Friday, April 30, 2010

As long as we're gliding (stumbling ??) on the path that is off the beaten path here's another one I recently come across---the 'Rebel Dog' website. Over there in Greece, the land where they riot more times a day than they eat, it seems that there's a strange apparition that manages to show up at all the exciting places. The 'Rebel Dog' has been spotted at pretty well every demonstration, riot, etc., and now he has his own website devoted to photos of his exploits. Despite government efforts of mass slaughter leading up to the Olympics Greece is infested with stray dogs and cats. The cats are something else. So flea infested that, if the cat is dozing in a place not warm enough for the bugs the fleas lift up the cat and carry it to a warmer location. Am I kidding ???
This website is great. Amuse yourself by taking a gander at what should become a new mascot for the international anarchist movement. Totally incredible. Move over Black Cat. There's a new anarchy symbol in town. You know it's been four years since we were in Greece, but I swear I saw exactly this dog rooting through the garbage on the square near Mitropolis. I know. I know. A lot of stray dogs look very much the same, but I can have my dreams. In any case, here's the intro to the website. Take a peek. It's well worth it. Is it a spoof (the bugger has a collar on) ? I don't know. What I do know and you will too if you look at the photos is that this dog is a survivor big time.
A photographic series of a rebellious stray dog in Athens
To Rebel Dog μπλογκ ειναι ενα προτζεκτ σε εξέλιξη. Θα συνεχίσουμε να προσθέτουμε φωτογραφίες, καταγράφοντας την ιστορία των διαδηλώσεων στην Αθήνα με κοινό παρονομαστή τον ρεμπελο σκυλο. Αν έχετε φωτογραφίες του, μπορείτε να τις στείλετε στο (παρακαλούμε, μόνο του συγκεκριμένου σκυλου)

The Rebel Dog blog is a work in progress. We will keep on adding more photos of this rebel dog. If you want to contribute to this series of photos please send your photo to (please, just photos of the specific dog)

Now for something a bit off the beaten path. The following mini science fiction story is from the British LibCom site. I admit it's something of an in joke, and non-anarchist readers of this blog (the vast majority of visitors) might not get the point. To anarchists outside of the primmie/post leftist cult, however, it will be amusing. To help the non-anarchists reading this I will say that there is a small section of the anarchist movement, mostly American, who think that a free society involves "abolishing civilization". Yeah, I know this is something like admitting that one has a cousin who exposes himself to small children. All that I can say is that this view is not that of the general anarchist movement at any time in its history, is not that of any large segment of anarchists today and certainly is not mine. Ok, enough explanations and disclaimers. Here's the story. Enjoy.
A communist encounter with the anti-authoritarian warrior society
Several decades after the global libertarian communist revolution, a worker-delegate travels to the rewilded former Canada to carry out a humanitarian mandate...

The sound of engines droned in the air. Below, the serried ranks of dirty, ragged people toiling in the organic turnip fields paused in their labour and raised their faces to the sky, their eyes wide with wonder. Such a sound had not been heard in Hippyshit Sustainable Human Settlement for decades. Across the valley, the unmistakable silhouette of a helicopter could be seen making a beeline for the collection of decrepit huts where the locals dragged themselves off to bed each night after the day's back breaking work was done. A murmur of dull resentment rises from the onlookers. "Syndies"


Worker no. 365759 turned to the pilot. “How much further is it, no. 214119?” he asked, craning his neck to get a better look at the terrain as the sleek, grey flying machine sped over the undulating hills of what, back in the day, had been known as Canada. The landscape was breathtaking. The advent of cold fusion, some decades ago, had drastically reduced the need for land – what with virtually limitless power, multi-storey farms, and no reason to expand production further, huge swathes of land were left to revert to pristine wilderness.

“We're almost at the place,” said the pilot laconically, chewing on the end of a toothpick as he spoke. “Give it another five minutes and you'll be able to see it, over that ridge.”

Worker looked where the pilot had pointed, and saw a broad clearing on the side of the hill they were approaching. If he squinted, he thought he could see a group of people, spaced out at regular intervals along narrow ridges that cut across the stretch of brown earth. For a moment, he wondered what on earth they could be doing – then he remembered. Of course, they were farming... but by hand? Or were those clumsy things they were holding ploughs of some sort?

“Damn primmos,” muttered Worker's fellow passenger, no. 743101. “Why the fuck do they get charity. They choose to live in the dirt they should deal with it.”

Worker shrugged. “It's not like we need any of it,” he said. “It's mostly junk that gets rejected by the planning bureaus, or whatever left in the communal storehouse. And besides, a lot of them don't know any different – there's kids down there that've only heard stories about civilization.”

“Yeah, I guess,” said 743101, staring pensively out of the window.



The Wise Guy of Hippyshit was not pleased. He glared down at the frightened child standing before him, her toy clasped in her grubby fist. Behind her, a crowd of sustainable humans looked on with disapproval.

“That is not cool, bro,” he said, shaking his finger authoritatively. “You know the rules – we'll have no round wheels in this town.”

The girl looked at the wooden toy in her hands, dejectedly. It was a simple thing, a block of wood with a couple of axles and four, uneven wheels, with a string attached.

“Are you... sure, about this, Bill?” asked one of the sustainable humans, tentatively. “I mean, they look sort of... useful. At any rate, they've got to be better than the triangular ones we're using at the moment...”

The crowd turned to the dissenter, glaring. Bill adopted a pitying tone. “Don't you, like, understand?” He said, stroking his matted, fucking disgusting beard with one hand as he spoke. “Round wheels are like, authoritarian. That's capitalist technology man. The triangular wheel is liberating. Round wheels, like, just exist to conform to capitalist notions of efficiency...” There were nods at assent at this. “If we have round wheels, the next thing you know we'll have schools, prisons, banks...”

He got no further in his exposition of the evils of capitalist technology, as at that moment, with a thunderous roar, the dark shape of a helicopter appeared over the roofs of the village.

“Oh SHIT!” shouted Bill. “It's the Syndies, man! I always knew this day would come! They're back, and they've come to impose their technology on us! Bad vibes, dude!”


The chopper set down in the village square – or the village irregular shape, since straight lines had been out of favour at the time it was constructed. It was made of uneven cobbles that had been worn smooth over the decades by the tramp of exhausted feet out to the fields and back again, day after day after day.

A crowd gathered quickly as the two workers and pilot began to unload. The adults mostly looked suspicious or hostile, but the children seemed fascinated with the novelty of this vast metal thing from the sky. Some began to edge closer to the chopper, dodging their parents attempts to drag them back.

Bill arrived just as the last of the supplies were being unloaded, his face contorted in a scowl of defiance. “Stay back!” he called to the sustainable humans crowding around the machine. “Keep well back, dudes and dudettes! You don't want to like, become a part of the technology and not the other way around!”

Worker looked at the man quizzically. Turning, he pulled out his iPhone, where he had saved a pdf of his mandate from the delegates' council back in Vancouver Municipal Commune.

