Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Black Revolutionary History Month

Its February (thankyou leap year)ok only just but I live in Britain and so not only have no obligation to celebrate the occasion (Britain of course being a nation totally devoid of racism and marginalisation as I'm sure you continental types are well aware) and it will still be February for a few more hours in the States.

But justifications aside I am celebrating this month regardless for several reasons, first there's alot of black people in the world and a good number of them have done and are doing noteworthy things, but due to most nations ethnocentric interests these are often overlooked and that is not only unfair it is also extremely ignorant. Second thanks to Imperialism much of "recent" history experienced by black people whether in American cities, Africa or the tropical islands has been dominated by one form of exploitation or another and resistance to it. And third a lot of that history is actually very impressive, take slavery, slavery is an abhorrent and ancient practice and naturally there have been many uprisings and escape attempts wherever it was practised, whose the most famous of these self emancipators? Spartacus of course, and while I don't which to knock the man or Kirk Douglas's portrayal of him in the film it should be remembered that he lost.

Toussaint L'Ouverture the man who led the Haitian's to freedom when they turned there tools into weapons was actually dubbed "Black Spartacus" by the French which given his success where Spartacus failed is a bit like calling the Gold medallist from Kenya in the Olympic 200m sprint the black (insert name of) guy who came second. Still given Spartacus's competition I think Marx's compliment that he was "the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history" is well deserved.

Anyway for a more cogent reason why this month matters and why Black History is something we all should celebrate and learn from, here is a commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Sorry for the quiet time, and double sorry for this being another redirection post, I was originally going to post my thoughts on the Bioshock (that's the game set under the se with Diving suit Golems) novel Rapture here soon, but after pestering the guys at Mobbly for awhile and they relented and let me start uploading reviews and articles about books. So I thought why not upload there and get paid for it, just like Ayn Rand would have wanted?

So why post here, other then to brag about being paid for something I do anyway? because Rapture is the most readable and clever rebuttal to ideology of Ayn Rand I have ever read. Yes I am serious a book about a city under the sea with magic genetic engineering programs and drug addicted mutants is a cogent exploration of what would actually happen if unrestricted capitalism where putt into practice. For an example Andrew Ryan (WE ARE AYN RAND) the leader of this new city has a number of problems but since government is wicked and evil he has no way to deal with Raptures problems other then make a speech underplaying the issue or use shady underhanded tactics to get the job done. That is a very big hole in these New Right theories, how do you deal with "troubelmakers" if its some sort of government body then you haven't really changed anything, all it would take would be for some competent and ambitious fellow to use its enforcement powers to put themselves in charge and wreck the whole system. And if there's no public enforcement body how on earth would you maintain order? In Rapture Ryan has benevolently built a security firm that is there de-facto police force, and once the cracks start to show you can probably guess how smart it was to make the "police" whom are armed to the teeth (by Ryan Industries) answerable to one man only.

There is also plenty of examples of the most cut throat making it too the top making a mockery of the ideologies lofty ideals of freedom and efficiency. Remember Rand wasn't just making a Manifesto for the "Rich to Richer" club she actually claimed her ideals would enshrine freedom and individuality, which has never really held much water given that the most market orientated societies on earth where Latin American Dictatorships or 19th Century Europe where every nation was ruled by an Aristocratic Oligarchy and oppressed the rest of the planet.

Anyway if you're looking for an intelligent book with a bit of action and mystery then you should check out my review of it and see if anything takes your fancy. And for added incentive there is an actual Class War lead by an Irish rebel called Atlas (and yes they did choose that name for Irony).

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

FSRN Donation Drive

"FSRN and our independent media friends are holding a one-day fundraising and consciousness-raising event called #supportyrmedia. Please visit, donate, comment and share before midnight ET (GMT -5) tonight! Help us raise $2,000 and win matching grants!"

Free Speech Radio News (FSRN) is holding a special one day long fund-raiser, the target is two thousand dollars but if they hit that target they'll receive matching donations meaning the total will be four thousand dollars. FSRN has been up and running for nearly twelve years now, that's twelve long years resisting censorship from the top board and getting important but unsettling stories from across the world out to a wider audience.

