Consider this example: Marvel Comics publishes Spider-Man, Sony makes a Spider-Man film or videogame, and your local queer fan-artist sells an art zine or print inspired by that film. There is a cost associated with each of these items: the floppy or trade collected comic; a cinema ticket or streaming subscription; the art print itself. But, there is no ethical consumption. ‘Illegally’ downloading or streaming the film, torrenting or finding a hosting site for the comic, or pirating the zine are all the same act: you are overcoming the monetary gatekeeping of art. With one exception: if you ‘steal’ from Marvel, Sony or any other megacorp you might even be doing some good (with reservations); if you do it to an artist who is trying to pay their bills, you’re an asshole.
Over the last three decades, the number of people that control the businesses that shape our lives has decreased dramatically. Distant stakeholders and unrelated shareholders seem to have a say in local housing projects, food supply, transport maintenance and many other necessary community projects. Big brands are becoming more successful at dictating markets and reaping the rewards.
The Grenfell Tower fire has painfully illustrated how destructive and negligent council spending can be. The predominant cause of the disaster was that money was spent in the wrong places.
Almost nine million pounds worth of refurbishment was completed on Grenfell Tower by Rydon and many other groups in May last year (though the “successful” refurbishment of Grenfell Tower has disappeared from Rydon’s website). The work included new exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system. The bottom four floors were also made into new communal spaces. However, nothing was done to satisfy residents, even after years of complaints by Grenfell Action Group, about the safety of the building. The local council even threatened the campaign group with legal action if they were to continue their pursuit.Continue Reading
With the formerly radical New Musical Express projected to become a free hand-out for corporate partners like Top Shop, former writer Paul Wellings talks Rock Against Racism, Jeremy Corbyn and Monty Python with Jack Brindelli and the Norwich Radical.
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