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We are nothing but barcodes.

category international | eu | news report author Monday December 26, 2005 13:48author by iosaf Report this post to the editors

In a few days mostly un-noticed by most, EU presidential power will go from the UK to another member of the 25 states, the lucky recipient is Austria.

Austria has quite a history, it used have an empire. & in the last years almost all of its ex-posessions have joined the Europe of 25.

It is also a neutral state, its neutrality being a condition of its post war occupation and partition when rather than being held responsible for WW2 it was declared the first victim of Nazism. Despite the fact that Hitler was an austrian and the majority of Concentration camp directors were austrian too.
west & left (ireland, portugal, spain) to east & right (estonia, latvia, cyprus) the Barcode of the EU.
west & left (ireland, portugal, spain) to east & right (estonia, latvia, cyprus) the Barcode of the EU.

Austria has chosen as its "logo" of the EU a design by Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas. "He and his think-tank OMA originally came up with the idea of reassembling the colours of the EU countries’ flags in a “bar code” during a brainstorming session in 2001".

This will now be the logo for europe.

They believe this represents the "colourful diversity" of Europe's 25 states arranged from left (west Ireland, Portugal, Spain...) to east (lativia, estonia,lithuania and finally cyprus).

I think its just a bar code
I have always felt most people don't like barcodes.

is this the Austrian legacy of the barcode? "one for every european"?
is this the Austrian legacy of the barcode? "one for every european"?

author by Pappy O'Daniel - --publication date Tue Dec 27, 2005 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, are you making an attack on Austria? Are you holding the Austrian people to account for Nazi actions? You shouldn’t. There are, and have been fascists in every country – even the autonomous fiefdom of BCN!

There is a clear democratic deficit in the institutions of the EC. You are correct to point out that nobody even knows which country is the token host of festivities, let alone what goes on “behind closed doors”. These issues deserve to be discussed. Before we can discuss them, we should try and understand what we are discussing, and following discussion we should be able to present a clear alternative.

Barcodes are quite useful. Dare I say, barcodes would have a central role in any rationally planned economy. Although not astatically pleasing, it is the formal and numerical nature of the barcode that gives it so many redeeming qualities.

I am a person, and I hate barcodes no more than I hate computers. They are a rational means of organising the delivery of produce.

Having a go at Rem Koolhaas and an immature rant about barcodes adds nothing to debate on the democratic deficit in the EU. Attack the organisation of production, not the means.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Dec 27, 2005 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

*Austria has blocked EU development by constantly undercutting development aid to the newer states (many of whom are its former imperial posessions).

*Austria has also seen the most organised far right political movements of any EU state move to the centre and for at least 5 years hold sway if not actual power.

*Austria was not the first victim of Nazism it was an active collaborator and did not properly de-nazify its culture or leadership in any sector of public life the post war period. Small sign that this is the case is the most recent furore when Irving was attacked.

*You may enjoy the annual showing of the musical "The sound of Music" but I don't. Austria has a lot to do to prove its genuine commitment to a Europe of equals from the Urals to the Atlantic or rather "from the Atlantic to the urinal". & the design is utter crap. Which is probably why it hasn't been used for 4 years. My design for temporary protest tatoos are brilliant which is why they are still used.

* you are however right about "fascists" (though I didn't make mention of them) being everywhere.
Yes they are. They even get on tv every Xmas.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Dec 27, 2005 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This really gets up my nose. It was Austrians who tatooed numbers on concentration prisoners. It was an Austrian idea. It was not a "German innovation". It was Austrian "organisation". I suppose Pappy you could say as you wrote :- "Although not astatically pleasing, it is the formal and numerical nature of the barcode that gives it so many redeeming qualities.
..... They are a rational means of organising the delivery of produce".

Yep. those numbers delivered didn't they?

