Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Who Breaks a Butterfly Upon a Wheel

School is as much about learning to pledge allegiance, line up, and respond to Pavlovian bells as it is about education. Teachers work in a context that is usually completely antithetical to the creativity and innovation you talk so much about. Insofar as you’re interested in public schools as something more than a factory that produces semi-skilled workers for businesses, you should focus on reforms more fundamental than busting teachers’ unions.

Great essay about education reform here in the State of Washington.

Monday, February 27, 2012

CNN Cuts Off Anti-War Soldier

Was he cut off because he's anti-war? For Ron Paul? Or because he mentioned Israel in what threatened to be a negative light?

Can we reverse the labor setback in Indiana?

The rally became such a focus for rank-and-file anger that on the day of the event, three Democratic state representatives made an appearance and requested to speak. Ignoring the militant mood of the audience, the senators urged for the people to channel their anger towards the ballot box in November and vote the Republicans out. However, the loudest cheers at the rally were reserved for Occupy speakers and union radicals who called for direct action in workplaces or the streets...Guyott's call to abandon protest in favor of the ballot box recalls the long and dispiriting history of union leaders limiting worker's self-activity and dampening working-class militancy in order to curry favors with the Democratic Party. And in Indiana, the state AFL-CIO's shift towards elections has the potential to damage the Occupy movement as well.

Monday, February 27th Labor Organizing Teach-In: Practical Challenges and Opportunities

Presented By: Sarah Warren, UNITE HERE Local 8 (hospitality workers union)

Have you thought about organizing your workplace into a union? Do you wonder why more workplaces are not organized? We'll talk about some of the reasons why it is so difficult to organize a non-union workplace to join a union, and focus on the practical and logistical challenges. We'll discuss some recent successes from UNITE HERE nationally, and what contributed to their successful organizing. Finally, we'll also talk about first steps to organizing your workplace for general collective action, and what opportunities there are among the many challenges.

Sponsored by: Occupy Seattle Labor Caucus, UNITE HERE Local 8

· Where: Washington State Convention Center, 2nd Floor Lobby

· When: Monday, February 27th
· Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Video: The Occupy Seattle Public Education Work Group Invites the Gates Foundation to a Policy Throwdown

NYPD surveillance of students called 'disgusting'

Marx And The Free Market Fraud

Every so often capital revives the old ruse under a new banner. The most recent incarnation of the free market dodge is Milton Friedman, but before Uncle Milty there was Mises and Hayek and the so-called Austrian School.

It is not for me to defend Marx as I am not a Marxist. The details are unnecessary here, but it suffices to say that as a socialist I am familiar enough with his writings and theories that I can attest that the argument advanced by Mises in the video is chock full of errors. It is inexcusably bad.

There are too many to catalog here, but he starts by saying that Marx' Law of Wages was at the base of his criticism of capitalism: false! Marx' ideas about wages, which are substantially different from how Mises describes them, are if anything on the periphery of Marx' exposition of the contradictions within capitalism.

Mises says that Marx' law of wages had been long in existence (false); generally known as the Iron Law of Wages (false); and had been thoroughly refuted before Marx employed it. Who might the latter be? I am familiar with the refutations of both Marx' view of wages, and the Iron Law of Wages, which occurred subsequently, but not of any which occurred prior to his making his views known. (Das Kapital was published long after he had made public his theories.) It's quite possible this is true and I am unaware of it. It is also quite possible that Mises is full of shit.

The truth: The Iron Law of Wages is the theory of Ferdinand Lasalle, leader of the German socialist movement. Unlike what Mises would have you believe, Marx did not agree with the theory and critiqued it. In fact, Marx' criticism of Lasalle's law isn't too different from Mises'.

Let's review: Mises attributes the Iron Law of Wages to Marx, says it is the basis of Marxian economics, and describes it as "vicious". The first two are demonstrably false, and the latter is an opinion not often heard and hard to understand.

So let's not forget that Mises is actually critiquing Lasalle, not Marx.

The question is: Is Mises a fool or a liar? It is impossible for me to believe he doesn't know that Marx lampooned Lasalle's theory, and what the nature of that criticism was. If Mises is a fool, then his colleagues are, so too the institutions of higher learning which accredited him, and the besotted loons who post this nonsense on the web.

Mises then goes on to say that the Industrial Revolution was "the inauguration of a new principle of marketing," hereby offering effect as cause. And then adds that "what characterizes capitalism as such is that it is mass production for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses."

Capitalism as philanthropy! Who knew!

