Thursday, October 31, 2013

Datacide Los Angeles Launch Party and Conference

Issue number 13 of Datacide magazine for noise and politics was published earlier this month with a bumper 76 pages including:

  • Datacide: Introduction
  • Nemeton: Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War; Surveillance, Control and Repression
  • CF: NSU Update
  • Two in London: UK Anti-Fascist Round Up
  • Comrade Omega: Crisis in the SWP, or: Weiningerism in the UK
  • David Cecil: Confessions of an Accidental Activist
  • Neil Transpontine: Spiral Tribe Interview with Mark Harrison
  • Neil Transpontine: ‘Revolt of the Ravers’-The Movement Against the Criminal Justice Act in Britain, 1993-95
  • Split Horizon: What is This Future?
  • Fabian Tompsett: Wikipedia-A Vernacular Encyclopedia
  • Howard Slater: Shared Vertigo
  • Dan Hekate: Crystal Distortion
  • Howard Slater: Cut-Up Marx
  • Howard Slater: EARTH ‘A RUN RED
  • Marcel Stoetzler: Identity, Commodity and Authority: Two New Books about Horkheimer and Adorno
  • Nemeton: Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency (book review)
  • Christoph Fringeli: One Night in Stammheim. Helge Lehmann: Die Todesnacht von Stammheim – Eine Untersuchung (book review)
  • Christoph Fringeli: Anton Shekovtsov, Paul Jackson (eds.): White Power Music – Scenes of the Extreme Right Cultural Resistence (book review)
  • CF: Press reviews
  • John Eden: Emencified Shrill Out: Nomex at the Controls
  • Alexis Wolton: Vinyl Meltdown, Prt. 1
  • Record reviews by Zombieflesheater, Nemeton and Kovert
  • DJ Charts
  • Matthieu Bourel: Rioter
  • Sansculotte: Overdosed
  • Plus: The Lives and Times of Bloor Schleppy
There have already been launch events in Berlin and London, and next month there will be events in Los Angeles. On Friday November 15 Darkmatter Soundsystem and Immaterial Tech present the Datacide #13 Release Party at The Lexington Bar, 129 East 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90013 (9pm-2am / 21+ / $5 all night). Line up includes Split Horizon , Key, Bad Timing, Novokain, Diskore and  WMX b2b Nemeton

Then on Sunday November 17 The Public School Los Angeles and the Anti-Authoritarian Marxist Network present  Datacide Conference with talks on Electronic Music Counter-Cultures; Sonic Fiction and Information Technologies including:

- Lauren (DJ Nemeton) - Raves and Riots: Networked Counter-Cultural Strategies - An Introduction to Datacide 
- Sean Nye - Sonic Fiction: The Musical Case of Philip K. Dick's "Martian Time Slip"
- Split Horizon - Salt Marsh to State: (un)Divided Space

Start time: 4pm; Free/Donation. Venue: The Public School Los Angeles, 951 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Monday, October 28, 2013

Radical Pirate Radio in Islington, 1969

Here's an account of  a short-lived radical radio intervention in North London. The Islington pirate radio station broadcast on 230 metres medium wave at the time of the North Islington by-election in October 1969.  Those involved were inspired by the Irish civil rights pirate radio operating in Belfast and Derry, and by pirate broadcasts earlier in the 1960s by the anti-nuclear weapons Committee of 100.

The article 'Political Pirate Radio' was published in radical paper Black Dwarf, 16 January 1970, explaining that 'a group of Islington revolutionary socialists got together the organisation and apparatus for a less conventional attack on people's boredom with politics. With the struggle in Derry and Belfast in mind, they transmitted within the election boundaries an hour-long pirate radio programme every night in the week before polling. We draw a veil over the participants - except that IS [International Socialists] members want a mention to show they're not such fuddy-duddies after all, and anarchists to show they're quite capable of complex political organisation'.

The programmmes consisted 'of interviews with people in social groups whose problems cannot be solved - and are not even expressed - through ballot box politics. The voices were: a tenant; an Irish worker, a housewife, a schoolboy, a black organiser, and an unofficial strike'.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pirate Radio Raids: China, Thailand, Tunisia, England

That the state seeks to clamp down on 'pirate radio' is perhaps not surprizing, what is inspiring though is that across the world people find ways to defy the state's monopoly of the airwaves. Would be good to know more about the content of some of this broadcasting, I can't quite believe the official account that in China the police are just clamping down on adverts for 'sexual performance drugs'!