“People of Hippyshit,” he read, “due to the rampant disease and malnourishment which is apparently causing widespread infant mortality in your community, the workers of VMC have elected to send you this surplus of medical supplies and dietary supplements for the care of pregnant women and children. We understand you perfect right to free association, and to live where and how you choose – however, we feel kind of bad about how many of you seem to be dying of the common cold. As a consequence, please accept this donation as a gesture of goodwill...”

Worker trailed off. The hostility of the crowd had deepened.

“They're trying to spread (impose) their evil Frankenstein technology on us, and they doubtless have few homosexual friends!” cried Bill, gesturing at the helicopter. “Anti-authoritarian warriors, attack!”

With that word, a mass of malnourished, diseased, filthy hippies flung themselves at the workers and began to beat at them with their fists. Cries of "For Hippyshit!" and "Smash the megamachine!" could be heard, as the crowd hurled themselves at the invaders.

“Fuck this shit!” shouted Worker over the din. “Back in the chopper!”

“Right behind you!” shouted the pilot, picking up two particularly gross specimens by their dreadlocks and knocking their heads together.

The three of them fought their way to the helicopter doors, and closed them on the mob outside. “Floor it!” Worker yelled to the pilot. He didn't have to be told twice; the helicopter roared into the air, leaving the crowd of howling primitivists behind.

“On second thoughts,” said worker, wiping primmo blood off onto his jeans, "you were right. Fuck 'em.”

Note: this fan fiction was inspired by billblake, unhinged author of 'Of Martial Traditions & the Art of Rebellion'.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



Our local branch of the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union here in Winnipeg is as active as ever. Speaking of May Day (see last post) the IWW has brought out a special May Day edition of the Winnipeg Wobbly. Check it out, especially for the announcements of events here in this burg surrounding the month long May Works (May Day on steroids ????). Here's the announcement from the Winnipeg Wobbly Blog.

Winnipeg Wobbly #4: May Day Special
Check out the new special May Day edition of our newsletter, the Winnipeg Wobbly!

Included in this edition:

**May Day: The REAL Labour Day
**Party Politics don't Work
**The Belgrade 6 are free!
**Report Back from Winnipeg Israeli Apartheid Week
**Selected Events from the MayWorks Festival

Click Here For The Winnipeg Wobbly Vol. 1 Issue 4

The following statement of workers' organizations in Iran is a translation published at the Facebook group 'Support Workers' Councils in Iran'. Workers' councils are one method of both workers' struggle against the state and other bosses in 'revolutionary times' and also one method whereby people have tried to organize production outside of the system of management direction. In Iran today some of the most repressed segments of society are those workers who are struggling for their rights in the face of the clerical regime's unwavering support for the employer class. Should the clerical fascist regime ever be overthrown you can be assured that an independent workers' movement will play an utterly critical role in its downfall. Until that day Iranian workers continue to hold the line against both boss and state. Here is their statement on the international labour day- May Day.
Joint May Day, International Workers Day, Resolution (Workers Organizations in Iran)
May 1st is the international day of working-class solidarity and the day of global protest against poverty, destitution, and injustice. On this day, millions of workers the world over stop work, take over the streets, and express their anger and disgust at the numerous ...problems the capitalist system has visited on humanity, and loudly call for freedom from oppression, exploitation, and for building a better day. While voices of protest against the hardships inflicted by the capitalist system and calls for justice for workers the world over are heard on May 1st, there is a ban on celebrations of the occasion in Iran.
At this moment, the workers who organized last year’s May Day events have been sentenced to prison or are on the brink of receiving heavy sentences and dozens of labor leaders and activists are in jail for setting up labor organizations and defending their right to do so. This lack of social rights for workers has been the order of the day in Iran for the three decades since the February 1979 revolution, which reduced wages to a quarter below the poverty line. Routine are long delays in the payment of wages, layoffs and unemployment for masses of workers. Temporary and blank contracts, ubiquitous today, have forced a hellish situation on millions of workers and their families. To ensure higher profits, capital is hell-bent on taking the last loaves from the tables of millions of workers and redirecting them to the valets of owners, by closing down plants and cutting public subsidies.
But as we, the workers of Iran showed in the 1979 revolution and in more recent years, we will not tolerate this misery and injustice. Despite prisons and repression, the people of Iran will resist this trampling on our most basic human rights and will not allow our lives and subsistence to be destroyed any further. We are the principle producers of the wealth and riches in the society. It is our inalienable right to reap the rewards of our labors. While protesting these conditions, which have put Iranian workers and the majority of the Iranian people under enormous duress, we stress the following rights and call for the immediate and unconditional implementation of all of them:
1. Organizations independent of the government and employers, strikes, protests, demonstrations, assembly, and free speech are our inalienable rights; these demands should be recognized as unconditional social rights of workers and all Iranian people.
2. We see the cutting of subsidies (management of aid) and the minimum wage as a gradual death sentence on millions of workers and their families. We call for an immediate halt to these plans and demand an increase of the minimum wage.
3. All back wages owed to workers should be paid immediately, without any excuses; the non-payment of wages should be considered a criminal act – wage theft – and the damages incurred paid to the workers.
4. Expulsions and layoffs of workers should be stopped and all those laid off or of retirement age who can work should receive unemployment benefits in accordance with a dignified, humane living.
5. We demand the eradication of temporary and blank contracts, job security for all workers and wage earners, the highest standards of health care and safety on the job and the eradication of all governmental bodies from the workplace.
6. We call for an end to capital punishment and the immediate and unconditional release of Ibrahim Maddadi, Mansour Osaloo, Ali Nejati, and all labor and other social and protest movement activists from prison, and a halt to judicial prosecution against them.
7. While condemning any attacks on workers and people’s protests, we see protests against injustice and declaring one’s opinion as inalienable rights of workers and all people.
8. We demand the repeal of all discriminatory laws against women and full and unconditional equality of women and men in all aspects of social, economic, political, cultural, and family spheres.
9. We demand a dignified life of well-being devoid of economic worries for retirees and the eradication of all discrimination in payment of pensions and entitlement to social security and health care.
10. Child labor should be eradicated, and all children, regardless of the economic and social standing of their parents, gender, national, racial, and religious backgrounds, should enjoy equal and free education, welfare, and health care benefits.
11. We declare our support for all social liberation movements and strongly condemn the arrest, sentencing, and incarceration of these movements’ activists.
12. While declaring our strong support for the demands of the teachers, nurses, and other working strata of the society, we see ourselves as their allies and call for the immediate realization of their demands.
13. We are part of the world labor movement and as such condemn the expulsions and any kind of discrimination against Afghan and other nationalities of immigrant workers, for any reason. 14. While appreciating all the international support for the struggle of the workers of Iran and strong support for the protests and demands of workers all over the world, we see ourselves as their allies and now more than ever emphasize the international solidarity of workers to overcome the perils of the capitalist system.
15. May 1st should be a national holiday and included in the official calendar and all illegalities and limitations on its celebration should be eliminated.
Long live May 1st,
Long live the international solidarity of workers!
May 1, 2010, Ordibehesht 11, 1389 Tehran and Municipality Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate Haft Tapeh Sugar Refinery Workers Syndicate Free Assembly of Iranian Workers Re-inauguration board of Metal and Mechanical Syndicate Re-inauguration board of Painting Workers Syndicate Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Trade Society Pursuing Committee for the Formation of Free Workers Organizations Coordination Committee for support of the Formation of Workers Organizations Support Society for Laid off and Unemployed Workers in Saghez Women’s Council
Source: Iran Labor Report

Wednesday, April 28, 2010



Another Workers' Memorial Day has come and gone, and still the carnage continues. The death toll from workplace accidents worldwide is actually on the level of 6,000 per day or about 2.2 million per year. As such this particular "war against workers" is actually far more deadly than any actual war waged in recent memory, and it shows no sign of stopping. See this report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) for a full view of the grim statistics. The cause is simple. When humanity is divided into order givers (the bosses) and order takers (the workers) then those who direct the work do not put the highest priority on the interests of those they use in production. This applies to government enterprise just as much as it does to private business.

