Saturday, December 27, 2008

Greece

Perhaps having built a barricade when you’re sixteen provides you with a sort of safety rail. If you’ve once taken part in building one, even inadvertently, doesn’t its usually latent image reappear like a warning signal whenever you’re tempted to join the police, or support any manifestation of Law and Order? - Jean Genet
Greece. What is happening there is too complex and amazing for me to really sum up in a blog post. However other people, much more capable than myself have been attempting to do exactly that.
Over at Libcom there is a great page of info. For those who're more or less unfamiliar with what's going on this article provides a decent summary, and over at hyperborea there is a nice article with some excerpts of manifesto's and other things that have been said and produced by those involved.

I really wish i could provide more stuff myself, but I've been quite busy in the last week or two subverting the capitalist exploitation of roof, wall and suburb fetishism (soon to be written about).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Zinescene

Crowbar My Heart Issue Two
Issue two of Crowbar My Heart (the world's greatest squatting zine) is now out!
It features a sub par article by myself, as well as great articles by Jase + Fez about their squat, an interview/article about Melbourne's SHAC, howto's on composting + squat gardening as well as pigeons, notes, reviews, cartoons and more!
Issues can be got from Comrade Crowbar, if you email at comradecrowbar [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] au! Submissions including pretty pictures are welcomed he says.



MAKESHIFT Issue One
Anot
her zine that came into my hands recently was the first issue of Makeshift, with the rather broad theme Alternatives. The broad theme being a great thing as the Zine, full of creative writing, was able to spread out into different areas.
The stori
es are about housing, kings cross, a anti-hero superhero, an elderly relative, religion and the universe. To get copies or make submissions contact Makeshiftzine [at] gmail [dot] com. The theme for the next issue is Baffle, though submissions have closed for that, so contact the above address and find out what you need to write about!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kulnura; Up in the Clouds

Empty buildings in Sydney are no rarity. Every time i realise that a particular building is not suitable for squatting, it rarely takes me more than a day at most to find another to consider. You've heard the statistics before I'm sure, 120,000 of these wasting beauties lie in wait around greater Sydney daily, about 7000 of them in the city alone.
Though generally we think of small shop fronts and empty warehouses, orphaned bungalows and terraces - not realising that there exists lonely CBD sky scrapers. To put on the Realtors glasses for a moment; some of these buildings are upon the most valuable land in Australia, and between them would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
But where a
re they?

Well a personal favourite would have to be Key College House, located on Wentworth Avenue. This place looks amazing, i can just imagine all the squatters hanging banners out it's bay windows as a stirring black flag flies from the roof. Standing at 9 stories, this place could house so many people, within such an accessible distance to amenities.
It would be perfect for the less mobile or elderly who otherwise have to travel for considerable times on public transport (of questionable suitability) for certain services.

Like Key College House, and also on the same road the Griffiths Teas building is owned by Sydney Couple Isaac and Susan Wakil. The pair own about $75 Million dollars of property in Sydney - all of which is empty except for their headquarters. The Griffiths Teas building is massive and could probably house a large portion of China's teas, or (for a more revolutionary idea!) a lot of people! Susan Wakil remembers seeing her father dragged off to a soviet gulag for being a "capitalist landowner" when living in Romania, though probably has little time for those in Western Sydney increasingly being made homeless by rising rents.
Photo of Griffiths Teas from here. Other great photo's there also.

If you were to stroll further up Wentworth Avenue and continue onto College street you would eventually encounter a twenty story monstrosity of a building that also has remained empty for years. The building was at one time the former headquarters for NSW Police, though now sits empty with nobody coming nor going. Once again this building is located a convenient zero minute walk to just about everywhere, and right across the road from Sydney's well known Hyde park (A cheap imitation of the slightly older London, Hyde Park).
I believe the building is owned by the Gov, and therefore would be a perfect place for some inventive housing affordability protest - after all who likes the government?

Then there
is this fantastic 8 story building on Clarence street. This is almost exactly where i catch a bus from often. The only difference being that when i want to catch the bus it is preceded by a 15minute walk, a 40minute train trip and another 5 minute walk. From this empty nest i could forget about the first walk and the train trip, and dream dreams for almost another hour. This place reminds me a little of Key College House, but only cooler, sweeter and cuter.

And when you thought that was it, just a few blocks away at 82 Sussex St there is a quaint little warehouse space, again of about 8 stories. It stands defiant, confident in it's history as thousands of sheets of glass approach it from both sides and construction rumbles just across the street. I can only imagine how many people could paint, sculpt, write, think, draw, play and live inside the unused walls of this building.