China (Global Times, 8 October 2013)

'Chongqing police have raided two illegal radio stations and confiscated their transmitters, antennas and computers, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday. As part of an ongoing campaign launched in April, city police located and seized illegal transmitters in Jiangbei and Yuzhong districts, the report said, but did not say if anyone had been arrested in the raids.

"The city is carrying on its joint campaign on illegal radio," Chongqing Culture Radio and Television Bureau staff member Li Xiaopeng told the Global Times on Tuesday. Li's bureau, Chongqing Radio Management Committee, and local police have all been involved in tackling the illegal broadcasts...

City residents had first tuned into obscene adverts for sexual performance drugs on their radios in late March, Zhang Xueming, a senior official from the city's radio management committee, told the Chongqing Evening Post in April. Authorities began investigating the case after receiving more than 100 reports of illegal transmissions, Zhang told the paper. The drugs advertised had been expensive, several hundred yuan each, and a few citizens had bought them and felt cheated. From April to September, Chongqing authorities have launched four raids, arresting one suspect and confiscating six transmitters, six antennas and six computers.

Thailand (Asia Radio Today, 11 October 2013)

'Thailand’s media regulator continues its clamp down on the thousands of pirate radio and tv stations in the country. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has launched legal action against 1631 broadcasters – mostly thought to be radio stations. So far, 167 stations have been closed down and a further 109 have been searched, according to an NBTC release.The remaining 1355 broadcasters will face legal action in due course.

The stations are all accused of using broadcasting equipment without a licence and using  frequencies reserved for legal broadcasters. Owners could face fines of US$160,000 (Thai Baht 5 million) and a five year jail term. The NBTC has urged the thousands of stations broadcasting illegally in Thailand to apply for community broadcasting licences. By the end of September, more than of 2,800 organisations have been approved for temporary licences, according to the Bangkok Post.

Tunisia (Guardian, 15 October 2013)

....Suffocated by fresh repression under the new government, DJ Nejib turned to a US-based cyberactivist, who taught him and a group of Egyptians and Moroccans how to assemble a pirate radio transmitter. Radio Chaabi (Arabic for popular) operated mostly through secretive night-time recordings.

Partly a celebration of music free from the threat of hardliners, early recordings simply experimented with lacing popular traditional Arabic music and rap lyrics. Politically focused efforts included collaborations with musicians from Palestine.... Days after the Guardian interviewed him, Nejib and seven colleagues were jailed following a dawn raid.

Almost three years since a wave of popular anger toppled Ben Ali's government, the first of several corrupt, autocratic Arab governments to feel the swell, Tunisia is still treading water. Attempts to hammer out a new constitution have floundered as hard left unionists have battled Islamists, in particular over a clause that would allow sharia law to be brought in...On a recent sunny Wednesday, a group of students and an enthusiastic 74-year-old grandmother handed out political flyers at kerbside cafes. Around one corner of a tree-lined boulevard, a weekly protest was taking place; on another, anarchists from a newly formed group called Désobéissance! (Disobedience!) loitered. "I no longer believe political parties can bring about change in Tunisia," said Nabil, an anarchist who said he was beaten by Tunisia's feared police for distributing "anti-capitalist" badges at a rally.

London: Kool FM

Loving Four Tet's sonic tribute to the oft-raided London junglist pirate Kool FM (on his new album Beautiful Rewind). Check out Radical History of Hackney for more on Kool FM and Rush FM.

Kool FM is now an online operation after years of dodging the authorities going back to the early 1990s. Here's an account of one of the operations targeting it and other pirates - Operation Twilight in February 2008:

'Ofcom today announced the results of joint operations across four London boroughs to take illegal radio stations off the air.  Working in partnership with the London Boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Islington, as well as the Metropolitan Police, Ofcom’s team carried out enforcement action against over 20 illegal broadcasters in these areas...

Ofcom’s operation ran from 6 to 16 February and resulted in three arrests, one studio raid, the removal of 22 illegal broadcasters’ transmitters and over 20 letters sent to local night clubs that have advertised events on illegal radio stations. Ofcom estimates that there are over 150 illegal stations operating in the UK, with half of those broadcasting across London and the South East. There are over thirty illegal stations across these four boroughs, making up 60% of all illegal broadcasters in North London...

