Sunday, February 28, 2010

Some, who have not been fans of this blog for years, may find it strange that I would post what follows below. It is not strange in the world of Molly's Blog. I am an amateur astronomer, and I very much support the space programs of various countries. I watch the progression of the constellations and the planets across the skies, and I am thrilled to see them. What follows is one of the reasons. Whatever one's ideological beliefs they would indeed be destroyed by a planetary catastrophe. Such catastrophes have happened in the the past, and they will happen in the future unless we are able to prevent them. This is an inevitable truth. The following, from the Planetary Society, gives their idea of "planetary defense".
Mirror Bees: Planetary Defense
A New Way to Deflect a Dangerous Asteroid
What do we do if an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth? At this point, the answer is not clear, so The Planetary Society is partnering with researchers to discover ways to protect Earth when we one-day find a dangerous space rock.

We're working with a team at the University of Glasgow in Scotland to study a new technique which uses concentrated light to gently move an asteroid -- a project we call "Mirror Bees."
The researchers at the University of Glasgow, under the leadership of Massimiliano Vasile, became interested in this approach when they set out to compare nine approaches to planetary defense. To their surprise, one of their results was that Mirror Bees would work more quickly and effectively than all but nuclear warheads. (But unlike the use of nuclear explosions, there would be no risk of breaking a huge asteroid into any number of equally deadly smaller asteroids, nor would the procedure face as many political and bureaucratic hurdles.)
So just what are Mirror Bees?
This new technique involves many small spacecraft -- each carrying a mirror -- swarming around a dangerous asteroid. The spacecraft could precisely tilt their mirrors to focus sunlight onto a tiny spot on the asteroid, vaporizing the rock and metal, and creating a jet plume of super-heated gases and debris. Alternatively, the satellites could contain powerful lasers pumped by sunlight, and the lasers could be used to vaporize the rock. The asteroid would become the fuel for its own rocket -- and slowly, the asteroid would move into a new trajectory.

With your help today, The Planetary Society can step in to make a huge difference in this crucial area of space science.

We need advanced and creative thinking to deflect Earth-threatening asteroids and comets. The "Mirror Bees" system is one promising way.
Help make it happen!
Major questions still remain about this technique. For example, will the plume of superheated gasses ejected from an asteroid dissipate, or will it block sunlight to the mirrors?
Would the debris settle on the satellite mirrors?
Can the asteroid's rotation be dealt with effectively?
Will the gas plumes be enough to deflect the asteroid?

The Planetary Society is stepping in to fund a series of laboratory experiments to answer these and other questions. Vasile's group is working with Ian Watson and the laser lab of the University of Glasgow's Mechanical Engineering Department to devise some ingenious small-scale experiments. We'll be funding equipment, supplies, and a graduate student dedicated to working on the experiments.

Only through these types of studies, as well as additional theoretical research, can the details of this technique be worked out and understood. If it pans out, it will be a rapid, effective, and safe option to use against the asteroid that inevitably will come Earth's way.

The following appeal for solidarity comes from the international labour solidarity site Labour Start.
Act NOW!
Turkey: Free Seher Tümer
Union activist Seher Tümer, Branch Secretary of PSI affiliate SES (the trade union of public employees in health and social services), will spend International Women’s Day 2010 in prison.

But international solidarity action could open the door to freedom for her.

Ms Tümer has now been detained in an F-type prison for almost a year, with no clear charges being brought against her. PSI is convinced that her arrest is linked to her activities in the labour and women’s movements in that country, including participating in International Women’s Day activities last year. Tumer, who is Kurdish, was arrested and imprisoned in April 2009. Her case mirrors that of fellow union leader Meryem Özsöðüt, who faced similar charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation. (Özsöðüt was released after eight months in prison following a major international protest campaign led by PSI.)

PSI has been closely following this case. Ms Tümer’s next court appearance is planned for 9 March, PSI and EPSU have sent a joint letter of protest to the Turkish Prime Minister demanding that all charges be dropped and that she be immediately released.

PSI urgently calls on trade unions and concerned organisations to write similar letters of protest. Join the Labourstart Campaign and send a letter of protest now.
The Letter:
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the Turkish authorities to demand the release of Seher Tumer.
Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoðan
Prime Minister
Republic of Turkey
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to demand the immediate release of Ms Seher Tümer, Branch Secretary of SES (Trade union of public employees in health and social services), Turkey, an affiliate of Public Services International (PSI).

Ms Tümer has now been detained in an F-type prison for almost a year, with no clear charges being brought against her. We are convinced that her arrest is linked to her trade union activities.

We are sure that, as a member of the International labour Organisation and an aspiring member of the European Union, your Government will want to act swiftly to ensure that this breach of fundamental human and trade union rights is corrected.
Yours sincerely,

Molly continues to 'chug down' her links ala the Spanish CNT. I'm presently at the CNT in Catalonia, and there is a lot more that I have to list before I get out of the anarchosyndicalist ballpark. What can I say for now. Despite being restricted (more or less) to links that are in English, French or Spanish Molly's Blog is now far and away the most comprehensive list of links for anarchists contacts anywhere. We intend to complete expanding this section of the blog, and we hope you will help us. If any of our links are "dead" please inform us here or via Molly's Suggestion Box so that we can eliminate them. Help keep a listing current in less than four years.

The following appeal for solidarity in two different labour disputes in the Philippines comes from the Maquila Solidarity Network.
Take action on Philippines labour rights abuses‏
Last fall, a high-level International Labour Organization (ILO) mission went to the Philippines to investigate “serious allegations of the murder of trade unionists, death threats, arrests of trade union leaders in connection with their trade union activities, widespread impunity relating to violence against trade unionists and the militarization of workplaces in export processing zones (EPZs) and special economic zones”. Their report is due to be released next month.
Unfortunately, violence and judicial persecution of trade union leaders and activists is continuing. Below, we urge you to support workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining by taking part in two action campaigns by labour and human rights promoters that highlight the continuing pattern of abuse of worker rights in the Philippines.
Karnation Industries:
Twenty workers at Karnation Industries were arrested during a 2007 strike against the illegal dismissal of union members, the non-payment of holiday pay and night bonuses, as well as a salary that was only half of the minimum wage at the time. They have spent two and a half years in prison, during which time two workers died from tuberculosis contracted since their incarceration. 14 workers were temporarily released on bail in November of 2009. Four of the workers remain in prison. All of the surviving workers are still facing charges, and the company has filed a motion to reverse the bail decision and return all of the workers to prison. Join the Asia Human Rights Committee in protesting the continuing judicial persecution of the Karnation 20 here.
Dole Food Company:
Managers at a Dole pineapple plantation in the Philippines have worked with the military on an intimidation campaign against an independent workers’ union and their democratically elected union leaders for the past four years. Workers who met recently with an International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) representative have been fired or suspended. Join the ILRF in protecting the rights of Dole workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining here.

Thank you for joining with the Maquila Solidarity Network in supporting the continuing efforts of labour and human rights workers on the ground.

--Maquila Solidarity Network
606 Shaw St.
Toronto, ON
M6G 3L6
416 532-8584

As I type this there are only a few more hours left to go in the 2010 Winter Olympics...and also only a few more hours to vote in the poll over at Molly's Polls about 'What Do You Think Of The 2010 Winter Olympics ?'. Drop over to the link and express your opinion before it is too late.
So far the "pro-Olympic" vote outnumbers the antis. Quite frankly I find this comforting and not because I am in favour of the Olympics. I am not. What it says to me is that my goal of having this anarchist blog speaking to not just non-anarchists but, much more importantly, to those outside of the charmed circle of leftism has born at least some fruit. I've mentioned this goal before, and I'm happy to have at least some small evidence of its success. In previous surveys of my visitors I've noted how "non-leftist" the majority are. Good for me.
On the other hand, I might be quite deluded. Perhaps a lot of the voters are anarchists and leftists who take the opportunity of the anonymity of polls such as these to express opinions that they would never dare to express publicly elsewhere. 'Anarchy-wise' at least there are stupendous efforts to try and prevent not just disagreement with the goals of the anti-Olympic campaign but also any criticism of the idiotic "tactics" of the rent-a-riot that was a small part of the anti-Olympic events. This is disguised under the heading of "unity", but it is a foolish attempt at trying to hide real disagreement, almost Stalinist in its manner. What the proponents of such "unity" cannot see is that the dishonesty is obvious to those outside of the charmed circle. The number of people who say that they "have their doubts" about the Olympics but also think the opposition is on the wrong track is lower than both the definite opinions. Too bad. It's my opinion, and not just because of teh antics of the Black Block.
No doubt every political stance requires a certain amount of "evidence shuffling", but, in my opinion, people shouldn't try and make their dishonesty so obvious. Neither should they cave in to the aggression of their "comrades" because every single ideology-including anarchism- has the capacity to produce very evil consequences. The only defence against such consequences is open debate, and there is little doubt that some are desperate to close such avenues of safety. I am certainly not.

The latest news on the strike against Vale Inco in Sudbury is that the company has launched a lawsuit against the union (Local 6500 of the United Steel Workers) over various incidents during the course of the seven months of the strike against the company. Legally speaking I doubt that the company has a leg to stand upon as it would be difficult to impossible to prove that the union even encouraged, let alone planned any of the incidents mentioned. Still, I guess that it is good harassment tactics for the company to set such proceedings in motion. One thing has to be said, however. Whatever the truth of the company's allegations and given the fact that the union, nor Mollymew for that matter, certainly doesn't condone them they do fall under the heading of "direct action". They are carried out by the people involved in a dispute themselves. They also have the character of aiming towards a goal that is defined and achievable to which the actions may contribute. In this they are a totally different thing from the 'anarchist rent-a-riot' that travels around to communities not their own to inevitably run like scared rabbits from the police after doing minor vandalism and whose "goals", if they are articulated at all, are so vague and utopian that they won't be fulfilled before the second coming of Jesus.
Ok, enough sideways swipes. here's the story from CTV.
Vale Inco sues striking Ontario union
The Canadian Press
SUDBURY, Ont. — Striking union members in Sudbury, Ont., have engaged in "unlawful thuggery" by threatening personnel during a bitter seven-month strike at Vale Inco, the company alleges in a lawsuit.

United Steelworkers Local 6500 and some of its members have posted personal information about people who are continuing to work during the strike, which has led to intimidation, threats and an assault, the mining giant alleges in its more than $1-million lawsuit.

"This has not been a peaceful strike," the company writes in a statement of claim, filed in Superior Court in Sudbury.

"Masked picketers have engaged in criminal conduct, including an assault of a Vale Inco employee and the sabotage of Vale Inco property."

People on the picket lines have set large fires so trucks carrying explosives and fuel can't cross, hydro wires have been cut, rail equipment has been damaged and roads have been littered with nail spikes to puncture truck tires, the statement of claim alleges.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

"The defendants' conduct is unlawful thuggery, which has nothing to do with legitimate trade union activity," the lawsuit says. "This conduct should not be tolerated in a liberal and civilized society."

Wayne Fraser, a director for the union in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, called the lawsuit an "antagonistic measure."

"It's a nuisance," said Fraser, who is not one of the 25 people directly named in the suit.

"(The allegations) are not true. They're unsubstantiated and it's just a way of Vale trying to divide the membership from its rank and file activists."

A statement of defence has not yet been filed but is in the works, said Fraser, who also said the union plans to countersue the company for defamation.