And these are only the ones i know about. Most (if not all) were found here.

And of course if any of you out there have fantastic idea's for these buildings please comment. Comment even if you don't.

-Liam

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Being Realistic

When you first decide to squat, nothing could seem easier.
What is there to it after all?

  • Find an empty building.
  • Get in.
  • Inflate your airbed.
  • Raise your flag.
This is almost how easy i first imagined it would be. And yet months after beginning my search for affordable and subversive housing i am still squatless, though immensely lucky in that i do have a home.
Now it's not as if the issue is a shortage of abandoned properties, but vacancy is only the first tick on a long, and changing check list of favorable attributes. And each building has its own unique issues and quirks that only become obvious once you've made contact with that particular building.
The first building i intended to squat was a two storey terrace in Surry Hills. Being the first building I had staked out, I was more or less incompetent. The majority of my first mission was spent across the street gazing into its cloudy windows repeating to myself "It's definitely empty", as I worked up the courage to cross the street. When I did, I peeped through the mail slot to see an awful lot of junk, and walking around to observe the back entrance, saw more and more junk piled up in the windows. At this stage, I was under the impression that some junk was probably a huge inconvenience, after all I was still working within the frame work mentioned in the dot points above. And for the time being, that house was written off.

The second house I considered was a single storey, single bedroom terrace near my campus. It was cute, it was secluded, it was definitely empty and definitely unloved. I was doing it a favor!
One evening a friend and I planned to enter and change the lock.
Once again, this was preceded by long moments standing across the street in anticipation, waiting for a break in the steady stream of professionals returning from work. We had anticipated some difficulty entering as the door was obviously locked, and the only other entry was the front window which was broken and boarded up. Though as it turned out, the board was loose and moved with the wind, and I was able to slide in the broken window (cutting my hand, and not caring), to take my first steps within, what i thought at the time
to be, my future home.
This building had a few inconveniences also. Namely no glass in any windows, no electricity nor gas, and many repairs to do. Though by now, i was beginning to understand that this squatting would not be as easy as I had imagined and that these were reasonable tasks to undertake.
Over the next few weeks as i began doing some cleaning and planning, the landlords decided that they would prefer their house to remain empty and rotting, and screwed the door to the frame. A perfect waste.

As well as these, there was a key cutters in Sydenham, which turned out to have a pending Development Application. A small place in Hannam street which despite appearances, was for lease. A petrol station in Rozelle that would have provided a bizarre and inspiring home, that sold years after sitting vacant, and only weeks after entering my plans. A terrace in Darlinghurst that on the day i had planned to liberate, turned out to be owned by someone with a vague connection to me. And of course there were countless other empties spied on walks, for which plans and research were never begun.

Which brings me back to the first building I intended to squat.
The junk no longer seems like such an inconvenience. Though I've not been inside this house yet, and am yet to see the full scale of the mess. Though still, all these months later (on top of all the years before), it sits empty. In a nice part of town, neglected and seemingly of no consequence to anybody but myself. And I find myself thinking about it again.

Despite all the obvious set backs, and what has quite honestly been heartbreak. I'm pleased with the way things have gone. As the person who I love pointed out, it has developed my skills of researching buildings through the various beaurocratic avenues (one way streets and stop signs!) that exist. And I've also gained a more realistic understanding of what it is to squat. The next thing to do? Well, squat of course!

And a note to would be squatters; be prepared for dissapointment and frustration at the hands of the jokers of beaurocratic capitalism.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

£6m House, 30 Rooms, One Careful Anarchist Collective.

An Anarchist/Artists collective called the Da! Collective, have opened up a beautiful house in one of London's "Poshest" areas according to this ^^ photo and this report. Amazingly, the article does not incite the lynching of the squatters, rather it just seems to see them as a curious oddity, which i suppose ain't half bad.

It is one of London's most exclusive addresses. Michelin-starred restaurants are just a block away, the American embassy is around the corner and Hyde Park is at the end of the road. To share the same postcode ought to cost millions.

But the new residents of 18 Upper Grosvenor Street, a raggle-taggle of teenagers and artists called the Da! collective, haven't paid a penny for their £6.25m, six-storey townhouse in Mayfair.
...
"If anything, we are improving the building by mending leaks and things like that. The building is listed so English Heritage might be interested to see how the owners have let it disintegrate."

