Thursday, August 29, 2013

Checkpoint Charlie - Feuer und Flamme (GERM, 1982)

Most of us probably remember how mutantsounds posted some of their amazing early albums, including their masterpiece "Krawall im Schweinstall" here:
I then added "Durchsichtige" as a homage to them along with comments about communism and the bizarre romantic attitude Western Europe as a whole had towards it, at least until Pol Pot's experiment of radical communism in Cambodia came to light, which no one could really justify with a straight face though some at the time tried.
I have also in the past made fun of communism, a pastime which I find is strangely unpopular, although quite gratifying:
and here:

Recently the impressive French scholarship in "The Black Book of Communism" could ensure there is no doubt in history that communism was one of the greatest tragedies humanity has ever endured or self-created.  How millions of people could have perished, not from resource scarcity, conflict, to enrich leaders, or environmental disaster, but merely to be sacrificed at the altar of an ideology-- is virtually impossible to believe.
Those millions died only because of an idea, an abstract conception of a better society.

When we consider the reductionism of science which for ex. physicists attest-- that all complex phenomena can be reduced to subatomic interactions-- I wonder how you really can explain in chemical or quantum terms how so many millions of humans died due to the ideas of one Karl Marx who thought a better society was possible when the proletariat overthrow their bourgeois oppressors and that this process could be hastened in various artificial ways.  Where do you find those atomic interactions exactly that led to  those actual physical individuals dying?  You'd have to follow a sequence starting in one philosopher's mind, Marx (and how do you explain the origin of his thought processes?) then proceed on to the power of printing, of education, of certain tyrannically-minded people, but even that isn't enough, since you are required to have the correct social zeitgeist to allow such an idea to take hold within an entire fertile society, in short, there isn't even the slightest hope you could follow such a chain of causation outside of the broad-stroke 'explanations' usually given by historical analyses.  Reductionism is simply not appropriate for explanatory power in the universe as a whole, with the level of complexity brought about by an 'intelligent' mind.  The fact that abstraction can influence actual physical processes can be demonstrated from the planetary climate changes we are bringing about via technology and abstract knowledge (rather than some bio-physical process).

Consider the case of China, in which Mao at one point in the sixties decided culture was useless and that all education should involve learning to be a peasant. Therefore everyone no matter how professionally educated had to farm.  When you hear about these ideas, you ask yourself, this couldn't really have happened.  But it did.  In Romania, Ceausescu decided he would abolish birth control to force the population to increase, the result was that most women abandoned their infants in orphanages, where hundreds of thousands of children were deprived of sensory stimulation and wound up in a developmentally delayed state.  He wasn't too concerned with overall social welfare.  Those orphans today are unproductive adults who are a burden to the state now that they have grown up…

Of course as we know in N. America there was the opposite attitude of paranoiac fear of communism which in its own way was equally extreme and childish.  As a result, Vietnam was defoliated with thousands of tons of dioxin, a substance so poisonous even micrograms in farmer's fields are frantically detoxified when they are found within the United States, or in parts per billions in small rivers.  Too bad those poor Vietnamese can't detoxify the tons they were exposed to in the "American War" -- oh sorry you know it here in the West as the "Vietnam War" (although I recently read the US government was generous enough to offer a few million dollars to help the clean up-- prob. the price of a few hazmat suits, for the American workers over there.)

When you ask those who suffered under the eastern regimes in Europe they are pretty adamant about the evils of communism and the corruption and hypocrisy they were forced to endure for so many years-- there was nothing romantic about it for the oppressed hungarians, polish, bulgarians, etc.  For them even socialism is a dirty word to be spat out.
How angry they would have been back in the seventies, to know that rock bands like this one were trying to start communist revolutions in France, in Germany, etc.

Musically though, I was happy to find this record because I always loved the hard guitar style of Checkpoint Charlie and the ingeniously progressive compositions they put together.  And this entry won't disappoint any of you who have a hunger for prog rock, despite the late year, because you will hear all the odd chord changes and tritonal riffs you've come to expect of the genre.  The only compromise for the times is a couple of songs with a definite but not overdone punkish drive.  There is an almost total lack of new wave influence, on the other hand.

Another question I always return to is this, to what degree did these anarchist communist political bands actually change the world or their national governing structures?  Hardly--  the eighties brought a tsunami of conservatism, deregulation, and naked blatant greed to the western world, that I've discussed endlessly in the past as well.  And those who fought for earth days in the seventies and the environment could hardly have foreseen that the eighties would be merely the beginning of the most desperate accelerating destruction of the natural world we live in, for the sake of short-term riches and materialism.  As so many have pointed out, our world economy is like a driver stepping on the gas harder and harder as he approaches a cliff he can't see.

I find it so incredibly sad that humanity to this day has never been able to find that balance between materialist, self-indulgent comforts versus the true conservative ideals (which today are called liberal) of abstinence, moderation, respect for our surroundings and preparations for our future and our children.  Will we ever find it?

Notice the cover has a matchstick book stuck to it with actual matches you can use to start anarchist fires in your local downtown.  Cool, or stupid?
At least the music is magnificent.


Tristan Stefan said...

Anonymous said...

I search Syrinx - Syrinx and long lost relatives in lossless format. Can you help me?
merci encore pour votre merveilleux site que je suis depuis nombreuses années!!!

санди said...

to Anonymous said... 10:57 PM
I can halp you. I have lossless Syrinxs from this blog and some other music. If you need, see into that post.

санди said...

Excuse me. I´m wrong.

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