April 30, 2006

Mayday Pamphlet from www.deletetheborder.org

A group of anarchist collectives working through the deletetheborder network have created a pamphlet for outreach before and during Mayday events.

The pamphlet is bilingual, and serves as an introduction to an anti-borders / anti-capitalist analysis.

Included is a history of Mayday and workers' struggles in the United States, an analysis of the border as it relates to neo-liberal development, and the relationship between the rights of immigrants in the United States and militarism abroad.

There is a blank space on the front page provided so that folks might be able to write information about events and resources in their local areas.

This pamphlet was created to be a resource for folks who are organizing in solidarity with immigrant communities and are involved in the anti-authoritarian / anti-capitalist movement. Please distribute this widely and use as is appropriate.

download the pamphlet at http://www.sonoranstyle.net/mayday/

or visit http://www.deletetheborder.org

Vincent Ferraro Pages and Links

Howard Zinn: Removing America's Blinders

[Although Howard made uneducated statements on the radio show Majority Report Radio with Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder recently, which I disagree with, specifically about UNFO's; I still love what he says when he sticks to what he does know, and he knows well.]
Apr 24
Our leaders have taken it for granted, and planted that belief in the minds of many people, that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority, to dominate the world. At the end of World War II, Henry Luce, with an arrogance appropriate to the owner of Time, Life, and Fortune, pronounced this "the American century," saying that victory in the war gave the United States the right "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit."

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have embraced this notion. George Bush, in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2005, said that spreading liberty around the world was "the calling of our time." Years before that, in 1993, President Bill Clinton, speaking at a West Point commencement, declared: "The values you learned here ... will be able to spread throughout this country and throughout the world and give other people the opportunity to live as you have lived, to fulfill your God-given capacities."

What is the idea of our moral superiority based on? Surely not on our behavior toward people in other parts of the world. Is it based on how well people in the United States live? The World Health Organization in 2000 ranked countries in terms of overall health performance, and the United States was thirty-seventh on the list, though it spends more per capita for health care than any other nation. One of five children in this, the richest country in the world, is born in poverty. There are more than 40 countries that have better records on infant mortality. Cuba does better. And there is a sure sign of sickness in society when we lead the world in the number of people in prison -- more than two million.

A more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to inflict our power on some other part of the world. It might also inspire us to create a different history for ourselves, by taking our country away from the liars and killers who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist arrogance, so that we can join the rest of the human race in the common cause of peace and justice.

April 29, 2006

SUDAN: US Congressmen arrested at New York embassy

Five member of Congress were willingly arrested and led away from the Sudanese Embassy in plastic handcuffs Friday after protesting the Sudanese government`s alleged role in atrocities in the Darfur region.

"The slaughter of the people of Darfur must end," Representative Tom Lantos (news, bio, voting record) (D-Calif.), a Holocaust survivor who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said from the embassy steps before his arrest.

Four other Democratic Congress members - James McGovern and John Olver of Massachusetts, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jim Moran of Virginia - were among 11 protesters arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, a misdemeanour subject to a fine.

"We must hold the Sudanese government accountable for the attacks they have supported on their own citizens in Darfur," Olver said.

Dozens of demonstrators carried signs, some reading Stop the slaughter, and Women of Darfur suffer multiple gang rapes.

The protesters cheered as the Congress members and others were cuffed, hands behind their backs, with plastic ties and quietly led to a white police van by uniformed officers of the U.S. Secret Service.

The arrests were expected. Lantos` office issued a news release about them in advance.

The protesters called on the Sudanese government to accept a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur and allow humanitarian relief organizations full access to victims.

The three-year-old conflict between rebels and government-backed militias has left at least 180,000 people dead, mostly from war-related hunger and disease. Some two million people have been driven from their homes.

Rallies against the violence in Darfur were planned for more than a dozen U.S. cities this weekend, including on Washington`s National Mall on Sunday.


by Bas Umali
Advancing Genuine Citizens’ Politics through Free Assemblies and Independent Structures from the Barangay & Communities

Many of us will agree that in our context, democracy seems elusive. Until now, a vast number of people are in extreme poverty, deprived of basic needs and are politically marginalized. We know that poverty is caused by the uneven distribution of power where only a few can decide over critical things such as the use of natural resources and distribution of its benefits. Who among us was ever asked or consulted by the government in its program of environmental destruction which is only profited big corporations which are controlled by a few families and foreign corporations? Did the government bother to ask peasants, farmers, fishers, workers, women, youth, gays, consumers and other sectors with regard to the country’s accession to the WTO and its conclusion of various bilateral agreements? Who wants E-VAT and debt payment?

