Thursday, January 31, 2008

(A tip of the Molly hat for Eugene from Edmonton for clueing me in on this). An updated version of Peter Marshall's much aclaimed history of anarchism 'Demanding the Impossible' has just been published by Harper Perennial Press in London, England. The new edition has been updated and contains a new epilogue. You can obtain copies from the publisher though as a little Molly note you will have to search their site by author name rather than by book title. As Peter Marshall says on his website, "Continue to demand the Impossible before it is too late".

On January 24 Mehedi Hasan, a field worker for the Washington D.C.- based 'Workers' Rights Consortium' , was arrested by the Bangladeshi security police. The Workers' Rights Consortium is affilaited with 178 U.S. univerities and colleges and has the mission to monitor compliance with labour rights codes of conduct in factories producing clothing for WRC-affiliated universities. The Consortium employs both international and local inspectors as monitors. Since January 12, 2007 the Bangladeshi government has banned political and trade union activities. Labor rights activists, both foreign and domestic have been under surveillance and have been arrested and imprisoned.
Since his arrest Mr. Hasan has been held incommunicado. His family is not allowed to visit him, and there are concerns for his safety. Labour rights groups across the world are calling for his release. The Labour Start organization has launched a campaign to petition the Bangladeshi government for his release. You can read more and join that campaign HERE. In addition the Clean Clothes Campaign has started a campaign for people to write to their embassies in the country of Bangladesh urging these foreign representatives to ask for Mr. Hassan's release. You can see more on that campaign HERE.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Being feline, Molly loves to chase tails, and here is a tale to chase this night...three anarchist magazines, one well established, one coming to issue number 2 and another yet to be born. Let's begin with the oldest sister first. Cause Commune is the French language journal and agitational of NEFAC in Quebec. This is issue number 18 for them, and as previously their journal is available as a downloadable pdf at the NEFAC website. Lots of meat in this serving. A summary:

*90e anniversaire des èmeutes de la conscription à Québec (90th anniversary of the conscription riots in Quebec).
*Perspectives libertaires:Retour sur la grève(Return to the strike)
*L'anarchie de "A" à "Z": "Q" comme Quartier (Anarchy from A to Z: Q as in Quartier
*Cause commune (their magazine of course)
*Dommages collatéraux (Collateral damages)
*Campagne contre le recruitment (Counter recruitment campaign)
*Cinéma: le peuple invisible (Cinema: the invisible people)
*Sur les lignes, une chronique syndicale (On the lines, a union chronicle)
*Critique de livre: Le mouvement étudiant au Québec de 1983 à 2006(Book review :The student movement in Quebec from 1983 to 2006)
*Avortement au Québec: libre et gratuit ? (this is Molly`s favourite because it ends up in a pun in English ie Abortion in Quebec: free and free. Two different words in French, two meanings of the same word in English.

Anyways, on to the younger sister. Linchpin is the new magazine put out by the Common Cause people in Ontario. Soon after issue # 1 they have now come out with issue #2. With the same high quality as the first issue Linchpin explores a number of new issues this time around:
*Let 'em Stay' (a report on war resisters from the USA trying for asylum in Canada)
*Why We Publish (the goals of publishing their paper)
*Panhandling Street Unions (a report on the IWW-organized Ottawa Panhandlers Union and on panhandlers unions in general)
*From Service Hell to the Revolt of the Precarious(organizing in the service section, the difficulties and the opportunities. Examples of what has already been done)
*Sound of da Police (the police as enforcers of class rule)
*Graphic Novels: Through the Blog of War (Review of a graphic novel about a dystopic land of endless war not too far in the future)
*Spoken Word: Slamming Capital (Review of a poetry album from Ottawa)
*Challenging Corporate Media (alternatives to mass media)
The magazine is also available in a downloadable pdf format from the Linchpin website. Print it out and pass it around, ninety nine bottles of truth on the wall.

Finally a sister yet to be born. Seems that the NEAN (North Eastern Anarchist Network) has decided to launch a new journal, the Nor' Easter. They say it will "provide an outlet for anarchist related news and events while simultaneously introducing non-anarchists to anarchism and plugging them into the movement". The date for the first issue is March, and the people involved are looking for articles between 800 and 1000 words by February 9th. You can send submissions to before the 9th. Suggested topics include reports from anarchist events and actions, an introduction to anarchism, anarchist theory, introductions to NEAN-affiliated groups, and current events. Articles need not be directly related to anarchism, but should be of interest to anarchists. The magazine will include a calender of events, local and otherwise, so let them know if you have anything that might be of interest. They'd also like to hear from people who could translate the Nor'Easter into languages other than English. I'm unable to say whether this paper will be available in a pdf format, but I truly hope so. Not to be confused with the NEFAC magazine, the North Eastern Anarchist, the Nor'Easter seems to be less of an exclusively platformist production, though its inspiration is unabashedly "social anarchist". See their website for more details.

Monday, January 28, 2008


How fast things move in galaxies far, far away. Despite vows to "stay as long as it takes", just as Molly was writing yesterday's article on the occupation of the Ledco Ltd. plant in Kitchener Ontario a court injunction was being passed declaring the factory occupation illegal. Workers occupying the plant decided to obey the injunction, and filed out from the plant yesterday afternoon. They were later allowed back in, accompanied by police, to retrieve tools and other personal effects from their lockers.

