"the freedom of all is essential to my freedom"

human and animal liberation

Great Animal Rights event in town!

leave a comment »

So we’re back on track! We’ll be showing an inspiring film in town (again!), discussing serious stuff, eating yummy vegan food and partying wild. All In One! I’m gonna turn into DJ again and will be playing a lot of good tunes too!

The Movie Bold Native is coming back to Dublin on the 4th Aug for another screening by ALiberation. Also Animal Rights activists will hold a Q&A session along with delicious vegan food and an afterparty run by DJ Mister Kruk.

Bold Native

Bold Native is a fiction feature film. Charlie Cranehill, an animal liberator wanted by the United States government for domestic terrorism, emerges from the underground to coordinate a nationwide action as his estranged CEO father tries to find him before the FBI does. The film simultaneously follows a young woman who works for an animal welfare organization fighting within the system to establish more humane treatment of farmed animals. From abolitionists to welfarists, Bold Native takes on the issue of modern animal use and exploitation from several angles within the context of a road movie adventure story.

After 3 successful screenings in Ireland, ALiberation will be showing this amazing movie again. This time AR activists will host a Q & A afterwards via Skype about their involvement in the Animal Rights movement. This will be followed by delicious vegan food and an after-party that will take us into the early hours.

DJ Mister Kruk will be playing lots of political, vegan and environmental tunes! From riotous Atari Teenage Riot & Comrade Malone to the superb Irie Revoltes & Dead Prez.

Speakers to be announced shortly!

Please RSVP by sending an email to aliberationnow@gmail.com or on Facebook.

Also please forward this post and our Facebook event page far and wide.

Please note this event is alcohol & drugs free.

RSVP: Email to aliberationnow@gmail.com
Where: Exchange Dublin, Exchange Street Upper, Templebar, Dublin 2
Time: 7pm
When: 4th August, Saturday
Price: €5
Contact: Aliberation, aliberationnow@gmail.com or post a comment here

Hidden Patriarchy

leave a comment »

It seems that most modern men claim to be supporters of gender equality and women’s rights. Everyone supports equal treatment, equal pay and women’s right to make their own choices. Apparently it may seem that everything is all right. Some people might say patriarchy is a history as we have women in politics, business and in every other area of ​​life. Of course I refer to the Western world as it looks different in other places such as Saudi Arabia. Obviously in Western countries there are also examples of open discrimination as many men (who also happen to be bosses or politicians) aren’t able to accept women’s choices (e.g. I wasn’t born to cook for you and give you a blowjob every morning). However, I don’t want to focus on men (or women) who are openly chauvinist. We all know that there is still much to be done to provide better living conditions for women. Rather, I’d like to raise the issue of women’s sexuality which causes different reactions among people who support women’s rights in general.

Sexuality is a problem
When it comes to sexuality people react differently. We are talking about cases where women use their rights to use their sexuality. For example female animal rights activists. They strip down for the cause as vGirls do and suddenly they become problematic. Their opponents argue that the exposure of their bodies leads to the objectification of women. Well, honestly, yes, some people looking at nude pics (or half-nude) of women are building a belief that a woman is only a sexual object. However, it is worth to ask a question: who’s problematic here? The model who exposed her body or a person who seeing the naked body draws wrong conclusions? A short skirt is not an excuse for rape. And an exposure of female nudity doesn’t justify the objectification. The interesting thing here is that when we deal with vGuys the problem disappears. The same people can look at the naked torsos of handsome men and no one says those men build a bad image of all men. So it’s cool to expose your body if you’re a man but it’s not cool when you’re a woman? Similar accusations are directed towards the Femen activists who raise awareness about women’s issues using bare breasts. They are either ignored by society or accused of promoting sexism. In reality they managed to bring issues such as human trafficking, sex industry and violence towards women to main stream media.

A similar mechanism applies to sex. There’s a dominating view (even in liberal environments) in which a man has the right to sexual freedom. He can have a few sexual partners at same time and that’s okay. But if a woman wants to enjoy her freedom she suddenly turns out to be a whore.

