Ultravox! New Europeans!

Ultravox, also know is awesome, is as eighties as you can get, and without a doubt one of my favourite bands. They market synth with a vengeance, with stupendous guitar riffs, with powerful vocals that reek of melancholy and anger and decisiveness and other mixed emotions that Freud would diagnose as symptoms of a severe mania resolving from an unresolved relationship with one of your second cousins! Super!

The video above is a classic. There’s a brief Dutch subtitled interview with the band before it cuts to a live performance of “New Europeans”. This song seems to embody the apocalypse in all its compellingly schadenfreude glory. When the world financial system finally collapses under it’s own weight, I’ll be fanging around post-Apocalyptic Forster with this blaring out of the car speakers, raiding petrol with my cadre! Because when you think about it, aren’t we all New Europeans? Fine, that doesn’t really make any sense. Watch the video, let Midge Ure and the lads do the talking.

Clive Palmer: National Treasure?

G’day guys and gals. Sorry for the hiatus, I’ve been too busy making excuses, and its been a slow news week besides. I just though I’d tell you a few quick thinks about our dear collective amigo, Clive Palmer, declared a National Treasure by Woman’s Day and therefore apparently some sort of cultural folk hero who specialises in gallantly destroying world heritage areas and destabilising governments.

Clive Palmer, Australian millionaire mining magnet and apparent national treasure is a hero. If you haven’t been blessed with the giddy pleasure of having witnessed him on Australia’s nightly news bulletins, he basically just loves calling press conferences and announcing things. Just like Spiderman’s sticky hand juice, and Batman’s cape and lycra fetish, it’s a vital part of his superhero persona. He successfully revealed to us the astonishing revelation that Greenpeace and the Greens are run by the CIA, he’s starting up a rival football federation to counter Lowy’s evil heartless commu-facists. He’s going to rebuild the Titanic, discover the lost city of Atlantis and presumably perform a duet with Gina Rinehart on the ship’s very prow, a premiere of Gina’s latest spoken word piece about the evils of regulating business and the need for Third world slave labour. Celine Dion eat your heart out.

Is there anything more that our dear, heroic national treasure can offer this country. The short answer is yes. He’s going to run for parliament, in Treasure Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, and perform a heroic public service for the national good.

Okay. Let’s depart from that for a second and take a more serious tack. Now this bloke isn’t your run of the mill Vermin Supreme, your satirical, attention seeking 4chan troll. He may be ridiculous, but he’s kind of dangerous. Like our dear friend Gina he’s got an agenda, namely “cutting red tape” or more accurately giving free run of the country to the super rich like himself. At the moment, gaining favourable preselection for the seat of Lilley is seeming remote, but I assure you, should he gain it and anymore influence, it would be a dark day for our supposedly egalitarian society. People like Mr Palmer and Ms Rinehardt are like poison within our system, using their immense wealth, built up via exploitation and inheritance to alter the flow of opinion and change political decisions in their favour, be it to deregulate business, encourage socially conservative views, or skew the “debate” on anthropogenic climate change. The consolidation of the power should be rightly feared, and opposed at every turn. Robber barons should not, nor ever be, a part of Australian society.

Redskins: Socialist Punk

What’s this? This is the Redskins, one of the best political punk bands of the 1980s. The Redskins fought Nazi and far right skinheads, racial prejudice and the Thatcher government through their actions and their lyrics, set against the turbulent backdrop of the British miner’s strike. This song, Lev Bronstein, condemns the Soviet Union, lauds the Solidarity movement in Poland and evokes the memory of that decisive and divisive ideological figure, Leon Trotsky. Have a listen. Check out more of their songs. They’re quite awesome.

Greece Enlightening!

I’m really sorry about the title. Truly I am. Please keep reading. The Greek Elections are scheduled for the 6th of May, that’s only a couple of weeks into the dark and murky future. But before you dismiss this off-hand, which I’m sure you won’t do, and protest that this stuff is only of interest to hopeless political buffs, which I’m sure you don’t think, consider for a second, the elections possible implications.

I’m not an expert of Greek politics. Even if I had the self discipline I couldn’t read the plethora of party’s various manifestos and policies, and catch up on the latest inside news. Mostly because I can’t speak or read Greek, but the little I can gleam from the world around me makes me interested and just a bit concerned.

Greece’s government is deeply unpopular. With the departure of the far-right LAOS, it’s currently a grand coalition made from two separate parties, united by a common support for the austerity measures required for European Union bailouts to continue. The largest party in the coalition is PASOK, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, a centre-left party which garnered around 43% of the vote at the last election in 2009. After the last few years of economic catastrophe, it currently polls at around 15%. The leader of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos is apparently extremely similar in appearance to the lead singer of British heavy metal band Grim Reaper.