Not that this was a totally senseless decision. The occupation gained the support of perhaps 100s of community members over the days that it took place, but this is hardly reassuring when you have to look at the blunt alternatives of "losing by agreeing" and "losing by not agreeing while at the same time being beat up and criminally charged- all the way to assaulting a police officer's fist with your face, known in the legal trade as "resisting arrest". Hundreds are fine and comforting. Thousands are more effective. No doubt there were, as well, a few subtle hints dropped by the union reps that legal support from the union executive would not be overly generous. Very few people except the "summit-hoppers" amongst my mad comrades think that fighting with the police is "fun", and even fewer are under any delusions that losing such battles (as the summit-hoppers always do)actually accomplishes something.

The Canadian Auto Workers have maintained a picket outside the plant gate where they hope to talk to truck drivers contracted by the receivers to empty the premises of anything valuable. The union has said that the drivers will not be physically prevented from entering the plant, though there will be no help given in locating products presently stockpiled inside. Union head honcho Buzz Hargrove showed up at the factory gates the other day to try and offer some consolation and hope. He argued that big customers of Ledco such as GM, Ford and Chrysler have a moral obligation to cover the cost of the $1.2 million in severance pay that the company owes to the workers. In Canadian bankruptcy law such obligations take a distant place behind other creditors of a bankrupt. In at least one other case of a plant shutdown the CAW did indeed negotiate payment of severance on the part of the clients of the plant.

As Molly remarked in her previous blog on this occupation the takeover of plants is an important tactic in a long term struggle to change public perception of who actually "owns" a factory. In manager-speak those may be referred to as "stakeholders" even if they don't have legally protected property rights at this time. Law follows custom. Plant occupations may not always, or even usually, win their demands, particularly as they are too often taken as last ditch methods in the face of such things as closure of an operation. Carried out in other, less dramatic, situations they may prove even more effective than they have to date. They will be most effective, in the beginning at least, in the proverbial "company towns" where the average person in the community can see their own role as a "stakeholder", along with the workers at an enterprise, in a clearer fashion than many in larger centres can see it. Yet it is important that such actions be imitated, not because each and every one will result in success but because they build a climate of opinion where such things are increasingly seen as legitimate. Build this climate and the law will tail along behind it.

In many European countries such occupations are quite commonplace. Even in Germany the recent 'Strike Bike' takeover(see articles in this Blog's archives for Jan 6, 2008, and Oct. 20, Oct. 4 and Sept. 21 of 2007 for more info on 'Strike Bike')inspired such international solidarity that many others will be likely to imitate it in the future. Here in Canada there have been a number of such actions. The oldest that Molly can find, in the last two decades, is the occupation of the offices of PC World in Toronto in 1997. The most dramatic was the occupation of the Alcan plant in Arvida, Quebec in 2004. this was notable because the workers at that plant, like the Germans at Strike Bike, resumed production under self-management. Just last year there were numerous instances of such occupations, including the First Ontario Credit Union, the Colins and Aikman plant in Scarborough, Ontario, the Masonite Manufacturing premises in Mississauga and the Hamilton Speciality Bar (a metal working plant). These were initiated by various unions, and none of them went so far as the people in Arvida did in resuming production without bosses.

So why do these actions if they aren't guaranteed to win ? First of all because they raise the "threat level" in union/management negotiations, and their very possibility strengthens the hand of workers vis-a-vis the boss. It is also the case that, if played right, they can be virtually "costless" to the workers involved. They may not win, but neither do they contribute to a loss. They also serve to bind the people involved together in a much more obvious community than taking shifts on a picket line does. There is also the matter of the "long view". Though factory occupations are almost unknown in the USA today the time when "sit-down strikes", factory occupations in all but name, were common (the 30s, for instance) led in the long term to building the sort of unionism that won many of the gains for American labour that have been slowly eroding over the past two decades. Perhaps it's time to learn from the grandfathers and grandmothers.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The score in the US Democratic primaries now stands at 2 and 2, with Clinton having won in New Hampshire and Nevada and Obama having won in Iowa and South Carolina. Personally I'm cheering for Obama. Not that anybody should expect the American Empire to cease being the American Empire, no matter who is in the White House. The policies will be very much the same no matter who occupies the Presidency, with the caveat that almost all of the present candidates, both Republican and Democratic, would lack the self-destructive talents of the present Administration, with their desire to sink the USA deeper and deeper into its imperial decline. Maybe that isn't such a bad thing, though Molly lacks the "lefty faith" that the powers that come to replace the USA in the rest of this century will be any more benign than the USA has been. They'll actually probably be far worse.
All that being said everything I know about Hillary Clinton leads me to a reactive and visceral dislike of someone who is far too obviously a crook and a shyster. Obama, on the other hand, reminds me of "Denis the Menace's father". I kid you not. He is rather cartoonish in his clean cut presentation, and though I have no doubt that he has many skeletons in his closet I am unaware of them. He comes across as "cute and sincere", and it is no wonder that so many youthful voters flock to him. Clinton, on the other hand looks very much like she should be President of the Feminist Caucus of the Used Car Dealers of America. What is much more important,however, is that-even if it leads to no perceptible policy change whatsoever on the part of the US government- Obama's election would have a very salutary effect on the American left. It would force them to finally grow up out of their obsession with ethnicity and to rethink all the politically correct cliches that they spout instead of proposing real solutions for America today. As the bard says, "that would be a consummation devoutly to be wished for".
Well back to Hillary. The pundits presume that she reversed the poll trends in New Hampshire by doing a weepy bit while meeting with a select group of voters in that state. Conventional wisdom says that this broke some sort of spell that had lead people to conclude that she had all the emotional resources of a block of concrete (not a bad assumption in Molly's view), and that, in particular, women voters in that state voted for her out of sympathy. Maybe out of stupidity, particularly as Hillary waited until the opportune moment to get misty eyed over how much she loved America- always a crowd pleaser in the USA.
But like all too many reports of weeping statues of the Virgin Mary there is more than slight room for doubt about the reality behind the carefully orchestrated moment. The old (almost paleolithic) feminist icon Germaine Greer has expressed her doubts in an article penned for the British newspaper 'The Guardian'. The article titled 'For Crying Out Loud' is an extended exploration on the use of crying as a technique of power. Her article is both entertaining and amusing, and Molly recommends it highly. It begins with the following words:
"Watching Hillary Clinton begin to get teary-eyed is enough to make me give up shedding tears altogether. The currency, you might say, has become devalued....Hillary's feeble display of emotion, while answering questions from voters in a cafe in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Monday, is supposed to have done her campaign a world of good. If it has, it's because people have wished a tear into her stony reptilian eye, not because there actually was one....Hillary's clipped diction did not falter; all she had to do was take the steel edge off her voice and our imaginations did the rest...."
Read the full article at the Guardian at,,2238249,00.html . A great read if Molly says so, and she does. So here is Molly's vote for Obama instead, not because he is so great, but because his election would finally force the American left (and all they influence in their own imperialist version of exporting Hollywood culture across the rest of the world) to become a real left and not a miasma of identity politics. Go Barack go !



