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The Revolution will not be Televised

October 1, 2006

Yesterday I was privileged to see the film ‘The Revolution will not be televised’ which is about the attempted coup that took place in Venezuela in 2002. The title, which is taken from the infamous Gill Scott Heron track, is ironic as this is one of the first coups to actually be caught on video in such detail. It was shot by a group of Irish cameramen who were going to follow President Hugo Chavez around for a year. They had already been filming Chavez for 7 months when the coup happened and were inside the Presidential Palace when the military took over and when the Presidential Guard loyal to Chavez mounted a counter coup after seeing almost 1000000 people surround the palace in protest. The footage is remarkable and the context of the situation is expertly positioned given the complexity of the situation.

Hugo Chavez is supposedly a very controversial figure and many world leaders in the west decry his government as a dictatorship and one of the most evil regimes in the world. The facts could not be further from the truth it seems. He has won 10 free and fair elections which is more than any serving head of state in any democracy. He is overwhelmingly supported by the poor who represent the majority of the population of Venezuela. He has ensured that much more of the vast oil wealth of the country is channeled to the poor, and not just to the rich elite. He has  promoted literacy and health care for the poorest of his citizens. He is controversial for trying to implement a model of democracy that is not based of market liberalism but rather on real redistribution of wealth and equality, and of course for antagonizing the US and other ‘democracies’. Last week at the UN Chavez described Bush as the devil and said that he could still smell the sulphur and the media subsequently leapt onto this ignoring all the other topics that he raised from eradication of poverty, to media influence in politics, American imperialism and most interestingly of all a recommendation to read Noam Chomsky’s book Hegemony or Survival. The book jumped on the Amazon best seller list from 160000th to 1st in a matter of days.

The film illustrates vividly the power of the media to influence events opinions and selectively disseminate and distort information. Under Hugo Chavez the media was very free but due to the television channels all belonging to the elite within the country, whose selfish interests were not going to be served by Chavez conspired during the coup to support and mobilize the opposition. The government was only able to air the truth through its own Channel 8 which was also seized briefly by the military. The film also makes clear that the opposition is being firmly supported and funded by the US so that it can secure a friendly government to ensure the oil supply. All in all it is an amazing experience to watch this film and I strongly recommend seeing this anyway that you can.

For more information you can also visit the Venezuela Information Centre.

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Critical Mass – London

October 1, 2006

On Friday I went on Critical Mass which is a monthly bicycle protest through London. The last Friday of each month cyclist from all over London gather in front of the National Theatre to set off on a journey through the streets of central London. The route is completely spontaneous and the person at the front of the protest decides where to take the group. The police took the organization to court to try to ban the ride because normally in order to protest you need to provide a route, but they lost and have been a little soar because of it over the summer. Yesterday however all the police were very professional and did not infringe on the enjoyment or show the agressivity that has been reported in the past months. There was a good turnout especially given the weather did not look good and the mass was indeed great as we set off. I met the protest at Blackfriars bridge and quickly met up with good friends. We then headed over the Thames and started to weave through the very centre of town. The principle of the protest is to reclaim the streets for bicycles for 2 hours a month. I am a regular cyclist and normally going about the City is a stressful business and a lot of concentration is required if you are to stay alive. During Critical Mass however because of the number within the group we are able to dictate the pace and in effect take over the streets. The Police now help by blocking streets and calming drivers especially taxi drivers who can get very irate. We meandered through to Trafalgar square and on to Piccadilly Circus. This is where the first of 3 stops would take place. This involved everyone stopping in the middle of the road and completely blocking all roads while chanting and lifting up bikes over our heads (for those with the strength or a light bike). We then went on to Oxford Circus and Marble Arch for 2 more junction closures. The reception from pedestrians and bus drivers in particular is great and it is an experience that is truly empowering. The long meandering snake continued up to Paddington and slithered down the A40. When it turned off we left to get a few drinks into us. All is all one of the best city cycle rides around. Get out and try it.

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National Climate March – November 4th

September 25, 2006

Rally at US embassy 12 Noon

This will be part of A Day of International Climate Protest the Saturday before the Nairobi Climate Talks with demonstrations demanding urgent action on climate all round the world. There are now more than 40 countries where plans are being made: http://www.globalclimatecampaign.org/ 

Speakers at the
US embassy Rally so far: 
George Monbiot, Colin Challen MP, Caroline Lucas MEP, Norman Baker MP, Zac Goldsmith. 