In defense of Lasalle, to the extent that workers anywhere enjoy a standard of living beyond that of mere subsistence, it is because such advantages have been won by struggle, sometimes bloody, and over the often violent objections of the "philanthropists" who employ them. Personally, my inexpert opinion is that Lasalle was right and Marx and Mises are mistaken in their condemnation. It might be the only thing Lasalle got right. Beyond this one point, Marx' reproaches of Lasalle's theories and policies were well deserved.

What we see in this video is highbrow propaganda. Mises knows what he's saying is nonsense, and he is prostituting himself on behalf of capital. He knows what the disputes between Marx and Lasalle were and is deliberately obscuring them. And the arguments he advances are risibly stupid.

Mises' colleague Hayek published the oft-cited The Road to Serfdom in 1944 as WW2 was winding down, just as the Iron Curtain was descending. Coincidence?

Oddly enough, that same year saw the publication of Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation. These books come to radically different conclusions about the free market.

I recommend the latter, but if you are undecided, perhaps you should read both and decide for yourself.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

UAW Sells Members to Obamagogue (Thanks for 50% Wages, 5 Year No-strike Clause)*

* Headline lifted from Rich Gibson:

Photo O' The Day, 26 February

Bill Gates: We Need Genetically Modified Teachers

Brutal Bahraini State Terror

Friday, February 24, 2012

Banks Colluding with Insurers to Rip Off Homeowners, Lawsuit Alleges


Firsthand Account: Israeli Plot to Murder Former US Senator?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

25% of super PAC money coming from just 5 rich donors

Earth Is Losing Half A Trillion Tons Of Ice A Year NASA Press Release

Riot police beat students in Spain protest: witnesses

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obama urges corporate tax cut, closing loopholes

Open wide.

Criminal Statecraft Alert: How to Kill the Volcker Rule: Just Add Fat

You didn't think the government, Wall Street's aide-de-camp, was going to actually regulate the financial markets did you? If so, put on the dunce cap, you deserve it.

The first clue is its name. Paul Volcker heads the Rothschild Family's investment arm (unless he's resigned in the last few years). His writing rules for investment banks is like letting the Godfather write the penal code. Volcker crafted this piece of legislation to placate an angry public knowing that it would never pass into law as written. Its implementation was never his intention or desire.

If you still don't get it, here's a tutorial--and don't take the cap off until it's over.

The Insufficiency Of Liberalism

Fair Labor Association Waters Down Violations at Foxconn

Owing to escalating pressure on Apple from consumers, computer giant Apple Inc. recently purchased a membership in the Fair Labour Association (FLA). The group began factory inspections at Apple suppliers last week. After one week of research, on 15 February, the president of the FLA, Auret van Heerden, praised the working conditions at Foxconn as “better than average”. He suggested that the recent rash of worker suicides at Foxconn could be attributed to “boredom and alienation,” which are not considered labour rights violations. Today, the FLA contradicts its previous statement and announces that “tons of issues” are uncovered at Foxcon but doesn’t give any details. Both these statements make SACOM question the FLA’s ability to carry out a serious independent investigation. The FLA seems to be trumpeting the positive aspects of Foxconn and putting its labour rights abuses in undertones.

When Foxconn is owned by everyone and run by its workers, only then will workers no longer be driven by "boredom" to commit suicide.

Capitalism is obscene.

Ronald Fraser, People’s Historian, Dies at 81

Blood of Spain is an important book. Ignore the kitschy title--that was the editor's doing--and listen to the first-hand accounts of the closest thing this planet has ever known to socialism.

Rest in piece Ronald, and thanks.

In Photographs: Japanese-American internment

Monday, February 20, 2012

Greek “left” pushes to join the government

This is why I'm an anarchist.

Obama to unions: See you later

Legislative Action Alert on State Of Washington Teacher Evaluation Bill 5895

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists'

Attacking the unions Mitt Romney goes on the offensive as the Republican nomination race returns to America's industrial heartland.

Bonds Backed by Mortgages Regain Allure

Having reaped big gains during both of those turns, Greg Lippmann, a former star trader at Deutsche Bank, is now catching the next upswing: buying the same securities built from mortgages that he bet against before the financial crisis erupted.

Mr. Lippmann is joined by other big-money investors — mutual funds like Fidelity as well as hedge funds — in riding a wave of interest in the same complex loan pools that nearly washed away the financial system.

The attraction is the price. Some mortgage bonds are so cheap that even in the worst forecasts, with home prices falling as much as 10 percent and foreclosures rising, investors say they can still make money.