The list is overwhelmingly long, proving that the democracy we have today is a farce.

The heart of the struggle of all the revolutionary efforts in our history is about making people participate in power. Part of the movement’s usual rhetoric is people’s participation in decision-making because without people’s participation to the political exercises that directly influence every dimension of their lives, democracy will not be realized.

This document will attempt to discuss an alternative anarchist political structure that will promote people’s direct participation in power and, in broad strokes, discuss the flow of political power from the bottom to the top. It is a concept that is heavily derived from the idea of Confederation advanced by libertarian author Murray Bookchin. His ideas of course are not detached from traditional anarchist movements and contemporary anarchist activists; and we believe it is significantly relevant to our current political crisis.

Confederation offers an alternative political structure based on a libertarian framework—i.e., non-hierarchical and non-statist, which is doable and applicable. It is doable compared to the 35-year old struggle of the CPP-NPA-NDF which, after taking tens of thousands of lives, delivered no concrete economic and political output to the Filipino people. More so, the alternatives being offered by mainstream leftist groups outside NDF offer no substantial difference, for they all adhere to the state and of capturing political power—an objective cannot be realised in the near future.

In the light that anarchism is exaggeratedly misunderstood, let us first discuss some fundamental principles of stateless-socialism; libertarianism and anarchism.

“Purely utopian!” That’s one of the common reactions of those who do not understand the word anarchy and its alternatives. Another misconception is its affinity to chaos.

These nuisances and misinterpretations are not surprising at all. Historically, anarchism has long opposed oppressive systems and fought monarchy, oligarchy, and the totalitarianism of the state-socialists and authoritarian communists alike. It continuous to carry out the struggle to fight new forms of colonialism, capitalism and other exploitative systems that hamper the development of the humanity. Every ruling regime has its share in imputing fear and terror on the anarchist movement in order to discredit it.

It is improper to escape the fact that violence is part of the anarchist movement. Along with the nationalists and republicans, anarchists carried out terroristic methods to advance social revolution. The “Propaganda by the Deed” was meant to encourage people to act against the state and the old order by launching violent activities such as the killing of French president Sadi Carnot by Sante Jeronimo Caserio (an Italian anarchist) in 1894. Italian anarchist Michele Angiolillo also shot Canovas of Spain in 1987. Luigi Luccheni (another anarchist from Italy) stabbed Empress Elisabeth of Austria to death in 1898, while Polish anarchist Leon Czogolsz killed US president McKinley in 1901. There were also two attempts on the life of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first by Max Hodel on 11 May 1878, then followed by Karl Nobiling on the June 2 of the same year.

And the list is long.

These of course were used by the dominant regimes to their own advantage. In order to demonize anarchism, they shrewdly tailored it to violence and chaos. And this was even reinforced by the state socialists and authoritarian communists when the anarchist movement in Ukraine challenged the Bolshevik regime, the White Army and other foreign invaders.

Nuisances and misinterpretations are bound to occur in situation wherein power is asymmetrically distributed. The political structure that is controlled by the economic and political elite would not allow anarchism to flourish. Moreover, the country’s revolutionary tradition is highly influenced by red bureaucracy which is historically hostile to anarchism.

Contrary to common misconceptions, anarchism is a theory that firmly upholds the idea of an organized world that is free for all. As Noam Chomsky once stated in an interview, anarchy is a society that is highly organized wherein many different structures are integrated such as the workplace, the community and other myriad forms of free and voluntary associations, with participants directly managing their own affairs.

Unlike the existing order where people are motivated by power, profit, private property, and individualism; anarchy on the other hand is a society that fosters mutual cooperation, solidarity and freedom from exploitation and oppression and where decisions are made by those who are directly concerned. Any form of political structure that centralizes power is totally unacceptable.

The word archipelago on the other hand recognize the geographical characteristics of the country and the very essential role of its rich natural resources that strongly influence lifestyle of its inhabitants. Myriad historical accounts indicate that the bodies of water surrounding the different islands actually connected rather than separated them from each other, and that economic, social and political activities of the inhabitants were developed due to the interconnectedness of their immediate environment.

It is also important to note that the rich natural endowments of the archipelago allow diverse cultures to flourish and develop into a heterogeneous way of life that are interlinked through mutual cooperation.
Historical context
The famous victory of Lapu-lapu against Magellan is one of the earliest symbols of resistance in the archipelago. A considerable number of his men defeated the well-armed and battle-hardened Spanish conquistadores in a low-tide battle in the shore of Mactan. One can espouse the idea of an on-going rivalry between Lapu-lapu and Rajah Humabon which Magellan used—winning the trust of the latter and he attacked the former and met his death. But one can also elaborate the idea that Lapu-lapu’s group was set to defend the autonomy of their community.

