Thursday, April 14, 2011



I guess that one might consider me fortunate to have lived through three different eras of international revolutionary ferment. The first was the late 60s, early 70s. The next was the late 80s, early 90s with the fall of the Soviet bloc. Now there is the revolutionary wave sweeping the Arab world. In the first I was a full fledged participant. In the second I did my little bit of solidarity work. This time around, aside from signing petitions and going to the occasional demonstration I am very much only a spectator and commentator.

To be honest the first period left me with something of a sour taste in my mouth, but I responded quite differently than the majority of the so-called "new left" did. Behind all the bombastic rhetoric and grandiose fantasies there was far less of the reality of a revolution than the participants imagined. In the country where I live, Canada, most of the "flaming revolutionaries" became simple bureaucrats via either the NDP or even the Liberals. Others took a brief detour through the mindless maze of trying to recreate Leninist fantasy parties. Which, I suppose, just goes to show that they were not too bright in the first place. Myself I became an anarchist.

My own anarchism, however, became increasingly heterodox as I became familiar with not only the anarchist critique of class societies, both western and 'Marxist' but also with a wide range of other "left wing alternatives" and other economic literature that was basically unknown to the simplistic Marxists of that era. From Bernstein and Berle and Means to Max Nomad to Jan Machaijski , to Berle and Means to the transitional ideas of Burnham as he went from Trotskyism to conservatism, I read them all. As the "new left" circled the drain into the cesspool of Maoism and terrorism I became increasingly convinced that "revolution" was impossible in an advanced industrial society while also simultaneously believing that only in such a society could the sort of libertarian socialism I now favoured be built.

As to the "impossibility" of revolution in advanced countries I was wrong, and I guess I should have noticed this much earlier than I did. It's an old truism that, "if something can't go on forever it won't". This applies to countries and economic systems as well as to most other things. It took the revolutions against Communism to make me doubt my earlier doctrine about the "impossibility" of revolution. Especially as at least one of these revolutions occurred in a nuclear armed country with one of the largest if not most effective armies on Earth. No doubt revolution was "impossible" in the Soviet Union from a purely military perspective. Any revolt could very easily be crushed as previous attempts in eastern Europe had amply demonstrated. But what I ignored in my thoughts were some very important things about actual revolutions rather than the cartoonish Marxist ideas I was familiar with. My thinking changed. I also grew to understand that the earlier period of "revolution" ie the 60s/70s that I dismissed as simply grandstanding and third world nationalism was actually a real revolution, ie the completion of the "managerial revolution". Nothing to do with achieving a classless society of course, but definitely a re-division of the spoils amongst different segments of the ruling class.

As I came to understand that the "revolution of our times" was not a libertarian or even a socialist one I came to understand it as an expansion of the power of the managerial class into hitherto "unknown frontiers" of exercising power and "incidentally" making money. Yes, I am of a generation that understands and remembers how sick and how weird such things as the "grief industry" are ! The Third World revolutions of the late 60s/early 70s reproduced the usual Stalinoid bureaucracies, and when the Soviet bloc collapsed their "proletarian heroes" engaged in the same sort of looting that established a new class order in the ex-communist countries. This was one of the things that "sharpened" my own ideas about "revolution". Even in Poland where a large sector of the working class was attached, at least slightly, to the idea of "self-management" the resulting economic order contained no trace of such ideals. What went wrong ?

When all the dust had settled down I came to understand that it was not only that pretty well all modern revolutions served the interests of a managerial class. It was also that NO class system could exist in its pure form. Soviet society depended on the underground economy (capitalist ? but at least "free market") to continue its existence. The great mass of the economy of the modern world is similarly "mixed" having characteristics of both managerial/government control and a free market that is allowed to exist because of necessity. Is such a thing stable ? Personally I don't know having abandoned the religious precepts of Marxist dialectics many decades ago. There is no foreordained march of history, only possibilities and probabilities.

All that being said how do I view the 'Arab Revolutions' ? Unlike some I don't expect any great "libertarian upsurge" from them though I am sure that anarchist groups will be formed in the countries where the revolution has been "successful". The independent actions of the working class will be suppressed as they are today in Egypt.

