The Finkelstein/Rabbani/Morris/Destiny debate…

 

So I watched this debate last night and I just have a couple of things to comment on it (my comments will be clear if you watch the video first, so you should do that. It’s just 5 hours):

-When the ”it’s not a genocide” side says that international law doesn’t matter, they of course mean that it doesn’t matter to Israel, because it doesn’t matter to the US, because they’re both already criminals and until they can be held accountable they will continue to be. By which it logically follows that if Hamas had only claimed on Oct 7th that the IDF was hiding behind civilians, they could have murdered at least 35 times as many civilians and it would have counted as self defense.

-You can’t be a super efficient and exact army and murder that many civilians, especially that many children, and not be genocidal. So if you’re not intentionally genocidal, you have to admit that you’re fucking up real bad, and you need to cease fire to find another solution to your problem. It was ”funny” when Morris used the word ”proportionality”, because it’s a lot of bodies since Israel had any credibility in saying that their response is proportional. Of course, that’d require that you care about civilian deaths, which you obviously don’t, which takes us back to an intentional genocide being the most probable answer. And if it’s a genocide, it needs to stop immediately, because it’s a genocide and you’re not supposed to do those.

-And yes, Finkelstein was a bit harsh on Destiny, but he was also right: that moron shouldn’t have been there yapping his motomouth while the grown-ups were talking. And I generally don’t have anything against people being harsh on genocide apologists…

By the way, I do appreciate that they let this discussion take the time it did instead of forcing it into a shorter format. It could have been even longer to make room for decades of checkpoints, incarcerations, demolished homes, stolen homes and other abuses to give more context, but still… It’s a pretty good, if frustrating, debate.

Rum för Frihet

Yesterday was the opening of the exhibition Rum för Frihet – serier om Palestina, at Rum för Serier (Friisgatan 12, Malmö). I have a comic in the exhibition (Arg Kanin om ett Folkmord) and so do Joe Sacco, Layal Safieddin and Seyda.

Here’s a bit of context:
-Malmö is host to Eurovision this year.
-Eurovision has not thrown Israel out of the competition, thereby siding with their ongoing genocide. People are angry at this.
-Actually, their participation in the event is only secondarily what people are angry about. If they’d end the occupation they can join whatever music things they want. Which is good to keep in mind when confronted with the official rhetoric…
-Malmö, in cooperation with Israeli security personnel, tries to remedy the situation in the usual, normal way: they’ve called in cops from all over Sweden + some from Denmark and Norway. And given them new, more powerful guns. And probably psyched them up for the biggest police event since Gothenburg 2001
-They’ve prohibited Palestinian flags in the Eurovision venues.
-Friisgatan has been proclaimed as the festival street, so since Rum för Serier is on that street, they decided to do a pro-Palestine exhibition.
-Panora/Folkets Bio, a movie theatre on the same street, also have lote of pro-Palestine programming.
-Lots of windows on the street (and in the rest of Malmö) have Palestinian flags hanging from their windows.
-There are cops everywhere now. Cops with automatic weapons. Also snipers.
-The hospital now has armed guards. Unclear what threat they’re under…
-None of this is normal or sensible. And it’s all in defence of a state guilty of genocidal war crimes and a decades-long colonial occupation.

The watermelon in the exhibition poster is a symbol for Palestine, from the time (1967-1993) when the Palestinian flag was prohibited in the occupied areas so people used watermelons instead since the colors are similar.

Here’s a few panels from my comic (I may do an English translation in the future):

New stuff at Magasinet Konkret

My newspeak dictionary, which I first made for CBA vol 58 (also included in the (Anti)rasism exhibition last year) and have since translated and expanded a bit, is now up at Magasinet Konkret.

It’s an attempt to figure out the new meanings of words after some years of degradation and erosion where some words now seem to mean the opposite of what they used to and some simply don’t really mean anything anymore. At least if you are to trust how the words are used in the news and on social media…

Magasinet Konkret is publishing one word/day on their start page, with a link to the complete list. I like that this gets some attention, since CBA often goes under the radar for a lot of people.

