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[Culture] [ULK Issue 27]
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Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White in long-term isolation cell

Snow White and the Huntsman is a more in-depth, live-action take on the Disney classic. A variety of themes are explored in this film that were glossed over or undeveloped in the animated version, but the basic plot remains the same.

The story begins with Snow White as a small girl. Her mother falls ill and dies. Shortly thereafter the widower king is drawn into battle with a "dark and mysterious" army, whose warriors are made of obsidian or glass. The army is defeated and a prisoner, a beautiful womyn, is rescued. The king marries the prisoner the very next day, and she quickly is revealed to be an evil witch. The new queen kills the king, locks Snow White in a tower, and destroys the entire kingdom. How Snow White survived her decade of solitary confinement was not addressed in the film, but would have been interesting for us to analyze and likely criticize.

The queen was under a spell that kept her the fairest in the land, so long as she sucks the youth and beauty out of young wimmin to constantly replenish her powers. This beauty enables her to manipulate people who are distracted by her good looks, and to cast spells of her own. The spell can only be broken by "fairest blood," and as Snow White comes of age in her prison tower, she becomes a threat to the queen's powers. The magic mirror on the wall instructs the queen to eat Snow White's heart so that she will become immortal.

The queen's brother goes to retrieve Snow White for a meeting with the queen. Of course Snow White escapes, and through a course of events leads a revolution to take back the kingdom from the evil queen. It is Snow White's "purity" and "innocence" (as well as a blessing from a forest creature straight out of Princess Mononoke) that give her magical powers to overcome the queen's spells and tricks. A classic Jesus story, complete with a resurrection.

When the evil queen first took power, the subjects initially tried to resist her rule. They were defeated each time, and eventually everyone gave up, broke into sects, turned alcoholic, and warred with each other just trying to stay alive. An oracle dwarf identified Snow White as having a "destiny." It was only the power of this destined leader that could bring everyone together and overcome the evil queen.

The take-home lessons from Snow White and the Huntsman are defeatist. "Find a good leader and follow them." "People's struggle isn't winnable." "There's nothing you can do to challenge the all-powerful status quo." These are typical messages to be expected from a mainstream Amerikkkan movie.

The only theme that was remotely interesting was the queen's views on gender and beauty. She has been a victim of beauty for twenty lifetimes and has built up a lot of resentment toward men. This resentment comes up in her murder of the king, because she is distrustful of men, who will just throw her out when she ages. In a later scene, she is assessing two male prisoners who have just been captured, and one is young and handsome. Before killing him with her own fingers, she gives a monologue about how he would have been her ruin, but instead she will be his ruin. This is a good critique of the fetishization of youth and beauty and its contribution to a variety of mental health challenges people in our society must face. Had the queen not been valued by men only for her beauty, she may have been a more benevolent dictator, at least to the handsome young men who cross her path.

Snow White and the Huntsman doesn't get my recommendation. We don't need any more encouragement in our society to drink our sorrows about the status quo away, waiting for our own Snow White. And it's unnecessary to wait, because your Snow White is you!

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[Culture] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 19]
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Jasiri X, Choose a Side

Jasiri X Sides with Labor Aristocracy in Wisconsin
Jasiri X sides with the labor aristocracy in Wisconsin.

Jasiri X is a hip hop artist from Pittsburgh who raps the news over some dope beats produced by The Grand Architect Paradise Gray of X Clan. The two release these tracks as videos on youtube.com in a series titled "This Week with Jasiri X." Jasiri X is popular in activist circles, frequently performing and speaking at benefits and rallies. We've been bobbing our heads to his tracks since the release of OG3 - Oscar Grant Tribute in January 2009, but in light of his most recent release, American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires, we decided to take a closer look.

OG3 tells the story of the murder of Oscar Grant and the rebellions following his murder, from the points of view of Oscar Grant and the protesters. Although the facts aren't 100% correct in OG3, it is a good example of the many tracks Jasiri X has released about police brutality and aggression against Black people in Amerika. A track titled Free the Jena 6 was one of the first that got peoples' attention, and he continues to shout out victims of police execution and violence by name.

