October 20th, 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of Datacide, again a bumper issue full of varied contributions spanning different aspects of counter-cultural intervention and analysis of the intersections of noise and politics, technology and subversion, music and literature. This is also the first issue with a colour cover and contains specially commissioned illustrations to a number of articles. The interaction of visual artists, writers, musicians and theoreticians in print (and e.g. on records), to us, offers unique possibilities. Therefore we do not intend to join those who in recent months and years have given up on the print aspect of their publications and have migrated to an online only presence.
This exposes them to the danger of disappearing into a rapidly changing internet where the previously assumed ‘flat’ hierarchies have given way to largely corporate controlled and government surveilled data exchanges that are increasingly organised around steep hierarchies. ‘Social media’ was seen (by some) as the ‘death of the underground’, where finally everybody was taking part in one big sharing community. In reality a vast user-generated spectacle was created.
This spectacle doesn’t demand passive acceptance anymore, on the contrary it demands constant participation and availability; nevertheless it marks the irresponsible sovereignty of the auto- cratic reign of the market economy. It feasts on the free time of its ‘participants’, collecting data in order to market itself, presenting itself as a vast ultra-accessible reality that cannot be questioned, only liked. It remains ideology materialised.
This confronts the critic with some problems. Not because s/he is not allowed to critique, but s/he is in danger of losing a meaningful context, an audience that is willing to engage in real discussion. Complex arguments are often seen as an impertinence, looking back at history as useless nostalgia. We cannot allow this to deter us and we insist on digging out moments of revolt, as we know past and future to be interlinked. Ideology critique has a revolutionary content. Music and writing is about making things happen.
Of course we use the available technologies as much as possible, but maintain that the hundreds of hours of work that is condensed in the issue that you hold in your hands creates something special and powerful.
One problem to maintain and expand these activities (for more see p.72) is of an economic nature. The reason we can print this issue is thanks to the fundraising parties and as such thanks to the many musicians and helpers who made these possible and successful; and not so much due to sales, let alone subscriptions. So if you want to support Datacide and radical independent publishing, please take out a subscription (see info on p.26), or if you are interested in selling copies, get in touch via datacide[at]c8.com. The same applies if you are interested in hosting a Datacide event in your area.
This issue is dedicated to the memory of two good friends and contributors to the magazine who died in the course of the last year. Boris Domalain, aka Saoulaterre, aka Gorki Plubakter, and Paul Kidd, aka Nomex.
October 18th, 2014
Datacide Fourteen is officially released on October 18 and 19, 2014 in London.
Datacide will be tabling at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, October 18 from 10am – 7pm. We will be selling the new issue, back issues 9-13, as well as new Praxis records. The venue is Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS.
On Sunday, October 19, 2pm-11pm, MayDay Rooms, Datacide, Cesura//Acceso Journal, and the History is Made at Night blog are hosting the event “Revolt of the Ravers: The Movement Against the Criminal Justice Act, 1994″.
Twenty years ago, on 9 October 1994, a huge demonstration against the Government’s Criminal Justice Act ended in London’s Hyde Park with riotous clashes, police horses charging, and people dancing to sound systems. The Act brought in new police powers against raves, squatters, protestors, travellers and others, and was passed amidst widespread opposition.
This event will include memories of this movement, its ways of organising and representing itself and will feature displays of its ‘material culture’ such as zines, flyers, cassettes and letters.
There will also be an exchange-situation looking at the related radical/techno zines of the 1990s, in what was one of the last musical and social movements mediated primarily through print rather than digitally.
It is hoped that the day will be a catalyst for a process of gathering, archiving, circulating and activating materials from the radical social/musical movements of the 1990s.
The talks and discussion will be followed by an evening of films, music and refreshments.
The location is May Day Screening Room, 1st floor, 88 Fleet street, London, EC4Y 1DH
September 16th, 2014
“There isn’t enough bile to conjure up the shame and disgrace of all of this, nor the palpable physical revulsion, nor the visceral contempt building, nor the sense of betrayal and rage, nor the literal physical and emotional shattering of people exposed to the growing madness day in and day out.”
