Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Anti-2010:Information Against the Olympic Industry

Anti-2010:Information Against the Olympic Industry
is a 36 page, 8 x 11, magazine PDF published by No2010.com. Please download and distribute in your area.

As is explained:
No2010.com was established in the spring of 2007 to provide information for anti-Olympic resistance, to educate and inspire others, and to post regular updates for the movement. It is maintained by Indigenous rebels in occupied Coast Salish Territory. Thanks to a comrade in Montreal, 100,000 stickers were printed with the slogan 'No Olympics on Stolen Native Land' & the website address. These stickers have been distributed across Canada. In addition, a 'Militant Merchandise' section has been added to the site, which has t-shirts, patches and stickers for sale. You can support No2010.com by purchasing these products (via Paypal).
On the website there are also PDFs that can be downloaded and copied that you can distribute in your area, including SportsAction (direct actions against 2010 chronology) and this publication.
We are currently working on a special print edition/PDF focusing on the 2010 Torch Relay.
No2010.com is a member of the Olympic Resistance Network, the main coordinating group for anti-2010 opposition in Vancouver. Over the last two years, the anti-Olympic movement in Vancouver and across the country has carried out a succesful campaign of protest & direct action.
If you'd like to get involved, contact the ORN at email: OlympicResistance@riseup.net.

If printing out the document for photocopying, it is recommended to set the printer DPI (dots per inch, usually in properties) to 600 or 300 DPI.

You may also want to check out these fine websites: www.No2010.com www.warriorpublications.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

Targetting of Anti-Olympics Movement: What To Do When Police & Spies Come Knocking

Since 2007, police & intelligence agencies have targetted anti-2010 Olympics opposition as a 'security threat' to the Games. This has included media articles based on reports from CSIS and police specifically mentioning Indigenous and other social movements in Vancouver. Police have publicly stated their need to increase surveillance of anti-2010 resistance.

Beginning in 2008, CSIS and police also began attempts to recruit informants and gather information through interviews with people organizing anti-2010 resistance, or with people indirectly associated with our movement.

==> Agencies Involved

The following are the main agencies involved in surveillance & attempts to conduct interviews/recruit informants:

1) CSIS- the Canadian Security & Intelligence Service is Canada's main spy agency and is under the authority of the Ministry of Public Safety. It was formed in 1984 to seperate intelligence gathering from law enforcement after it was revealed that the RCMP had carried out violent and illegal campaigns against social movements in the 1970s. Unlike the police, CSIS agents have no powers to arrest; they gather & analyze intelligence and share this with government and police agencies. Like police, however, CSIS may conduct surveillance, recruit informants and infiltrate agents into groups.

2) RCMP VISU- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are a national police force and are the main agency responsible for security during the 2010 Olympics. To carry this out, they have organized the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (VISU), which coordinates the security activities of CSIS, the Canadian Forces, police, border control, coast guard, and other emergency services. The RCMP also has its own intelligence department (National Security Criminal Investigations) and is the lead agency for the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), which includes police, intelligence, and border control. INSET has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

3) VPD- the Vancouver Police Department works in coordination with the RCMP VISU. The main officers involved in interview attempts have been those with the Aboriginal Liason unit of the VPD. Like other police departments, the VPD also has its own intelligence unit (the Criminal Intelligence Section, which is part of the RCMP's INSET).

==> Method

The agent or officer(s) may approach a person through either telephone or in person (i.e., appearing at a workplace or residence). They identify themselves and ask for an opportunity to meet with the person in order to learn their opinions or concerns about the 2010 Olympics.

==> Who Could Be Contacted:

Security agencies cast a wide net when collecting intelligence. Often times it is because someone is active in the particular movement being targetted, but not always. It includes situations where it is believed that divisions may be exploited (between individuals/groups), to discourage people from becoming more active (intimidation), or when a person has a close relationship with the target of surveillance (including family). Sometimes, agents have no idea how a person might respond to an interview request and take a chance they'll co-operate. They often request that people keep quiet about their intelligence gathering efforts.

For these reasons, it's a good idea to contact others and let them know if you've been approached by either police or intelligence agents.

==> What to Do:

If you are contacted by either CSIS or police for an interview, the best response is to just say “No.”

You are under no legal obligation to talk with either CSIS or the police (this also applies if you happen to be arrested and they want to talk to you then). Nor can CSIS or police enter your residence (unless they have a warrant) or detain you (unless you are under arrest).

It is a good idea to document any contact or harassment by CSIS or police and to let others know as soon as possible.

Write down

  • details of the incident and any comments made by the agent/officer(s).
  • get the agents/officers names and contact information (you can ask for a business card).
  • If possible, get a photo of the agent/officer(s) with a camera or cell phone (or write a description of what they looked like).
  • Send this info to the Olympic Resistance Network so that others can be made aware.

==> What NOT to Do:

Some people think it might be fun or “interesting” to meet with CSIS or police, to play 'Spy Vs. Spy'. This is a bad idea. Intelligence agents are trained in interrogation techniques. They may have years of experience and interrogated hundreds of people. In addition, they may have large amounts of intelligence at their disposal, based on extensive surveillance of our movements and communities. You don't know what they know or don't know. A seemingly minor detail, or even a certain response to a question, could reveal more than you think.

Not only are these agencies seeking info to certain 'criminal acts', they are also gathering psychological profiles of people. When it comes to dealing with state intelligence and police agencies, where information provided could target individuals or groups for repression, this is a dangerous game to play.

That's why the best response is to say No and alert others!

Contact individuals you know that are involved in the anti-olympics movement or contact Olympics Resistance Network (olympicresistance@riseup.net). We are happy to meet in person and your privacy and wishes will be respected.

For more information on anti-Olympics resistance, email olympicresistance@riseup.net or visit http://www.no2010.com/

Thursday, December 04, 2008

[Toronto] Let Freedom Ring: Calendar launch - book launch - panel discussion - art show

i'll be in toronto this weekend:

Calendar launch - book launch - panel discussion - art show
Saturday, December 6

Join us for an evening of political prisoner support, prisoner justice, and prison abolition.

6pm - Panel discussion
9pm - Launch party, with bar, snacks, and local DJs
(art will be up all evening)

$5/$15 with calendar

Whippersnapper Gallery
587A College Street, Toronto, ON

A discussion on political prisoners, prisoner justice and prison abolition, featuring local organizers and statements from U.S. and Canadian prisoners

Certain Days 2009 Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar

42 gorgeous full-colour pages of art & writings, featuring DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), Philly's Pissed, Incite!, Sumoud, Alvaro Luna Hernandez, Inside Books Project, Laura Whitehorn, Robert Seth Hayes, David Gilbert, Herman Bell, Peter Collins, The Cuban Five, Victory Gardens, Common Ground, Native Youth Movement and more!

The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between organizers in Montreal and Toronto, and three New York state Political Prisoners: Herman Bell, David Gilbert and Robert Seth Hayes.


Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners / Edited by Matt Meyer

Let Freedom Ring presents a two-decade sweep of essays, analyses, histories, interviews, resolutions, People's Tribunal verdicts, and poems by and about the scores of U.S. political prisoners and the campaigns to safeguard their rights and secure their freedom.


"Voices from Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex"

In connection with the historic Critical Resistance 10th anniversary conference Just Seeds Artists Cooperative has produced a print portfolio project that they are donating to prisoner justice organizations across North America. The portfolio consists of 20 prints, each by a different artist, that all either critique the prison-industrial complex or address alternatives to incarceration. One copy of the portfolio is currently touring Canada. It will be exhibited at le Cagibi from November 10 to the 16 inclusive.


* Calendar
* Printer-friendly version

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Should the Movement Fight on the Parliamentary Terrain?

After the u.s. and federal canadian elections, now we have quebec's provincial elections right around the corner.

Of interest, Sibel Ataougul and David Mandel, both Trots from Quebec Solidarire (Ataougul is with IS, Mandel with Gauche Socialiste), agreed to debate Richard St-Pierre of the Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier and Francois Jean from NEFAC, on the topic of whether or not the working class movement should fight on the parliamentary terrain. (i know, i know, without saying which working class movement we're talking about it's a difficult question to think about, but there you have it...)

i would definitely be there, but i'm set to table this weekend at Expozine - it's a drag because different groups have their line on this question but are never forced to defend it in this kind of public forum, because of this longstanding stupid tradition we seem to have of not debating people we disagree with on substantive issues. That's why it promises to be such a lively debate!

i strongly encourage those of you who understand French to show up: Saturday, November 29th at 3pm at 1710 Beaudry. You can download the poster here:

[Montreal] Vigil for Mohamed Anas Bennis: Monday, December 1st


A vigil to commemorate the life of Anas Bennis, killed 3 years ago by Montreal Police

3pm-5pm, Monday, December 1st, 2008
Park Kent (corner of Kent and Côte-des-Neiges)
Côte-des-Neiges metro, bus #165 North

Family-friendly vigil!! Bring your placards and banners!!