When working on an international piece, Jasiri X correctly draws connections between police brutality here and imperial aggression against Third World peoples around the world. He recently released a track about the uprisings in Egypt with M-1 of Dead Prez, titled We All Shall Be Free!

Despite his revolutionary lean, Jasiri X still holds on to his Amerikanism on several issues, which comes up big time in American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires. The video for this song was shot inside the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, against a backdrop of labor aristocrats raising a stink to keep their "fair share" of the imperialist pie. The title implies that a line is being drawn between Amerikan "workers" and the capitalist multi-billionaires with this union busting legislation. However, as outlined in several articles and books(1) Amerikan "workers" are actually fundamentally allied with the imperialist, capitalist class on an international level. It is only because of the pillage of resources and lives in the Third World that the government employees in Wisconsin even have health care in the first place. Defending this "right" to health care is essentially the same thing as supporting Amerikan wars, which Jasiri X says he is against. History has shown that the multi-billionaires won't give up theirs without a fight.

"When did the American worker become the enemy?
Why is wanting a living wage such a penalty?"
- Jasiri X from "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires"

The Amerikan "worker," or labor aristocrat, is the enemy of the majority of the world's people because their lives are subsidized by the economic exploitation of the Third World. Third World peoples' sweat, blood, and lives are wasted to pay for the Amerikan "worker's" pensions and health care. This is because most of the "work" that Amerikans do does not generate value; we have a service-based economy. The only reason our society has such a disproportionately high "living wage" (as if those who make less die) is because we are comfortable swinging our weight around in imperialist wars of aggression to extract wealth from the Third World. Jasiri X seems to be opposed to this extraction of wealth, but does not make the connection that Amerikan "workers" are directly benefiting from it, and not just the multi-billionaires.

Jasiri X seems to adhere to an anti-racist model of social change. Besides being supported by an incorrect analysis of history, it also has him defending Obama as a Black man, rather than attacking him as the chosen leader of the largest and most aggressive imperialist country in the world. Jasiri X correctly pins Obama as an ally of the Amerikan people; their key to a comfortable lifestyle and fat retirement plan. But as an ally of the oppressed, Jasiri X should accept that Obama, and the labor aristocracy, are enemies of the majority of the world's people, and leave patriotism behind. Agitating for the betterment of people in Haiti, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, etc. as Jasiri X does through some of his raps, while at the same time defending Obama and the Amerikan "worker," is a recipe for stagnation. If we want to end oppression the world over, we need to have a clear idea of who are our friends and who are our enemies.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 17]
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Otomatik Attak by FLATTBUSH

https://www.prisoncensorship.info/art/fb.jpg"

[img="https://www.prisoncensorship.info/art/quick/fb2.jpg" alt=Flattbush bassist]

Flattbush's newest album Otomatik Attak (Koolarrow Records) is a prime example of form meeting content to create a superior piece of cultural art. A metal/grind band out of Los Angeles founded by two members originally from the Philippines, Flattbush keeps a "fuck the system" tradition alive with themes of atheism, revolt, and anti-capitalism. These comrades scream for liberation in English, Tagalog, and Kapampangan, accompanied by guest vocals in Spanish. They go the distance lyrically by focusing on U.$. fascism and imperialism in the Philippines, calling on the people to stand up against the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dictatorship in people's war.

From "Dear Uncle Sam,"

the sadistic american imperialists
they are always at war and they always dictate
so they can maintain their self interests
but uncle sam we are not afraid of your high tech warfare and atomic bombs
uncle sam
fuck you uncle sam
it is necessary to take action
it is necessary to oust the u.s. gloria fascist regime
if not now
then when?

And from "Otomatik Attak,"

automatic attack
on the people
the strike of the fascist
to wipe out
the solution to their attack is to counter attack
people's war

Flattbush hopes to expand their cultural work to the Philippines in the near future, live! To show solidarity with the peasant masses, the lead vocalist often performs in a conical straw hat and plain jacket, similar to a Mao suit. Supporting his powerful and compelling vocals, the bassist, guitarist, and drummer are all phenomenal players. On stage they are humble, not pausing for applause between songs. This album would satisfy anyone into metal for the music, or anyone who is fighting intensely for revolution. Get more info about Flattbush from [url=http://www.flattbush.com.

