Picture by W oznia k - www.wozwoz.net
This month - and I am really sorry about those who expected a lighter and more joyful editorial - but I have been noticing too much abuse and too many swindles and this makes it difficult for me to conform with just a little criticism. At the risk of bothering you, I have tried to write an editorial which, despite being filled with relentless criticism, brings some lucid optimism to help us pass from words to action.
Summer has arrived in Europe with a wave of heat and of generalized optimism. It is true that The wreck of the Prestige is still vomiting crude oil on the Spanish and French coasts, but the victory of Real Madrid in the Spanish League and of Berlusconi's Milan AC in The Champion's have enlivened us. It is also true that in Afghanistan and in Iraq people are still waiting for the promised democracy to turn into deeds, but only the joy of seeing ten Afghans delighted at the prospect of shaving off their beards and three Iraqis hitting Sadam Hussein's portrait with their sandals was well worth dropping tons of TNT over their fields, towns, hospitals and villages. It is true that probably there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq's phanton labs and that The Axis of Good is likely to have tampered a little with the special reports of their intelligence service, but it is well known that there is no science without conscience. The road map takes us to a dead end, but it was time time for us to be able to take a plane to exotic summer destinations without fear. In Morocco, freedom of expression stands for hunger strike, but the relations between Spain and Morocco are at their best moment, since the coronation of the young monarch. After weeks of abstention, the Ramadan is over and we can go back to drinking Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, Fanta, Lipton, Aquarius, Gatorade, Tropical, Bacardi, Camel, Winston, Malboro, Benson & Hedge, Mc Donald's while the Coca- cola can and Marlboro's cigarrettes are somehow shipped to places that medical supplies can never reach.
But now, instead of bothering you with my battles, I will take the opportunuty to write about what is new in our webpage this month. Then, those who feel like reading the editorial to the end will be able to reflect about the three themes which could have served as a basis for three different editorials. As I found it difficult to choose, I decided to offer you all three for the price of one, once it is summer sales time. These are:
1. The right to shelter
2. The state of exception in Guantanamo
3. The day of the Beast has arrived! A DIFFERENT WORLD IS POSSIBLE!
This month radiochango is incorporating two new groups to the list of artists. In accordance to our spirit, we have chosen to add a well-known group as well as a new band.
The well-known group is OZOMATLI from Los Angeles, a band whose work we have been enjoying for years and which we have been desiring to add to outr gallery for some months now, more precisely since their concert in Barcelona, in which they emerged from amid the audience to climb the stage and overwhelm us with enough energy for the full two hours of their concert. On the next day a murderous review appeared in La Vanguardia and we dedicate our article to the music-loving journalist who wrote it - hoping that he may see them again very soon in Barcelona and change his mind. In our own opinion, this group represents an unique fusion of the rhythms and cultures found in the American melting-pot.
Besides that, the band that has never parted with their commitment to social causes in a country where it is becoming increasingly difficult to claim one's rights.OZOMATLI is proof that it is possible to fight and to dance from the very depth of the Beast's heart.
On the other hand, the revelation group of the first semester comes from a region said to nurture less musical multicultural fusion than Barcelona. As if to prove the contrary, from Madrid/ Vallekas SR. ANTIPIRINA brings their contribution to the musical scene. If you do not like aspirin and your head is aching from exposure to so much BS on TV, take two songs of dadaistic antipirin nd you will notice immediate acceleration of your brain activity.
While we add new artists, we are preparing for the next months, especially through our involvement in festivals. The first will take place from the 1st to the 3rd of August in the South of Belgium and is called Esperanzah! There we will be able to see, among others, Amparanoïa, Cheb Balowski, Che Sudaka, Omar Sosa, Babylon Circus and Eliades Ochoa. The other festival in which we are involved will take place in September in Argelés, South of France (almost at he Catalan border with Spain) and among the participants are Ojos de Brujo, Le Peuple de l'Herbe, Massilia Sound System, Che Sudaka, La Colifata Sound System, Raul Paz, and several other artists.