And when a british historian was arrested for denying that the holocaust had occured, in Austria earlier this year he was a guest of members of the establishment (as usual) in that country. An establishment that is and has been riddled with apologists and active participants in "the rational means of organising death".
But you of course don't see the connection. & naturally most middle Europeans won't either will they? Oh no. They are delighted with their new role of slavic traditional labour. They love doing the heavy lifting, cleaning the toilets and getting paid shit wages. Thats why they lived under stalinism. Thats why so many of them were so rationally organised into extermination by Austrians. To become at the start of the XXI century "second class EU citizens". And if they are such at the end of June 2006, then fuck Austria to hell where its going and never showed any intention of remorse.

Shame on you for your blythe ignorance of the past!

author by iosafpublication date Tue Dec 27, 2005 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not responding to the comment above, simply recapping why most users of this site ought understand why Austria's use of a barcode is questionable.
i will do this simply without recourse to the "jargon" of those who think phrases like "democratic defecit" mean anything. (In God's name who do we owe democratic points to??)

The first product bought, scanned and sold using a modern bar code was a ten pack of Wrigley's chewing gum in Troy, Ohio, USA on June 26th, 1974. It represented over forty years effort by one Wallace Flint who had as grocer and admirer of Fordian systems of social organisation in the 1930s had introduced a punch code system. Later as vice president of of the US National Association of Food Chains he oversaw moves to standardise the systems being used in the USA. And naturally there were many. And unsurprisingly the strongest lobby won. IBM suggested alterations to an earlier UGPIC code and in 1973 on the 3rd of April the UPC or modern barcode was set as US standard. The british accepted it, and indeed the invention of the ISBN book code by WH Smith in 1966 widened the use of UPC symbology to more products than mere groceries.
There were advantages and dis-advantages to the world commerce accepting the IBM / US standard.
For example the code is machine only readable. You may not understand a barcode by looking at it. You still need a label on your produce. I used work for publisher OUP all codes for that press begin with language digit, and company digits : "019" the next two clusters specify the exact product section and even edition number. But in order to recognise the produce the retailer need memorise those code cluster groups, or else open the book and read the title. So we see just like other examples of "imposed US global standards" (such as home IT technology in the last 20 years) the chosen standard might not be the best.

Many americans and other fundamentalist christians were unhappy with the IBM design however, and pointed out that the numbers are clustered in groups of six. Since there are three grioups, every object bought and sold therefore results in a scan of "six hundred and three score and six" the number of the antichrist in revelations 13:17. Some saw the introduction of the system as fulfillment of the prophecy others as a "warning" of a possible numbering of all people. Interestingly therefore one Mr Thomas Heeter, holds US Patent #5878155 for invisibly tatooing a UPC barcode on human beings for e-commerce purposes. And for quite some time certain states (including Finland) resisted the introduction of UPC in their stores.
In Europe reaction too varied from "big brother" to "conspiracy" and one state (Finland) refused for a while to allow barcodes to be used on its products. IBM was and is the largest computing company in the world, and in the 1930s had succesfully tendered many European states including that of the "2rd reich of re-unified Germany and Austria" for numerical ordering systems, the precursors of our modern databases like Google. It is impossible to say exactly how many human beings were tatooed with numbers in Europe from 1930 to 1945. Certainly the notion of numeric body ID was not present at the beginning of the SS or their camps. But by 1940 all guards of the various SS divisions (representing about 250,000 people) were tatooed, and all their prisoners as well. Those responsible for that decision were Austrians, one of whom was in the post war period identified by his tatooed number.
We may place conservative estimates that over 12 million people were numbered.


The image above by Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas is not in any sense original. Since Europe began the colours of the flags have been arranged in horizontal rows. indeed one such arrangement is the logo of a Greek art gallery, therefore the Austrian use can not be particularly praised.