]www.flattbush.com.

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[Environmentalism] [ULK Issue 12]
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Climate Reparations? You and what army?

Imperialism crushes the planet

From December 7 through 18, 2009, the UN-sponsored 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. COP15 was a gathering where world powers came together to discuss the impending doom of climate change and what they will, or won't, do about it. This series of semi-annual COP talks began officially in November 1994, and in 1997 the group adopted a document called the Kyoto Protocol, which is a supposedly legally binding agreement that targets an average reduction of 5.2% from 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) by the year 2012. In 2009, the u.$. offered to lower GGEs by 4% of 1990 levels, while the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wants developed countries to curb emissions by 25-40% of 1990 levels.(1) The u.$. is the only imperialist country in the world that hasn't signed the Kyoto Protocol, while other imperialist countries have officially agreed to the document, but have not obeyed it, such as klanada who raised their GGEs by 26%(2).

According to the Kyoto Protocol, the primary way the polluters of the world are supposed to reduce their GGEs is through emissions trading, what is also called "cap and trade." Based on their current pollution levels, governments grant a certain amount of permission to companies to pollute, the "cap," in the form of emission reduction credits. Companies that want to pollute more than the amount of credits they have can buy them from companies who don't max out their own. Hypothetically, companies who pollute more are paying the price, and companies who pollute less are benefiting. In reality, there are so many loopholes in the "cap and trade" that a 15% reduction of GGEs on paper can actually equate to a 10% increase.(3) Before the Kyoto Protocol, global GGEs went up 1.5% per year. After the Kyoto Protocol, they went up 3% per year.(4) The only reason this backwards strategy is even on the table is because of attempts to submit to those who worship the capitalist market as a god that can solve all problems.

The system of carbon emissions trading is also limited by focusing on one form of pollution only. There is an incorrect assumption here that everyone has equal access to polluting and suffer from pollution equally. As many parties at COP15 pointed out, whole nations face extinction due to climate change they didn't contribute to creating. Twenty percent of the world population have emitted more than 2/3 of emissions, and caused more than 90% of the increase in temperatures.(5) Plus, pollution from factories doesn't just contaminate the air with greenhouse gases, it contaminates drinking water and soil and has more local affects on the atmosphere as well, as evidenced by increased occurrences of asthma. So companies who are higher-polluting and are on the buying end of the emission reduction credits scheme create "hot spots" with lots of pollution of all kinds. These "hot spots" have been largely exported to the Third World where production for the exploiter nations is now centered. Even in the united $tates it is disproportionately ghettos and reservations that are ravaged by environmental pollution.

In 2009 a new document came out of the COP talks, called the Copenhagen Accord. It was crafted by the u.$. in negotiation with other imperialist consumer nations and some major neo-colonial producer nations.(6) The Copenhagen Accord is pathetic in that it's not legally binding and is basically an outline of some generic judgments on climate change (essentially, "it's bad"), and a simple form where countries write in their emission goals for each other to examine. The u.$. is trying to legitimize the existence of the Accord by obtaining as many signatures on it as possible. Hillary Clinton's tactic to accomplish this goal is to withhold aid from countries who do not sign. Yet, the aid proposed, not even guaranteed, is just $100 billion from all developed countries combined. To compare, President Evo Morales of Bolivia released a document requesting developed countries pay a minimum of 1% of their annual GDP into a UN fund for underdeveloped countries.(5) For the u.$. alone, this would be a $144 billion annual contribution according to its 2008 GDP.(7)

Another solution being pushed at COP15, presented by the climate negotiator Miguel Lovera of Paraguay, is for more countries to give money to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD is an international fund to pay poor nations for saving or replanting forests instead of cutting them down for timber or cash crops. Obama called REDD "cost effective" because instead of reducing u.$. emissions, they can buy their way out of public pressure by giving money to REDD. Yet, REDD is just a formula to give money to people who already have money, who can afford to clear cut a forest in the first place. In the words of Camila Moreno of Friends of the Earth in Brazil,