Contradictory views

Another illustration I made for Magasinet Konkret a while ago.

The text is about how the far right in the US has two images of Sweden that serve to present us as both a role model and an example of how bad things can get. None of which are true. We’re neither the heroes who successfully ignored COVID nor overrun by queers and foreign criminals. We’re not even a Socialist paradise. Which any thinking person could figure out, but truth went out the window a long time ago in this stupid propaganda war…

We’re just as Capitalist as any other country, complete with racist migration policies and everything, even if we don’t currently shoot queers in the streets and we still have some sensible things like public health care etc, but who knows how long that’ll last…

Anyway, here’s the article, by Lisa Bjurvald (it’s in Swedish and you need to subscribe, but if you know the language, this is a subscription you should get anyway).

Magasinet Konkret

There’s a new web-based Swedish news/culture mag: Magasinet Konkret

Remember when alternative media used to mean news and articles written from more of a leftist perspective compared to the mainly liberal mainstream news channels? When “liberal” meant center-leaning right-wing (which it still is even though the rest of the right are now trying to paint liberal as some kind of extreme left, inspired by the political climate in the US which is a two-party/one-ideology system)? Before alternative media as a concept was taken over and almost dominated by the far right (nationalist/conservative/racist etc) who are doing their best to paint the mainstream as dominated by extreme leftism, even though it’s still dominated by the same liberalism as before?

Anyway. Magasinet Konkret is trying to compensate by being a space for a bit more of those leftist perspectives that are so rare these days.

And I’m part of it! Just one illustration/text so far, but there will be more. Follow this link to see my contributions!

Here’s the illustration:

Arg Kanin in Brand #1/2023

Arg Kanin om Kulturkanon (Angry Animal about the Cultural Canon), the same comic I had (still have for a couple more weeks) in the (Anti)rasism exhibition, is also published in the new issue of the anarchist magazine Brand!

This issue was printed in 3 separate colors, so I hade to modify it a bit. It felt similar to preparing files for risoprinting and I wasn’t exactly sure how it would turn out, but in the end it looked just as I had hoped.

You can buy it here.

The comic itself was heavily inspired by Sven Lindqvist‘s books Exterminate all the brutes and The Skull Measurer’s Mistake: And Other Portraits of Men and Women Who Spoke Out Against Racism, which I’ve written a bit about before. And also the recent debate in Sweden about the conservative nationalists wanting to impose an official cultural canon. Which is an idea not to be taken seriously as anything other than a way to make everything a bit more racist, nationalist and right-leaning.

Asylkalendern 2023

As usual, Asylgruppen i Malmö are publishing their calendar for the next year, and as usual, I made something for it. The theme this time was dreams. They sell these as a way to raise money for what they do, which is help undocumented/asylumseekers in different ways, so it’s a good thing to support!

You can get it from Asylgruppen by sending your
– name
– address
– amount of which calendar
to: asylkalendern [@] gmail [.] com

I made a one-page Arg Kanin story for the week-based calendar. Here’s a panel from it:

Translation:
-You mean where the borders are open and nations dismantled?
-Sure, why not? They’re outdated concepts, anyway.


I also made this image for the month-based calendar. Less political content, but I still liked how it turned out (EDIT: this one didn’t make it into the actual calendar, but I liked how it turned out, so showing it here anyway)):

 

Comics competition: Seriefest i Väst

I was one of 12 winners in the Seriefest i Väst (a recent comics festival in Gothenburg) comics competition.

The themes were sustainability, good work conditions and equality, so I submitted this one:

Translation:
ANGRY ANIMAL about SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION

“Sustainable consumption”?
Pha! That doesn’t even exist!
If you have an iPhone, it’s most definitely been built under slavery-like conditions. The same is probably true for any smartphone.

We in the West/North think that we need to have them, and many of us are ready to pay a whole lot of money for it, but that money will first and foremost go to profits for Apple and other corporations, not to whoever actually makes the products.