Don't do this at home; but it helps if you've got a home!
And for some more English squatters, check out this video I've recently uploaded to youtube. I've had it sitting around for some time, and thought it was as good a time as any to upload it now, so i have.



Also, if this weekend goes according to plan, there may be another home improvement post very soon!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Soulwax, Coldcut + Tv Sheriff

Soulwax - NY Excuse:


Coldcut vs. TV Sheriff - World Of Evil:


Oldies, but goodies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What's the G20?

Dubya is supposed to have asked "Revin" Rudd. Although where others have called them "Some of the world’s most brutal warmongers and economic rationalists", it's hardly the response I think Rudd would've given.
The libs have demanded that a federal police investigation be launched into who leaked the details. Rudd claims it never even happened. The libs also demand Rudd apologises to Bush, and now Rudd demands that the libs apologise to Obama. Wow.
The wonderful photo of the two rulers (above) is stolen from the terrorgraph, which I've included because i find it bizarre to have someone photoshop an image of the two together when photos like these (below) already exist:



GHOUL - A MOUTHFUL OF GOLD
And in news that might actually mean something to people. Sydney band Ghoul have released their EP. In fact they released it a little while ago, and I've just been quite late with this post. In keeping with awesomeness they have made the EP freely available for download, from here.
As the band is happy to boast, they have been described as "a young band with no hooks" by a "dude from bluejuice", and "a fantastic lo-fi(ish) band from Sydney with a definite haunting element to their sound" According to Polaroids Of Androids.

Apart from getting the chance the hear some awesome music, other incentives to see ghoul include;
- Free Ep Give aways at their gigs at COFA on the 26th of November + Oxford Arts Factory on the 27th.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gary Snyder - Front Lines / As the crickets' soft autumn hum

The edge of the cancer
Swells against the hill-we feel
a foul breeze-And it sinks back down.
The deer winter here
A chainsaw growls in the gorge.

Ten wet days and the log trucks stop,
The trees breathe.
Sunday the 4-wheel jeep of the
Realty Company brings in
Landseekers, lookers, they say
To the land,
Spread your legs.

The jets crack sound overhead, it's OK
here;
Every pulse of the rot at the heart
In the sick fat veins of Amerika
Pushes the edge up closer--

A bulldozer grinding and slobbering
Sideslipping and belching on top of
The skinned-up bodies of still-live bushes
In the pay of a man
From town.

Behind is a forest that goes to the Arctic
And a desert that still belongs to the
Piute
And here we must draw
Our line.

As the crickets' soft autumn hum
is to us
so are we to the trees
as are they
to the rocks and the hills
.


More posts coming soon with the ending of the semester, as well as more Home Improvement! This time hopefully will be somewhat more successful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comprehensive failure of [extreme] Capitalism

Australia's Maoist PM (proof) Kevin Rudd has declared capitalism's failure is behind the recent economic disaster - almost. "What we have seen is the comprehensive failure of extreme capitalism — extreme capitalism which now turns to government to prevent systematic failure," said Rudd recently.
However Rudd makes sure he doesn't criticise the good capitalism, the capitalism where workers are exploited normally (not extremely!), and where divisions are fostered between human beings normally (not extremely!), and people alienated from one another and the product of their labour normally (not extremely!). The kind of capitalism Rudd likes is the one where the working class are kept firmly under the cosh, yet also in a home, and able to buy some distracting flat screens on credit once and a while.
However some of us might be asking - well isn't this outcome logical considering the kind of scum that controls markets and governments the world around?
Lumpen Professoriat has looked at this in a recent blog titled Not Forbidden. Lumpen Professoriat reckons that "What the striking lack of regulation in these strange new markets trading in mortgage debt has meant is that every risk becomes not just possible, but mandatory. The competition to produce the highest rate of return possible insures that those too squeamish to pursue unforbidden risks will fall behind. This is different from individual greed. It is institutionally required greed."

And some bloke frequently quoted is supposed to have said;
With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulance and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. - Karl Marx
Anyway, read the original post, it's much better than this.

Doll Praises Islam... and Satan
While some people choose to worry about a looming (is it still looming?) financial crisis, thankfully some people have their priorities right. It seems that ZOG has joined up with Islam in an attempt to convert American toddlers to "the light", while simultaneously praising Satan.
The toy company Mattel has fielded calls from consumers who wonder whether their Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo doll, which giggles, gurgles and coos, is also mumbling, "Satan is king" and "Islam is the light." More.
The reaction to this doll is bizarre.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cops a-Zappin' the whole world round.