The lawsuit comes as the two sides met with a mediator over the weekend for exploratory talks in a bid to find a way to ending a seven-month-old strike. The two sides have not formally met since the strike started.

More than 3,000 employees at Vale's mill, smelter, refinery and six nickel mines in the Sudbury area have been on strike for seven months.

At issue are proposals by Vale Inco to reduce a bonus tied to the price of nickel and to exempt new employees from its defined-benefit pension plan, moving them instead to a defined-contribution plan.

Workers complain they shouldn't have to give concessions to a company whose parent, Brazil-based Vale S.A., earned US $5.35 billion in 2009.

The people named in the lawsuit have been targeting Vale employees who have returned to work during the strike, as well as contractors and personnel responsible for picket line security, the company alleges.

Pictures and personal information such as addresses and phone numbers have been posted on a union website and a Facebook page.

Those singled out have had their property and homes vandalized, received anonymous phone threats at home and one employee was assaulted while jogging, the statement of claim says.

Three people named in the lawsuit were criminally charged in that attack.

After that particular assault an altered picture of the man was posted on the Facebook site showing him with scars, a throwing star embedded in his torso, other "cutting weapons" in his torso and arms and his throat slit, as well as the words "Who's Next" on his shirt, according to the lawsuit.

While he was at work one day the same man's vehicle was vandalized, with his tires slashed and the word scab spray-painted about 12 times on his car. Union placards were found on and around the car, the company alleges.

The older I get the more cynical I become about a vast variety of "do good" projects, whether right wing, left wing or no wing whatsoever. rather than being a total curmudgeon, however, I do always search for things that I find encouraging rather than discouraging. What follows is one such thing. The SELF (Solar Electric Light Fund) seems to me to be the sort of thing that actually benefits the recipients of what is called "aid" rather than benefiting the giver by subterfuge. Hopefully my first impression is true. I certainly approve of their fellow organization, the Partners in Health. See what follows for links. Here's the promo from the Care2 site.
Rebuilding with Sun Power: SELF Fosters Clean Energy and Community Building
posted by: Nancy Roberts
As the disasters in Haiti and now Chile are showing us, the challenges of immediate relief can be dwarfed by the needs of long-term, sustainable development in agriculture, sanitation, infrastructure, and education all over the world. The Inter American Development Bank recently estimated that the cost of reconstruction in Haiti alone could be $14 billion. But can the rebuilding be done in a way that will truly help people in the long term, not by rebuilding in the same way, but by taking advantage of the opportunity to improve health, well being and the environment?
Traditional aid models have often focused on sending money and products that are not aligned with the destination's culture or environment. Others are seeking a better way. An 18 year old nonprofit called SELF (Solar Electric Light Fund) is taking a different approach, based on community self determination, to alleviate "energy poverty" in parts of the U.S. and around the world. SELF designs and implements sustainable energy solutions in the developing world. In partnership with government, business, and NGOs, SELF has facilitated solar electricity projects in more than 15 countries in the belief that sustainable, solar energy sources will greatly help to meet global challenges of food and water scarcity, climate change and poverty.
In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, SELF is working with the NGO Partners in Health to speed the process of helping all 10 PIH healthcare centers in Haiti run on solar power, so that they will no longer be dependent on diesel fuel, which is expensive, polluting and in short supply after the earthquake. Sadly, Walt Ratterman, one of SELF's staff, was killed in the quake in Port au Prince. A true solar hero, he had been working with SELF since 2006 in Rwanda, Benin, Lesotho and Burundi as well as Haiti, helping SELF implement solar systems and train villagers.
SELF takes the phrase Power to the People seriously, and literally. Their Solar Integrated Development Model is based on principles of Self determination--villagers choose solar electrification projects and determine their own priorities; Self-help--villagers purchase the systems through micro-credit financing; and Self-reliance, where the villager (men and women) are trained in the installation and maintenance of their systems.
It can be overwhelming to contemplate the multiple needs of living beings who are hungry, frightened, uneducated or threatened, and I am so grateful for the thousands of non-profit agencies, like SELF, that are attempting to address these needs in the face of daunting odds. As we reflect today on the hardship brought on by catastrophe and by long-term conditions, the words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda encourage us to reach across the artificial boundaries of nations to help as we can:
They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
of Chiles and of Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it is without a name.
Pablo Neruda: "Too Many Names"

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The great Olympics party will soon be drawing to a close, and it's sure that the hangover will follow close behind as the taxpayers find out how much they will have to cough up. Public funding for the athletes will shrink until the nest needed boost for political optics. The opposition to the Games, however, plans to have some closing ceremonies of their own on the final day. Here, from the Olympic Resistance Network, is the line-up for tomorrow. You pick where these will sit on the podium.
Feb 28: Three events‏
North side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
9 am Sunday the 28th of February
Resistance bike ride! Bikes are green! Olympics are NOT green!
In resistance to these Olympics on stolen native land, to imperialism, hegemony, environmental destruction, criminalization of poverty... we'll ride to support real people in the streets! Come meet us at the VAG to leave very shortly after 9 am!
We will not let the oppressions of the world flow smoothly and be celebrated as a success! Afterward we'll party in the streets to show them that they're gonna to leave, but we're all stayin'!
[ please post far and wide - sorry for cross postings ]
Games Over! Resistance Lives!
*Celebrating Unity & Solidarity*
*Sunday FEB 28th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Smithe and Cambie Followed by celebration at 4:30 pm of 2 weeks of dignity, hope and freedom at Olympic Tent Village. *[ more information on tent village here: ]
Bring the NOISE! Pots, pans, drums and noisemakers welcome! Join us in a noisy public festival to celebrate our communities and our resistance. Just because the IOC says the games are over doesn't mean it's over.
Our struggles for justice as indigenous, migrant, poor, working class and queer communities existed before the Olympic and Paralympic games and will exist after. The games have also provided a spark that we hope will inspire all effected communities to bind together in our coming struggles to attain justice.
These were not the greenest games - they were the corporate greenwash games. They were not the socially responsible games - homelessness tripled as billions were spent on highways and convention centers for the rich. And these games occurred on un-ceded territories where the indigenous communities continue to be on the front lines defending lands from industrial expansion.
In the coming budget BC residents will likely see massive cuts to healthcare, education, affordable housing, public transit, sports and recreation, and other priorities. While the IOC, VANOC and the ableist games will be gone, we are still here!
Join us after the rally at the Olympic Tent Village to celebrate 2 weeks of dignity, hope and freedom. The festivities start at 4:30pm at58 West Hastings.
Meal, drummers and entertainment.
All welcome!
*Solidarity & Unity!
The resistance will continue!
Join us and let's make some NOISE!
* For more information contact: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Please join us to celebrate 2 WEEKS OF DIGNITY, HOPE, AND FREEDOM!
58 W. Hastings, Across Army & Navy
Meal, Drummers, Entertainment
All Welcome!
The Olympic Tent Village was established on Monday February 15 on the empty lot at 58 West Hastings. The lot is owned by Olympic sponsor Concord Pacific, which has plans to build 160 condos on the site. Before being liberated as the Tent Village, the lot was being used as a VANOC parking lot.
Instead of empty lots and empty promises, the Olympic Tent Village calls for:
1. Real action to end homelessness now
2. End condo development and displacement in the Downtown Eastside
3. End discriminatory ticketing, police harassment, and all forms of criminalization of poverty
Press Statement:
The following is the "summing up" press statement from the Olympic Resistance Network.
ORN celebrates success of convergence and promises future action
(Statement to media released earlier this week, also for public distribution)
For Immediate Release PRESS RELEASE - February 25th, 2010
The Olympic Resistance Network celebrates success of convergence and promises future action
VANCOUVER - The Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) has declared the success of the Convergence and protests against the 2010 Winter Olympics as a victory both against the Olympic industry and for local struggles for social and environmental justice. In spite of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) attempts to cover up the human rights and environmental violations of the corporate sponsors and host governments, the mobilization of communities across the country has forced the issues of homelessness, colonization, policing, public debt and environmental destruction into the public debate.
With just a few thousand dollars and volunteer labour, the success of the anti-Olympic movement is truly impressive considering the $6-7 billion budget backing the Olympic Games. The Games have left a clear legacy of resistance, as more than 30 cities across Canada disrupted the torch relay and hundreds of organizers, activists and independent media attended the Convergence from across Canada, the U.S., and internationally. The Convergence began with a two day summit of speakers, panels, and workshops in which hundreds of people participated. February 12th, the day of the Opening Ceremonies, the torch relay was disrupted 3 times in Vancouver alone. That afternoon more than 3500 people marched in the Take Back Our City demonstration that was led by indigenous elders and included environmentalists, faith-based organizations, student groups, migrant justice activists, anti-poverty organizers and many more.
On February 13th, the first full day of competition, the city woke up to the 2010 Heart Attack demonstration which attained its goals of clogging the streets and disrupting "business as usual" by shutting down the Lion's Gate Bridge traffic.(????-Molly)
February 14th, ORN stood in solidarity with the annual Women's Memorial March to honor murdered and missing women from across BC and Canada. The march was the largest in recent memory with at least 4000-5000 people.
On February 15th hundreds of people marched through the streets of downtown Vancouver against militarization and the Olympic police state. That same day, people established a tent city at 58 West Hastings Street, a Concord Pacific property leased to Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC). The site is still occupied so the world can see the ongoing resistance to the impact of the games and the broken bid promises.
The Convergence organized by the ORN provided the infrastructure to support these actions, some of which were coordinated by other groups and organizations. The ORN provided a diversity of ways for the public to get involved and voice their dissent over the Olympics industry. And while there have been suggestions of division within the anti-Olympics movement, organizers remain united in their opposition to the Olympics industry and celebrate the successes of the movement.
"We hope this corporate circus will continue to be confronted where ever it goes in the world by the people that are impacted by the Olympics industry including its sponsors. We hope that people will continue to see this spectacle as another point of resistance in addition to the WTO and G8. The impact of the Olympics on host communities can bring together the local struggles for justice and the struggles for radical change against these larger institutions” says Anna Hunter.
Much has been made of the politically motivated property damage on the morning of February 13th on the accusation that protesters discredited the movement. Yet drunken Olympic fans regularly engage in fist fights on the streets of Vancouver, urinate in alleys and commit random acts of vandalism. Not to mention the numerous security personnel sent home for misconduct. While focusing on a few broken windows, media have ignored the thousands of people that took to the streets fighting for social justice.
In the coming weeks BC residents will witness further cuts to social services. Tar sands pipelines, mines and logging operations continue to try and expand over unceded indigenous territories. And while the IOC, VANOC and the Games will be gone, we will still be here!
Community organizations and individuals that have participated in or supported activities of the ORN continue to fight for justice. On February 28th the ORN will be joining other community organizations in celebrating their resistance to the games and committing to ongoing organizing.
*Games Over! Resistance Lives! - Celebrating Unity & Solidarity*
*Join us Sunday February 28th 1pm at Smithe and Cambie*

