Saturday, July 26, 2014

University of Malta academics in solidarity with the people in Gaza



We, the undersigned academics from the University of Malta, join the call of seven Peace Nobel Prize winners, intellectuals and artists from the whole world for a military embargo towards Israel (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/arms-trade-israel-attack-gaza )

Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights. We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.

We, the undersigned, appeal to the Government of Malta to condemn the Israeli aggression on Gaza. We also affirm our support to the Palestine Solidarity Network (Malta), a group of organisations and individuals active against the systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population at the hands of the Israeli state and its allies. The network works for:

• an end to Israeli occupation and colonization

• the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, as stipulated by the 194 UN resolution.

• the dismantling of the current Apartheid system that, with its practices of segregation and institutional racism, is denying the fundamental human rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and of Palestinian citizens of Israel

• Israeli compliance with international law

1. Clare Azzopardi
2. Jacqueline Azzopardi
3. Joseph Azzopardi
4. Mario Azzopardi
5. Claire Azzopardi Lane
6. Ruth Baldacchino
7. Carmel Borg
8. MaryAnn Borg Cunen
9. Charles G. Bonello
10. Michael Briguglio
11. Maria Brown
12. Ernest Cachia
13. Colin Calleja
14. Isabelle Calleja Ragonesi
15. Frank Camilleri
16. Rene Camilleri
17. Censu Caruana
18. Carmel Cassar
19. George Cassar
20. Joanne Cassar
21. Arnold Cassola
22. John Chircop
23. Philip Ciantar
24. Marilyn Clark
25. Paul Michael Clough
26. Maureen Cole
27. Natasha Cordina
28. Mary Darmanin
29. Mark Debono
30. Angele Deguara
31. Katya De Giovanni
32. Andreana Dibben
33. Edward Duca
34. Neil Falzon
35. Ruth Falzon
36. Ruth Farrugia
37. Giuliana Fenech
38. Albert Gatt
39. Isabelle Gatt
40. Lou Ghirlando
41. Joe Gravina
42. Michael Grech
43. Adrian Grima
44. Anna Khakee
45. Peter Mayo
46. Robert Micallef
47. Dione Mifsud
48. Immanuel Mifsud
49. Josephine Milton
50. Matthew Montebello
51. Brenda Murphy
52. Marceline Naudi
53. Charles Pace
54. Paul J. Pace
55. Maria Pisani
56. Claudia Psaila
57. Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci
58. Pierre Schembri Wismayer
59. Claire Shoemake
60. Doreen Spiteri
61. Ronald G. Sultana
62. Nadia Theuma
63. Joseph Troisi
64. Vasilis Valdramidis
65. Marie Louise Vella
66. Olvin Vella
67. Yosanne Vella
68. Valerie Visanich
69. Anna Zammit
70. Clive Zammit
71. David Zammit
72. Anthony Aquilina
73. Joseph Falzon
74. Joseph Axiaq
75. Clare Vassallo
76. Rachel Radmilli
77. Duncan Mercieca
78. Daniela Mercieca
79. Marco Galea
80. Courtland Lee
81. Shaun Grech
82. Stefano Moncada
83. Mark Camilleri
84. Alex Grech

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Walk for Gaza



The Palestine Solidarity Network - Malta is organising a Walk for Gaza on Thursday 17th July, at 5:30pm, starting from City Gate Valletta. It urges the public to attend and show its condemnation of this aggression and express its support for a free Palestine.

The Palestine Solidarity Network – Malta is a group of organisations and individuals active against the systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population. It includes the following organisations: Moviment Graffitti, Third World Group, Koperattiva Kummerc Gust, Integra Foundation, Zminijietna – Voice of the Left, Arab Maltese Community, Partit Komunista Malti, Arabic Culture Information Society and Garden of Knowledge

Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1442418392695986/

Anti-TTIP Front Launched

Social Europe: Front against TTIP (Malta) has been set up by ┼╗minijietna - Voice of the Left; Anti-Poverty Alliance; Moviment Graffitti; Association of Federative Socialists; and GWU Youth. The Front will be inviting other NGOs, political parties and interested individuals to join the initiative.