Since the beginning of UPC artists and political activists have subverted or used the designs mostr notably kinetic artists in the 70s and then for a variety of reasons (perhaps related to millenialism) tatoos and graffiti stencils of barcodes became very popular from the late 1990s on. Indeed you can buy a signed screenprint of the Banksy barcode grafitti for only £550

author by Pappy O'Danielpublication date Wed Dec 28, 2005 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Writing off a whole nation as “nazi” is a curious position for a so-called anarchist to take. I have Austrian friends who are very progressive, involved in workers movements, etc. I’m sure that for every one of them, there is another Jorg Haider supporter. Why you focus so much on Austrian collaboration is beyond me.

Also Joe, tell me, are we meant to discard barcodes because they resemble concentration camp stamps? Should everyone involved in supply chain return to pencils and ledgers (and decades of wasted labour) for the sake of astethics? Are you from the slow food/return to the mud huts tradition yourself?

You say yourself that this isn’t a new graphic, so whats the problem – a couple of twerps decided it was okay to tattoo it onto their arm? Would it be so different if the Irish Government did the same thing with a couple of zealous members of YFG? I don’t think so.

Ill leave off the wikipedia quotes, but ill reiterate (if I may use such a nasty mathematical word) my opinion. There are serious points to be made about the EU, and a new presidency is as good a reason as many to make them. Rambling on in an incoherent manner about barcode graphics and Rem Koolhaas is adding nothing to debate on the UE.

author by iosaf - (joe is another contributer)publication date Wed Dec 28, 2005 13:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not doing saying all Austrians are nazis at all, I'm flying a kite in late December and preluding their presidency. Will it be "at the middle of the barcode" where the €U is only about finance and trade? Or will it the "@EU" of anarchosyndicalists and libertarian socialist influenced (along with our much more numerous pals of the left, progressive and ecological mindsets) focus on the needs of the poorest workers.

And those poorest workers have lived the last 60 years for the most part in stalinist states. Amongst other reasons to stop them being dominated by continental market and political system whether for their own interest or as vindictive spoils of war, the reality of "Eastern Europe" is as finely written in the minds of the 200+ million "new citizens" of the EU as each other "ponit of attack" in my previous campaign strategies every presidency has an image.

the UK Presidency could be reduced to Geldof, and indeed the other 25 states with the exception of Malta rejected their financial proposals on the grounds of meanness and perceived hypocrisy.
The Luxembourg Presidency laboured in vain with the optimism and idealism of the constitution and a Europe "for the little people" hench their image, which indeed they used on their site.

I know what I'm doing. We have very little space to communicate our ideas on pages of indymedia or comments, posters or stencils (wherever they are still legal) So my kite is :-

2006 @ €.U. why aren't the slavs on full wages?

Trust me, EU 2006 is about the slavic states. Let them Arise.
Trust me, EU 2006 is about the slavic states. Let them Arise.

author by €ugene Zamiatin - waffleth onpublication date Wed Dec 28, 2005 13:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Then there will be those who wonder about the past. That shall bring us all to the phenomona of sanitising totalitarian utopian ideological guilt for the Holocaust, Extermination, Experimentation and Darkness into which the European peoples were plunged by both Nazi-ism and Stalinism. It is a strange one, and every generation gives it a new and appalingly ignorant twist and invariably local twist.

If they in the centre and east of the continent continue to be poor they will shroud the past in either silence or sentimentality which may only properly be cast aside by true equality. Those new regimes of the centre right will localise competition on national grounds and the resentments of a generation of precarious migrant workers will turn into bitter little flocks that someday will roost.
Is the 12 stars what Napoleon or Hitler really wanted? If all the Polish become "rich", maybe not. Therefore how many more tiger cubs do they hope to wean?

think about it. try going at it from a mass psychological dialectical way with doppings of nation, inequality, racism and reaction.
think about it. try going at it from a mass psychological dialectical way with doppings of nation, inequality, racism and reaction.

author by iosafpublication date Fri Dec 30, 2005 15:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

on austria, the "porn scandal" associated with 25 art projects commissioned to celebrate 50 years of the 2nd austrian republic and various other anniversaries of their "peace".
The story which broke yesterday was the reaction by the austrian opposition parties (far right by the way) to bill board images of group sex (3 people) with masks of Chirac, the British Queen and Bush. This was the work of a Spanish artist.