Enforcement activity conducted:

Attitude 107.4FM - Hackney:  Transmitter removed on Thursday 14 February. This was secreted within a shaft and took four hours to seize. Working with Hackney Homes, access was gained by drilling through the brick shaft.

Bizim 104.2FM - Haringey: Fifteen warning letters produced - to be hand delivered.

Conshus 106.9FM - Tower Hamlets: Warning letter delivered by hand to night club on Wednesday 13 February for using Conshus as an advertising medium on flyers/posters.

George Lansbury House - Haringey: Two transmitters were disconnected on Friday 15 February.

Heat 96.6FM - Haringey: Transmitter removed on Friday 8 February.

Jiggy 105.6FM - Haringey:  Transmitter removed on Friday 15 February. This seizure necessitated cutting off a metal door (with council approval), as the illegal broadcasters had glued up the locks to prevent access.

Kasapa 104.0FM - Hackney: While tracing the studio on Tuesday 12 February, the transmitter and mid link transmitter were located; no action was taken at that time. Transmitter disabled and aerial removed on Wednesday 13 February.

Kool 94.6FM - Tower Hamlets: Warning letter delivered by hand to night club in Tower Hamlets on Monday 11 February for using Kool as an advertising medium for an event;  Warning letter sent to night club in Brighton on Monday 11 February for using Kool as an advertising medium for an event; Request made for the disconnection of three phone numbers related to the business of Kool FM (Studio, event management). One phone (T Mobile was disconnected on Wednesday 13 February.

Live 101.5FM - Tower Hamlets:  Transmission site traced to Anglia House, E14 7PW

Millennium Supreme 99.8FM - Tower Hamlets: Studio raid on Thursday 7 February. One arrest for unlawful broadcasting. One arrest on warrant. One person was arrested and cautioned for possession of drugs. Transmitter removed on Thursday 14 February.

Origin 95.2FM - Islington: Warning letter delivered by hand to night club in Camden on Monday 11 February for using Origin as an advertising medium for an event.

Rude 88.2FM - Islington: Transmitter disconnected on Friday 8 February. One male attended the vicinity and appeared to visually check the connections; he then made a phone call and left. Officers suspect that he was the DJ finding out why the station ceased broadcasting. The station stayed off air until Saturday.

Shine 87.9FM - Tower Hamlets: Mid link transmitter seized on Wednesday 7 February. Transmitter removed on Friday 15 February.

SLR 97.7FM - Haringey:  Request made for phone disconnection on Wednesday 13 February relating to event organisation. Transmitter disconnected on Friday 15 February.

Takeover 107.7FM - Hackney: Transmitter and aerial removed on Tuesday 12 February. Warning letter delivered to night club on Wednesday 13 February for using Takeover as an advertising medium.

Touch 94.0FM - Haringey: Transmitter disconnection on Wednesday 6 February. No installers attended the scene to reconnect while officers were in the vicinity. The station stayed off air until Sunday. Transmitter removal on Friday 8 February.

True 100.2FM - Hackney: Warning letter delivered by hand to night club in Haringey on Monday 11 February for using True as an advertising medium for an event. Transmitter and aerial removed on Tuesday 12 February.

Unidentified Station 102.6FM - Haringey: Transmitter disconnection on Wednesday 6 February. No installers attended the scene to reconnect while officers were in the vicinity. The station stayed off air until Friday.  Transmitter disconnected and aerial removed on Friday 15 February.

Xtreme 101.7FM - Haringey: Transmitter and aerial removed on Wednesday 13 February.

Operation Twilight has resulted in one studio being raided during the period 6-16 February, and equipment seized, eighteen transmitters being seized or disconnected and four aerial installations removed by Ofcom personnel. In addition a total of twenty one warnings have been given to advertisers on illegal broadcasters, including a number of night clubs, who have been hosting events promoted by pirate radio stations and four phones being used either as studio phones, or to publicise illegal events have been disconnected. Three people have been arrested in connection with the operation'.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stewart Home recommends...

Cheers to Stewart Home for including this blog in his selection at the The Wire:

'History Is Made At Night: A blog about dancing and politics with a focus on London and beyond. Working on the premise that “when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake,” this site is rich in both historical and contemporary material. It’s full of really great images and covers, everything from 1920s jazz clubs to the contemporary hardcore underground dance scene and way more, with some of the posts delving into clubbing and dancing as they manifested themselves several hundred years ago. Still, the site’s webmaster started life in a different subculture so you’ll even find stuff about the situationists and anarcho-punk!'