Radiochango will continue to have the priceless collaboration of Ignacio and Ramón for the Social Conscience section as well as the musical-graphic-textual interventions of Manu's Radiolina. He will go on with the JAI ALAI KATUMBI tour through the South of France and will take part in several festivals from late July to the end of August. With some days' delay we wish him a happy birthday in the name of all changos. May he have many more birthdays to celebrate on the road and on stage.
Hugs for you people...
Now, for those who are more interested in rebellion, here are some of the themes which challenged me this month and which I want to share with you, so that we can try to work out some solutions.
1. Right to Shelter
The Spanish Ministry of Development, fosters the development of local real estate agents' mafias. Last time I was in Madrid I attended the Aguascalientes meeting. There were some very interesting discussions which took place in "el Laboratorio" (occupied building) with the interventions of Fernando León, Manu Chao, Javier Corcuera, Carlos Taibo, Antonio Negri, Lucas Casarini,… and the presence of people like Amparanoïa, El Ruso (HCD), Ramon Chao, Nilo MC, among others… Well, last month "el Laboratorio" was evacuated by the forces of law and order. And what for? Well, to leave it unoccupied as it was before.
At the same time the best practices of the real estate agencies in the Madrid area were come to light amid scandal. Apparently the press was the only group unaware of such practices. The real estate agencies persuade mayors to give them cheap land, free shares of public land and authorisation to build where no one had ever manged to obtain it. In exchange of what? Juicy donations to finance political campaigns and personal interests. Besides that, the Real Madrid -whose director is also a real estate agent - buys a new player every year thanks to the 20 year mortgage of its sports town, granted to the club by all its contributing members.
The purchase of apartments which allowed for the laundering of dirty money as the pesetas changed into euros is now seen as an investment option for all those who do not trust the stock market. Such speculative demand creates artificial and skyrocketing prices unaffordable for young Spaniards. As a means to evade the problem, the PP is pushing for reform of patrimonial transmissions. As the young people cannot buy real estate, it has occurred to the government to let them inherit from their parents. With this "tour de force", the problem is solved for the government and the rich become richer from generation to generation. And they have an answer for everything.
"Are apartments expensive?"
"This is because people have increasingly more money to buy them"
"Don't you have parents who can transmit an apartment to you?"
"Buy one with a thirty- year mortgage and give the bank twice the value of your apartment as mortgage"
"You have no money?"
"Rent an apartment!"
"There are no apartments for rent?"
As the government has no proposal, I have one, occupation! The right to shelter is a fundamental right, more basic than the right to accumulation of private property!
2. Guantanamo, utmost hypocrisy
The Judges of the American Supreme Court have decided for 2 votes against 1 that the prisoners in Guantanamo cannot be considered prisoners under common law. They have no right to a lawyer nor to public trial nor to the disclosure of their identity and of the crimes which are attributed to them. It is also unclear which law will be applied in the case of a trial, as the territory of Guantanamo is situated outside all known legal territories. I am talking about 700 human beings who have to cope with infrahuman conditions of inprisonment imposed on them by nobody in an unindentified jail paradise, suffering invisible torture and vexations for which nobody is responsible. While the Miami mafias, the EU Governments and intellectuals all around the world where protesting loudly agaist the executions ordered by the Castro government (of the hijackers of a Cuban regular flight), we are still waiting for the reactions to the American decision of beginning the construction of an execution chamber to celebrate the executions of the Taliban prisoners after brief military trials to whom nobody will have access. And the highest representatives of the United States continue to give democracy and justice lessons in front of the cameras of their accomplices around the world.
Let us see if someone is inspired to make a version of the well known song: "Guantanamera".