Social Europe: Front against TTIP (Malta) will be appealing to the Maltese Government and Members of the European Parliament to oppose the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA.

“If approved, the TTIP will have an anti-social impact that paves the way for increased big business dominance and commercialisation in various sectors and in essential public services. This will threaten jobs and will lead to lower standards to the detriment of public health, public safety, workers’ and consumers’ rights and environmental protection. Areas affected include health care; education; culture; and various social services. Workers, consumers and small businesses will lose out in the process”.

“Both the European Parliament and the European Council have both given their consent for a negotiating mandate for the TTIP process. The European Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU and its Member States, and the European Parliament is entitled to be regularly informed on the process in question. However, in accordance with the EU Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 207(3) and Article 218 of the TFEU), the final TTIP agreement can only be concluded by the European Council and the Member States if the European Parliament gives its consent”.

Norm Rejection's merchandise and upcoming Summer live concerts



CD “The Radical Underground” 5 Euro
CD “Belligerent” 5 Euro
CD “Deconform/0002” 5 Euro
T-Shirt – The Radical Underground (black+white+red) 10 Euro
T-Shirt - Norm Rejection Logo (black+white) 5 Euro

Merchandise can be bought from Norm Rejection (by hand or by post – email mbrig@hotmail.com , price above excludes postage and packing) or during Norm Rejection concerts.

Forthcoming concerts:
Monday 28 July Farsons Beer Festival (Rock Stage)
https://www.facebook.com/thefarsonsgreatbeerfestival?fref=ts

Saturday 9 August Raging Waters Metal Festival
https://www.facebook.com/events/239165716273451/?fref=ts

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Norm Rejection interviewed on The Radical Underground

Radically Rebel Music - Norm Rejection interviewed by Mike Bugeja (MikeBugeja.com)

http://bugejamichael.wix.com/mikebugeja#!NORM-REJECTION-RADICALLY-REBEL-MUSIC/c1lk9/74EE696E-B2D2-4F54-BB97-67DF310B46E3




It was around 20 or so years ago that Norm Rejection first dropped their debut recording, a three-track TDK tape that unleashed a new kind of beast onto the Maltese metal scene and, as things would turn out, beyond it too. The band has been through a number of changes since then – both in line-up and direction – but the concept has remained consistent. Theirs is the sound of rebellion and liberation; no-frills power, thought-provoking lyrics, agit-prop at its finest - all delivered with a mighty metal punch. Two albums down the line, the band is about to release its third full-length offering, The Radical Underground with a live performance at Zion on Friday, July 11. Drummer Michael Briguglio takes time out from putting together the final preparations to answer a few questions ahead of the big day.

Looking back over the 21 years since the band's formation, what do you feel were your biggest achievements and disappointments in terms of music activity and also the messages/issues your songs strive to convey to the public?

Two achievements we’re proud of are that with our 1994 release, Subtly Mesmerized?, we were the first Maltese metal band crossing musical boundaries and delving into other genres. The other is for setting a trend in agit-prop lyrics in all our releases, particularly those in Maltese when we released Malta Not For Sale in 2000 and before that, with the 'mahkumin!' chorus of Caged in 1998. Yet, in all honesty, I think our biggest achievement has been to have a tightly-knit band made up of members who grew up together and who share a common musical sub-consciousness. This has enabled us to create art, rather than follow some pre-fabricated formula. The lowest point of the band was the passing away of keyboardist Andrew Martin, to whom The Radical Underground album is dedicated.


Malta being something of a politically-consumed nation, how significant and relevant do you feel a band like Norm Rejection and its mission to be a voice for the voiceless is within the local music scene and indeed, at a national level?

Our message can be seen to be as radical as reality, and can act as a counter-hegemonic force. The universal message of Norm Rejection is rebellion and liberation, yet people can give their own interpretation and reading to our lyrics. What is for certain is that given our style of music one should not expect ‘Eurovision’ lyrics.


Clearly Norm Rejection's songs have consistently been inspired by both local and international political/social issues, expressed through music with a heavy slant. Do you imagine Norm Rejection ever taking a softer approach or do you perhaps feel your protest songs are more effective when boosted with a metal edge?