They have until tonight GMT-5 which will be around 5 in the morning for us in the UK. I know its annoying to be constantly hounded for money but I know a lot of people across the world are sick of the blatant bias and manipulations in the Mainstream Media and its domination by Corporate and Government interests, this is a worthy cause I've shared and uploaded only a fraction of the work this group does, from Hawaii to Palestine, to the forests of India and the coastal towns of Indonesia FSRN has brought important news to the airwaves, please if you feel the standards of acceptable journalism demonstrated by our old friend and defender of decency Rupert Murdoch and his staff, then I strongly recommend you at least take a look at what there asking for.

Some more highlights to sway you:

"In Senegal, residents defied a ban on protests and are demonstrating ahead of an expected court ruling on whether President Abdoulaye Wade will be permitted to run for a third term. The West African country will hold presidential elections next month and in the lead up to the vote, human rights and civil society groups have condemned what they call a government crackdown on opposition leaders. The showdown about who will be on the ballot is the latest in the election process. For more we go to FSRN reporter Alpha Jallow who is in Dakar. He joins us by cell phone."

"Today Iran's supreme leader vowed to retaliate in the event of an attack and condemned Western-backed oil sanctions on his country. According to Reuters, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke on state TV to mark the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On Thursday, the US Senate Banking Committee approved sanctions on Iran that could cut billions of dollars of revenue from abroad. The legislation, called the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act, would stop transfers through the telecommunications network called Swift, and add to already strict sanctions on Iran's Central Bank. The bill now moves to the full Senate.

Rhetoric from the US and Israel has risen this week as UN said a team of nuclear inspectors will return to Iran later this month.

For more we're joined by Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor at NYU's Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies."

"We turn now to New York, to look at a string of police shootings and a beating involving young black males that has community members outraged. FSRN's Jaisal Noor reports."

The link again

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

On this and Every Future Valentines Day Spare a Thought for the Ones Who Truly Make the Day Special

I hope you're all enjoying Valentines day with your special someone, if you're in a part of the world that does celebrate the holiday that is. If your not then I hope you're having a good February the 14th anyway, preferably with good company.

But I know there's one group of people out there who definitely won't be enjoying the day of love and romance, and that's the same group of people whose labour and toil make all the gestures associated with it the flower pickers. Yes all over the world in nice, warm and sun-kissed nations like Kenya and Colombia thousands of workers (mostly women) are bending there backs to pick and prepare all those vibrant roses and fragrant tulips, so overworked families the world over can remind each other that they still love each other deep down.

And unsurprisingly the flower industry has little love between Capital and Labour as in many cases these staff have too face almost every unscrupulous cost saving measure in the book. High quota's for low pay, no time of or treatment for injuries caused because of the work required,

"66% of Colombian and Ecuadorian flower workers suffer from work-related health problems

Pesticide abuse is rampant---flower workers experience higher-than-average rates of premature births, congenital malformations, and miscarriages

70-80 hour work weeks are common in the high season."

And you can forget about Unionising and official recognition of a representative group of any kind.

That young boy was part of a strike action on a flower plantation in Gaucani Colombia, oh did I mention that in addition to mostly women this industry much like Uzbek Cotton employs children and young teenagers.

The strike was last year and given that Colombia is a deadly place for organised Labour it shouldn't surprise you that the police were called in and tear gassed and beat many on the picket.

"On September 18th dozens of riot police arrived at the plantation and attacked the workers with tear gas, pepper spray and fists. Some of those who were protesting, mainly women workers, lost consciousness from being sprayed with gas whilst others were allegedly handcuffed before being badly beaten. The police also confiscated the mobile phones of at least 20 of the workers who had filmed or photographed the police violence."

The International Labour Rights Forum among many other concerned groups are aiming to end the injustice, and have stepped up a campaign to make Valentines day also the International Flower Workers Day to raise awareness of the rot at the heart of what should be a lovely day for all.

Justice for Colombia has more information on Colombian flower workers, and War on Want has an entire campaign about alleviating the issue globally.