The next largest party is New Democracy, PASOK’s centre-right counterpart and main opposition partner. The fact that PASOK and ND are now bedfellows speaks volumes about the magnitude of the situation effecting Greece. That is if the massive riots, unemployment and mass exodus went unnoticed. ND seems to be your run of the mill centre-right party, but it does however have a profound hard right influence. Party leader Antonis Samaras was ejected from the party 16 years ago for his bull-headed stance on Macedonia, and of their two MPs, formerly members of the once third party in the coalition, far right LAOS, have come to the attention of international media for their views and history.

This is Sabby Mioni’s take on coalition minister Markis Voridis, published in Haaretz at the beginning of this month.

As a Jew and an Israeli, I feel it is my duty and obligation to share with you Voridis’ background and political career. A former leading figure in Greece’s neo-Nazi youth group, Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), Voridis has a long history of Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, including physical threats to Jewish families and leading groups of thugs against immigrants and leftists. Over the last couple of weeks he has smoothed over his thuggish past by describing it as “right-wing activism”. As a student at the elite Athens College high school, alma mater of current Prime Minister Papadimos, former Prime Minister Papandreou, Samaras and myself, Voridis formed the fascist student group “Free Students” that painted the walls with swastikas and saluted each other with using the Nazi-era greeting “Heil Hitler.”

See the Guy Walking Around With The Hammer? That's Voridis in Uni, 1985, Using His Hammer As A Debating Tool Against Communists and Jews.

During school elections, Voridis would violently threaten not only the Jewish students who opposed his fascist group, but also their families. After graduation, Voridis formed a fascist group in the Law School of Athens and became active in neo-Nazi youth groups. In the 1990s, following the footsteps of his mentor, Jean Marie LePen, he formed the National Front, an anti-immigrant party. His party’s motto was “Red card for immigrants.” A few years ago, he joined LAOS and was elected to parliament. He soon became the darling of the Greek media, due to his extensive family connections, his debating skills and his charisma in front of the cameras.”

Less prominent is deputy minister Adonis Georgiadis, who is famous for his televised rants against Muslims, immigrants, Jews and support for the military dictatorship that formerly governed Greece. Up until February the coalition could have included LAOS, or Popular Orthodox Rally, party leader Giorgos Karatzaferis, a one time body building xenophobe who once declared. “They say that to get ahead you have to be one of three things: a Jew, a homosexual, or a communist. We are none of these … Vote for a parliament without Masons, without homosexuals, without those dependent on Zionism.” Thankfully, support for LAOS has plummeted following their brief but toxic involvement in the grand coalition.

Now, bearing these facts in mind, the rapidly deteriorating status of the Greek economy, and what’s seen as increasing dependence on Germany and the EU, its no wonder why support for the Coalition, comprised of the once major parties is running at a combined 33%, and according to the latest MRB Hellas poll, only 7% would favour an administration comprised of the two main parties. More and more, Greeks are looking to the margins of the political arena for answers.

Poll methodology varies, but currently the support for the long-suffering KKE, the Communist Party of Greece, an old Soviet style Marxist party, prominent in the protest movement and known for denying the true scale of Stalin’s atrocities is running at around 10%. SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left, and the democratic socialist party DIMAR, the Democratic Left, are both recording similar results. That gives anti-austerity leftist parties, before the crisis either non-existent or with only fringe support, with a level of support that rivals the mainstream coalition.

Apart from the Greens, the anti-austerity classic liberals in the ANEL, Independent Greeks, and the New Democracy splinter group DISY, Democratic Alliance, the party that stands out the most if not in support than in sheer shock value is Golden Dawn. Once a fringe party, Golden Dawn, an unabashed ultra-nationalist Neo-nazi party with roots in Nazi occultism is now running at over 5% in some polls. Golden Dawn is known for reveling in Nazi memorabilia, Mein Kampf is on display at it’s headquarters, anti-immigrant violence, Nazi salutes and holocaust denial. Sadly, all of this is becoming more and more acceptable to the Greek electorate, as economic conditions worsen and anti-immigrant sentiment rises.

Now to the crux, what I told you at the beginning. What does this mean for you? Well, with anti-Austerity parties polling around about two thirds of the vote, Greece’s status as an EU member, and therefore continuing to receive bailout funds are increasingly in doubt. Default is a clear and present danger. What will this mean? I’m don’t pretend to be an economist, but thing’s I’ve heard sound pretty dire. Most of the Western world is in massive amounts of public debt and such a level of uncertainty and instability in this key part of the world can’t be good for the shaky and hole-ridden global financial sector as a whole. So I’m just sitting back and watching anxiously, in the full knowledge that drastic generational change might be just around in the corner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_legislative_election,_2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Greece

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-14/greece-s-main-parties-have-backing-of-33-of-voters-poll-shows.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/world/europe/far-right-golden-dawn-sees-opening-in-greeces-woes.html?pagewanted=2

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/mark-ames-austerity-fascism-in-greece-%E2%80%93-the-real-1-doctrine.html

10cc: Rubber Bullets

This is one of my favourite songs at the moment, I stumbled across it on my computer a couple of days ago, with no distinct idea of how it got there, but its grown in me like cheese in a can. Which I despise, so maybe that isn’t the best simile.