Lenin’s Tomb blog, “Crisis in the SWP,” Jan 11, 2013
The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is – or was until recently – widely considered to be Britain’s “largest revolutionary organization”. The party has been rocked by internal dissent and has lost many members. This development was triggered by allegations of sexual abuse against a leading cadre by a young female comrade. The person in question was the national organiser, Martin Smith, who was nicknamed “Comrade Delta” in the communications of the SWP. The party tried to brush the scandal under the carpet. They set up a commission consisting essentially of friends of the accused, who then proceeded to “exonerate” him. After asking the victim questions about her sexual past and her drinking habits, they predictably decided that the rape allegations were unproven. The pretext to handle this mockery of justice by a kangaroo court was that the “bourgeois court system” could not be trusted “to deliver justice.”
Perhaps in a previous age this sham could have worked. But when details of the case were “leaked” online it forced many to take a stand. Numerous blogs were set up and a number of members started to breach party discipline.
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September 1st, 2014
Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs
From 2007-09, John Towery, a criminal intelligence army analyst in the Force Protection Service fusion center at the Fort Lewis military base spied on anarchists and peace activists in Tacoma and Olympia, WA who were part of SDS and the Port Militarization Resistance, which protested international war shipments. Under the name ‘John Jacob’, Towery became close friends with the activists, surveilled them, and shared data with local, state, federal and military agencies. A public records request uncovered the surveillance operation of Towery against the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, IWW, Iraq Veterans Against the War, an anarchist bookshop, amongst others. The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled in December 2012 that the subsequent lawsuit against Towery can proceed in the narrow terms of intentionally enabling arrest without probable cause in order to repress free speech, but apparently not on the Posse Comitatus law that bars the use of armed forces for law enforcement activities inside the US.
The Earth Island Journal published documents obtained through FOIA requests that show how the Bryan County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s department was spying on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and other direct action groups against the proposed tar sands pipeline to run from Canada to Texas. Some activists were arrested earlier, the action camp infiltrated and a protest preempted. The targets are described as eco-activists; Native American resisters; Occupy members; Anarchists; and locals from the community. Documents also show how the corporation TransCanada who will build the pipeline works closely with the multi-government agency Fusion Center in Oklahoma advising on policy, changing laws, sharing intel, ensnaring activists, and generally protecting their own interests and facilitating the increase of their profits.
The agent provocateur “Anna” performed extensive FBI surveillance and entrapment of three other activists (see the Life During Wartime book review) used to convict Eric McDavid for 19 years and 7 months, the second longest sentence for recent environmental prisoners. During McDavid’s trial, his lawyer attempted to argue government misconduct because of “Anna’s” intimate relationship with him, however this was dismissed in light of the 1991 9th Circuit ruling in US v Simpson that the government can exploit intimate and sexual relations between the infiltrator and anyone under a surveillance investigation.
Back in January 2011, The Guardian newspaper journalists Paul Lewis and Rob Evans broke the huge story of how Mark Kennedy, a London Metropolitan Police officer, infiltrated numerous European left and direct action networks under the name “Mark Stone” and “Flash”. 22 countries including Germany used Kennedy as an agent provocateur in order to ensnare activists in illegal activities, gather information, maps networks, etc. (The website “Mark Kennedy: A chronology of his activities” gives more details and corrections to the initial news reports, although not on his Berlin spying.) Various British police and government agencies cut Kennedy loose, avoided responsibility, attempted to stop or curtail “reform” of undercover agents’ behavior, and denied their support of his spying, especially concerning how Kennedy had sexual relations with numerous women over the years in order to gather intel and ensnare them. 8 of those women have sued Scotland Yard for sexual misconduct by five agent provocateurs Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling, Mark Cassidy and Mark Kennedy. The reporters have in 2013 published a book on the wider use of infiltration and surveillance called Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police.
The Associated Press reporters Matt Abuzzo and Adam Goldmann, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for their series of investigations of the NYPD’s surveillance operations against Muslim Americans (in and outside NYC and the state), have published a new book Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Spying Unit that gives much greater detail through meticulous research on these operations. NYPD’s Demographics Unit spent six years using a huge network of informants to surveil every aspect of life, actions which did not lead to a single arrest, criminal cases or thwarting of so-called ‘terrorism’ plots. (Ray Kelly, the NYPD Commissioner, has been floated to be nominated to run the Department of Homeland Security.) Various lawsuits brought against the NYPD by Muslim Americans affect by the spying are pending in court.
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July 24th, 2014