"[It was] the most horrendous experience [of my life]. At one point I just pretended like I was dead because I thought ... then they would stop." - Patricia Skelly, who has a mental illness, was tasered between nine and 15 times while in custody in jail and later in hospital.

The fact that police have been using tasers with little scrutiny in the USofA may come as little suprise to many of us, though the normal Australian reaction of "Heh; America is so fucked.", doesn't seem quite as comforting now that Aussie plod are carrying the electric weapons.

Between September 1999 and October 2008 at least 378 people have died after being stunned by police, and that's in North American alone, according to a list compiled by Truth Not Tasers. Despite the alarming statistics, Top Dog Scipione pushed hard to grow the ever expanding police powers to include the devices, that the United Nations has deemed a form of torture, into the Arsenal of NSW Cops.

Scipione is quoted as saying "There are people out there who are generally not very pleasant when it comes to having to intervene as a police officer - they're in the business of committing crimes, or they've lost control of their senses, be they heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and police have to subdue them, we have to take them into custody,"

So perhaps Australia's mentally ill will face a similar experience that Patricia Skelly did. If not the mentally ill, scipione certainly seems interested in the use of electroshock weapons on drug effected people - a group that many say are most at risk when it comes to the use of tasers.

However; in the unlikely event that these tasers are withdrawn, police needn't worry about waste. Welsh police have shown recently that you don't even need a person to target when using a taser! "POLICE zapped a runaway sheep that was blocking traffic with a Taser stun gun, a weapon issued for use in violent situations." reports LimitedNews.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pack'em, Rack'em, Stack'em.

"Thirty of South Australia's most hardened criminals have surrendered to police after rioting inside a jail.

The prisoners were barricaded in a high-security compound of the Port Augusta jail, surrounded by tactical response police who today brokered a resolution on a second day of negotiations with the inmates.

A group of 39 prisoners rioted late yesterday, forcing staff to withdraw as the inmates, brandishing weapons such as chair legs, smashed windows, computers and air-conditioners." Reports LiveNews.

Few news reports seem to shed any light on the legitimacy of the prisoners claims of bashings, though history would suggest that what happens behind the bars generally doesn't get out. Most News reports seem to focus attention on overcrowding being the cause for the "riots", while not exploring the fact that people denied of almost all liberty will probably harbor some resentment for the people and institutions involved in taking it from them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Squatting rises in the US of A


While banks continue to make thousands homeless in the persuit of massive profits, real estate agents bemoan the rise in squatting. The dreadful fact that people are being evicted from their family homes in order to keep the buildings empty doesn't seem to warrant a mention in this article from mercury news.
Instead the article dramatises the supposed danger that is posed by trespassers, continually citing the pepper spray that the realtors insist on carrying despite none of them actually knowing of any instances of a violent squatter.
Some realtors go further, like Kirsten Amodeo who has organised self defense classes so the families who've been evicted by banks can now be beaten by realtors. But if that doesn't learn them, Felicia Horkins (Amodeo's associate), only wishes she could carry a concealed weapon.

By the way, i stumbled across this story on this cool blog called SquatterCity. Check it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yawning Man

Yawning Man formed in 1986, and to reinforce the stoner stereotype, didn't get around to releasing any official records until 2005 when they released Rock Formations (click to download).
The album is described as "a melancholic mix of acoustic space rock with elements of surf music, as well as middle eastern guitar style".
Yawning man were one of the original desert rock bands and remain very influential to bands of the Palm Desert.
Reminiscing of the desert rock scene and Yawning Man's involvement, Brant Bjork formerly of Kyuss said;

Yawning Man was the sickest desert band of all time. You’d just be up there in the desert, everybody’d just be hanging, partying. And they’d show up in their van and just, mellow, drag out their shit and set up right about the time the sun was goin’ down, set up the generators, sometimes they’d just go up there and drink beers and barbecue. Sometimes it would be a scene; sometimes it would be very intimate. It was very casual and loose and everybody would like, while they’re playing, everyone would just lounge around. They were kinda like a house band. It wasn’t militant like Black Flag. It was very drugged, very stone-y, it was very mystical. Everyone’s just tripping, and they’re just playing away, for hours. Oh, they’re the GREATEST band I’ve ever seen.


This is very much worth the download. Rapidly shared for your convenience.

