Demo Diary: Black Lives Matter, Everywhere. Period.

Last weekend does seem far away already, doesn't it? So much has happened, since then: Minneapolis disbanding its police force, owing to its highly visible brutality and social toxicity. A Temporary Autonomous Zone was set up in Seattle, with the mayor's blessing. And in other news, racist monuments were being toppled all over the place, by cheering crowds playing Enya. I've gotta be honest: I was off of social media for the last couple of days because I was hammering away frantically to finish an article about how the news media force feeds us depressing myths about humanity. Logging back on, though, I've found a 180 degree turn on that policy. There is now such a critical mass of humanity-validating events happening at once that I wonder if my article won't be redundant soon... Ah, well, it'd be worth it. But getting back to last weekend. The Black Lives Matter solidarity demo in Berlin on 06.06.2020 happened under favourable weather conditions, w

Time to Social Dis-tanz!

A combination of the pandemic and policing efforts have left Alexanderplatz looking like a still from the 1960's: empty, windswept. Aimless people, seemingly fresh-awakened to the endless possibilities of city life, are moving with uncertain freedom to the Reclaim Club Culture sound system. I had to bypass what looked to be a " hygiene demo " to get to this antiracist action by RCC, in support of freedom of movement. The hygiene demo was a messy scene, full of aggressive, drunk people trying way  too hard to look like they were having fun.  One can see the different intentions behind the two actions in the way that each group uses its allocated demo space. The hygiene crew use it to scream at passers by to take off their masks and invade their personal space, walking or dancing uncomfortably close. As if they blame you for whatever is going wrong with society. Under the auspices of freedom, they move into the power vacuum of an empty city street, and attempt

System Reset?

I'm playing infinite-scroll roulette on my Twitter feed. I swipe, and watch the posts flip past at warp speed, blurring like the stars outside the windows of the SS Enterprise. Where will it come to a stop? * An ad for a food show * Coronavirus politics * Clever German psychobabble * People openly advocating drug use * Earth Day * Pets wearing clothes? It occurs to me that everything's changed but many people don't even realise it, because nothing's changed on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or CNN, BBC, Reuters, etc.  All of the mass media templates are holding patterns for a mentality that's optimised for panic. Outrage. Fear. They hang on to those emotions rabidly, regardless of what actually happens in the real world. Caging our adaptability. "Nonapocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to [disaster capitalism's] ambitions,” writes Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine. Our disaster-fuelled me

Social Media-Distancing

The reality of life in Berlin is much better than the [online] perception. April 3, 2020 Outside, sun-burnished, friendly people smile their way past me to thank me for leaving them enough space. In parks, balls and discs fly back and forth, in a sort of long distance conversation between players...  Everyone seems to be coming back together across the divide, unpaving their way back to a less fragmented state. Or out here they do, anyway. Of all the hesitant wildlife forms returning to the cities, the most instrumental one is probably us. Humans don't normally linger this long in their own habitats, which are too disrupted by "human" activities: traffic, pollution, sirens, stress. Industrialisation stops us from settling in, in our own cities, in our own name. But today, finding a new niche in this static, airy landscape is an irresistible urge. One that encourages me to find complexity and value in staying in one place, instead of carrying m

Postcript: Transcript of Noam Chomsky Interview

Note: This is a postscript to my recent diary entry. You'll find it here ! In this new video interview with  Noam Chomsky  by DiEM25 TV , the American philosopher, linguist, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist talks about neoliberalism's role in creating the coronavirus pandemic. I thought I'd give my readers a partial transcript of the interview, too, so they can think for themselves. The audio was pretty poor due to Chomsky's weak voice.... I don't even want to think about how old he is, now... and how little has changed for the better since he first started speaking. In this section, he touches on neoliberalism's ineptitude in a crisis. Any crisis, really, but especially this one. Time stamp 17:11: "It was known for a long time that pandemics were very likely, and it was understood, very well understood, that they were likely to be a coronavirus -- modification to the SARS epidemic of 15 years ago. 

If Laughter Is The Best Medicine, We Are Doomed

March 29, 2020 Via  Reddit Colder weather today has me housebound, so I let my fingers do the walking. They moseyed on over to a conspiracy forum that I sometimes look at when I'm short of whack new ideas. I was thinking someone there might be bouncing around some totally overblown theory that the coronavirus is actually a DARPA-engineered, organic malware that we caught from using Instagram or something, I dunno... bizarre, you know what I mean? Something to make the whole pandemic thing seem so OTT as to be ridiculous again. To my surprise, everyone on the site seemed to have a more pragmatic take on The Plague than the mainstream of the Internet does, right now. Like, wow. How often does that happen? Consensus there seemed to be that the virus was being blown out of proportion and we should be more (or even just equally) concerned about the government's intervention in our lives. So for once, the conspiracy theorists were not on board with a wave of pa

Zu Verschenken: Time

March 18 I feel bad throwing out my disinfectant spray bottle with a few dribbles still in it; it may be worth 50 Euros an ounce, soon. Available only drop by the micro-dosed drop in Gorlitzer Bahnhof. Ah, well. March 19 I go for a walk, then work, then go for another walk. Keep finding loads of Z u Verschenken  ("to give away") boxes on the ground, chock full of stuff; probably no one wants to touch other people's old things in case some of it's infected while, at the same time, everybody has more time to clear out all their secret underfloor catacombs and bomb shelters and make way for... even more toilet paper, I guess? A friendly East Indian man sees me eyeing some books in the road near Rummelsburger Bucht. He starts shaking his head gently and saying, ' Aber nicht fassen. Nicht fassen ' as I stop for a closer look. I reassure him, I have no intention of touching those books. Though it's hard to fight the reflex to pocket free stuff wh