march I think. Also there is a big meeting and discussion scheduled about the court case with some older lefties accused of being members of the 17th of November group or so.

Tomorrow I want to leave to Athens and hopefully will be able to swim in the sea. I haven’t been swimming in the mediterannean for about 15 years, before the Yugoslawia Civil War, and I just can’t wait, but the sea here near Thessaloniki is said to be quite polluted so would need to travel outside the city. Also meet an activist from Indymedia Thessaloniki, they are in discussion if they are disolving their Indymedia, but maybe some of them might come and visit us in Scotland to report about the G8 protests.

G8 stuff

At the moment I have mixed feelings about the whole G8 protest stuff, varying from digging myself up in my flat for the next three months to not hear, say or see anything to be tempted to jump full on into preperations, ranging from last minute “too many expectations, can’t fulfill, better not to start” examination stress like symptoms to “best just to do anything rather than nothing” to like “don’t care” to “care too much” attitude.

How Weird.

Open your eyes for the North Edinburgh Documentary Film and Video Society

North Edinburgh will soon have its own film society, aiming to screen documentaries monthly. The launch event is planned for the 25th of june, and the members will continue afterwards to watch documentaries in conjunction with invited guests such as film makers, grassroot groups, campaigns or other “experts” discussing the featured topic, giving presentations or respond in questions and answer sessions.

Mike Sheils, secretary of the film and video society says:

This will be a great opportunity for people in North Edinburgh to see exciting films from around the world, which are never shown on TV. We invite all local people to attend the events and participate in the discussions, and also to get involved in choosing the films we show.”

The Society intends to bring quality independent films to our community at no or low cost, focusing on screening films and videos of local interest and relevance whilst being open to the unlimited programming possibilities.

The Documentary Society is a not for profit organisation, run by its members for the members, and has no affiliation with political parties. Of course the North Edinburgh Documentary Film and Video Society is open to videos with political content, like e.g. films about globalisation and neoliberalism, or biographical content, the effects of fast food, the miners strike, the poll tax riot and similar.

Edinburgh already has four film societies, at Napier University, Heriott Watt, the University of Edinburgh and the Filmhouse associated Edinburgh Film Guild. However screenings of documentaries, particularly social, educational, political and realistic documentaries and those made by independent Scottish and local film makers are rarely screened in the mainstream or even art cinemas. The North Edinburgh Documentary Film and Video Society aims to fill this gap, and wants to provide screenings not only as entertainment, but also as an affordable means to access popular education.”, explains Ulla, the founder of the North Edinburgh Documentary Film and Video Society.

The society is supported by local community projects and other initiatives, such as “Just Rewards” a fund to promote good neighbourhood and orderly behaviour in Council Estates, the North Edinburgh Arts Centre offer their venue in kind for the screenings and the British Federation of Film Societies supports with advice and free membership.

Amos Vogel, the founder and Executive Secretary of one of the largest and longest going film societies in New York, writes about “Cinema 16”:

It is well to keep in mind the difference between a commercial movie theatre and a film society. The commercial movie theatre aims to entertain. The film society aims to further the appreciation of films and of new experiments in the film medium. The commercial theatre steers clear of controversy, the film society welcomes it.”

Controversy will also be on the agenda at the launch event of the North Edinburgh Film and Video Society. On the 25th of June in the North Edinburgh Arts Centre, start at 10.30 am, two independent film makers from the US will screen and discuss their documentaries concerning the Iraq War, Free Trade and US President Bush’s election campaign.

Award-winning filmmaker Brandon Jourdan, from Deep Dish Television in New York, and Ali Tonak, co-operating independent journalist from San Francisco will present their films “The Real Face of Occupation”, “Mandate”, “ Fallujah”, and“ The Miami Model”.

Micah, newly signed up member of the North Edinburgh Film Society looks forward to the launch event:

I am pleased to have joined this new society, as it signals that North Edinburgh community is serious about understanding and engaging with a changing world.”