And another Gem from the Palm Desert;


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hugo Chávez - Paints a pretty picture

Much like Hitler, Venezuelan (quasi)revolutionary Hugo Chavez, has been revealed to have abit of an eye for painting.
And it also has been revealed that businessmen have an eye for the works created by the hero of the working class.
3 Businessmen recently bought this work "La Luna de Yare" or "The Yare Moon", for $255,000 in an Auction which started at $14,000.
Members of his party reportedly remarked that they were suprised of the price. Proceeds are expected to
go towards funding his socialist party.

I Scream, You Scream...
An anarchist Ice cream truck is touring about the United states offering helpful tips and propaganda to its customers, as well as delicious ice cream.
The truck drivers name is Aaron and he is a co-founder of The Center for Tactical Magic, which says of itself;

The Center for Tactical Magic engages in extensive research, development, and deployment of the pragmatic system known as Tactical Magic. A fusion force summoned from the ways of the artist, the magician, the ninja, and the private investigator, Tactical Magic is an amalgam of disparate arts invoked for the purpose of actively addressing Power on individual, communal, and transnational fronts. At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.
Aaron remembering his first customer says “My first customer was a little old lady who got an ice cream, and I asked if she wanted a piece of propaganda. She said: ‘Only one? I’ll take Anarchy, Black Panthers and Earth First.’ I was like, ‘Right on.’”

More Here

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Locked out

So i arrived at the house i had set my heart upon this morning, armed with a broom and tape measure, only to find that some goons had been sent around to screw the door to the frame.
Basically there is no way into the house, even for the owner, without breaking in now. So you can only imagine the house has been secured so it can continue to rot away in peace.

Here's to waste!

Anyway, on a more beautiful note, here we have the music of Steve Reich, remixed by various artists. This is pretty old now, but listening to Reich recently reminded me of my HSC year when i had to analyse this piece, different trains. Please listen, it's worth it.
This is one of three movements, America - before the war, which is followed by Europe - During the War and then After the War, obviously.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Home Improvement #1



Introducing; The House!

The dwelling is a modest 1 bedroom terrace about 2-3 Kilometers from the CBD. My rigorous researching leads me to believe that it has been unoccupied for well over a year, in which time it has been left to the mercy of the elements, and by the looks of things, vandals.

Every window is missing, there is a lot of debris on the floor, carpet needs cleaning, electricity and gas need connecting, the toilet needs to be sealed, yard cleaning up, shower head installed, new coat of paint and I'm sure there will be many more things to add to this list as i spend more time in the space.
The pictures below show the space as it was when it was first entered. I intend to update this section of the blog fairly regularly, detailing the work being done, and answering any questions i can from potential squatters or curious minds.
To view these posts, and these posts only, at the bottom of this post click the "home improvement" label.
Enjoy!

Front Door; A view from the hallway.

The Kitchen

Hot water System!

A Door (obviously)

The next few home improvements should be somewhat more interesting, and i hope to deliver some squaterlicous blogness to you soon. Take care.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nathan Rees

This is a photograph that accompanied this story about the corruption of the NSW Labor party in regards to their dealings with developers. But i think it's pretty appropriate now, if only Verity Firth were replaced with Carmel Tebbutt.

Nathan Rees sounds okay (relative), on paper, or more so, on his Wikipedia page.
He is a self described Westie, hasn't been a suit his whole life, formerly employed as a garbo and greenskeeper. But then again, Costa was an Ironworker-rigger and an engine driver for cityrail.
Rees also being an avid cycler - Hopefully will do something about the ruined cycleway, but I'm not holding my breath.

Rees' first few moves have been admirable, sacking Sartor and Costa - which Sartor hilariously dubbed "a mistake". But that is only 2 of 24 ministers, and then there is still the rest of the party to deal with.

For Tebbuts views on same sex adoption, see here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jeff Wall

"Now we are living at a moment when we have already imagined, and even in great and excessive detail, better ways of life than the one we are actually living. As a result, we often feel humiliated when we observe soberly the way we do live." - Jeff Wall, 1990.

Some works by Jeff Wall


Picture for Women 1979
Transparency in lightbox 1425 x 2045 mm


Jeff Wall A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) 1993
silver dye bleach transparency in light box, 87-1/4 x 148-1/2 inches

Milk 1984
Transparency in lightbox 1870 x 2290 mm

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Armed Party Poopers

"Riot squad police have shut down an illegal dance party in Sydney's inner suburbs sending home 1500 disgruntled party-goers." Reports Livenews.
The party was pretty awesome, with about 7 different area's set up throughout the factory, which had a really nice vibe. 3 floors, video installations, lights, lasers etc.