Hidden Patriarchy

It’s actually quite funny that some men try to teach women what patriarchy is. It’s funny when some people say Yes you can but you can’t. I call it a hidden patriarchy as I believe that the term ‘freedom’ includes sexual freedom as well. This may have its source in patriarchal past in which female sexuality was designed to pleasing men, and was reserved for them. Women’s sexual freedom may thus result in anger as it means lack of control over the sphere that was controlled by men. Just as the men had decided about the finances a few decades ago, some men want to decide how women can use their sexuality, what’s appropriate and what’s not. Who’s a whore and who’s not.

Of course, hiding behind the label “I do not want the objectification of women” is very convenient. But at the end of the day it’s not logical. Getting naked doesn’t harm anyone. Having a sex with many partners doesn’t harm anyone either (if it’s consensual sex). There’s no objectification unless someone seeing a sexy female objectify her. In this case, as mentioned above, that someone has a problem with his views. The problem is not a model who used her body to raise some awareness. When you see a photo with a guy watching rugby and holding a bottle of Budweiser you don’t say “Hey, that’s because of you chicks think I’m a primitive alcoholic!!”. But you should if you want to be consistent as it’s also a gender stereotype.

The other thing is the fact that sexism is present everywhere. The market is trying to use women’s bodies to attract consumers to make more money. And if you put a half-naked blonde on the billboard it’s more likely that some guy will pay attention to it. That’s true, that’s sexist. But after all, if the girls want to strip we (as a society) can’t reject the right to decide for themselves because a bunch of capitalists make sexist ads. If no one is hurt and everything is done voluntarily, well it’s called freedom. Freedom doesn’t mean smart decisions, it doesn’t mean being perfect. It means we can decide for ourselves even if others won’t like our decisions. And if a man tells a woman that she can’t expose her sexuality because it’s inappropriate, well whatever you call it, it’s a part of patriarchy. It fits perfectly to a male-oriented world where women take a passive role in terms of sexuality.

Sexual freedom provides an equality that men enjoy from many years. It means women don’t need to satisfy anyone if they don’t want to, but if they do want it won’t make them sluts. Sexual freedom means they don’t need to play a good girl because that’s what a male-oriented society expects from them. It means they stop being a product as they can actually say both YES and NO. As long as they don’t harm anyone it’s their business what they do. Finally, women are not anyone’s property so why they should feel bad because they do what they want to do?

Written by Kruk

April 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Abolish copyright?

leave a comment »

So we’ve got ACTA, PIPA & SOPA and Bakunin knows what else. All those controversial bills aim to defend copyrights owners interests (usually big businesses) and reduce our privacy at same time. Obviously that seems to be perfectly fine from the corporate point of view. It also fits in the current social-economic model. In other words the big companies can simply make more money.

What’s wrong with it?

The problem is copyright is not such a simple issue. Most people would say copyright prevents plagiarism and protect the interests of the authors. Well, in some individual cases yes that might be true, but in reality it looks a bit different. Let me make a few points on this below:

1. Copyright prevents progress – this is a major thing. We live in a pretty crazy world where you have to have the money (quite a lot actually) to use software, buy licenses, deal with patents, etc. It led us to the situation when the development can be achieved only if it’s profitable. From the technical point of view this is absolutely wrong and it actually kills thousands innovative projects every year. In fact you won’t be able to get investors involved in any project which is not based on profit. So you may know how to cure AIDS or how to create an amazing program that can make some people’s life way more easier but you can’t make it unless they can sell it. In consequences you develop some things to sell them not to make the world a better place. It means that all brilliant ideas that aim to improve our lives will never be created unless they can make some profit.

Also with copyright most of great solutions cannot be shared for free, you need to buy them. You don’t have the money? Well, get lost!

