• Anarchism In America. Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher, 1983

"We like to get people to think for themselves. We don't, like, come out and say 'This is our opinion; think like us or that's not cool'. No, what we're saying is 'This is our opinion; judge it for what you will, but for Christ's sake, have an opinion". - Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys

"I don't believe one can practice anarchism in society...nor do I think that one can go around living a holier-than-thou ethical life that essentially amounts to an ongoing guilt trip against other people...but I do believe this: that one can try to maintain a high ethical standard...that one can live an ethical life, one can concern oneself personally with what is can protest and one can try to work with projects in which people learn how to take control of their lives even if in fact they can't do so until there are fundamental social changes. Those are the commitments that anarchism seriously poses to the individual, and it raises a very high standard. It is demanding in that respect. It demands that you search into what is a humanistic sensibility and what is a humanistic ethic." - Murray Bookchin

  • Communism: The Promise And The Reality (Pt. 1/6). PBS, 2000

Rough timeline of events according to the documentary:

    • 1917 - Tsar rule, upheaval, taking of the Winter Palace, and abdication/arrest of Tsar. Lenin, leader of Bolsheviks, working for proletariat rule. Name change to Russian Communist Party, moved to Moscow, followed by execution of Tsar and family.
    • Germany: In Berlin & Munich there are attempts by soviets to seize power.
    • 1921 - Lenin creates secret police force to kill opponents. Propaganda posters display communist beliefs - classless state, idea of profit abandoned in favour of working for hospitals, schools etc. Poorer classes remain in poverty however.
    • Declaration that all should be able to read, activists dispatched to teach illiterates.

"The Revolution gave me the right to feel equal to any man. It gave me the right to work, to study what I wanted to study" - Alla Shistyer

    • Architecture breaks from 'bourgeois styles', musicians experiment with musical decisions made collectively.
    • 1924 - Death of Lenin, succeeded by Stalin. Large sectors of economy remain in private hands. Stalin therefore determined to make state central power - launched 5 year plan.

"Remember, this is a country where people were illiterate, lived in virtual darkness...even now I think it's like something out of a fairy tale" - Tatiana Fedorova

    • Around time of depression in America, many become inspired by ideals of communism (to end exploitation and war).
    • George Bernard Shaw tours Russia

"...Now the sun shines on Russia..." - G.B. Shaw, 1931

    • Communists act as atheists - seek to remove the church, ridicule of priests
    • Stalin ends Private Farming, suggested 3 million Kulaks (private farmers) executed, led to famine - this is not clear to western visitors (e.g Shaw)
    • 1938 - trials in Moscow of Stalin's supporters thought to be a source of possible opposition, execution owing to 'faked' confessions. The promise that oppressed masses would be in power never delivered.

Interestingly, wives of executed taken away in box carriages, convinced their husbands were in the carriage behind, begin to sing so that they might hear them.

  • Communism: The Promise And The Reality (Pt. 2/6). PBS, 2000

This installment focused on the use of atomic energy following WWII. In 1945, Stalin ordered the development of atomic weapons, with success in 1949. Eventually, this led to a state whereby an attack on either side would result in MAD (mutually assured destruction). CND protests began around 1957.

"It was not us who brought the nuclear nightmare into the world but in the name of the revolution we built out own bomb to defend our freedom and prosperity" - Soviet Broadcast

It is also interesting to note that those involved in the development of the first bombs dropped on Japan wrote messages in marker pen on the outside, often their own names and the names of their wives or girlfriends.

Series to be continued.

  • Horizon: Total Isolation. BBC, 2008

Sensory deprivation is thought to disrupt the central executive, and interfere with dendritic connections. This documentary looks at the initial experiments of Donald Hebb, also interviewing prisoners subjected to deprivation. One victim of solitary confinement for some years claims that it has led to a permanent deficit in his ability to time events, in that he cannot state when something happened, or order events, but can only say that he had or had not done something, without being able to report the order. Hallucinations are common.

sep 1 2013 ∞
jan 11 2014 +