Notes on the modern Mojito and the beginnings of a modern manifesto., c/o : Hector "hollywood" Swanson.,

Stepping up to the bar i ordered a mojito. The barman proceeded to take a glass, drop a mint leaf in, drop a slice of lime in, drop a couple of cubes of ice in, and then reach into the fridge behind the bar and cracking open a bottle poured the greenish coloured liquid it contained into the glass then garnished it with a black plastic straw… and I did protest but no matter what I said he simply pointed to the label of the bottle and insisted that it was a mojito… yes, it had the ingredients of a mojito, but to make a mojito one must actually muddle the mint (preferably 6-8 leaves not one) and the lime (again preferably more than one) in the bottom of the glass with some cane sugar before adding ice, stirring, adding rum (traditionally white though I have a taste for the dark rum) and again stirring, and then top this off with carbonated soda and once again stir, then garnish with mint leaves and a straw if necessary. Now the essence of a mojito lies in more than just its ingredients. Just a roast dinner requires not only the food but also that it is cooked in a certain way, this being essential to its truly being a roast dinner.

However No matter what I could say, there it was, the truth written indelibly on the side of the bottle. The puddle in my glass that i was looking at was actually a mojito, whether I liked it or not. Yes this was a mojito but only in the sense that a macdonalds burger is a steak sandwich… and we know this, despite the best efforts of our senses to tell us otherwise, because it says so it on the side of the damp from grease cardboard box that it comes in.

As I sat sipping this puddle out in the car park of the bar on this dark frost night – as smoking indoors is of course already banned for our benefit… - I had to admit that it was more than the mojitos and burgers of the world that have suffered a similar fate and that it is only our own lazy blind determination to believe what it says on the side of the tins that makes this so. We all know in our hearts that a macdonalds burger is not even fit to be served to animals as is backed up by a rumour that circulated claiming it was only the cost saving habits of one diligent farmer who was found to be feeding macdonalds burgers to his cattle that caused the original out break of mad cows disease in the UK – or so I heard…

No, we’ve let this become an equation for our entire lives. It just took longer for the hardened old drunks of the pubs who know their drinks to be broken and then retrained in the ways of the shopping mall. In the end we will all conform. And There really is no other way. At least that’s what it says on the sides of the tins that we live in, that’s what it says on the labels of our clothes – our adopted skins in this life - and that’s what the high priests of the corrupt banks tell us and it’s what the politicians are saying in a million different ways when they take 1000 billion pounds sterling from the tax payer and give it to the self same institutions that have already squeezed every penny out of those same tax payers (and the uk population crippled by debt, enslaved to their repayments on loans, cars, fridges, fridges to go in their cars, TVs and sofas, houses to put their TVs and sofas in…)., it all seems a bit like getting mugged, then going to court and loosing the case despite the fact that you can see the defendant sitting with the bulge of your wallet in his pocket, then having to pay the legal fees for the mugger’s lawyer… but hey, that is just the way it’s got to be.

We are told we live in a shining example of democracy, what’s more, a participatory democracy. That is what it says on the side of the tin. That’s what the politicians will shout till they’re hoarse to make you understand, that everything is ok, and your government is in control…

Well if an election every 4 or 5 years in which we play out the pantomime of selecting a party that best represents our views and hopes while all the time knowing that all the political parties get their funding from the same people anyway pulling the purse strings; but suppressing this and telling ourselves people died for the right to vote… Actually now I think about it why the hell does Gordon Brown wear make up? I think the very fact that he does wear make up tells you a lot about his role in all this. Anyway, back to point, in our laziness we believe what it says on the tin, we repeatedly believe what the politicians tell us despite the fact they are constantly being caught out telling lies about the most serious of state issues.

“I do believe in democracy”. What does that even mean? I believe it exists or my beliefs abide within democracy? It seems to be a very hollow sentiment actually.

I do not believe what it says on the tine of Westminster, not anymore at least, for they are, pretty much down to the last single soul, greedy self interested liars, thieves and murders of the highest order, and it has been shown enough times already to safely assume that this is true. Many of the present government and their associates are war criminals and ought to be tried at the Hague (where if I and hundreds of thousands of others have got this all horribly wrong they deserve to be able to clear their names). I’m afraid voting in this situation is futile and will not achieve change. Case in point being the USA where the country was so obsessed with the colour of the president’s skin that his policies have not been examined, nor have his financial backers (again he deliberately deceived his supporters as to the origins of his funds) and so the incarceration of freedom continues unabated while the nation marvels at the new tin and what its label says....

But I do believe that democracy can work. It just has to be the relevant type to the society. That is the vote has to be relevant. Today, as is clear to see, the votes cast in the elections of the West may as well have been tossed into the Atlantic Ocean for all the difference they actually make to the running and policies of their respective nations. And for once the clue is in the labelling that our governments do, where we can obtain a lot of valuable meaning.

The governments no longer refer to their populations as “citizens”. The governments refer to their populations primarily as “consumers”. And herein lies the point. Citizens vote : consumers spend.

Just note how awkward it is for most consumers of the west to speak about politics. There are a great number of people who have attended the great universities of the West, have graduated and gone on to jobs of influence and power, who cannot really define the difference politically between the left and right wing, who could not explain the social contract, and who probably couldn’t pick out the major political figures from a photo line up. But they are successful people in that they earn good salaries working steady jobs. They spend appropriately and maybe even save a bit for a rainy day. They are mall creatures more than political or social creatures in the real old sense of the words (i.e. friends on facebook do not a social life make). They may find themselves up in arms at a price rise at the petrol pumps but have next to no opinion on the War in Iraq.

However it’s not all one sided and the fault of the mall creature. For it is, logically speaking, not possible to make a free choice if the information on which you are making that choice is false. Election campaigns are a dubious mix of myth making and smearing the opposition. Nobody can be expected to make a real decision based on this (some would say that’s the whole point...).

There is another way though that has not been written on the tin, although its there, ever present and has very real effects. Effects that begin to cause ripples immediately and also in direct proportion to your stake in that society.

If you receive a burger that is below the standard of what you know a burger ought to be, then drop it on the floor, step on it and leave. Never return to the hole that served it you either. Boycott that place for life. Relay your experiences to others and explain that they too ought to cast their “vote”. Of course as with all early democracies there does not exist sufficient information about the products that we give up massive proportions of our lives to obtain. In this case, there will need to be established a type of Wikipedia which would be a live, constantly updated file of information and photographs concerning every company and corporation on the earth. It would be added to in a similar way that wikipedia is by people of the world – with the necessity of course for objective verifications to avoid it becoming the tool of industry. This would be one – of many potential – sources of information on which people could base their decisions. This would punish unethical business practices, highly polluting industries and products, immoral investments (such as profiting from war) with the peacefully but firm retraction of votes (i.e. $$). If citizens vote in polls, then consumers vote with their dollars.

What I am advocating is the creation of a new form of democracy. I advocate that a powerful and effective new platform be created to accommodate this Meme right in the heart of the consumer world. I advocate that we bring democracy to the Shopping Mall Generations and let them go crazy voting the only way they’ve been taught how – with their wallets. Let’s see how Mall Creature who has been starved in a moral vacuum will react when it is presented with an easily accessible resource on which it can make it’s own moral decisions. Let Mall Creature itself be able to scratch the surface and see what lies beneath and watch what happens.

You have to understand also that Mall Creature has been living in a closed world where Nike means more to them Steinbeck or Baudelaire, where a 2 for 1 sale lights up their heart and not a stanza of Kerouac or passage of Satre. Mall Creature has been so starved of light that it exists most happily in the white lights of Mall and in front of the dream boxes of television sets. The Mall Creature is numb and worried from working too many meaningless hours in jobs that offer no security and only the constant threat of homelessness and repossession keeps them in line. The constant weight of debt has enslaved them and made it difficult and too frightening to take any drastic measures.

However, I believe that by providing such a platform of information the balance may begin to tip once more into the hands of the Mall Creature – who is only a conditioned human being. Mall Creature is not a different species, just a part of the human species that has been trained in a certain way. And the problem of this is that the training has very deliberately excluded the moral from the equation. But if it were possible to drop the moral choice (from which comes the imperative to act on that knowledge) right into the middle of that whole world construction then I believe that it would be a positive thing.

More precisely how this would be achieved. To create and platform in which the details of every company and corporation in the world could be logged. Like an encyclopaedia of companies. It would detail working conditions of its employees, sweat shops etc with photos and images, first hand accounts and so on, the wages of CEOs and other levels of employee. It would detail investments that the company had, stocks and shares it had interests in, it would detail the lobbying groups of industry and what they lobbied for. It would detail the carbon foot print of the company, of each product where possible, it would detail its profits and of course the donations of profits to charity and community. It would detail its involvement within war zones and under developed nations. It would detail the number of shops and where they were. In fact there is no limit to exactly what could be detailed on the site. What it would try to achieve is to be a mainstream information service that would unlock the lid of the corporate world. The only information that Mall Creature gets about these companies comes from the company’s own advertisements – yea it’d be great if we could all write our own reviews…

To take this action is now a real imperative for the human species to move forwards again for we allowed ourselves and our children to become stagnated in the dry corridors of the Malls and Hypermarkets and Supermarkets and Petrol Station forecourts, and all at the cost of the environment, the natural world and roughly 80% of the world’s population. It is time we stopped simply complaining and started to take direct and meaningful action to begin to fix the problem that is us all.

Hector "hollywood" Swanson.,

the human resources dept.,

Human Resources departments are integral to a certian type of world view, but we'd all do well to remember that humans should never be treated as means to ends, but only as ends in themselves;

here is a true story from an office block near you...

The corporate friendliness surrounded them like a mist, gestures of financial guilt massage…the production line calendars and greetings cards on the desks were all on display, trying to bandage the wound…

Jefferson and Peterson stood speaking, so what’s new Jefferson, oh, not much actually, its been a pretty quiet week, we got a new scanner for the fourth floor, new ink cartridge jets arrived late but I will call the central office and lodge a complaint, formally of course… mm, good mused Peterson, good, someone new in the H.R. dept. though I think, saw him the other day while I was doing the rounds (it was a well known fact that all Peterson did was “do the rounds..”, constantly inspecting…), really sir, said Jefferson in alarmed surprise, I don’t think so, or at least there shouldn’t be anyone new taken on board, you know, with this recession that everyone’s talking about,.. talking said Peterson, not talking Jefferson, whispering, whispering in the corners over their instant cups of coffee, you should know better than to listen to the idle gossip of over paid secretaries, now come Jefferson, let’s see about this new member of staff…

who could it be said Jefferson, I mean what does he do…doesn’t seem to do much really, just seems to stand about in the centre of the office, you know, between the desks, or sometimes he’s by the coffee station, seems friendly enough to me, offered to hold my folder while I was making a cup of tea once, very friendly, but as to his job, I really couldn’t say, thought you might know something about it…

The two men amble mock casually into the H.R. dept, which was an open plan office. There was the “hero board”, the obligatory “we’re here to help” signs and of course employee of the month lists, charts, data and details on employees private lives stashed away in the wall of filing cabinets on one side; all of course to help with the firing of any current employee should the need arise.