2. Culture is not a product – Now, they call us pirates. Sure, the law says that the people sharing music or movies or ebooks are criminals. The thing is the law is not always right and it’s influenced by business groups who have close ties with politicians. They call it business we call it corruption. However they forget that the song is not an iPhone. You can do a cover but you can’t really steal a song. You can copy Radiohead’s Exit Song but it doesn’t mean you own this song. Radiohead own this song and they will always do. That’s the thing with the culture. It’s created for people not for the market. A movie or a book are not products you can take off the shelf and hide it in your house. The culture is for everyone and had a key role in human history. But now, with copyright, they’re trying to tell us you can’t really listen to Radiohead unless you’ve got the money. You can’t watch the latest Scorsese movie unless you pay for it. So it becomes a luxury product only for those who can afford it. Now, try to work for low salary (as most of us do) and get a few new albums and new DVDs once a month. Can you afford it? The funny thing is at the same time when the corporations are using a “piracy” keyword they are actually able to make a deal where the author loses any rights to his song/book/etc.

The other thing is a slogan used by lots of people saying that the young or unknown artists lose their money. Well, I actually spent some time in the music industry and the truth is they are usually forced to accept ridiculous contracts. They don’t really see much of $ from it. There are better solutions that can be put in place to make sure the artists can actually live from music/films/books (such as self-organized publishers or music labels). You can call it Culture Fair Trade. I might write more about in the following weeks.

The final question here is though where will we be in 20 years if an access to the culture is so limited?

Absurd of buying – we got to the point where you might become a criminal if you wish to make digital copies of music/movies you’ve purchased. It also seems that we may have to pay a copyright fee every time we use anything copyrighted in close future.

In fact, copyright issues have turned into an industry VS consumer issue. Copy protection increases cost to consumers.

What are the alternatives?

Well, the alternative is a different understanding of economics and the importance of progress. Just like Anonymous said in their statement: In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost.So we have a coplyleft. Under copyleft, an author may give every person who receives a copy of a work permission to reproduce, adapt or distribute it and require that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement. Another thing is open source that is widely used around the world. It promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details. For example you’re fed up with your work and you want to start an e-commerce business. Normally you would need to pay some mad money for the e-commerce site. However thanks to the open source projects such as Drupal or even WordPress you can get it done for free and you have an access to the code. Or move from Windows to Ubuntu and see how many great applications you may get for free. You create, learn and share at same time.

In real life you have places like tech labs, hackerspaces or tech cooperatives where you can not only learn but also develop any ideas you can think of. They’re amazing source of knowledge but also cooperation and voluntary work in search of development. The other places are squats or social centres where you get a free access to any culture-related materials, cultural workshops, art lessons, etc. Another example are freeshops where you can fetch a CD, check it out or make a copy and bring it back when you don’t need it anymore. There are plenty of alternatives available. They just need to be developed.

Basically these examples show that skills sharing, transparency and open projects can seriously improve our ideas and in result our lives. They’re not made for the money though. The entire philosophy behind them is different from commercial solutions we know. Research & Development rather than profit-based thinking. Free access for anyone rather than excluding poor. And I believe that’s the way to go. The copyright limits us in general (whether you’re a creator or consumer) and it opposes a free thought that may create a different system some day. It doesn’t work for the benefit of people and artist/creators as well. We’ve got alternatives out there but we just need to move away from the current system and start using them.

Written by Kruk

March 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

Online safety: a few tips

with 4 comments

Well, the thing is you don’t need to be a geek to be pretty safe. Of course there’s no such thing like 100% online safety but there are a few things we can do to improve it. And if you happen to be an activist you should consider it really seriously. Especially with all those PIPA, SOPA and ACTA laws they are trying to put in place.

So here we go:

1. Ubuntuif you’re a Windows user I’d recommend to check out Ubuntu. Linux is much safer and stable than Windows. The great thing about linux is that it’s open source and you get updates very often. It means if there’s a bug it’ll get fixed pretty soon.You also get thousands of free applications and if you need to use some Windows-only apps you can use Wine to mount them. By the way, believe it or not with Ubuntu you don’t need to be worry about viruses. It’ll make you forget what a virus is. It’s also user friendly and fast so you don’t need to know all those fancy terminal commands to use it.