Dress warmly!! Coffee and hot chocolate will be served!!

Early in the morning of December 1, 2005, Anas Bennis was on his way home following morning prayers in a nearby mosque in his neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges when he was shot twice by Montreal police officer Yannick Bernier who was taking part in an unrelated police intervention along with officer Jonathan Roy. Anas was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital.

Now, almost three years later, the Bennis family and the public are hardly any closer to understanding exactly why Anas, a young Canadian man of Moroccan origin who was described as a mild-mannered and sensitive person, was killed by the Montreal police that morning. The Bennis family has been met with disrespect and disdain on the part of government bodies in their multiple attempts to ascertain very basic truths of what happened that morning when their beloved son and brother died. A troubling veil of secrecy continues to cloud the circumstances surrounding Anas' death.

In June 2008, Quebec's chief coroner, Louise Nolet, announced that she had ordered a coroner's inquiry into Anas' death. Although this was not a full, independent and public inquiry as the Justice for Anas Coalition has been demanding since its formation in January 2007, it was nevertheless an important, albeit partial, victory. The decision to order the coroner's inquiry surely came as a result of the public pressure campaign led by the Justice for Anas Coalition, whose three demands have been endorsed by more than 30 organisations, over the past 2 years. However, in August 2008, the Montreal Police Brotherhood filed a legal action suing the Bennis family and coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier – who was to preside over the coroner's inquiry – with the goal of having the coroner's inquiry cancelled. The Bennis family has already filed a motion to have the Brotherhood's lawsuit dismissed, but it is imperative that the Brotherhood as well as municipal and provincial governments are reminded that the public support for the Justice for Anas campaign remains strong, and that the Brotherhood's attempts at preventing the truth from coming out will not go unchallenged. If the police have nothing to hide, why not simply allow the coroner's inquiry to proceed?

Together, on December 1, 2008, let us commemorate the life of Anas, and send a clear message to the Montreal Police Brotherhood that we will not rest until they cease their attempts at obstructing justice – in this case, by blocking the coroner's inquiry from proceeding. Let us also continue to pressure the Minister of Public Security and of Justice, Jacques Dupuis, to order a full, independent and public inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis. Please come out in large numbers to support the demands of the Justice for Anas Coalition.


The Justice for Anas Coalition's demands are the following:

1. The immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;

2. A full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;

3. An end to police brutality and impunity

Justice for Anas Coalition

Everybody Talks About the Weather... We Don't

The RAF is in the air... and the fucking book i meant to have published this summer is not out yet. Never fear, Projectiles for the People is due out in early 2009 now, and this time that's a promise.

While waiting, you can check out Karin Bauer's book, reviewed today in a prominent page two article in the Montreal Gazette.

Everybody Talks About the Weather... We Don't is a collection of essays Ulrike Meinhof wrote before she went underground, with a very useful introductory essay about Meinhof abnd the German New Left by Bauer herself. There's a also a "for laughs only" postscript by Meinhof's daugher,Bettina Röhl, a hardcore anti-communist who unfortunately holds the rights to her mother's writings, and only grants permission for them to be reprinted if she gets to throw in her bitter two cents worth...

Still, definitely worth checking out!

RADICAL LEFTIST ULRIKE MEINHOF McGill prof publishes anthology of terrorist- to- be’s writings
– and German authorities aren’t very happy about it

Before she became Germany’s most infamous terrorist in the early 1970s, Ulrike Meinhof was a radical chic journalist whose gadfly attacks on the bourgeoisie in magazine columns and on radio and TV made her a household name of the left.
Prof. Karin Bauer of McGill University with her new book. To critics, she replies that Ulrike Meinhof “wasn’t a murderer at the time she wrote her columns.”

Now, much to the consternation of German authorities, a Montreal scholar has published Meinhof ’s radical writings for a wider audience – for the first time, in English.

Provocatively titled Everybody Talks About the Weather … We Don’t – a line from Meinhof herself – the anthology by McGill University German Studies chair and associate professor Karin Bauer adds to renewed and rising interest in the iconic firebrand.

The Baader-Meinhof Complex, a feature film based on Meinhof ’s life, is Germany’s official entry for the best-foreign-film Oscar in February. Now in theatres in Germany, the film’s screenplay is by Bernd Eichinger, who wrote the Oscar-nominated Downfall, a 2004 feature film about Hitler’s final days.

Buzz about the new movie has its producers drumming up advance publicity for a North American release in the new year. They’ve contacted Bauer – a German-born academic who moved to the United States in 1979 and to Montreal in 1994 – to write an expert’s report and help give the project some academic oomph.

But the German government is not enthused. When the book was launched in New York City in May, the Goethe Institute there – a kind of cultural embassy that’s mostly funded by the German Foreign Office – refused to be associated with it. The problem? Meinhof herself.

“Their reaction was, ‘She’s a murderer – why would we have anything to do with her?’ ” Bauer, 50, said in an interview at her McGill office.

“My reply was that she wasn’t a murderer at the time she wrote her columns.”

In Montreal, the Goethe Institute was more accommodating. One week ago, despite concerns from the German consulate here, it hosted a reading of the material by Bauer and her University of Ottawa colleague Luise von Flotow, who translated the columns into English.

Mechtild Manus, the institute’s director, recalled the fervent atmosphere of the Meinhof era. Back then, Vietnam War protesters chanted “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh,” rebellious students at Manus’s Catholic school “renamed” the institution the Lenin School of Socialists, and “posters in the train station of our village promised a reward for tips leading to the arrest of several terrorists, among them Ulrike Meinhof,” she said.

To chronicle the era both in Germany and other countries, the Goethe Institute has a special website – goethe.de/1968 – that traces the history and motivation of the counterculture. Tonight at 6:30 p.m., the Sherbrooke St. E. organization will host a panel discussion about the era’s environmental movement and its legacy.

But it’s the Meinhof anthology that’s proven the most provocative. To compile it, Bauer selected 24 columns Meinhof wrote for konkret, the popular left-wing German magazine she helped edit. Published between 1960 and 1968, the columns range from commentaries on the Kennedy assassination and Vietnam to discussions of student activism.

She even had a column on columnists themselves, who she estimates act as society’s “pressure relief valve.”

The pithy essays give a fascinating glimpse into a mind that grew to detest the strict conservativism of postwar Germany, which she saw as a embracing a kind of neo-fascism backed by the state and the tabloid media.

Meinhof summed up her frustration in one of her final columns in 1968, before going underground. “Protest,” she famously wrote, “is when I say I don’t like this. Resistance is when I put an end to what I don’t like.”

After forming the Red Army Faction in 1970 with a group of like-minded militants, for the next two years Meinhof turned to bank robberies, shootings and bombings to advance her revolutionary cause.

In the end, she was caught, tried for attempted murder and other violence-related charges and sentenced to life in prison. In 1976, she was found hanged in her cell. She was 41 years old.

The 268-page illustrated anthology includes a scathing afterword by Bettina Röhl, one of Meinhof ’s twin daughters, who considers her late mother a pawn of the former East German Communists.

“She made her name as a terrorist,” Röhl reminds those who would be sympathetic to her mother, adding that, in her view, “she is morally overestimated as an icon of the 1968 movement.”

Bauer sees her subject differently. Attractive, young, smartly dressed and a member of the upper middle-class establishment until her break from it, Meinhof was “a towering figure of postwar German culture, someone who wound up going in a different direction,” Bauer said.

“You go to Germany and ask anybody of that generation what they think of Ulrike Meinhof, they’ll have a story and an opinion about her – love or hate.

“Even if they don’t agree with the methods she used, for many she was a martyr to the cause, even if it was a lost cause. She went all the way, she gave up her own life to it.

