A blog devoted to anarchism, socialism, evolutionary biology, animal behavior and a whole raft of other subjects
Monday, December 31, 2007
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007
NY TIME NOW; ISSUE # 27:
Issue number 27(fall and winter 2007) of the anarchist newsletter 'Any Time now:For Social Anarchism' is now available in both print format and as a downloadable pdf at the zine's website. To view the magazine online go to said website. To order a print copy send a donation to Any Time Now, c/o Affinity Place. Argenta BC V0G 1B0, Canada.
The latest issue begins with a retrospect by the founder, Larry Gambone, on the last 10 years of ATN's life (it existed in a previous form before that), how the anarchist movement has grown and also matured. It gives a basic history of the politics of ATN, and how it defined itself as non-sectarian and committed to outreach to ordinary practical people. Often the second imperative overcame the first as ATN has not been loath to criticize what it saw as destructive trends in anarchism. What ATN has always promoted are, as Gambone says, "practical, people-oriented syndicalist, anarchist communist, communitarian and mutualist groups", something that has grown exponentially in the last decades while the supporters of terrorist options, violence, primitivism, half-baked 'post-leftism' and simple plain craziness have lost ground. While being firmly "left-anarchist", ATN has also extended a hand to the growing number of 'left-libertarians' in the USA who, however much they may differ from traditional anarchists in philosophy end up supporting the same things in terms of practical politics. Gambone ends his introduction with a statement of what he sees the role of ATN as being in the new situation of a growing anarchism, and he reaffirms the role of this zine as one of bridge-builder, independent of but supportive of all the truly constructive trends in this growing movement. An independent !!! voice that can go beyond organizational loyalties, criticize where it is needed and try and build sympathy amongst different groups when that is what is needed.
The latest ATN contains a lot more than just the introduction, 'Ten Years After'. There are excerpts from 'Why I Am an Anarchist', originally published in The Cunningham Amendment, an article 'The Witch Hunts' (on the European witch craze)from the Purple Thistle Centre of Vancouver and a general update on the state of anarchism in the UK. There's also an article 'Eminent Domain' on the ability of government, and big business via the government, to expropriate property for some presumed "higher use", and also a report on the recent formation of the BC Anarchist Writers' Group. One of the editors, Dick Martin, weighs in with his opinions of decision making in 'Consensus/Democracy', being on neither one side or the other but rather pointing out how these two different processes belong in two different realms. Or rather of how consensus is the "fine structure" of larger direct democracy organizations. The issue concludes with an article, 'A Journey Through Three Anarchist News Providers' , comparing the A-Infos, LibCom and Anarkismo internet sites. The author is the same little overweight calico cat who meows at you here.
There's lots more in this issue. Short news items. Reviews of other publications. Much more. See the website http://www.atnzine.net for more details and the complete issue.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
TELL WEBKITZ TO STOP ONLINE ADVERTISING:
Webkitz, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting its users with outside advertising. The site is already commercial- children must buy a Webkitz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently using the site to sell millions of Webkitz stuffed animals wasn't enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkitz), and now they're selling their young users to advertisers. To make matters worse, Ganz didn't bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkitz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. By opening the site to advertisers, Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents' trust and children's' well being.
The 'Parents' Area' of Webkitz does not mention that the site now includes advertising. Webkitz is currently marketing the film Alvin and the Chipmunks. In addition to banner ads, the site is encouraging young users to actively engage with the movie by purchasing specially designed chipmunk costumes and food for their virtual pets. Bee Movie -a film that partnered with McDonald's , General Mills and Brachs', and has dozens of licensed products-was promoted in a similar way.
As children spend more and more time on the web., they are increasingly targeted by internet marketing. Webkitz's decision to take outside ads is reminiscent of Neopets, another popular online destination for children which went from being ad-free to including product placement on their site for McDonald's and other brands as well as launching their own line of cereal. the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is launching a media campaign (including a story in the New York Times) to inform parents about advertising on Webkitz and to convince Gatz to end it. To read more and to join this campaign go to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood website.
UNITE/T&G TARGETS RETAILERS IN CAMPAIGN FOR EQUAL TREATMENT FOR MEAT WORKERS:
The T&G section of the UK union Unite has launched a national campaign to pressure major retailers to pressure their suppliers to agree to minimum standards for all meat workers. The campaign launch targeted Marks & Spencer. which has invested massively in promoting their allegedly ethical, socially responsible standards for suppliers, with actions at M&S shops across the UK.
The T&G is demanding equal treatment for the agency and temporary workers who make up a growing percentage of the workforce in this sector, along with clear labelling. The union has set up an online petition for supporters to sign on to this campaign. To read more and to help out go to the IUF site at http://iuf.org . See the section under 'News', rather than 'Urgent Actions'.