The cops, needless to say, over reacted to this, using unwarranted physical force on people who had just had their party needlessly shutdown.
Obviously upset they'd not been invited, they proceeded to invite all their friends including "Numerous additional police, including the Public Order and Riot Squad, the Dog Squad, Polair and Police Rescue"

From an email posted on a public forum; "To the party people - Your approach to modern life is an inspiration to part time anarchists, 8-ball sharks, lovers of cutting edge underground and all the other miscreants."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked

"Eurgh!" Was the general reaction by Tea Tree Gully Council to these works produced by Margaret Tuckey and Scott Eames.
According to the ABC "A painting of a nude woman by art lecturer Margaret Tuckey and a bust by emerging sculptor Scott Eames have been knocked back by Tea Tree Gully Council, in Adelaide's north-east.


The artists were told by organisers their pieces were inappropriate for an exhibition which was likely to be viewed by children"

Eames said he couldn't get his mind around the decision "in this day and age", whereas Tuckey commented on the "moral gaurdian" role assumed by the council. And in a post modern response Russel Starke of Greenhill Galleries said "I just think that it's astonishing in this day and age that these people may think that they're moral guardians".


Penrith
Penrith regional gallery will be hosting a number of different exhibitions between the 23rd of August and the 2nd of November, around the theme of Samoa, with both social history and visual arts looked at.
One of these that looks pretty amazing is "SAMOA MO SAMOA: SAMOA FOR SAMOA - THE STORY OF THE MAU:

This important exhibition, drawn from the Alexander Turnbull Photographic Archives of the New Zealand National Library, chronicles Samoa remarkable Mau Movement for Independence. Samoa was the first Pacific nation to achieve independence and the Mau strategy of highly organised passive resistance is a political model of great significance and an achievement of which older Samoans are most proud. This collection of historic photos records the leading figures and key events of Samoa's little known political history from colonial rule to independence."

Melbourne Students Recycle Buildings!
"STUDENTS have barricaded a Melbourne University-owned property demanding an end to the student housing crisis.


About 25 members from the Student Housing Action Collective [SHAC] have taken over a property in Faraday St Carlton that has been left vacant since 2005."
The super squatting students selected several sites left vacant by the university, which i believe are these sites here, nice find!

Sign their petition!

I hope their (SHAC) venture is more successful than ASHC who were involved in a similar action two years ago. Stay strong!

I too plan to squat a building in the near future, so stay tuned as I'll keep details a-coming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Protests grow from the barrel of a gun

War Profiteers are heading to the small town of Adelaide. The scum intend to meet on the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One, presumably to mourn the 40 Million casualties, and also the fact that they were not around to personally profit from the business opportunities that presented themselves as much of Europe attempted to kill one another.
Some Punks reckon that "The profits of war are of course, huge and for every person who has their life destroyed by a gun, a mine, a bomb, a razor wire fence or a steel capped boot, for every child orphaned by and for every woman raped in war, there's an arms dealer making a tidy profit."
They go on to remind us that "The last time the world's arms peddlars held a show in Australia, AIDEX'91, the Australian people, churches, unions, solidarity and green groups showed them
that they were not welcome here and successfully cancelled the proposed follow up show in 1993." So check these guys out.

This is what AIDEX'91 looked like:


While searching the interweb i stumbled across a link to this site, which i thought would be interesting for some of you. The Author says;

I've been planning this for a while now. Biking almost 4000 miles across the midwestern and eastern USA. If there's a definition of insanity I suppose that'd be it.

But I can tell you why I want to do this. Because I'm destined to live my life as a timid pencil pusher, at least until the day I get too old or too tied down to bike epic journeys. And I'm taking this opportunity to just say "F*** normality". I want to tell people that I did something so outrageous and insane, they wouldn't believe it.

I want to do it even if it kills me.

And if my bicycle breaks down midway, I'll walk.

We'll see what happens.
And you can see what happens, just check it out; http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/3510

Also! "SORRY Melbourne but Sydney is the only Australian city to be included in the first international version of the famous money board game, Monopoly.

The harbour city will appear on the game's red strip alongside New York and London, following a world wide poll on which cities should be included. " More.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some sounds


Tape from Stockholm.
This band plays largely ambient instrumental tracks very worth listening to. I'm not too familiar with them, though after listening for a short time i have decided they definatly warrant a mention on here.
They have a myspace located here where you can listen to and
download some tracks. And a kind blogger at http://3and4.blogspot.com/ has provided a link to access the album in its entireity - here.
It comes highly reccomended. I mean check out this review; "Tape stir up such forgotten feelings, they restore fading pictures we don’t really want to share with anyone else. Or in some cases have forgotten they were ever there in the first place. The aching slowness of these melodies awaken reluctant nostalgia; a forced sentimentality. And they do so without the aid of words, only with the purest music; the electricity in the air that surrounds the captured moment." – Andres Lokko

Something else pretty interesting is a project called Little People. I've always wanted to be shrunk, so it amazes me. Here are some photo's, but be sure to check out more from the official blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good(ish) News and Suicide Attempts

So on the very same day that Chris Evans announced changes to the policy of imprisonment without trial of people likely to have committed no offence, a man in Western Sydney's detention center of Villawood attempted suicide, Jamal Daoud has more;

On the same day of this good announcment, we learned that Chinese asylum seeker, Hongfei Wen, 35 years old, tried to commit suicide around 12 pm, Monday 28 July by stabbing himself by knife. My understanding that he was approached in the kitchen by around 10 security guards with a notice of deportation. He managed to grab a knife and threatened to kill himself if they would try to deport him by force. The security guards did not care and tried to catch him to remove him from the detention centre. He immediately stabbed himself in the stomach. His blood was spilt everywhere. Then he fell unconscious, when he was taken away by security guards. His friend do not know anything about him at the moment. They are very worried about his survival.

Jamal Daoud
The prison has also recently come under scrutiny over allegations of drug use and trafficking between guards, visitors and detainees.
The Age claims that the picture on the right shows a detainee preparing to mainline ice, while other photo's they received apparently show bags of Marijuana next to GSL paper work.
GSL however deny the claims saying that "Keeping drugs out [of] a centre like Villawood is one of our highest priorities. We really encourage our staff to blow the whistle." Blowing the whistle obviously being some sort of underground drug slang for smoking ice.
Chris Evans has also rejected calls by the opposition to allow a full police investigation into the matter. The opposition hilariously mentioned that the government had "a duty of care". A duty of care that was never more obvious then when the kind hearted John Howard said of a group teenage suicide pact, that people "often make threats and I think it's important people in my position understand that."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reffo's Let In

After years of suicides, self harm, hunger strikes, protests and breakouts, there is now reform that seems to perhaps be significant.
Chris Evans from the labor party suggests that "A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved".
The reform suggests that those who pose health or security risks will still face possible detention.
Though there is no mention of a change to who, the new ruling regime, will allow to stay. Those deemed by Rudd and company to be troublesome, liars or just not in that much danger at home, will presumably still be deported to war zones and poverty.

Advance Australia Fair!

But Chris isn't suggesting that this is the end of his great reforms saying that "A great deal more work needs to occur to develop a modern and robust system for management of people in immigration detention,"
However something about the words "modern and robust" and "management of people" don't seem to imply humane or compassionate.
Although Chris Evans is obviously a fucking saint, check out some of the cases which this suited bastard sitting in the halls of power on a healthy income in a Developed Nation thought weren't so bad;

* A single young woman from Ethiopia who was trafficked, enslaved by her employer and subjected to horrific abuse;
* An elderly couple from East Timor. Eight of their nine children are in Australia, and 6 of them are permanent residents. The couple fled violence and would be destitute upon return to Timor. The Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) flagged humanitarian considerations in this case as being appropriate for the Minister to consider;
* A family from a persecuted ethnic minority in the Ukraine whose 6 year old daughter was born in Australia. A suicide risk was flagged for the father. On Wednesday, after being told of his recent Ministerial refusal, he attempted suicide at the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre in front of his son.
* A young Kurdish man from Turkey who was detained and tortured in his home country. There is a real risk that he will be tortured upon return;
* A young man from China who was a member of an underground Christian church. There is a warrant for his arrest for his religious beliefs and he faces detention and torture upon return;
* A man from Sri Lanka who has been married to an Australian citizen for two years. He cannot return home to apply for a spouse visa because there is a warrant for his arrest as a result of his political membership;
* A woman from Sri Lanka whose nine siblings are all Australian citizens. Her daughter is a permanent resident of Australia. There are no members of her or her husband’s family remaining in her country country;
* A man of Tamil ethnicity from Sri Lanka who has been in Australia for 12 years and is the sole carer for his 91 year old mother. The mother is in the queue for an Aged Parent visa in Australia;
* A Sri Lankan father who has been in Australia for 10 years and whose immediate family, including his mother and three out of four siblings, are Australian citizens or residents. His wife’s two brothers and parents were killed during the tsunami;
* A 63 year – old East Timorese woman with a large extended family in Australia including her sister, two children and grandchildren. Due to the violence in her country she has not been able to locate her remaining family in East Timor
In not so surprising news, "AUSTRALIANS want to work less, saying they are overworked and their jobs interfere with their life."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Your Boss May be in Your Head

