Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joseph Dietzgen's “Brain Work” Republished

Out of print since I did an edition in 1984, Joseph Dietzgen's pioneering introduction to dialectics, THE NATURE OF HUMAN BRAIN WORK has just been re-issued. PM Press did a fine job of it and this new edition contains an essay that I wrote explaining Dietzgen's libertarian philosophy. BRAINWORK is one of the finest introduction to dialectics I have ever read and should be in every socialist and anarchist library. It is available for $20 US from PM Press. See

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Big Anarchist Survey

Calling all anarchos! Do the Big Anarchist Survey. Takes about 15 minutes only and the results will be announced when done. Thank you Miroslav, for sending this. See


Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Vatican's Dark Crows Come Home to Roost

The Vatican's Dark Crows Come Home to Roost by Kevin Annett

Whoever would harm one of these little ones, it would be better if a millstone was tied around his neck and he was cast into the sea.
- Jesus Christ, quoted in Luke
There's a joke circulating in Rome these days, that Pope Benedict is considering having his title changed to "Innocent" in anticipation of his upcoming trial for aiding and abetting child rapists in the Catholic church.
It's no joke, really. When I and a handful of people tried to hold a memorial service for children who died in Catholic Indian schools outside the Vatican this past Easter, we were swarmed by fifteen state police and halted from our witness. The church, and its accomplices in government, know very well that they are on the verge of facing criminal charges that could bring down the church.
That's the optimistic scenario. What's more likely, according to Vatican sources, is that the church will swing a deal and have the Pope retire for "health reasons" and take the fall for what the international media are calling the worst scandal to hit the Vatican since its diplomatic concordat with Adolf Hitler in 1933.
The Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, is not a popular guy, even in Catholic circles. A German, former Hitler Youth member, and arch reactionary who led the church's Inquisition against liberals in Catholic ranks for decades, Ratzinger was fondly known as "Joe the Rat" among his fellow Cardinals. But he has a lot of power, and authored the policy, still in place, that compels clergy to suppress evidence when children are raped by priests: a criminal act which has lawyers for rape victims smacking their lips.
"The man should be on trial" stated one American jurist last month.
"The Pope not only ordered priests to silence rape victims, but he moved rapists around within the church, and he protected them. That much we know. Doing that in one country is one thing, but Ratinzinger ordered it done in other countries, which is known as international obstruction of justice. That's a crime against humanity under international law."
The image of Interpol or local police arresting the Pope when he touches down in other countries is more than compelling, but Vatican lawyers insist that as a "head of state", Ratzinger has diplomatic immunity from any kind of prosecution. The Vatican, it seems, has never heard of the Nuremburg Trials.
"That's not going to stop me from arresting him" declared Paddy Doyle to me last month, at a protest outside the Irish Parliament in Dublin. Doyle is a survivor of church torture who has become an international spokesman for victims.
"I'm going to be there in the front row when the Pope does his mass in London this September. I'll drive my wheelchair right into him and arrest him, and let them try to stop me!" declared Doyle to TV cameras and cheering supporters, prior to his meeting with Irish government officials and demanding legal sanctions against the Catholic church.
People like Paddy Doyle are stepping forward in greater numbers these days, for their time has clearly come. I had the honor of meeting many of them in my recent tour to Europe, where I began to rally them into an international campaign to bring charges against the Roman catholic church in international courts.
The murder and torture of generations of children in church run facilities happened across the world, according to the same type of church-government collusion that characterized Indian residential schools here in Canada. Indeed, in 2004, the Canadian government actually sent officials to Ireland to give politicians there advice about how to contain and co-opt the growing movement of church victims in Ireland.
"You Canadians are very good at excusing yourselves for your mass murder of Indians. Clearly our government has a lot to learn from you, and as a result, it's been very successful at avoiding prosecution for how it helped the church kidnap and exploit little children" described Mary McKinney, a human rights activist, to me during my sojourn in Dublin.
For generations, Catholic orphanages in Ireland, England and other nations ran sweat shops where children as young as four worked as slave labor producing rosary beads and other religious artifacts: just like in Canadian Indian residential schools. And the death rate in these facilities was remarkably constant, hovering between one third and one half of all the little inmates.
"The church must pay back what they stole from these children and their forced labor. They must point out where the dead are buried, too" declared Sean Hennessey, an Irish lawyer for victims, last year.
"What the church made off these children exceeds a billion dollars, just in our country alone. We demand real reparations, and jail terms for the church officers, not merely token
How to make the Vatican accountable under the law is another matter. As in Canada, the church has so far evaded any criminal charges for the death and torture of children under its care.
And yet this issue will not go away, any more than a government and church-appointed "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) in Canada will shove under the rug a century of crimes in Indian residential schools. For the scale of the crime is enormous.
According to Ojibway Chief Louis Daniels in Winnipeg, who will be protesting outside the first official TRC forum in that city on June 15, the time for lies is over.
"I was tortured in a United Church residential school and saw my friends murdered there, and now I'm supposed to not name the names of their murderers in front of the TRC. And I can't sue the church, or bring charges against it. It all proves that we'll never get justice in the white man's system. We need the UN or someone to come in here and charge Canada with genocide. Just like what happened in other countries."
Chief Daniels will be part of a delegation of native elders who will travel with me back to Europe in September to link with other survivors of church crimes in Ireland, England, Germany and Italy. And he'll stand outside the Vatican with me to help exorcise a spirit of lies and murder from the oldest institution in history.
Says Chief Daniels,
"The church is a wolf in sheep's clothing. But we're all waking up to that now. Their time is over."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Greek Worker Struggle - Anarchist Statement