Prior to the nationalist struggle, “Moro Wars” took place from 1565 to 1898 that prevented the Spaniards from subjugating the inhabitants of the southern part of archipelago. Colonizers mobilized Christianized locals to fight Muslims, thus laying the foundation of “perpetual” Christian-Muslim conflict in Mindanao.

The Philippines was one of the first Asian countries to stage a revolution against the colonialism of the West. The early phase of the Filipino struggle was initially carried out by local privileged intellectuals in the likes of Jose Rizal and Marcelo Del Pilar. The revolution was nationalistic in character, which is understandable because that time, nationalism was in the height of propagation in many parts of the world, specifically in Europe. This profoundly influenced Rizal’s works and inspired the oppressed masses, culminating in armed resistance organized by Andres Bonifacio in 1896.

With the growing influence of the US combined with the simultaneous armed resistance in Cuba, the Filipino nationalist resistance was able to substantially reduce the influence of Catholic Order, and finally drove out colonial Spain. But American expansionist policy immediately took effect, as expressed through the Treaty of Paris of 1898.

Shortly after the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in January 1899 the Filipino-American War broke-out which claimed 600,000 Filipino lives, mostly due to starvation and diseases.

The revolutionary tradition in the country was further enriched upon the arrival of Isabelo De Los Reyes in Manila in 1901 from his exile in Barcelona, Spain where he brought a
collection of books including, those written by Malatesta, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Marx, Darwin, Aquinas and Voltaire. This was followed by a successful wave of protests and strikes within and around Manila that paved the way for the establishment of the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD). This marked the shift of the revolutionary struggle from a mere nationalist to an anti-imperialist one.

UOD disintegrated in 1903 and from its remains, the party upholding communism and socialism was established in 1938 and then later led the Hukbalahap guerilla movement. They were the foremost opponents of the Japanese forces prior to the reinforcement provided by the Americans. This was also the period when the revolutionary movement began to feel Bolshevik influence.

The tradition of struggle later proceeded to the establishment of the Maoist-influenced Communist Party in the late 1960s which adopted a nationalist strategy and protracted people’s war. It gained enormous support from the masses; but it failed to grab power until its fragmentation into smaller party formations due to the split in 1992.
Hard facts in the current context
Indeed, the counrty’s historical development has continuously enriched its revolutionary tradition, not to mention the resistance efforts outside of the national democracy movement, such as sectoral and community -based resistance and the Moro struggle, among others.

However, such richness failed to translate immediately to the interest of the people. In 1970s, the poverty rate was as high as 40 percent as compared to the current rate which is 34 to 36 percent according to National Statistical Coordination Board. This indicate marginal improvement in terms of poverty reduction effort.

Unemployment, on the other hand, is pegged 11 million while underemployment is up to 7 million. This is aggravated by the massive destruction of our natural resources due to the growth orientation of the economy and incapacity of the state to manage and to utilize it equally in a sustainable way.

Furthermore, liberalization, coupled with chronic rent-seeking practices in government offices, and the absence of a logical economic development plan, inflicted serious injury to the domestic economy which further exacerbated our deteriorating economic condition.

Another equally important issue is the marginalization of huge numbers of citizens in making decisions that directly and indirectly affects their political, social and economic lives. The existing political structure makes citizens passive, inactive and apathetic. Their political participation is reduced to routinary electoral exercises where they will occasionally choose politicians who will represent them in making and implementing policies.

We can hardly identify a historical period wherein Filipinos lived in prosperity, abundance and relative peace, except during pre-Spanish times. As described by Pigaffeta, the inhabitants of the archipelago were in perfect health and had no physical defects. He got the impression that food scarcity was not prevalent. While William Henry Scott and a host of other writers validated the presence of slavery in the archipelago during the pre-Spanish period, they never mentioned any sign of poverty among local villages.

These findings make us think that the phenomena of poverty in the Philippines occurred with the advent of Spanish colonization and coercive formation of a centralized government. Unfortunately, several studies have the tendency to conveniently pin down population explosion as the cause of poverty, thus undermining the fact that this is brought by systemic oppression. For instance, in Southern Asia, around 30 million households own no land or very little, and they represent 40% of nearly all rural households in the subcontinent. Both the African and Latin American continents, on the other hand, have similar data. Moreover, land distribution in the nations of the South favors large-scale commercial agriculture controlled by a few landowners. Ergo, poverty can be rooted socially.