Please consider just how lucrative the Scam of '08 was: The investment banks and others made money on the roll-out of these ticking time bonds--they became the investment industry's best-selling product; then, knowing these bonds were ticking, paced wagers against their redemption, thus cashing in when they detonated; and now they are making money in this new phase when these bonds are selling so far below par that they will now are a worthwhile investment.

This is only possible within a capitalist system.

Norman Finkelstein On BDS And Zionism

Finkelstein, at the end of the day, is a Zionist, as much so as his tormentor Dershowitz. He supports a "Jewish" state.

Text, video, and a response.

The “Global Crises of Capitalism”; Whose Crises, Who Profits?

Greece Shows Us How to Protest Against a Failed System

The joy is the joy of seeing the much-trodden worm turn and roar. The joy of seeing those whose cheeks have been slapped a thousand times slapping back. How can we ask of people that they accept meekly the ferocious cuts in living standards that the austerity measures imply? Do we want them to just agree that the massive creative potential of so many young people should be just eliminated, their talents trapped in a life of long-term unemployment? All that just so that the banks can be repaid, the rich made richer? All that, just to maintain a capitalist system that has long since passed its sell-by date, that now offers the world nothing but destruction. For the Greeks to accept the measures meekly would be to multiply depression by depression, the depression of a failed system compounded by the depression of lost dignity.

JINSA: Strengthening Israel by promoting Syrian ‘Chalabi’

Great Photos From Greece

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Remembering The Bread and Roses Strike

Some related videos here.

Poster O' The Day, February 18

Conviction of Ex-Goldman Programmer Overturned

Great piece.

It was stunning that Goldman was able to get its former employee Sergey Aleynikov arrested, and then convicted, for allegedly stealing computer code (“allegedly” is the right word, since the lower court verdict is now officially an acquittal). The fact that the securities firm could sic the FBI on the case in such short order seemed proof of the strongest form of “Government Sachs” conspiracy theories.

The idea that an intellectual property violation against a private was taken up by a prosecutor, the Manhattan US Attorney, looked like a perverse extension of the “corporations are people” view of the world. Goldman is a very profitable firm with numerous lines of business. The idea that loss of IP in one business could constitute serious harm to the firm seems quite a stretch, particularly in the area in which Aleynikov worked, high frequency trading. I’d imagine that any strategies in that arena have a very short shelf life, and thus whatever damage might have been done would have been of limited duration.

But the critical bit is the criminal versus civil distinction. While it was most decidedly not cool that Aleynikov made off with Goldman code, one has to question why taxpayer-funded prosecutors and prisons are being used to enforce less than crystal clear rights (“trade secrets” are far less clearly defined than copyright or patents).

The key phrase here is "high-frequency trading." Is it a coincidence that this man with contact with GS' biggest clients is being targeted by the bank and the government in the form of the FBI (which are, as we have seen these last few years, pretty much indistinguishable)?

Aleynikov is being railroaded (which is not to suggest that he's innocent). It is more likely that this is to protect GS and its high-end clients than outrage at the alleged offense. I have the feeling we will be hearing more about this in the future.

Didacticide Update, Seattle Front: March 1st Day of Action: March and Rally

Gather for the rally at the Westlake Plaza at 2:45 PM

March to the Gates Foundation [Seattle Center] at 3:30 PM.

A Fall From Freedom : Captive Whales And Dolphins

Friday, February 17, 2012

Huey P Long on the difference between Democrats and Republicans

Not at all sold on Huey the 14th, but he is entertaining.

“Human Rights” Warriors for Empire

But Syriasly, Folks…..

In fact, there’s good reason to think that what was originally presented as a peaceful indigenous uprising by ordinary people now involves a very sophisticated and professional apparatus with its own agenda.

What could that be? Well, consider the eagerness with which almost all the leading countries in the West and their allies elsewhere have condemned the Syrian regime—in dramatic contrast to their silence toward comparably repressive but pro-Western governments like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. They can’t wait for the Syrian government to fall.

They can’t wait: literally. This Western coalition has made clear that it wants Bashar Assad out, and a new, much more compliant leader in his place.

ILWU Takes Risks, Breaks Rules, Gets Deal with Grain Company

Quelle Surprise! Taxpayers Will Be Paying for Part of Mortgage Settlement

If you think your government gives a damn about you then think again, and harder this time.

Public Citizen statement on ruling in favor of Chevron

Unprecedented Ruling Today by International Investor Tribunal Orders Ecuadorian Government to Violate Its Constitution, Interfere in Its Independent Court System to Help Chevron Evade Liability for Amazonian Contamination


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama, Democrats hail deal to slash unemployment benefits

Fisherman killed as Sri Lankan police fire on protest

Capital is reaching into every city, town, and village to extort the wealth our labor produces. And they don't care how many die.

