Occupy Pinnacle

Every so often, the ‘Occupy’ movement comes to life again, and lately it’s connected with the effort to reclaim Pinnacle, the near 500 acres of land outside Kingston that was once the preserve of Leonard Howell and his followers. Anyone wishing to support the reclamation of Pinnacle can write a letter to the Jamaica Gleaner or Jamaican Observer. Like many newspapers, they’ll take equal or greater notice of letters from overseas and even from non-Jamaicans. Although much commentary about Pinnacle and Leonard Howell stresses the ‘self-sufficient’ aspect of Pinnacle, it was far more than self-sufficient. The influence of Pinnacle was enormous; suffice to say that the worldwide reggae movement is indebted to the far-reaching influence of Pinnacle. So we owe a debt of gratitude to supporting those now fighting to preserve and re-establish the Pinnacle settlement.

Do a little reading and research and then get in touch with the JA papers, and let them know the influence of Pinnacle worldwide. Here’s a good place to start, with Helene Lee’s documentary ‘The First Rasta’:

Write to the Observer using editorial@jamaicaobserver.com or to the Gleaner using this online form:


Irie Up Community ya big!

It strikes us how many international bredren and sistren worked to make this a reality … from JA to Japan, Holland to Poland and all around. Yes once again we see the ideas take time to go over, but here’s Danny Pepperseed taking to Micah Shemiah, with the Mau Mau art in the background, shouts out to Dancehall Masakrah and Cornerstone from Japan, the Dub Club in Kingston, and talking about the vinyl revival. For years Irie Up has been promoting vinyl and not from any nostalgic viewpoint. Micah mentions the degradation of the Jamaican vinyl business and the benefits of pressing in Japan, and you all know how much care the Japanese lavish on making vinyls (even the bootlegs, but that’s another story…). The vinyl business can create work for many, from pressing plants to distributors to shops and selectors.

Dis Revival Ting

Here’s the first in what’s to be a series of short documentaries about reggae in Jamaica. There’s no end of dispute about whether this is a ‘revival’ at all, or a continuity, but there’s little argument that the Jamaican establishment has never really embraced reggae music or culture. So it’s great to see this vibe going on in Jamaica, from Dub Club in Kingston to Reggae Mountain to Jamnesia Surf Club at Bull Bay. As producer Mikie Bennett remarks, there’s little corporate money coming in to support this. Ganja and love have kept the scene going; 90% of the promoters that support the reggae scene in America “are ganjaman”. Only now, the ganjamen don’t have to stay underground. Something greater bubbling? The ganja industry in America is already massive, and if you’ve read the previous posts you’ll know about the potential for things like Bitcoin that are slowly creeping into the mainstream.

This is part one of ‘Dis Revival Ting’ by DSE Production.

Michael Smith. Believe it.

As regular readers know, we love Michael Smith, whose life was tragically cut short. Here’s a short documentary featuring Michael Smith, UK poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and CLR James. There’s something about Michael Smith’s voice and timbre that just hits you so … Touching documentary showing the man’s sense of humour and humility.


New dimensions? Bitcoin, cash flows & legal pot in the USA

Legalize it,
I will advertise it.
- Peter Tosh

It’s been a big year so far for the movement to de-criminalise marijuana. Uruguay, previously known chiefly for its ability to win the soccer world cup despite its tiny population, has broken the international consensus by de-criminalising marijuana on a national level and making all kinds of sensible noises about accessibility and regulation. Its first mover status is reportedly attracting foreign biotechnology companies to Uruguay in order to study the herb’s medicinal qualities without breaking the law. In the USA the medicinal marijuana laws are headed for a tipping point with 20 out of 5o states allowing citizens to buy marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, and New York soon to join that number.

Yet it’s the mountain state of Colorado that has made the biggest move by unveiling a legal pot industry infrastructure, allowing the growing, distribution and sale of marijuana as a legitimate business. Since the start of 2014, Colorado allows citizens to purchase marijuana legally, and for no particular reason other than to enjoy it. While Colorado won’t yet allow Dutch-style ‘marijuana cafes’ where cannabis can be consumed in public, there’s a real chance that this progressive legalisation is being viewed dimly in Holland, where marijuana cafe owners are already dealing with pressure from neighbouring countries to limit access to cafes to Dutch citizens.

Following the coverage of the Colorado story, I can’t help thinking that had Peter Tosh lived, he would now be earning some serious money doing ads for the Colorado pot shops, which have reportedly been earning $1 million a day since the start of the year. Tosh, to whom the word militant must be attached for propaganda purposes, was not the type of man one associates with product endorsement, and he the closest he came to that was carrying a guitar modelled on an AK47 rifle, but Tosh did after all promise to advertise marijuana once it had been legalized.

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Inspiration, Intellectuals & Iconoclasts on the Internet: Interview with Colum McCaffery

In an online profile, Colum McCaffery describes himself as “Lecturer, researcher, contrarian”, but his contrarian side is professional and in person he’s witty and agreeable. “Contrarian is something that other people call me”, he says. Born and reared in Inchicore in Dublin, McCaffery trained as a technician and he worked for RTÉ, mostly in the engineering division, for 30 years. During that time he studied political communication and broadcasting and earned his PhD at UCD where he then taught Political Communication for 20 years. A socialist and Labour party member, he’s now retired but he still teaches adult education classes – and he’s a regular blogger.

Colum McCaffery

Colum McCaffery

Colum, what inspired you to start blogging?

I was encouraging my students to get out and participate and get involved in public debates, and one of them said to me, ‘Well, why don’t you do it yourself?’ So I started a blog. For a while it was the most ignored blog on earth but about two years ago, people began to mention to me something that they had read on the blog. The blogosphere is old hat now; these days it’s all about social media. But you can put the link from your blog on your Facebook site and it will attract some readers.

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Rockers, money, life & death

35 years after making Rockers, Theodoros Bafaloukos gives his first print interview about the making of the legendary movie: Check it out!