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dinner and debate - anarchy, freedom, democracy

rampart | 22.08.2004 20:42 | Analysis | Culture | Free Spaces | London

Below are details of future events at the rampart squatted social centre in the next few days/weeks (get involved. Weekly meetings, Monday 6pm)


* Monday 23rd - Camcorder activism gathering/workshop
* Tuesday 24th – Dinner and Debate : ‘Anarchy, Freedom and Democracy’
* Wednesday 25th - Free Community Cinema : ‘They Live / Reclaim the Media’
* September 4th – Benefit Gig with Gertrude

Rampart events (get involved. Weekly meetings, Monday 6pm)


* Monday 23rd - Camcorder activism gathering/workshop
* Tuesday 24th – Dinner and Debate : ‘Anarchy, Freedom and Democracy’
* Wednesday 25th - Free Community Cinema : ‘They Live / Reclaim the Media’
* September 4th – Benefit Gig with Gertrude


** Monday 23rd - Camcorder activism gathering/workshop

An evening for people interested in or involved with the use of video as a tool for social change - Exchange completed films or useful footage; Build a database / archive of films available for screening; Show your work and get constructive criticism; Find or hear about good films for screening; Get inspiration from what other people have been doing; Seek help with your unfinished projects; Share information, skills and experiences; Get help, advice or training; Link video producers with screening and distribution projects; Meet or form collectives if you are fed up with working alone..…

Starts 7pm. Food available.
See for full details.

** Tuesday 24th – Dinner and Debate : ‘Anarchy, Freedom and Democracy’

Enjoy a delicious dinner and then sit down to bash out some pointless theoretical issues while your meal digests. Just what you’ve all been waiting for, a chance to explore the big issues without having to hang out in pubs with a load of drunks. The evening’s topic is anarchy, freedom and democracy. Isn’t anarchy actually impossible and against human nature? Would we know what to do with freedom if we ever got it? And what the hell is democracy anyway? Can we even agree on what these words mean? Assuming thing don’t end with violence, the evening will then fizzle out with some music or perhaps a film depending on how the mood take us.

** Wednesday 25th - Free Community Cinema : ‘They Live / Reclaim the Media’

An evening of films about reclaiming the media, featuring ‘They Live’ (also known as Creepers), the 1988 classic by John Carpenter (see review below).


Globalisation and the Media (Undercurrents)
Breaking News (Undercurrents)
Countdown (Guerrilla News Network)
Sir Ray Tindel Ate My Hamster (Real2Reel)

and many more shorts.

‘They Live’ is subversive social commentary packaged in what appears to be a mindless action movie with a sense of humour that allows audiences to take the film's critiques of consumerism as gentle satire rather than as self-important diatribes.

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, at the time a popular wrestler; plays a transient everyman figure who, in a city plagued by unemployment, finds a commune of sorts which serves as a refuge. On a television a bearded man, momentarily interrupts the signal to tout his discovery that the people are asleep and that there is some signal responsible for collective somnambulism. Our homeless hero later obtains a pair of sunglasses that, when worn, unmask hidden messages on billboards and magazine. Messages such as "Marry and Reproduce," or simply, "Obey". The words "This is your God" can be seen on a dollar bill. Furthermore, the sunglasses reveal that many of the middle and ruling classes are infact aliens with creepy luminous eyes and blotchy purple skin.

The people are asleep. The print media is propaganda containing subliminal orders. They Live is a distinct social commentary, and it is all the more apt for its reality. Corporate dominance, as in the film, thrives on marketability; there are promises of wealth to those who conform. Moreover, the aliens’ messages, though simplified, are apparent in most every example of media; we are bombarded by orders to consume, to get a “better” deodorant or to switch to a “better” long-distance service.

In many ways, They Live is a parody of 1950's science-fiction films (especially Invasion of the Body Snatchers) in which aliens were often used as subversive symbols of communism. Here, however, the aliens represent the image of consumerism. In an interview about the film, Carpenter was asked, "You suggested that materialism and greed were running rampant at the expense of our humanity?" "That's obvious, isn't it?" Carpenter responded.
“Unrestrained capitalism will destroy us - absolutely.... Just look outside. I've never seen so many homeless in my entire life - and not drug addicts and alcoholics - I mean, respectable, lower-middle-class people.... But maybe that's why no one was interested in the film. Who wants to hear that your civilization is in decline.”

The film was indeed a complete box office failure. Initially people were interested in seeing the film but audiences soon dropped off as more and more reviews slagged it off. Lovers or action films may have been miffed. Normally they could cheer as the heroes battered the villains but this time they themselves were the film's villains, and the heroes were the 'crazy' homeless people who rant about the things that of course aren't really there.

** September 4th – Benefit Gig

On the 4th September, the rampART hosts it's first gig with three acts booked so far. The line up included the funky sounds of our resident 'God Like Animals', the hard hitting political rap of 'The Rub' and the punky all grrl 'Gertrude' (post punk with cello, clarinet and melodica) to rock you into the night. Also expect some mind jarring visuals and videos.
The event will be a benefit to help kit out the rampART center will stuff like rehearsal room/recording studio/audio/video editing suite together so we’ll be looking for door donations of £5.

The venue for all these events is 15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA〈=&addr1=&client=public&addr2=&advanced=&addr3=&pc=E12LA&quicksearch=E1+2LA&cidr_client=none
Nearest tubes: Whitechapel, Shadwell, Aldgate East
07050 618 445