The solution is also just as simple...economic democracy where the conditions and goals of workplaces are controlled cooperatively by all who work in them. Some might argue that at least some workplace deaths and injuries are inevitable. Maybe so, but it hinges on what you mean by "some". Even in our pseudo-democratic societies the rate of such tragedies varies tremendously from country to country (and from region to region in federal states). In the EU, for instance, the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers varies from a low of 1.1 in the UK to a high of 7.6 in Portugal. This variation is not just a function of general economic development. Prosperous Austria has a higher rate (4.8) than Greece (3.0) or Spain (3.7). See here for the details. What these figures show is that the rate of such incidents is very much a function of the prevailing industrial culture in a given jurisdiction.
Deaths at the workplace and work related illnesses are not the inevitable result of simple chance. The differences in the figures above show that even with the minimal effort that business serving governments can put in that at least 85% of these deaths are preventable. What i am saying is that, if workers run the workplaces themselves that the percentage that can be prevented is an unknown number far greater than 85%.
This war on the workers is not one that can end with a peace treaty and not just because it is an undeclared war. The very nature of a society divided into those who work and those who direct means that the directors will inevitably cut corners when the welfare of the employees interferes with the goals of the bosses. This war can only end when workplaces are owned and run cooperatively. That is what is called libertarian socialism.

April 28 is International Workers' Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember the millions of workers killed or injured either on the job or by workplace related illness. A list of events across the world can be seen at this article from Hazards magazine. Here in Canada Molly urges you to check out the website of the Canadian Injured Workers Society, especially their article 'What's Wrong With Workers Compensation'. I'll will have a lot more to say about this day later, but for now here is the statement of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on this day.
Remember the dead, fight for the living

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured as a result of unhealthy work environments.

This day is particularly important for CUPE members as it was CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee, who in 1984, first proposed the idea for a day to honour workers injured or killed at work. This year will mark the 26th National Day of Mourning and it will be recognized in more than a hundred countries around the world.

Conservative estimates report that on average, three Canadian workers are killed every day. That means in a typical year, there are approximately 1,000 workers killed in Canada. Add these statistics to the approximately one million workplace injuries and thousands of workers that are made sick or diseased by their work or workplaces in Canada.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, reports that more than two million people worldwide die from occupational accidents or work-related diseases every year. The ILO conservatively estimates that there are 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million cases of occupational disease across the globe every year. Many of these injuries are not reported, compensation for workers and their families is limited, and penalties for employers and management are rarely imposed.

Today in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, ceremonies are being held to recognize workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace during the last year.

CUPE remembers the following local union members who lost their lives while on the job this past year.

++Clifford Payne, 63, CUPE 3148, school bus driver in Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador
++Sheldon Miller, 29, CUPE 189, maintenance worker in Medicine Hat, Alberta
++Jacques Tremblay, 55, Chief Equipment Mechanic, section locale 1500 du SCFP, (CUPE 1500) Forestville, Quebec
++James Best, 34, CUPE 416, municipal worker in Toronto, Ontario
++Pierre Leclerc, 57, section locale 301 du SCFP (CUPE 301), Pierrefonds, Quebec

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The following appeal for solidarity with a Toronto mother and her child is from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). The support demonstration is tomorrow.

Please Help them Keep their Housing
Meet at Doors of Toronto City Hall, Wednesday, April 28 at Noon
Basra is a young mother who has been denied any income by Toronto Social Services. Her husband lives in the US and was applying to live in Canada. At this point, his intentions are unclear and Basra has not had contact with him for some time. Social Services is demanding that he come to Toronto before they will provide income. Basra is in no position to compel him to do this but is being denied basic income and faces eviction from her housing.
OCAP is in the process of challenging this outrageous decision but the family is now in crisis and must cover the cost of rent and groceries. We are asking for help in two ways. If you are able to make any contribution to help his woman and child, mail a cheque to OCAP at 10 Britain St, Toronto M5A 1R6, payable to OCAP but earmarked 'Help with the Rent'. Alternatively, you can show up at City Hall on the 28th and give your support then.
There is one other way to help. This kind of abuse is dished out to people by the Toronto welfare system all the time. It happens without public knowledge because the poor don't have an Auditor General at their disposal. Toronto City Council, with its 'progressive' majority, could intervene and order its senior staff to respect peoples' right but they don't. They let the welfare bureaucracy deny people income and then pocket the cost savings without having to witness the messy details. Janet Davis is Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee of Council. Her Committee oversees the Social Services Division. We have sent the details of this case to her without any response. Please call her at(416) 392-4035 or e mail her at and call on her to make sure Basra and her baby are given basic income and are not made homeless.
Thanks for your support

Monday, April 26, 2010


The notorious organized crime group, the G8 , is holding one of their regular plotting sessions this week in Halifax Nova Scotia, and Haligonians were out to protest their presence and actions. Here from the Halifax Media Co-op is what happened on Sunday.
Protesters Shame G8 Agenda
March and rally call for a new direction
by Hillary Bain Lindsay

G8 leaders are prioritizing profit over people and the environment, say protesters. The march and rally were high-energy and filled with music, chanting and dancing. Many participants were frustrated that the march was re-routed by police from the original route down Spring Garden Road. Photo: Hillary Lindsay
Share Del.icio Also posted by Hillary:
Also in Environment:
•Protesters Shame G8 Agenda
•March Against the G8 in Halifax
•Rally 'welcomes' G8 to Halifax
•Citadel G8 Street Dance Party
•From Guerrilla Gardening to SPIN Farming
•G8 is Failing, say Climate Activists
•Farmers, Musicians, Food Activists and Students Oppose Corporate Agriculture
•Peasants Day protest feeds for free
•The Tide Is In!
•UPDATE: NDP climate bill survives vote "We're going to beat back the G8 attack. We're going to beat, beat back, the G8 attack," sang more than 300 protesters as they flooded onto South Park Street in Halifax on Sunday. Marchers were demonstrating against the G8 development ministers' meeting taking place in Halifax this week.

"I'm repulsed by the fact that the G8 development ministers are meeting in my town," says protester Cole Webber. "They represent an agenda that's about profit making without any regard for human needs and I think they should be opposed vigorously."