And indeed yes, there he was, there said Peterson, look there he is.He stood, lank, weary looking in the centre of the open plan desking units. His hair looked greasy, and his face boyish, until he caught Jefferson’s intensely heavy stare on him, laser beaming him like a photocopy machine on print,…

Peterson went to speak with the head of the H.R. dept, bidding Jefferson to stay where he was with a regal wave of his hand.

Who’s the new one? said Peterson nodding towards the subject at hand. The re-circulated air was dry, and stung the screen bound eyes it met,
That’s uh,.. clark I think, sir, said the Head of H.R.,
What’s he doing?
Well, uh, his job sir.
And what is his job exactly?
Well, sir, it’s all part of a new cost saving initiative that we’ve had, he’s acting as a table sir, you know, just on a temporary basis,
What do you mean a table, a table, have you gone mad..? said Peterson half in horror,
No sir, not mad, we did the maths you see, and it works out cheaper to hire this uh, clark here, to act as a table only during busy high peak high use high frequency times, such as coffee breaks, lunch hours and briefly in the morning, than it would cost to buy the numerous tables that would be needed for each department. In fact, we’ve stretched the scheme to cover most of the office building, by insisting that each department take its lunch break in turns, the first from 9 -10am, then next at 10am-11am and so on until the last dept takes theirs from 4pm-5pm, we’ve managed to employ this here Mr. Clark as a full time table, going from dept. to dept, as the need arises, look, as you can see we’ve also got him wired up to a radio in the instance that he can be called at a moments notice by the Head of any Dept in case of an emergency when a table might really be needed. This scheme has saved us a great deal sir, a great deal I assure you.

Peterson was silent, almost in awe, but also thinking he’d have to watch this here Milliband, Head of H.R. today, but he was a sharp one, and could rise through the ranks rather quicker than Peterson would like to see; yes of course said Peterson, that’s good work there Milliband, keep it up…

Returning to the waiting Jefferson who had been craning his neck in a vain attempt to lip read the conversation, Peterson simply nodded to the door and begun to walk on, but wait, wait sir, what was his job, what does he do..? at this Peterson turned and said as casually as he could possibly conspire to, why he’s a table of course.
A table..? said Jefferson, what do you mean he’s a table,.
Oh Christ said Peterson with real irritation, what do you think I mean by he’s a table, he’s a bloody table ok, a full time table….

And with that, both men walk mock casually back the way they had come, Peterson adjusting his neck tie, and Jefferson, well, Jefferson wondering what the career prospects were like in today’s market for a table…


Hectory "hollywood" Swanson.,

and it crashes.,

Victim pulled from car wreck…

The headlights from the vehicle behind bounced in the rear view mirror and were gaining fast on the car. Its four passengers became immediately and simultaneously tense. The jumping lights chased about the car in the dark until there appeared a blue light on the roof of the following car. Shit, it’s the fucking police said the driver, unmarked car said another, yea I can fucking see that, just pull over man said the other, just fucking pull over man, do it, shut the fuck up I’m driving, just pull over .. for fucks sake and he swerved quickly to the side of the road. The police man stepped out of the black Mercedes, fucking hell, how do they afford that thing, said one in the back seat, fucking tax money you know, were you speeding Cause their car’ll come out of speeding tickets, like commission but for them its better than … he cut short, could you step out for a minute sir, said the police to the driver as he shined his torch at each person in turn. The passenger seat man made to get out, no not you, he said, just you, pointing to the driver already getting out the car.
He took him back to his car, ushered him in, then it was silent after the door slammed shut. Shit, what now, nothing man, just chill…just relax and act chilled, one in the back seat –without lowering his head for fear of alerting the watching police behind – very carefully pulled a small bag from his pocket and jammed it under the car seat…then he lit a cigarette and opened the window, it was a fresh night, very cool air but he was sweating. Soon enough the other returned to the car and slowly turned the ignition and moved away. The police car sat with its lights on, watching, just breathalysed me, fine yea, oh yea, shit watch the car man, fuck man, they’re still fucking watching us, alright alright, just pass me a god dam cigarette please, ok. But you haven’t been drinking..? one in the back seat said as he reached back under the seat to retrieve the small bag he had hidden there, then thought better and left it… no man, I never drink when I smoke, and there’s no fucking breathalyser for the dragon huh..? they all laughed, better than a pint…yea fuck em… the mood lifted, and it was fresh air blowing through the open window as they cruised on through the night street. They took a detour to ensure they weren’t being followed then, parking the car near half a mile away, sent one out to pick up the supplies. As the three sat in the car they smoked, but said nothing, only the occasional thought spoken out loud with no reply. Always tense waiting on a pick up, always tense preparing for the worst. An hour later they were back in a flat, passing the tin foil wrap around the two sofas where the four sat, each sinking quietly or with a slight murmur, climbing the rope on fire, a life line to a subterranean dream land, smoky hazed out vision, eyes weakly sink into its pull, inwards, no back-up there, no screams, just somewhere in between…

It’s the last role of the dice boys, he said, his voice dry and distant as he held the lighter beneath the tin foil chalice, I’ve been catching a ride in a hearst and hey, whats worse, it felt like a garden of eden boys, he leant over the foil with the pipe tube and inhaled deeply, then half dropping it on the table fell back deeply into the sofa, I had a dream, a calling you might say, but its not here, its there boys, he looked up vaguely and realised he was alone, or at least the other three bodies were dead to the world, deep in their dream-sleep, but he was sick, sick morning sweat and shiver, weak limbs bones ache and movement’s like a bomb’s dropped…the slow drowning back to my senses he thought, even dead tongues talk, a soiled mouth and mind but not blind for all of that, black suit, nothing stains black except white, nothing and everything stain white, white, he winced, the light was pain…he closed his eyes and trailed off…
Later, he got up to go, picking the cigarettes off the table, see you later boys he said but no-one heard…