Norm Rejection is an underground metal band with a message of rebellion and liberation. The message and the music are two sides of the same coin. At the same time, we are anti-dogmatic and look positively at venturing in new areas, yet I cannot imagine Norm Rejection becoming a band which follows pre-fabricated musical fashion for the sake of it. Such music may result in 5-minutes-of-fame, yet we are not after that. Art is eternal and knows no compromise.


Bar the Belligerent EP in 2011, 14 years have passed since your last album. In what aspects do you feel Norm Rejection has evolved the most since then - musically and lyrically - and further to Malta Not For Sale, what triggered the increased presence of the Maltese language in your releases since 0002?


We are tighter, more close-knit as a band and we’ve become more efficient in our songwriting too. However I don’t look at Norm Rejection in terms of evolution. I prefer looking at the band as being characterized by moments, each having its own significance. Each release represented a special moment - an encounter of band members which resulted in specific songs. Some took years to form, others less. As regards use of language, once again, we are not dogmatic. Some songs, such as Il-Vo(j)t off the new album, seem to tell you that they require lyrics in Maltese. Others require in-your-face agit-prop, like for example The Radical Underground or Peltier. Others, like Celebration of the Snake and The Just were written in relation to political experiences I encountered, yet they are much less direct and more conducive to plural interpretations by the listener, who thus becomes a co-author by giving his/her meaning to the song. In previous albums and EPs, this creative tension could also be witnessed in different songs.


You've released three songs off The Radical Underground online so far...what has the general reaction/feedback been to these songs and how in your opinion does this album relate/compare to your previous releases?

The feedback has been great, and this is also seen through the increasing number of YouTube hits, which is very encouraging given that we are a DIY band with no corporate, commercial or state backing. Some have noticed a certain degree of continuity in relation to our previous material; others have described us as moving in new directions. We give a lot of importance to songwriting as we want the listener to remember the song's music and message. In this respect, I believe that this album succeeds. Something which really has to be highlighted is that this album is a real experience in DIY, both in terms of songwriting and production. Sean wrote most of the music and Rex was main music author of one song, and I wrote all the lyrics. Sean produced, mixed and mastered the album, and all instruments apart from the drums were recorded at his studio. Wil produced two videos so far and designed the sleeve in line with the album's thematic concept which I proposed. In all cases, band members gave their musical and artistic contribution. The performance of each member enabled each song to take up the role of the 'Norm Rejection' character, creating a collective artistic production which we are proud of.


Your songs always seem to be on the side pointing out all the political/social wrongs; have you ever been tempted to write about any political/social issue that has been properly dealt with addressed by the authorities involved?

Well various songs call for empowerment, liberation and emancipation. This can take place at various levels. If one person decides to empower himself or herself, that is a victory - an existential encounter with liberation. The song Existentialate off the new album deals with this. But on a political level, such songs can also inspire activists to form counter-hegemonic strategies and to write history.


One particular song on The Radical Underground, Living Not Dead is about a Maltese frame-up victim who finally received justice after many years. Yet, it can easily be related to the case of other frame-up victims who eventually achieved justice. It can also be interpreted as a song of hope. Another song, Jesus meets Mao deals with fragmentation, antagonisms and the internal contradictions one faces - even in political activism - yet looks at this as a testament to being human.


Norm Rejection's repertoire and profile already enjoys an international presence and following…are there any plans for the band to take this a step further and perhaps tour or perform abroad?


This is an area we haven't ventured into yet, but the future is unwritten, so who knows?


Last but not least, what's planned for the album launch this Friday?


We will be sharing the stage with Sempliciment tat-Triq and R.A.S. which is an honour, not only because we share a sentiment of rebellion, but also because the concert will represent music diversity in the name of heaviness. From metal to hip-hop to punk and back. We feel that Zion is the perfect venue for such an event, as the place itself is an explosion of diversity. It is important to note that first band will start playing at 8pm and that the concert will end at 11.30pm.

www.normrejection.com
Photo by Michelle Sullivan


Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1458519961027183/

Norm Rejection YouTube Page:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBZZ0XRtlizwytil1RXRah-Ud4hzXUmuH&feature=c4-feed-u

Norm Rejection interviewed by Mark Debono, The Sunday Times





Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Michael Briguglio co-edits international book “The Greening of the Mediterranean”

Dr Michael Briguglio is co-editor of “The Greening of the Mediterranean: Crisis and Recovery” published by the Green Economics Institute (UK).