The official agenda for the G8 development ministers' meeting, includes maternal and child health in developing countries as a top priority, but march organizer Kaley Kennedy balks at the claim. "Where are G8 leaders when the International Monetary Fund and World Bank force governments in poor countries to slash the social safety net, shifting more and more of the burden of care for the sick and dying on the women of the world?" she asks.

G8 countries account for only 14 per cent of the world's population but control the majority of the world's wealth and almost half the votes at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has been accused of worsening poverty in developing countries with its Structural Adjustment Programs.

It's not only in the developing world where policies of G8 countries are worsening poverty, points out Fiona Traynor from Dalhousie Legal Aid. "We have a housing crisis in Nova Scotia," she says. "We have a lack of decent, affordable housing that's putting people at risk. When people spend too much on shelter, they can't afford to feed their families."

Traynor says people can't expect leaders of G8 countries to fix the problems they've created in the first place. "We have to come up with our own solutions and not wait for them to give us answers."

One of those solutions is strengthening local economies, says Tom Oommen, from Inverness County in Cape Breton. "Inverness County is one of the many victims of the global economy in Canada and around the world," he says. "The G8 are the overseers of the global economy.... What they want to have happen is killing rural Canada [and] destroying farmers.... A lot of the fisheries have collapsed now, and that's because of the global economy."

Oommen says people need to start supporting their local farmers, fishers, craftspeople and businesses; otherwise, local economies crumble and young people are forced to leave rural communities.

"What's happening is a lot of people who used to have work in the Maritime provinces are going to work in the Tar Sands," he says. Oommen sees the Tar Sands as a symbol of a global economic system that is destroying the environment.

Jada Voyageur lives downstream from the Tar Sands. "People in my community are dying of rare cancers," she says. Voyageur is a member of the Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation and was a guest speaker at the rally. "We live downstream from one of the most destructive projects on Earth and they keep approving more development."

The government has no right to approve new developments because the land is not theirs, says Simon Reece, Downstream Coordinator for the Keepers of the Athabasca, who was also a speaker at the rally. "It's our land," he says. "We're the ones that have been living here for thousands of years. We're getting encroached on again. Not just by Indian Affairs pushing us onto reserves but now by industry."

"It's economics," says Reece, explaining a global system that's destroying communities and the environment. "The economics of North America is failing the whole world."

That economic system has a name, asserts Kyle Buott President of the Halifax Dartmouth District Labour Council. Its name is capitalism. “Capitalism is not working for workers in Canada,” he says. “It’s not working for workers in the US. It’s not working for workers throughout the world.

The march and rally were high-energy and filled with music, chanting and dancing. Many participants were frustrated that the march was re-routed by police from the original route down Spring Garden Road. Instead, the march wound its way down the much less visible South Park Street and South Street.

"I would have liked to see us use our collective strength - having a couple hundred people here today - to take the march where we want it to go," says Webber who was disappointed by the decision to comply with police orders. "It's our march, we have the numbers to take the street."

Traynor was also angered by police intimidation, saying people have to stand up to police misconduct and to G8 leaders and their vision of the world.

"We have to turn it around," she told the crowd. "We have to tell them what we want."
The protests today were not as uneventful, but only one arrest resulted when police moved to clear the streets that demonstrators were blocking. Here's the story from the Canwest News Service.
N.S. woman arrested at Halifax G8 protest.

HALIFAX - A Nova Scotia woman was charged with assaulting a police officer after demonstrators blocked a Halifax street during a G8 protest Monday morning.

Toni Marie MacAfee, 35, allegedly struck an officer in the chest when he asked MacAfee to move to the sidewalk off Marginal Road, near the city's port, where demonstrators blocked traffic in both directions.

The Hammonds Plains, N.S., woman was arrested immediately after the incident and was scheduled to appear in court later Monday.

Monday marked the second straight day of G8 protests in Halifax, where G8 development ministers are meeting.

The meeting are scheduled to focus on child and maternal health and on access to water.

Labour groups complain the ministers are more concerned about bank bailouts than the growing gap between rich and poor during their three days of meetings, which began Monday.

Sunday's protests took place with no arrests.
It's not unexpected that the police and the lazier section of the media might attempt to portray the arrested union member as being at fault. Here's another item from the CBC that gives a different story from the perspective of eyewitness.
Halifax G8 protester charged with assault
Protesters gather in Halifax on Monday as a G8-sponsored meeting kicks off at Pier 21.
(Phonse Jessome/CBC)
A labour leader has been charged with assaulting a police officer after being arrested during a noisy anti-G8 demonstration in Halifax Monday morning.

About 40 people marched down Terminal Road to Pier 21, where development ministers from major industrial countries are set to meet.

Two officers struggled with a woman when police tried to move the demonstrators to a sidewalk to clear the road, said CBC reporter Phonse Jessome.

Laurie Stacy, a protester who was standing nearby, said the heavy-handed treatment was unnecessary.

"They had asked her just to move. We said we were moving, but they didn't give her enough time. The cop in charge grabbed her by her shoulder and started squeezing and just looked at her with pure hate," said Stacy.

"She told them, 'Let go of me.' They didn't. The next thing you know three of them were on top of her on the ground."

The arresting officer told CBC News that the protester pushed him.

Protest organizers identified the demonstrator as Toni MacAfee, an education officer with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

"It was unprovoked," organizer Kyle Buott said of MacAfee's arrest.

Bev Oda, Canada's minister of international co-operation, will kick off the G8 meeting Tuesday. The main issue is how to improve the health of the world's poorest mothers and children.

More than 200 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Halifax on Sunday. There were no incidents and no one was arrested.

A protest organizer said G8 policies back free trade but not freedom for women.

Read more:
Here, from the Halifax Chronicle Herald is considerably more detail, both about the arrest and the protest in general.
Cops charge union leader at G-8 protest


Aid agencies are under pres­sure to show donor countries that their money really works in developing countries. Here are some facts, published last week by the World Bank, about the percentage of populations living on less than $1.25 a day: East Asia and the Pacific : In 1990, 54.7 per cent lived on less than $1.25 a day. In 2005, it was about 16.8 per cent. By 2015, the World Bank fore­casts 5.9 per cent.

China : 60.2 per cent in 1990; 15.9 per cent in 2005; 5.1 per cent by 2015.

Latin America : 11.3 per cent in 1990; 8.2 per cent in 2005; 5.0 per cent in 2015.

South Asia : 51.7 per cent in 1990; 40.3 per cent in 2005; 22.8 per cent in 2015.

Sub-Saharan Africa : 57.6 per cent in 1990; 50.9 per cent in 2005; 38.0 per cent in 2015.

An Atlantic union leader has been charged with assaulting a police officer during a protest of the G-8 development ministers' meetings in Halifax.

Union leaders say Toni MacAfee, education and organization officer for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, was arrested behind the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel shortly after 8 a.m.

Halifax Regional Police confirmed this afternoon that MacAfee of Hammonds Plains was charged in the protest.