Ledco, a tool and die maker in Kitchener Ontario, has had a long history in that community since 1932, having once manufactured parts for the Avro Arrow project in the 1950s. Lately, however, due to the rising Canadian dollar and outsourcing of production to low wage countries, the company has fallen on hard times. Employment at the plant has fallen from over 100 to about 65 people in recent years. Rather than innovate, management opted to try and squeeze the workers at the plant- much easier than actually being creative in either one's production or one's sales. The management demanded a pay cut of 25% in wages and a 20% cut in benefits from its employees, an offer that the workers, represented by Canadian Auto Workers' Local 1524, rejected. The company's next move was to close its doors last Wednesday (Jan. 23) and declare bankruptcy the next day (Jan. 24). A note was taped to the door of the plant stating, :The employment of all employees of Ledco Limited is hereby terminated effective immediately".

The response of the workers affected was rapid. On the day of the bankruptcy declaration many employees of the plant moved to occupy the premises, bypassing two security guards who elected to do nothing. They were bolstered by people from other nearby Canadian Auto Workers locals. Contingents were split up between people inside the plant and those outside who succeeded in blocking trucks coming to pick up recent production (yes, the owners, the Arends family of Ottawa, continue to make money despite their putative bankruptcy). The union plans to have at least 100 people present at the site at all times, split between the inside and outside contingents. Those outside moved in a trailer and built fires in barrels to keep warm (see above photo). It ain't as bad as out here in the west, but it's still bloody cold. The Kitchener police parked a van across the street, along with two cruisers and began to take video of the strikers.

The workers have vowed to stay as long as it takes to get the severance pay that they are entitled to by law. As one worker said, "We own the building now. It's the only thing we can do to leverage for severance pay and other benefits". On Friday the union allowed representatives from Deloitte & Touche into the plant to conduct an inventory of remaining assets. Deloitte & Touche are the accounting firm appointed as bankruptcy trustees. Ledco had claimed total liabilities of $14.5 million and total assets of $ 7 million. No effort is being made to investigate possible transfer of liquid assets prior to the declaration of bankruptcy. Rather typical of many bankruptcy events actually. Deloitte & Touche have so far refused to issue any comment to the media. The CAW has also begun talks with customers of Ledco who are awaiting orders yet to be shipped.

Typically in bankruptcy cases in Canada workers come well down the list of preference in terms of creditors. The CAW has used plant occupations in previous closure cases. In 2005 workers occupied the VSA plant in Kitchener over the company's refusal to pay severance pay. this occupation lasted only 14 hours due to a court injunction that the workers decided to obey. The plant closed a month later, and the issue was lost. Last April, however, members of the CAW took over the Collins & Aikman auto parts plant in Scarborough. After two days, Daimler Chrysler, a major customer of the plant, agreed to provide the severance pay owed to the workers in order to obtain release of the parts that it had ordered from the plant. The pressure on the plant was increased by solidarity strikes across the province of Ontario. Soon afterwards a steel smelter in Hamilton announced that it would be closing its doors and not honouring severance agreement. The workers responded by occupying the plant, and within a day the company backed down.

