The corporate culture produces “just war” narratives to satisfy an insatiable appetite for violence, exactly what Star Wars delivers, except this time, I would argue, it’s been turned upside down in the service of a real empire: The US Empire.
I am not saying that The Force Awakens was intentionally made as an imperial piece of propaganda for US wars, but it’s hard not to make the connections between Disney’s history of racism and xenophobia, the total absence of the Dark Side’s politics (other than ISIS like nihilism), and the way in which the “good guys” are always innocent and being attacked by an evil force that literally hates their freedom. The Dark Side in The Force Awakens is reconstituted as The First Order that explicitly engages in an act of mass terrorism to destroy the Republic, i.e democracy.
Review/commentary: Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Parable that Supports US Empire by Chris Burnett Spoilers!
On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protesters waved signs bearing messages such as "FCC -- Don't Nix Net Neutrality," Don't Neuter the Net," and "Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net."
This Southern California FCC field office is located in unmarked suite 660 of a large industrial park also housing a for-profit college. Despite chants of "Hey, FCC? Come out! We've got some stuff to talk about!" no employees appeared to address the assembled citizens.
If the FCC approves paid Internet "fast lanes," websites that pay hefty fees will be easier for the average consumer to access. On the flip side, small businesses, start-ups, and anyone who can not afford the large fees will have their Internet traffic sent to the "slow lane." #SaveTheInternet refers to the campaign to keep the Internet free from discrimination and defend the principle of net neutrality.
Or, in the words of Thursday's rally, "Google fast, my blog slow? To that I say: no, no, NO!"
Full story and photos: Los Angeles Joins Nationwide #WaveOfAction Occupation of FCC Offices to #SaveTheInternet by Los Angeles People's Media
The Indigenous movement, Idle No More, now several months old, has been ignored by the mainstream media. On Friday March 15, over 50 people stood in front of CNN, drawing attention to this. The event lasted four hours and coincided with rush hour. With traffic often at a standstill, we literally had a captive audience who had time to read our signs and take flyers. Initially, CNN said they would come out, take pictures, and interview some of us about our concerns, but we were ignored (except when they didn't want us too close to the entrance).
One of the several speakers said the media doesn't want to cover the movement "because we are waking up. We're waking up, and this is just the beginning of Idle No More."
Article and photos: CNN, Do You See Us Now? by Ross Plesset | | Video: CNN's Media Blackout! by Naui Ocelotl Huitzilopochtli
Update: Idle No More Returns to CNN by Ross Plesset
In the spirit of furthering understanding and communication within and between our many communities LA IndyMedia brings Film-Night back with the film "Precious Knowledge." Sunday October 14, 7pm at Gateway Portal in West LA. One of the filmmakers will be present for a discussion.
"Precious Knowledge" is an important documentary that exposes the blatant racism that the State Superintendent of Education in Arizona recently displayed in cutting out the successful ethnic-studies program at Tucson High School.
The film follows the lives of four students and several teachers as they fight to save their classes and the program that became an educational lifeline for them.
The disenfranchised high school seniors became academic warriors and community leaders in the face of losing a successful program that has become a national model of success. In a climate where the national average of Mexican-American drop-outs is 45 percent, 100 percent of the students enrolled in the Tucson High ethnic studies classes graduated from high school and 85 percent of them went on to college.
The filmmakers spent an entire year in the classroom filming this innovative social-justice curriculum, documenting the transformative impact on students who become engaged, informed, and active in their communities.
This story is important to all of us; as Americans and as Angelinos. In our city Ron Gochez, a high school social studies teacher and important activist, currently running for city council, was recently fired for teaching ethnic-studies courses in his South LA classroom.
Come join LA IndyMedia, in conjunction with the Gateway-Portal in West LA for our screening of the film followed by a discussion.
Calendar announcement | | Trailer
In her first solo exhibit, photographer (and contributor to LA IndyMedia) Isabel Avila explores the dual identities of Native American and Mexican American cultures, emphasizing people active in their communities. Avila's photographs, taken over the last few years, are complimented by video discussions with the photo subjects and other people, including Gloria Arellanes, one of the early Brown Berets and member of the Tongva community. (Excerpts of these talks are included in the article below.) The free exhibit is currently at the Vincent Price Museum through December 8. It will then then relocate to Rancho Cucamonga's Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art and run from January 22 to March 16, 2013. (Location details within the article.)
"Through video dialogue and portraiture, the museum goers are not just given facts to go away with but are also left to make their own connections with this subject matter in their own lives," Avila explained.
Article: Isabel Avila's "Parallel Worlds" at the Vincent Price Art Museum by Ross Plesset, photos by Isabel Avila
Most readers here already know about the effects of plastic on birds and sea life--although the footage shown here is even worse than anything I've seen. There is also footage of impoverished people in China sorting through OUR "recyclables" as their children loiter about and pollution from a processing plant poisons the air.
But most revealing of all (to me, anyway) is the effects plastic seems to be having on us humans, including, perhaps, the increase we're seeing in Autism; Attention Deficit Disorder; early onset of puberty; male infants becoming more feminine and females more masculine; and lower sperm count.
Also insightful is the film's revelations about the powerful American Chemistry Council, which is made up of plastic and oil interests, including Chevron BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Dow, DuPont, 3M, Honeywell, and Bayer. ACC spends huge sums of money battling initiatives that would ban plastic bags. Some of their cute pro-plastic bag slogans include "save the plastic bag!"
Review: Important New Film "Bag It!" Playing on PBS This Week by R
The American Indian Movement (AIM) is planning a demonstration outside the MTV Music Awards in L.A. on June 6. People of all races are being encouraged to attend, and participants are being asked to wear red shirts. A second action may occur simultaneously on the east coast. (Additional information can be found here: http://www.aimsb.org
Recently, MTV ran an episode of its "reality" show The Dudesons. In it, four buffoonish Finnish men visit Buffalo Hills, California in the hopes of becoming "honorary Native Americans." Their "rites of passage" include riding a canoe down a normally waterless hill, a "rite" called "Balls of Steel," and another that involves "Indians" breaking other "Indians" out of jail.
According to AIM, MTV has not apologized for the content on the show nor have they ceased broadcasting it.
More about the show: MTV's The Dudesons Offends Many American Indians
The table for the Open Source Voting Consortium at the L.A. Linux Expo '09.
In the spring of 2008, after years of getting p.o.'d at Microsoft on almost a daily basis, I switched over to Linux (free, non-proprietary software). I had just gotten a new computer, and a friend who was setting it up for me, offered Linux as an option. This seemed a bit risky since Linux sounded less user-friendly than Microsoft, and I am not a technically-savvy person. Yet I loved the idea of being free of Microsoft and proprietary software. I took a chance and went with Linux. In the ensuing year, my computer sessions became markedly less stressful--it was usually at zero.
. . . On February 19th of this year, I attended the 2009 Linux Expo in L.A. Below are conversations I had with a few of the vendors.
Story and photos: Transitioning to Linux and a (Late) Report on the 2009 Linux Expo L.A. by RP | RELATED: LA IMC 10th Anniversary - Technology Workshop by Mallory Knodel
Like the original Transformers movie of 2007, Transformers 2 is unapologetic about its role as a recruiting tool (as discussed in this
commentary from CAMS
(Coalition for Alternatives to Militarism in Our Schools) and in this critique from the Newswire:
"This weekend I saw the new Michael Bay film. The only thing that deserves prominence in TRANSFORMERS 2 is the careful valorization of military disobedience. . . . [M]ilitarism is a terrible phenomenon which is reinforced in all of the social institutions. Media and culture can turn create slaves faithful of the military values. Is that not what happened in Nazi Germany?"
Full story: TRANSFORMERS 2 by Fabio de Oliveira Ribeiro
The film is set sometime in the future and concerns Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Pena), whose Oaxacan village is strangled by water privatization and U.S. military intervention via drone airplanes. Memo must find work in the north, but physically entering the U.S. is no longer possible: the border has finally become impenetrable. Instead, he is hooked up to a virtual reality system in Tijuana, where he controls a robot at an American construction site. (Mexican workers manipulate robots at other distant locations, too, including slaughterhouses.)
At a recent preview, director Alex Rivera remarked: "It's amazing to me how things that five years ago would seem surreal, or would seem like it should be in a movie and be bizarre or disgusting, or things that were in a movie called Terminator--this idea of robot warfare--that used to be science fiction, and now there it is in the news, not even on the front page anymore," Rivera said. "We become so accustomed to it, but I'm hoping this movie makes some of those things ugly and bizarre again and that we can talk about it."