REDD is a mechanism designed to avoid deforestation but we know, and they say, indigenous people do not deforest because their life depends on the forest and they live with the forest. So the whole point is that REDD is designed [for] the guy that has the chainsaw, or the money to buy the chainsaw, or the big bulldozers and can say "Okay, I'm going to do this. How much you pay for me not doing?" (8)

The Copenhagen Accord and REDD are the two major deals that were discussed in the mainstream "left" press regarding COP15. Both serve the economic interests of the oppressor nations, and neither will significantly affect climate change.

Many speakers correctly recognized capitalism as the main cause of climate change, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accurately noted that to have true environmental protection, we need to go from a capitalist economy to a socialist economy. In oppressed nations where pollution is dumped and forests are destroyed, if the polluters are pushed out by national liberation struggles, eventually they will run out of places to pollute. Therefore environmentalists must build and support national liberation struggles in an internationalist effort to reduce greenhouse gases and defend natural resources of the oppressed.

Environmentalism as Mysticism

Many of the speakers and representatives at COP15 were referring to an inherent responsibility of humyns to protect "Mother Earth." As materialists, we know that all ideas and moralities are created by humyns, and MIM(Prisons) does not believe in or support mysticism. On the other hand, we are communists, and believe in ending power of people over people. So then, what is revolutionary environmentalism? To further explain, we will quote from page 32 of MIM Theory 12: Environment Society Revolution:

It is no more wrong for a human to dig up something useful from the earth than it is for a meteorite to strike a planet somewhere in space. The moral question is the question of human relations first. The idea that it is wrong to exploit, oppress and kill a human being is a human idea, and like all human ideas it occurs only on the basis of class and gender relations. From the oppression and exploitation of some humans by other humans, the oppressed and exploited have developed a morality that condemns this, and we develop a practice to end it... [W]e do not at present believe there is a basis for calling the "destruction" of the Earth as a planet itself immoral, apart from its relation to humanity and, possibly, other life.

Tuvalu is a small island nation in the Pacific ocean about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Along with most other islands and many coastal areas, it will be submerged under water by the end of the century if the global temperature exceeds a 1.5 degrees Celcius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, rise above pre-industrial temperatures. "Genocide" is defined by the United Nations as "the acts that lead to the disappearance of a people" and the u.$. plays a direct and leading role in this oppression. It is not so much the island of Tuvalu itself, as the Tuvaluan people whom we need to advocate for on this issue.

Reparations & Refugees

Although the official deal that came out of COP15 is a commitment to more of the same from the imperialist countries, the event was unique in that it was the first time that much of the Third World united demanding reparations, and the imperialists had to directly say "no" to these demands. The G77 is a group of over 130 underdeveloped countries, and was the largest united front to enter the talks. Although the G77 didn't ask for direct payment from imperialist nations, they called for a 60% reduction of current GGEs of the imperialist countries by 2020.(8) With a limit on global carbon emissions, such a reduction grants more "atmospheric space" for exploited countries to utilize to meet their own people's needs.

On the topic of direct transfer of wealth as reparations, the UN estimates that it will take at least $500 or $600 billion per year for underdeveloped countries to sustain their people without the development of outdated and heavy polluting industries. This number is backed by another study that came out of London. Even surpassing Evo Morales' call for 1%, Martin Khor, executive director of South Centre think tank, estimates that it will require at least 2% of the GNP from rich countries, which totals about $800 billion per year.(5) Stemming from our understanding of exploitation and the transfer of wealth from the Third World to the First World, we support the demand for reparations in all forms.