Back at the flat in the tenement block it was packing, he had to leave this night, he was wearied and half dumb but he filled the suitcase, throwing what wouldn’t fit into the case out of the fourth floor window into the allotments below, papers scattered in the wind, an unseasonable fall of snow he said, again, to no-one in particular. The sky was heavy. He heard the Latvian moving in the kitchen where he slept on a mattress, the Latvian called out, is that you, are you back now, where have been he said as he walked into room wearing the faded blue dressing gown, you ok he said looking at him, yes, just gotta sleep now, talk later, you leaving today, no, tonight, oh, ok, I think the landlord will come tomorrow to check you are gone, good, tell her when she gets here I wont refund her petrol money, no she will take a taxi I think, right fine, forget it…and he lay down on the bed. The Latvian just stood for a moment looking at the open window, then at the room, are you going to clean this room before you go tonight, then without an answer he left the room.

The street was a thick moving torrent and his leather boots grew heavier, heavier and his feet were soaking wet, his legs weak as he sat on the brown box suitcase in the bus shelter. He looked down at the ferry baggage sticker on the side peeling in the down pour. He stood up and emptied his pockets to find change for the bus, holding the coins in his dripping hands, one pound and eight pence, he threw the eight pence into the gutter and waits on the bus. His wet shirt sticks to his skin as he boards the bus hauling the suitcase behind him. Someone tells him to get the fuck out the way but his head is still a fog and the warm dampness of the bus of people slows his reactions…the lights streak across the street as the bus moves off, and he watches the shifting beams of the white headlights and red tail lights interplay with the neon shop signs on the moving canvas…he is shaken out of the brush strokes by the phone ringing in his pocket, he leaves it unanswered and ignores the heads that turn to him hearing the sound. He gets off the bus a stop early for fear of being followed or reported to some authority for he looked like what he was – someone running from something.

He reached the flat thirty minutes later, and sat on his case in the cramp kitchen, lit a cigarette and opened a beer from the fridge. He looked down at the girl lying on her elbow on the mattress on the floor of the kitchen, she smiled.

The frenzied experiment was not yet over, the fantasy dance seemed unready to relinquish him and he braced himself for another round in the ring, curiosity dripping like an unhealed wound.


hello, this is a message concerning work – long pause – I got your message, and its fine, yea, fine, just calling, uh.., hoping you got over that bout of food poisoning (the words swallowed down his throat, slimy like a fly catching lizard’s tongue) – and also just wondering if you are going to make it up for Friday, well, if you could give me a call back when you get this…thanks…


Ignoring the phone message He fled north, its darker there, the sun is down for longer, and i need rest he thought, and, above all, sanctuary. A cheap northern hotel resort is the last place anyone would come looking…and it was time to leave the Stone City behind.


A week later He awoke, fucking rats he screamed, god awful fucking rats everywhere, but then his eyes focused onto the beady swollen pupil-ed and made-up eyes staring down at him, his hands groping and fondling at the belt, Rape! Rape! he shouted but no-one was listening, only his body behind him, his head between the thighs, jesus he shouted then pulling his knee back as far as it would go he extended his booted foot and caught the queer square on the nose at the angle of an uppercut, blood, his wailing, then the agony of realisation as he knew suddenly that he had no idea of where he was, then his wailing, the sounds of people moving in the house, he stood nearly falling back down again, his head was a swamp, unmoveable, unthinkable as he stepped over the body on the carpet, that curled up frame and him still wailing hopelessly, shut the fuck up you weasily shite he whispered as he gathered the rolled up notes and other substances from the table top then stepping over him in a strange wave of calm he broke and was running to find the front door, all in a matter of seconds…
As he half ran half stumbled down the wintery street he decided again to lay low for a couple of days, just observe this place, look at the white mountains, maybe interview a couple of skiers at the bar but whatever else he thought I must get back to the hotel room, back to safety behind a double lock, regain my sense of being and get out of this god awful cold. But he knew god wasn’t gonna help now, not after those wise cracks about the virgin mary in the lobby, his lover, jesus he swore again, no sorry, Buddha, this is fucked…

he weaved through the snow for perhaps an hour lost, wearing only a shirt – jacket long gone, probably in that house – so he kept a steady pace. He reached the room after a confused conversation with the concierge at the lobby then locked the door after scrawling on the do not disturb sign under any circumstances; he turned on the radiator and the shower and hot taps to maximum temperature to build up some heat, then lay slumped against the bed near the radiator and quickly fell into a deep and unpredictably long sleep.
looking down at the mud stained trousers and the spots of blood on his white shirt he wondered what he was doing in this place, he winced as the beady eyed face momentarily flashed back into his mind, this was god awful he thought, I need to slip the noose. However there were no trains running out of this place he calculated for at least two days, I may has well push my luck and see what I could find he thought as he realised happily that he had got over the bad fever he had reoccurringly had. Then headed out again, that would be the last those insects would expect he smiled, perhaps I am safer than I thought…or perhaps not, for he still secretly feared being run out of town by some ad hoc law enforcement agency…I have to lay low…

As he stepped back out into the snow of the resort he felt the ice on the back of his throat, the room had been thick with condensation cloud when he had left it due to the shower and hot taps running constantly for somewhere between 36 and 48 hours straight. The damp warmth of that room had eventually begun to sap his strength and he was glad to be out of it for a while at least. The mountains were beautiful wearing white and the sky was clear and fresh.