How Citibank Dumped Lousy Mortgages on the Government

Didacticide Update: The battle for our schools in New York City

Exposing The Irsraeli-Mossad False Flag Terror Attacks In New Delhi, Tbilisi And Bangkok

Hundreds of thousands rally in Portugal against austerity

Seattle Town Hall Meetings with your legislators

This is the time to meet with your legislators and let them know what you think in terms of the bills that are now going through legislation. The session will be over in two or three weeks so it’s now or never until next year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

'Bangkok bombers' were assassins not terrorists, says Thai official

We are in deep propaganda now. Show us a few photos of tourists and call them assassins.

Get ready for the attack on Iran.

USAID’s FY 2013 budget released; Pakistan to receive $ 2.4 billion

Remember all that nonsense about US-Pakistani tensions?

The new troika agreement for Greece– full text

Greece: Mental health workers continue the occupation of the Ministry of Health: statement and call for support

We continue the occupation at the ministry of health
We need everyone’s support
The workers and those sacked from Mental Health and Special Support participated in the 48-hour General Strike and decided to continue the occupation of the Ministry of Health until Sunday 12/2 at noon, which is when we will hold another assembly to decide on the continuation of our mobilisations.
We demand:
-Immediate funding of the structures for the coverage of current needs (wages, insurance funds, running costs etc)
- The cancelling out of the decision to reduce the budget by 55% (40 instead of 85 million) for 2012, which practically means the collapse of the services and the Psychiatric Restructuring
- Obstacle-free, regular funding of Psychiatric Health and Special Support from the state budget
- No to lay-offs, mergers, the flexibilisation/ intensification of labour and the reduction in wages which by default lead to a shrinking of the services and the devaluation of their quality
- Holistic design for a Mental Health that will be public and free, to cover the ever-increasing needs of the society for support and help. Only with the participation of the workers and the recipients through our won structures shall proposals emerge for a true solving of the pending issues.
- Setting out of a common legal framework for Special Support
- No to the alteration of pensions and benefits of patients for the coverage of permanent running costs of the structures
- Re-employment of all who have been sacked, because none of us is consumable
We call all unions and workers attacked by the memorandum’s politics of impoverishment and trashing of the social net to support practically our occupation and to take similar incentives in their own workplaces

This is the largest mobilisation ever in our workplace and an unprecedented opportunity to co-ordinate our actions, with this occupation being a starting and reference point!
All together we can make it; the occupation needs everyone’s support!
We will meet on Sunday 12/02 at noon at the Assembly to decide the continuation of our mobilisations, and at 6pm at Syntagma.

Heraclion, Crete: Anarchists occupy local TV station

Can anybody translate what the anarchists said?

Athens: Second communiqué by the occupied Law School


The era of ‘prosperity’ is over. The dream of access to consumption and advancement, as expressed by the triptych ‘show-off, consumption, career’, has suddenly become the ultimate nightmare. But now there is no turning back. The times when the employers squeezed the foreigners at farms and construction sites, the periods when you boasted as a proud volunteer for the Olympic Games and you had cleaning ladies as your slaves at home, will never come back.

You see the place in which your racism has put the migrants all along, now coming for yourself and your children. And you dread this fact. When the destruction of other societies, such as Eastern Europe or Iraq, shielded your privileges within the international competition, cynically you benefited the most.

Is it perhaps time to give up capitalism, nationalism and consumerism? To stop thinking like a householder, and understand who your real enemies are? The State, the bosses, the cops, the very system of political economy…

For it is not you who loses a job, but it your job that disappears as a potential. For it is the destructive force of capitalism that threatens the mere existence of us all.

The only potentials for survival which capitalism leaves us lie either in the soup kitchen queues, the scavenging for food through garbage, or looting of supermarkets.

For this, the only solution is Social Revolution. So as to have a life, and not survival alone.

This requires that we rise up against all economic and political institutions; and that we take our measures during the uprising, such as abolishing the State, property, nation, sexism and patriarchy, in order to bring revolution in everyday life.


A summary of anti-austerity demonstrations of 12/02/2012 & some videos

I particularly liked the "Chris Hedges" blurb at the bottom of the comment section of the linked page.

hessaloniki Mitropoleos Cops beating people without reason

Monday, February 13, 2012

Photo O' The Day, February 13, 2012

High stakes in Seattle port drivers' strike

Al-Qaeda behind Syria blasts: US

Interesting bit of propaganda here. According to "US officials", Washington and AQ are on the same side in this one. How odd!