However, the united $tates has explicitly stated that they will not pay their dues. As u.$. climate negotiator Todd Stearn clumsily explained,

We fully recognize that our historic role in putting emissions up in the atmosphere and we also fully recognize our responsibility to be part of an overall global effort to help poorer countries, both with the regard to the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and the need to help them develop on a sustainable path, which at this point in our collective history means low-carbon path. Reparations to me conveys of culpability, guilt, that kind of thing. And I don't think that's a legitimate way to look at it. (9)

Aside from the problem we have with Stearn's attempt to lump the rest of the world into amerikkka's "collective history" of exploitation and genocide, we ask, what the hell is "responsiblity" and "recognition of a historic role" if it isn't also an admission of guilt? We know we will never get a logical answer to this question, so instead we ask the Third World and revolutionaries everywhere, how will the u.$. pay for its past and continued contribution to climate genocide?

To show exactly how the imperialist settler nations see the rights of First Nations peoples to land and liberty, and by extension of all oppressed nations to the same, we will quote from part of a speech that Naomi Klein gave at COP15. Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. This anecdote tells about when she accompanied First Nations representatives to discuss klanada's debt to them with a credit rating agency called Moody's:

I was with the very powerful First Nations spokesperson for the Haida, named Gujao, and Arthur Manuel, who is a former chief for the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation in British Columbia. And Arthur had decided that one way to get Canada to acknowledge the debts that it owed to First Nations people was to meet with the credit agencies that give Canada its triple-A credit rating, which is the highest possible credit rating, and explain to Moody’s that actually Canada carries a huge unpaid debt in the form of the lands that it stole, without treaties, from First Nations peoples.

...[A]rthur and Gujao presented all the documents, the writs, the legal rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada, that proved their case that this land was stolen and that they were owed billions in unpaid debts. And they said, “Canada is not a great place to do investment, because what if we called in these debts?” And it was very interesting, because the guy from Moody’s nodded, and he said, “You’re right. We’ve been following these court rulings, but we have decided that you are not going to collect on these debts. So it is not affecting our credit rating.”

And that’s a very important thing for us to remember, because debt is political. Right? You can make your argument. And when we make these arguments, frankly, no one even bothers arguing with us, because it’s so obvious. The science is there. The legal treaties are there. But really what they’re saying is, “You and what army? How are you going to get this money out of us? You are not powerful enough to get the money out of us.” (2)

It is historically proven that any serious measures taken to acquire adequate repayment for destruction caused by imperialism, or even efforts to protect what few forests we have left, will be met with guns.(10) They are even willing to kill their own: in 2005 an amerikan-born nun was murdered by land grabbers who were connected with endangered hardwood trade with the u.$, Europe, and Asia.(11) Some groups have already recognized the need for armed resistance to protect their livelihoods, such as indigenous peoples in the Amazon who protect their forests with spears, and those in Kenya who use guns.(12, 13) The Communist Party of China proved through their liberation struggle the tactics necessary to win warfare against an enemy who has more numerous and powerful weapons. To catalyze the process, we encourage them to study the CPC's military guerilla theories and practices.

In addition to demanding reparations, some speakers are calling for an opening of borders, and permission for people who are refugees due to climate change to be allowed to relocate to territories that are less affected. It is yet to be seen if the imperialist countries will fulfill this request, but considering the fat wall that's being built through Aztlán, and how the wars in Darfur are portrayed as religious wars in the u.$. media, when in fact they are due to fighting over water shortages because of climate change, we doubt they will take a progressive stance on the issue.

Amerikan Consumerism

While a majority of amerikans accept that global climate change is something that is occurring due to humyn activity, and most think the government should do something, with recession looming the majority said economic growth should be given priority over the environment. The Gallup Poll from March 2009 was the first time that amerikans favored economic growth over the environment in 15 surveys asking this question dating back to 1984. The trend showed a general decline in environmental popularity leading up to the final victory of economics this year.(14)

It is a simple fact that justice and amerikan consumption levels are mutually exclusive. To have justice everyone would have access to such consumption, which would require 6 Earths worth of resources. A decrease in consumption is a major fear of the capitalists right now as they struggle to keep financial markets from crashing, so TV personas have begun crying about the Third World trying to destroy the amerikan standard of living. While the desirability of amerikan lifestyles is a question of subjectivity, the need for its elimination is objective based on the question of climate change alone. For decades, imperialist overproduction has been backed by such overconsumption. In contrast, a socialist economy does not require overconsumption and does not face periodic crisis leading to humyn suffering.