3. The day of the Beast has arrived. A DIFFERENT WORLD IS POSSIBLE!
We live in a world that seems monstruous to us, an unstoppable machine, a Beast which is difficult to understand and impossible to move. This almighty beast is revered and feared at a time. It seems that we have all been condemned to suffer torture due to its whims. The monster is criticized by all; governments, NGOs, left-wing and sometimes even right-wing politicians, artists, waiters, clients, everyone is ready to take out their handkerchief as they evoke the destruction caused by the Beast. But they alll agree that this monster is not the only path that exists. We are all convinced that changes are needed and we all go home to turn on the TV and watch - feeling passive and denied - the last catastrophes of the Beast.
Ignorance, pessimism, lack of material means, indifference and selfishness are some concepts which can help us understand our Western civilization, capable as it is of accepting the dictatorship of a Beast born of its own innards. The Western world, which, in what concerns technologies, safety, health and individual liberties has taken a leap larger than the previous five centuries of Judeo-Christian civilization is incapable of reacting. In spite of the fact that each individual has nowadays much more power to change the world than any of their ancestors, their only obsessions are to eat, to get laid and buy until they forget the 20 centuries of struggle and want. Even the most rebellious give up in the end. The Beast has so much power over the minds that even a former Union leader like Lula accepts to change the rules for retirement in his country. In doing so, he is simply following the last Western fashion which has provoked so many demonstrations in France: to destroy solidarity inside states. All over Europe a solidarity state built with the blood of our ancestors is being destroyed and, in spite of paralysing demonstrations, the Beast remains unstoppable. At least in some countries people take to the streets to make demonstrations. When the French feel their pocket is being touched, they cry out for "solidarity" , but they actually give less than 0,35% of their income to the development of other countries. We are moving from a solidarity above the borders (among people who have papers ) to borderless individualism, heading to the emergence of a huge international fraternity whose common trait will be the number of digits in their member's bank accounts.
Our civilization is nurtured by false images and controlled by fears infused on us. We are force fed on such fears like geese. As a result, everyone is convinced that there is nothing that can be done against the Beast.
But resistence appears when things look real dreary. A DIFFERENT WORLD IS POSSIBLE! We have in our hands very poweful tools to defeat this Beast.
First of all the internet, which allows people from all over the world to communicate and get organized with unprecedented speed and effectiveness, is giving the Beast a hard time. In spite of the fact that It is trying to control the most rebellious by hiring the best hackers, there are always new stars willing to accept the challenge of paralysing the Beast.
The Beast dislikest he idea of losing control, but internet manages to escape from its claws.
Besides that, our wallets are a very important weapon against the Beast. All we need to do is to look for information and reject the rules of the game behind most of the products which the Beast sells to us . Some simple actions that may help:
· Not buying products made due to the exploitation of men, women and children
· Rejecting companies (particularly the banks where we have our small savings and multinationals in the distribution business) which send their profits to fiscal paradises to avoid paying taxes and contribute to our well-being, in spite of what they sell in their publicity.
· Reject all brands.
· Stop watching TV and go back to the streets, at first to observe.
In a nutshell: we must be the actors of our lives instead of viewers of the lives of fictitious persons.
Many people are struggling from inside the Beast to sabotage it. Many of the ideologies and people who have tried to fight the Beast from outside have failed. But the red line is very thin and it is sometimes difficult to tell rebellion from corruption. Like na agent infiltrated in a mafia organization, Max Haavelar signed an agreement with McDonald's last month for the commercialization of its coffee in the McDonald's shops in Switzerland. I think Max Haavelar is losing prestige over this decision. It is healthy, however, to see old Ronald - a symbol of thrash culture and labor exploitation - recover some credibility by offering fair trade coffee. This convenience marriage is one more symbol of the mental deterioration and lack of coherence of the Beast and another sign that fair trade is becomming each day a more viable option.
No wizard will flash his magic wand, no Neo will save us, no Messiah will come, no door will open by itself.
Destiny is in our hands and every second we lose materializes in one step forward for the phantomlike Beast.