A proposed "new co-operative and constructive relationship" between Telstra management and workers seems even more a fairytale now than when it was dreamt up. The ACTU claims that Telstra Bosses used psychological profiles of workers in an attempt to exploit personal weaknesses and subtly push 15,000 staff onto AWA's.
The dodgy move by the scummy bosses at the shoddy telco came just a few days before AWA's were to be banned.
Telstra neither confirms nor Deny's the underhanded tactic instead suggesting that the Workplace ombudsman's report is Gospel and that the decision of the workers to sign should be respected - presumably under any circumstance. More here though.

DELINQUENTS!!
As part of their Art In Motion programme, Jay Katz and Miss Death of FBI fame will be screening some films that once struck fear into the heart of those with little else to fear.
These are the sort of high school "educational" films that were created using the most hippest and hoppest lingo and the most "radikool" directors, so that kids actually related very closely to them and really understood why the man was shovelling so much trash down their throats...
No just slamming, these films were and are hilarious and only get more and more so as time goes on - which is good because one of the films Why Vandalism is from 1955 (which must be almost a hundred years ago), and the other McGruff's Gang Alert is from 1990 (also a long time ago).
These two films look at the controversy that has surrounded urban youth artistic expressions and the different (or similar) ways the subject has been approached. The night sounds like it will be great.
Things start to get going at 7pm on the 2nd of August, which is a Saturday, and it's all going down at Penrith Regional Gallery. There are also some other film nights to follow which should be equally as good.
Now i leave you with some McGruff;


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Odds and Ends

Well firstly watch this old codger lose it;



Also! American artist Chris Jordan thinks "Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with", which i reckon sounds about right. Chris has created a number of works by visually representing some alarming statistics about the U.S, which i'd imagine we Australians wouldn't be able to mount a high horse about, physically.
The works are in a similar vein as this one Constitution, 2008. Which is a collage of 83,000 Abu Ghraib photographs.
The State, Beaurocrats and Corporate Hacks...
Have been busy destroying parts of a heritage listed canal turned cycle path that was won at the end of a 10year community battle in Western Sydney. The closure of an important part of this track means that cyclists still wanting a ride are forced to either risk traffic on a major road or illegally use the T-Way bus route.
The group calling itself CRAG (Canal Reserve Action Group) have kept tabs on the various parties involved in this comedic blunder of a construction project, and have published the
information on their website.
Cycling the path just yesterday was wonderful - untill of course i came to the (new) end of the track (pictured above). Rather dissapointing considering i should have ended at the prospect resevoir. (below)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Delusional" Protesters successful.

More than 40 protesters have been arrested at a climate action rally in Newcastle when they blocked a railway line delivering coal.

The Camp for Climate Action protest has shut down the main train line for most of the day.

Around 1,200 people have been protesting at the Carrington Coal Terminal, stopping three trains carrying 20,000 tonnes of coal from entering the terminal.
- ABC Full story here

Unlike other certain other Climate Camps around the world, this weekends camp in Newcastle seems to have included coal miners themselves, or at least one. Peter Kennedy a coal miner and unionist says we need to "move toward green energy" and "speak out against the forever growing cancer called coal mining."

And today activists have thrown a sabot again, this time at Kooragang Coal Terminal, also in Newcastle.
The 5 protesters seem to have chained themselves to a coal conveyor belt and halted the terminal completely for two hours according to a spokesman from the plant.
The protesters reckon that we need a "transition to a renewable energy economy." and that "International examples prove that renewable energy will create tens of thousands of jobs for those most affected by climate change and those long-dependant on the destructive coal economy." More here.

Meanwhile Barry O'Farrel calls protesters delusional and shoots at straw men in claiming "Everyone understands the need to adjust to climate change, it isn't going to happen overnight, it's unreasonable to expect it to happen overnight and we need to get real about this." Everyone apparently understands the need to adjust, but those bringing attention to this need are delusional, makes sense.

Anyway check out these pictures from here: