Author Archive | agent139

Caveat Emptor: Do You Even irl, bro?

“The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain.”

via. Modern Mythology.

Have you ever thought about how you will vanish from the world?

If you do, you might appreciate an immediate irony in that our digital simulacra are the very things we’d need to delete to disappear from the world. Being shut offline has a different significance now than it did even just 10 years ago. What does that deletion actually mean, and more importantly, what lies under the anxiety that would drive us to “delete ourselves” in the first place? If virtual deletion silences the real, can we finally say the one has subsumed the other — or more accurately, can we rather say that virtual and real has been shown as it really is, a false binary?

Like Debord says in Society of the Spectacle, only the spectacle is real, only the performance of identity is a “real” identity.… Read the rest

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Say You Want A Revolution

movementFrom Rebel News

For a movement to have integrity, everyone must be true to themselves, yet for that to come about, it needs solidarity of purpose. This is a dilemma. We need one another for critique, for diversity, for sustainability. We need each other to build the myth of a movement.

Without an alignment of collective and mutual best interest, a movement cannot survive. It will collapse in on itself before it attains any sort of critical mass. This seeming paradox is part of what keeps many creative individuals disenfranchised, biting at each other’s ankles. They’re arguing about the wrong things, and focusing their energy and attention in the wrong place. Movements only occur when people learn to work together towards common goals, to hell with the labels.

Living movements require no closed manifestos, no party lines, no armbands, tattoos or uniforms. What is needed is space to meet up and share ideas and collaborate, a means of making the relevancy of our work evident outside the insular and seemingly elitist circles that form around such groups and the ability to eat and pay rent without completely shilling the underlying premise; space, resources, an understanding of mutual benefit, and a determination that goes far beyond any benefit that aesthetic posturing could possibly provide.

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Symbols and Signs


Via Rebel News

How can we decrease the commodification of these empty signifiers? We can continue to build spaces, both virtual and material, that can be utilized by people who share common goals. We can continue to evolve as people and avoid over-identification with easy to replicate symbols of identity. Our interests and digital footprint aren’t who we are. We mustn’t let the map of our identities — personal or social — become the territory. But the border skirmishes on that map are never ending.

This is far from easy. Products themselves have become secondary, as symbols have overtaken the things they symbolized. Fight Club parodied this tendency as the “Ikea nesting impulse.”

This is a challenge of modern life, but it’s hardly a singular observation. Guy Debord’s Society of The Spectacle, now a standard text amongst neo-Marxists and counterculturists alike, deals with this matter in nearly aphoristic style,

The first phase of the domination of the economy over social life brought into the definition of all human realization the obvious degradation of being into having.

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Who Watches The Watchers? Now You Can

scorecard-screenshotvia Rebel News

The American public now has a comprehensive set of scores for each member of Congress regarding their positions on Internet surveillance reform, thanks to a website launched today as a joint project between non profit activist groups Restore the Fourth and Fight for the Future.

The Political Scoreboard takes into account critical legislative votes that have taken place during the 114th United States Congress’ time in office, bearing in mind each member’s action, how they voted, and which, if any, legislation they decided to sponsor.

This is the second such scoreboard produced. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, with support from numerous organizations, launched Stand Against Spying in 2014.

According to Alex Marthews, National Chair of Restore the Fourth, there was a need to provide an updated version because the information stops before the 2014 elections.

Marthews cites a lack of information available for EFF’s Stand Against Spying.

“There wasn’t enough data to go on to rank a lot of the members, particularly Senators,” he said, “so, a lot of the Senators had question marks by them.

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Counterculture: The Rebel Commodity

Digital painting by James Curcio based on street art by Trondheim

Digital painting by James Curcio based on street art by Trondheim

An editorial over at Rebel News asks if it’s actually possible to work against the Man if you are also working for him?

Let’s talk about being a rebel.

Everyone seems to want to be one. But it’s not entirely clear what it means. Does it take camo- pants? A Che T-shirt? A guitar? Is it just doing the opposite of whatever your parents did? “Be an individual, a rebel, innovate,” so many advertisements whisper. They’d have us believe that True Revolutionaries think different. They use Apple, or drink Coke. We signal our dissent to one another with the music we listen to and the cars we drive.

There’s something very peculiar going on here, something elusive and deeply contentious.

In the 1997 book, Commodify Your Dissent, Thomas Frank laid out a thesis that may appear common sense to those that have watched or lived in the commodified subcultures of the 90s, 00s, and beyond.

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So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish…

2502508379_8fcf0cb8de_bFrom Rebel News:

The past couple of decades has seen a disconcerting trend of declining populations in species across the world, according to a report released this week by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London. “Population sizes of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish fell by half on average in just 40 years,” the report states.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) collects data inclusive of “10,380 populations of 3,038 vertebrate species,” which has been hurt significantly, mainly by human exploitation, but also affected by habitat degradation and climate change.

According to the report, marine life has been hurt the most.  “The period from 1970 through to the mid- 1980s experienced the steepest decline, after which there was some stability – but more recently, population numbers have been falling again,” it states.

From 1970 to now, there has been a 50 percent reduction in the population of all fish.

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The Theater of Ultra-Violence

violence-headerOn Wednesday, a man approached a couple talking on a patio, a man and a woman. It became apparent that the two were News reporters. How they spoke, the put-together clothes, and makeup , gave it all away. We see the scene in the first person, as if we’re watching Half-life or Call of Duty. This sense is increased when the point of view pulls a guns and fires repeatedly into the bodies of three reporters.

So runs Bryce Williams’ video footage that was discovered on social media minutes after the shooting. Traumatic real world violence, performed for the camera both on live TV and social media. We discovered his account moments before CNN did, so I didn’t know what I would find when I clicked it.

When I saw it, for a moment, I couldn’t believe it was real. This is a common reaction even in the midst of real violence — somehow the surreal cuts in.… Read the rest

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Entrapping the Entrappers on Domestic Surveillance and Psyops

entrapping-header-810x456An American in Berlin Offers Advice to the Perturbed, on Rebel News

Domestic surveillance and psyops have long gone together in America. The FBI, for example, subjected Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a combination of these techniques in response to his Civil Rights Movement activities. One such combination entailed recording his affairs, calling his wife, and playing the tape — then sending him a letter suggesting he should commit suicide because if the affairs came out, it would hurt the movement.

This sort of thing is happening now with social media, e-commerce, phone, and physical elements of misinformation, harassment, intimidation, and threats. It has the potential to achieve an inestimable breadth and depth of professional and personal damage. In the military term of art, this is full-spectrum dominance — against civilians in peacetime. And the American people might not approve of it if they knew what was happening in their name.

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breaking-header-810x456Rebel News reports:

While on live television this morning reporting from Bridgewater Plaza outside of Roanoke, VA, reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, who worked together as partners at station WDBJ7, were murdered by a shooter who is, as of now, on the run.

Freeze frames of the live remote, which was on television around 6:45 a.m., have popped up on the Internet showing the shooter’s face, pointing the gun at his victims.

Pops can be heard in the disturbing video, with the camera Ward was holding falling to the ground with him, as he turned towards the assailant. The shot then quickly cut back to the studio with the anchor confused and questioning what just happened.

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Should Your Next Cause Be Tackled As Anonymous


If you’re involved in activist circles, or spend any amount of time reading up on “hacking” news, chances are you’re already familiar with Anonymous. If not, the whole thing can be a little hard to get your head around. There’s no real structure or boundaries of the group, no leaders or official sites or the usual trappings of a real organization. That lack of structure is at once Anonymous’ greatest weakness and strength: no one can control it, for good or ill.

That’s all well and good for “theory of hactivism 101”  but you’ve got things to do. Anonymous is a brand that’s available to anyone for any cause. When you’re considering how to take on a new cause, or planning to change tactics on a cause near and dear to your heart, how do you decide whether to take the plunge and put on the mask?

There is no arguing that the sight of all those plastic masks at an event makes for a striking image.… Read the rest

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