A lot of this history and more can be found in an article by Julian Benson and Alex Grant entitled 'High Strike Rate and Factory Occupations in Canada'. Just a little public health warning here. The authors are unreconstructed commies, of which flavour Molly is unsure. As such anything they say should be considered as "provisional" until otherwise verified- commies being the most notorious liars that human history has ever produced. When checking the "strike rate" that they cite from their original reference, the 'UK Office for National Statistics', Molly found out, to her joy that they were only "partly bullshitting". Their main point was that strike activity was higher in Canada than in any other OECD country other than Iceland (I kid you not !). That is at least partially true, as averages from 1996 to 2005 show that "working days not worked per 1,000 employees" due to strikes and lockouts were quite high for Canada. Iceland came in at 401. Canada rated 208. The next highest numbers were Spain at 186 and Denmark at 165. What the authors of the report ignored during the process of grinding their axes was that these averages conceiled some very largen year to year fluctuations. They also ignored the effect of population on the statisgtics they cited. large strikes in small countries such as Denmark or Iceland can skew the numbers tremendously, as can large strikes in Canada when compared to countries with larger populations such as France or Italy.

This is hardly the place to argue how Marxists cherry pick their "facts" to support some already determined conclusion., What is interesting about the original reference is that, taken as a whole, it shows a remarkable consistancy in painting the Canadian industrial scene (and even more so the "service sector") as relatively militant even in comparison with countries such as France and Italy where labour militancy and factory occupations are pretty well standard fare. What it fails to prove, because it doesn't eneter into such territory at all, is that factory occupations in Canada are occuring at a higher rate than in other OECD countries, and that their rate is increasing.

That's too bad beacuse the subject is important. If you are not deluded enough to imagine, as the authors of the above report are, that all of this is some sort of "dialectical buildup" that will inevitably produce a revolution that will raise them up as a new ruling class, the subject of factory occupations is important because it relects on the subject of "property rights". In a realistic approach to socialism, without the grand drama of repeating the storming of the Winter Palace, cetain sets of "rights" are gradually transformed due to social struggle. "Property Rights" are often complete legal fictions. Nobody in their right mind believes, for instance, that "Crown Lands" are actually the property of the Queen of England to do with as she will. Constant battles are found out in boardrooms and the courts over "corporate governance" over whether assets of a corporation are the property of the managers who really control them or the stockholders who nominally own them. Ownership means control. factory occupations are important because they are small skirmishes in a long term battle to embody the concept that workers have "property rights" over their jobs. Just as communities should have "property rights" over the enterprises that are in their locality. The reform whereby workers would count much higher on the list of preffered creditors would be one milestone in the move to such an expansion of the idea of "property". Eventually social practice should make it plain that the "equity" of workers who have worked for a long time in a given enterprise would have firm legal (which depend upon customary) rights. Factory occupations are battles where such rights can be established. Political parties will only repond to enough "boots on the ground". They will not legislate such rights out of the kindness of their social-democratic hearts. they react. they don't initiate. It is useless to vote for the NDP because they exude a warm and cozy odour of "being friendly to labour".

For further updates on this occupation see the website of the CAW. The website of Local 1524 is, unfortuntately in great need of updating. The platformist site Linchpin, from Ontario, has reported on this occupation, and they promise further updates. See that site for further references as well.