Full story: Alex Rivera Discusses His Film Sleep Dealer by RP
I thought Fuel was very well-made, important, and informative--there's a lot to absorb. I don't agree with every point of view expressed in the film, but I realize the movie has to communicate to diverse people. . . . Still, the movie features a lot of provocative ideas like vertical farms (skyscraper-like farms that would exist in the middle of cities and other places where space is scarce), and there is some great historical information. For example, details of Rudolf Diesel's sudden and very suspicious death is discussed as well as the long and insidious history of Standard Oil (which was broken up 100 years ago but is now reunited as Exxon-Mobil). Also, a compelling case is made that Prohibition was really about stopping a car that Ford put out that ran on ethanol. As soon as Ford gave up on this car, Prohibition was lifted.
. . . I was glad to see depictions of monorails in the film (though they're never discussed). I think they could be a solution to some of our problems (at least until our population crisis is dealt with--if it is ever dealt with), as they have been in other countries for a century. . . .
Article: "Fuel" (review) by RP
Humble Beauty is an hour documentary that tells the story of talented homeless and formerly homeless men and women who, despite a daily struggle for survival, paint and create art in the worst area of Los Angeles known as Skid Row. People will make art, no matter how humble the circumstances.
The film includes spontaneous moments plus intimate interviews with oil, acrylic and watercolor painters, charcoal, pen & crayon sketchers, collage makers and paper mache sculptors. Some artists find their art supplies in garbage cans and dumpsters. They draw on old paper bags.
Article: HUMBLE BEAUTY: Skid Row Artists Documentary by Letitia Schwartz & Judith Vogelsang Photos:HUMBLE BEAUTY photos by Letitia Schwartz & Judith Vogelsang DVD Cover: HUMBLE BEAUTY DVD cover
Australia seems to be far ahead of the U.S. in terms of producing science fiction movies with content. Alien Visitor (originally released as Epsilon in 1997) makes blunt statements about our civilization's disregard for nature and the environment. One reason why such a film is possible in Australia may be because that country has already begun to feel the impact of our pollution (the same reason why permaculture caught on there much sooner).
Review: I Wish More Science Fiction Films Were Like This
The Los Angeles Independent Media Center is proud to present the film, Bastards of the Party
. The film explores the creation of two of Los Angeles's most notorious gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, from the perspective of the Los Angeles community. The documentary features interviews with gang members; historian Mike Davis, whose book "City of Quartz"
inspired the film's title; former FBI agent Wes Swearingen; and Black Panther, Geronimo Pratt. The 2006 documentary film was produced by Antoine Fuqua and directed by former Bloods gang-member Cle Sloan.
The film screens this Friday, May 16th at 7:30 pm at Cafe Mariposa located in Echo Park at 1547 Sunset Blvd. See Calendar for details.
Update: LA Indymedia Film Night Report Back
A narrative film challenging the official story of 9/11 premiered in Los Angeles in January and continues to show on weekends, including President's Day. This film is a damning look at the media's coverage of 9/11, propaganda, and a piercing look at the complex search for truth. The Reflecting Pool--a narrative film that recently premiered in Los Angeles-- opens with a television interview of a journalist who has just written a book on Communist propaganda in the Soviet Union.
The journalist, Alex Prokop, is asked by his editor to review a video about September 11th and write an article comparing the official narrative--as expressed in the 9/11 Commission Report--to the facts about the event. Guided in his task by Paul Cooper, the father of one of the victims who has become an ardent researcher on the topic, Prokop spends two weeks in New York and Washington D.C., interviewing people and discovering damning information never mentioned in the 9/11 Report. The FBI becomes involved, and Prokop is attacked by a lawsuit and the media in an effort to discredit his story.
From the newswire:
The Reflecting Pool by Carol Brouillet
Since the late 1990s, activist Reverend Billy has been using his "surreal inventiveness" to raise awareness about the consequences of modern consumerism--including, among other things, the destruction of communities and products made with sweatshop labor.
The Reverend was created shortly after actor Billy witnessed his home, Time Square, being "turned into a mall." As he recalls: "Disney was signing this amazing Manifest Destiny deal to evict small vendors, and police were picking up anybody who didn't look as if they were in possession of a credit card. And that was happening before my eyes. . . . I had to ask myself: 'Who's shouting here? Who's really getting out there raising their voice a little bit?' It was the sidewalk preachers."
