Dead Cat Bounce PV Photo Round-Up

Photo by Karina Stevens (www.karinastevens.com)

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Dead Cat Bounce* is at Light Eye Mind gallery from Friday 14th – Saturday 29th November.

*In finance, a dead cat bounce is a small, temporary recovery in the price of a declining stock.

Mead logo_blk copy     UAL logo     HAWK 3D LOGO with Strapline B&W

This project is supported through a MEAD Scholarship awarded by University of the Arts London. With thanks to Hawk 3D Proto for their loan of a BEETHEFIRST 3D Printer.

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Private Deck

Private Deck Small

Private Deck charters the privatisation of 52 former UK state-owned firms.

Since the late 1970s there has been an increasing push towards “laissez-faire” capitalism and liberal economic policies, with privatisation mandates leaving a wide range of industries, from housing to nuclear research, exposed to market forces.

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You can see Private Deck and the entirety of the project (including installations, a further publication and the 3D printer in action) at Light Eye Mind gallery from Friday 14th – Saturday 29th November. More info to follow soon.

Private Deck is part of Dead Cat Bounce* a social art project aimed at encouraging active economic awareness.

*In finance, a dead cat bounce is a small, temporary recovery in the price of a declining stock. 

Mead logo_blk copy     UAL logo     HAWK 3D LOGO with Strapline B&W

This project is supported through a MEAD Scholarship awarded by University of the Arts London.

Harold Pinter on Art, Truth and Politics

 

In his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Harold Pinter excoriated US foreign policy. “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law.” He also speaks of “the pathetic and supine Great Britain” commenting that we are a “bleating little lamb tagging behind it [The US] on a lead”. “What has happened to our moral sensibility?” Pinter asks, “Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days — conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?”

This speech left me speechless! It should be viewed at least once a year.

Arrest Tony Blair

The Arrest Blair website offers a reward to people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, for crimes against peace. I remembered the existence of this website after recently reading about the use of Depleted Uranium in the Iraq War. The war has killed an estimated 500,000 people (http://tinyurl.com/iraqdeathtoll), and due in-part to the use of Depleted Uranium weaponry has caused a devastating increase in the rate of birth defects. In fact, the rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah has far surpassed that of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after nuclear bombs were dropped at the end of World War II. Estimates show a 60% increase of babies are being born with some kind of defect, including extreme malformations, and forms of cancer and leukaemia. (Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009). You can see a harrowing report of the situation from Democracy Now by following this link: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/20/ten_years_later_us_has_left

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This constitutes just one of the reasons that I encourage you to read the information on how to perform a citizens arrest of Tony Blair on the Arrest Blair website. The site states that “the chances of getting Blair officially arrested or prosecuted in most nations are currently slim” however, the press coverage that many of the already attempted arrests have produced, are a useful tool to alert people to the uncomfortable truths and illegality of the Iraq War. 2 million people in London alone protested against the invasion of Iraq and the UK’s collaboration with the Bush administration. 36 million people protested worldwide against the war, and yet it still went ahead. Changing the public mood and putting pressure on governments is essential, and we can only hope that continued campaigning will result in the discontinuation of chemical and nuclear weapons. It is a terrible irony that the western world was quick to denounce the recent use of chemical weaponry in Syria whilst it continues to use weapons of equal atrocity itself.

The Campaign for NucleaDisarmament has plenty of information on Depleted Uranium on its website: http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/depleted-uranium alongside a whole host of other resources.

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What Can We Do Before The Revolution?

Occupy London, St Paul's Cathedral 2011 / Photo: Alice Woods
          Occupy London, St Paul’s Cathedral 2011. Photo: Alice Woods

Are we on the brink of revolution? We know Russell Brand would like one but since the financial crisis of 2008, we have seen only limited reform and not enough people held to account for the elaborate Ponzi scheme that represents our global financial market place. An attempt to cap banker bonuses in Europe is being thwarted by sneaky reconstructions of pay packets, and practically no efforts have been made to address the lack of transparent and quality financial services for those in the lower income brackets. The news that the U.S. Postal Service might start to offer financial services could help to address some of these issues (see the recently released Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved) but it is far from a sure thing. In other areas a small increase in Worker Cooperatives and Unionisation is all good news, but what simple things can we do to slow the spinning wheel of capitalism?

1. Don’t agree with the practices of the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks? Move your money elsewhere. Switch to a credit union or a mutual; because they are owned by their members they are not under the same pressure to produce profits for anxious shareholders meaning they are inclined to take less risks therefore keeping our money safer. You can search for UK Credit Unions here. Nationwide, Yorkshire, Coventry & Leeds Building Societies are the main mutuals that offer current accounts but it is worth checking in your local area to see what is on offer.

2. Support local business. In comparison to chain stores, locally-owned businesses recirculate wealth into the local economy increasing prosperity in the community. A market place of many small businesses is an effective way to keep prices low and competitive, ensuring against the monopolisation of large brands. Local business links the surrounding area in a interconnected web of economic and social relationships, often supporting local causes and helping to keep town centres vibrant.

3. Only buy what you need, not what large corporations want you to buy. If Tesco are forcing you to buy a 3-pack of leeks when you only need 1 don’t shop there. Instead visit your local grocer or market and avoid prepackaged food which is invariably in the wrong quantities and produces excess food and packaging waste.

4. Is something bothering you? Chances are it’s bothering someone else too, maybe you local transport system isn’t good enough, perhaps funding has been cut from a local arts centre, or your university isn’t paying its staff a living wage. Rally support and put pressure on the people at the top, if enough people are involved and passionate about the issue, change can be made. Remember, there are more of us than them. 

N.B. This is an interesting resource of various studies that look of the impact of large retail chains v.s. independent stores.