A Late Nod to 1 May

The presidential elections in Austria are happening right now and it came down to a right wing candidate and a green/left candidate. I was just asked to write why I’m supporting the green/left guy and I wrote a little statement which I’d like to share here as well:

In the age of globalization, which brings along the insecurities, inequality, destruction of the environment and of natural resources, overpopulation, migration and loss of human values, the left – which for me means humans before capital, and with each other, not against each other – is the only way to survive. I choose left for my son and the planet he’s going to inherit.  And if I could choose a mother, that’s whom I would choose. Because I believe our planet (and our civilization) destroyed by male values can only be rescued by switching to female modus operandi: nourishing, repairing, preserving, reconciling and being in tune with nature.

We don't have much time left.

Happy May 1 to all you workers!

It's International Workers' Day and people all around the world are out in the streets reminding of what workers fought for almost 130 years ago (and  in many countries is still lacking): fair treatment of the workers, fair wages, 8h work days, holidays.

It is surely no coincidence that yesterday, OECD issued a new study warning about growing inequality and a desperate need for tax reforms. It already sounds boring but: While rich are getting richer, their taxes are drastically sinking.

Here the link to OECD's study:

http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/OECD2014-FocusOnTopIncomes.pdf

And an image from Barcelona today:

Karl Marx Manga Becomes Bestseller

After Europe re-discovered Karl Marx's work, the trend is moving on: a Karl Marx manga turned into a hit in Japan, selling 70,000 copies since December. The dramatic shift to the left in Japanese literary tastes has even revived domestic socialist tracts of the 1930s: one of the strongest selling books of the year, at nearly half a million copies, is Kanikosen - a savagely bleak, novel depicting violence, exploitation and revolution aboard a crabmeat canning ship.

It seems that we all had enough.....

marx

Goodbye Lenin!

Yesterday, I watched “Goodbye Lenin!” a German movie from 2003. A fantastic movie, I can highly recommend it. Great music, sweet humour, excellent art direction. But the story is the winner. It is about a family in DDR, East Germany, 1989-1990. The mother is a party member, big believer in DDR and socialism. She suffers a heart attack and falls into a comma and while she is in the comma, the Berlin wall collapses and Germany unites. The mother wakes up from the comma after eight months but is still very weak and the doctors order her two kids to watch out because even a slightest excitement could kill her. So they decide to pretend nothing happened – they create a completely artificial world and keep DDR living for her, even filming news she is watching every day. But one day, she gets up and sees the influence of West Germany on the streets – in cars and ads. Her kids explain that the West Germany is suffering a recession, the unemployment is rising and people are unhappy and fed with capitalism, its “elbow” character and a world in which a new car and a new video recorder are one’s main objectives in life. So they turn the picture around – they show her pictures of masses escaping into West Germany and make them into West Germans escaping into East Germany, refugees who escape the cruel and unfair capitalism to live in DDR’s fair socialism. And somehow, it all seems so believable…

Congratulations to Arte’s programme editors, because the timing just couldn’t be better.

And a great tip for a fun movie evening:

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

Capitalism is Dead (no worries, will be put on life supporting machines)

I can just say “Capitalism is dead.” Never thought I could say this still in my 30’s!!!

So what now?

In my fairy tale, we (they) would admit we (they) failed and see how we could turn this catastrophe into a new system which works and is fair. Save what can be saved. Enough of economic/financial pixie magic! Greets to Mr. Marx!

In real life, we (they) will take this corpse and put some make up on it and make it work. Somehow. And yes, YOU will pay for the make up! Of course Mr. Flud gets to keep his $460 million compensation. And no, he will not donate anything for the lipstick!

And in real life a corpse with lipstick cannot function, so it will keep on collapsing while we (they) keep on drenching whatever can still be drenched out. Until our corpse turns into nothing but a pile of ashes.

Yes my dears, we’ll all be in that pile.

Ashes to ashes……

 

Coming Home for Christmas

I still have to decide if being back in the civilisation, including all its technical blessings, is good or bad.

Well, the good thing is that coming back felt a bit like coming home for Christmas. On 5 August, before I left, I wrote (and you debated, thank you!) about starting to save the world by switching off the financial markets. I came back and “swoosh!” the markets are trying to switch themselves off! Mr. Bush and his bailout plan are trying to stop Santa from fulfilling my wish, but even the fact that the system stripped itself down to show its starved-to-death-and-decayed-with-disease body felt like receiving a big Christmas present. Yes, now we all officially know that the system is NOT working. And hey, this happened much sooner than I expected! The funny thing was hearing about how “we need to save the financial system” for the past few days sounds like singing Halloween songs during Xmas. Wrong! Sweethearts, it is so clear now that it is not the financial markets that need to be saved and changed – it is the whole socio-political system. Yes, I know it would be like having 100 Christmases in one. One big orgasmic blast. I will not be that impatient.

So, off I am to vote (Austria is selecting a new parliament because ours is also not in the best shape). And guess who I will vote for?

Santa.  

Startas

I am writing an article about Startas, tennis shoes worn by everyone who grew up in Yugoslavia. They were white and affordable to everybody. Together with our blue school uniforms, they were a part of the socialist ideology of equality for all. Nobody had much, or different for that matter of fact, but everybody had what they needed. When we wanted to be different, we had to use our own creativity.

The shoes used to be produced in Vukovar, the city that was totally ruined by the Serbian army in the attack on Croatia in early 1990s. The production started in 1976, in a factory that employed 22,000 people. 5 millions of pairs used to be produced a year.

And now M.Massarotto, a Croatian designer who used to work for Gucci and Custo Barcelona, decided to re-launch the famous shoes. He created 16 cool models, with prices varying from €28-70. And I was thinking about what a brilliant symbol those shoes are for the transition from one socio-political system to the other. All it takes you now to be different is money. And the more money, the coolest your “difference”. You don’t need to waste your time inventing and creating anymore. All you need to do now is – pay.

www.longlivestartas.com

Ana's plan (forget Marshall)

First six steps of Ana Tajder’s plan to save the world:

  1. Switch off the financial markets. Just like that. They are anyway nothing but legalised crime. OK, softer version: tax them, but heroically! No, I changed my mind again  – switch them off!
  2. Put all big companies under state control. What is that shit about Coca-Cola buying water wells and Time Warner deciding about what we think?
  3. Limit wealth (500 million [€ or $, I don’t care] should be enough for any rich person. More is not doing anyone any good. And definitely is stolen. The rest should be given to state for the projects that will benefit ALL
  4. Wake the governments up (!) – only princesses are allowed to sleep for 100 years!
  5. Remind those sleeping princesses about their job description: serving, protecting and guiding their people and assuring well being for ALL. Not: licking capital’s ass. If they are not capable of doing that, do what you do with every employee who is not capable of doing their job: fire them. No golden handshake – employment office. Eventually retrain them into… don’t know…gardeners or something similar, where they can’t do much damage.
  6. Find someone who is capable of being the government and serving the people. Ooooopssss! I know, it is going to be a hard job. But maybe they exist.

OK, that should be enough for the start.

The Art of Criticism

Last Friday, this critical Miss was attending a conference on criticism, “Art of Critique” http://transform.eipcp.net/conference  And just as I walked into Flex, the grungiest club in Vienna in a fur coat many years ago, now I walked into this conference in Wuk, an even grungier place, clutching a red Hermes look-alike bag under my arm. No, it is not a real one, but in this place, it could be a legitimate reason for a murder. So here I was, in this big factory hall full of people with raster hairdos, cargo pants and torn sneakers, trying to keep myself and my bag invisible. The show started: first, two artists present their work, one video from the G8 summit protest in Heiligendamm and the second from a “reclaim the streets” protest in London. I am not sure if documenting can be called art, but ok. I also call myself a writer. So, we quietly watched those videos of young people turning protest into a big party, sewing colorful costumes, dancing samba on the streets and having fun.

Movies finish, discussion starts. Artists bullshit, audience’s questions ask for more bullshit and I am bored to death by theories of images and symbolism and protest and activism. There is only so much bullshit I can take, so after 2h of the raster audience tapping the shoulders of raster artists, I decide it is time for this Miss to speak up. I sign for the mike.

“The goal of protest is change. We have this kind of protest for quite some time already, but it seems that the goal has been forgotten. The only change that is happening is for the worse. Rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer, people are rioting because they are hungry. And the protest seems to have become protest just for the fun of it. The pictures of students throwing Molotov cocktails do not reach or touch anyone anymore. The shock factor is long gone. So I believe we desperately need a new level, a new version of protest, if we want to achieve change. How do you as artists envision a new form of protest which can make a difference again?”

I got an applause. The artists were angry and speechless. One spoke up and explained that change takes time, “just remember how long it took the feminists’ or workers’ movement to bring change”. I grabbed the mike back “Those movements happened hundreds of years ago and back then, time had a different dimension. In today’s world, change can happen very quickly. Especially when you look at the other side of the system, the beholders of the capital – they are able to create a true revolution within 5 years.”

The moderator closed the conference with this statement. Artists stayed seated, discussing vigorously, maybe how to quickly organize and assassination of the girl with a red Hermes bag. I got myself a drink and talked to people who approached me congratulating and saying that my question was the only clever thing said in those 2h. Not that I am bragging. But the point is that it proved again that closing yourself in a circle of same opinionated people, and trying to change the world outside, quickly turns into nothing but masturbation. The only way to be relevantly critical and know what you are talking about, and how you can change what is not working, is to stay open and take part in all aspects of the world you are criticizing. Just hanging out in a closed world of intellectual masturbation and Birkenstock fashion is not going to give you the power, or relevance, to change anything.

So, to keep myself grounded on all levels, I did just that: I went to Le Meridien, to the poshest party in town to drink champagne. And dance with my bank.

Welcome

People are rioting because they are hungry.

Technology is rapidly advancing.

Corporations are proudly showing of their rising profits.

Middle class is getting poorer and unhappier.

Rich is getting richer.

Stars get paid millions for a photo of their baby.

Virtual financial bubbles are bursting but nobody is loosing (their job or their wealth).

Health systems are bankrupted while money is being sent to help the poor made poor by other countries.

Tax payers are subsidizing multinational corporations just so they can few months later fire the very same tax payers en masse.

Olympic Games are being boycotted because of politics.

Hundreds are dying in Iraq daily for absolutely nothing.

In countries which fight wars in name of democracy, nothing happens when their own people loudly scream “no”.

Democracy became a public joke.

Working hours are increasing, buying power decreasing.

Masses of 29 years old end up in psychiatric hospitals with a burnout.

Is it all really about getting even richer and more powerful? Or did the game slip out of control and took a destructive life of its own?

Nobody understands what is really going on.

But it is not good.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Or Matrix.

You chose.

Well isn’t this democracy at it’s finest?