The central resort complex was a shopping centre, where the guests dutifully bought up the useless tact shameless on sale at vastly inflated prices, a coffee stand and a bar. He ordered a White Russian and watched the people’s blank faces going about the business of spending their hard earned money on things they didn’t want but somehow felt they needed for some higher purpose.
“what should we buy to remember this place by honey?” “dunno, how about that..?” and her arm raises mechanically and picks up a small set of unworkable imitation bag pipes…
on closer inspection he discovered that the small set of imitation bag pipes did actually play some unrecognisable tune, when squeezed, in a metallic screechy tone, a near by shopper inclines their head to hear the sound better…
“yea honey, its uh…nice…isn’t it…uh…?..” and she looks back at him “uh, yea…I guess it is…” and it drops soundlessly into the shopping basket and they walk on without saying another word about it…
I am the hated honesty here he thought, the cruel, crippling lash of truth, the knees go weak, the mind swamps, and the vision blurs in shifting patterns, hands reach forward as if in darkness, feet are unsteady as if the floor were not flat tiles and the hands grip the shopping baskets; he sits watching the unravelling like a ball of wool in the hands of a wide-eyed kitten…

Finally, two days later, the countryside is flashing by, the carriage is warm and he is done…fled that noose before I hung, he smiled again and swigged the bottle of wine, heading south once more away from the dark north towards safety or at least a measure of it…leaving the useless dark cold of that place, strangling itself with that great American dream type thing, yearning for fat Americans and fat American dollars to save their souls from themselves, Americans wearing the kilts of clans they’ve never heard of safe in their holiday compounds just the way they like it with CNN and all the home channels in the hotel rooms, eating burgers and chips and tomatoe sauce, a home from home in the highlands…and well what of the highlands..?..the clans now happy to play their pipes for a couple quid an hour as the dollar has done what the conquering English armies could never do by reducing the Proud clans to ‘yes’ men and for what..?.. Just for a piece of a toxic waste pie…


Back in the Stone city he went straight to see Dr. Zimbadean, a medicator, part time seer part believer. He sat in his basement office; the back room was stacked to the ceiling with boxes of pills, bottles, flasks, amulets, pendants and all around the walls of the whole place various species of plants, roots and animal matter were nailed – each in their own bag. The specimens hung there like the memories of a man possessed; this was Dr. Zimbadean and the insane old witchdoctor’s labeled ordered chaos.
What’ll it be then? He asked. Well doctor, I was hoping you could tell me that, that’s why I come to you after all, the doctor smiled saying yes, I thought so, yours is quite a serious case so I think a few doses of this will be right as he passes several dark brown bottles with black lids across the wooden table. He picked up the bottles and examining them saw that inside each was a dark creature, lurking in a stasis, hanging in a spiral type pose, lizards ready to unwrap and boa constrict a man and hold him enveloped for long slow hours. Good he said, thanks doctor.


Stumbling half running but limping heavily on his left leg the silhouette became a shadow on the slope, then a solid form as it bound on downwards. Its maniac gait was accentuated by the torn coat that flayed behind him in the winds, an inky black smeared grey torn coat, falling loosely off one of his shoulders. His face loomed forwards as he fled the ridge where the first rays of morning were marking a frosty skyline, inviting, but the figure still fled, his hair wet in thick tassels and his eyes showing the delirium as the landscape shattered into glass-like shards, oozing bright light and colour – it was dawn, and the dawn raid was over.


There was only one window in the office, and it faced out onto a disused garden, over-grown and unseen. It was warm in the near unventilated basement rooms, three partitioned sections of the floor. Zimbadean had his feet on the desk and was flicking through the t.v. channels while he looked on silently, the voice blared about an artist, Wolfgang Flatz, an action artist, who dropped a bull filled with fireworks from out of a helicopter…flicking channels…17 dead, 4 wounded and another 23 still missing…and the auto-mutilating appearance of the t.v. world continued unabated, unashamed, but Zimbadean switched it off and threw a quick look at his patient.
He said that he had ordered an old African mask, dating back to the 19th Century, at least, which was originally used as a ritual object by a certain unnamable tribe who had since been wiped out by T.B. and Small Pox, which later, once stolen, was on display in a World Fare in 1905, and was gawped at by European visitors and tourists, and later yet went on to inspire the paintings of Picasso. What will you do with it now then..? he asked, genuinely curious and Zimbadean smiled and said, Burn It, Why? What did you think..?



politics in the uk.,

Politics in Britain : On the Right to Demonstrate

In any society the questions of politics should inevitably cause divides, rifts and disagreements between various persons and also various parties; and this would be a healthy political arena, a society where debate and the exchange of ideas and beliefs could actuate a social evolution, or, what can be called progress.

A functioning democracy needs to have dissenting voices in order to move forward in a positive direction. Only if the ruling elite become unjustified in their position does debate and protest need to be silenced in order to maintain an otherwise untenable status quo. The irony is that the imposition of such draconian or “Orwellian” measures will often pre-date a widely recognised public consensus to the same effect because it will be precisely those unjustifiable persons in positions of authority that come to realise the untenable nature of their existence in their hearts of hearts before the public do at large and in their panic they will act as all cornered animals do, with violence and attack.

Any attempt to stifle or silence a disagreeing voice is completely anti-democratic and reeks of totalitarianism in all its ugliness.

25 October 2005:The first time that an arrest was made for being an organiser of an unauthorised demonstration, an offence which potentially carries a penalty of up to a thousand pounds fine and 51 weeks in prison, was the event that Milan Rai and Maya Evans organised, reading out the names of the dead in Iraq, for which Maya Evans was later convicted. This has since become a somewhat infamous use of the SOCPA 132.
The real question however is not whether someone has the right to protest wherever they deem fit, but rather who has the authority over other men to disallow them from enacting such a basic human right, not only the right to publicly disagree but the right to freedom of assembly and association (Article 11, UCHR, 1998). So “who has the right to take the right of protest away from another?” Seemingly the Labour party in the UK, and particularly those in leading positions, feel that they have some kind of duty to remove the right to free protest from its people.

