DownhillBattle is a new website about why major label domination of music needs to end. Filesharing and CD burning have given us some tools, but we need to defend our right to use them and at the same time develop new ways to support artists. The pre-launch web page has a parody of iTunes and an article about filesharing as civil disobedience.

DownhillBattle will have articles, music reviews, news, and free music propaganda. There will also be forums where we can drop the debate team bullshit and do some serious strategizing on how to get music back. Because no matter what kind of music you're into, it will be way more fun after the major labels are gone. The Downhill Battle site will launch for real in early September. In the meantime, there will be a pre-launch weblog and photos of our flyer campaign.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

M/C - Media and Culture is calling for contributors to the 'text' issue of M/C Journal

The award-winning M/C Journal is looking for new contributors. M/C is a crossover journal between the popular and the academic, and a blind- and peer-reviewed journal.

primativa writes:

For Review: A New Alphabet

Digital version of a book: A New Alphabet-Language, Icons and Embodiment at is a multi-facetted inquiry into new media, digital literacy, the aesthetics of data base and embodiment in an alphabet book format using visual art, collage, essay and poetry.

coco fusco writes:

"Dutch Fund Withholds Support for 8th Havana Biennial"

Coco Fusco

Increased suppression of cultural _expression in Cuba
leads the Prince Claus Fund to withhold support from
the 2003 Havana Biennial.

As a result of the arrest of 75 Cuban cultural and
social activists in recent months and their being
sentenced to harsh terms of imprisonment of up to 28
years, the Prince Claus Fund has decided not to
provide financial support to the 8th Havana Biennial,
which will be held in November 2003.


hydrarchist submits:
Whilst I find aspects of this appeal problematic, the intermittents struggle has been extremely innovative and represents the first organising wave in this sector in some time.

"Art Without Artists is Democracy Without a Voice"

Appeal from the "Coordination des Intermittents et Précaires d' Ile de France"- Europe Commission

What is happening in France?

Demonstrations, strikes, the interruption of film shootings, cancellations of shows and festivals : since June 26th, an unheard-of mobilization has been seriously disturbing the French cultural scene. Artistic professionals have spontaneously united in coordinated actions to mark their opposition to a reform of their special unemployment status, initially created in 1936. Based on an inter-professional solidarity, this status takes into account the very specific nature of stage and audiovisual spheres, i.e.discontinuity and flexibility of work. It gives artists a wage supplement which is not a privilege : 50% of these flexible artistic workers in France earn less than the minimum wage (SMIC). This reform, initiated by the MEDEF (French Employers' Union), now awaiting legal agreement by the French government, renders the whole system null and will be very likely to result in a rapid impoverishment of the professionals working in all cultural spheres in France. The current social protection supports artistic creation and research, the evolution of which cannot be seen solely in terms of economics.

Anonymous Kumquat submits:

"Creative Activism"

Ammiel Alcalay, Al Ahram

The Third International Black Panther Film Festival provided a rare opportunity for politics and imagination to intermingle.

Much of the global media's attention on the anti-war movement and dissent in the United States has focussed on a very small range of opinion and experience, usually discussing whether or not American citizens support or do not support the Bush administration's policies regarding Iraq, or how people feel about the erosion of what are generally called civil liberties. Much less attention gets paid to the core of long-time activists, former or current political prisoners, and younger grass-roots community activists for whom things like US Middle East policies and the introduction of the Patriot Act are simply extensions, expansions and continuities of long standing issues that continue to disenfranchise poor, working class, and largely black and Latino communities.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

"Bert Brecht, Minstrel of the GPU"

Ruth Fischer

Introduction By Bob Gould

The 75th anniversary of the first performance of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera occurred recently. Over the past few years there have been several major critical biographies of Brecht, and studies of his relationship with his female artistic collaborators. There is no question that Brecht was one of the two or three most influential playwrights of the 20th century, and his artistic influence has been generally progressive. Nevertheless, his work includes a hard Stalinist aspect, which, for instance in the 1970s, made a kind of romantic Stalinism acceptable to some intellectuals and students. The play Ruth Fischer discusses below is better known in English as The Measures Taken, and is still in print in the comprehensive Methuen library of Brecht plays. Fischer's book, Stalin and German Communism, is of great historical interest, particularly to people who may have followed the discussion of the notion of Zinovievism.

Science Fiction for the Multitudes

Interview with Christoph Spehr

By Geert Lovink

Much like Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones and P.M. Bolo'Bolo,
Christoph Spehr's The Aliens are Amongst Us! is a classic in politcal
underground literature. None of the work of this German writer has yet
translated into English. Spehr's writing is a mixture of utopian
science fiction and a radical social analysis of today's global
Aliens are Amongst Us is a story for the post-deconstruction age where the
question What is to be done? opens up new spaces for the collective
imagination and action.

What makes Spehr, a historian and political scientist, unique is his free,
non-academic style of writing. As a theorist, Spehr brings together
contemporary social science, practicalities of everyday life with
for autonomous movements. Spehr has the ability to load up concepts with
meaning. In The Aliens are Amongst Us! Spehr makes a distinction between
three social categories: aliens, maquis and civilians. Much like in a
science fiction novel, all three have their own civilizations. It would be
too easy to describe 'aliens' as evil capitalists. Aliens, in Spehr's
are first and foremost friendly parasites, post-1945 creatures that are
interested in any type of surplus value they can extract from humans.
don't do this in an old manner by attacking or surpressing people but by
'assisting' them. Power is no longer personal but abstract and can no
be reduced to characteristics of individuals. Alien power is free, open
most of all: on the search for creative, new ideas. Typical aliens would
intermediates such as cultural enterpreneurs, social democratic welfare
state officials, NGOs or (ruling) green party members that all live of
movements, events, ideas and expressions of others. What these aliens have
in common is their good intentions. Alien hegemony is politically correct,
multi-cultural, feminist, ecological and almost impossible to defeat on a
discoursive level. In Spehr's 'science friction' the antagonists of the
aliens are the 'maquis', French for bush, a term used by the French
resistance to describe zones not occupied by the Nazis). I would suggest
that maquis can be read as a synonym for 'multitudes'. It is the maquis
experiment with post-economic models of 'free cooperation'-a topic that
Spehr further explored after finishing his political novel and brought him
in contact with the free software movement in Germany that discusses ways
establish a 'GPL-society.'

nolympics writes "Paralax View is a forum for critical work from film/video, radio, activism and scholarship. It happens in Austin, texas from the 19th to 21st september and is free to the public.

this years line up

Friday night

Can the media tell the truth about anything, ever?

Journalist Alexander Cockburn presents a lecture on the state of the US and the media, followed by "The Universal Clock' about the making of La Commune and the work of Peter Watkins, one of the foremost radicals in the documentary world.


The return of the social

Illustrators and art provocateurs Eric Drooker and Robbie Conal present slide shows of their work and engage with their public.

"Production Notes", the making of the ad. (and its unmaking)

Richard Porton (author of Anarchism and the Film Imagination and film critic for Cineaste) presents "The Liberal War" from 1972, a fantastic study with dolls and animation of the manner in which the media was instrumentalised during the Vietnam War (by Nick Mcdonald), and "Winstanley", a film about the digger uprising in the 1640's. Christopher Hill worked as a historical consultant on the making of this masterpiece and helped generate the script from the writings of Winstanley in the British library, the same writings used by Marx in developing his early ideas about communism. Both of these are an absolute must see and I urge attendance no matter what the cost.


From Globalisation to War

Video from Cancun where the WTO meet the previous weekend. Survivors will be on hand to recount their adventures.

"The fourth world war", US premiere of the new Big Noise opus which travels the world to find the world in which all worlds are possible.

David Martine (survivor of the Oakland docks shootings and the massacres of Aceh) screens video from SF of the shut downs there during the outbreak of the Iraq War.

Check for times and venues and updates. Tell your friends in Texas."

hydrarchist submits

Tintin at the Barricades

The classic story of Tintin as a working class revolutionary in London's 1980s is now available online in both french and english. Therein is recounted the epic tale of a fight against gentrification that escalates in coordination with strikes and neighbourhood committees and flourishes in fullblow insurrection.

Herge, Tintin's creator, had political connections of a somewhat different complexion. In 1930 he drew the cover of a political pamphlet by Leon Degrelle, who formed the Belgian fascist party "Rex" a couple of years later."

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