It’s the same with other electronics, clothes , shoes and whatever else people keep buying all the time. More or less anything we buy has been made for cheap in some other country and been shipped here.
Yes, I know that when people talk about sustainability, it’s not usually about work conditions. But what the hell, us humans are also part of the environment, aren’t we?
And yes, nature will also suffer from the cheap production since the main problem is that companies prioritize profits above any other concerns.

Sure, you can buy ecologic and so on, and that’s good even if it’s more expensive so only those with money can afford to take that responsibility.
And of course none of us should buy more food and stuff than we need, which should be obvious but obviously isn’t.

From all around us we get signals saying that more stuff will make us happy, which takes us back to profit interest as motivation, which is the core of the whole problem.
Individual solutions for sustainability are nice and good, I’m sure, and we can all sit in the shine of our low energy lamps and have a our consciences clean, but it’s far from enough since it’s the overproduction of all kinds of crap which is the real villain.
And that’s all because of profit interest, and the only way we can really achieve sustainability is to get rid of Capitalism!

For fuck’s sake!


The comic will be published in an upcoming issue of Bild & Bubbla.

Will AI replace human artists?

So, the question some of us are thinking about these days: Will AI replace human artists?

I think most people who make comics and other kinds of art don’t do it with getting rich as the motivation. We don’t even do it to get paid. Don’t get me wrong here: Getting paid for it is a way to be able to do it, it’s a way to make a living doing something you like, to have the time to do it. So it’s important in that way, it’s just not the main motivation. So even IF AI was used instead of human artists/illustrators/cartoonists, humans would still be making art. I know, because I’m doing it and I seldom get paid for the actual art (I get mostly indirect money like grants or by doing art-related projects etc, what I get from the actual comics/illustrations is often a pretty small part of my income).

And I believe that as long as people are making art, there will be an audience for it, because even if the AI can make beautiful images, there is more that goes into art, like individual artists’ experiences, thought processes, emotions, skills, personality. Even if an AI would become sentient and have all that, it’d be one among many. And as long as it doesn’t, it’s a tool to be used in the process of making art.

I just read a comic (Summer Island) written by Steve Coulson, a human, with art ”by” Midjourney, an AI. But the AI didn’t make the comic. The human fed it lines of text and (probably) got a huge number of results to choose from. So there are possibly hundreds of unused images that weren’t selected because they didn’t fit what the human wanted them to express. So it’s not really the artist, just like a pen isn’t a creator, or a brush or even Photoshop.

Sure, some potential employers would rather use an AI than pay someone to make illustrations, but they still need someone to wield it. And they probably would’ve paid as little as possible to a human artist anyway, or do the old ”you’re doing something you love so you don’t need money and besides, you get exposure isn’t that great”. This may sound hypocritical since I’m also working with a publisher that mostly hasn’t been able to pay for comics, but we do when we can, and no one is making money off anyone else’s work. Because it’s all non-profit (and pretty non-commercial), and the editors mostly don’t get paid either, and the artists know what they’re getting into and so on and so on and these days we’re actually paying at least a little.

Making it big in art is about knowing the right people, existing in the right social circles, being the right kind of social chameleon, being either born into the right family or being lucky. I don’t have that, so to me there’s no difference between an AI- or human-generated image being sold for $433K because in both cases it’s someone else making that money. Maybe that’s why I’m not worried about being replaced, because what are they going to take from me, my non-profit work? I’d be happy to be able to focus on my own comics instead. Just like most economic crises haven’t really affected me since I didn’t have a lot of money before or after the crises either…

People still listen to guitar music even though electronica exists. The problems with the music indistry are, as they have always been, not that people don’t listen to music or that no one makes music, but that music companies want to make a profit. Record companies always got more than the actual musicians, just as it is now with Spotify.

The problem, as always, is Capitalism, not the tools we use to make art.


The images in this post were made using Craiyon. Not to complain, but very few of these images are even close to what I would have done…