Of course security we are told is a major factor in this, we are being protected by these limitations to our freedoms and restrictions in our civil liberties…again this reeks, and reminds one of the 1933 Decrees, announced by a democratically elected government acting under a (possibly self-made) state of emergency, restricting basic civil liberties so as better to protect those people from harm and distress, I quote,
“the following is decreed as a defensive measure against communist acts of violence , endangering the state:
Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty [114], on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press [118], on the right of assembly and the right of association [124], and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications [117], and warrants for house-searches [115], orders for confiscation as well as restrictions on property [153], are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed”. (Germany., February 28th, 1933.) [1]
However, one must be careful in drawing such comparisons because it is less than helpful to fall into the kind of extreme alarmism that in actual fact is the cause of such draconian laws in the first instance. The comparison made above is simply meant to be a reminder that some of the most terrible crimes that have occurred in living memory were begun quite inconspicuously, with the cycle of their terrible progression beginning in legislation.
As a brief aside the whole package of anti-terror laws that have come into effect over the last few years certainly strike terror into the hearts of many British citizens, particularly the Muslim communities who feel – quite rightly I am sure – that they are being singled out and having their rights as human beings violated. The ECHR can be easily waived if the relevant official in authority deems that one person or another is a terrorist – a term, incidentally, that is barely defined in law and has been used in the loosest sense by politicians and come to mean simply an enemy of the state or a person or group which the state allows to be hated, treated outside of law and the ECHR… This is the most important development in the general slide over the last 5 years or so, because scapegoats are always picked out so that the others who are doing the hating of the scapegoat need not change their behaviour or policies, and meanwhile the hate and scapegoating will only increase as solutions do not present themselves through the arbitrary scapegoating…It is a cruel and viscous cycle that is begun…
On the Authorisation of Demonstration and Peaceful Public Protest in Parliament Square – including a radius of 1km,:

Taken from the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, 2005:
“132 Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area
(1) Any person who—
(a) organises a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(b) takes part in a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(c) carries on a demonstration by himself in a public place in the designated area,
is guilty of an offence if, when the demonstration starts, authorisation for the demonstration has not been given under section 134(2). ”

Ultimately it is only a small step in ideological terms from the situation where demonstration is prohibited in certain areas to the more sinister situation where demonstrations could only take place in a few, well defined and government authorised areas and can within the framework of that same logic be extended to all areas of the country… In fact, there is no ideological difference; and any government that believes it has the right to curtail peaceful protest in a so-called democratic nation quite simply has no right to rule that nation, and ought to end up in the courts.
The absurdity of the situation is clear, but the danger remains real. Mark Thomas, a veteran on the campaign trail, has initiated a series of protests to high light just that, the absolute absurdity of the new laws passed under the SOCAP,
“my lawyers delivered a letter to the director of public prosecutions yesterday afternoon calling for an urgent investigation into allegations that the prime minister broke the law by demonstrating unlawfully in Parliament Square last summer…
If the wearing of a brightly coloured proboscis constitutes a protest (the Poppy Appeal charity), then the unveiling of Nelson Mandela's statue must do so too. After all, it celebrated the collapse of apartheid (a political cause), honoured a man who organised the armed struggle in South Africa (definitely political and quite possibly glorifying terrorism), and pledged to fight poverty. So, being civic-minded, I wrote to the police asking if I needed permission for a gathering at the statue. My event had speeches - in fact, they were extracts from the original speeches made on the day by Mr Brown and Mr Mandela. Yes, the police informed me, I did need permission to demonstrate - which I duly applied for and received. Unfortunately for the prime minister, it seems no one bothered to get police approval at the event he spoke at.
Mr Brown, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. One person can constitute a demonstration, but what exactly is a demonstration? In law, there is little to go by, but for various dictionary definitions, such as "an expression of opinion". It is my duty as a law-abiding citizen, therefore, to add to the legal letter served the names of MPs seen holding forth on political issues on College Green, urging the DPP to investigate them for breaking the law and demonstrating without permission. It does not matter that they are being interviewed for news programmes - the law allows no exceptions or exemptions. In fact, the news organisations could be guilty of organising unlawful demonstrations by asking MPs to speak, so I have reported them as well.
All of this may seem ridiculous…[2]” and yes, it is in fact ridiculous, however there are two sides to every coin. The very ridiculousness of this is a testament to the level of freedom still actually afforded to members of this society at present. However, the other side is that complacency is not advisable, for in a situation where human rights are up on the negotiating table, up for discussion as it were, there ought to be no lapse in a collective and conscious effort to resist any weakening in the laws that protect the absolute rights of every citizen.
Possibly the most sinister aspect to the changes in laws is the increasing marginalization and scapegoating of a chosen minority, a minority who as a nation we have waged a real and cruel war upon.
We can allow no compromise on this issue and as a people we must not give one inch. We have a moral and civic duty to continue to protect and maintain the basic standards of our human rights for all in this nation and all other nations, using in the first instance peaceful protest, assembly and demonstration to bring general attention to the issues and even in the times when these inalienable rights are waived and we must continue to do so even if it is made illegal to do so, for we are men and women first, not subjects to a government of questionable moral disposition; and in particular, we must maintain the protests and assemblies on the door step of the forum of our democracy in Parliament Square, before that door is more permanently closed to us.
[1] from website of : Department of History John Jay College of Criminal Justice 445 West 59 St. New York, N.Y.10019
[2] Mark ThomasThursday December 13, 2007The Guardian.,

Dr. Zimbadean.,

the statue of liberty is closed until further notice.,

“The current access patterns reflect a responsible management strategy in the best interests of all our visitors,” says the out-going Park Service Director, Fran Mainella; which is to say that the Statue of Liberty is closed to the public, and is seemingly to remain closed to the public until further notice.

A citizen is able to enter the statue but only to climb as far as the pedestal, or the statue’s toes; with the crown and the stairway up inside the body itself being out of bounds. The importance is of course that this statue is hollow, and without people ascending its stairs to her crown it remains just that, a hollow and people-less idea.

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of Freedom and Opportunity, of the Hopes and Dreams of not only the American people but of all people who aspire to be great in the face of all the odds. Its closure, since 9/11 2001, is a significant symbolic gesture. In fact, Senator Charles Schumer has gone so far as to couch this debate in the most explicit terms having said, “In this case, freedom has given way to fear”. Well perhaps Senator Schumer, perhaps…but however we look at it, the 21st Century truly began on that day…

It is critical to realize that nationalism or the tendancy towards it is not only a positive feeling. In the positive – by way of example to illuminate the difference – one may feel an attachment to a nation, England say, or an ethnic or racial group, as is demonstrated in the all black oscar awards for instance. However, on the more foul side of such tendencies and feelings is the negative; whereby a group feels bound together simply by a collective hatred or fear of another group or ideology.

This kind of sentiment has certain major aspects. It inclines a slackness of moral thought, whereby WE are good on the basis of THEM being bad. They are always bad, and so by virture, we, being good, must always be good, regardless of what we actually do. So, when we bomb an urban area and the generals report that “collateral damage” was fairly high, we fail to see this as a crime against humanity, we fail to see that the killing of innocent civilians is wrong, and that even terming the death of a civilian as “collateral damage” is wrong; but because it is US doing it to THEM, and since they are bad then we are good, anything we do must be to further goodness… To labour this point somewhat, the overall hysteria and frantic rage that was built up and surrounded the deaths of those 3000 or so innocents in the World Trade Centre attacks is grossly disproportionate to the feelings of regret over the deaths of over 1 million Iraqi civilians (remember that the invasion was partly justified as a retaliation to the attacks on the Twin Towers - incidently, there never was any evidence to suggest any link at all either at the time or now...). This negative type of nationalism produces the same results as scape-goating does. It allows rage and hatred to be vented without actually necessitating any change in the behaviour of those that are doing the hating.

This was at the forefront of politics in the McCarthy era, the era of the Communist witch hunts, where again the burden of proof fell upon the accused and people arrested were encouraged to ‘name names’ of other potential communists… In this era, the enemy is the ‘terrorist’, and more specifically the Islamic terrorist, with everyone a suspect until somehow they prove themselves innocent. And this burden of proof seems to remain in place even while the suspected are locked in concentration camps without charge, little or no legal access and with the prospect of a closed, juryless trial ahead of them which makes prooving their own innocence (especially while enduring severe torture) very difficult for them. The very existence of a camp such as that at Guatanamo bay ought to be enough for the civilized nations of the world to scrap any existing treaties with the American administration, begin an immediate boycott of all USA exports to the world, and seek to enforce the international laws upon those responsible for behaviours and policies that would not have been out of place in the Third Reich of the 1940s…

Another aspect of this slackening of moral thinking and accuracy of thought can be seen in the slogans of the day (as well as in the slogans of repressive governments of the past), all hollow and meaningless. "Support the Troops" for instance, is about as meaningless as "oil your weapons", or, "change your socks"… it is something that in itself is right, and no body can have an objection to, for of course any good hearted and decent person will support the troops (who are people after all..) just as they would support the teachers or the train drivers. The sinister use of this slogan is that it has been used as a pro war slogan, as a slogan meant to divide and not bring together. That is to say that those who are against the war in Iraq are accused of not supporting the troops, something which does not go down well. And so those in favour of the war have the ammunition that the anti-war lobby does not support the troops giving further cause to avoid rational debate or dialogue regarding the facts of the situation… It is often missed that the people who are looking out most for those same troops are those who are resolutely against a war for oil, where people’s lives are being lost, given and taken for the sake of the profit margins of a few companies closely tied to the White house and the Pentagon. Rationally speaking, a slogan such as "Support the Troops" ought to be an anti-war slogan, but here again is an example of the twisted world view that is brought about by such negative nationalistic feeling.

Through slogans of this type the identity of the US is strengthened further through the identification of those who are Not US. This of course is deliberate, and is nothing new. Perhaps a slightly unusual comparison to make, but none the less valid as an illustrative tool, would be to quote the marketing campaign of the 50s engineered by Edward Bernays, whereby in order to break the taboo of women smoking and thereby open up a large new market for the tobacco companies, Bernays organised a march of cheer leader type girls through New York with banners saying “smoke for Freedom”. This meant anyone objecting to the women smoking now was branded as one who was against women having equal rights, rather than objecting to the shameless use of a serious political issue of the day to promote the benefits of big business.

The second important aspect of this type of negative nationalism is that the group involved are very easily manipulated and the politicians doing the manipulating need have no coherent policy or objective, and need only satisfy immediate requirements for the hatred and fear of the OTHER group to continue. Helpfully as well, the other group needn’t be too specific, and any perceived enemy of the state can be added without any contradiction to the group of the OTHER, with no any real or rational justification. A person can be accused simply of being one of THEM, and no evidence is needed for such a claim if through the media and other channels of communication their name can be sufficiently tarnished… Hence we see groups being suddenly added to the list of international terrorist organisations who were trading and dealing quite normally with Western governments until their expulsion, generally for reasons unknown to the public at large, while other groups, generally those who cooperate with the military plans of the West, Pakistan for instance, are embraced and heralded as heroes in the war of terror when to all extensive purposes they are criminals of the highest order with regard the human rights abuses that frequently occur, or the welcoming back of Libia into the cosy arena of western dominated politics. Pakistani human rights records are appalling, and the country was run until very recently by a tight knit military dictatorship that has only changed since then in name and not in actual reality.