“To me, her columns are a testimony to her struggle, the struggle to be heard. Publishing them again now isn’t about glorifying a terrorist – it’s about asking questions.” Everybody Talks About the Weather … We Don’t: The Writings of Ulrike Meinhof, edited by Karin Bauer with translations by Luise von Flotow, is published by Seven Stories Press. It’s available from online retailers and in select bookstores for $18.50. On the Web, check out baadermeinhof.com and goethe.de/1968 and watch Meinhof’s last TV interview in 1969 before she went underground: youtube.com/watch?v=k7jEk_f04pE

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who's the Terrorist?

Last night i had fun at the documentary film festival, checking out the awesome Slingshot Hip Hop. Here's a music video (with subtitles) by one of the band's featured, the incredible DAM.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trashing Police Cars in Quebec: In Praise of Fog

Check out the following nice tidbit from the Journal de Montreal, translated by yours truly.

Funny how they fail to mention the most high profile attacks over the past two years, the police cars torched in Montreal's East End by the allegedly anarchist Ton Pere Collective in March of this year.

You also HAVE to be trying to leave people confused and ignorant to talk about attacks on police without mentioning the anti-police riot after cops killed the teenager Fredy Villanueva and shot two of his friends in Montreal North earlier this year.

Yeah, these are "senseless acts", no one has any reason to hate the cops, just plain "mischief"...

Also not mentioned is the fact that someone planted a nail bomb just outside of Quebec Provincial Police headquarters in Sherbrooke two weeks ago - according to the cops, it has "points in common" with a bomb that blew up a police car in Sherbrooke almost two years ago. While there too the cops say they are "following leads", they also specifically have ruled out the bombs being the work of the Hells Angels, the reactionary biker outfit which is firmly based in Sherbrooke.

Hmmm... makes you wonder...

Here's the article from today's Journal de Montreal:

Vandals Damage Three Police Cars
Jean-Michel Nahas

Vandals took advantage of the dark and fog Friday night to break the windows of three police cars in Repentigny.

The mischief has shaken the municipal safety in this city in Lanaudiere which already had to deal with similar crimes in the winter of 2007.

"For us, it is an attack against a symbol," stated Lieutenant François-Steve Sauvé.

Attacks on vehicles belonging to the forces of law and order have been occurring with much greater frequency these past months. Police cars in Sherbrooke and Montreal were recently targeted by troublemakers.


In Repentigny, it was morning when officers noticed their vehicles had been damaged, when the thick fog began to thin and lift.

The suspects hit in the middle of the night. They broke the windows of three different vehicles, probably with a snow shovel found of the roof of one of the damaged cars.

A fourth police car was also attacked, but its windows resisted being hit repeatedly.

Those responsible are still at large.

"We already have some very important leads," stated Lieutenant Sauvé, refusing to say any more in order to not hamper the investigation.

In January 2007, five young people aged between 16 and 19 were arrested after having set several police cars on fire in Repentigny.

Elsewhere in Quebec

Elsewhere, in Sherbrooke, last July two thirteen year olds were caught after trashing 21 police cars belonging the Quebec Provincial Police.

Last May, a Montreal scientist who had a grudge against the authorities, set an SPVM police car on fire.

Also remember that many Montreal police cars were vandalized during a violent riot that followed the victory of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team last April.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Montreal: Let Freedom Ring & Certain Days Launchings!

*Let Freedom Ring! *
*Book launch – calendar launch – vernissage *
* in celebration of the struggle to free political prisoners*

Join us for an evening of art & literature in celebration of the struggle to
free political prisoners

*November 10, 2008*
* 7-10pm*
*Le Cagibi*
*5490 St Laurent (corner St Viateur)*

*--> Calendar launch*
*Certain Days 2009 Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar*

*42 gorgeous full-colour pages of art & writings, featuring DRUM (Desis*
*Rising Up and Moving), Philly's Pissed, Incite!, Sumoud, Alvaro Luna*
*Hernandez, Inside Books Project, Laura Whitehorn, Robert Seth Hayes, David*
* Gilbert, Herman Bell, Peter Collins, The Cuban Five, Victory Gardens,*
*Common Ground, Native Youth Movement and more!*

*The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between*
*organizers in Montreal and Toronto, and three New York state Political*
* Prisoners: Herman Bell, David Gilbert and Robert Seth Hayes.*


*--> Book launch*
*LET FREEDOM RING: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S.
Political Prisoners; edited by Matt Meyer*

*Let Freedom Ring presents a two-decade sweep of essays, analyses,*
*histories, interviews, resolutions, People's Tribunal verdicts, and poems*
*by and about the scores of U.S. political prisoners and the campaigns to*
* safeguard their rights and secure their freedom.*


*--> Vernissage*
*"Voices from Outside: Artists Against the Prison Industrial Complex"*

*In connection with the historic Critical Resistance 10th anniversary*
*conference Just Seeds Artists Cooperative has produced a print portfolio*
*project that they are donating to prisoner justice organizations across*
* North America. The portfolio consists of 20 prints, each by a different*
*artist, that all either critique the prison-industrial complex or address*
*alternatives to incarceration. One copy of the portfolio is currently*
* touring Canada. It will be exhibited at le Cagibi from November 10 to the*
*16 inclusive.*


Presented by:
*Certain Days collective – a working group of QPIRG-Concordia*
*& Kersplebedeb Publishing*


Jasbir Puar's Homonationalism Talk: A Real Disappointment

It is rare that i get angry at a public talk, but that's exactly what happened last night.

I was at the keynote address of Culture Shock, a series of events going on at McGill university, listening to Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar speak about "Homonationalism", and specifically about her book on that subject (Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times). Luckily, i found out afterwards that much of her talk was in fact her reading her answers in an interview she had givven to the online journal Dark Matter earlier this year, so i (and you) could check there to refresh my memory as i put down the following thoughts.

Where to begin?

Well, why not with language. It feels like fishing in a barrel to complain about the words with which most post-structuralist/postmodernist theories are crafted, but i think it's important to note. Telling, in more ways than one. What to say about a talk which is only comprehensible to people who have read Deleuze and Guattari, who know when you say "biopolitics" that you must mean it in the Foucoultian sense, and who can dangle more lines of flight from their affect than an ontology has epistemes???

Good theory sometimes needs to use words and phrases which are unfamiliar to most people. This is undeniable. Making every text accessible to every person requires not only removing complicated words, but also complicated ideas. Sometimes you need to do your homework to understand what someone is saying, and that's ok.

But good theory must always strive to minimize this necessary evil, to the degree possible without doing violence to its argument. "Theorists" who use words or phrases most people don't understand simply for the sake of it, who prefer obfuscation, or who have adopted it as their own little dialect, are almost always blowing smoke to cover for the paucity of their ideas. That this can become a habit in academic institutions, that this forms part of the culture of rarefied theory production, really doesn't earn anyone a free pass. Least of all someone speaking about a question of great political importance.

There was a lot of smoke being blown last night, and hardly a phrase got spoken without pimping it up with the fanciest shmanciest of fifty-dollar-words. So much so that while i think i know what was being said, i certainly don't know i know what was being said. And that, quite obviously, is a problem.

(Lest i be misunderstood, the above is not a criticism about style, it is a political criticism.)

So what did i understand Puar to be saying?

Puar's first point was that to criticize or work against homophobia or transphobia (and likely sexism, racism, and all kinds of other things too) within cultures, peoples, or countries which are victimized by imperialism, is to be complicit with imperialist oppression.

This is a crude position, one which has been hinted at in other arguments people have made over the past years regarding Hezbollah, Hamas, Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Ahmadinejad's Iran. (The only specific example given by Puar were a series of protests held in 2006 to mark the first anniversary of the execution of two queer teenagers in Iran, a case i have already mentioned, and reposted criticisms of, on this blog.)

In fact, without drawing any distinctions, acknowledging any other forms of solidarity activism, or providing any other examples to back up her charge, Puar accused the "Islamophobic Gay Left" of being complicit with imperialism, point finale. Rather than explain this in terms of political dynamics or material forces in the real world, without looking at the history/herstory that got us to this point, Puar stated that this imperialist bent was "constitutive" of queer identity as it has been constructed. (That she has also stated that "the rise of queer" is contingent, or dependent, on the rise of racism should be noted. Whether this is a contradiction in her thought, or a paradox she needs to explore, i do not know.)

While there were a lot of esoteric catchphrases summing up the whys and hows of this, there was nothing - nada, zilch - in the way of actual historical or political explanations. It seems this judgment on a terrain of struggle was the product of a lot of mental energy and pure logic, no actual practical experience necessary. That would just get in the way.

Essentially, stripped of the post-Deleuzian windowdressings, what i think i understood was (1) queer activism replicates some forms of oppression, especially around "race" and religious identity, (2) the queer tradition of being transgressive creates as its flipside the framing of the cultural or racial "other" as being the real transgressor/pervert, and the proof that these "facts" lead queerness to be pro-imperialist is (3) that imperialism really loves imperial homos theseadays.

In scattershot order:

(1) OF COURSE queer activism replicates other forms of oppression. All activity replicates most parts of the dominant culture, to some degree or another. Inactivity also replicates forms of oppression, in spades. The question those of us who actually want to change the real-and-existing world have to ask ourselves is, how can we frame our activity in a way that minimizes the bad shit, while putting ourselves in a good position to deal with problems as they arise. As a priority, those of us who hope for revolution need to break social movements away from the state while orienting them - and ourselves - constantly towards the most oppressed layers of society.

This may be what Puar means when she insists on the importance of intersectionality and assemblages, but acknowledging that people are oppressed in many different ways should not be used as an excuse to abstain from organizing around one specific form of oppression. Avoiding activism altogether certainly doesn't extricate you from oppressive social relations, either; it simply makes you dull and complicit.

(3) Imperialism Loves Imperial Homos. We've all noticed this. It was news several years ago, it's old hat now. There has been a sea change in popular representations of and (to a lesser degree) attitudes towards queers over the past twenty years. The LBGTIAetc. movement has become co-opted in step with its anxiety about adding letters to its acronym. The racist right-wing leadership of the movement is happy to front for imperialist crimes and doesn't actually give a shit about the most oppressed queers.

PLEASE! Tell us something we don't know!

Again, these are arguments in favour of activism, not against it. Activism against the movement leadership, perhaps, though more often than not simply engaging in militant activism with an eye to challenging all forms of oppression will be enough to make the old leadership irrelevant. The leadership is held by conservatives because there is a vacuum radicals are not filling.

(2) Queer Transgressivity Is Bad??? If there was a logical proof that traditions of queer transgression were to blame for the oppressive othering of imperialism's victims, i didn't get it. Saying it's so doesn't make it so, you have to show me why and how this mechanism works. Seriously, i'd be interested.

When one says - to give an example - that the condition of the labour aristocracy is dependent on the exploitation of the Third World proletariat, one can show numbers, trade balances, statistics regarding wages, displacement, and wealth produced or extracted. If you really want you can go down to the port in Old Montreal and see the wealth come in on container ships, or you can travel up to James Bay and see the hydroelectric dams fueling this economy and devastating Indigenous land. It's visible, it's material, and it's not shrouded in mystery. You can then disagree with the argument by marshaling your own facts, but you have to do so, because its a debate based on things really happening.

This is just an example, to show the method by which a political claim needs to be backed up.

The same method, the same standard of proof, needs to apply if you want to blame "queer transgressions" in the metropole for the horrors of Abu Ghraib. Show me how. Because my gut feeling is that the "transgressiveness" which results from traditions of being queer, or from myriad other traditions and ontologies (hey look, i can use those silly words too!), creates a space that makes people approachable by our side more than the system.

Sure, the ways people feel they don't belong or don't fit in can be - and are - exploited by the system to create insecurity, market niches and capitalist cures; but these same disatisfactions can be bound to liberation movements by theories which link one's unhappiness to the unhappiness of others.

More to the point, the desire to offend - which can definitely be oppressive - has to be judged in terms of who is being offended and who is doing the offending. When Salman Rushdie offended a generation of Muslim conservatives with his book The Satanic Verses, he did something - as a Muslim man, as a leftist, as a freethinker - incredibly dangerous and also fundamentally legitimate. As a "cultural worker", as an author, he was operating within a tradition of making the world a better place. When Bill Maher made his movie Religulous, clearly hoping to offend Protestants and Muslims around the world, he simply reinforced racist ideas about Muslims and urban liberal snobbery about those funny backwards born agains. As a "cultural worker", as a comedian, he was operating within a tradition of flattering the oppressor and legitimizing his violence. You don't need a degree in discursive analysis to see the difference in their intent and general orientation.

So why is it sometimes liberatory to offend people?

Being offended means being shocked, in an unpleasant way. We all internalize a lot of oppressive attitudes, not least amongst them being complacency towards what is happening in the world. We incorporate attitudes and beliefs bit by bit, without being aware of it. We are offended when we are confronted with a position or argument framed in a way that we can't ignore, and also can't assimilate without doing violence to previously held beliefs or identities. It's like a slap in the face.

Offending people can be oppressive, and being constantly offended is a way in which someone may be oppressed. But, for better or for worse, on a case-by-case basis it needs to be proven, not just stated, that this is oppression, and not just discomfort. Because when previously held beliefs are unexamined, when we adopted them unthinkingly, being offended is sometimes a necessary first step to force us to re-examine them. It may be unpleasant, but that doesn't mean it's always unwarranted.

Why is there such a connection between certain cultural traditions - not only the queer tradition, but so many others, from the blues to punk rock, from the dadaists to the women's liberation movement - and the penchant to offend?

Well, there's two parts of it.

On the one hand, it's undeniable that offending people can constitute a kind of acting out, an attention-getting mechanism, which may seem cathartic for the person doing it but really just amounts to an immature attempt to get the father-figure to notice you. So it can be dumb.

But more positively, many of us are oppressed by invisible conventions and codes which rely on their very invisibility for their strength. This way they seem natural - boys do this girls do that, such and such a part of the body is "private" and should remain covered, children are to be seen and not heard. Furthermore, many forms of abuse and oppression come with a smile - the steady psychic assault is accompanied by soothing words that there's nothing to worry about, it's all being done in the name of "love" (or community, or morals, or whatever). There is no polite way to effectively challenge this sick mindfuck, because the very form of being polite legitimizes these assumptions as being natural. Being offensive then acts as a declaration of war, getting the real relationship out in the open, forcing things off the terrain of politeness the oppressor sometimes depends upon. Because there is no protocol or etiquette that can contain liberation.

When oppression does not merely occur within the private sphere, but depends on the fact of privacy to draw its strength, being loud will always mean being offensive. And it will also be the best weapon in the psychological arsenal of the oppressed.

Certainly, in the case of queers, we have that tradition of transgression - think Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano, sure, but don't forget Kuwasi Balagoon, Valerie Solanas or Windi Earthworm - and it formed a constitutive part of queer revolt. That this tradition is a lot less loud than it was twenty years ago, and that it has been replaced by popular culture sensations like Will and Grace and Brokeback Mountain, is plain for all to see. As is the fact that the acceptance of LBGTIAetc. themes in popular culture is part of a broader cultural dynamic that includes the rise of Islamophobia. But the fact that both these things have happened at the same time and are clearly connected is not enough to show cause and effect.

Rather than just look at things on the level of discourse - kind of like studying the oceans and all the creatures that live therein by simply observing seafoam - the rise of the homonationalist consensus can be tied directly to the triumph of neoliberalism and to the demise of the queer liberation movement as it existed even just two decades ago. A demise which was partly due to its successes, partly due the decimation reaped by AIDS, partly due to the conservative turn all previous liberation movements suffered in the 1980s-90s. Homonationalism is not the result of too much queer activism, but of "queer culture" divorced from its political goals and from the most dynamic aspects of its past, then repackaged and sold back to us as a consolation prize for still being stuck in capitalism.

Clearly, today, the leadership of the queer liberation movement has been seized by people with bad politics, and perhaps the movement as it exists should just be avoided or ignored, or even dismantled. Could be. But this doesn't mean we will be able to do without queer organizing, if we want to live in a world where queers are safe and free to live their lives.

That is because it is social relations themselves, the prevalence of homophobia and transphobia, and the structural connection between these forms of sexual horror and the reactionary political movements and cultural attitudes generated by imperialism within its center and around the world, that constantly generate the need for a queer response, call it Gay Liberation, Sexual Freedom, or LBGTIAetc. - the conditions which push individuals and communities to need that kind of politic are generated by external reality. The necessity cannot be argued away, though the responsibility can certainly be shirked. This doesn't mean having illusions about queer politics being the revolution, just a realization that it needs to be a part of it.

But some academics, such as Jasbir Puar, disagree. They tell us that for us here to engage in solidarity activism with queers elsewhere is to support imperialism. When i asked her afterwards if i had understood her correctly as being opposed to any queer political organizing, she responded that she wouldn't actually argue for or against political organizing. When a woman in the audience followed up by stating that she thought it was important to organize politically, Puar retreated to a position of stating that this was an "emergent question".

Really - this is a question just emerging now? i'd have thought the question emerged some time ago, and was answered some time ago, too.

It is unfortunate that high falutin' verbiage and accusations of racism and Islamophobia are enought to give someone a radical veneer. Again, there is a chance i am misrepresenting Puar - but i must stress that if this is so, it is a result of her choosing to adopt this kind of opaque and unintelligible post-structuralist slang, one which i think is chosen purposefully by a class of intellectuals who have a real interest in not being clearly understood. (And i know she can speak like a normal person - i found a good interview with his about work she did against domestic violence, and a funny interview with her about her love for the daytime soap General Hospital - i guess the trick is to get her to talk about something real rather than pomo abstractions.)

It is also unfortunate that various progressive student groups (Queer McGill, QPIRG McGill, 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, QPIRG Concordia) chose to sponsor this talk as a keynote address in Culture Shock, which is supposed to be "two weeks of events aimed at exploring our cultural myths, particularly those surrounding immigrant, refugee, and racialised communities."

What is most unfortunate is that Puar's line has such appeal to many radical queers in the universities. The dynamic tension between sexual politics in the imperialist countries and their right-wing nationalist opposition is a real problem, one which we need to address. Unfortunately, Puar's approach replicates the very problem she sets out to criticize, abandoning the question of "how to act in solidarity with queers in countries victimized by imperialism," and in so doing abandoning the internationalist responsibility we all have towards each other, when we should be trying to figure out how to establish connections and working relations that bypass our enemies the state and the NGO complex.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wednesday: Use Your Phone to Support Jalil and Herman!

The following from the kind folks at the Anarchist Black Cross Federation:

WEDNESDAY is Phone for Parole Day for Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim!

Call NY Governor David A. Paterson between 9AM and 1pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday November 5th.


Urge him to sign the amended Executive agreements which will allow NY inmates Herman Bell (#2318931) and Jalil Muntaqim (s/n Anthony Bottom/ #2311826) to return to New York State to attend their rightful parole hearings. We're calling him every Wednesday morning of '08 until he signs off on the transfer.

On November 4th, people across the US will be in the poll booths choosing between state leaders. On Wednesday the 5th, take the opportunity to call on some officials to give a couple of freedom fighters, men who struggle for visions bigger than Obama's or McCain's, a chance to attend a parole hearing.

The transfer of SF8 defendants Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim from the San Francisco County Jail back to New York State for their rightful parole hearings has been blocked by both state governors for weeks and NYS now wants to deny this right for good. This comes despite previous agreements in the courtroom between the California State prosecutors, the presiding judge and, of course, the brothers and their attorneys.

Judge Philip Moscone signed an order in May allowing Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim to return to New York State for their parole hearings. All parties agreed at that time that the move would be temporary; Herman and Jalil waived their rights to fight extradition back to California. This vindictive and mean-spirited procedural obstacle was immediately challenged by defense attorneys. Strong arguments were made to guarantee Herman and Jalil's right to "pursue their liberty interests" and have parole hearings. Both have served over 35 years in prison as model prisoners. Both were targeted originally by COINTELPRO as members of the Black Panther Party.

New York Attorney Bob Boyle argued in a declaration to the San Francisco Court that if the men remain in California, "they would be denied their parole hearing for years." In a subsequent interview, he also said: The state waited 35 years to bring these spurious criminal charges. Now these charges are being used to deny these men parole hearings to which they are entitled. Whatever concerns the government has can be overcome by a simple modification of the extradition order. All Herman and Jalil are asking for is an opportunity to attend their hearings.

In Solidarity,
contact- nycabc[at]riseup[dot]net

Background. . . .

Free the San Francisco Eight!

Eight former Black community activists - Black Panthers and others - were arrested January 23rd in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.

Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, and Hank Jones were arrested in California. Francisco Torres was arrested in Queens, New York. Harold Taylor was arrested in Florida. Two men charged - Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim - have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years in New York State prisons. A ninth man -- Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth - is still being sought. The men were charged with the murder of Sgt. John Young and conspiracy that encompasses numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.

Harold Taylor and John Bowman (recently deceased) as well as Ruben Scott (thought to be a government witness) were first charged in 1975. But a judge tossed out the charges, finding that Taylor and his two co-defendants made statements after police in New Orleans tortured them for several days employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation. Such "evidence" is neither credible nor legal.

Herman Bell, 59, of Mississippi, a political prisoner since 1973. Cointelpro's "pattern of manipulation and lies, continuing into the present, indicates something more than the ordinary corruption and racism of everyday law enforcement. It can be understood only in terms of the power of the political movement that [we] were part of, and the intensity of the government's efforts to destroy that movement and to disillusion and intimidate future generations of young activists." Write to him - 2318931, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), 55, of San Francisco, a political prisoner in New York since 1978. "The United States does not recognize the existence of political prisoners. To do so would give credence to the fact of the level of repression and oppression, and have to recognize the fact that people resist racist oppression in the United States, and therefore, legitimize the existence of not only the individuals who are incarcerated or have been captured, but also legitimize those movements of which they are a part." Write to him - 2311826, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

More on the New York 3 (Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim) at http://www.abcf.net/prisoners/ny3.htm

You can also read more about the New York 3 case on the Kersplebedeb website here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

SportsAction: Chronology and Communiques of Anti-2010 Resistance and Direct Action

This is a PDF of a 20 page (8x11) booklet: SportsAction: Chronology and Communiques of Anti-2010 Resistance and Direct Action. Just click right here to download it.

i received this and was told to print out & distribute it, forward to contacts, or download to your website. So here it is!

(For more information, check out www.No2010.com and www.warriorpublications.com)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tyendinaga Resists Police

From the Belleville Intelligencer:

Protesters set up roadblock in anticipation of new police building
Building was to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday
Posted By By Stephen Petrick

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY — A group of native demonstrators set up a roadblock here Tuesday to prevent the arrival of a controversial police station believed to be on its way.

But the status of the building, already put together by a Grimsby, Ont. modular building company, was unclear Tuesday night, as Mohawk officials released no details on the plan.

"I couldn't tell you what the administrative arrangements are," Mohawk Chief R. Donald Maracle said from his home Tuesday evening. "It could come tonight. It could come tomorrow, I don't know."

Ron Maracle, Chief of Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Services, declined an interview when approached at the York Road site where the building was to be erected. He also wouldn't say when the building was to arrive.

"I can't divulge that information. It's a public safety issue," he said.

But a group of demonstrators believed the building was scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m. Tuesday. At that time, a number of cars descended on the site, just west of Quinte Mohawk School.

About a dozen young woman got out and gathered at the entrance, as officers from the Mohawk police force videotaped them.

The group lit a fire and stayed as the sun went down. It was a peaceful protest and no arrests were made.

None of the woman who gathered at the entrance would speak to The Intelligencer.

Some protesters were stationed at the entrance to a quarry on Clarence Road and Highway 2 before heading out to the police station site.

While there, Tyendinaga activist Dan Doreen said the group was opposing band council's decision to prioritize a police station when there are a myriad of other issue plaguing the First Nations community.

Doreen said the demonstrations he and others have been taking part in over the past few years were to address the need to settle land claims and improve access to safe drinking water.

And "the first time the government opens their wallet is to hand us a cop shop. What does that say to our youth? They go to council and ask for a youth centre and what do they get? A young offenders cell."

The group was calling on the band to ban blasting practices at the quarry because they believe it is leading to contaminated wells. That's a serious issue, they said, because most residents in the territory rely on wells for drinking water.

"If you go into our public school they have bags over the fountains," Doreen said. "It's a mechanical fix and they bring in a f---ing police station."

The police station, intended to allow Tyendinaga Mohawk Police services to expand from eight to 11 officers, has been contested for months.

The $1.9-million project is being funded with $980,000 of band money, with the rest coming from the federal and provincial governments.

It was originally scheduled for arrival last month, but a similar protest took place Sept. 23, forcing the band council to store it with the manufacturer.

But the chief said band council is still adamant about having it arrive soon, pointing out that delay in installation has already cost the band an extra $21,000 in storage, loading and transportation fees.

"I don't want to predict what will happen," he said. "Maybe the people are conducting a peaceful protest and will voice their opposition to it. But the council has thought about all the ramifications involved with it."

While he said he disagrees with protesters' charges that band council didn't sufficiently consult the community, he acknowledged the band does need to address the drinking water issue.

He said at a briefing Tuesday, council discussed studying the impact that blasting has on well water.

"Council is waiting for information on what is required in an environmental assessment for a quarry operation," he said.

The following information was sent out on the internet yesterday by members of the Tyendinaga community:

October 28th, 2008
Press Release from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Police Chief Prepared to Use Force

(October 28, 2008) Tensions are running high today on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory today as residents anticipate the arrival of a highly controversial second police station. Some reports suggest the building could arrive as early as this afternoon. Police Chief Ron Maracle has warned that he is prepared to use force to bring the building into the community.

Residents have expressed concern over Council's apparent prioritizing of a second police station for the small community over issues such as unsafe drinking water throughout community homes and at the reserve school, where the water was declared unfit for human consumption some 19 months ago.

The matter of the police building had previously come to the forefront when, in the lead-up to its arrival, an agreement was reached on the implementation of a community consultation process. Council subsequently rescinded the motion calling for such a process and now says the building will go forward without community consultation.


What You Can Do:

The community has asked that outside supporters contact the Band Council and respectfully express your concerns that community consultation take place, before the police station is brought to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, against the wishes of community meetings and discussions that have taken place so far.

Suggested Phone Call Script:

I am calling to express my concern at the impending arrival of a new police station in Tyendinaga.

We recognize that this initiative is partially funded by Canada's Ministry of Public Safety, headed by Stockwell Day. However, we have been informed by community members that there is a great deal of community concern over the lack of consultation by Band Council. Please take the time to consult.

Please hold off on the immediate implementation of a $2 million police station, while the community's concerns about clean drinking water and the Culbertson Tract Land Claim remain unresolved. We are asking that you take the time to consult properly.

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Band Council Office
TELEPHONE: 613-396-3424
EMAIL: reception@mbq-tmt-org
FAX: 613-396-3627



A month ago, on September 24th, 2008, a new police building was put on hold after community members blockaded the intended site of the building. The building is a 4,635-square-foot building shipped from a Hamilton-area manufacturer and intended to be placed on York Road, just west of Quinte Mohawk School.

The Band Council in Tyendinaga put up half the money ($1 million), while the Ministry of Public Safety and Security put up the other half of the funding.

The band council made plans for this roughly $1.9-million facility, even though the money could have been spent to address the lack of safe water in the territory and poor housing conditions. "You have kids in the school out there without water," said Evelyn Turcotte to the Intelligencer, pointing to Quinte Mohawk School. "There are housing issues and mold issues."

"Our people never sanctified it, ratified it or condoned it," Bryan Isaacs told The Intelligencer from just outside the site last month.

"There's no one in favour in our group because we were never consulted."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

[Montreal] Picket to Demand a Public Inquiry and to Denounce the Montreal Police Brotherhood's Motion to Prevent a Coroner's Inquest!

Please forward and come in great numbers!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 4pm
Offices of the Montreal Police Brotherhood
480 Gilford (Laurier Metro, St Joseph street exit)

!! Child-friendly picket !!
!! Bring your banners, placards and noise-makers !!

  • Join us in denouncing the motion submitted by the Montreal Police Brotherhood against the Bennis family and coroner Rudel-Tessier to stop the coroner's inquest into the murder of Anas!
  • October 22nd is the National Day Against Police Brutality in the US. Let us denounce the bad faith and lack of transparency of the Brotherhood and demand an end to police brutality and repression!
For a backgrounder and more info: http://www.cmaq.net/node/31224


The Justice for Anas Coalition demands:

1. The immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;

2. A full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;

3. An end to police brutality and impunity.

Justice for Anas Coalition
(514) 342-2111

Fucking Great News! Zolo Agona Azania Wins Battle Against Death Penalty!

Just received the following news about New Afrikan political prisoner Zolo Agona Azania:

10/17/08 Indianapolis, Indiana

On the eve of his third death penalty trial the State of Indiana finally abandoned their 27 year campaign to execute Zolo Azania. Dismissing all the death penalty charges, the State agreed to have Zolo sentenced on his 1982 murder and robbery conviction. Under the sentence imposed, with good time credit, Zolo will now be released from prison in 7 years. He will be immediately released from death row. Also, under the terms of the agreement he will be allowed to challenge his 1982 convictions in federal habeas proceedings.

This is a real victory for all Zolo's supporters and all of those who oppose the death penalty.

Below is a statement released by Zolo:

Media Press Statement by Zolo Azania

i am glad that the State has finally offered me this opportunity to plan a life on the outside. i can use that freedom to work for justice for others, and, of course, to establish a way of sustaining my life on my own.

i feel that God has given me many gifts; and with these gifts then i would be able to take care of myself and do good for others. i have matured in many ways over these stressful 27 plus years. i see things quite differently now than in that early stage of my life.

i still resolutely maintain my innocence. By this agreement the State gives up the death penalty request. My next course of action will be to go on into the federal court system to expose the many injustices. i will continue to contest my innocence in the murder. i am angry over the numerous ways that i've been mistreated by the judicial sanction system. i was illegally placed in this untenable position by the Indiana Supreme Court when they took back my dismissal of the case for fast and speedy trial violation, and authorized the prosecution to retry me for the death penalty for the third time! Nonetheless, i will continue to contest my innocence in this murder. i am angry over the numerous ways i've been mistreated by the system that some call justice--a term of relativity. Therefore, the protracted struggle continues!

Thank you.

Zolo Agona Azania #4969
Indiana State Prison
P.O. Box 41
Michigan City, Indiana 46361-0041

Monday, October 13, 2008

LAMENTATIONS OF Job Capitalist, A Bankrupt.

CAPITAL, my God and my Master, why hast Thou turned Thy countenance from me? What sin have I committed that Thou shouldst cast me from the heights of prosperity and plague me with the burden of poverty?

2. Have I not lived according to Thy laws? Were my actions not agreeable to the Law and the Statute?

3. Canst Thou charge me with ever having worked? Have I not tasted all pleasures, which my millions and my senses allowed? Have I not harnessed men, women and children into my service, and driven them even beyond the point of endurance? Have I ever returned to them more than starvation wages? Have I ever allowed myself to be touched by the want or the despair of my workingmen?

4. CAPITAL, my God, I have adulterated the goods, which I sold, without concerning myself about whether or not I thereby poisoned the consumer. I have skinned to the bone the gudgeons, who were caught by the bait of my prospectuses.

5. I lived only to enjoy and to increase my wealth; and Thou hast blessed my irreproachable conduct, my meritorious life, by bestowing upon me for my private enjoyment, women and young boys, dogs and servants, the pleasures of the flesh and the gratification of vanity.

6. And now have I lost everything, and I am cast off.

7. My competitors rejoice over my ruin, and my friends turn away from me; they do not even trouble themselves to blame me, and to give me useless advice; they know me no more. My former mistresses bespatter me on the street with the mud of the equipages, which I bought for them with my money.

8. Misery lays its heavy hand upon me; like unto prison walls it bars me from the rest of mankind. I stand alone; everything within me and around me is gloomy.

9. My wife, who now has no money to spend in cosmetics wherewith to paint her face and disguise herself, now appears before me in all her physical ugliness. My son, brought up to idleness, does not even understand the extent of my misfortune — idiot that he is! The eyes of my daughters run like two fountains at the recollection of the matches that they missed.

10. But what are the sufferings of mine when compared with my misfortunes? There where I once gave orders as a master, I now receive a kick if I offer myself as a humble suitor!

11. Everything has turned into dung and stench to me in my present hell. My body, stiffened and full of aches from the hardness of my conchy sore and bitten by bedbugs and other insects, finds now no rest; my soul no longer tastes the sleep that brings on oblivion.

12. O how happy are the wretches, who never were acquainted with aught but poverty and dirt! They know not the pleasures of soft cushions, and sweet tastes; their thick skins have no feeling, their dulled senses are not subject to nausea.

13. Why was I made to taste of joy, and then to be left with nothing but the remembrance of better days, more galling than a gambling debt?

14. Better had it been, oh Lord, to have cast my birth in misery, than my closing days, after thou didst bring me up in wealth.

15. What can I do to earn my dry crust of bread?

16. My hands, accustomed only to carrying gold rings, and to fingering bank-notes, cannot handle the tools of labor. My brain, accustomed only to busy itself with the question how to escape work, how to rest from the exertion of owning wealth, how to get rid of the weariness of idleness, how to overcome the effects of gluttony, is unfit for the mental activity that is requisite even to write letters, and foot up bills.

17. Is it then possible, oh Lord, that Thou canst smite so pitilessly a being, who never disobeyed any of Thy commandments?

18. Oh, it is wrong, it is unjust, it is immoral that I should lose the wealth, that the labor of others has heaped up so painfully for me!

19. When the Capitalists, my former comrades, behold my misfortune, they will learn that Thy grace is but a whim, that Thou bestowest it without predilection, and withdrawest it without reason.

20. Who will henceforth believe in Thee?

21. What Capitalist will be sufficiently daring and senseless to accept Thy Law; to enervate himself in idleness and with riotous living and revelry, if the future is so uncertain and so threatening? If the slightest breeze, that blows on the Stock Exchange, may sweep away the best grounded fortunes? If nothing is lasting? If the rich man of to-day may be the beggar of the morrow?

22. Man will curse Thee, God CAPITAL, when they behold my degradation; they will deny Thy power, when they measure the depth of my fall; they will reject Thy favors.

23. For the sake of Thine own glory, restore me to my former position. Raise me from my lowliness, because my heart is filling with gall, and curses are thronging to my lips!

24. Wild God, blind God, stupid God! Beware lest the scales finally drop from the eyes of the rich, and they perceive that they are moving carelessly on the verge of an abyss; Tremble, lest they throw Thee into the abyss, to fill it up, and join hands with the Socialists to dethrone Thee.

25. Yet, what profanity, what blasphemy am I now guilty of!

26. Powerful God, pardon me these insane and criminal words. Thou art the Master, who distributest the good things of the earth, without inquiring after the merits of Thy chosen ones, and withdrawing Thy gifts at Thy pleasure. Thou knowest what Thou doest.

27. Thou smitest my interests; Thou art only trying me for my good.

28. O friendly, loving God, grant me Thy favor once more! Thou art Justice itself; and when Thou smitest me, it must be that I have unconsciously done some wrong.

29. O Lord, if Thou returnest my riches to me, I vow, I will obey Thy laws with increased rigor. I will exploit the wageworkers more mercilessly than ever; I will deceive the consumers with greater cunning; I will pluck the stockholders and investors more wholesale.

30. I crawl before Thee like a dog before the master who beats him. I am Thy property. May Thy will be done!

The above - certainly worth a chuckle today - was written by Paul Lafargue in 1887, part of his longer satirical piece The Religion of Capital. Lafargue was a pioneer in developing a Marxist understanding of culture, and was an important communist organizer in his own right. He was also Marx's son-in-law.

i published the Religion of Capital as a pamphlet a few years back (it's still available, just email me), and have the entire text uploaded to my Kersplebedeb website along with a page i wrote about Lafargue himself. Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Analysis of the Financial Crisis by Slvia Federici and George Caffentzis

Free of State » Blog Archive » NOTES ON THE WALL STREET “MELTDOWN”
not convinced by some of this, but thought i'd pass it on...

[NOII] 12 Reasons to take to the streets of Montreal-Nord this Saturday

The following excellent text is from the No One Is Illegal Montreal blog:

This coming Saturday at 2pm at Parc Pilon in Montreal-Nord, a diverse cross-section of Montreal groups and individuals are coming together to denounce police brutality as part of a child-friendly demonstration. This is a crucial protest for all those who oppose poverty, racism and police brutality, as well as support autonomous, grassroots organizing for real justice and dignity.

It comes just two months after the killing of Fredy Villaneuva in Montreal-Nord, one year after the tasering death of Quilem Registre in St-Michel, and more than two years after the unexplained shooting death of Anas Bennis in Côte-des-neiges. It comes in a context where 43 people have been killed by the bullets or electric shocks of the Montreal police in just 21 years.

There are three main demands for this Saturday’s demonstration: 1) a public and independent inquiry into the death of Fredy Villaneuva; 2) an end to racial profiling and to police abuses and impunity; 3) the recognition of the principle that as long as there is economic inequality there will be social insecurity.

Below are 12 more reasons to get out and demonstrate this Saturday. Please post and forward widely, and do make a final effort TODAY (Friday) to encourage your networks and contacts to attend this Saturday.

Police partout, justice nulle part! No justice, no peace!

12 Reasons to take to the streets of Montréal-Nord this Saturday

1) Breaking down fear and isolation; 2) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 1; 3) Oppose police investigating other police; 4) Oppose police attempts to shut down public transparency; 5) Oppose police and media smears of police killing victims; 6) The 43 Reasons; 7) The Montreal-Nord riots were justified; 8) Accommodate This!; 9) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 2: 10) Oppose sellout "community" gatekeepers: 11) Support grassroots community organizing; 12) For People Power

1) Breaking down fear and isolation

It's not easy to confront police brutality and impunity. The police have tremendous power, as the armed force of the state. Individuals experience police abuses, brutality, and racial profiling on a daily basis, but are often too afraid to speak out. When we do speak out, we lack the resources to effectively take on the cops and government, and are marginalized by both mainstream groups as well as government-paid community hacks. This Saturday's demonstration is one clear way that we can all, collectively, come together to break down the fear and isolation we so often feel, and instead stand united behind clear demands for justice.

2) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 1

This past Thursday's cover story in Le Journal -- "Les Agitateurs s'en mêlent" -- is a transparent attempt by the police and their media allies to create divisions between the diverse groups that have come together to denounce police brutality. The police and government officials fear the emerging unity between grassroots, on-the-ground social justice groups and movements that have converged in support of the clear and powerful demands of this Saturday's demonstration. Let's show the hacks at Le Journal, and their cop friends, that we refuse to be divided.

3) Oppose police investigating other police

Mayor Tremblay and all kinds of other politicians and so-called community leaders have constantly urged the public to refrain from judgment in the killing of Fredy Villanueva until the "investigation" has been completed. But, all the so-called investigations into police killings involve one squad of police investigating another. We are now supposed to trust the Surête de Québec (SQ) to fairly investigate the Montreal police. This is the same SQ that has it own corrupt and deceitful past and present – from the "Matticks Affair" where police officers were involved in illegal activities, to the recent Montebello protests where SQ officers acted as agent-provocateurs and tried to lie about it afterwards. Most recently, this past Monday, the SQ riot squad attacked members of the Lac Barrière Algonquin Community, using tear gas and pepper spray even against children. There is a mafia-like "brotherhood" between cops that prevents them from ever honestly bringing any of their members to true justice, and gives them an incentive to cover-up each other’s abuses.

4) Oppose police attempts to shut down public transparency

When there are quasi-independent inquiries into police killings, the cops try to shut them down. More than two years after the police killing of Anas Bennis, and after a long public campaign led by the Bennis family, a corner's inquest was called to investigate the reasons for Anas' death. However, as they've done in other cases, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal have gone to court and sued the coroner and the Bennis family themselves, to try to shut the inquiry down. The police and their expensive lawyers have consistently tried to shut down even the most modest efforts at accountability.

5) Oppose police and media smears of police killing victims

Recently, the lawyer for Montreal police officer Giovanni Stante, who was involved in the killing of homeless man Jean-Pierre Lizotte in 1999, wrote in both the Montreal Gazette and La Presse, claiming that Lizotte was not a victim of police brutality, and proceeding to smear Jean-Pierre Lizotte's reputation. Lizotte is not around defend himself, but that doesn't stop cop lawyers (and the media) from smearing the people killed by the cops. Innuendo and rumours have been used against other victims of police brutality. This Saturday's demonstration is occasion to stand in solidarity with, and give voice to, all those who have been shot down and smeared by the cops.

6) The 43 Reasons

Anthony Griffin, Jose Carlos Garcia, Yvon Lafrance, Leslie Presley, Paul McKinnon, Jorge Chavarria-Reyes, Fabien Quienty, Yvan Dugas, Marcellus François, Armand Fernandez, Osmond Fletcher, Trevor Kelly, Yvon Asselin, Richard Barnabé, Paolo Romanelli, Martin Suazo, Philippe Ferraro, Nelson Perreault, Daniel Bélair, Michel Mathurin, Richard Whaley, Yvan Fond-Rouge, Jean-Pierre Lizotte, Luc Aubert, Sébastien McNicoll, Michael Kibbe, Michel Morin, Michel Berniquez, Rohan Wilson, Benoît Richer, Mohamed Anas Bennis, Quilem Registre, Fredy Villaneuva ... and 10 more individuals, women and men, whose names remain unknown. Together, they represent the 43 people killed by the Montreal cops in the last 21 years. Saturday's march is for all victims and survivors of police brutality.

7) The Montreal-Nord riots were justified

This Saturday's demonstration is child-friendly. It will allow for all kinds of folks to come together in opposition to police brutality. But, that does not mean we should shy away from defending the justified community uprising that took place in the aftermath of Fredy Villaneuva's death in August. Politicians and media have worked overtime to attempt to divide "good" protesters (the community gatekeepers who stay docile and harmless) from the "bad" protesters" (those who are willing to take direct action). Saturday's demonstration is one way to clearly show solidarity with Montreal-Nord, including the riots that were a justified expression of our collective anger and rage against police brutality.

8) Accommodate This!

During the xenophobic "debates" around reasonable accommodation in Quebec, immigrants were essentially being asked to justify their presence in Quebec. A Montreal cop even recorded a song – played on youtube – telling people from minority groups to "crisser vos camps" and "retournez chez toi". The reasonable accommodation debate clouded and confused the unity and solidarity we share -- as workers, poor, women, queer and trans people, migrants, and others -- fighting together to achieve real justice. It distracted from our unity together in confronting poverty, precarity, racism and racial profiling. This Saturday's protest is another occasion to tell the xenophobic and racist elements of Quebec society – most embodied by the cops – to accommodate this! (ie. "go fuck yourselves").

9) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 2

As part of their divide and rule tactics, the cops have also been visiting community organizations, asking about their involvement in the demonstration this coming Saturday. Many community groups have taken a clear stance against police abuses, and the police response has been to intimidate behind the scenes, as well as to start a whispering campaign to denounce so-called radical protesters. We must refuse these police tactics to marginalize the groups and individuals that have taken principled stances against police impunity.

10) Oppose sellout "community" gatekeepers

Various levels of government provide substantial money to so-called "community" organizations to provide basic services. One of the primary "services" of these groups is to act as "gatekeepers" preventing and sabotaging grassroots organizing for justice. The so-called "tables de concertation" in various neighborhoods (funded by the City of Montreal), or fake coalitions like "Solidarité Montreal-Nord" (also set-up by the City) basically exist to dilute clear demands that speak to the reality of our communities. These gatekeepers refuse to clearly denounce racism, racial profiling and police brutality, and have taken on a prominent role after the death of Fredy Villaneuva, by denouncing "violence" without ever clearly denouncing police violence. They are groups comfortable marching with politicians like Marcel Parent, Gerard Tremblay and Denis Coderre. These groups are basically breeding grounds for the politicians from all political parties that will go on to screw us over in other ways. This Saturday's demonstration is beyond the grasp of the compliant gatekeepers, which is why it annoys the cops and government so much. Let's annoy them even more with a huge turnout!

11) Support grassroots community organizing

In contrast to the fake community organizations (who are paid by government money) and their politician friends, diverse individuals and groups have engaged in autonomous, grassroots organizing, based on demands that come from our lived realities in poor and marginalized communities. This kind of organizing is not easy. We lack resources, and it's hard to find time to mobilize with our day-to-day grind for survival. But still, various on-the-ground networks, most notably Montréal-Nord Républik and Mères et Grandmères pour la vie et la justice, have courageously spoken out clearly and openly against police impunity.

12) For People Power

Our real power lies in our ability to unify, to break through fear and isolation, to name our enemy, and to confront it, united in our principles for social justice and dignity. This Saturday's protest is truly autonomous, beyond the sway of government-paid community hacks and politicians. It responds to the demands we know and feel daily. This Saturday's protest is one model for how we should continue to organize together, within our communities, and united between communities. Ce n'est qu'un début ...

written and distributed by jbswire@gmail.com
traduction par patcad. merci sofia. a guru collaboration

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Justice for Fredy Villanueva! Demonstration Oct. 11

The following is the callout for a demonstration next Saturday, to protest the police murder of Freddy Villanueva in Montreal-North:

A year ago, Quilem was killed by being tasered six times in St-Michel.


OCTOBER 11th 2008


2:00PM at Parc Pilon (corner Henri-Bourassa & Pie-IX)

Everyone knows the story about Fredy Villanueva, this young teenager cowardly assassinated by police in a Montreal-North park while two of his friends were seriously injured. It was the 43rd time since 1987 that someone was killed by officers of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), who have never been condemned, in any of these cases of murder or manslaughter.

We know that the SPVM attempted to violently arrest Villanueva without telling him he was under arrest. We also know that officer Lapointe,in order to feel safe enough, had to shoot three bullets into Fredy’s body, even though he was unarmed. To shed some light on these events,the government will use a dubious method : the police will investigate the police.

Almost a year ago, Quilem Registre was killed in Saint-Michel by six taser discharges. The officers involved were never interrogated by investigators. As for Mohamed Anas Bennis, this Muslim unknown in police circles, was killed as he walked by an anti-terrorist operation. According to the official version of the events, he attacked a policeman with a kitchen knife on which investigators never bothered to look for fingerprints.

In the wake of such facts, we must demand a public and independent investigation into the death of Fredy. However this simple request will not be satisfied easily. It took over two years of struggle so that the state would agree to launch such an investigation into the death of Bennis, and even now it’s being contested in the courts by the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal. How could we possibly trust them when they systematically oppose, using any means at their disposal, a little more transparency?

Racial profiling, harassment towards youth hanging out, abusive searches,etc. are common practice by police officers. Just last January, the SPVM was formally declared guilty by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse of practicing discrimination and racial profiling. In poor neighborhoods, every youth has shocking stories to tell about cops. It’s not complicated, little by little, a lasting fear of the SPVM was established among poor, young and immigrant communities. The day after Fredy’s death, in Montreal’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, the question was on everyone’s mind : « What if it had been my friend, my brother, my sister? »

We won’t fall into an easy denunciation of the riots, like some community groups in need of government cash did. These events that happen all the time in the whole world are inevitable when a social class with no future is confronted with the death of loved ones. As long as we won’t offer everyone living conditions that match human possibilities, legitimate revolts will occur.

We have to shout it loud : never again do we want one of our brothers to fall under the SPVM’s bullets! We have to organize, in the street, a collective political response. If we don’t, police forces will take advantage of the events to heighten the repression. We must be there in great numbers at the large family-friendly demonstration on Saturday, October 11th at 2 PM.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Blog for San Francisco 8

There is a new blog specifically devoted to the San Francisco 8's ongoing ordeal: check it out at at http://freethesf8.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dayton, Ohio: Amerikans Mark Ramadan by Attacking Muslim Children

Last Friday a ten year old girl was assaulted by two men at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

According to the Dayton Daily News:

The girl was watching children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, 26 Josie St., to celebrate Ramadan when she noticed two men standing outside a basement window about 9:40 p.m., according to police.

One of the men then sprayed something through the open window and into the girl's face from a white can with a red top, according to a police report. The girl said she immediately felt burning on her face and felt "sick to her stomach," the report stated.

Other children and a woman in the room felt affects from the chemical and the mosque was evacuated.

The following account is from a friend of some of the people who had been at the mosque that evening, and first appeared on the Huffington Post website:

She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn't stop sobbing.

This didn't happen in some far away place -- but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is not America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell -- there are good and bad people everywhere.

She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?

The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, ... , and other American friends -- but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?

Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?

What am I supposed to say to them? My words can't keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn't losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?

She didn't want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me -- tell me -- what am I supposed to say to them?

The local police have ruled there is no evidence it was a hate crime because the assailants did not leave anything at the scene of the attack! "The men didn't say anything to her (before she was sprayed)," one cop told the media. "There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us believe this is a biased crime."

Well of course. Any flinch or glare from a Brown kid is interpreted as a challenge or a sign of terrorist-sympathizing guilt, but white men pepper spraying kids at a mosque fails to indicate any underlying racist agenda. Welcome to America.

Oh, and i should mention: the racist DVD mentioned above is Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a 60 minute propaganda film being distributed to 28 million people in swing states by the right-wing Clarion Fund.