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.

They're Not Waving. That's the Moutza. The Greek Equivalent of "Up Yours"

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.

Tea Party Resurrects Ghost of McCarthy

So ladies and gentlebees, while I’ve been hobnobbing around Bungwahl, getting my legs cut open with razor grass, half drowning in swamp and surf, nearly getting bitten by a snake and drinking my own piss, some interesting things have been happening in the world. One of which is this, Republican Congressman Allen West, channeling the spirit of our beloved Douglas McCarthy from beyond the grave. Our lovely Comrade McCarthy, no longer content with making baseless accusations in that big right wing caucus in the sky has decided to employ his impressive powers down here on Terra Firma, through faithful patriot and compatriot, Mr Allen West.

Mr West, a figurehead of the Tea Party movement and a possible Romney running mate, was speaking at a town hall in Palm City, Jensen Beach, when he uttered this gem.

Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?

West: It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Remind you of anyone? Perhaps a certain famous Cold War senator? A man who once said:

I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.

Indeed! The similarities are manifest! Manifest! Which sounds like Manifesto! I rest my case. But in all seriousness, Mr West claims to have been misquoted. His rationale is that the Communist Party of the USA publicly declared the Congressional Progressive Caucus an ally, and therefore, by extension, makes all the CPC’s members, approximately eighty Democrats, tarred with the same red brush. Going by that logic, Stalin’s decision to ally with Roosevelt and Churchill in the Second World War, makes those two statesmen card-carrying Reds also. Churchill! How could you! We thought you were so butch when you advocated gassing the Kurds!

But giving Congressman West the benefit of doubt, and perhaps even temporarily suspending logic, it would be remiss for us not to examine other comments undertaken by other Republicans of the Tea Party strain. Allen West’s one time candidate for his Chief of Staff, Joyce Kaufman, fell from grace with this revolutionary statement, more resembling Mao-Zedong than a God-fearing daughter of America. “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

Looking at things more broadly, conspiracy theories surrounding Obama’s birth certificate are widespread, and the primaries to this point have been plagued with nominees waxing lyrical over how they would bomb Iran even gooder than their political competitors. Elevating taxes against the wealthy to fall in line with middle class tax rates are seen as “class warfare”, the entire system of progressive taxation and even a rudimentary welfare state is increasingly falling from a position of mainstream agreement, to the mainstay of the radical left. Like this aptly named British group, which happens to be one of my favourite bands.

Rick Santorum, the now sidelined conservative candidate for the Republican Presidential bid advocated his own version of Christian Sharia law and crusaded against pornography, striking fear into the hearts of teenage boys everywhere. Personally, I’ve breathed a deep sigh of relief now that he, and his fellow conservative candidates have, to quote a quaint Australian expression “died in the arse”. Ron Paul’s libertarianism is never going to catch on, and Gingrich is just wallowing about in the shallows, wondering what happened. That of course leaves the ground open to another type of politician, Romney.

Romney of course, is harder to criticise, because his platform seems to shift with the wind. The sane “fiscal conservative” of 1994, is now a committed social conservative also, although the details of such seem to shift depending on the time and the question. Romney is a chameleon, emblematic of the unscrupulous nature of cash-saturated merchant-statesmen, shifting with the political climate and using vast cash reserves to fill in the cracks.

I could trawl across the internet finding more quotes and links, and generally rant for hours, but I think I’ve made my point. America is shifting to starboard faster than the Titanic upon it’s meeting with that fateful iceberg. The fact that there is a strong progressive opposition, exemplified by the Occupy movement is perhaps even more frightening. Put simply, from this radical young Australians’s perspective, America needs to conciliate with the various interests existing in it’s borders, eliminate the influence of big money in the political system, and generally just take things a little more easy. Otherwise, it will rip itself apart.