Here's a little David and Goliath story to warm your heart. Like in the original the good guy won, at least this time. Facebook (Goliath) is of course, the mega-giant and the villain in this piece. Started on February 4, 2004 Facebook has grown to presently include over 60 million active users. It averages about a quarter of a million users per day, and see over 65 billion page views per month. There are about 1.7 billion photos on Facebook, and last spring a poll conducted in the USA found that it was the most visited site amongst people aged 17- 25. There are about 2.2 billion "friends" tagged in user photos, and more than 60 million photos are added each week.
OK, that's Goliath. Let's go to David. Derek Blackadder (see for his Facebook page- note that you have to register with Facebook to view anything on their site) is an union organizer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He is also a Canadian contributor to the labour solidarity website Labour Start which Molly has often referenced here on this blog. Blackadder fell afoul of the powers that be at Facebook by adding too many "friends". As an union organizer this is just the sort of thing that he does- he expands his social network as fast as possible. Facebook threatened, and then they lowered the axe by banning him. This, however, didn't go over too well with other union activists that use Facebook, and a protest site( ) was rapidly set up by John Wood of the UK. The campaign was promoted by Labour Start as well. Within 8 hours almost 2,400 people had signed up in solidarity with Blackadder. Fearing further bad publicity, Facebook relented, and Derek is now back online doing what he does best. One small victory for the little guy.
There is actually quite a bit of controversy about sites such as Facebook. Many have predicted that their popularity, and the resulting traffic jam of useless photos and video (see YouTube), will lead to such a slowing of online communication that the internet will become virtually useless (some may say has always been that way). Specific to union organizing, however, Eric Lee of Labour Start has written an essay entitled Bandwagons and Buzzwords: Facebook and the Unions about the limitations of using Facebook as an organizing tool. The John Wood mentioned above wrote a rejoiner titled In Defence of Facebook (Sort Of) which disagrees with Lee, but also points out the author's own reservations about this tool.
Look over both of the above essays to see what their authors say. In the meantime Molly raises a glass to Derek Blackadder. Long may he "face" or whatever the verb derived from the noun may be in this case.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Three years ago, in May 2005, Victoria teenager Willow Kinloch was testing her wings ie getting a bit drunk on a night out. She was dropped off at her home, but, having lost her keys (hic!!!), she couldn't get in. Instead of doing something sensible neighbours, when they saw her staggering about on the lawn, called the police. Thus began a night of horror for Willow. Whoo!,whoo !, whoo!, a police car showed up to arrest her and take her in. I guess it was a very slow night, but maybe every night is slow in Victoria. Here in Winnipeg the word on the street is that, if you want the cops to show up in less than four hours when somebody is attacking someone else with a knife or a bat, that you bullshit 911 and tell them that somebody has already "been hurt". If you tell the truth that the disaster hasn't happened yet they'll likely need the ambulance anyways when it does. In any case a cruiser arrived to take Willow, then 15, in.
First the cops tried to take Willow home (after, of course, a long detour down to the cop shop-too strange). The neighbour had alleged that Willow was not just drunk but had also taken ecstasy. How this can be determined by peaking through curtains I will leave up to the readers imagination. let's just say that the neighbour sleuthed out something that no trained sniffer dog could ever have done, especially from behind a crack in window curtains. When the cops returned Willow to her home she couldn't find her key (well, that was pretty obvious the first time around), and with two stand-ins fro the Incredible Hulk glaring at her she couldn't figure out how to use the buzzer to call up to her parents' apartment. You can gather that the girl was pretty well hysterical by now. Back to the cop shop where they threw will into a padded cell to sober up, a process well underway by this time.
Down at the tank Willow at first refused to get out of the cruiser car, doing the hysterical bit of course. The cops did a bit of "manual override" and hustled her into the cell (see graphic above for "the cell"). Once in the cell Willow continued with her panic, kicking the door of the room. She was,however, cooperative enough to remove both her sweater and her bra. Later a prison matron came in (a little diversion here, such people are "affectionately" known as "Big Bertha" amongst the intellectuals of the jailhouse). Further stripping was demanded. Now, at 15 years of age Willow had no clue that when Big Bertha says "get down on your knees" you do indeed get down on your knees with no complaint. In doing further stripping Willow kicked one of her shoes off against a wall of the cell. Bad move. Big Bertha went nuts, grabbed the kid by the throat and shoved her up against the wall (see the video at THIS SITE for the play-by-play). Before Big Bertha could succeed in killing the kid two male officers rushed into the cell. Between the three they easily outweighed Willow by six to one(eight to one if you consider the matron as an outstanding example of "Berthaness"). Never mind the one cop who stood by the doorway, watching the whole affair. How can you say "outnumbered" ?
The response ? Police first handcuffed Willow's hands behind her back. They then hogtied her feet and dragged the cord underneath the cell door(see above photograph from the video surveillance in the cell), trapping the teenager in helpless distress for four hours. It helps to be 15 years of age. Older people or those who are overweight subjected to such treatment might easily go into respiratory distress.
Willow, now 18, has launched a civil suit against the City of Victoria and the Victoria police claiming excessive use of force and unlawful confinement. A lawyer, Murray Mollard, from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association called the ordeal that Willow endured "almost inhumane treatment of a young girl" and "cruel and unusual punishment, really". Emphasis on the "really" ! The civil court case is due to begin in June.
God bless the age of video. In years past such things would hardly ever have come to light. In these times the police pretty well have to have everything on tape, and making the evidence "mysteriously disappear" often leads to more trouble than the incident recorded would have. Yet, just as in the case of the taser death of a Polish immigrant at Vancouver International airport last year, the existence of such tapes doesn't mean that the police will not delay release of said evidence for as long as is possible- in hopes the problem will disappear in the meantime. People do move, deaths do happen and people do give up. The taser incident took weeks for the person who videoed it to obtain the release of his film. In the case of Willow Kinloch the civil suit had been dragging on for 3 years until the police finally released the video last Tuesday.
The Victoria Police Department, by the way, is now the subject of 36 investigations into police contact. at least ten lawsuits are in the court dockets named the police as as defendants. The police chief of Victoria has been suspended due to a RCMP probe into "unknown allegations".; One can hardly imagine the situation where the police don't publicly release information on "allegations" made against ordinary members of the public. Seems like the Chief of Police has privileges the rest of us don't have. One should also note that such incidents are hardly restricted to the City of Victoria. It's just that the vast majority of them never come to light.
Just this day Molly was over visiting some folks in Winnipeg's "gandland". The conversation turned to how difficult it was to get the police to respond at the block where these people live (which has two gang houses). The block isn't actually that bad. There hasn't been a murder there for almost 7 years. One street up and a little to the east there is a block where a murder takes place pretty well every year (twice last year). The last murder on the first block, however, was a doozy. After three !!!! 911 calls to the residence the police finally !!! showed up 9 hours later to discover two women stabbed to death. The perp was actually only caught because one of his friends turned him in. The situation was quite different many years back when a policeman's mother lived on the block. Once 9 cruiser cars showed up to arrest one guy. They did it. He was handcuffed and on the ground. Then it seemed like every last cop had to have a go at beating him. It was a rather gruesome sight, and my informant went out and told the police sergeant in charge to call off his officers. When the sergeant started to give him grief he was informed in no uncertain terms that if he let it continue that his name would be on the television that night. The beating was called off, and within less than 5 minutes the arrestee was in the back of a cruiser heading for his vacation at the Crowbar Resort.
If you are interested in this sort of thing I suggest you check out the Cop Watch.Net site. This is pretty well much American only. We also have our own group here in Winnipeg, the Copwatch Winnipeg.