Police allege that officers asked protesters three times to move off Marginal Road in downtown Halifax because they were blocking traffic. When some of the group didn't move, police stepped in, according to a police news release.

When an officer asked a woman to move, police allege she struck him in the chest, the news release says.

MacAfee, 35, was arraigned in Halifax provincial court Monday afternoon.

She was released on a recognizance after agreeing not to go within 50 metres of the Westin Nova Scotian hotel or Pier 21 or be involved in any further G8 protests. She returns to court May 26.

"It's certainly a drummed up charge," said Jeff Callaghan, the union's Atlantic director.

He was at the opposite side of the driveway behind the Hollis Street hotel when MacAfee was arrested at what he called a peaceful demonstration.

"When the cops grabbed her, she was actually two centimetres from a curb, so it wasn't a matter of blocking traffic," Callaghan said.

"They actually reached out and grabbed her and pulled her back — pulled her towards the street. There are lots of witnesses who saw it and we have the whole thing on tape."

Callaghan, who was on his way to the Gottingen Street police station to find MacAfee at the time of the interview, saw the "tail end" of the arrest.

He saw photos that showed MacAfee with her hands pinned behind her back and "three, large, male police officers" on top of her. He was told that "she wasn't resisting or anything."

During the protest, Callaghan said officers "were pushing people" and one cop reached into the crowd and grabbed his flag.

"They were just anxious to make some sort of arrest," he said.

Palmeter said police have made "painstaking efforts to work with these groups to ensure that their right to a peaceful protest is provided. However, if they are in violation, we are duty bound to respond and take some action. If required, then an arrest will be made."

The protest began at about 7 a.m. as more than 50 people from labour and community groups marched from Cornwallis Park toward Pier 21 on Marginal Road, leading to the G-8 development ministers' conference.

The Canadian labour groups were there to support the demands of their international partners, who are lobbying for funding for maternal programs, HIV and AIDS prevention and for healthcare for all , Tony Tracy of the Canadian Labour Congress said.

"Toni MacAfee is well-respected, well-regarded by all within the labour movement throughout Atlantic Canada and is someone who is looked up to in the trade union and community organizations with which she has been very active for many years," Tracy, the group's Atlantic representative, said.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers web site states that MacAfee attended the Canadian Peace Conference held in Toronto in December 2008; the World Social Forum in Brazil in January 2009 and the March on Gaza in Cairo, Egypt from December 2009 to January 2010.

The purpose of the CUPW's delegation was Cairo was, in part, "to support the struggle of Palestinian people for justice (and) to make links with other activists."

MacAfee "knows what her lawful rights are and that she's not to be provocative or anything back," Callaghan said.

As far as he knows, she's never been arrested at any other rally, including the Gaza March, which had a heavy police presence.

On Sunday, about 300 people turned out for demonstrations against G-8 economic policies.

Environmental, labour, social justice and student groups banded together to form the G8 Welcoming Committee.

"Civil society is always excluded from these meetings," Kyle Buott, a protest organizer who is also part of the Halifax-Dartmouth and District Labour Council, said in an interview.

"That’s a big problem."

Buott said he believes there is an alternative to having the world’s eight wealthiest countries set policies that affect everyone else. He accused the G8 of bearing responsibility for the global financial crisis by backing unfair trade, bank deregulation and layoffs.

"We are opposed to the G8 as an overall body," he said.

"The G8 policies have caused the economic crisis that has ruined the lives of so many people."

The protesters massed at Victoria Park on Spring Garden Road before marching through the downtown streets to Cornwallis Park, across from the Westin Nova Scotian hotel.

They followed a banner reading Capitalism Isn’t Working For Workers and were accompanied by people chanting protest slogans, banging on drums, shaking tambourines and spinning hula hoops.

Dozens of police in marked and unmarked vehicles, on foot and on horseback, escorted the protesters down South Park and South streets. At one point, two officers on horseback struggled to control their skittish animals — one horse banged into and kicked a parked Honda Civic. Protesters, some of whom were dressed in black hoodies and wore handkerchiefs over their faces, jeered loudly and waved flags in officers’ faces. Police grabbed one of the flags.

"The police have made some errors on this march as far as going into the march and taking people’s things," Buott said. "That always poses problems."

Otherwise, the demonstration was largely successful and without conflict, he said. Police agreed, reporting that there were no arrests or confrontations.

David Bush, another protest organizer with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, was pleased with the protest yet critical of officers for changing the planned route at the last minute, keeping them away from the storefronts of pedestrian-heavy Spring Garden Road.

"It was just surprising that we couldn’t go down Spring Garden," Bush said.

"We wanted it to be family friendly and safe and it turned out to be that way. But there just seemed to be undue pressure from the police.

"We had a very good, positive energy. But the way the police acted just seemed a little unwarranted."

Development ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada, as well as representatives of the European Union, meet today until Wednesday to draft proposals for the G8 Summit in Huntsville, Ont., in June.

The Halifax sessions will include Canada’s initiative to improve maternal and child health in poor countries. About 350,000 to 500,000 women die while giving birth every year and about nine million children under the age of five die every year.

"I look forward to welcoming my G8 colleagues to Canada," Bev Oda, the federal minister of international co-operation, said in an earlier news release.

"I believe that by working together, G8 countries can make major advancements in reducing maternal and child mortality, humanitarian goals that must be advanced, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa."

Catherine Abreu of the Nova Scotia Coalition for Climate Action said she is disappointed the ministers won’t be discussing global warming.

"Climate change is a phenomenon that’s really affecting the well-being of mothers."

Megan Leslie, the NDP MP for Halifax, participated in the march and said protests can have an impact on the agenda of such meetings.

"I really support the fact that (the) community is coming together to say, ‘We want these issues at the table. We want to talk about the real way to deal with maternal and newborn health.’

"It’s important voices are strong and voices are heard."

She cited as an example Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s initial intent to exclude family planning from the G8 maternal health agenda, which resulted in widespread criticism and Ottawa backtracking.

"They backed down," Leslie said.

"So it is really important that civil society, the community, come forward and demand certain things."

James Holloway, 29, of Halifax, attended the protest clad only in white shorts resembling a diaper and a sash across his chest that bore the phrase Colonize Mine.

He said the message was referring to corporations pushing specific body images to profit from making people feel bad.

"I felt like this might be an opportunity for me to connect with my community and learn about other people’s struggles.

"To me, colonization means forcing something on people."

Earlier in the afternoon, advocates for World Vision Canada, a Christian relief organization, arranged baby strollers, cribs and toys that were painted white in the shape of the number five on the Halifax waterfront. The intent was to highlight the roughly nine million children under the age of five who die every year of preventable causes such as malaria or pneumonia.

"We know what the solutions are," spokeswoman Caroline Riseboro said.

"The solutions cost pennies, so really it’s a matter of political will."

The group is calling on Canada to contribute $1 billion for the cause to provide things like antibiotics and mosquito nets for people in developing countries.

The police had hoped to take a different approach to this protest and last week unveiled information cards they intended to distribute among demonstrators to advise them of their rights.