Friday, February 26, 2010

Workers at Green Isle Foods, County Kildare Ireland, have been on strike for six months, and some workers are now resorting to a hunger strike to try and make the company see reason. They are asking for your support. Here's the story and appeal from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start. The strikers also have a strike website that you can access here.
Ireland: Trade unionists on hunger strike at Green Isle Foods:
Two trade unionists are on hunger strike outside the Green Isle Foods plant in Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland. They are members of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union. The first of the men began his hunger strike on February 17th, the second on February 24th, a third will join them on March 3rd. They embarked on this action after being left on the picket line for six months because the company, a wholly owned subsidiary of British based conglomerate Northern Foods, rejected every initiative of the Irish state's industrial relations machinery to resolve their dispute. The dispute began over the unfair dismissal of three TEEU members and the company's refusal to recognise the union. It has also refused to accept an Irish Labour Court recommendation that it reinstate the dismissed workers with compensation for lost earnings or pay them €160,000 compensation for the loss of their jobs. Since the hunger strike began the company has finally engaged in talks but we know there will only be a successful outcome if we can increase the pressure generated by the heroic action of these men.
The Letter:
Please go to this link to send the following letter to management at Green Isle Foods.
I will not be putting any more Northern Foods products such as Goodfellas and San Marco pizza, Donegal Catch, Dalepak or Green Isle frozen vegetables in my shopping trolley while this company behaves so callously towards its own employees. It should be ashamed that its behaviour has forced employees to resort to hunger strikes before it will engage with them and their union, and that it has rejected all attempts by the industrial relations machinery of the Irish state, including the Irish Labour Court to resolve this dispute. Recognise the men's right to be in a union and respect the Labour Court's findings if you want my business back.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Once upon a time there was a war. Now it has to admitted that it wasn't much of a war. One side had division after division, a navy, an air force, excellent logistics, an army and the ultimate in artillery. Christ, did they have artillery. The other side, well they had a few ragtag troops, often burdened with outdated weapons or, what was worse, new weapons that were worse than useless, tending to blow up in their hands and hurt the handlers much more than the enemy.

Now the general principle of the smaller army should have been simple...avoid pitched battles, sneak around and wear down the enemy by small victories. The smaller army, however, operated under another handicap...that of some its own soldiers. Now it had been demonstrated over and over during the course of this long war that the larger army had often infiltrated the smaller one and encouraged its agents to sabotage the actions of the small army. Despite this repeated demonstration the smaller army steadfastly refused condemn their so-called "comrades" who did, out of stupidity, what the agents of the larger army did out of guile.

What exactly did they do ? As I said it was a long war. Over the course of over a century the smaller army had been parasitized by some who, when the small army was engaged in a march to achieve a small victory would jump up out of cover, yelling insults at the top of their lungs at the enemy, and, instead of using what little firepower they did have would throw sticks, stones and spittle in the general direction of the large army. Did I mention that the larger army had excellent artillery ?

As time wore on these people seemed to undergo a metamorphosis. Instead of seeming like mad fools who wanted to get themselves killed they would only do their little pantomime when they had a clear route of escape. To say the least they didn't consider it important that the rest of the small army should have such an exit route. In their more honest moments they said that it was "good" that the others had to take the shells because it would make them as "brave" as those who provoked the shelling.

That was all fine and good, but what was really to the detriment of the smaller army was that they occasionally made allies which they would attempt to treat with more or less respect. Some of these allies were actually quite larger than the smaller army. Now, if the 'jump up and yell brigade' had little consideration for their fellow soldiers in the small army they had a great hatred for these allies, much more hatred than they had for the enemy in fact. It was a great source of joy to them that these allies would often take the consequences of their actions. When questioned the screamers would say that it was good that the allies would suffer causalities because that would convince them that the enemy was bad and that no truces could be signed with them. Of course it, more often than not, convinced the allies that the enemy was far less evil than the small army. It was also well beyond the limited comprehension of 'Loud Company' that the allies wouldn't be allies unless they were already convinced of the perfidy of the enemy...until it was demonstrated that the small army was worse.

This situation went on and on and on. In most wars how such a situation would have been dealt with would depend basically upon the availability of transport to military prisons and the humanity of an army in allowing a "psycho-discharge" to such people. The smaller army, however, both because it was small and hated to lose any adherents and also because it was a totally volunteer force that often held up individual freedom over military efficiency usually failed to deal with such disruptive elements in any effective way. There were rare exceptions, such as in the mid-1930s, when the smaller army gained a temporary advantage over the larger in a small area of operations. At the very beginning of that campaign the smaller army put its disruptive elements on notice that their antics wouldn't be tolerated in a serious war. In most other situations the smaller army allowed the yellers the delusion that they were the "real soldiers", and allowed them to insult their comrades (to say nothing of the allies) as much as their little hearts desired.

La guerre continue. The smaller army is burdened by what is probably an inherent genetic tendency to attract its eternal share of perpetual saboteurs, to the great delight of the larger army. There is probably no way to ship all the bastards to the rear and put them to work doing something useful for a change. The best that the small army can do is recognize publicly what their loose cannons are. If nothing else this would make smoothing matters over with the allies easier when they see-rightly- that idiots have messed up their own actions. It might even lead to just enough control, even if not perfect, to prevent at least a few artillery attacks. Without this honest description, which the saboteurs want to avoid at all costs, the small army is remain the small army forever. You cannot run real campaigns with allies when you are burdened with such detrimental adherents.

The following story and appeal for solidarity with workers at Dole Plantations in the Philippines comes from the International Labour Rights Forum
Urgent Solidarity for Dole Workers in the Philippines!:
Workers in the Philippines are just like workers here in the U.S. who want a decent job so that they can provide for their families. Just two weeks ago ILRF staffer Brian Campbell sat down with some unionized workers in the Philippines to learn more about recent change on a Dole plantation there.

Unfortunately what we found out is that things have gotten worse for workers there and especially those workers that have chosen to be part of the independent union. Even more shocking we learned that some of the workers that Brian met with may have been suspended or fired from their jobs within hours of meeting with him.

As ILRF has highlighted in our past two reports on the worst global corporations for recognizing the right of workers to organize, Dole has frequently violated freedom of association. These latest incidents are part of a disturbing pattern of abuse. It's time to tell Dole that this behavior is unacceptable and must end now.

Please join us in expressing your urgent solidarity with union leaders at Dole Philippines.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the managers of Dole Plantations.
I am outraged to learn about recent violations of workers' freedom of association at your pineapple facility in the Philippines.

It is clear that Dole Philippines must immediately change the way in which it engages and negotiates with the union AK-NAFLU-KMU in order to develop a more productive relationship between workers and management. This breakdown in industrial relations at Dole Philippines came as a direct result of the meeting between Kevin Davis, Robert Buranday and military operatives in the Philippines in 2006 where Mr. Davis and Mr. Buranday began working with the military to defeat the workers' democratically elected union AK-NAFLU-KMU at Dole Philippines.

The abuses of trade union rights are unacceptable and must be immediately addressed.
I call on you to take the following actions:
1) Dismiss Dole Philippines managers Kevin Davis and Robert Buranday immediately for working with the military and UR-Dole to conduct an intimidation campaign against the workers and their democratically elected union leaders for the past four years.
2) Cease all support of UR-Dole and denounce its efforts to campaigns against the union AK-NAFLU-KMU.
3) Recognize Jose Teruel and union officers of the independent union AK-NAFLU-KMU at Dole Philippines.
4) Stop violating the collective bargaining agreement and the law and provide all workers the full benefits and protections they workers' have earned.
5) End the growing use of labor-only contracting and ensure all workers enjoy the right to security of tenure.
6) Immediately review all Dole owned facilities and subcontractors for their adherence to international labor standards especially freedom of association as defined by the International Labor Organization.

I look forward to your urgent attention to these critical issues at Dole Philippines and throughout Dole's supply chain.

This March 13th is the International Day Against Police Brutality, and there will be events here in Winnipeg to mark the day. Here, from the facebook page, is the announcement.
International Day against Police Brutality - March, Film and Discussion:
Saturday, March 13, 2010
12:00pm - 5:15pm
Winnipeg Manitoba
Come out and show your opposition to police brutality and misconduct.
March begins at Noon (12) at the park beside Ndinawe - 472 Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg. The march will end at the Magnus Eliasson Resource Centre (Merc), 430 Langside St.
@2:30 we will be serving a lunch at the MERC
@3:00 speakers, film and discussion will take place at the MERC


Well, the end of the snafu plagued 2010 Winter Olympics is drawing nigh, and the opponents of the Games are planning one last gathering to send them off. Here's the notice from the Olympics Resistance Network.
Games Over! Resistance Lives!‏
[ this action is endorsed by the Olympic Resistance Network ] (1)
Games Over!
Resistance Lives!
Celebrating Unity & Solidarity
Sunday FEB 28th, 2010 1PM
Smythe and Cambie Bring the NOISE! Pots, pans, drums and noisemakers welcome!

Join us in a noisy public festival to celebrate our communities and our resistance. Our struggles for justice as indigenous, migrant, poor, working class and queer communities existed before the games and will exist after. The games have also provided a spark that we hope will inspire all affected communities to bind together in our coming struggles to attain justice.

These were not the greenest games - they were the corporate greenwash games. They were not the socially responsible games - homelessness tripled as billions were spent on highways and convention centers for the rich.

And these games occurred on un-ceded territories where the indigenous communities continue to be on the front lines defending lands from industrial expansion.

In the coming budget BC residents likely see massive cuts to healthcare, education, affordable housing, public transit, sports and recreation, and other priorities. While the IOC, VANOC and the games will be gone, we are still here!

Solidarity & Unity!
The resistance will continue!
Join us and let's make some NOISE!
For more information contact:
By my memory the Olympics Resistance Network has yet to have to say that a given demonstration is sponsored by them. One can only hope that this implies (though given the situation in the anarchist community in Vancouver it could never be said openly) that they have determined to keep a tight rein on their nutters and not allow them to expose others to the consequences of their actions. I certainly hope so. If they do manage to contain the "heroes of the broken window" then they might do something to repair the damage that has been done to what was originally an inspired campaign of alliance building.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Down in the province of Québec public sector workers have formed a 'Common Front' for negotiations with the provincial government. To say the least this is a necessary tactic if the workers are to avoid being picked off one by one, and this sort of thing should be broadly imitated. The negotiations are "heating up", and last Monday 3,000 union members demonstrated in Québec City to put pressure on the government. here's the story from CTV Montréal.
Public sector workers demonstrate in Quebec City
Some 3,000 public sector workers demonstrated in Quebec City on Monday as they near the end of their five-year contract and continue contract talks with the government.

The unionized workers are calling on the Charest government for a salary increase of 11.25 per over three years, while the province is offering seven per cent over five years.

The last contract was imposed by a government decree, but union leaders say relations with the government have improved since then.

"I still believe that Jean Charest and his people would prefer to have a collective agreement agreed with the unions than impose another decree," said Michel Arsenault, president of the FTQ.

Arsenault said Quebec needs to pay salaries comparable to other public sector workers in other parts of Canada.

"They are hiring people and two years after these people are leaving the government and going to the private sector because there's more money there," Arsenault said.

He also said workers are also frustrated about the increased use of private company employees in public service.

"It's a shame to see contractors making 120 to 125 per cent more than our own people and doing the same job. It makes no sense."

While both sides appear to want to have a deal by March 31, the unions are planning another – and larger – demonstration for March 20 in Montreal.
Here, from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is more on what is at stake in the recent bargaining.
Quebec Common Front: "Time is running out!"
Following last Friday’s meeting between the Common Front and Treasury Board President Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, spokespersons for the Common Front - Lucie Martineau of the Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP), Claudette Carbonneau of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and Michel Arsenault of the Québec Federation of Labour (FTQ) - have asked the government to step up negotiations and give some tangible signals so that the talks can move forward.

They stress that "with just thirty-eight days remaining, everything must be done to try to reach a deal by the time the collective agreements expire on March 31. However, it is clear that, if this is going to happen, a serious change of course is required on the part of the government."

The Common Front unions want to intensify the discussions in order to ensure progress. They do not want to see negotiations bogged down because of a few sticking points at the sectoral tables.

The unions have agreed on a deadline of March 20 for a new appraisal stage in the negotiations. Until then, they will make every effort to resolve the impasse at the negotiating tables and will negotiate diligently and in good faith.

In the workplace, employees in the public and parapublic sectors are displaying a sticker to remind the government that “Time is running out” and to show solidarity with the 3,000 representatives who have gathered in Québec City during the negotiations.

The Common Front is asking for a three-year employment contract with salary increases of 3.75% per year, which would protect the workers’ purchasing power and narrow the wage gap between public sector employees and other Québec workers. The union organizations believe that the government's proposals are insufficient, because they would leave state employees on the road to impoverishment and exclude any possibility for salary catch-up or participation in collective wealth.

The Common Front includes all the major unions in the public and parapublic sectors in Québec, including unions grouped together in the SISP (CSQ, FIQ, SFPQ, SPGQ and APTS), the CSN (FSSS, FEESP, FNEEQ and FP) and the FTQ (CUPE, SQEES, COPE and UES).
What is the 'Common Front' ? Here's a good explanation from Nicolas Phébus, published last December at the Ontario platformist site Linchpin.
Quebec public sector unions unite in a "Common Front"
By Nicolas Phébus
Quebec correspondent
On Oct. 30, the public sector unions in Québec made their central demands for the negotiations with the province. Under the banner "together for public services", they are demanding a negotiated agreement that includes better pay, improved retirement plans and accommodation of workers family commitments. The demands are backed by a “Common Front” of unions representing 475,000 workers in health care, social services, education, public service and government agencies. While the mobilization is not yet impressive, and may never become, some unions and activists are taking positive steps for wider grassroots participation.

As the unions put it in their collective bargaining statement, "our working conditions are increasingly difficult, and in many sectors there are real problems in attracting new workers and keeping the employees we already have".

"We are concerned", they say, "because our pay is often less that the going rates in the private sector and many people prefer to work elsewhere rather than serve the citizens of Québec." Actually, recent studies from the government’s own agency show that the average public sector wage of $36,000 lags behind the general population by 7.7%.

The unions are demanding an 11.25% wage hike over the next three years. But wages are not everything, they are also pressing for improvement to the government retirement plan. But the major issue could be what they call "conciliation travail-famille", which is an issue that is rising to prominence all over Quebec. It calls for accommodation for workers to deal with family commitments, such as taking some time off work if their kid is sick. This is especially relevant in an industry where 75% of the workers are women and a full third is precarious, working irregular hours. In addition to adjustments in the collective agreements, unions are demanding a law that would apply to the whole working class.

Today's public sector Common Front is the largest since the infamous 1972 Common Front which led the whole working class into an illegal general strike that took an insurrectionary character. While not exactly the same mood, the 2009 Common Front is impressive because it's taking place after a major split in the public sector unions following the 2005 negotiations which ended in a repressive government decree. The bargaining strategy of the Common Front is also "historical" in a way. The demands were ready and made on the very day the negotiations could legally start, 5 months before the government decree will expire. The labour leadership clearly wants fast negotiations and that's why they limited the demands. Actually, their biggest demand is probably this: a negotiated agreement. Anything would do, as long as the unions can get away without having another decree that limits their activity stuffed down the throats of their members. If they succeed it would be the first time since 1999.

For the moment, the mobilization is not yet impressive on the ground. There was a successful provincial tour to present the demands to the members and 2000 people attended a gathering in Québec City to deliver the demands. But according to many activists, the mobilization has not yet reached the workplaces. People are still bitter from the last negotiations and are in a mood "not to be fooled again". Some unions and activists are taking positive steps to get some grassroots input. One example of this is the Confederation Des Syndicats Nationaux which is using the web in a more creative way. They decided to open up communication by creating an open publishing website with the common "web 2.0" features --including a blog-- where every member (and the public) can create an account to post comments and even their own stories. To date grassroots activists have been trained in 200 different unions to use this new tool. So far, some 101 stories have been posted to the "news" section of the web site by its users. Hopefully, this is only a sign of things to come.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This might be one of those rare instances of "truth in advertising". Down illinois way the 'Whirlpool Corporation' very much lived up to its name as it sucked up $19 million in bailout money. Ah, but now this great sucker seems poised to spit out jobs, to the tune of 1,100 workers. To say the least this is not the only corporation that has violated the spirit if not the letter of the US Adminisration's economic bailout. So far the US government has done little than wring its hands at the many instances. The Jobs With Justice Coalition hopes to do more. Here's their appeal.
Save Jobs in America's Heartland:‏
Americans are angry, and for good reason.
Corporate greed and reckless Wall Street speculators created the worst economic crisis in a generation -- and big businesses like Whirlpool are continuing to put their profits ahead of the needs of workers and our communities.
Sign the petition to save 1,100 jobs in America's heartland.
Whirlpool Corporation took $19 million in economic recovery funds -- but now plans to eliminate 1,100 good jobs by shutting down a world-class plant in Evansville, Indiana.
JwJ is joining the AFL-CIO and IUE-CWA in mobilizing against this plant closure, and petitions will be delivered to Whirlpool this coming Friday, Feb 26 at a major march led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Sign the petition today! And forward to your friends to sign!
If you are in the area near Evansville, IN and can come to the rally on Friday, Feb 26, please click here to let us know:
Whirlpool is one of many examples of the jobs emergency faced in our country. Toyota, Hugo Boss and other big companies are threatening closures. Public services our communities need and the jobs to provide those services are being cut.
JwJ and our allies have called for mobilizations across the country during March to send a wake-up call to Congress demand bold action to save and create jobs. Check out the JwJ blog for more info:
Sign this petition either via email (please see directions below) or via the web at:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
We encourage you to take action by March 1, 2010
Save Jobs in the Heartland-Whirlpool
We the undersigned call on Whirlpool Corp. to reverse its decision to close its Evansville, Indiana, plant, send work toMexico and eliminate 1,100 good jobs. With record profits and economic recovery funds that should be creating jobs in this country, Whirlpool should not turn its back on America.

Monday, February 22, 2010

As has been mentioned previously on this blog this year marks the centennary of the foundation of the Confedracion Nacional de Trabajo, the Spanish CNT. The CNT was the most sucessful of all anarchist organizations in history, and its legacy lives on in many anarchosyndicalist groups both within Spain and outside of it. As I mentioned previously I will be presenting various items about this history over the course of the year. The statements on this centennaryof the two larger Spanish anarchosyndicalist organizations, the CGT and the CNT have already been presented here. See here for the statement of the CGT and here for that of the CNT.
There is another, smaller anarchosyndicalist federation in Spain, Solidaridad Obrera. This organization came out of a split from the CGT, and, speaking somewhat simplictically, it may b seen as being "half-way" between the CGt and the CNT. In terms of icdeological affinity it is the Spanish organization that I personally favour the most. I do, however, recognize that it is something of an exercise in futility. For better or worse the CGT represents well over 90% of anarchosyndicalists in Spain today. Solidaridad Obrera is basically confined to the area of Madrid and one Catalan city.
Still, their voice desreves to be heard on this anniversary as they are also one of the heirs of the CNT. Their statement, translated from one of their journals Contramarchas, follows below. This statement takes both the CGT and the CNT to task for their celebrations of the centennary. A cynic might say that this criticism is something of "sour grapes" as SO doesn't have the numbers to do what the larger federations can do. On the other hand they make very good points about the need for unity amongst the anarchosyndicalists of Spain in presenting the ideals today. How far this unity can go when there is at least one real tactical difference ie whether to participate in workplace elections or not is questionable. This is something real and much more important than the nitpicking matters of "theory" ie opinion that usually divide leftist groups. Still, there is a great "continent" of opportunity for cooperation amongst the groups that is away from this question, and SO is right in that such cooperation should be encouraged as much as possible. The same perhaps applies to other anarchist groups with different agendas elsewhere in the world, though there the differences may be much more profound.
In any case here is their statement on the Centennary.
Between the end of the nineteenth and the start of the early twentieth century, the ideal of worker’s social emancipation permeated large sections of the working class, not precisely like it occurs today. In recent years we have been celebrating anniversaries that we believe are very important (and that we are now very far from being able to repeat) with the intention of disseminating them amongst the workers . Without going much further we have just commemorated in our magazine Solidarity No 15 (Autumn 2009), the 75th anniversary of the Asturian Revolution and the centennary of the Tragic Week, two milestones in terms of the working class confrontation with tyrants (the Second Republic and Alfonso XIII, respectively), without leaders or hierarchies, which put the system in check and which it bloodily suppressed by using the army against the people on both occasions. They filled the jails of all those who bothered them, especially labour militants, and in the case of the Tragic Week forged a shoddy setup to “legally” assassinate Ferrer Y Guardia and permanently close the Modern School, for the greater joy of the Church, which as happens at present, dominates education to conveniently indoctrinate new generations.
Despite all that persecution and repression, Solidaridad Obrera (a union created by socialists and anarchists in Barcelona in 1907 and since then involved in establishing itself in Catalonia) convened its third congress, calling, at the same time, for participation from all the local organizations in the rest of Spain. That Congress decided to build a new state-wide organization to "hasten the economic emancipation of the working class through the revolutionary expropriation of the bourgeoisie ...". Thus was born the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, the anarchist union that would bring together the most militant and revolutionary parts of the labour movement and realize the greatest feats of the workers’ struggle up to 1939: The strike of 1911, underground activity, the revolutionary strike of 1917 with the UGT, The Canadiense strike in 1919, the consequent 8 hours day, the strike against the war in Morocco in 1923, underground activity, the rent strike in 1930, the occupation of the Duro Felguera in 1931, the insurgent uprisings of 1932 and 33 (Casas Viejas), the Zaragoza strike in 1934, the Asturian Revolution (UHP) in 1934, the construction strike in Madrid in 1936, the collectivisation of industry, services and agriculture ... It had to be ended by means of death, horror and blood as the fascists, military and church, led by the Criminalísimo Franco (the biggest murderer of workers in history ) ended this trajectory.
This centennial is claimed both by the current CNT, and by the CGT (which in its manifesto "100 years of anarcho-syndicalism" openly declares itself as anarchist). Both organizations prepare, each for its side and not without some polemics (If anarchosyndicalism is 140 years old and not 100, then we must ask when did the CGT begin?), concerts, conferences, lectures, debates and exhibitions for this celebration. In our opinion, an unnecessary waste of money for mere self-aggrandizement and to keep on sowing discord between the two organizations.
In Solidaridad Obrera on the occasion of this anniversary, we have given our members José Peirats’ trilogy "The CNT in the Spanish Revolution "(2nd Ed 1988), a great work that recounts the accomplishments of our companions in that first part of the twentieth century. We would like it if the centenary was a cause of contact between the anarcho-syndicalist organizations and workers in general, and was used to disseminate the principles, the realized struggle and the news of workers’ self-organization that is currently outside the institutionalized unions. In this sense we set forth proposals that will promote unity and disseminate its results. While we must say that we start from a situation unfavourable for the unitary proposals to succeed, as each organization seeks more the reaffirmation of their own different postulates than the road to anarchosyndicalist unification, so necessary so that the working class can stand up the fierce attacks that we're suffering.