2. VPNVPN means Virtual Private Network and it’s pretty straight forward. You’ll exchange the IP-number you get from your ISP to an anonymous IP-number .You get a safe/encrypted connection between your computer and the Internet. Your existing ISP can not limit what you can do nor limit what information you can access. It’s a really cool thing! I use iPredator which is pretty stable but there also other ones. Riseup collective set up a VPN recently but I didn;t have a chance to test it. Alternatively you can use Tor

3. GPG for emails – if you’re sending/receiving some private data why not to encrypt it? Normally people use corporate emails like Gmail or Hotmail. They look grand but they’re free and terms&conditions are not really in favor of users. So if you want to exchange some sensitive information use GPG. The easiest way to use it is to install enigmail plugin to Thunderbird client. Than create public & private keys. Check details in documentation. Also if you’re an activist it’s a great idea to set up a Riseup mail account rather than use corporate stuff. They don’t log IP and encrypt all the data.

4. Chatting – Facebook’s or Gmail chats are nice but not when you exchange important info. It all stays on their servers so it’s way safer to use different communicators. IRC and Jabber are great alternatives. With IRC you’ve got dozens of servers (e.g. irc.indymedia.org) where you can find a number of channels. For example if you have a problem with your Ubuntu you go to irc.freenode.org and join #ubuntu channel and ask for help. Or if you’re a revolutionary vegan fella you can set up your own channel, make it private & invite only and plan revolution with your trusted folks. IRC is great for groups to run real-time discussions online. As for Jabber it’s more like ICQ. You have a contact list and you talk to you friends when they’re online. The good thing is with these communcators you can use OTR (Off-The-Record) plugin which encrypts your chat.

5. Firefox plugins – if you’re using Firefox get these plugins. They’ll improve your anonymity and safety. Also I’d recommend Google plugin that will prevent Google from collecting information about you.

6. Crabgrassa software libre web application designed for group and network organizing, and tailored to the needs of the global justice movement. The long term goal is to provide the technical tools to facilitate active, confederal, and directly democratic social change networks. In other words if you run campaigns, organize events or actions, use Crabgrass rather than Facebook or any other corporate social network.

7. Truecrypt we all have sensitive data. ID details, passwords, porn (busted!). Truecrypt is a free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s very easy to use and it has great options. Get your stuff encrypted!

These are just basics. I’m not a geek myself but I constantly learn how to be safer  so people I cooperate with are not at risk that someone will break their (my) privacy. If you think I should mention about other stuff let me know and I’ll add it.

Will revolution start on the Internet?

leave a comment »

I guess many people recalls cyberpunk books written by writers such as William Gibson these days. The conflicts between hackers and corporations, post-industrial world, dirty businesses and corrupted politicians. The struggle against them. A few decades ago it all looked like an intriguing fiction or great ideas for a movie.

Today, it’s not a fiction anymore. We witness a growing conflict between organized (but leadership free) groups of hackers such as Anonomyous and corporations or governments. In many places of the world we face an environmental disaster caused by big businesses or tragic effects of globalization such as mass exploitation and degeneration. We’re monitored by thousands CCTV cameras and surveillance tools, we’re forced to eat GMO foods, we’re influenced by corporate propaganda and threatened by economic compulsion. Mortgages, unemployment, crisis… we face a number of issues like these every day. It’s not something new though. The political movements opposing capitalism are trying to cope with it from many years. We had massive Seattle protests in 1999, anti-capitalist Genoa in 2001, direct actions led by groups like ELF, ALF or urban guerillas from Greece, Italy, Argentine or Chile. Zapatistas, Argentinian workers and their cooperatives, social centres. Revolts in France and Greece. And many many more. Those actions caused a lot of confusion and fear among politicians and shareholders. But the system remains strong. At the end of day you may see a black block with molotov cocktails but the other side have tanks and guns.

