Ye Fre Mi Richy Pitch
Jun 2010 11

Ye Fre Mi Richy Pitch is the name of the album that showcases the latest creative endeavours from our friend, DJ, producer and author Richy Pitch. Reflecting two years spent in Ghana, Richy has collaborated with many local musicians, adding his own unique vibe to distinctly West African instrumentation. Check out exclusive footage of songs from the album being performed live, as well as an intimate discussion with Richy, who is accompanied by the international artist M.anifest. Together they discuss their musical collaborations including the album and the making of the song and video for the original track “Blackstar”.

Check out the Blackstar video and live performances from the Ye Fre Mi Richy Pitchy album after the jump…
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Big City Life
Jun 2010 03

The well known saying about New York City which goes “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” has evolved. New York can be substituted with previously less likely suspects like Lagos, Moscow, Mumbai, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and uncountable others. More than half of global society (and growing) now live in cities. The trend of increasing urbanisation globally is a result of interplay between the pull and push migratory factors which cause people to abandon rural agrarian lifestyles for the allure of ‘relative prosperity’ in cities and towns. Another contributing factor to the trend that finds more of us living in cities would be accelerated population growth due to the higher population density found in urban areas. In some cases the city just lands on you as its residents spill outward from congested city centres and it grows.

Also notable is the fact that urbanisation is growing much faster in the world’s poorer countries where in some cases there are insufficient resources and infrastructure (like pliable roads, running water and electricity). Many reading this will be familiar with water cuts and power load-shedding as a result.  Surely there is not enough room for every person that wants to live in a city, or is there?

Another thing to think about with regards to the consequences of growing global urbanisation is  sustainability and the not so small matter of preserving ‘undeveloped’ land in its natural beauty. There is a wealth of information this issue that you can read up on. There is good place to start courtesy of Aid et Action which you can find here: Global Urban Population in Developed and Developing Countries. In the meantime enjoy this music break by Keziah Jones called Lagos vs New York.

After the jump there is a really enlightening excerpt from the 3-part BBC series Welcome to Lagos that deals with many of the aforementioned issues.

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Can the Internet save Democracy?
Jun 2010 01

Well here at Aspecks we certainly like to think so; at the very least the internet can be a unifying tool that is used to improve citizen participation in policy formulation and decision making. And we are not the only ones! GlobalVote is an innovative, internet-based democratic tool that enhances democracy through shadow voting and polling systems. GlobalVote takes advantage of the global link provided by the internet, establishing a fair and proper voting system for assessing global public opinion. However they are realistic, cynical optimists some might say, as in their own words,”Global citizenship is now such a viable idea that it warrants global responsibility. The voice of the world community has yet to be articulated in an effective way. The potential is there, but has been left unrealized for far too long.”

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Sheep’s clothing & Identity Politics
May 2010 07

Accepting that there are some elements of our identities which are pre-detetermined such as our appearances, the prevailing culture where we are born and the things we experience from our surroundings – What makes an individual’s identity unique? We are social animals, meaning that if we are ‘normal’, we live in contact with others – friends, family, significant others and acquaintances. As a result we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and tend define ourselves in reaction to other people and their perspective stereotypes. More specifically, we are influenced by others.  There is no such thing as  identity without a socio-cultural/politcal context to relate it to in the first place. We either act to be identified with or apart from certain stereotypes and pre-conceived notions which we think other people have awareness of and can relate to.

It seems that in making choices about how one wants to be perceived in our information-age societies of pre-packaged social norms, there is only the choice between conforming or being the outcast. An example of such behaviour  is putting on one’s best outfit for a job interview with the understanding that people who wear well tailored suits appear more capable and successful. The flip-side to that would be someone who constantly wears casual attire  to make a statement that they are carefree as opposed to being ‘preppy’ for fear of being perceived as a ‘stiff-nosed tosser’. However I’m sure that most of us a familiar with the phrases ‘mutton dressed up as lamb‘ and ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing‘…

Take Michael Jackson as an example of a paradox in identity politics (see hyperlinked article). He was inspired by [read more..]

A Feminist Manifesto for the 21st Century
Mar 2010 09

This manifesto for 21st century was written by Lindsey German for the website. Check after the jump for videos of Lindsay launching the manifesto with Nina Power.

1. Globalisation and neo liberalism have had a profound effect on the lives of millions of women. Capitalism itself has created new forms and manifestations of women’s oppression.

2. Women’s oppression is a product of class society which has existed for thousands of years. It was only with the development of capitalism that large numbers of women developed a consciousness of their position and the ability to do something about it.

3. Women have been drawn into the workforce in millions but working in factories, offices and shops has not led to an improvement in women’s lives far less to liberation. Women suffer exploitation at work as well as still shouldering the double burden of family and childcare as well as paid work.

4. Women’s traditional role as wives and mothers has not disappeared but has been reinvented to fit in with the needs of exploitation. They are now expected to juggle all aspects of their lives and are blamed as individuals for any failings in family or work life.

5. The talk of glass ceilings and unfairly low bonuses for women bankers miss the point about liberation, which is that liberation has to be for all working women and not just a tiny number of privileged women.

6. Although all women suffer oppression and face discrimination, their life experiences are radically different. Women are not united as a sex but are divided on the basis of class. Middle and upper class women share in the profits from the exploitative system in which we live and use this benefit to alleviate their own oppression. Working class women are usually the people who cook, clean and provide personal services for these women, receiving low wages and often neglecting their own families to do so.

7. Women are more than ever regarded as objects defined by their sexuality. The commercialisation of sexuality with its lad and ladette culture, its pole dancing clubs and its post-modern Miss World contests keeps women being judged as sex objects as if nothing has changed since the 1950s.

8. This objectification, alongside women’s role as supposedly the property of men, leads to domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse. This abuse is under recognised and under reported. It was only in the 1960s and 70s that these issues began to be viewed as political.

9. To control their own lives, women must control their own bodies and sexuality.

10. Capitalist ideology prioritises the family and the subordinate role of women and children within it, while at the same time forcing individual members of the family to sacrifice ‘family life’ because of the pressures of work and migration.

11. The priorities of the profit system and the existence of the privatised family means that women’s oppression is structured into capitalism. Any genuine liberation has to be connected to a wider movement for human emancipation and for working people to control the wealth that they produce. That’s why women and men have to fight for liberation. Socialism and women’s liberation are inextricably connected.

12. We will not win without a fight. Every great social movement raises the question of women. In the 19th century the movement for women’s emancipation took its name from the movement to abolish slavery. In the 20th century women’s liberation took its name from the movements against colonialism around the world. 21st century women’s liberation has to fight to change the world and to end the class society which created oppression and exploitation in the first place.

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