But I'm not going to tell you about that. The Irish Independent can do that, eventhough they did get certain details wrong-.
or the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4568012.stm
Rather I'm going to draw your attention to one of the other art projects of "25 peaces" the umbrella group who did all this, whose site has been attacked for the last 36 hours http://www.25peaces.at

Earlier in the year they planted a vegetable garden in the square (Heldenplatz) where Hitler announced the anschlus (annexation of Austria). This is a shrine for Europe's far right. Indeed the historian David Irving used the square as his backdrop for his appearance in more than one documentary on Austria's past. 60 plots were planted and paid for by local business.

I'd like to remind you all, that the Nazis were the first to advocate community gardens. It was one of their "good ideas" and during the 1930s their planting of vegetables on roundabouts and other abandoned plots of land drew admiration all over the continent. I'd like to also remind you that no amount of "good ideas" on their part may hide what they did. We call it "the holocaust".

They confiscated the property of many millions of people, stripped them of their citizenship, and educational qualifications, restricted their rights to marry and then sent many millions of them to concentration camps where they worked in slavery and were subject to experimentation.

Now if the Austrians could get it so insensitively wrong with the "community garden" memory, then am i really so terribly wrong to fly the "NAZI past" kite?

Like it or not, most of poorer Europe is a direct descendent from a victim of Austrians.

author by €ugenepublication date Fri Dec 30, 2005 16:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

60 years later, most are dead, and they've been resisting paying up. There are 19,000 cases oustanding.
Just as Israel admits that 40% of holocaust survivors living in that state are below the poverty line. Most migrated from the former Soviet Union.

"oh yes - they said sorry."

author by El Bullpublication date Sun Jan 01, 2006 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Although I appreciate the interesting insights on bar codes, Austria’s role in the Holocaust & the position of the far right there in current times, and such topics, I’ll confine my comments to one specific issue that I’ve pulled from the thread. It’s a distinction that’s very relevant in challenging Holocaust denial. Irving is not a historian.

The Holocaust deniers like to assert that they include historians amongst their numbers, since such a claim gives further legitimacy to their position. A position as a historian would justify a debate with peers, and support the false idea of an “other side of a debate”.

The so-called Irving Trial that took place in the UK in 2000 was a libel case in which Irving sued the American academic Deborah Lipstadt. Irving brought libel charges, arguing that Lipstadt had “ vandalised [his] legitimacy as an historian”’ and had ruined his reputation by accusing him of being a Nazi apologist who distorted facts and manipulated documents.

Irving lost the case, and thereby lost his credibility as an historian (in the eyes of the establishment – obviously, such credibility never existed in other circles).

In addition to exposing Irving as a sham historian, Lipstadt took the position that she would not participate in a debate with a Holocaust denier, since the existence of the Holocaust was not a matter of debate. For an historian to appear with the Holocaust deniers would give them a legitimacy and a stature that they in no way deserve.

So, lets call Irving what he is – an active Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic and racist, and an associate of right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism (Lipstadt’s position, as confirmed by the courts). But not an historian.

A succinct summary of the issues involved is available in the low cost publication (€2) “Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial” by Robert Eaglestone, published by Icon Books, Cambridge, 2001.

author by iosafpublication date Mon Jan 02, 2006 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

& so lets use this space to update on their failures.
They will of course meet with all the G8 this year in Russia. & long before that, they've just got a taste of "russian power" or Gas.
The austrians are now down to one third of normal gas supply.
Now most of you have probably forgotten about the Russian Gas and how we came to get such a great deal on it. Let Iosaf remind you. It was back in 2002, a slightly peeling at the liberal edges Geraldine Kennedy had just got the post of editor of the Irish Times. & a training vessel called "cardov" of the russian navy had just docked in Barcelona on a good will visit, and I went and talked to the crew about string theory, being a KGB beginner, how to avoid the US 5th fleet and of course Dmitiri Ragozin, Mr Putin´s then appointee who had just confirmed to various friendship group that Russia in return for peaceful development of the EU superstate would offer energy resources to the Europeans. It was set at 9.8percent of then (2002) global reserves of Oil, and together with Gas reserves in Europe including the Irish as of yet little exploited gas reserves brought European gas and oil reserves to 23% of global capacity. Though
Mr Ragozin did express Russian concerns at unilateralism in global affairs and the attempt to impose a "full spectrum dominance" by certain interests with power in Washington back then.