They've also made this short video focusing on African flower workers and the struggles they face.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

New Medical Hoax Could Find Fertile Ground in the Conspiracy Camp

I've recently been given the chance to talk about something I've wished to for awhile now but held off due to lack of appropriate qualification, scientific fraud. As you probably can tell I like science, I like it a lot, however I have little talent for the hard sciences like chemistry, biology and physics but well grounded in the humanities, Sociology, Politics, Culture, history, war and international affairs. Still I maintain an interest and what really depresses me is the use of deliberately fraudulent studies and reports to give credence to an fringe and absurd position or theory. And I've recently come across one such research paper that despite its obvious errors will due to its subject find a lot of support in the tinfoil hat brigade.


This "study" into the mental illness that is fear of the government contains a number of glaring errors that a student on his first day wouldn't make. For starters the misuse of the term Phobia, Anti-government Phobia would mean a phobia of anti-government sentiment the exact opposite of the "symptoms" the "study" researches. Also the term phobia is only applied to an irrational object of fear i.e. something that can't really hurt you, you are suffering from arachnophobia if your afraid of tiny money spiders, but you aren't if you're afraid of black widows or any other venomous spider. But a government even if its benign can if it chooses hurt you easily, whether its prison, restrictions on your freedom or martial law and the death penalty.

Then in the second paragraph we get this gem:

"Anti-Government Phobia has a worldwide distribution, but has a particularly high incidence in the United States. Infection rates are estimated by mental health officials to be about 5% of the general population, and this rate is growing at an alarming rate."

Note my emphasis, mental illness is not an infection, if you were attacked by a schizophrenic and his blood dribbled on an open wound you wouldn't suffer bipolar disorder, and even if you did the trauma of the ordeal would be to blame not the close proximity.

And we have the source, the study claims to have been published in the "Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Volume 11, series 3, pages 4-5" but after looking on the Clinical Psychiatry website I have yet to find it. The first place I found it in full after hearing snippets of this supposed "weapon against dissenters" the government was going to unveil was the one I linked to at the top, the tetrahedron foundation, the group run by Dr Leonard Horowitz a believer in the "AID's conspiracy" and campaigner against vaccinations. Not exactly the a heavyweight of respected Academia. And even he isn't fully convinced that this is genuine just before posting the report he has a brief paragraph where he says this "I keep telling myself this must be a spoof, as it is the most inane piece of supposed research I've seen of late...".

And my final proof that this study is bunkum, the author is one Ivor E. Towers, Ivory Towers as in Ivory Tower intellectual.

You might be wondering if it matters if such an obvious piece of fluff gets widely circulated due to it being on a touchy subject. To that I say it matters a great deal. Not all conspiracy theories are crazy and wrong, the official version of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that opened up the Vietnam war wasn't questioned until people started to scrutinise the government from the position that maybe just maybe the government was being economical with the truth to get its way. Governments corporations and organisation all engage in cover ups spin and blanket denials to advance there interests and it is often the work of a few brave and probably paranoid journalists, investigators or concerned citizens that expose these plots. But there work and its importance is damaged when most people view conspiracies to be about paranoid loners looking for evidence of reptilian infiltration, or as in this case believing every obviously false paper or file they can find.

Remember always look for inconsistencies and keep watching the skies!

Monday, 6 February 2012

International Community Silent as Blood is Spilled in the Streets of Bahrain

"In contrast to diplomatic action on Syria, the United States and the international community have been far less vocal about the situation in Bahrain, where human rights groups say detentions, torture and political repression continue. An independent commission of inquiry into the government crackdown released findings in December that documented a pattern of abuses and noted a "culture of impunity." Activists within Bahrain point to key US military installations in the region and Bahrain's close relationship with Saudi Arabia, a US ally, as reasons for inaction. For more, we're joined on the phone from Manama by Nabeel Rajab with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights."

In Contrast to Syria which has seen increased news coverage now that Assad and his Ba'ath party (might as well get the whole set) are starting to wobble. Bahrain whose "Arab Spring" movement took to the streets first and suffered the inevitable tear gas batons and then tanks and machine guns of the ruling regime. That of King Al Khalifa, the government of Bahrain can be described as "little Saudi Arabia" in fact to complete the metaphor the Gulf Island is connected to Saudi Arabia via an "umbilical chord" like King Fahd Causeway. However unlike Saudi Arabia the Royal Family has one constant problem, religion they are Sunni while the majority of the population 75% are Shia. And like most oppressive regimes the majority Shia are either considered secondary or completely excluded in political and social and economic spheres. As we've seen time and again deliberately and blatantly discriminating against any demographic in your society is like giving out free copies of Marx's Manifesto or Paine's Common sense in a package deal with pitchforks and Kalashnikov's, just begging for trouble.

Hence the now common scenes of Arabs battling in the streets and waving flags around and chanting. But due to the quirks of current geo-politics the reason why the Bahraini people are oppressed and fighting to end that oppression is the same reason they're being ignored. The nation with the largest Shia population and is the Islamic Republic of Iran, therefore the "logic" goes in 1979 the Iranian's where Shia Revolutionaries, therefore all Shia Revolutionaries must be allies of Iran.And we can't let Iran spread its influence in the straits of Hormuz now can we? especially when the possibility of another conflict with them gets closer and closer. The entire 5th Fleet is based there just waiting to take the fight to those swarthy Persians.

To be fair though Iran does cultivate links with many Shia movements and armies, Hezbollah, ISCI, but that isn't always certain, the Shia Muqtada Al Sadr for example has no links with Iran, but Iran has been building ties with Hamas whom are predominantly Sunni. Ok so its not a perfect pattern, but these Shia must surely be agitating for closer ties to Tehran right?

Well not according to the Bahrain resistance, apparently they want absurd barbarian ideas like:

"What do we want on February 14?

We want a genuine political life in which the people alone are the source of powers and legislation.

We want a constitution drawn up by the people, and agreed upon, which is the arbitrator and judge in the relationship of the ruler to the ruled.

We want genuine and fair elections based on fair foundations and the distribution of constituencies in which the vote of every individual Bahraini is equal.We want genuine representation, without the accusation of treason whenever we go out to demand our rights.

We want a Council of Representatives that reflects the composition of the Bahraini people, without the majority being a minority and the minority a majority.

We want a government that is elected, based on people’s competencies rather than “loyalties”.

We want to fight corruption and stop the plundering of resources, and achieve a fair distribution of wealth.

We want to stop nepotism, and to prevent recruitment according to affiliation, and to open all sectors, especially the military, to all people.

We want an end to indiscriminate political naturalisation, which has increased the burden on services and oppressed people.

We want true freedom, without a law against “terrorism” and “gatherings”.

We want true media freedom, and the door to be opened for everyone to express their opinions freely and without fear.

We want security in villages and towns, and the release of political prisoners and the reform of prisons, and the end of oppression, torture and intimidation.

We want genuine solutions to the problems of unemployment, housing, education, and health.

We want the police to “serve the people”, and we want the army to be of the people.

This is truly what we want; we do not want to overthrow the regime, as many imagine, and we do not want to gain control of the government, we do not want chairs and seats here or there. We want to be a people living with dignity and rights."

An admirable program I think, apparently though Kalifa's minders in Riyadh and Washington disagree as they continue to support the crackdown. Saudi Arabia even went as far as to loan some soldiers and police, while the good old freedom loving American President stepped up and let arms sales to the government continue, is there to be an arms package to Damascus because if not I call double standard.

Well sadly there's not much we can do all the way over except wish the people of Bahrain well. Oh and I suppose you could sign these petitions and try to raise awareness of what's happening in Bahrain. I personally think any anti Iran war campaigner would find the situation in Bahrain to be very useful.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

J. Edgar A Review

I saw J. Edgar recently, and it got me in the writing mood, unfortunately I'm not supposed to republish work I did for Mobbly -understandable though I doubt they need to worry about me siphoning views- You'll have to go there to read it. Don't worry I'm not making a habit of this, most of my articles I doubt are of interest to anyone who reads the blog which is why I haven't bothered doing little advertising posts for them.

But I do think that a surprisingly critical look at the life of Radical America's greatest nemesis will be of interest to my small "audience" so I do actually recommend clicking on those hyper-links and checking it out.

As I've said I can't say too much about the review but I will say this, J. Edgar is a major Hollywood studio production that has the balls to say that this charming image is closer to the truth then some would like.

Oh and one last titbit, the film omits Hoovers battles with the Black Panther Party an odd omission since that was one of his most prominent abuses of power, so to correct that here is a 30 minute documentary on the Black Panther Party and Hoovers attempts to destroy it.

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