The Arab revolutions have, however, shaken the forces of international imperialism. As such I personally support them even if I am sure that the resulting polity will be not even close to what I might want. THAT is the message that I would like to leave with people. Support what you can, but don't expect miracles. Revolutions are only possible in the modern world when certain conditions are met. These conditions simultaneously both make the revolution possible and also limit the amount of change that one can expect from such events. In the end I am just as firmly convinced that a libertarian society can only come about gradually, but I also feel that anarchists/libertarian socialists cannot divorce themselves from revolutionary events if they occur as some outcomes are infinitely better than others for a "slow march" to a free society to take place.

In previous posts on this blog I have mentioned how revolutions, being as they are essentially unpredictable movements of large segments of the population, cannot be "planned" or called into being by "revolutionary conspiracy". The efforts of Leninist groupuscles or so-called "insurrectionists" are nothing but magical thinking. The forces behind revolutionary moments are as far outside of the farcical plotting of such groups as is the movement of the planets. Even the "Model-T of Revolutions", the Russian Revolution was not produced by the Bolsheviks. What that party actually did was take advantage of a revolution already in process to achieve a coup-d'etat, and later they created their own managerial rule as the original revolution was defeated.

While revolutions cannot be conjured out of the ground there are, however, certain conditions that are necessary before any such event can occur. First of all there has to be mass disbelief in a given sociopolitical economic system. This doesn't necessarily mean that the majority of people suddenly join the revolutionaries, merely that the majority are more than content to at least "stand aside" in the conflict between the old order and the revolution, having no overwhelming loyalty to the regime. As a matter of fact it is quite rare (though not non-existent) that an actual majority join the revolution from day 1, except perhaps in restricted locales. The fact that revolutions rarely have the participation of a majority, only their passive acquiescence, is already a "snake in Eden" for the Revolution as the active minority must of necessity act boldly in order to avoid defeat, and they thereby act in a relationship of power vis-a-vis the inactive majority. Great dictatorships from many such little acts grow.

As unfavourable as such necessities may be for actually resulting in a truly more equal and free society the problem is not insurmountable. What is insurmountable is the fact that revolutions are inevitably pluralistic. All sorts of people come to oppose the dying regime because of all sorts of different reasons. This has sometimes included those such as Leninist groupuscles or Islamist ideologues in the Arab world who think this pluralism is a Very Bad Thing. Those to whom the whole idea of pluralism is anathema. Whether these people will be "compromisers" as the Egyptian Islamists appear to be or those who hope to advance their own cause by pushing the revolution as far ahead of the majority as possible depends upon circumstance. A lot depends upon the exact level of another condition for revolution...the ruling class must be divided. At least a large segment of this class must be willing to see the old order crumble and either stand passively by or actively help to tear it down. Lacking this the inevitable military realities that led me to first discount the possibility of revolution still hold true.

Revolutions are carried out, at least initially, by minorities. Military necessity requires this minority to carry out actions without any sanction from the majority. Revolutions are inevitably pluralistic and inevitably are open to the influence both of parts of the old ruling class and to would be ruling classes whose rule is often far worse than the old order. Where does this leave those who style themselves anarchists or libertarian socialists ? Many (almost all ?) of those who want to retain what I call the "romance of revolution" respond by imagining a non-pluralistic revolution, one more purely "anarchist". This is maintained by having, against all historical evidence, what may be unbounded faith in the "libertarian instincts of the masses". No doubt revolutions, by their very nature, develop instances of self-management. This is necessary if the revolution is to survive and grow. Or at least if the population is to fed. Yet even in the most fertile historical ground, Spain of the 1930s, the anarchists attracted the participation or approval of only 1/3rd of the population. The Spanish Revolution was inevitably pluralistic, and all appeals to greater militancy simply ignore this inevitable fact of both then and even more now.

This almost inevitable fact of pluralism sets natural limits as to what can be accomplished by a revolution. What this means in actuality is being demonstrated these days in both Tunisia and Egypt. Also in both cases what is usually a military necessity of a successful revolution ie the desertion of at least sizable chunks of the military and police hamstrings that revolution in terms of how far it can go. In other words all these factors together could be summed up as, "the conditions necessary for a revolution to succeed inevitably lead to restricting what it can achieve". Thermidor is the Siamese twin of revolutions, sharing the same vital organs.

How does all this affect what I think now ? I no longer think revolution in an advanced society is impossible, but I am even more convinced that it can never lead to any great gains that last. Such gains can only come about in a slow, patient and "non-heated" atmosphere where social experiments can be tried out for their viability without any "war necessity" looming over them. This doesn't mean that revolutions are a matter of indifference. Such events can hopefully be influenced to result in situations where such experimentation is more possible and easier. Doing this, however, requires a much "finer touch" than the usual libertarian response of "always push harder and harder". In some cases this might be just what is needed. In other cases, such as choosing the wrong allies and dealing with those that we have made, it can be disastrous.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

To the tune of 'Those Were The Days'...things the Conservative leader would like forgotten. For the original sources of these quotes see this link.
Stephen Harper in his own words

Over the years, Stephen Harper has said a number of things that a great many Canadians would be shocked, and even appalled, to learn that they were said by someone who is now our Prime Minister. The following is just a sampling of those quotes:

"Canada is not a bilingual country. In fact it less bilingual today than it has ever been. ... As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed."
Calgary Sun newspaper column, 2001

"You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society."
Report Magazine, 2001

"It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act."
"Firewall Letter", 2001

"That's why the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law."
Speaking as head of the National Citizens Coalition, 1998

"Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society. It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff."
Interview with Terry O’Neill of BC Report

newsmagazine, 1999 "This government's only explanation for not standing behind our allies is that they couldn't get the approval of the Security Council at the United Nations - a body [on] which Canada doesn't even have a seat." CTV's Question Period, March 30, 2003

"I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians."
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it"
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance."
Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997

"Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status ..."
Op-ed article in the National Post, December 12, 2000

"Now 'pay equity' has everything to do with pay and nothing to do with equity. It’s based on the vague notion of 'equal pay for work of equal value,' which is not the same as equal pay for the same job."
National Citizens Coalition Overview, Fall 1998

"For taxpayers, however, it’s [pay equity] a rip-off. And it has nothing to do with gender. Both men and women taxpayers will pay additional money to both men and women in the civil service. That’s why the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law."
National Citizens Coalition Overview, Fall 1998

"Whether Canada ends up as one national government, or two national governments, or several national governments or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion."
Speech made when he was a Reform Party MP, 1994

Saturday, April 09, 2011



Another great cartoon from the pen of Stephanie McMillan.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011



Since the recent triple disaster in Japan Japanese anarchists have been active in both relief work and in furthering protest against the continued reliance on nuclear power. This April 10 th they are planning a major demonstration in Tokyo, and they hope others across the world will join them. Here is the appeal from the Asian Anarchist Network. Donations solicited at the demo will be forwarded to groups active in relief work in the affected area. The following has been slightly edited for English grammar and spelling.




Dear all,

We are planning an anti-nuke demo in Koenji,Tokyo on 10th April, and we'd like to make it the day of global action. I hope you can contribute to this solidarity action. Actions are run up. More later. in solidarity, -------------------------


We took a big risk depending on nuclear energy in exchange for creating "unlimited" prosperity. Now we are facing the dangers we assumed. Human beings seem to make wrong choices. We have to make sure. No more nuclear plants.

We individuals living in Tokyo are planning a demonstration against nuclear plants on the 10th of April in Koenji, Tokyo. We also would like to call for global solidarity actions on the same day. We believe that the global response and action will be a significant support for all disaster victims and movements against the current nuclear policy in general.


This is a global call for actions on 10th April. We sincerely hope that you will take any actions together on that day. Work with us in solidarity against all nuclear plants worldwide!


Plans for actions and Records of actions.

Please send us the texts, documents, footage, images and/or anything else relating to your actions to:

in strong solidarity,

Monday, April 04, 2011



Coming up at the end of this month (April 29) a benefit concert for the Winnipeg Copwatch group and their annual 'Run For Rights'. Here's all the details:


Run for Rights Benefit Concert


Friday, April 29 · 7:00pm - 11:30pm
Ukrainian Labour Temple
591 Pritchard Avenue at McGregor
Winnipeg, MB
More Info
Please join us at the beautiful and historic Ukrainian Labour Temple for a great night of music and fun celebrating the 10th Annual Run for Rights!
Our featured bands are:
Rosalyn Dennett & Allison DeGroot
Romi Mayes with Jay Nowicki
Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices

Tickets are just $15, and are now available at Music Trader in Osborne Village and at the Folk Festival Music Store down in the Exchange.

Info on the show? Call Allan at 471-6426 or e-mail to

Sunday, April 03, 2011



Here it was last Tuesday, and Molly was zipping along the roads of Winnipeg dodging the spring crop of Grand Canyon sized potholes. It was local news time on the radio, and one item caught my interest, even more than the ever deceptive "puddles" that could easily be a car swallowing shaft entrance to a pit so deep you can see a red coloured guy with horns, a tail and cloven hoofs at the bottom.

Now just for the info of non-Canadians we are into an federal election campaign, and Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, was making a pit stop in this benighted town. Seems Sneaky Stevie was up to having a little star glitter rubbed off on him, and his apparatchiks arranged that he would visit the home of popular culture wonder Maria Aragon in what one media report called "a rough, west-central Winnipeg neighbourhood". Now "rough" and "west central" are largely synonymous in this town.

Aragon is a ten year old girl who went straight to the heart of pop culture celebrity last February when a video posted to her sister's You Tube account of her performance of Lady Gaga's song 'Born This Way' caught Lady Gaga's attention. LG posted a twitter link to the video, and within 6 days it had received over 26 million views (It now stands at about 27.4 million views-Molly ). The rest is history. On March 3 Aragon performed with LG in Toronto. She has also appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show.

What does all this mean gentle reader ? Well...Lady Gaga just so happens to be the most followed person on Twitter in the whole big world. Personally I have little doubt that there are at least ten times as many people in the world who now know of Maria Aragon as compared to people who would know who on Earth Stephen Harper is, let alone pick him out of a lineup of other corporate criminals. This Aragon kid is BIG, and her appearances have probably increased the number of people in the world who know there is a place called Winnipeg by over 50 times.

Well Sneaky Stevie isn't going to let an opportunity like this go by. His local flunkies rapidly contact the Aragon family and "offer" them a media spot of 'Maria Meets Stephen". Now understand that Stevie is known for many things but definitely not for his kind, gentle, forgiving nature. Obvious exploitative political plug or not this sort of thing would be called "Un'offerta che non potrĂ  rifutare" in the mountains of Sicily.

The day arrives, and so does Stevie. The first jolt they get is when the Aragon family insists that everybody, media, flunkies (campaign workers) and even the Harpers, have to remove their shoes before entering. I honestly love these people. Then it's Stephen and Maria at the piano as she sings out her version of 'Born This Way'. Now understand that said song has a very clear and direct point about the acceptability of gay love and sex. It's also, however, the song that made Maria famous so Harper keeps that old fundamentalist concrete plug firmly up his ass and doesn't vary his facial expression one tiny bit. What, after all, is a little fundamentalist so-called "morality" when votes are at stake ? Stevie got through it though I suspect he had to spend two hours on the can that night to finally pass that plug.

Almost done, but then Stevie slips on the banana peel. Somebody from the crowd of media and hacks suggests he take a turn at the piano himself and sing a duet with Maria. "Hot ziggedy zam", thought Harper, a photo-op beyond belief. Understand that Harper fancies himself something of a musician and singer. To be fair he is OK, but a combo of Glen Gould and Pavarotti he is not.

"Do you know any Beetles' tunes says Harper to the little girl. A sweet innocent voice pipes up, "Only 'Imagine'". SLAM; Speaking of Imagine I imagine the sound of the trap closing on Sneaky. "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit", he thinks. Now understand that it is one thing to sit quietly through a rendition of a song saying that gay people are OK. It is quite another to have to join in and mouth the words to 'Imagine' which pretty well runs the full gamut of things Harper dislikes. Especially as the song was written while Lennon was in his full lefty phase. Having recovered from an almost terminal case of chintzy new age religiosity, Lennon felt obliged, like an ex-alcoholic or an ex-smoker, to throw his atheism into the song with all the subtlety of a front end loader.

You can practically hears the gears whirling and see the sparks flying off Sneaky's head as his weasel-like brain frantically tries to find a way out of this dilemma. Here's the problem. Singing the actual words of the song will not endear him to other members of the local Ottawa congregation of the Blessed Reformed Pentecostal Evangelical Church of the Holy Inquisitor. Whisper, whisper, gossip, gossip. On the other hand both refusing or actually singing different words in the offending portions will make him a laughing stock not just nationally but probably internationally as well. Stevie can see his brilliant little photo-op circling the drain and threatening to make him a world wide laughing stock.

What to do ? The correct answer would have been to lie and say he didn't know the song and suggest another singer. Stevie, however, panics. First he tries, "do you know any other Beetles' songs ? What about 'Hey Jude' ? "No, only 'Imagine'", says the sweet childish voice.

By this time I'm practically ecstatic. Now I have to admit to a personality fault here. It's the reason why I would make a piss poor smuggler. Lacking a concrete butt plug I suppose that I couldn't equal Stevie in controlling my facial expression. I am, however, pretty good. The problem is that, just after clearing the exit door I would feel an overwhelming urge to turn around and give a combined middle finger and cocked elbow salute while loudly insulting Customs for not catching me. In other words I find "gottcha-now-you-son-of-a-bitch" moments of triumph irresistible. Even if the triumph is somebody else's.

This is beyond belief. I'm listening in as a ten year old girl traps one of the most sly, slippery, conspiring, mendacious lower forms of reptilian life that has ever "graced" Canadian politics. Stevie tries one more tack saying, "I have my own lyrics for that song". Probably true, but he ain't getting Maria to sing them. This bizarre proposal freezes in midair, and Stevie resigns himself to a lot of strange looks at the soul saving gatherings for years to come. Maria sang the first verse :
"Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today."

And now it's Stevie's turn for verse # 2. His pants ripple as his anal sphincter tightens as hard as possible on that old concrete enema.
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace."

While singing the "and no religion too" part Stevie's amygdala took over and he had to say "I'm going to get in trouble for that one". One can only speculate if this was actual worry, an attempt at damage control or perhaps a rare sighting of a bird most have thought extinct for decades...Stephen Harper's sense of humour. Who knows ?

While gathering up their shoes and leaving the Aragon household some of the reporters present decided it might be interesting to ask Maria's father if he is a Conservative supporters. This was out of the question, and Stevie's thugs (excuse me, "campaign staff") made it very plain that the media would have no chance to talk to the family.

Thus ended Sneaky's attempt to catch as much of the star dust as possible from the fame that surrounds Maria Aragon. Hardly as successful as he might have hoped. I have to say that my opinion of Maria and her family is that they are some of the smartest people in this city. One thing they may not know, however, is what to do now. My usual advise to anyone who lets such a circus through their door is simple. Phone Poulin's Exterminators, the oldest such company in Winnipeg. Don't think you are safe just because the politician and his gangsters have gone out the door. For all you know they could have laid eggs, and as anarchists through the centuries have found out to their sorrow government pests are harder to get rid of once developed than any other pest on Earth.

Now, courtesy of a secret agent the law firm of Molly, Molly, Molly and Mew has placed in the PMO are the actual words of Sneaky Stevie's own version of 'Imagine'. In full. You can see what Harper's version is just as it is sung in intimate moments in the Harper household.. An exclusive to Molly's Blog Enjoy gentle reader:
"Imagine there's no freedom
It's easy if you try.
All proles below us
We can do it on the sly
Imagine all the wages
Much lower than today


You may say I'm a tyrant
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
As consultant 901

Imagine there's no unions
It isn't hard to do
Nothing but planes and prisons
And no high pensions too
Imagine all lower people
Living life in debt


Imagine there's no welfare
I wonder if you can
No need for medicare
Woman once more under man
Imagine all the people
Working for $10 a day