Wild guess: Washington believes that a good deal of "unconventional" violence (i.e. terrorism) will be necessary or advantageous in the overthrow of Assad, and that attributing it to AQ will be politically expedient in maintaining support back home. It will also provide pretext for intervention and/or escalation if and when it appears AQ will be taking over in Syria.

Nevertheless, it is a violation of the basic tenets of propaganda to afford the targeted group, in this case AQ, any favorable press, the opportunity to be on the "right side" of any conflict. It appears we are entering a new evolutionary stage in the history of criminal statecraft.

Propaganda Alert: Report: Mossad chief's secret U.S. visit meant to gauge American response to Israeli attack on Iran

He is not here to gauge responses, he is here to receive his instructions.

The foreclosure fraud settlement: An amnesty for Wall Street criminals

KYRGYZSTAN: Efforts to Tackle Bride Kidnapping Hit Polygamy Snag

Class War Update, Irish Front: Shocking injustice of austerity taxes revealed

Slavery by Another Name

European “democracy” in fragments

Interesting piece.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

'Responsible Capitalism?' Interview With Eric Hobsbawm

Long live Eric Hobsbawm!

And fuck the BBC!

"You're just an old Marxist clutching at straws, aren't you."

He was sent to interview Hobsbawm to deliver that canned line.

But enough about the "Beeb."

I must confess I had no idea Hobsbawm was still alive. He must be about 100 years old.

The series of books he wrote on the 19th century are historiography at its best. He and his circle of comrades and fellow historians, especially E. P. Thompson and Christopher Hill, are owed a debt of gratitude--they democratized the study of history. The group of historians within the Communist Party of Great Britain were determined to write "history from below", and they succeeded brilliantly. They were aggressively revisionist, which might in lesser hands have led to biased, unbalanced work. Not so here. Hobsbawn, Thompson, and Hill are the gold standard on the rise of capital and imperialism, the British working class, and the English Civil War respectively. They are unequaled.

Photos Of The Demonstration In Greece

Iran’s Historic Anniversary

Welcome to The Political Compass

This is a political orientation test. Though it is not to be taken seriously, you might find it interesting.

From an anarchist perspective, some of these questions are impossible to answer. Hence I didn't chart as far to the left and bottom as I think I should.

Anyway, here's the test, and my chart.

Poster O' The Day, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Genocidal Racist Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Indian Holocaust And UK - US Muslim Genocide

However ignored in the celebrations will be the reality that Charles Dickens, like many of his English and British contemporaries, was a genocidal racist. Thus Charles Dickens in a letter to Emile de la Rue on 23 October 1857 about the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857 : “I wish I were Commander in Chief over there [ India ]! I would address that Oriental character which must be powerfully spoken to, in something like the following placard, which should be vigorously translated into all native dialects, “I, The Inimitable, holding this office of mine, and firmly believing that I hold it by the permission of Heaven and not by the appointment of Satan, have the honor to inform you Hindoo gentry that it is my intention, with all possible avoidance of unnecessary cruelty and with all merciful swiftness of execution, to exterminate the Race from the face of the earth, which disfigured the earth with the late abominable atrocities [2,000 British killed in the 1857 Indian War of Independence aka the 1857 Indian Mutiny] (see Grace Moore (2004), “Dickens and the Empire. Discourses of class, race, and colonialism in the works of Charles Dickens” (Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot , UK ): ).

A Ruling Class Alliance In An Agitating Egypt: One Year After Mubarak’s Ouster

“I appeal to you”, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s highest Islamic authority Al-Azhar, said in a message, “not to disrupt work even for one hour.” “Civil disobedience”, Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III said in a statement, “is not accepted by religion and the state does not accept it and there are many verses in the Holy Book that talk of following the ruler.”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Millions Won’t Get Help From Big Mortgage Settlement

Will Chevron case take down trade pact investor-state system?

This is a NAFTA court they refer to, which this article doesn't explain very well.

Is Israel Really Iran’s Main Adversary? The West Doth Protest Too Much

Good piece.

Egypt military takes up positions by airport ahead of strike

Bloodbath coming. The SCAF ruse isn't working anymore.|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

48 hour General Strike announced for February 10-11 as Greek government announces full-on war against the people

Children of Immigrants Targeted by Tax Warfare in Congress

Occupy Wall Street... Can it Move from What it is To What it Could Be Beyond Chris Hedges's Promotion of Salvation

Romania's PM resigns over austerity protests

Photo O' The Day, February 9, 2012

Metro Transit Cuts Update

Open house in Ballard next Monday on Sept. service changes
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King County Metro Transit

Open house in Ballard next Monday on Sept. service change proposal

The latest set of proposals for next September’s bus service changes reflects feedback we heard from the community last fall. Now Metro is seeking a second round of input to help shape our final September recommendation, which will be submitted to the King County Council later this spring.