The book is co-edited with Michelle S. Gale de Oliveira, Miriam Kennet, Enrico Tezza, Sofia Amaral and Doaa Salman.

Apart from introducing the book, Michael Briguglio also authors chapters about Climate Change and Environmental NGOs and about Social Policies in Southern Europe. Other authors in the book include Rheinhard Buettikofer; Alain Lipietz; Wilhelm Schmid; Georgis Diakoulakis and Birgit Weiss. Marie Briguglio and Stefano Moncada – also from the University of Malta – also author a chapter on Environmental Challenges in
Malta. The book covers areas related to green economics, employment, social policy, agriculture and politics in the Mediterranean.

Dr Michael Briguglio lectures in Sociology at the University of Malta. His research interests are politics, social movements, environment, culture and social policy.

Reference:
Gale de Oliveira, M.S., Kennet, M., Amaral, S. Tezza, E., Briguglio, M. & Salman, D. (2014): The Greening of the Mediterranean (Reading: The Green Economics Institute Publishing House)

Book flier:
http://www.greeneconomics.org.uk/Books2014/medbookflyerMK120620146.pdf

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Radical Underground – Video by Norm Rejection

Check out Norm Rejection’s video ‘The Radical Underground’ here:

http://youtu.be/ew1G7R2NcU8




‘The Radical Undeground’ is the 3rd single release from Norm Rejection's upcoming album 'The Radical Underground', after ‘Il-Vo(j)t’ ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GViXbQ4gseg ) and ‘Peltier’ (http://youtu.be/ZMRoB9VK3Xc )

‘The Radical Underground’ will be officially launched in a live concert at Zion Reggae Bar,on Friday 11 July 2014. Norm Rejection will be supported by Sempliciment Tat - Triq and Rage Against Society. Doors open 7pm.

Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1458519961027183/

‘The Radical Underground’ was written by Sean Vukovic (Music) and Michael Briguglio (Lyrics). Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Sean Vukovic; Video by Nick Morales – No Sweat Productions

Norm Rejection is Sean Vukovic (Guitar, Backing Vocals); Michael Briguglio (Drums); Wil Pace (Vocals); Rex Grech Santucci (Bass)




Norm Rejection’s entire back catalogue has been re-issued at special prices!
Deconform/0002 Albums – available in double album package: 5 Euro
Belligerent EP (including Subtly Mesmerized EP): 5 Euro
Logo T-Shirts: 5 Euro
Contact mbrig@hotmail.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Maltese sociologists in International Handbook on Social Policy and the Environment

Dr Michael Briguglio, Maria Brown and Ian Bugeja have co-authored the paper entitled ‘ENGO Activism in the EU: The G10, Climate Change and Social Policy’ which features in the ‘International Handbook on Social Policy and the Environment’ edited by Tony Fitzpatrick and published by Edward Elgar publishing.

This sociological study analyses European environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) in terms of political ideologies and strategies, in relation to climate change policies, and within a social policy context.

More details on the book can be found at:

http://www.e-elgar.com/bookentry_main.lasso?id=14546&breadcrumlink=&breadcrum=&sub_values=

http://www.elgaronline.com/view/9780857936127.xml?rskey=YIJGBe&result=1

Reference:
Briguglio, Michael; Brown, Maria; Bugeja, Ian (2014): ENGO Activism in the EU: The G20, Climate Change and Social Policy. In: Tony Fitzpatrick (ed) International Handbook On Social Policy And The Environment, pp.176-204. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Michael Briguglio interviewed on EP elections and small parties by The Malta Independent on Sunday



http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-06-02/news/no-ideological-connection-between-ie-and-ad-5273550854/


by Kevin Schembri Orland


Alternattiva Demokratika lacked a slogan and a burst of energy in the last MEP elections, ex-AD Chairperson and sociologist Michael Briguglio told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

AD’s message was too safe and moderate, he argued. “They lacked a catchy slogan and energy. They should have placed themselves further to the left of the political spectrum, rather than settling in-between the two major parties. That being said, green parties across Europe face this problem. I’m not saying AD was wrong in their choice of political placement; however I believe that their moderate strategy didn’t quite work out.”