The Programme includes and Protest Bike ride starting at 10am from Lincoln’s Inn Fields followed by the main rally at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square at 12 and the I-Count Mass Gathering in Trafalgar Square at 2pm 

More info as it becomes available : http://www.campaigncc.org/ 

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Nuclear Power Debate

September 19, 2006

‘We must embrace nuclear power to solve global warming’

 

Yesterday I went to a very interesting debate on nuclear power and the role that it should play in the future of Britain’s energy supply. The debaters were Caroline Lucas of the Green Party and Tim Jackson of the Sustainable Development Commision speaking against the need for nuclear. Speaking for were Paul Domjan, an expert on energy security with the pro business think tank and Dr Patrick Moore co-founder of Greenpeace (yes sounds incredible but more later)

 

I feel that I should declare myself straight away and say that I am dead against the building of more nuclear power and that its use should be phased out as much as possible. The debate was lively and the audience distinctly pronuclear which made things even more inciteful as they tried to convince themselves that they were right, and succeeding in the great part.

 

Dr Patrick Moore cofounder of Greenpeace and now working at his own consultancy firm, Greenspirit, has an amazing past and holds very controversial positions given his environmental background. He was on the original Greenpeace boat that sailed out and started the organization, ironically to try and stop the
US testing nuclear bombs in 1971. He now believes in nuclear, GM, deforestation, increased use of plastics and the list just goes on. To find out more go to
http://www.greenspirit.com. He was at pains to remind everyone that it was a moral and proper decision to go for nuclear to avoid climate change, that it was cost effective by citing some disputed examples, that most fuel being used was in fact recycled fuel and that there would not be the mountains of waste the alarmist were predicting. The other main argument put forward for nuclear were that it was essential to develop to ensure that we were no longer totally reliant on our gas from places Russia and oil for the middle east and other unstable areas (mainly due to western involvement).

 

Caroline Lucas made a very impassioned case against the need for nuclear power in the energy mix of a future Britain. She stressed the very sensible proposition that the future should be a combination of energy efficiency, both in the home and business, which would reduce our carbon emissions by 40%, combined with a focus on renewables and making our existing power stations greener by carbon capture and storage. However she did not say exactly what technology she thought would be most viable to replace our existing power generation, nor any assurance that carbon storage was close to being a realistic proposition in the near term. The most convincing arguments for me came from Tim Jackson who delivered the performance of the night. He has just completed one of the most comprehensive reviews of the feasibility of nuclear power which you can read by clicking here. He focused on the white elephant of nuclear energy which is that noone know how much it really costs. No nuclear power plant has ever been decommissioned so that the land can be used again, no nuclear fuel has yet been stored in a permanent location (all English nuclear waste is still stored temporarily while the government decides what to do with it) let alone actually rendered safe to people. And for the moment the technology does not exist to dispose and process the waste of nuclear power. Also no nuclear power plant has yet been run without huge amounts of government subside and British Nuclear Fuel has sucked about 70 billion pounds over the last decades and have yet to dispose of waste. Finally he emphasised that even if we did build lots of new nuclear it would not dramatically reduce our carbon emissions (only 8% he claimed) so why bother with all the investment and risks of decommissioning.

 

At the end of the debate despite what I saw as convincing arguments from the anti nuclear side that audience for 75% in favour. I suppose this was not too surprising given that it was hosted by a conservative journal and business friendly think tank.

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Liquid Soul – Synthetic Vibes – Iboga Records

September 19, 2006

Once again Iboga has managed to release another brilliant progressive psy-trance album. Liquid Soul, from
Switzerland, started his project about two years ago with releases on labels like Plusquam, Blue Tunes, Domo and Iboga Records. These labels have managed to resist the push towards more and more progressive trance at the moment being influenced much more house beats with trance noises on top. Nicola, Liquid Soul, manages to ensure that the phat baselines that are the trademark of good progressive trance and the strong 4×4 rhythm will ensure maximum effect on the dancefloor. The array and choice of noises are also magnificent. All are new unreleased tracks except I get a Rush which was released on vinyl only a few months ago with a great Motion remix on the b-side
 

The album starts well with a slower introduction and continues to get more and more hectic with some enticing and absorbing sounds and rhythms. The sample in Crazy People as with so many vocal samples in trance these days adds nothing and takes away from what would be an excellent track. The album keeps hotting up saving the best for the second half of the album with Unannounced Portal and Capoccino certainly my favourite tracks of the album. Despite a few forays into sounds reminicient of his Eurotrance days the album is full of tracks that would grace any dancefloor with ease. He finishes with a great little chill out number to calm the senses again.

Rating – 8/10

Tracklist – to listen go to http://iboga.dk/index.php?release=IbogaCD42

  1. Synthetic Vibes
  2. Crazy People
  3. Escape
  4. The Source
  5. I get a Rush
  6. Unannounced Portal
  7. 6:15 am
  8. Capoccino
  9. Tagtraum

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Hello Blogosphere!

September 17, 2006

Here is the first post on my new blog. Look out for trance music news and mixes, photos, environmental activitism, sustainable electronics, philosophy, interesting tibits and alot more.

PeaceLoveUnityRespect