From the newswire:
"What Would Jesus Buy?" (review) by R. Plesset
July 20, 2007: On Friday night, Neighbors for Peace & Justice presented Red Hill, a student project from the Echo Park Film Center about the history of activism in Echo Park. (The film is described here on page 10: Epian Ways
. ) In all, at least 70 people were present. Many veteran activists attended as well as newer activists.
Echo Park became known as Red Hill (as well as Red Gulch, Mt. Moscow, and Lenin's Hill) in the 1940s because of the large concentration of activists, including communists. Jean Torre of Neighbors for Peace & Justice introduced the movie and facilitated a discussion afterwards. Full story: High Turnout for "Red Hill" Screening by RP
In December 2001, faced with a collapsing economy and a government that failed to respond to the people's needs, Argentina exploded into massive protests. What we saw were the four successive presidents thrown out of power, dramatic roadblocks called piquetes, and the masked protesters who organized them. But behind some of the piquetes lay an intricate network of neighborhood organizations that had as their ultimate goal autonomy and self-sufficiency for their community.
This video is a compilation of interviews and visits with four Unemployed Workers' Movements of Argentina. Come hear about their projects: everything from bakeries and soup kitchens to organic farms and gardens, even their own schools and neighborhood health centers. And listen to the organizers discuss their operating principles--autonomy, horizontal decision-making and direct democracy--and the day-to-day challenges they face.
LOS ANGELES, August 31, 2006 -
A public hearing with two of the five commissioners of the FCC was held Thursday this past week on the USC campus. This was the first of six such hearings to be held around the country. The hearing was presented by the Latino Media Council
in partnership with Media Alliance
and Free Press.
The focus of the hearing was diversity in the media and media ownership. After opening remarks by the two commissioners the public was able to address the commissioners. All speakers were united in their opposition to any further consolidation of media ownership.
Full report with mp3 audio: Report Back: FCC Public Hearing on Media Ownership
"This is just too good a story not to share. Obviously, the corporate media here has not been interested in telling this tale, as it could give people ...ideas. This story, from Narco News, shares the inspiring story of women who took matters into their own hands when their government oppressed them and the corporate media refused to tell the tale. Banging on pots and pans, they took over Channel 9, ousted the staff, occupied the station themselves, and began broadcasting, for the first time, the TRUTH. More...
"Mercenaries 2: World in Flames," created by Los Angeles based [Pandemic]/[Bioware Studios], simulates a mercenary invasion of Venezuela in the year 2007. Pandemic is a subcontractor for the US Army and CIA funded Institute for Creative Technologies, which uses Hollywood techniques to mount war simulations in California's high desert in order to conduct military training. "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" simulates destruction in downtown Caracas, and promises to leave no part of Venezuela untouched.
U2's Bono, well recognized for his campaigns to reduce poverty and treat AIDS in Africa is backing a videogame which promotes the invasion and destruction of Venezuela in order to check "a power hungry tyrant" who has "seized control of Venezuela and her oil supply." Bono has failed to respond to concerns raised by the Venezuelan Solidarity Network about his funding of this project.
"Mercenaries 2: World in Flames," created by Los Angeles based Pandemic/Bioware Studios, simulates a mercenary invasion of Venezuela in the year 2007. Pandemic is a subcontractor for the US Army and CIA funded Institute for Creative Technologies, which uses Hollywood techniques to mount war simulations in California's high desert in order to conduct military training.
LA Based Pandemic Studios Creates Videogame with Venezuela Invasion Theme by Venezuela Solidarity Network
HOLLYWOOD -- Underneath a [Disney] marquee promoting "pirates," The Mexica Movement, an Indigenous Rights Educational Organization, called for an immediate international boycott against The Walt Disney Company and all of its holdings. The announcement was made in front of Disney's El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard before local media (including a Fox affiliate from Hong Kong which later broadcast the story across China).
The Mexica Movement is launching this boycott because Disney employs talk show hosts PAUL HARVEY and DOUG MCINTYRE, who have spread the Minutemen/SOS white supremacist agenda against the Mexican and Central American communities in the United States. (Mexican and "Central American" descent people are in their vast majority an Indigenous people, both Full-blood and Mixed-blood).
MEXICA MOVEMENT LAUNCHES DISNEY BOYCOTT
by John Q Public
John Earl of the OC Organizer website, a lighting rod of activist news in OC, has sent a call out for interns to work at this new venturem OC Voice. Their publication will be supported by ads, and they are looking for ad sales interns. They are also looking for reporters.