Back on December 7th of last year Molly blogged on the refusal of the National Parole Board to grant Robert Latimer day parole. As noted then the original event was a mercy killing, and Latimer is apparently the only Canadian ever to serve time for such an action. Most Canadians know that it is a certain fact that Mr. Latimer will never re-offend, and much of the public outrage about the denial of parole stems from the fact that the so-called "justice" system is supposed to be all about protecting the public. The public needs no such protection from Latimer. This is the basis of the appeal filed last Wednesday, January 23, on behalf of Mr. Latimer by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. They say that the board erred in law by not considering the fact of Latimer's extremely low likelihood of re-offending. As Molly noted back in December what really and truly offended the people who first heard Latimer's case for parole was that he didn't crawl and speak psychobabble to them- like almost all cons who fully intend to re-offend on release do. Lese majeste I guess. The appeal will be heard by the appeals division of the National Parole Board, and a decision may come as early as two weeks or as late as two months from now. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association argues that the Corrections and Conditional Release Act requires the parole board to consider only the offender's risk of committing an offense while on parole and whether the offender's release is consistent with his reintegration into the community.
Here is a timeline of the Latimer case:
Oct. 24, 1993: Latimer kills his daughter Tracy by piping carbon monoxide into his truck.
Nov. 16, 1994: Jury convicts Latimer of second degree murder, but recommends that he be eligible for full parole in only one year.
July 18, 1995: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decides 2-1 to uphold Latimer conviction.
Oct. 25, 1995: Revelation that prosecutor interfered with jury by questioning them about religion, abortion and mercy killing.
Nov. 27, 1996: Supreme Court of Canada hears Latimer case.
Feb. 6, 1997: Supreme Court orders new trail due to jury interference, but upholds Latimer's confession.
Oct. 27, 1997: Latimer's second trial begins.
Nov. 5, 1997: Jury finds Latimer guilty of second-degree murder and recommends that he be eligible for parole after one year.
Dec. 1, 1997: Judge Ted Noble gives Latimer "constitutional exemption", orders sentence of less than two years, with one to be spent in the community.
Nov. 23, 1998: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal sets aside constitutional exemption and upholds mandatory sentence of at least 10 years.
Feb., 1999: Latimer appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada.
May 6, 1999: Supreme Court announced it will hear an appeal of Robert Latimer's sentence for 1993 killing of his severely disabled daughter.
June 14, 2000: Supreme Court hears appeal.
Jan. 18, 2001: Supreme Court upholds life sentence, with no parole for 10 years.
Dec. 17, 2003: Speaking more than ten years after the event Robert Latimer says he still believes he did the right thing.
Dec. 5, 2007: Latimer's bid for day parole is denied after a National Parole Board hearing at a prison in Victoria, The three board members, who took about an hour to make a decision, said they were struck by Latimer's "lack of insight" into the crime he committed.

For a full background on the case see the Robert Latimer. Net website.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Molly would like to take the opportunity to remind her readers of the availability of our local Info-Usurpa which presents local radical events here in Winnipeg on a weekly basis (published every Tuesday). Always available for download. A modest effort, but despite its disparagement by the now infamous Winnipeg Indymedia (which is now nothing but a forum for Nazis and Zionists to trade insults and whose idea of "events" is, for some bizarre reason, reproducing an events board from Vancouver) continues to present things here in Winnipeg on a weekly basis. Coming up the Mondragon at 91 Albert St., a fund-raising brunch for the Anarchist Black Cross this Sunday, January 27th.
Also, very unfortunately, coming up on the same date is the local "Radical Reading Group" discussion on Peter Gelderloos' ''How Nonviolence Protects the State'. For those unfamiliar with this goof I refer them to his "support" site at . This guy is quite sickening. He has distilled every Stalinist prejudice of the American left from "white privilege" onwards into his little, tiny effort to have an "identity". The result he calls "anarchism", no matter how remote it is from the reality of that word. For two years now, since he was arrested in Barcelona when he was on his "rich boys' tour" of Europe, he has lived without visible means of support while awaiting charges that he could easily have avoided by simply not appearing as a "flashing neon sign of idiocy". One only wonders how long mommy and daddy will put up with this nonsense. His previous efforts included a visit to Greece from where he spread his American leftist ideological miasma over the very serious struggle of real anarchists against the terrorist tactics of a Maoist influenced wing of the Greek movement, usually referred to as the autonomists.
Gelderlloos has decided to promote mindless violence, under the ideological cover of "insurrectionism", as some sort of rational set of tactics for anarchism today. Molly now throws up a great hairball...blaah,blaah.blaah. This little piece of stupidity came to my attention on the same day that I read an article in the daily press about how some internet star of the Neo-Nazis who encouraged violence was, all along, a mole for the FBI. Oh....surprise,surprise,surprise !!! The role of the agent-provocateur extends way back beyond the Okhrana actually agreeing to an assassination of a member of the Cabinet to further entrap the radicals. It is as old as the dinosaurs. Not that Genderlloos is actually being paid by either the CIA or the FBI. It is far more likely that he is simply a rich kid whom his parents have too much sympathy for. Yet... when he finally returns to the USA you can depend that his circles will be well infiltrated by various American secret police, all of them very happy to short-circuit radical protest via the stupidity that this fool advocates, and all of them gathering evidence for new trials.
Holy fucking Jesus. Speaking of reinventing the wheel. This history of provacateurs is so long and so obvious that is a standing testimony to human stupidity that so many young people today don't make the slightest effort to learn it and govern themselves accordingly. It can also be seen from simple common sense...if you intend to "get" someone who is presently more powerful than you then you don't start by announcing your intentions from a position of weakness. Of course, common sense may be a "bad word" when you are operating from the guilt -ridden swamp of American identity politics that disguises itself as "anarchism". Actually doing something to advance society is very much beside the point to such a religious delirium.
Yeah, it's pretty obvious that this idiot inspires, at best, contempt in me. When I was in Spain the wife and I had our own little confrontation with La Guardia Civil, and I managed to talk our way out of it (the suspicion was that we were making a drug deal with a Turk we had met on the street). The buggers didn't even steal any of our money. Neither did we get beat up. On the other hand we didn't have to declare our "identity" as rebels and anarchists (like almost all real Spanish anarchists don't have to do because in Spain anarchism is now part of the everyday life of ordinary, non-show-off people) by wearing some sort of silly costume, down to "radical flip-flops"-the thing that was highlighted in Gederloos' arrest(he paints slogans on his shoes-literally!!!). Not that I think that the police should persecute people who "look weird", but this really the image that we want to present to the world concerning what "anarchism is all about". And do we want to encourage the delusions of grandeur that lead some people into thinking that tiny set-piece riots are some sort of great and overarching threat to the way that society is organized ? Delusions like this are great barriers to actually trying to find ways by which a movement that is still very tiny can grow. They discourage critical thinking, or actually any thinking at all. This is an example of the worst of identity politics, right down to the shoes on your feet.