The Philippines is not an exemption. In 2000, the country ranked 77 out of more than 150 countries with a poverty incidence of 34% and where the human development index (HDI) figure was 0.656. In the fishery sector alone; 80% of fisher folk households live below the poverty line, (Israel, 2004). Four primary factors are widely accepted by most of the players in the fishery sectors:

1. the low productivity of land-based resources or lack of access to land;
2. low productivity of aquatic resources due mainly to habitat destruction and stock depletion;
3. resource-use conflict, particularly in coastal waters; and
4. lack of adequate basic services delivery (i.e., health, education, shelter, infrastructures, etc.).

Though the Fishery Sector Program Report of the ADB (1993) also cited high population density in most near shore areas, this must not lead us to the conclusion that we are reaching the limit. We know for a fact that the increase of population in coastal communities is due to migration patterns. As noted by ASEAN-SEAFDEC in their technical report in 2001, households displaced in agricultural lands seek economic opportunity in coastal areas that are de facto open to anybody who want to use fishery resources. Poverty therefore is not rooted to the natural limit crisis; this is clearly brought about by structural problems, such as the distribution of wealth and the control of natural resources.

It should be clarified that the idea of carrying capacity is well recognized. This concept sets the limit of a number of organisms and non-living matter in a specific ecosystem, based on the availability of food, space and other vital materials necessary for their existence. Also, part of this is the capacity of a specific ecosystem to absorb pressure brought by extraction. But to set the record straight, the destruction of natural resources (which resulted in the death of many citizens and the loss of billions of livelihood) is not directly attributable to population. In fact, it is public knowledge that big corporations benefited from large-scale logging operations. And together with large commercial mining, this eventually led to the denudations of our forests. It should also be noted that mineral extraction is one of the notorious polluters in the coastal zone that significantly reduce fish stocks.

There is no sufficient evidence to prove that the country’s population of 86 million is close to the limit imposed by carrying capacity of the ecosystems. Clearly, food production is no longer a problem. In fact, developed and even developing nations like China, India and Brazil, are extra-aggressive in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in order to have full market-access to the economies of poor and other nations where they can dump their huge surplus. In our case, the best available data on poverty is highly attributable to low agricultural and fishery productivity and poor economic performance; and this that can be directly traced to government negligence, incompetence, irresponsibility and non-accountability. Poverty is caused by unemployment; lack of land to till; degradation of natural resources; lack of economic opportunity; lack of social services, corruption and absence of a logical economic development agenda.

The huge profits being produced through massive extraction of natural resources do not deliver anything concrete to the people. We have enough sources of food to feed the entire population due to the highly abundant natural resources of the archipelago. But our finite resources are totally limited to fuel economic growth or to sustain the greed for profit of the elite.

With this conviction, we should be reminded that in order to establish a society that is free, equitable and rational, capitalism must be abolished and oppressive hierarchical political systems should be replaced by a system where citizens are highly involved in all political exercises, specifically in decision-making.
The Logic of Centralizing Power
By the sixteenth century, the state was described as a “large-scale governmental organisation effectively centralized by means of strictly secular bureaucracy, often implemented by some kind of representative body.” Since economic activities profoundly influence the operations of centralized governments, the state’s definition continuously evolved, but its original nature did not and will not change—i.e., to concentrate power and its desire to increase inexorable sovereignty. Theoretically, political power resides only in the state, but complete concentration of power is impossible. That is why it is reasonable to say that the existence of the state depends on its fairly concentrated power. Another very important consideration is that state is the only institution that can use legitimate violence to those who do not recognize its hegemony.

The hierarchical nature of the state inevitably creates a bureaucracy that concentrates governance and decision-making in a few representatives, akin to the institutional arrangement of the red bureaucracy, corporate structures as well as churches’ organigram. A handful of representatives will not constitute a democracy; on the contrary, it is nothing but the rule of a few. Democracy will only be realized through meaningful and substantial participation of the people in politics to which they can relate, understand, appreciate, contribute, perform, benefit and share duties and responsibilities.

The question is, how are we going to involve ordinary people in political exercises if they
Do not have any interest in engaging politics?

Such disinterest can be possibly rooted to the notion that the current political affair cannot offer anything to the people. All are reduced to promises and texts. For the common people, politics require complicated technical skills and knowledge that can only be earned in prestigious and expensive universities. Such an undertaking requires technical jargon and an expensive outfit which gives the impression that politics is an enterprise solely for the educated and rich families. The term polis, as we trace it back to the tradition of the Greeks, refers to the management of the community by the citizens. This is apparently lost its meaning due to statism that turned politics into a career and lucrative profession that marginalized ordinary people.