To return to our Senator’s observation of how freedom has given way to fear now… a group caught up in the hysteria of negative nationalism displays all the characteristics of a cornered animal, and will attack without thought if its escape is blocked. A population constantly on red alert, fearing the imminent attack, divided and insecure with no apparent escape from the endless torrent of media and political speculation endlessly reminding it that its fate walks a knife edge is a population that is easy to manipulate quickly and without proper rationale. Also the group that is being scape-goated also begin in their turn to behave like cornered animals, and so we are left with a situation of two cornered animals facing each other…

Against a background of this type of negative nationalism all kinds of repressive actions are to be justified, phones can tapped, databases kept on those who attend anti-war rallies and demonstrations, restrictions in the civil liberties of a nation’s population, biometric ID cards, increased stop and search powers and of course the limitations of the powers of the judicial system and the limiting of basic human rights; and all can be justified with respect to the apparent increased need for tighter security to protect against the evils of THEM (and evil is not too an extreme a word to use, remember we are at war with the so-called Axis of Evil…). However, any sane or reasonable person can see that the two – ie security and freedom are unrelated in the sense implied by the draconian measures of the western democracies. Similar to the divisive thinking behind the slogans, no-one would wish for innocent people to be killed in terrorist attacks but by reducing the freedoms of people targeted by those attacks will not reduce their effects or probability, particularly with the cases of the so called home grown terrorist. A little off the point but worth remembering is the fact that as the Nazis clamped down harder and harder on the French resistance it did not stop them, in fact it only encouraged them to continue to fight against that repressive and cruel regime. And well that they did although they were clearly a terrorist organisation fighting a guerrila war against an invading army - very similar to the Afganis of today.

The closure of the Statue of Liberty will fire up a rage in the hearts of many Americans, and will be symbolic act elsewhere too, and of course the answer given to this rage will be Blame Them, it's not our fault, but the fault of our Enemies, further entrenching the negative nationalism we discussed before. And those in power will have the job of simply channelling that rage to what or whoever it suits them to even when it is quite irrational.

The so-called Lyrical Terrorist escapes jail with a Suspended Sentence…

A 24 year old Muslim woman who had worked in the Heathrow airport escaped a jail sentence and got off with a suspended 18 month sentence and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work we learnt on the 7th December 2007. She had called herself the lyrical terrorist, as an on-line persona, because she had written poetry that was anti-western and anti the US, some of that poetry described and called for the beheading of non-believers; also she was alleged to have printed information from the Internet which together with the poetry was deemed to be likely to be useful for terrorism… Samina Malik had done nothing wrong, at least criminally, and one can only conclude that she had committed a thought crime… In a society where freedom of expression is valued then she has the categorical right to create such poetry – despite its evident bad taste and lack of literary skill – and also the right to read and collect any information that happens to be in the public domain.

I want to stress that this young woman’s poem was no great piece of art work, in fact truly it has hardly any artistic merit whatsoever and can only really be seen akin to self harming and other adolescent destructive behaviours, however, to my mind at least, neither does the work of Damien Hirst or the Chapman brothers (respectively cutting animals in half or mutilating original Goya prints with cartoon sketches of Mickey Mouse…) or any number of other contemporary artists making a very healthy living today…

Freedom of expression cannot be restricted and it is as simple as that, and anyone who seeks to restrict the most basic freedoms of thought and expression is an enemy of the free world, of free people and of freedom itself and these individuals must be seen in that light with no mitigating circumstances being able to revoke that judgment for it is the most basic fact. Human rights are non-negotiable.

This case only highlights the potential for the irrational and damaging outcomes of this environment of whipped up Fear and channelled false Hatred. It seems that Samina Malik is a victim, not a criminal. It appears that she has lost the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of association – both enshrined in the human rights laws that the UK is a signatory to. The only way to explain this is that those in positions to do otherwise were swayed from rational thinking by this poisonous environment that we are creating around us. For thinking rationally again, how could an angsty young woman’s poor attempts at literature truly present a threat to national security, or indeed really be useful to a terrorist or terrorist organisation..?

Freedom of expression also has another side. To be able to act properly information must be available. In fact, a premise of democracy is that those in power are honest with those that they serve. To create a divisive environment fermenting with fear and hatred is not conducive to reasoned thought or action, nor is it serving the best interests of the electorates. It can be concluded that more than anything the endless streams of misinformation and hashed logic that is pushed down the throat of the average person is perhaps the greatest threat to freedom of expression. When a person is enraged, full of hatred and confused in their fearful state their reason will often abandon them, and their expressions will not be free in the sense that they have been manipulated to be as they are by a whole series of false queues that trigger an intended reaction, rather like a puppet.

And so against this background, any victory that we are told that we have achieved in this war by the same people who have consistently deceived and divided us, will remain as hollow a symbol of victory as the Statue of Liberty is of freedom until it is once again opened to the public. However, the Statue of Liberty remains closed, and those in the positions to affect real change in the crushing environment that is being created across the globe continue to lie and deceive their electorates, they continue to refer to the deaths of civilians as “collateral damage” and continue to maintain and fill concentration camps in the name of freedom, and ultimately, they show no signs of changing their ways, and so, it appears that the Statue will remain closed until further notice is given by the authorities; unless, of course, the people of the world take it upon themselves to reopen it…

Dr. Zimbadean.,