Please join us next Monday at an open house in Ballard to learn more and share your thoughts about Metro's suggestions for improving its transit system.

Join us in Ballard
Monday, Feb. 13
6-8 p.m.
Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St
Seattle, WA 98117

Can’t make the meeting? Learn more and take our online survey »

What’s in the proposal

Here’s a rundown of some of the revised proposals you’ll see for Seattle’s north-end neighborhoods:

Metro wants to make transfers easier, improve bus connections in North Seattle, and avoid duplicating service on the RapidRide D Line when it starts in the fall. But we’re now proposing to keep some trips on Route 15 Express to prevent bus overcrowding in this corridor during peak hours. Routes 17 Express and 18 Express will also keep their current routing to complement this change.

During public outreach in November, we suggested replacing Routes 26, 28, and 30 and revising Route 28 Express as part of a set of related changes in North Seattle. We also suggested revising Route 5 to use Fremont Avenue N and Dexter Avenue N, and replace Route 26 with alternate service. We’ve decided not to move forward with these changes now, but will consider making changes in this area when we launch RapidRide E Line in 2013.

The current proposal also includes some revisions to Route 30 and the planned routing of new Route 32 to Uptown via Fremont and Wallingford.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Blood Shortages Causing Deaths in West

So where has all that USAID and IMF money gone? Obviously not to the people who need it.

Economic Recovery? What Recovery?

Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc – by Zakk Flash

Good critique of Hedges' diatribe.

NYC Transit Workers’ Fare Strike 2012: Can Occupy Open Horizons for a Frustrated Labor Movement?

Egypt’s radicalized hooligans: “Tantawi, we want your head!”

Initially, the massacre in the football stadium of Port Said — leaving at least 75 dead and 1,000 injured – was presented as an extreme example of Egyptian football hooliganism. Soon, however, it became apparent that the violence was actually an act of revenge orchestrated by the military regime. Their target: the Ultras, fans of the Al-Ahly football club, who from the first day of the revolution stood at the very front-lines of Tahrir Square. Bart Griffioen, editor of, spoke at length with the Egyptian activist Mohamed Waked about the Ultras and their role in the revolution.

The Egyptian people deserve all praises! They won't let the revolution die. What an inspiration they have been.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The [Black Bloc] Cancer in Occupy, by Chris Hedges

Apparently Chris' Harvard degree in divinity has failed him.

There are lots of problems here.

He uses the phrase Black Bloc movement. Black Bloc is a technique, not a movement, and one which is employed by a range of groups, not just anarchists.

There is a branch of anarchism, quite small, that employs property destruction as a strategy. These are called Insurrectionists, or 'Wreckies', and presumably some of their number do participate in Black Bloc actions.[1]

Hedges says that the Occupy sites were shut down because they were peaceful. This is utterly preposterous. They were shut down because they were a threat to the ruling class, to capitalism. And it didn't matter a damn whether the protesters were wreckies, pacifists, or Raging Grannies, the were going to be removed.

"Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment."

Well it's good to hear that Chris sees himself as being on the left--it wasn't apparent.

First, Black Bloc events are organized. Does Hedges believe all those folks dressed alike showed up at the same place and time by accident?

Second, While it is no doubt true that BB events attract people who are not political and are just there for the mischief (besides the police, I mean), far from being an act of hatred directed at the organized left, they are undertaken by a section of the organized left. Again excepting the police who invariably don the balaclavas and masquerade as BBers, nobody is trying to disempower the left. This was a curious comment by Hedges indeed.

The real enemies, [BBers] argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as the Zapatistas.

Hedges has lost his mind.

Again it must be remembered that it is not just anarchists who participate, and further I must say that I am not a Wrecky, and cannot and will not speak even for them specifically, nor the anarchist contingent within the BBs, be that as it may, to say that BBers and/or anarchists do not regard the corporate capitalists (not to mention real estate and finance capital) as the enemy is one of the most memorably stupid things I have ever read, and Hedges should be ashamed of himself. They are precisely whom anarchists regard as the enemy. And to the extent that the others he mentions "collaborate" with them then yes they too are the enemy. Although I don't know anybody who believes that unions, workers' movements, eco-activists, and radical intellectuals are necessarily collaborating with capital. In fact, these groups might be seen as the backbone of the resistance to capital.

Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements...

Here Hedges stoops to the tired old canard about anarchists not believing in organization. This isn't true and never has been. It is hierarchy and power to which anarchists object, not organization.