Everyone who knew was delighted. Of course this was back when the Ukraine still had got an orange revolution choosing between Victor Yushchenko or Victor Yanukovych
or even got a Julia. (remember her?)

Now back to 2006 think like a russian...

"what has europe done for the europeans? (remember you consider both ukranians and russians to be european too) after all...
"weren't there other ways to make the Irish rich?"

(*) This would have gone as an update to the Austria :+: eu 2006 article but it was pulled.

author by iosaf .:.publication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And since an austrian newspaper has republished the cartoons which so far seem to have caused attacks on no less than 5 European embassies, it seems appropriate to learn what the presidency of the European Union has to say .-

Declaration of the Presidency of the European Union on the arson attacks against the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus

The Presidency of the European Union condemns the wave of attacks and threats against European citizens and property, which has today culminated in attacks against the offices of the European Union and Member States in the Palestinian territories and in the arson attack against the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. Such acts can by no means be legitimised and are utterly unacceptable.

The Presidency of the European Union demands that all authorities concerned take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of European citizens and property.

In this moment of tension, the Presidency of the European Union urgently calls on all concerned to show restraint and to refrain from and prevent further violence.


And unsurprisingly therefore the Austrians have moved "security" to the top of their agenda. Oh yes, "security" not "diplomacy". Oh yes, police and soldiers just like those who in Harat Afghanistan of the Spanish, Italian, Norwegian contigents to operation ISAF have in the last day exchanged fire with locals resulting in one confirmed Afghani death.


I've just gone to the bank, its down the road past a few churches, one mosque, two sex shops, many internet cafés, a few clubs, two old-folks day centres, an art gallery, a herbalist store, a rash of "one euro or more stores", two supermarkets, a sikh temple, a music school, a secondary school, quite a few hotels of multiple budgets, a museum and culture centre, and lots of homes.
I live in one of the most diverse neighbourhoods, not only in Barcelona but Europe. In less than twenty metres radius of my house are found happy families of all faiths and political hues, gender and ethnicity. We live in peace. On my street both co-official languages of Catalonia are heard, castellano and catalan, and english, french and arabic also heard.We are proud to live in peace and diversity. In the bank I take my place in the queue waiting for the cashier and chat to Pakistani whose sister is arriving in two hours time in Dublin to study medicine. With a smile and in exceptionally polite Catalan he pointed at my jacket. It was a present from the mother of my beloved at christmas. She thought I was always shivering, so bought me something really warm. Its got a Danish flag on the collar and on the back. "are you a danish cartoonist?" asked the Pakistani in the bank. & we laughed.
We all laughed. We laughed in the lobby of the bank that controls our lives, in catalan, castellano, english, urdu, arabic, senegalese.

His sister arrives. She will study hard. She's just like anyone else.
Maybe she'll be a very good muslim girl, and maybe she won't.
But if anyone meets her, don't judge her on her appearance, or bank details, but on what she gives to those around her. Let God or Allah judge in her next the world for her actions if there be one.
I suppose I'll have to be careful of my coat if i go on holliers.

I wonder if another state led our European Union, one which is not on record for stirring anti-muslim feeling, and raising the issue of "non-muslim European identity" on refusing Turkish membership, would we have seen a proper response from Vienna.

Oh yes, for in 2006 Europeans learnt that instead of being "christian" or "liberal" they were in fact bloody rude,
in your face, free speaking commercial tabloid readers.


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