They were hoping to deter some of the fiery protests that have broken out at previous meetings of world leaders in Halifax when demonstrators clashed with officers in riot gear who doused people with pepper spray.
Meanwhile events in Halifax are being watched closely by both sides of the protest divide as they get ready for the upcoming G-20 meeting in Toronto this June. Here's a story from the group 'G-20 Toronto Mobilize' (originally from the Globe and Mail) about what both sides are expecting a couple of months from now. What strikes Molly is the police plan to use a gigantic film set as a detention centre for possible arrestees. I wonder what sort of movies they make there ?
Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit
Anna Mehler Paperny

They’re preparing buses, itineraries, bathrooms and places to crash for the night; they’re fundraising, holding media-training workshops and setting up a detailed, week-long schedule of events.

Organizers behind the protests surrounding Toronto’s G20 summit in June expect people to come from as far as Vancouver, Quebec City and the United States, representing everyone from labour groups to women’s shelters and militant students.

The summit’s integrated security unit is bracing for an influx of protesters, with tenders put out for thousands of police officers from across Ontario and the country. They’ve taking possession of one of the largest film sets in North America to use as a staging ground and potentially as a place to keep detained protesters.

At the same time, the protesters have plans of their own – from dance parties to a People’s Summit, marches and so-called Black Bloc tactics, that include confrontational methods that became notorious a decade ago.

The force and intent of the planned opposition brings to mind 2001 in Quebec City and 1999 in Seattle, where demonstrations erupted in violence, with tear gas being fired on masked protesters.

“ I think for the most part, people are planning on protesting peacefully during that time. Obviously, from a security perspective, we’re planning for any eventuality. ”— Meaghan Gray, Toronto police G20 planning team

But Syed Hussan, a spokesman for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, said this year’s summit won’t be a repeat of Seattle.

“It’s been 10 years,” he said. “We grow up. We come up with new tactics. We learn new strategies. We’re going to talk about a scale that might be as big or bigger, but it’s not the same tools. I mean, this was before Facebook. ... We can tweet.”

Mr. Hussan said the advent of social media gives protesters many more options.

The mobilization network Mr. Hussan represents is liaising with groups across Toronto, Canada and elsewhere, attempting to co-ordinate the protest actions of dozens of divergent interests – and trying to find a place to put them all.

He refuses to even estimate how many people are coming – although it’s likely in the thousands – or how much it will cost to feed them, house them and equip them with signs and media spokespeople.

A group of law students is providing pro bono legal services, and has volunteered to monitor protests as observers and, if necessary, help bail out protesters. Legal updates will be sent throughout the week, Mr. Hussan said, as well as tweets.

Mr. Hussan emphasizes much is still in the planning stage, and he’s not sure what, exactly, will come of the numerous days of action protesters plan.

Will things get violent? “It’s up to the cops,” he said. “You put 15,000 people on the streets armed with tear gas, sonar cannons, right? I assure you, none of us has a sonar cannon. Nobody has a taser.”

Councillor Adam Vaughan, in whose Trinity-Spadina ward the summit and much of the surrounding demonstrations will take place, says he hasn’t been in touch with protest planners.

“These events attract a lot of people. I’m hopeful that when folks come to talk about the global economy, no one trashes the local one ... and that whatever sort of disturbances there are, it doesn’t require imprisonment.

“My job is to make sure my residents and my businesses are talked to and given as much information as possible. ... That’s really my focus.”

Meaghan Gray, with the Toronto police force’s G20 planning team, said police have been in touch with groups like the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, although she wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of their interactions.

“I think for the most part, people are planning on protesting peacefully during that time. Obviously, from a security perspective, we’re planning for any eventuality,” she said. “We want to co-operate with protest groups that are intending to protest peacefully. ... Not everybody is as willing to participate in that process.”

Paul-Émile Auger was only 13 years old when Quebec City protesters and police took over his Old Quebec neighbourhood during the summit in 2001.

“I had no choice but to get interested in what was going on – I mean when there’s riot police and people running, this was like a battlefield in my backyard,” he said. And he’s been hooked ever since.

He’s part of a small group of people planning to make the trip from Laval – mostly sociology students like him from Laval University. He suspects they’d be able to fit in a borrowed van, as opposed to Rage, a far larger group coming from Montreal, which he said will likely require three or four buses.

Mr. Auger’s group is trying to send a message, rather than incite violence. But “to make a stand,” he says, they have to try to get behind the security fence.

“What we want is to confront, to get a message across,” he said. “Personally, I don’t want this to be violent. But I know that often when there are calls for Black Bloc formation or other street tactics, this is often a sign of an escalation and of much more violence.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The following story and petition comes originally from the Friends of the Earth via the Care2 site. I have to admit that I am somewhat uneasy about this item. It is all well and good to be against a pipeline that is intimately tied to bringing oil from the Alberta tarsands to its major market, the USA. Still, it's a simple fact that of the USA continues with its present economic system that they plainly need such oil, as in necessity. This sort of project will go ahead because there is no alternative for the USA in the way it presently operates. I don't think that such projects can be realistically opposed unless a lot of other things are opposed simultaneously. Be that as it may here's the article and appeal.
Public Comment Needed To Prevent New Oil Pipeline
posted by: Beth Buczynski

Canada, and more specifically the province of Alberta, is ground zero for tar sands extraction.

As North America’s number one source of foreign oil, the tar sands produce the world's most harmful type of oil for the atmosphere, emitting high volumes of greenhouse gases during development, which contribute to global warming.

To access these underground stores, Big Oil companies must strip mine huge tracts of forest, causing cancer hot spots in indigenous communities living downstream from the toxic byproducts.

As if these characteristics weren't horrifying enough, these same companies are now pressuring the Obama administration to allow construction of a pipeline that would pump oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries in the Gulf Coast that supply our country's gasoline.

Known as the "Keystone XL," oil companies are counting on this massive pipeline to make the expansion of tar sands operations profitable profitable, but they've failed to take into account (at least publicly) the "extra-large" effects this will have on environment, wildlife, and human health.

Consider these points from

Oil sands production harms human health in at least two ways: when extracted, and when processed and refined from bitumen into gasoline. As described above extraction pollutes water resources. Communities downstream, in some cases hundreds of kilometers downstream, have been impacted: directly, with elevated cancer rates; and indirectly, with their subsistence economy endangered by polluted fisheries.

The spread of refineries processing tar sands oil is a problem because the synthetic heavy crude produced from tar sands is laden with more toxins than conventional oil. Communities adjacent to tar sands oil refineries face increased carbon dioxide emissions, and increased exposure to heavy metals, and sulfurs.

The communities along the Keystone XL pipeline's proposed path, would face increased risk of spills, and, at the pipeline's end, the health of people living near Texas refineries would suffer, as tar sands oil spews higher levels of dangerous pollutants into the air when processed.

Thankfully, President Obama has the power to halt this plan because Big Oil needs his permission, in the form of a presidential permit, to begin construction.

On April 9, the State Department released a draft analysis of the project, called an Environmental Impact Statement, which kicked off a 45-day public comment period.

Submitting official comments is a key opportunity for members of the public to pressure the Obama administration to reject this pipeline. The State Department is required by law to listen to your concerns and take them into account before making a final determination as to whether this project is in the public interest.

Click here to make your voice heard. Urge the Obama administration to reject new pipelines for the world's dirtiest oil.
Please go to the link above to send the following letter to the Obama Administration.
I am writing to submit my concerns about the impacts the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would have on the climate and communities -- and to urge you to deny a permit for this pipeline.

Tar sands oil is dirtier than conventional oil, causing three times more greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline. The 900,000 barrels of dirty oil that would be pumped through this pipeline every day would add 38 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, which is equal to adding six million new cars to the road. Your draft environmental impact statement ignores how this pipeline would make global warming worse, a serious oversight that must be amended.


I originally thought to publish the following piece by Wayne Price because, from the title, I thought it was a criticism of the apocalyptic viewpoint that far too many anarchists and leftists in general fall into. As will be obvious from the article below it is no such thing. In terms of that question it is, at best, a caution to not try and set timetables that are "imminent". That part is fairly obvious as the history of the left, anarchist and otherwise, is littered with predictions of the imminent demise of capitalism over the last 150 years. Littered to the tune of 100,000s of wrong predictions to be exact. The author still believes that such a collapse is inevitable, and in the long term he will inevitably be right because no social system lasts forever. Many points for noticing the obvious. The worm in the apple is that said economic and political system will collapse for reasons utterly outside the theories of leftists. NONE of the great founts of leftist wisdom predicted how the recent economic crisis would come about, and no legitimate economists and few investment advisers did any better. Reality has a habit of putting simplistic theories of complex phenomena to hard tests that they inevitably fail.

The Marxist economics that the following author thinks is so illuminating failed its test over 100 years ago as every single prediction that Marx made was falsified. Not one. Not some. Rather all. The whole matter was dealt with by Bernstein very thoroughly in 'Evolutionary Socialism' at the turn of the 20th century. As a "scientific" theory that can make testable predictions Marxism has been proven an abject failure for an incredibly long time.

I recognize that present day Marxists, the few of them that are left, hardly are not tremendously concerned with subjecting their beliefs to a scientific test. To them it is both a matter of faith and, to their minds, an "organizational necessity" to make their predictions. When they are proved wrong they sometimes resort to causisty of one sort or another to explain away the failure. More commonly they simply ignore their previous infallible predictions.
As may be apparent I disagree profoundly with what follows, especially as I am one of those dreaded "gradualists" and very unapologetic about it. Quite frankly it would take examples from real economics, real history and real sociology , as opposed to Marxist fantasies, to convince me that I was wrong. Predictions of 'inevitable collapse' even when intelligently put off into a nebulous future are not convincing arguments to my mind.
So, for what it is worth, here's the article.It is intelligently argued, but the premises are faulty. The following has been slightly edited for English spelling. The original is at the Anarkismo site.
Are the Alternatives Really Socialist-Anarchism or Barbarism?
Is a Workers’ Revolution Necessary to Prevent Catastrophe?

Responds to arguments that it is not necessary to show that capitalism leads to social and ecological catastrophe in order to be a revolutionary anarchist.

A statement on the nature of the period and the economic crisis was published by US-NEFAC (US-Northeastern Federation of Anarchist-Communists) (1). It resulted in a lot of discussion on at least one site (e.g., Anarchist Black Cat). While the majority of those who accessed that` site checked that they agreed with the statement mostly or somewhat, most of those who bothered to write a comment expressed varying degrees of disagreement. I am going to summarize the discussion, as I understand it, and make some remarks.

The basic view of the US-NEFAC statement is that capitalism as a world system is not doing too well and will be doing worse in the not-too-distant future. It does not deny the possibilities of short-term improvements, such as a relative recovery from the Great Recession, but it expects that the overall direction of the economy is downhill. There will be no return to the prosperity of the 50s or even of the 90s. Reforms and benefits may yet be won by the people, but over time the workers and oppressed will be faced with the alternatives of revolution or destruction. Without predicting just when there will be widespread reaction, it did expect an eventual popular radicalization and rebellion.

As evidence for the long-term crisis, there has been the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Wars continue, raising the dangers of world war and of a civilization-destroying nuclear war. Also there are deepening ecological and energy crises, especially global warming, which are acknowledged by almost everyone—and which is another aspect of the capitalist crisis.

For example, I happen to have in front of me a statement by the Green activist, Lorna Salzman (not an anarchist or socialist of any kind), who writes, “Expert scientists and scientific bodies now unanimously agree that we have less than ten years to reduce the CO2 concentration to 340 ppm…Beyond this period, irreversible and uncontrollable feedback will occur from disappearing ice sheets, melting permafrost, and ocean warming, reducing biodiversity, destroying coral reefs, acidifying the oceans, raising sea level, and leading inevitably to crises in drinking water, food production, land use, and public health that will cost societies far more than it will cost to mitigate or avoid these impacts” (2). Clearly great suffering is predictable for many people, because industrial capitalism has unbalanced the ecology and cannot repair it.

I am giving a very condensed review of the NEFAC statement’s viewpoint; I expanded on it, from my perspective, in an essay, “Socialism or Barbarism! Anarchism or Annihilation!” (3). Also see my review of a book on the causes of the Great Recession (4). I have argued that we are living through a reassertion of the basic conditions of the epoch of capitalist decay, such as had been apparent to all from 1914 to 1946.

The Future is Unpredictable….
Against this viewpoint, opponents made essentially three arguments. First, it was denied that it was possible to make such predictions with any confidence. Sure, things might get worse, but they also might get better. Who could say? After all the Great Depression and World War II were followed by a prolonged period of relative prosperity, from 1947 to about 1970. Throughout the Cold War, the big imperialists avoided nuclear war. And perhaps the international bourgeoisie will wise up and do something about the environment and energy.

The analysis of the downward slide toward destruction is based on Marxist economics (or, more precisely, on Marx’s critique of political economy). A humanistic, libertarian-democratic, interpretation of Marxism overlaps with class-struggle anarchism. The analysis is also based on the study of ecology and energy, integrated with Marxism and with anarchism (5). Some of our critics reject Marxist economics particularly, and others do not seem to know much about it or care to learn. Obviously it would take much more space and time than I have here to discuss the labor theory of value, the nature of surplus value, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the causes of business cycles, the epoch of monopoly capital and imperialism (and imperialist wars), as well as the causes of the limited prosperity after World War II and why this had to end. But neither have the critics spent time in expounding what is wrong with these conceptions.

Even integrated into an ecological awareness, these concepts do not lead to specific predictions, comparable to the natural sciences. Over the last decades, I have felt like a geologist who is predicting an eventual huge earthquake in California (the “big one”), and urges people to build more safely—but who cannot predict when the earthquake will occur—in a month, a year, a decade, or many decades. Social predictions are especially uncertain, since, unlike geological strata, classes are composed of people with consciousness and the ability to make choices (“free will”). But it has been possible to say, with reasonable confidence, that social earthquakes are coming.

The alternate view is scientifically nihilistic. It denies that groups of human beings act in repeatable patterns (“laws” or tendencies) about which we may generalize into probabilistic predictions. This belief in unpredictability is consistent with a liberal view: perhaps the state can, after all, be used to end exploitation. Who knows? Perhaps capitalism can peacefully and gradually evolve into libertarian socialism? Supposedly it cannot be predicted otherwise. Unfortunately such views disarm us before capitalist disaster.
Only a Moral Judgment is Required….
This leads into the second argument used against our view. Some say that we do not need to know that capitalism is going to cause catastrophe unless a revolution is made. It is enough, they say, to judge that anarchist-communism would be morally superior to capitalism. Among other anarchists, this view is held by Murray Bookchin and his followers.

I do not deny that libertarian socialism would be better than capitalism as a way for human beings to live and work. I insist on it. I reject any arguments—particularly from Marxists—that it unnecessary to make such a moral evaluation. But a moral argument is not enough, not by itself. It could just as well be used to justify a gradualist, reformist, program—and it often has. Once we have decided on a social goal, for moral reasons, we have to then decide how to reach this goal—by reformism or by revolution. This requires as objective as possible an analysis of how the system operates and what can be done to change it.

To take a revolutionary position requires something more than only moral judgment. It requires a belief that a revolution would not only be good but that it would be necessary. A revolution, even the most nonviolent, would involve mass struggle, suffering, bloodshed, and destruction. It is irresponsible to advocate revolution unless we believe that it is absolutely necessary. Nor would many people join one unless they were convinced that they had to. And they would be right not to.
It is Enough to Know Workers’ Consciousness….
Another argument which was raised also claims that it is not necessary to know the nature of the period or the tendency of capitalism toward self-destruction. What is necessary, this argument says, is to know the level of popular struggle, what issues excite workers, and what a revolutionary minority can do to join in popular struggles.

This argument is not so much wrong as one-sided. There are two possible unilateral positions which a revolutionary minority may take, both wrong. One is know-it-all, feeling that it is sufficient to know that socialist revolution is necessary. Then the revolutionaries go to preach to the unenlightened masses, telling them The Truth. As is well known, this is realistic picture of various sectarians.

The reciprocal error is to start from wherever the people are and build a program only as an elaboration of popular consciousness. It is certainly true that revolutionaries need to know what non-revolutionary workers and oppressed people are thinking. We need to know how to talk to them about our ideas. But we cannot just expand on their current consciousness. Popular consciousness is a very mixed bag, with progressive and reactionary ideas jumbled together. Working people are influenced by many sources, including the mass media, the church, and schools. These inculcate reactionary ideas along with positive beliefs in democracy, freedom, and fairness. Workers develop ideas based on their experiences, which include pushes toward radical consciousness, such as their oppression and their working collectively with others. But they also have experiences which push in other directions, such as job distinctions, some apparently decent jobs, demoralizing overwork or unemployment, etc. All-too-often these lead to racism, conservatism, sexism, superpatriotism, and religious superstition. But these can change drastically and quickly during periods of upheaval.

The revolutionary program cannot be based on workers’ current consciousness. That effort has historically been called “tail-endism” or “rank-and-fileism.” That is the approach, for example, of the US Solidarity group. Rather than sectarianism, in practice this is what is wrong with most of the Left.

Instead, the revolutionary program is based on the objective conditions, which means on the need for a socialist-anarchist revolution. In fact, the socialist-anarchist revolution is the program, the whole of the program. But to express the need for revolution requires breaking it up into specific planks, specific demands, slogans, and proposals. And how to explain these planks, demands, slogans, and proposals is based on the interaction between the objective analysis and popular consciousness. The revolutionary minority must be in a constant dialogue with working people—especially (but not only) with the most militant, active, and radicalized workers and youth.

As brief examples, faced with an assault on workers’ wages and conditions on the job, we should undoubtedly defend the workers’ demands for better pay, no givebacks, better conditions, and union protections—standard reforms. But we also propose that workers should make additional demands: that supposedly unprofitable businesses and industries, instead of be allowed to cut workers’ wages and/or firing workers, should be taken away from the bosses (expropriation) by the state. They should be turned over to the workers and local communities to run democratically. We add that they should not become competitive producers’ cooperatives but should coordinate with each other to create useful products and to improve the environment.

To support workers’ goals, even the most mild reform goals, we support union strikes and boycotts. But we also argue that mass picketing, plant occupations, and general strikes are needed. (And so on.) When and how to say such things depends on circumstances…but they must be said.

This is precisely the issue which divides anarchists and libertarian Marxists into two tendencies, those who believe that revolutionary libertarian socialists should organize themselves into distinct political groups (with clear, revolutionary, programs), and those who want them to dissolve into the broader movement. It is because the program is not simply the sum total of the workers’ demands that a special organization needs to be organized around it. Otherwise, why bother?

A revolutionary approach is a complex interaction of various aspects: objective prediction, moral judgment, necessity, and response to worker’s concerns. Nothing by itself will be enough. Only everything is enough.


(1) US-NEFAC (2010). “Nature of the Period; Background and Perspectives”

(2) Salzman, Lorna (5/3/2010). “An Open Letter and Appeal to Bill McKibbin and” Advt. The Nation, v. 290, no. 17; p. 19.

(3) Price, Wayne (5/28/2010).

(4) Price, Wayne (6/1/2009).

(5) Bookchin, Murray (1980). Toward an Ecological Society. Montreal-Buffalo: Black Rose Books.

Foster, John Bellamy (2000). Marx’s Ecology; Materialism and Nature. NY: Monthly Review Press.

written for


It's been mentioned here before...the 24 hour telethon this May 1 to help build funds for the cooperative purchase of the A-Zone at 91 Albert St. here in Winnipeg. Here's a little reminder of what's coming up next weekend with the lineup of performers.
Building the A-Zone Co-op 24-HOUR TELETHON
Type: Party - Benefit
Start Time: Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 3:00pm
End Time: Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 3:00pm
Location: 91 Albert St.

Description.A Marathon Fundraiser
Live from Mondragon @ 91 Albert
following the MayDay Parade Saturday May 1, 3pm
for 24 hours thru to Sunday May 2, 3pm

Come down in person to 91 Albert, or check the online streaming video at

You can donate in person, online, or both. We're buying the building - support the A-Zone Co-op!

Confirmed acts:

Sharon Bajer as Emma Goldman
DJ Coop
The Peaches
Wanda Wilson
The Vibrating Beds
Adrien Sala
Adam CZ
Fat Crush
Serena Postel
Colin Smith
The Lorax
Matt Nightingale
Smash Mahkno Smash!
the silver fox and theo da pear man
Nathan Rogers
Clair Still
David Stubel
Dave Sweatman
See See Ryder

Also happening during the 24 telethon will be the Junto Punk Patch Quilt Raffle ( ). Tickets are still available for $5 at the Mondragon, Natural Cycle, or the Junto.

Also, stop by the A-Zone during the telethon to enter the COVER BAND-OFF...!/event.php?eid=109461235757735
or email

Talent and MCs still needed! contact