See his full selection - Stewart Home's Portal. In good company with Wu Ming, Who Makes the Nazis and others.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Raid on 'Homosexuals and Satanists' in Iran

The Guardian reported earlier this month (10 October):

'Iran's revolutionary guards have announced the arrest of "a network of homosexuals and satanists" in the western city of Kermanshah, close to the country's border with Iraq, prompting fresh alarm over the treatment of gay people in the Islamic republic. The news website of the revolutionary guards in Kermanshah province, home to the country's Kurd ethnic minority, reported on Thursday that their elite forces had dismantled what it claimed to be a network of homosexuals and devil-worshippers.

A number of foreign nationals, including Iraqis, were also among those detained, the report said, adding that eight of the group were married to each other. The group were picked up from one of the city's ceremony halls, which they had rented for a birthday party. The guards' webiste said they were dancing as the raid ensued. The revolutionary guards claimed the group had been under surveillance for some time but did not specify how many people were arrested'.

The Iranian Lesbian & Transgender Network has since reported (16 October) that  'Dozens of people recently arrested in Kermanshah, Iran have all been reportedly released on bail'. In a country with various paramilitary/police agencies the Network suggests that it is significant that the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) themselves carried out the raid, the 'first time the IRGC has openly declared responsibility for confronting a community described as belonging to “homosexuals” and “satanists”. In the past, police and Basij forces were reportedly the forces responsible for raiding house parties and assaulting, harassing, and arresting guests for same-sex relations or 'Actions against chastity'.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published more detail, drawing on an eye witness account:

“There were 75 guests in the party. A banquette hall had been rented therefore the owner had given permission to an all-men party to take place there...“about 60 to 70 IRGC and Basij forces entered the hall, around 12:15 am., after dinner was served. The agents had Kalashnikovs, pepper sprays, cables and Tasers. They started beating everyone, using swear words:’You’re not men, you’re a bunch of women. You’ve gathered here to rape each other. The government will never accept you. Faggot asses! (Korreh-khar’ha’ye Hamjensbaz)”

"The men were beaten harshly. Their cellphones and cameras were confiscated. When a young man refused to give up his cellphone, the agents attacked him and beat him mercilessly. A total of 17 Guests who wore colorful clothes or looked like Ahl-e-Haq [members of this group have distinct-looking mustaches] were taken to the local police station. The rest of the guests were kept in the hall, and they were forced to eat the cake and they were insulted while they were forced to eat the cake. After that, the remaining guests were forced to sign a pledge (they weren’t allowed to read the content), and were released.”

“Seventeen of the men who were singled out based on their appearances and religious beliefs were transferred to a police station and then shortly thereafter were taken to an unknown detention center. They were blindfolded at all times. They were stripped down to their briefs/underwear. They were photographed naked from several angles. Then they were given prison grey-suites, a uniform for those who’re going to be hanged. The detainees’ clothes and other belongings were placed in bags plastic bags. They were interrogated repeatedly. At the detention center, the men were taken to a very small space, a little larger than a phone booth, blindfolded, and they were asked to pull up their blindfold a little. The place was ‘very, very dark.’ They were repeatedly beaten and accused of being homosexuals and Satan-worshippers'.

Accounts in the Western press have mainly focused on the obvious anti-gay aspects of this raid, but it is also linked to the attacks on other cultural and religious minorities in this Kurdish area of Iran. Suspected 'Ahl-e-Haq' ('People of Truth') were seemingly singled out during the raid, followers of the Yarsan religion. This weekend 80 people protesting against the persecution of this faith were arrested in Tehran.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Anti-CJA Protest July 1994: Eternity report

I posted some photos and memories recently of a demonstration in London against the Crimininal Justice Act (and its 'anti-rave' powers) in July 1994. Here's a report by Rosey Parker of the same demonstration from dance magazine Eternity (no.21, 1994). The march of around 50,000 people went from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, via a brief altercation in Whitehall when some people tried to climb the Downing Street gates and were charged by mounted police. It finished with people playing in the fountains of Trafalgar Square on a very hot July day (click images to enlarge)