The Clean Clothes Campaign has launched another Internet appeal. Down Cambodia way the workers at the Kings Land Garment Company have formed an union, the Garment Workers' Democratic Union, last July. Since then the company has stonewalled , reneging on an agreement they made on October 24th and refusing to implement an arbitration council hearing award passed on December 12th. The workers at this company have been on strike since January 11th, and they are calling on international supporters to email the company to demand that management relent, recognize the union and reinstate 18 workers who have been illegally dismissed since the union was formed. To read more and join this campaign go to .

Aye me wee laddies an' lassies, taday be the grate an' glorious feast o' the birthin' o' Rabbie Burrrrns, national poet o' swait Scotland. Robbie Burns (January 25, 1759 - July 21, 1796) has become something of a cult figure, both in Scotland itself and in the worldwide Scottish diaspora. Born the eldest of the 7 children of William Burness and Agnes Broun two miles south of Ayr in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland he lived in the house that his father had built until he was seven years old. At that time his father sold the house and became a tenant farmer at the Mount Oliphant farm southeast of Alloway. Here Robbie Burns grew up in poverty and hard work. He rfeceived very little official schooling. He was taught by his father, a self-educated man, and one John Murdoch, an iterant teacher of the district. Through his young adulthood he worked as a farm labourer and as a flax dresser, all the while carrying on quite a number of love affairs that made him rather unpopular amongst the strict religious parishoners of the locality. He fathered his first illegitimate child in 1785 and had several others, most illegitimate and legitimate.

Burns began his literary career in April, 1786 when, at the suggestion of his brother he published the volume 'Poems: Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect' . His success was immediate, and he became well known across Scotland. At one of the many literary gatherings to which he was invited he impressed the then 16 year old Walter Scott as having eyes that he had never again seen in any other man. Burns carryed on with his womanizing while in Edinburgh where he fathered another illegitimate child, Robert Burns Clow, with Jenny Clow in 1788. While in Ediburgh he met James Johnson, a music engraver and seller, and between them they began the 'Scots Musical Museum' to which he contributed (either writing or gathering) about a third of the 600 songs in the collection. Many of Burns' efforts were of songs such as 'Auld Lang Syne' . he contributed over 100 songs to 'The Meolodies of Scotland', was a major contributer to 'A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice' . Burns would usually compose the tune for the songs before he finished the words. One of his most amusing efforts is the 'Merry Muses of Caledonia' , a collection of bawdy traditional folk songs. He often used the tunes of older songs for his own song poems. Auld Lang Syne, for instance, is set to the tune of 'Can Ye Labour Lea' .

Burns wrote extensively in standard English (the language of his political tracts), the Scots dialect and in Scots Gaelic. He focused on many themes including republicanism, radicalism, Scottish patriotism, anti-clericalism, issues of class oppression, gender roles, poverty, sex, partying and many aspects of Scottish culture. Burns' works greatly influenced many subsequent socialist and radical writers such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Steinbeck. Over at Le Revue Gauche megablogger Eugene Plawiuk has faithfully commemorated Robbie Burns day each year since 2005, and much information on Burns' radical views can be found there. This year is no exception, and references to his blogs on RB Day in previous years can be found there. The flavour of Burns' anti-clerical sentiments may be guaged from the following extract from 'No Churchman Am I', a song he published in 1782:

" No churchman am I, for to rail and to write,
No statesman nor soldier to plot or to fight,
No sly man of business contriving a snare,
For a big-belly'd bottle's the whole of my care.

The peer I don't envy, I give him his bow;
I scorn not the peasant, though ever so low;
But a club of good fellows, like those that are here,
And a bottle like this, are my glory and care.

Here passes the squire on his brother-his horse;
There centum per centum, the cit with his purse;
But see you the Crown, how it waves in the air ?
There a big-belly'd bottle still eases my care.

The wife of my bosum, alas! she did die;
for sweet consolation to church I did fly;
I found that old Solomon proved it fair,
That a big belly'd bottle's a cure for all care."

