Entries from June 2008

Repression and the Riot Situation in Kamagasaki (Osaka) related to G8 Meeting

Over the past week and a half, an unprecedented political crackdown has been enacted in advance of a series of economic summits around the country. Despite this, the brave workers of Kamagasaki stood up against the stiff security environment in riots against the brutal beating of a day laborer over the past five days. The twin situations of repression and revolt deserve to be examined in more detail.
[Read more →]

Objection to Procedure Interview with Christoph Fringeli (2000)

Objection to Procedure Interview with Christoph Fringeli (2000)

1. Your contribution to the harsher elements of hardcore are most easily
chronicled in the progress and history of the Praxis label. Please describe
what you saw Praxis’ purpose when it began in 1992, and what you see its
purpose as now.

I had been involved with what you might call industrialnoisejazzpunknowave shit in the mid- to late 80’s, and ran a label called Vision in Basel, Switzerland, where I grew up. Around 1990 I became extremely disillusioned with the “independent” scene, as it seemed to be replicating the mechanisms and values of the major music market. This is a process that hasn’t stopped since: it’s all about commodification of young people’s creative energies, and channeling them into something that is cementing the current dominant social-relations by creating the idiotic concept of “great artists” = “stars”, and divisions between audience and performers.
When the first wave of Acid House hit (say ’87) I was quite intrigued by the DIY aesthetic and the concept of anonymous white labels, but with the exception of a small handful of tracks, such as Phuture’s Trax releases which I thought were brilliant, really fucking weird, overall there were not that many interesting tracks to support a whole new concept of use value of records, which I think really happened around ’90/91. Suddenly there were all these 12″s coming out that had a much harder sound, and I think for me personally seeing Underground Resistance in the Tresor club in Berlin was a real turning point, but it was backed up and supported by countless often anonymous producers churning out banging tracks all over the world.
By the end of 1991 I was squatting in South London and the following year the first couple of Praxis records appeared. I’d rather not try and “chronicle” Praxis here, as it had and continues to have an intense history, but to try and stay clear and short, one of the basic departure points were that I wanted to take elements of the new dance culture and push them a bit further, distort them, make them more extreme.
I was, and I’m still, particularly interested in the aspect of collective cultural creation and experience. The “artist” would no longer so much express their personal feelings towards the world and expecting to be admired for it like in rock music, but take elements others were working on and add their touch, throw it back into a collective pool; and the actual experience of the music would not so much take place in the bedroom, but at a party where a DJ would use records as raw material for his set.
Of course the existing system of record labels, distributors and media has done everything to appropriate these tendencies and recuperate them for their economy; of course the revolution has not been successful in the sense that the old concepts have been destroyed, with a lot of help by the media they survived in people’s heads. Of course there were soon DJ stars etc, but at the same time there exists a resistance network that simply produces the better, more exciting music, and it’s self-organized, autonomous and based around sound systems and small labels.
Praxis exists in this context of feedback loops between producers, sound systems, underground distribution, always trying to add a new twist to the dialectics of liberation.
[Read more →]

Local Elections in England and Wales and the failure of the Left

The results are out and so is the mainstream analysis (and sorry for posting this a little bit late – you may have already forgotten). As a result of the May 1st elections, England and Wales have gone through a right wing shift, Boris Johnson has been elected mayor of London, and the Tories are on a roll to win the next General Election.
So what, you may think after the transformation of the Labour Party into “New Labour” there surely is very little difference between the two main parties in Britain. Many aspects of Thatcherism have been perpetuated by the Blair government, nothing whatsoever has been retracted or turned back. The poll tax fell when the Tories were still in power, the council tax was not abolished by Labour, nor were the amendments to the Criminal Justice Act 1994 revoked. Of course not. [Read more →]