Dr Briguglio said that a void exists to the left of the spectrum and “AD tried to fill this void under my leadership.” He believes that AD should have opened its doors further to newcomers following the 2013 general election. “They should have pushed back their general meeting rather than having it so soon after their defeat. I understand why they held it then and there; it was a sign to the Maltese people that AD is still active and will continue to operate”.

“Instead of making quick decisions on party leadership and its role, the party should relax and allow time for new people to consider whether or not they are interested in joining the cause,” he added.

Asked whether or not the number of votes gained by small parties in this election was significant, Dr Briguglio declared that in order for a party to be considered as having gained a significant number of votes, it would either need to be elected to the European Parliament, or achieve a result similar to that AD had in the 2004 MEP elections, where they received nine per cent of the vote.

“A general election in Malta is, for some voters, a life or death situation. European elections are generally calm, as people do not have to decide between one party and another,” he said

Dr Briguglio believes that votes transferred from Imperium Europa (IE) to AD represent a protest vote, as there are no ideological ties between the two parties. Although both parties want to tackle immigration, AD through the revision of ‘Dublin 2 Regulation’ and IE through other means, Dr Briguglio said the PL and PN also want to tackle the issue. In reality, the European Parliament can only respond to proposals by the European Commission and thus has limited power when it comes to tackling migration, he said. “The real power lies with the Council of Ministers. The reason this issue has come to a standstill in Europe is because this Council cannot agree on a common solution.”

According to the Dublin Regulation, the country where asylum seekers land is responsible for dealing with their application, thereby putting excessive pressure on the southern EU states.

“This is not to say that small party supporters didn’t vote for small parties on ideological grounds. I believe that a number of small party voters voted according to their preference, be it green or far-right,” he explained.

Discussing voter trends and statistics, Dr Briguglio described the Maltese electorate as being satisfied with a two-party parliament, even though Malta’s electoral system could support a third party in Parliament, he said. “This already works at local council level.” This is not to say that the Maltese public is close-minded, he explained, keeping in mind that Malta has just elected four female MEPs and passed the divorce referendum a few years ago. “Currently, they are happy with a two-party parliament. On the other hand, the possibility of sudden change exists and the election of a third party could really take place,” he added.

Dr Briguglio argued that although IE increased the number of votes acquired significantly, this still represents a small number of votes. “We’re speaking about 7,000 votes. Although this is worrying, in real terms, it’s still a relatively small number. It’s not the same situation which is apparent in France, where the far-right got around 25 per cent of votes.” The sociologist emphasised that small parties, together, achieved around seven per cent of votes in the Maltese EU elections. “If it had been a single small party who received seven per cent then yes, it would represent the significant rise of a third party; however this seven per cent was divided between a number of them. This is a disappointing result for small parties on the whole, as in other EU countries small parties thrive in EU elections.”

Dr Briguglio mentioned the number of competent female candidates who took part in this European election but remains concerned about inequality. “Just because we have four female MEPs does not mean we have achieved gender equality. There are still a number of areas, such as at places of work, where inequality exists. In addition, inequality exists between different social classes here,” Dr Briguglio said. “No political party spoke about class equality issues at work and in education in this election, and I’m fairly disappointed about this.”

With regard to votes gained by female candidates, Dr Briguglio does not believe that this is an indication or voting trend which sees voters casting their ballots purely based on gender. “If this was the case, we’d see a lot more female candidates elected to Parliament. Any kind of decisive statement on this issue would be purely speculative.”

When asked if he feels a trend has emerged indicating which major political party supporters tend to use a protest vote, Dr Briguglio doesn’t believe one exists. “One important thing to mention, however, is the number of people who failed to turn up and vote in these elections. There are many reasons, but I would like to say that those who turned up would like to have their names on record as not having voted. Then again this is purely speculative.”

The principle conclusion revealed in these elections is Labour’s solidifying victory, keeping roughly the same lead over the PN since the general election in 2013, he said.