'The march started at 2:30 pm. It seemed to take ages to filter slowly out of the gates onto the road, and the first thing most people noticed was the huge police contingency. Rows upons rows of expressionless policemen to being with, a police helicopter buzzing frantically above and the odd photographer milling around. Several mobile sound systems (one on a bike) rode around playing music that made everybody smile with delight... everywhere you looked all you could see was smiles and hot people. All age groups, all races, all religions, were there. It was wonderful'

'everybody continued moving toward Trafalgar Square peacefully. People spalshed in the fountain and soaked everybody walking past. Because of the heat, being splashed was an indescribably orgasmic delight! What a day! What a vibe! The whole of Trafalgar Square was full of people, thousands of people, music of varying types, percusssion instruments, dancers, everything'

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Datacide zine London launch event

The 13th issue of Datacide, the international magazine for noise and politics, is out this week. As well as a conference and release party in Berlin this weekend, there will be a launch event on Sunday 20th October 2013 in London, 7 pm to 10 pm. The event will take place at Vinyl (4 Tanners Hill, SE8) the new record shop/cafe/gallery in Deptford. It will feature talks from Datacide contributors, including me looking back on the movement against the 'anti-rave' Criminal Justice Act, and Christoph Fringeli on Datacide magazine. Further details to be announced. 

Sunday nights sounds courtesy of DJ Controlled Weirdness, and there will be a bar.

Update: now confirmed that event will include talk from David Cecil:

- 'Confessions of an Accidental Activist – Sexual politics and homophobia in Uganda'. David was arrested in Uganda and deported earlier this year. He found himself in the media spotlight after he produced a comedy drama in Kampala (Uganda) which was mistakenly portrayed as a piece of ‘gay activism’. The US evangelist movement, international rights activists and the mainstream media have all contributed in different ways to misleading perceptions of sexuality in Uganda. Meanwhile, more substantial and complex factors of post-colonial socio-economic transformation have been (deliberately?) overlooked, along with the actual experience of daily life for LGBTI people in Uganda.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Datacide Launch in Berlin

The next issue of Datacide - the magazine for noise and politics - is out this week, and there's a release party and conference to celebrate it taking place next Saturday 12th October at Naherholung Sternchen in Berlin. 

There will be talks on 'sexual politics, rave, revolt, and repression' starting at  5pm including:

Introduction to the thirteenth print edition of datacide – the magazine for noise & politics

In search of the constructivist moment: from Russian Futurism to South London Speedcore (via 1975)

"It's not freedom that I want but a way out!" So proclaimed the ape in Kafka's short story 'A Report to the Academy'. This talk takes this ape's proclamation as a reference point for the construction of a map that could  be used to locate potential points of escape. The first part of this talk identifies what exactly it is that we may be seeking to escape from. We will then embark on an exploration of a series of problems, some of which may involve us asking: what is the meaning of Mayakovsky's "our''? what is a sonic community? and how exactly did the world change in 1975? Jason Skeet is currently completing a book about contemporary poetry. In the last years of the previous century he was involved in the Association of Autonomous Astronauts (AAA) and this talk may, or may not, build on a certain number of exit strategies previously put forward by the AAA'.

Confessions of an Accidental Activist – Sexual politics and homophobia in Uganda

David Cecil’s contribution to this issue of Datacide looks at the politics of sexuality in Uganda from a very subjective angle. The author found himself in the media spotlight in 2012/13 after he produced a comedy drama in Kampala (Uganda) which was mistakenly portrayed as a piece of ‘gay activism’. The US evangelist movement, international rights activists and the mainstream media have all contributed in different ways to misleading perceptions of sexuality in Uganda. Meanwhile, more substantial and complex factors of post-colonial socio-economic transformation have been (deliberately?) overlooked, along with the actual experience of daily life for LGBTI people in Uganda. The author will give a brief presentation
focusing on the politics of identity in Uganda, and looks forward to a discussion on international sexual politics.

A Darker Electricity - a co-founder talks about the history of Spiral Tribe

Mark will be talking about his personal experience with the Spiral Tribe sound system and how that experience revealed the establishment's invention of plausible narratives to define territories and control them – whether those territories be physical, social, intellectual, artistic or electronic.

The party includes a top line up of noise/experimental/breakcore/drum & bass sounds:



SANSCULOTTE (confused images for the confused)

London event

There's also going to be more low key London launch event the following weekend - provisionally on Sunday 20th October,  7 pm to 10 pm, at Vinyl (record shop/cafe/gallery space), 4 Tanners Hill, Deptford, London SE8. Watch this space for more details...