The song is a sort of piss take on Jailhouse Rock on Elvis, as is obvious from both the style of the music, the accent and the lyrics. Its very 1950s, with more than a dollop of mind bending psychedelia especially when it comes to the solos. The lyrics themselves are intensely political. 10cc is a British art-rock band, and the song alludes, intentionally or accidentally, to the then ongoing intense conflict in Northern Ireland, and the use of rubber bullets there. For all these reasons Rubber Bullets a gem of a song, and the 70s aesthetics on show throughout the film clip is only the icing on the cake.

A Different Type of McCarthy

I included this in the Congressman Allen West accusing the Democrats of being Communists post, but on second thoughts I realised, this being in my most humble opinion, one of the best leftist themed songs out there, it probably deserved a post in its own right. Its a beautiful melancholic song, with a sort of broad, epic, dark sound stemming from rolling drums and an evocative echoing yet clean guitar riff that repeats throughout, and vocals full of expression. That’s the end of me attempting to be a music critic. Listen on Comrades.

Quiz: What Type of Socialist Are You?

If you’re reading this blog, and I presume you are, I’m automatically assuming that you’re a socialist. If you’re not then just pretend for the duration of the article, because what’s following is not going to be very much use to you. Put bluntly it won’t be very much use to anyone, but that’s life I suppose. Existential angst! Cue non-sequitur.

(Thanks also to Comrade Pedro for some valuable input. Solidarity)

Your favourite type of drink is:

A. Vodka

B. Coffee

C. Beer

Your favourite hat is:

A. A Ushanka

B. A Beret

C. A Helmet

Your favourite type of music is:

A. The Red Army Choir

B. You probably haven’t heard of it.

C. Anything by Wagner

Your economic policy is summed up by which statement?

A. Liquidate the kulaks as a class.

B. Bring down the corporations man!

C. Our companies must be Aryan and guided by the Leader’s will.

What do you do with Germanic Runes?

A. Ban them

B. Wear them around my neck

C. Paint them on the side of my tank.

What type of facial hair do you have?

A. Broomhead moustache

B. Intellectual stubble/beard

C. Toothbrush moustache

Your favourite director is?

A. Sergei Eisenstein.

B. Michael Moore.

C Leni Riefenstahl.

Gulags make you:

A. Hard

B. Disgusted, I hate the architecture.

C. Fearful for the survival of the Master race.

Your favourite way of purging involves:

A. The KGB

B. A good black coffee

C Long knives

Are you racist?

A. No, but death to the Germans

B. No way man!

C. Of course? We are the Master race,

You are the leader of a large socialist power. A smaller neighbouring power begins making decisions that go against your interests. Do you:

A. Invade and kill the intelligentsia

B. Like make peace with the guys.

C Invade and kill the intelligentsia

Who should have won WW2?

A. The USSR. And we did.

B. Cuba.

C. Germany.

Who did you support in Star Wars?

A. The Empire

B. Never watched it.

C. The Empire

What do you think of Rick from the Young Ones.

A. Revisionist filth

B. The People’s Poet

C. Leftist filth

How do you regard America?

A. Imperialist dogs

B. Imperialist dogs

C. Held in thrall by the Zionist Occupational Government.

Who is your hero?

A. Stalin

B. Che Guevara or Michael Moore.

C. Hit- I mean Otto Strasser.

Count up your scores! What option did you score the most! Tally your bananas, because daylight has come, and its time to figure out what socialist you are!

A. You are a Stalinist. You have impressive facial hair and find absolute power orgasmic. You hate the fascistic west, and hope to keep your nation free from its decadence by crushing all dissent. In your free time you travel out to your, sorry, the people’s dacha by the Volga, smoke cigars, drink vodka and reminisce with your old comrade about the civil war. At least those you haven’t ordered be killed.

B. You are a hipster. You wear a beret and a cardigan. You carry around Christopher Hitchens and a coffee thermos in your satchel, Richard Dawkins is your God and America is your Satan. You voted for Obama but are now fashionably dissatisfied with his warmongering regime. You want to destroy all corporation except for Apple, and like nothing more than sitting back with your fellow liberal arts majors and sip lates while reflecting on the coming end of capitalism.

C. You are a Nazi. You are highly strung, racist and ordered in your everyday life. You are clean shaven, even your scalp is bare, except of course for a small toothbrush moustache, which when pressed, you insist is an homage to Charlie Chaplain. You want to name your child, assuming that any woman is insane enough to touch you, Adolf, as you are proud of your German heritage. Your daily energies go towards writing anti-Semitic blog posts and trawling Stormfront for hot Aryans in your area. To unwind you lie about in your underwear, sipping beer or bourbon and watching reruns of Wolverines and Romper Stomper.