John Zerzan, one of the principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States, defended “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the rambling manifesto by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, although he did not endorse Kaczynski’s bombings.

Zerzan is an Anarcho-primitivist, and there is an area of mutual concern and sensitivity between the two. I'm not a Prim, but Kaczynski's manifesto contained what I thought was a pretty good appraisal of industrial society and its shortcomings. While flawed, the manifesto is not without merit. When he leaves the analytical realm Kaczynski veers off into the pathological and what he says can be quite ugly, but I think it is inaccurate to dismiss his critique as worthless. It was facile of Hedges to use this against the Zerzan or the Black Bloc.

With regard to the Zapatistas, Hedges says the following:

In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). The essay declared that “not only are those [the Zapatistas’] aims not anarchist; they are not even revolutionary.” It also denounced the indigenous movement for “nationalist language,” for asserting the right of people to “alter or modify their form of government” and for having the goals of “work, land, housing, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The movement, the article stated, was not worthy of support because it called for “nothing concrete that could not be provided by capitalism...“Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. These struggles arise in particular situations, sparked by specific events. The question of revolutionary solidarity in these struggles is, therefore, the question of how to intervene in a way that is fitting with one’s aims, in a way that moves one’s revolutionary anarchist project forward."”

I think Venomous Butterfly's critique of the EZLN (which is not a pacifist organization, the type which Hedges favors) is a good one. I, and I think most anarchists, find inspiration in the Zapatista movement, but its similarity to anarchism goes only so far. There is a nationalist strain in their ideology, and it is entirely consistent with traditional anarchist belief not only to denounce it, but to not want to intervene in such a way which provides support for ideas which are inimical to anarchism. This is hardly a valid line of criticism for Hedges, but it's about to get worse:

Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

This is disgraceful. There has been no anarchist attempt to hijack either the Zapatista or the Occupy movement. We advance our ideas as do all the other ideological factions within Occupy. To suggest that anarchists have broken ranks with, or denied solidarity to, revolutionary, anti-capitalist movements with whom we have ideological differences is just an ugly lie.

Here Hedges brings in reinforcements to bolster his defamatory claims:

“The Black Bloc can say they are attacking cops, but what they are really doing is destroying the Occupy movement,” the writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I reached him by phone in California. “If their real target actually was the cops and not the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc would make their actions completely separate from Occupy, instead of effectively using these others as a human shield. Their attacks on cops are simply a means to an end, which is to destroy a movement that doesn’t fit their ideological standard...I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

Human shields! Hedges has a lot of nerve peaking of immorality. What happened to all that religious training? Even Trotsky never told lies like these about anarchists.

I could go on, but why bother, I'm sure you get the idea.

I no longer have any respect for Chris Hedges, and wonder as to what motivates him.

[1]There is a terrible history of anarchist terror and violence, which I wrote about here:

Chuck Norris Endorses Newt Gingrich--Because He Is Anti-Establishment

He's the former Speaker of the House and Norris says he's not a Washington insider.

You cannot make this shit up!

What caused the soccer massacre in Egypt?

Labor's stand in Indianapolis

Occupy Wall Street and Labor: The Closest of Strangers

nice piece.

Labor and Occupy on the Same Road?

Egyptian revolution continues (report of a visit in Cairo)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The backlash against Occupy Oakland

Occupy Cape Town distances itself from COSATU WCape

Very sad. COSATU was one of SA's and the world's most radical unions. It, like the once great ANC, has gone corrupt.

Quelle Surprise! New York and California Attorneys General Look Ready to Sign on to Mortgage Settlement

More on the Role of Second Liens and the Mortgage Settlement as Stealth Bank Bailout

Arizona Set to Abolish Public Unions

Roosevelt High School [Iowa] Under Fire For Communism v. Capitalism Worksheet

This is hysterical.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dear Savers And Retirees: Here's How You Are Being Screwed

Schneiderman MERS Suit and HUD’s Donovan Remarks Confirm That Mortgage “Settlement” is a Stealth Bank Bailout

Egypt’s 6th of April calls for dissolving Cabinet, elections|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Egypt mothers protest against military junta, demand justice|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Some Good Advice For Law Enforcement: Consider Just What You Are Doing

Navajo Code Talker Jimmie Begay’s Life Commemorated

Short piece but worth a look.