Robbie Burns' Day is traditionally celebrated by the Robbie Burns' Supper. This has become a much more popular event than the official Scottish national day, St. Andrew's Day, let alone the North American proposal of Tartan Day. It has had a format that hasn't varied since the time of the poet's death. The event begins with the host's welcoming speech and the 'Selkirk Grace'. There is then the soup course, usually something like Scotch Broth, Potatoe Soup or Cock-a-Leekie. Then comes the highlight of the evening, the "piping-in" of the haggis. if you don't know haggis then your education is incomplete. See this website for haggis recipes and other matters related to things "haggishy". be aware that the alternative recipes are arranged, "in order of increasing use of animal parts that would normally be thrown away". The ceremony continues with a recitation of Burns' 'Address To a Haggis", performed either by the host or by somebody with acting talent. It begins as follows (see the Robbie Burns' Supper website for the complete poem):
"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftan o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch,tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
The cutting open of the haggis is the highlight of the evening. After this has been done there is a toast to the pur wee haggis. See the websiote cited above for more details. If you are interested in things "Burnsian" try browsing the foillowing sites. Don't forget to visit Le Revue Gauche for comment on the politics of Burns.
*Scottish Government Site on Burns
*The Burns Federation
*National Burns Collection
*The Bard
*The Works of Robbie Burns (collected works on project Guttenberg, very good reference site)
Hey, here's a special treat. Many of Burns' works have become part of international culture, including that song that everybody tries to drunkenly sing at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve (Hogmanny in Scotland). Ever met anyone who knew all the words to 'Auld Lang Syne' ? probably not, and if they did once know them said memory is irretrievable at midnight Jan 1. So, here as a special public service, are the complete lyrics of Auld Land Syne. memorize them now and amaze your friends next New Years.
"For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne.
And surely ye'll be your pint stowp,
And surely I'll be mine;
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd morry a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.
And ther's a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gie's a hand o' thine !
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Thursday, January 24, 2008



Ken Knabb, the human behind the Bureau of Public Secrets, an online collection of material on situationism, has just added several documents on the films of Guy Debord, one of the movers and shakers behind the SI. See the following list. Ken Knabb has also translated Guy Debord's 'Complete Cimatic Works' (see or order from AK Press ). Still more info on Debord can be found at Guy Debord Cineaste, and at the LibCom online Guy Debord Archive (for his written works), as well as at the Situationist International Online site. Knabb's BOP site has excerpts from his films as well as the latest information on the films themselves. You can also see downloadable samples from his films at . For a complete DVD set of the films (in French) see Gaumont (cost about 50 Euros). On to the list...
@Technical Notes on Guy Debord's First Three Films
@Letter About Debord's Film "On the Passion of a Few Persons..."
@Original Announcement of Debord's Film "The Society of the Spectacle"
@The Use of Stolen Films
@The Themes of Debord's Film "In girum imus noste et consumimur igni"
@Instructions to the "In girum" Sound Engineer
@Debord Chronology
@Debord Filmology
@Texts Relating to Debord's Films

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Christie Books TV site continues to expand its selections. Here's a list of recently added items. For a full listing consult the website above. All of the following are available for free downloading at the addresses given.
@Zapata en Chinameca (1987- Mario Hernandez Feature)
@Tenemos raices suficientes (1996 Documentary)
@Los maquis de la imposible especranze (2003 Dominique Montero Documentary)
@Canal de los Presos (Mariano Agudo y Eduardo Montero Documentary)
@Orwell- a contracorrent (Mark Littlewood Documentary)
@Els Atemptas Contra Franco (1986 Documentary)
@Expediente 121: la censura en el cine (Documentary)
@Viridiana (1961 Luis Buenel Feature)
@Viva Maria ! (1965 Louis Malle Feature)
@Las ilusiones perdidas -3 La la resistencia y el maquis (Documentary)
@Noticias de una guerra (Eterio Ortega- Elias Querajeta)
@Revolucion y Geurra Civil en Espana (Contraimagen Documentary)
@Ela Ultims Morts de Franco (2004 Joan Salvat Documentary)
@Autrement (Documentary)
@La lucha libertaria contra la dictadura Defensa Interior 1 (Charia)
@La lucha libertaria contra la dictadura Defensa Interior 2 (Charia)
@Situationist International 1956-1972 -1 (1989 Documentary)
@Situationist International 1956-1972- 2 (1989 Documentary)
@Situationist International 1965-1972 - 3 (1989 Documentary)
@Can Dialectics Break Bricks? 1 (1973 Rene Vienet)
@Can Dialectics Break Bricks ? 2 (1973 Rene Vienet)
@Can Dialectics Break bricks ? 3 (1973 Rene Vienet)
@Can Dialectics Break bricks ? 4 (1973 rene Vienet)
@The Protestant revolution 1 The Politics of Belief (2007)
@La Golondrina (From The Wild bunch Music)
@Sapo Cancionero (Joaquin Lera in Tokyo Music)
@Agustin Garcia Calvo (Charia)
@Lonely are the Brave (1962-dalton trumbo- with Spanish subtitles)
@Els Nans Perduts del Franquismo (2003)
@El Bonaerense (2002 Pablo Trapero)
@las ilusiones perdidas 8: Los recursos guerrilleros (Documentary)