#racistvan – “Go home or face arrest!”

Lately I’ve been a bit shocked by the scaremongering way the UK Home Office tries to enforce the changed Immigration Law. Maybe even more so as the UK’s multiculturalism has always been one thing I really liked a lot about the UK.

The first disgusting tweet I saw was this, mind the accompanying text “There will be no hiding place for illlegal immigrants with the new Immigration Bill”:

Bild

It was followed soon by a campaign that uses clearly right extremist’s language with the slogan “Go home or face arrest” and boasting with a number of recent arrests. The slogan can be seen on vans driven through the most multicultural parts of London, and there will be leaflets etc for it, too. Obviously this tasteless campaign does nothing less but fortifying a racist ‘us vs them’ line by the means of fear.

Bild

There already have been a few articles on it, for example here, here or here, and Sunny Hundal wrote a few short notes on liberalconspiracy.org. Twitter wouldn’t be twitter if there weren’t people on it reacting soon. First there was the hashtag #racistvan spread by people to unite the outcry about it, And soon this was followed by creative protest: People mock texting the number on the van and tweeting about it to encourage others to join in. Examples?

Bild

Or this:

Bild

Humor sometimes is the best way to react to intimidation.

Wish we could just forget the likes of Bushido

German rapper Bushido has a new song out with lyrics that put death threats to some german politicians and also include homophobic slurs. He wants to get publicity from upsetting people and people get upset. Woohoo, scandalous. I’m glad that not everyone cries for the song to be indexed and him being prosecuted but that there are quality reactions like the one from Nouripour (Green Party) who tries to play down the whole thing by explaining the pathetic mechanisms of such ‘scandals’ for Bushido’s career.
Less press and he would quickly fade out of the mainstream audience’ memory. I remember when Anita Sarkeesian, back in 2011, wrote about the violent sexism in Kanye’s Monster (don’t get me started on all the people who are happily ignoring the lyrics of Kanye’s new album cause the music is ‘relevant’):
“So whose to blame? Kanye clearly, but also Roc-A-Fella Records, Universal Music Group, the entire music industry, and how the market functions in general. Record labels have a goal of trying to get their artists to stick out of the crowd in an oversaturated media landscape.  For decades they have been making sexualized, shocking, violent media products. More and more we see the industry cynically relying on sensationalism and glamorization of violence against women in order to boost sales.”
Wether it’s violent threats, homophobia or sexism – provocation via hate culture works. There are people who want to make money with this and there is an audience who buys it. The public gets what the public wants. Guess we’d be better off challenging this than just getting upset about single artists.
For me as a queer feminist diy promoter who likes some hiphop (but does not want to support the carelessness with which big parts of the hiphop scene ignore crap lyrics) trying to at least sometimes actively booking hiphop artists who are a bit of a counterpoint to that scene is my way of actively dealing with it. That’s why we had Mykki Blanco playing a damn cool show at the K4 and that’s why we bring Cakes Da Killa to the Radio Z Fest at Desi next week. Tiny steps but … my… rather a small contribution than just complaining.
Aside
I had a wonderful time at last night’s Retox  + Zeus! + Sonytony show. Aggressive noise can be the most liberating kind of music. Sonytony was breathtakingly intense as ever. I love Anton’s work because it’s so uncompromising and furious. Retox were not less furious and also played right up to what I had hoped their show would be like – it was a blast, and I love that Justin doesn’t get any tamer over the years. Lots of chatting with friends, meeting Justin and Anton again, and getting a tiny bit tipsy, hanging around on the street in front of the K4 – time flew, I don’t even know how it got 4 o’clock.
[vimeo 62727666]
It was the first time that coming home so late/early and still semi-drunk I suddenly got a burning hunger for something healthy. I chopped all vegetables I had left into a huge bowl of salad I ate while watching the sun rise, feeling like a little munching rabbit, thinking how powerful nights like this are. This one made me feel like I have emotionally and idealistically recharged myself.
*
I have caught up a bit with reading the news today. It seems – backfiring the flight restrictions Bolivia’s president suffered a few days ago – Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have now offered asylum for Snowden.With the public eye focussing on Snowden so much I think this article does a good job by using this attention to make people aware of the situation of refugees at large.
I find it very fascinating how many different discourses this whole leaks affair resonates with. The biggest of course being surveillance, the whistleblower vs spy debate, and the role and legal position of journalism/blogging. But it can also be linked to subjects like the globally growing distrust in governments, the fascination about what is technically possible if it comes to surveillance, drones, etc., the comparison of state-induced tracking vs commercial tracking (hello, Jay-Z/Samsung), rebranding of patriotism, excellent satire, and yes, even design (powerpoint wtf). I still have a lot of articles bookmarked that I haven’t yet found time to read and find it all equally scary and fascinating.
And as I know that a few of my friends haven’t watched it yet, here’s the link to the Snowden interview video (Guardian).

Retoxing and recharging