Greece is a test case for the social dismantling that awaits us all. This policy is being enacted by all the institutional parties, by every government and by all of globalised capitalism's institutions. There is only one way to hold back this policy of barbaric capitalism: popular direct action, to widen the strike movement and increase the number of demonstrations all across Europe. ---- SOLIDARITY WITH THE GREEK WORKERS' STRUGGLE! The Greek working class is angry, and with good reason, with the attempt to load responsibility for the bankruptcy of the Greek State onto their shoulders. We maintain instead that it is the international financial institutions and the European Union who are responsible. The financial institutions have plunged the world, and Greece in particular, into an economic and social crisis of historical proportions, forcing countries into debt, and now these same institutions are complaining that certain States risk not being able to repay their debts.

We denounce this hypocrisy and say that even if Greece - and all the other countries - can repay the debt, they should not do so: it is up to those responsible for the crisis - the financial institutions, not the - to pay for the damage caused by this crisis. The Greek workers are right to refuse to pay back their country's debt. We refuse to pay for their crisis!

Instead, let us shift the capitalists into the firing line: Greek capital generates some of the biggest profit margins in Europe due to its investments in the poorer Balkan countries, the absence of social protections, collective guarantees and a minimum wage for Greek workers, not to mention the country's gigantic black economy in labour and an even greater exploitation of immigrant work. Greek capital is also very lightly taxed, due to the weakness of the State (with regard to the rich) and major corruption which permits fraud and tax evasion on a massive scale. So it is equally up to Greek capitalists to pay for this crisis.

We also denounce the attitude of the European Union. The EU was presented to us as a supposed guarantee of peace and solidarity between the peoples, but now it is showing its true face - that of acting as an unconditional prop for neoliberalism, in a complete denial of the notion of democracy. As soon as an economy becomes mired in difficulties, all pretence of solidarity evaporates. So we see Greece being scolded and accused of laxity, with insulting language bordering on racism. The "Europe which protects us" that liberals and social-democrats extolled at the time of the scandalous forced adoption of the Lisbon Treaty (particularly in France and Ireland) now seems a long way away.

As far as actual protection goes, the EU and the financial institutions have combined their efforts to frog-march Greece towards the forced dismantling of public services, through austerity plans that recall the "Stuctural Adjustment Plans" of the IMF: the non-replacement of staff, wage freezes, privatisations and VAT increases. Today the EU is demanding that the retirement age be moved back to 67, not only in Greece but also in other countries, and is also threatening to dismantle the social welfare system. In this way they are opening new markets for investors, while guaranteeing the assets of rich investors, to the detriment of the basic interests of the working class. It is a Europe of the ruling class, and one which we must all work together to oppose.

This is why we call for participation throughout Europe in solidarity initiatives with the Greek working class and with future victims of the onslaught of the banks.

Against the values of greed and rapacity that the European Union is based on, let us respond with class solidarity! Greece is a test case for the social dismantling that awaits us all. This policy is being enacted by all the institutional parties, from out-and-out bourgeois to liberals and social democrats, by every government and by all of globalised capitalism's institutions. There is only one way to hold back this policy of barbaric capitalism: popular direct action, to widen the strike movement and increase the number of demonstrations all across Europe.
Solidarity with the Greek workers' struggle!

Alternative Libertaire (France)
Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)

6 May 2010

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