Revolution & Counter Revolution in Egypt: Military Power vs. Protest

Exposed: The Arab Agenda in Syria

Saturday, February 4, 2012

new inappropriate test answers from young children

Way off topic for this space but absolutely hysterical. Worth a look.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Service ChangesMeetings For Metro (Seattle Transit System)

Metro hosts next round of public meetings on fall service changes
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Metro hosts next round of public meetings on fall service changes

Nearly 5,000 transit customers have connected with King County Metro Transit face-to-face and online in recent months to help restructure bus service to be more productive while meeting the needs of more people. That public input has prompted a new round of proposals for September bus service aimed at reducing overcrowding, increasing ridership, and providing service where it’s needed the most. Please note that routes 26, 28X, 31, 48X, 355X, 773 and 775 were previously considered for revision but will now remain unchanged for the time being.

Metro is inviting public comment on the newly revised September service proposals during a second round of public review this month. Six open houses, 14 information tables, and more than a dozen presentations have been scheduled in neighborhoods that would see the most changes under these proposals. Please check our online calendar for a list of these events.

Open Houses (all 6-8 p.m., except as noted below)

Monday, Feb. 13 – Ballard High School
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – Madison Middle School, West Seattle
Thursday, Feb. 16 – Chief Sealth High School, Delridge/White Center
Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Union Station, Downtown Seattle (12-2 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 23 – Queen Anne Community Center
Monday, Feb. 27 – Washington Middle School, Central Area/Mount Baker

During this round of open-house meetings, customers will have an opportunity to review the revised proposals and share their comments. That feedback will help shape final September service recommendations that will be forwarded to the King County Council for action this spring (probably in May). Those unable to attend one of these forums can give us their comments via an online survey on Metro’s website.

To learn more about the status of proposed services changes, visit our Have a Say website.

Port truckers stay off work to protest labor conditions

Pie Chart O' The Day, Feb. 3, 2012: Ain't Capitalism Grand?

Ontario Caterpillar Workers Locked Out for Refusing Half Pay

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Occupy Oakland, by Nathan Brown

We live in a time when tents have become the singular weapon of the people which power cannot tolerate, and against which it does not know how to defend itself. The bureaucrats are in shambles; the ‘city’ and its ‘police’ are at each other’s throats; middling reformists have no idea where to position themselves. Everyone agrees: it’s about to explode.

This is the situation as I write on the night before the morning of what will be the second police raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment, announced in a memo leaked this afternoon. It is a situation that devolves, primarily, from the fallout of the first evictionon 25 October. Like any important historical sequence,the story of what has happened in this city during the past two weeks is harrowing and inspiring, beautiful and unbearable.

Occupy Oakland has distinguished itself within the US occupation movement by its radicalism – its ‘intransigent elements’, the City Council likes to say. In defiance of city policies, it makes use of a sound system for its General Assembly and of open flame in its kitchen. Unlike the majority of occupations, and to the chagrin of civic authorities, it refuses to seek permits or to negotiate with the Mayor’s Office, though it is camped directly on its doorstep outside City Hall. ‘I want to remind you all’, the mayor’s husband has written in an email to neighbourhood organizers with whom he hopes to divide and conquer the occupation, ‘that OO has no negotiating team. They are the only ones in the country that do not. You need to know how exasperating this has been for this type of encampment to exist in a city with a progressive mayor who is offering to help but nobody to talk to about it.’ Oakland’s ‘progressive mayor’, Jean Quan, wants to ‘help’ in so far as she wants to move the Occupation elsewhere, out of plain sight at the main intersection of downtown Oakland, off to some other place where it will not impinge upon the operations of business as-usual. Suffice it to say, this is not the sort of help Occupy Oakland is seeking.

Californian nurses strike over patient care and pensions

Year one of the Egyptian Revolution

Mostafa Ali, a member of Egypt's Revolutionary Socialists and journalist for Ahram Online, talked about the first year of Egypt's revolution--and what comes next.

Propaganda Alert: Egypt association goes after Obama, CIA, SCAF over football violence

Control ends in a conflict and you control the whole thing. This association is filing nonsense suits against The CIA on behalf of the CIA.

The charge is specious and the evidence easily refutable. This suit serves to make it appear that this 'association' is anti-US, and to keep talk of US involvement in Egyptian affairs contained within an acceptable range.

It may well be true that the football (soccer) rumble was a psy-op, and maybe a CIA psy-op, the behavior of the riot squad was indeed suspicious, but making the charge in such a way as to be easily dismissed serves as a cover for future provocations. Have one of your agents make the allegation, disprove it, and future accusations of this type will have a much higher credibility threshold.|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Transit cuts punish workers in Boston

The stuff about the T not being a good transit service is utter nonsense, if industry standards mean anything. I lived a very long time in Beantown and the transit service is about as good as it gets.

Aside from this lunacy, this is a good article.