The system remains strong because it’s hard to fight the enemy who’s way more powerful on the streets. It’s hard to win with an opponent who’s so violent and depraved. However as we learned in a last few years it looks different when it comes to the Internet. Internet gives people the tools they wouldn’t find in reality. Internet allows people to organize themselves anonymously and democratically. It gives them freedom of expression and creation. At the same time it is a way to exchange unlimited information on any subject. On the Internet it doesn’t really matter whether you’re white, black, gay, Russian or Canadian, queer, Christian or Jew.

So when you see such a bastion of freedom in the enslaved world of capitalism it’s not surprising that it becomes a threat to the system. In fact, it was the work of Internet activists that shook its foundations. Wikileaks leaks such as CableGate or Iraq War Logs were and are the cause of the crises of several governments. Their impact is really huge and in consequences it means their activity seriously affects the reality we all live in. And when the US administration and fellow corporations tried to shut Wikileaks down they received a quick response from Anonymous. It’s quite fascinating that the web attacks were more serious for all the companies and governments than thousands of protests and boycotts. It brings us to the question, what does it mean?

Perhaps we’re looking for a change in the wrong place? We expect that the Occupy Movement or Arab Spring will inspire a revolution. But most people are not on the streets. Most people are on the web though. That’s why you got so big resistance re PIPA, SOPA and ACTA bills. That’s why sites like PirateBay are so popular and Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world. People want to share their knowledge, information, music, films, ideas. People want to live together and organize themselves freely. They want to join projects, they want to leave projects, they want privacy, they want freedom. On the Internet they realize they don’t need governments or big businesses to rule their lives. The progress of civilization is amazing on the web. The current system with all those copyrights, profit-based think tanks and neoliberal perspective can’t follow it, can’t understand what’s actually going on. They’re still looking for money when people are building a new kind of social and political relations. No borders, skills sharing, open source, free speech, free culture. Anonymous group even released A Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace where they state:

In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

In other words, maybe this is the place where the revolution starts?

Written by Kruk

March 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

FreeLab

with 2 comments

A friend of mine is setting up a tech social centre called #FreeLab. It actually looks quite interesting as you’ve got loads of social centres or squats where you can attend screenings, gigs or lectures. However most of them don’t cover technological issues so you’re not really able to learn how to use PHP or how to build a wind turbine or rocket stove. Unless you pay for it ridiculous money. So you may say #FreeLab is a technical initiative that aims to provide Resarch & Development support for intentional communities. Check out their manifesto.

Now, it’s based in Poland but I know lots of you travel a lot. Some of you visit Poland regularly. So here’s the thing. If you reckon you’d be able to run some workshops, or you’d like to attend some of them get in touch. Alternatively you can also support them in other way. They’re just starting so they need a lot of help with it. If you can donate, send in some stuff, share your contacts or you want to be a part of the collective running #FreeLab, get in touch with them too. I believe it might be a very useful place for the movement itself but also for each of us. It may provide the support we really need in order to progress (from where we are). We have brilliant ideas but we lack skills.  Let’s face it as it happens all the time. So let’s change it! 

Anyways, if you’re looking for something exciting to do, here’s your chance! Get involved folks and keep it going!

Written by Kruk

March 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

The Corporation

leave a comment »

I bet you met at least one person who kept saying that corporations are bad. Almost pure evil! We all heard that so many times that it became a slogan. So we all know they’re bad but it really means nothing now. At the end of day we keep buying from them and we even keep working for them. Some of us don’t give a damn about it, some of us have no choice and some of us like it. There are even people who think Tesco is great because they sell cheap veggies! Well, cheap prices have its price. If you ever wondered what the hell is all about here’s a thing for you. A must-see documentary, a classic you’d say.

The Corporation explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Part film and part movement. The Corporation is transforming audiences and dazzling critics with its insightful and compelling analysis. Taking its status as a legal “person” to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist’s couch to ask “What kind of person is it?” The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics – including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore – plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change. The film looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

We’re showing The Corporation on 18th of February (8pm) in The Happy Pear in Greystones.

Free entry! See you there!

Written by Kruk

January 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm