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Education Crisis

AFTER THE HIGHER EDUCATION BILL IS ‘POSTPONED’: WHAT NEXT IN THE STRUGGLE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION?

Education Activist Network Roundtable discussion – After the HE Bill is ‘postponed’: What next in the struggle for Higher Education?

Venue: King’s College London (Strand) WC2R 2LS, Room S-1.27

Date: 21 Feb 2011

Time: 6:30pm

 

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/261268643945344/

Participants include: John McDonnell MP; John Holmwood, author of Manifesto for the Public University; Andrew McGettigan, blogger Critical Education; Jim Wolfreys, author of Universities for Hire; Howard Hotson. Oxford academic; Liam Burns NUS President

As the government has announced that it will not seek to pass the HE Bill (based on last summer’s HE White Paper) through parliament until 2015, the Education Activist Network is holding a roundtable discussion with trade unionists, academics and journalists to discuss the way forward in the fight for Higher Education.

The HE Bill, proposed by Universities Minister David Willetts, faces major opposition from academics and HE/FE students, who marched in their tens of thousands against it.

Cameron, Clegg and Willetts do not want to see a repeat of the mobilizations that took place in November/December 2010. One of the reasons the vote is being ‘indefinitely’ postponed is that the government faces significant resistance – UCU’s continued strike action over pensions, the Campaign for the Public University, the No Confidence Campaign as well as growing opposition to the NHS Bill.

This roundtable discussion will aim o build opposition to the trebling of tuition fees, the debt regime and 100% funding cuts to Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, whilst at the same time form the kind of alliance that have the social and economic power to reverse these devastating neoliberal reforms.

 

In solidarity,

Mark Bergfeld & Jim Wolfreys on behalf of EAN Steering Committee

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

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Debt

LINKS UPDATE – 22nd AUGUST 2011

What’s new at Links: Marqusee on London riots, economy, Bolivia debate, Cuba, Agent Orange, Marxism, Venezuela CP, Palestine, Syria, Comintern, Baltics

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Mike Marqusee: Riots, reason and resistance

By Mike Marqusee

August 16, 2011 — “Criminality pure and simple” was British Prime Minister David Cameron’s initial verdict on the rioting. From the right came the mantra, “Down with sociology! Up with water cannon!” Don’t think but do act – harshly, punitively, peremptorily. In the wake of the riots, a powerful vested interest has been at work – a vested interest in people not making links, not searching for causes, not weighing contexts. Above all, an interest in derailing the growing resistance to the government’s austerity programme.

Read more

 

Martin Hart-Landsberg: The troubled US economy means a shaky world economy

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

August 15, 2011 — The US economy is in trouble and that means trouble for the world economy. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Trade and Development Report, 2010, “Buoyant consumer demand in the United States was the main driver of global economic growth for many years in the run-up to the current global economic crisis.”

Read more

 

Bolivia: How Jeffrey Webber’s ‘From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia’ turns reality on its head

Review by Federico Fuentes

August 19, 2011 — The Evo Morales government recently celebrated its 2000th day in power inBolivia– a feat in its own right for a country that has had around 180 coups since 1825 – any serious attempt to explain the underlying dynamics of this decade long political process should be welcomed. Combining his academic research and extensive fieldwork inBolivia, Jeffrey Webber sets out to do exactly that in From Rebellion to Reform inBolivia. Unfortunately, the end result leaves a lot to be desired.

Read more

 

Cuba: Changes go deep — democratic reforms

By José Alejandro Rodríguez, Havana

August 17, 2011 — Apart from some exceptions, the powerful international media has ignored a recent Cuban parliamentary bill that would deepen democracy on the island. The reason is obvious: the news is not convenient. The initiative is made within socialist institutionalism, not in terms of the “transition” whose staging is highly anticipated and promoted by certain hegemonic interests in this world.

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Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin: ‘Agent Orange in Vietnam was a crime against humanity’

Appeal of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

August 9, 2011 — The Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, held in Hanoi from August 8 to 9, 2011, included participants from around the world: Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference is a significant and important historic event, marking the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange (1961-1971) by the US forces inVietnam and Indochina.

Read more

 

Marxism has an ecological heart

By Ash Pemberton

August 13, 2011 — We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table?

Read more

 

Venezuela: Communist Party backs Hugo Chavez, builds workers’ control movement

By Rachael Boothroyd,Coro

August 10, 2011  – On August 7, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) concluded its 14th congress in Caracas following three days of discussions. More than 526 national delegates and 43 international representatives attended the conference, which was convened in conjunction with the PCV’s 74th anniversary.

Read more

 

Does Palestinian Authority’s UN ‘statehood’ bid endanger Palestinian rights?

By Ali Abunimah

August 8, 2011 — The Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC), the steering group of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, has issued further guidance in the run up to the Palestinian Authority’s effort to gain UN membership for a “State of Palestine” in September.

Read more

 

The Syrian ‘common’: an uprising of the working society

By  Yassin Al Haj Saleh

August 14, 2011 — There is a Promethean dimension to the struggle ofSyria’s protesters to wrench politics away from the self-deifying cabal [who rule] and to attempt to extend politics to all Syrians. The young Marx, who loved grandiose expressions, described Prometheus as “the most noble martyr in the philosophical almanac”, because he stole the fire from the Olympian gods and gave it to humans. The gods punished him by sending the eagles of the Caucuses to tear at his liver forever. Like Prometheus, the uprising represents the most noble rebellionSyriahas known since its independence 65 years ago. Like Prometheus, the wrath of the divine cabal is directed against the rebelling multitude. It is murdered, defamed, called names and insulted by the lowliest forces and motives inSyria.

Read more

 

The Comintern’s unknown decision on workers’ governments

By John Riddell

August 14, 2011 — English-language discussion of the Communist International’s 1922 call for workers’ governments has been based on a preliminary draft that was significantly altered before its adoption. Below, probably for the first time in English, is the amended text that the 1922 congress actually adopted.

Read more

 

Baltic far right attempts to rewrite history

By Rupen Savoulian

August 12, 2011 — Early in August, a major World War II anniversary was marked in Europe; August 1 was the 67th anniversary of the heroicWarsawuprising by the Polish underground resistance movement against Nazi German occupation forces. I raise this anniversary to highlight the importance of commemorating the courageous struggles by the peoples oppressed by the Nazi regime, and to underscore the importance of historical debate for comprehending the tremendous social forces that have shaped the world today.

Read more

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Links seeks to promote the international exchange of information, experience of struggle, theoretical analysis and views of political strategy and tactics within the international left. It is a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists coming from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies. It aims to promote the renewal of the socialist movement in the wake of the collapse of the bureaucratic model of “actually existing socialism” in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

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World Crisis

INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM JOURNAL – ISSUE 130

Now Out

See: http://www.isj.org.uk

Analysis

The return of the Arab revolution
Alex Callinicos

Engels on the power of nature

The return of fear
Iain Ferguson

Tunisia: the people’s revolution
Chamseddine Mnasri

Act One of the Egyptian Revolution
Philip Marfleet

Social media and social movements
Jonny Jones

The origins of the united front policy
John Riddell

The Tories, Eton and private schools
David Renton

I love the sound of breaking glass: the London crowd, 1760-2010
Keith Flett

Feedback

Facing the crisis: the strategic perplexity of the left
Stathis Kouvelakis

Sexuality, alienation and capitalism
Sheila McGregor

Counterpower, participatory democracy, revolutionary defence: debating Black Flame, revolutionary anarchism and historical Marxism
Lucien van der Walt

The social roots of “impairment”
Lee Humber

Book reviews

We want rebel music
Lee Billingham

Natural’s not in it
Martin Empson

State of the union
Chris Bambery

Forgotten famine
John Newsinger

Africa’s opening
Andy Wynne

Pick of the quarter
This quarter’s selection

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Andrew Lansley

ANDREW LANSLEY RAP

This is great! A tremendous rap from MC NxtGen.

It gets the message across really well: Save the National Health Service!

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl1jPqqTdNo

See also the article ‘Health minister takes the rap as hip-hop attack on NHS white paper goes viral’ by Esther Addley in ‘The Guardian’ today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/mar/25/andrew-lansley-rap-mc-nxtgen
 

MC NxtGen at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/McNxtgen 

Glenn

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Big Society

HITLER IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Video spoofs ‘Nazi’ library cuts

The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 2nd March, 2011, p.5

By Daily Telegraph Reporter

A video posted on the internet that compares a county council to Nazi Germany for making cuts to libraries has been condemned as “sickening”.

The spoof clip, which was uploaded to the YouTube website, shows Adolf Hitler in his bunker with sub-titles of him supposedly ranting about opposition to spending cuts in Gloucestershire.

One councillor, Philip Booth, was criticised by the Tory county council leader, Mark Hawthorne, for describing the video as “great stuff”. Mr Hawthorne said: “I am always disgusted when idiots try to use Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust to score political points. To see this branded ‘great stuff is sickening.”

Mr Booth, from the Green Party, defended the clip, which is from the 2004 film Downfall, which depicts Hitler’s last days. “I think it has come out of the frustration of library campaigners that they haven’t been listened to,” he said. “I apologise if anyone has taken offence.”

***********

You can see the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAMRCY55lnQ

The Daily Telegraph, ironically, has listed the video as one of its top spoof videos!

The article online: http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx

Philip Booth’s blog, Ruscombe Green is at: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.com/ It was voted 11th best blog in the Total Politics Top 30 Councillor Blog national poll for 2010. It was also voted 10th in the Green Blog poll for Total Politics in 2010.

Report on the issue in This is Gloucestershire, ‘Man behind Youtube Hitler spoof video stands by library message’, at: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Man-Hitler-video-stands-library-message/article-3281693-detail/article.html See also: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Political-row-Hitler-library-video/article-3275999-detail/article.html  

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries (FoGL): http://foclibrary.wordpress.com/

Friends of Minchinhampton Library: http://friendsofminchinhamptonlibrary.wordpress.com/

See also the ‘Hitler Versus Library Campaigners’ video, by Phil Bradley at the Use Libraries and Learn Stuff blog: http://use-libraries-and-learn-stuff.blogspot.com/2011/02/hitler-attempts-to-close-libraries.html  

Book Burning: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852

Heinrich Heine on Burning Books: http://atheism.about.com/od/weeklyquotes/a/heine01.htm

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Anarchism

LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR 2010

SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER 2010

10am-7pm Queen Mary, University Of London, Mile End Road, Mile End tube

Paul Mason, Hillel Ticktin and Endnotes debate:

‘Will Cameron’s Cuts lead to working-class defeat or to a new anti-capitalist movement?’

(Paul Mason’s writings can be found at his blog at bbc.co.uk and Ticktin and Endnotes articles are at libcom.org)

Chris Knight and Milan Rai debate Noam Chomsky’s science and politics

Plus talks with John Pilger and Michael Albert

Also meetings on: India, Croatia, feminism, Palestine, Zapatistas, Gandhi, Proudhon, pirates, co-ops, prisons, EDL, education, healthworkers, shop stewards and more.

For more details and for information about the: ‘Housing Ourselves’ conference – Sunday 24 October. See http://www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk/whatson.html

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David Cameron

TELL DAVID CAMERON: ‘STUFF YOUR CUTS, WE WON’T PAY!’

Demonstrate!

Tell David Cameron: “Stuff Your Cuts, We Won’t Pay!”

Sunday, 3rd October, 12.00 noon at the Conservative Party Conference, central Birmingham.

Called by the Right to Work Campaign: http://www.righttowork.org.uk  

* Fight for every job

* Organise to stop the cuts

* Defend services and pensions

* Demand a million green jobs

* Jobs not bombs

* Defend migrant workers – jobs for all

Email: righttoworkconference@gmail.com

Tel: 07986 085 162

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

A World To Win

TAKING THE REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

This Saturday – 22 May
A World to Win Conference

Taking the Revolutionary Road

The coming together of the Tories and Lib Dems in a coalition government is a dramatic expression of the way that the economic and financial crisis has an immediate impact on politics. It gives added urgency to the call to create People’s Assemblies as an alternative to the dead-end of Parliamentary politics. As one delegate to A World to Win’s conference says:

“….given the global nature of the crisis there’s a real need for revolutionary solutions not just in Britain but for the whole of our planet and all its peoples, London May 22nd will be a great starting point.”

Register for Conference | Agenda: http://www.aworldtowin.net/about/2010conference.html

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A great video and song, ‘Daystar’ by Will Roberts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6f_pA5XUPk

Vote Clegg, get Brown!

Tory / Lib Dem Government announce Plans for Swedish style ‘Free Schools’

 From Alasdair Smith at the Anti Academies Alliance

 AAA website at: http://www.antiacademies.org.uk

 The new Tory / Lib Dem government has already announced that we will see Swedish style ‘Free Schools’ being opened.

They also intend to rush through legislation to allow ‘outstanding’ schools to become Academies.

The Swedish ‘Free Schools’ have recently received a lot of criticism. Swedish Trade unions, politicians and even the Swedish National Agency for Education have warned that we there are serious problems with the ‘Free School’ model.

It’s not too late for Liberal Democrat members and MPs to demand that these proposals are abandoned.

In every city and town we need to start to prepare to resist these proposals.

No privatisation, No cuts: Defend Comprehensive Education!  

New Anti Academies Alliance briefing on Swedish style ‘Free’ Schools: https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/international/sweden/thecaseagainstswedishstylefreeschools

Recent news articles on Swedish ‘Free’ schools, and the myth that they are successful:

https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/parliament/thecaseagainstfreeschools

An Appeal to Liberal Democrats

The following Appeal has been circulated to Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and activists.

At your Spring Conference in 2009 you passed a motion which stated you would “restore strategic Local Authority oversight and commissioning” of Academies.

The Anti Academies Alliance welcomed this decision. It made your party the only party that recognised a key problem with Academies; that they are schools that are outside of local democratic control.

In our questionnaire to election candidates many of your candidates replied repeating this pledge.

As the discussions about the formation of a future government proceed, we appeal to you to stand by this pledge, and to take this historic opportunity to halt the academy programme and the break up of our comprehenisive education system.

It is also important that the Tories’ plans for further privatisation & deregulation are thwarted. Michael Gove’s plans for “new” schools along the lines of the ‘Swedish model’ must be shelved.

We urge every Lib Dem to contact their leadership to demand that a progressive education policy is not squandered in any coalition deal.

Alasdair Smith, National Secretary, Anti Academies Alliance

‘Free’ Schools – a “disaster for standards”

This was the comment made by Nick Clegg, just a week before becoming Deputy Prime Minister:

Biggest academy sponsor hit by fresh Ofsted ‘failure’

The country’s biggest academy sponsor has been plunged into fresh turmoil after it emerged that another of its schools has been judged “inadequate” by Ofsted.

Stockport Academy, sponsored by the United Learning Trust (ULT), has been told that it needs “significant improvement” to address poor standards.

It is the third ULT academy to be described as inadequate by inspectors in less than a year and is the latest in a line of significant setbacks for the sponsor.

Education Bill within weeks as Tories dig in

The move opens the door for a raft of new schools to be set up by parent groups, charities and local businesses as well as existing school providers, a policy not backed by the Liberal Democrats before the election. Legislation later this month will give all schools ranked outstanding by Ofsted the right to step out of local authority control immediately and become academies.

Heads warn National Challenge schools face job losses and budget cuts

England’s worst performing schools – those categorised under the National Challenge – face redundancies and budget crises from next spring, heads and unions have warned. Improvements to the “named and shamed” secondaries could stall when they lose vital cash during tough financial times in 2011, the school leaders have said. See: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6043684

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Nick Clegg

 

David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

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Uncertain Times

BEYOND RESISTANCE: THE COMMUNE SUMMER SCHOOL

A day of communist discussion and debate

From 11am-6pm on Saturday 19th June

At 96-100 Clifton Street, London EC2

To purchase tickets and download leaflets see: http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/19th-june-summer-school/

The last few years have seen a series of crises for our rulers. Millions of us are angry at the ongoing economic crisis, the scandalous behaviour of ‘our’ MPs and the endless wars in the Middle East.

All of these crises are part and parcel of capitalist rule, but rarely is this system itself challenged. We are constantly told there is no alternative to capitalism. Every day at work and in our communities we live out the same capitalist order, the same hierarchies, the same alienation.

But the spectre of communism has not gone away. The idea of a society fit for human beings lives on. It is an idea raised every time workers demand the living standards we need, not what our rulers are prepared to give us; whenever we reject the state’s oppression and interference in our lives; and whenever we stand up to sexism, homophobia and anti-immigrant hysteria.

We need to build on these acts of resistance. But that is not enough. Our movement needs ideas. We need a clear vision of a communist alternative to the capitalist order, and how we can make it happen.

That is why The Commune is hosting a summer school on Saturday 19th June to discuss what we should be fighting for and how we should fight for it. Join the debate.

Proposed sessions:

Britain after the general election;

What is capitalism?

Why capitalism is in crisis;

The changed shape of the working class;

Alienation and the critique of everyday life;

How migrant workers fight back;

Tenants’ struggles and community organisation;

Socialist feminist approach to organisation;

Breaking up the UK state;

Communism or representative democracy?

Recomposition of the communist movement.

Full agenda shortly

Please get in touch at uncaptiveminds@gmail.com if you have any questions about the event or have special requirements.

http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/19th-june-summer-school/

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Deadwing

THE 2010 GENERAL ELECTION: WILL IT MEAN ANYTHING AT ALL?

University of East London School of Humanities and Social Sciences

In association with OurKingdom, presents:

The 2010 General Election: Will it Mean Anything at All?

A Public Seminar

21st April 2010

Is there any scope for a progressive electoral strategy?

Have we left the era of representative democracy behind?

Details (and an excellent article by Jeremy Gilbert) at: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jeremy-gilbert/2010-general-election-will-it-mean-anything-at-all

UEL staff are joined by two leading political commentators to discuss the issues

Anthony Barnett, founder of openDemocracy.net and editor of the OurKingdom blog (see his recent article for New Statesman at http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/03/labour-brown-british-britain)

Richard Seymour, author of The Liberal Defence of Murder and blogger at Lenin’s Tomb See: http://www.culturalstudies.org.uk/April.html for full details 

You may also be interested in a pair of seminars planned to follow the election at the Centre for the study of Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths [www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/global-media-democracy/], starting their new series around the question ‘Is Democracy Possible Here in the UK?’:

May 13 Post-Election Reflections with Angela McRobbie (Goldsmiths, author of The Aftermath of Feminism, 2009) and Colin Leys (Goldsmiths and Queens University, Ontario, author of Market-Driven Politics, 2000).

May 20 Democratic Futures? Democracy beyond the UK with Jeremy Gilbert (UEL, author of Anticapitalism and Culture, 2008), Alice Mattoni (European University Institute, Florence) and Samuel Toledano (International Visiting Fellow, Goldsmiths)

Both 5:30pm Goldsmiths main building RHB 309

For more details, write to Nick Couldry, n.couldry@gold.ac.uk

PLUS April 29 Luc Boltanski and Nancy Fraser in discussion on Capitalism and

Critique – Goldsmiths main building RHB 309 5-7pm, followed by drinks reception

For more details, write to Nick Couldry, n.couldry@gold.ac.uk

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski