Thursday, January 07, 2016

Anna Delso

ANNA DELSO - Poet, anarchist, revolutionary and feminist, member; CNT-FAI, Mujeres Libres, French Resistance and the CSN


I met Anna at Librarie Alternative in Montreal in 1988 and was so impressed with this tiny woman with such immense revolutionary spirit. We would converse in French – not knowing any Spanish at the time and her modesty was such I had little idea of her background except for hearing she was in the Mujeres Libres. When she presented me with her book, Trois Cent Hommes et Moi, I found out that she just wasn't a member of Mujeres Libres, but its secretary, and that at age 16! Fleeing Spain after the defeat by Franco, she ended up in a concentration camp.
 
                                             Anna age 66

 Eventually free of the camp, she like so many Spanish revolutionaries, joined the French Resistance. By this time she was all of nineteen. After Liberation she and her partner organized a movement which united the CNT, the UGT, POUM, the Socialists and the Libertarian Movement in a united front against Franco's fascism. Moving to Quebec she was involved as a militant of the CSN in the textile industry. She was also a cancer survivor.  I lost contact with Anna over the years but am pleased to learn that she is still alive - at age 93! See also https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Delso

Friday, November 27, 2015

Anarchism and counter-culture podcast

This is the podcast of the interview I did for the CFRO program, Red Eye a few weeks ago. Discusses the Vancouver counter culture and anarchism as well as my book "No Regrets". See; 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME AND DISABILITY

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME AND DISABILITY
by H. W. Honeycutt
Discusses the need for a Universal Basic Income (what is also called the Guaranteed Annual Income) in the United States. Special emphasis on how the Universal Basic Income would positively effect people with disabilities.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME AND DISABILITY is available at  amzn.to/1NokwzL  
Quotes from the book:
    While UBI likely would not discourage labor on the whole, turning us into a nation of slugabeds, it would almost certainly allow individuals of all abilities to recognize and embrace different types of non-income generating labor. Labor conditions with UBI would provide a significant change from our current system, which primarily reflects the views of market-ideologues who only see value in labor which generates income.
    We thus need to recognize disability as a much more ingrained feature of human existence, and account for it accordingly, not with a continuance of market discipline for people who, through no fault of their own, cannot generate income. We should instead stabilize the living situations of all Americans via a UBI.
    With UBI, disabled workers would be in a better position to remain selective about when they would chose to work, and the income from any part-time employment would be an addition to, not a reduction of, their UBI benefits. And because UBI puts more power in the hands of workers to negotiate not only wages, but also labor conditions, people with disabilities would experience greater leverage in shaping their work environments; if they experience the unwelcoming





Thursday, October 22, 2015

Big Surprise - Canadian Federal Election 2015

The vast majority of us are breathing a sigh of relief that the Harpercons are no longer in power. The Liberals out-foxed the NDP by moving to the left of that party on economic issues. The NDP talked of balanced budgets while the Libs talked of the need to get things running again. Big mistake for the NDP.  The Greens never made their break through as the voters stampeded to the Libs to get rid of the Conservatives. The Liberals are promising much - getting serious about climate change and the First Nations, building coop and affordable housing, democratizing our political system, restore protection to the waterways, legalizing pot,  building public transit, funding the CBC, maintaining Canada Post home delivery and many other progressive - and needed - things. The question is, will they act on this or just waffle? Only time will tell, but the Libs have an overwhelming majority, plus for any progressive actions ought have the backing of the three relatively  left parties, (by today's standards)  the NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois. The Libs plus the other three parties have 239 seats compared with the Cons 99 so they could do whatever they want. The only thing needed is the will to do so.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The 2015 Canadian Federal election

After a summer of being behind in the polls, the Harpercons are now ahead, after playing the “fear of Muslims” card. Of course, 32% isn't any kind of ringing victory, but our bizarre and undemocratic “first-past-the-post” electoral system would convert that figure into a minority government. If the Harpercrit and his minions are able to bump that figure anywhere past 36% they would be in majority territory, and if that happens you can kiss your arse good bye as far as what remains of humanity, democracy and decency in this country. What a system that allows 36% of the voters to bully the other 64%!

This election may well be a cross roads. If we can't vote out the most retrogressive government in modern Canadian history what can we do? The inability to change course, even though the vast majority of the population desires this, indicates that the system is broken. And with another Harpercon regime, it will become even more broken.

The only alternative is revolution! Yeah, right... If people can't get it together to eliminate their worst tormentors electorally, you think they are going to grow a spine and overthrow the system? Of course, as the Cons wreck society, attack First Nations and generally maintain a plunder-based economy, there will be a rise in protest and civil disobedience. But will it be enough to make the changes we need? There is little time left, given the pace of global warming. If we had another 50 years, fine, no problem, but we don't. We need to make those changes now.

The only “alternative” is collapse. Capitalism and the state are too boxed in by their own contradictions to make revolutionary change possible. The environment, the social, political and economic systems continue to degrade until the point of no return. Like the Mayans, the survivors, if there are any,  abandon the “temples” and return to a simpler, human scale and environmentally saner reality.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

50 years an activist/Comox Project 1965

Just celebrated my 50th anniversary as an activist. August 28 was the 50th anniversary of the Comox Project mass civil disobedience at the Comox Air Base, I was there sitting down blocking a gate for 32 hours. This event completely transformed my life, making me the person I am today.

This week end Aug28-31 we had a reunion of Comox Project veterans and about a dozen of us showed up to have a great time reconnecting, reminiscing, discussing the import of the project, drinking wine and beer and eating. Many thanks to Peter Light who did so much – including building an octagon shelter and stone fire circle.

Picture below, Ch'an, myself and Eryk Martin at the CP65 Anniversary gathering.  See newspaper article as well -
  http://www.coastreporter.net/news/local-news/protesters-reunite-1.2049321
                                           

Monday, August 10, 2015

NO REGRETS - Counter-culture and anarchism in Vancouver

What was it like running wild in the streets with the Yippies? Or invading the USA at Blaine Washington? Imagine civil disobedience against The Bomb in the days when peace was a dirty word! How and why did one become a Beatnik? What were the "hippies" really about? Why anarchism in Vancouver, of all places? No Regrets will answer those questions and many others about the 1960s and 70s. And while striding quickly through international counter cultural hotspots such as Toronto, Mexico, San Francisco, Berkeley, London and the inevitable Kootenays, this memoir never loses its Vancouver focus.

NO REGRETS has been just published by Edmonton's  Black Cat Press for $20.00 info@blackcatpress.ca

Excerpt from Chapter 4 Beatnik Days
Jack, Ingrid and I spent a lot of time together walking around the lower Spadina area. We loved wandering in the night, grooving and digging everything. Sometimes we would head to Kensington Market, or other times take the subway to Yorkville and go to Websters for coffee. One time the group of us were standing on the street corner talking when a bus pulled up. The people on the bus pointed and started laughing, "Look at the crazy beatniks!" you could imagine them saying. Not missing a beat, so to speak, Ingrid ran up to the bus gesticulating wildly, long red hair in every direction, yelling "Look at the crazy straight people!" who now started to look alarmed and were undoubtedly thankful when the bus pulled away seconds later. Keep in mind, not one of us would turn a head today, indeed we would look like Mormons compared to the tattooed, head shaved, jogging-suited freak show walking around the shopping malls today.

We lived not far from the Toronto Art Gallery and Ingrid being an art student took me there on occasion. The Gallery was free in those days. (Government services, remember them?) We turned on before going. Now I knew that paintings were important and they ought to be appreciated, but I had never gotten into art before this. Ingrid guided me over to a painting and it came alive for me, I could see what it was all about. "Wow! Man, this is so cool – I see it", and the two of us started laughing. We traipsed around the Gallery like this, thankfully a week day and almost no one else in sight. From this moment on paintings were important to me. Thank you Ingrid, crazy laughing girl, wherever you are...

A couple of times we went to see Peter Light, who was living in a bed sit some distance away. But it seemed like our group was going in different directions. Peter was still a convinced peace activist (as was I ) but the others seemed more into being full time Beats. I also got to meet some of the "older" Beats, those in their mid 20s to early 30s. We visited poet, and LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana, founded by Ed Sanders and Allen Ginsburg in January 1965) Canada founder, Cecilie Kwait. She was twenty-six, and had hitchhiked all over the place. With reverence that we listened to her stories. ( Today, she is a world- renowned Buddhist teacher) We sometimes ran into Andy Mikolasch, selling his "Yorkville Yawn", Canada's first "underground" newspaper. One evening we had just turned on and there was a loud pounding on the front door. Thinking it was the horsemen, we panicked. After hiding the joints, we gingerly unlocked the door, but it was only poet Jack Martin who had dropped over for a visit. We all got a lot of laughs about that one. All these Beats were interviewed in the November 1965 Macleans, but the author called them "hippies". This is the first time I heard that term. Up till that time, and for the next year we were called, and self-identified, as beatniks.


Excerpt from chapter 15 Revolution In the Streets

Hot on the heels of the Bay Sip-in came the Blaine invasion. This was not a lone Yippie action, but a coalition between us and our friends the VLF. Nixon sent troops twenty miles into Cambodia, (precipitating a chain of events that would led to the genocidal Khymer Rouge taking power) so we decided to invade the United States in retaliation. On a beautiful summer morning we met at the Peace Arch at the US-Canadian border. We were some twenty miles from Vancouver and few people had vehicles, so the arrival of 600 people showed a high level of commitment. Not to mention, what we were about to do was foolhardy and highly illegal.

We made a lot of noise and had a big celebration. I helped close the gates of the Peace Arch, symbolically closing the border with the US. In order to get an idea of the numbers and to see what might await us down the road from the border post, I stood on a low hill at the back of the park. All of a sudden the entire crowd surged forward, pushing the border guards aside and ran down the road toward Blaine. The guards were dumbfounded and did nothing – today they would have shot. My friends Jim and Elizabeth were near the border post, but on the Canadian side. Jim was a war resistor and it was unwise for him to enter the States. There was no point in being a straggler running after the invaders, so I stayed with Jim and Elizabeth and waited for our "army" to return, if indeed they would return.

Half an hour or so later, our little army appeared, and ran back into Canada. Mission accomplished! They told of fist-fights that broke out with the locals, of the American flag being torn down and windows broken. Miraculously, no one got busted and no one got hurt. This was undoubtedly Canada's all-time easiest victory against an enemy. Best of all, a group of Vietnam War resistors were waiting in Blaine and joined the "army" on its return to Canada, getting though the border without fear of being turned back.
Right from the beginning of the action, a group of US Nazis wearing "white power" tee shirts hovered on the edge of the crowd. We ignored them. Then they decided to go into attack mode, but made the bad mistake of picking on Skookum Jim. Now Skookum Jim was built like a fire plug and had recently been a member of an East Van motor cycle gang called the "Catwalkers" before he started hanging around with the Yippies. He was also a bit of a country and western singer and used to go everywhere with his guitar, doing Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Typically, he had his guitar with him. Less typically, he broke it over the head of the lead Nazi, then used the neck to thrash the next one. By this time the seig-heil boys were scuttling away and Jim threw the remains of his git box at them.
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