As one example of this overconsumption, The New York Times reports that on average, amerikans consume eight ounces of meat per day, which is twice the global average.(15) At least eighteen percent of GGEs are associated with the livestock cycle, and at COP15 Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, advocated that if we stop eating meat once per week, it will reduce GGEs by 3, 4, or even 5%.(8) This is just one example of how amerikan lifestyles will necessarily change under the Socialist Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Meat will be rationed, and cars will (largely, if not completely) be replaced by public transportation and bicycles. While this may not sound like the ideal lifestyle for some, it is even more true that amerikans stand to lose life, not just luxury, by postponing the replacing of their culture with an ecologically sustainable one. On an individual level, MIM(Prisons) is opposed to lifestyle politics as a replacement for revolutionary work. Not only are the consumer nations unwilling to follow suit on a large scale, but the system of capitalism depends on ever-increasing production that must also be profitable. Organizing large scale
changes in culture and consumption patterns will require a system that puts humyn survival over profits and such changes will not be accepted voluntarily by the First World before it's too late.

notes:
(1) Democracy Now! 8 December 2009 http://democracynow.org
(2) DN! 11 December 2009
(3) "How to Cure the Copenhagen Hangover" by Links http://links.org.au/node/1426
(4) DN! 22 December 2009
(5) DN! 9 December 2009
(6) "5 common mistakes in the coverage of the Copenhagen Accord" http://www.grist.org/article/2009-12-22-5-fallacies-in-the-coverage-of-the-copenhagen-accord/
(7) Wikipedia page for "United States" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States
(8) DN! 18 December 2009
(9) DN! 16 December 2009
(10) "Peruvian police fire on unarmed indigenous tribes' oil and gas protest" http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/05/amazon-tribes-police-protest-deaths
(11) "Farming the Amazon" http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/last-of-amazon.html
(12) "The real Avatar story: indigenous people fight to save their forest homes from corporate exploitation" Amazon Rainforest News http://www.amazonrainforestnews.com/2009/12/real-avatar-story-indigenous-people.html
(13) "Arm Sengwer Indigenous Peoples with guns to guard their lives and property" https://www.fpcn-global.org/node/118
(14) http://www.pollingreport.com/enviro.htm
(15) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 10]
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Eminem = Emeny

Eminem
Hosted by Dr. Dre
Relapse
May 2009

eminiem relapse album cover
Relapse is Eminem's 6th studio album, released May 15, 2009, with the sequel Relapse 2 expected to drop November of this year. It sold over 600,000 copies in the first week of its release.(1) As the title implies, the content of the album is devoted to the many facets of Eminem's struggle with drug addiction. To any fan of Eminem, or anyone who's heard his older stuff, it should come as no surprise that the main objective of Relapse seems to be to perpetuate misogyny, primarily thorough rape fantasies. Although there are two whole entire songs depicting violence against wimmin ('Same Song & Dance' and 'Stay Wide Awake'), that isn't enough to keep Eminem from making references to rape and unwarranted physical contact throughout the entire album. Physical violence isn't just directed toward wimmin; there's violence against gays, graphic depiction of child molestation, and the rare allusion of violence against his peers.

The chorus to 'We Made You' is overly conceited, but with the lyric "Who could really blame you? We're the ones who made you" he is blaming the consumers for his audacity. That is partially true: if amerikans weren't so into individualism and misogyny, then they probably wouldn't be so into Em's shit. But even more true is the role that the corporate record companies have played in pushing it on the people, which you can read about in the title article to this issue of ULK.

There is also a consistent focus on the individual's problems throughout the album, instead of problems of the group. In fact, the only thing Eminem seems to have a group perspective on is that all wimmin are bitches. In the track 'My Mom' he relates all of his drug problems to his mother's addictions, as if she was one womyn separate from society. However, all of us are affected by the culture and society we live in, and drug addiction is one way the people in a fucked up society can adjust to living this way. It's likely that Mathers' mother was the strongest direct influence on him, but she is just a reflection of her culture and society, making that the real problem. In amerikan society it is especially important for us to combat individualism, because oftentimes, ideologically, it is the largest obstacle standing between the oppressed and increased public opinion for their liberation.

In real life, Mathers has been using the 12 step program for his recovery, which he mocks in the skits on Relapse. Twelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, may work to keep individual people from using. But on a group scale its goal is to adjust people to function without drugs in a messed up society, instead of addressing the problems of society, which can only be thoroughly dealt with through revolution. Of course, we don't think living under imperialism is easy, and people usually do need support outside of themselves to recover from addiction, and to be useful to the revolution. But we would prefer a 12 step program that's not focused on god and a "higher power" and instead focused on liberating oneself through liberation of the proletariat.

With all this talk about dealing with our problems, Relapse doesn't offer many solutions, even for the individual. 'Deja Vu' is a submission to addiction ("I wanna get away from this place, I do. But I can't, and I won't.") which is followed by the rap ballad and single, 'Beautiful.' 'Beautiful' is about fighting depression, and with a chorus like "Don't let em say you ain't beautiful/ They can all get fucked just stay true to you" it's the most, and only semi-encouraging song on the album. This can serve revolutionaries who are feeling alienated by their political views here in the belly of the beast, where the majority of amerikans are bought off by imperialism and aren't materially interested in revolutionary politics.

Dr. Dre keeps our heads bobbing, but beyond that, Relapse, and Eminem's career in general, is just another example of how imperialism and capitalism prioritize the mental health of the people last. It also is another tired example of how capitalism encourages the recording industry to push fucked up politics into hip-hop culture, and this reviewer expects more of the same from Relapse 2.


notes:

(1) http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i331f30f79c3e3c746847c8d7166631d3

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 10]
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Space... The Next Frontier

Uhura kissing Spock
[Spoiler Warning]
Star Trek (2009) begins with a battle in outer space, where the last remaining Romulans have traveled back in time to attack the United Federation of Planets, in hopes that by emotionally scarring Spock in his younger years, they will feel better that their planet, Romulas, is going to be destroyed by their dying sun. The Romulans blame Spock as an individual for this disaster, presumably because he was (or will be) the scientist in charge of protecting Romulas. Both old Spock from the future, and young Spock in the present, are forced to witness the destruction of his home planet, Vulcan, as revenge. It isn't clear what Spock's actual role will be in the destruction of Romulas, and for the sake of this review, we will just look at the information portrayed in this film, not the Star Trek television shows or other movies.

The writers of Star Trek would like to portray Earth in the year 2233 as its own single, united nation of Humans. This is just amerika's beloved Hollywood attempting to teach us how "peaceful" the planet could be if we all just submitted to the white nation and let them run the show. In the Star Trek future, nearly everyone from Earth is white, which not only opposes political science, but genetics and evolution as well. The filmmakers suppose that present amerika and europe will conquer all non-white nations and either destroy them, or keep them marginalized in the fields of military and imperialist science, thus having no role to play in a movie about intergalactic exploration.

The Federation societies shown in Star Trek (2009) aren't very different from amerikan society today. Alcohol abuse is common, wimmin are sexually harassed and assaulted, expensive material objects are idealized, and individualism is widespread. Humans join the military because they have nothing better to do, want persynal glory, and/or to "kick some Romulan ass." All these factors demonstrate Earth as a capitalist country, another misprediction.

The glorification of the individual is so common in this future society, in fact, that Spock, then captain of the Enterprise, abandons the ship as it is being sucked into a black hole. He does this to rescue his parents from the imploding planet of Vulcan. In the eyes of many amerikans this may seem heroic and forgivable, to put the whole crew at risk of imminent death to protect his culture. Of course, thank Hollywood, Enterprise manages to make it out safely, with Spock on board, but it is a completely irresponsible move. Another example of individualism is shown when a minor crew member is having such a grand time skydiving through the Vulcan atmosphere, ready to kill some Romulans, that he intentionally activates his parachute too late, for fun, and dies. In reality we need to combat our own persynal desires for fame, glory, and subjective "fun" in order to create and preserve a strong movement, and, when the time comes, armed struggle.

