:: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 ::

Whole Wide World

You can see the More4 News report on the Second Life stooshie here.

In other news I am deeply ashamed to say I have a MySpace site, but I promise not to use it too much.

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:: Thursday, January 25, 2007 ::

Tatties, Neeps, etc

Robert Burns is Scotland's national poet and it's Burns Night the night. If like me you forgot to get the haggis in, then you can compensate by downloading Camera Obscura's excellent take on his songs.

Get them from the marvellous Perfumed Garden website, dedicated to John Peel sessions from years gone by. Look in the Active Sessions list for Camera Obscura 22/1/2004.

If you are interested in the debate around Burns politics then check this out, or go here to read the wonderful internationalist poem A Man's A Man For A' That.

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:: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 ::

Channel SL News

Second Life Left Unity members were interviewed last night for Channel 4 News.

How many members are there in your group?

We have 60 members -and growing fast.

What other anti-fascist actions have you planned/executed?

We intend to continue lobbying Linden Labs to look into the conduct of FNSL members, and to take appropriate action. We intend to carry out a counter information and education campaign, amongst SL residents, to raise awareness of the real-world threat posed by this political ideology. We intend to offer the fullest support to residents who have been discriminated against and harassed, in-world by members of this group and we are currently in the process of building an information and support centre to further these ends.

Did you take part in the original protest in Porcupine?

Yes, our organisation was instrumental in rallying support for the original protests in Porcupine. They were brought to our awareness by a RL French citizen who had learned of the presence of Front National within Second Life and who wanted to bring the issue to wider attention. The protests were a joint effort between our group and another - anti fnsl.

How were you successful?

We have been successful in bringing awareness of a RL political problem to a brand new medium. In raising the profile SL's viability as a platform for political debate and engagement and in forging cooperation between residents of many nationalities. Engagement! Debate! Awareness!

Do you think you will drive the FN out of politics?


We do not as a group, seek an outright ban of FN from SL before their actions in-world merit it - because, as abhorrent as we may find their policies - we don't think an ideology can be extinguished merely by being conveniently pushed out of sight. We believe that now that this real-world political problem has been brought to wider attention amongst the SL community, it would be better for such an ideology to be combated within SL by means of a counter-information and education campaign, and that this would be more likely to have beneficial knock-on RL consequences in terms of fully utilising this medium to raise awareness of RL political issues and conflicts.

Are you active in real world politics?

The idea originated from members of the Scottish Socialist Party. It has outgrown this into a world wide left unity group comprising of activists, including union organisers, anarchists, socialists and people concerned with social justice from many countries and all walks of life and who are critical of the current world wide neo-conservative capitalist system.

Are you from all sorts of nationalities?

Yes, we are from all over the world - our sixty members represent most of Europe, and North and South America. We put our press releases out in four languages to reflect this multi-linguistic community.

What protest techniques do you have - apart from the balloon bombs? Did you use exploding pigs?

Our group has at no point advocated the use of weapons in the protests, in fact we do not tolerate the use of violent tactics amongst our members, as we believe it to be a counterproductive approach. The protesters who oppose FN in SL come from many disparate sectors of the SL and international community - those who used weapons as a means of protest were doing so as a means of expressing their own strong Anti-FN sentiments, and were not endorsed by SLLU.

Do you think Politics has a place in Second Life? Or should it be kept to the real world?

Second Life is only ever going to reflect the real people who drive it and create it; as such, it would be incredibly naive to say that politics has no place in this environment. We firmly believe that this kind of new media brings unique opportunities for making people more conscious of their common bonds and interests. In addition, initiatives such as our own, and the 'Camp Darfur' and 'World Development Movement' installations mean that this new media can open up dialogue around real life issues to people around the world.

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:: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 ::

SL not FN

Well I have been back to Second Life to join the protests against the fascist FN. Remember these are real fascists putting out propaganda to real people and about to contest a very real election in France. Unsurprisingly I was ejected and banned from their space but it was interesting to see the numbers turning out for the protest. The landmark was soon 'full' and reports are that the location has been the most popular in SL with up to 20, 000 visitors. That's about 19, 500 more than the last RL demo I was on.

The protest has got tons of coverage with the Telegraph joining the Guardian in picking it up and CNN about to run a story. Also about half the world's bloggers.

In other news the leading candidate in the French presidential elections, Segolene Royal has also been campaigning in SL.

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:: Monday, January 22, 2007 ::

Get a (first) life

First Life is an interesting new concept in non-virtual reality worlds.

"First Life is a 3D analog world where server lag does not exist.
Work. Reproduce. Perish"

Sounds a bit boring.

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:: Sunday, January 21, 2007 ::

SL in RL press

Second-Life, originally uploaded by alister.

Second Life Left Unity have released a press release on the latest developments in their struggle against the fascist Front National in the SL virtual world. The FN have been forced out of the area they were in but have popped up somewhere else.

Meanwhile the RL press have picked it up with a number of major stories internationally such as the Guardian article (pictured) and Norway's Dagbladet.

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:: Monday, January 15, 2007 ::

Virtual Antifa

Virtual anti-fascism arrived in SL this week when the Second Life Left Unity group, initiated by SSP members, took on the virtual presence of Le Pen's Front National.

SLLU press release:

"Ban the Front National from SL PG zones

The SL Left Unity group condemns the actions of the French fascist party, Front National for their actions against protesting AV's outside their offices in a PG sim.

This hate filled group of right wing racist nationalists have brought disrepute to SL and have damaged the livelihoods of many working av's in the PG rated Matrix Mall.

The SLLU have acquired land next to the FN office and will be manning a protest there until FN go or are ejected. Where-ever fascists are we will ensure they get no peace to corrupt and lie to decent people.
The SL Left Unity group call on the Linden's to see sense and ban this race hate group who are masquerading as a political party, from SL PG zones.

French citizen, and SLLU member Laura, AKA Paty said, “It is bad enough that these people cause trouble on the streets of France never mind the happy gaming world of Second Life.”

London based SLLU member HiggleDpiggle Snoats said, “Although in the interests of free speech I question the usefulness of an outright ban, I feel it is completely inappropriate for a known racist group to be operating within a PG sim"

Commenting on the FN users reaction to the protesters, Mark Lock, AKA Marco, from Italy, said, “What I saw yesterday was that we were shot by their security for exercising our right to free speech.”

San Francisco based solidad Sugarbeet said, "The presence of a fascist organization in SL is an outrage. SL should be about building bonds, not breaking them."

A SLLU spokesperson said, “the whole idea of a 'Race Hate' group is in direct violation of LL's own terms of service, and if the rules are being read to say they aren’t in violation, then Lindens need to look at the rules again. \

We would urge the Lindens to strongly to consider whether they want to allow this group to be represented within SL. This, of course, would not happen if SL was fully democratic.”

The SL Left Unity group was set up by members of the Scottish Socialist Party in November 2006. It has outgrown it's original kernel of SSP members into a world wide left unity group comprising of people from many countries and all walks of life who are interested in social justice and whom are critical of the current world wide neo-conservative capitalist system.

Plot Tracer, SLLU"

I must say I got a bit dissillusioned with Second Life, not because of the concept of virtual worlds, but rather because of the rather leaden interface and the never-ending lag which was much worse than it should have been. Perhaps they need to switch to regional servers rather than having one international one. Another reason to do that might be to allay USonians confusion at this kind of thing.


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:: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 ::

Irish Blood, English Heart, Turkish Votes

So Morrissey is in talks about his possible participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

My jocknroll pal The Cat has a few ideas for him:

1. Israel Around The Fountain
2. Abba Go Merchant
3. Euro The One For Me Fatty
4. Reel Around The Trevi Fountain
5. Barbarism Begins At Rome
6. I Want The One Point I Can't Have
7. Swedehead
8. Swede and Tender Hooligan
9. William, We Really Scored Nothing
10. The Lordi-nary Boys

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:: Sunday, January 07, 2007 ::

As Soon As This Pub Closes...

The Lothians SSP organiser proves that he has a life outside of politics and Celtic FC, more specifically homebrew. And to prove it he is writing a blog on the subject. There is quite a long tradition linking beer and the left. The founder of the Campaign for Real Ale, Roger Protz, was once a leading Trotskyist in Britain. You can find more about him in the late Jim Higgins' excellent More Years for the Locust. Can whoever has my copy please return it?

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The Magic of the Cup

Well it's been a terrible season, but this will have warmed the hearts of my fellow Pars fans. I thought the score was a mistake and had to go check.

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:: Thursday, January 04, 2007 ::

Gerry and Gerard

Gerard Depardieu, originally uploaded by gersc2001.

As well as writing a blog about his solidarity visit to Cuba, my friend and fellow SSP activist Gerry has also added his photos to Flickr. Here is a rather tasty one of Gerard Depardieu who was opening an exhibition. Yes, he is even cooler than you thought.


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:: Monday, January 01, 2007 ::

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all, hope you had a good hogmanay. We suffered from storm conditions here in Edinburgh so the big city centre celebrations (with the Pet Shop Boys playing) were cancelled. I had a very pleasant evening drinking and dancing round my living room to the likes of Kortatu, old ska, Pulp, Aztec Camera, the Small Faces and the Go-Betweens. Then watching Jools Holland with the excellent Amy Winehouse. It's been a weird year and I think 2007 could prove to be pretty interesting. The Scottish elections could see a majority for those favouring independence, with the SNP currently ahead in the polls as they have been for months. It could be a historic year. The British state won't allow its break up to be an easy affair, but the SNP don't seem to me to have the spirit to stand up to them. Only a mass movement on the streets can deliver the kind of democratic change being demanded.

Check out my mate Gerry's blog from Cuba.

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