The film also supports individualism, as well as ideas of genetic supremacism, through the character of Jim Kirk, who is a naturally good captain taking after his father. He is able to come into the academy from a life of drunken recklessness and surpass his fellow students in Star Fleet. His success justifies judging people's qualifications based on their parents. The Enterprise does function as a team with many roles to play, which is superior to Rambo style heroism. Kirk is able to keep the goal of the Federation in focus, making him a good leader. Like the lumpen, his lack of investment in other things allows him to focus on one greater goal once he is able put it ahead of his self-indulgent lifestyle. While a good leader must be willing to challenge the status quo as Kirk does, the movie romanticizes this as a magical skill that he was born with, not one that requires hard work and experience, particularly in partnership with others, to develop.

The Vulcans are a logical and emotionless "race," which is intended to highlight the passion and senselessness of "human nature." This is incorrect western psychological theory, but it also provides for some good advice from Spock's father, if we humyns should take it as our own. "Logic offers us [Vulcans] a serenity humans seldom experience: the control of feelings so that they do not control you... You are fully capable of deciding your own destiny, the question is, which path will you choose? This is something only you can decide." The lesson here is to avoid escapism, and take control of our future.

But what cultural impact does Star Trek(2009) have? All good art has an impact that is more than just logical, so the question is, what is the outcome of that impact? Good art elicits a response by epitomizing a truth faced by the audience. Hollywood-style art, in contrast, attempts to impose emotional responses through generic intensity. This style of film is based strongly in eliciting emotional responses from the audience, and although there are still plenty of cliff hanging scenes (literally) and tragic moments between loved ones, the action scenes are often overdone in a way that can conflict with this goal. In the end of the movie, old Spock confirms to young Spock the importance of following your gut rather than logic, while his father admits to "loving" his mother for the first time. This triumph of emotionalism opens up the audience for a justification of subjectivism in making their decisions.

To focus back on the Romulans, achieving persynal revenge for the future loss of their home is a poor strategy that doesn't serve anyone. A real solution would have been for the Romulans to have gone back in time and advance technology to save their planet in the future. The Romulans' revenge strategy is very different from the oppressed people in our world attacking the oppressor for their own survival, even when their strategies are not successful. The oppressed lash out because they have been pushed to a point where they have no other options. This may be an emotional reaction or a strategic strike. The Romulans, in contrast, are letting their emotions drive them to act in ways that are contrary to their expressed goals, when they have an unusual opportunity to do otherwise.

It is also worth noting that the Romulans are portrayed as anti-social in appearance in ways that parallel certain lumpen groups in the united $tates. Star Trek can appeal to liberal multiculturalism with their Black, Asian, Arab and even a green-skinned humyn-like character all being included in Star Fleet. This is similar to seeing a Black president as being a sign of progress today, while using Islam, drugs and gang-banging as excuses to attack the oppressed nations. That's why we talk about the problem of white nationalism, which allows for exceptions, and not racism.

In reality, there is no way that humyn society could have survived another 225 years without eliminating the contradictions inherent in imperialism that threaten our lives on a daily basis. Thus, if this were a propaganda film from a proletarian perspective, the universe would have been portrayed as cooperative. What might make such a movie interesting is speculating how such a society might be run after eliminating the militarism and gender dynamics of today. In a proletarian version the Romulans would have seized on their opportunity to use their new found scientific advantage to save their people rather than resorting to revenge. Even old Spock, who had lived through this disaster already, could have been engaged in this project. He actually did bring technology from the future to the present, but it was just to benefit the Federation. While the Federation has the potential to serve as an example of greater international (and interspecies) cooperation in the future, like most Hollywood scifi, it serves as a stand-in for the united states or the united nations, justifying imperialist militarism against the oppressed who are vilified as irrationally vengeful monsters.

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