Our effort in imagining alternatives beyond the politics of the state will be facilitated by regaining the lost meaning of “politics” and calibrating it in our own context.
Libertarian Alternatives
Anarchist alternatives which were precisely reflected in the October 1917 Revolution were characterized by spontaneity and the self-organized revolt of the masses. Powerful united fronts of various forces developed and crushed the oppressive Tsarist regime within three days. The massive unrest of the people and other heterogeneous elements led to the abolition of old regime without any particular alternative and without instruction from any group. The majority of the masses did not directly articulate the ideas espoused by the anarcho-syndicalists, but what the people had done was exactly what the Anarcho-syndicalists had in mind. Upon the abolition of Tsarist state, the people spontaneously organized themselves. In Kronstadt, houses were socialized through the house committees which extended to the entire streets that resulted in the creation of street and block committees. The same thing happened in Petrograd. The factory committees that appeared almost out of nowhere were geared toward establishing “Producer Consumer Communes”.

During the Spanish Civil War, the eastern part of Spain was under the influence of the anarchist movement. Workers’ direct management took place in industrial and commercial establishments through the 2,000 collectives in Catalonia. In February 1937, 275 peasants and farm workers’ collectives with a total of 80,000 members were formed in Aragon near the front line, which occupied vast lands which were abandoned by their landlords. In three months time, these collectives increased to 450, with a total number of 180,000 members.

There are a lot of experience worth citing in Latin America, Asia and Africa; but these are poorly articulated and are seldom mentioned in our history books. The anarchist movement is barely mentioned, despite of its profound influence in the early stage of Philippine nationalist resistance and early part of the anti-imperialist struggle in the archipelago.
Direct Democracy
Direct democracy is not a new idea. This was and is still being practiced in many parts of the world. But this concept is poorly explored due to the “power hungry” behavior of the political and economic elite and some leftists who actually advocate and practice authoritarianism.

To refresh our minds, the original Greek meaning of politics came from the word polis, which entails that the people directly formulate public policies through face-to-face processes called assemblies which are based on the ethics of complementarity and solidarity. Of course, the idea was not perfect because the citizens who had the privilege to participate in community management were those who owned slaves and had the luxury of time. But the tradition of direct democracy was evidently workable.

Confederal structures have appeared in history time and again, like those of the 16th century Spanish Communeros and the American town meetings which even reached New England and Charleston in the 1770s. This also includes the Parisian sectional assembly during the 1790s, and which occurred again in 1871 in Paris Commune, and so on.

Instead of organizing a party, why do we not go back to the communities and localities? Political parties can easily claim that they have an organized network and mass base in the local level, which we will not try to refute. Our concern will focus on the kind of politics that they are employing. Their organizational set-up is inherently top-down due to the representation system wherein a few individuals from the party would represent the interests of the entire nation. This breeds bossism wherein a few people are in the apex of the hierarchy. Moreover, they have authority vis-à-vis to their members which will eventually, end in a leader-and-led relationship. Hence, people become simple members. Instead of having active, creative, imaginative and dynamic citizens, we have passive and mechanized constituents whose duty is reduced to attendance in mobilizations and routinary selection of leaders that merely reinforces the culture of obedience.

Democracy is not about making obedient followers. It is not about imposing uniform rules to a complex and diverse population in terms of their interests, views, way-of-life, prejudices, economic activities, social and natural environment, culture and spiritual life. Rather, democracy is about creating a political atmosphere which is participatory and inclusive of this highly diverse population, and which is based on the actual needs and interests of the communities.

We do not intend to undermine the initiative of political parties when it comes to advancing the interests of the community. But perhaps it is plausible to think that since leftist parties are only among the minority, they should strive more to gain political value and leverage so that they mobilize the people. Their interest therefore is not necessarily identical with those of the communities or localities since the latter are characterized by their diversity. Traditionally, leftist parties are class-based and have a great tendency to overlook other sectors and groups who are also exploited and are significant in number. This approach often fosters elitism upon the glorified class.

In a broad sense, direct democracy will be applied by organizing free assemblies at the local level. People’s organizations that are based on their nature such as peasants, fishers, women, youth, indigenous people, vendors, tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers, homeless, gays, neighborhood associations, religious groups and other formations at the localities should be encouraged to organize themselves.

Based on experience, people will surely participate in political processes if the topic to be discussed is directly related to their interests; to their daily activities and to the immediate and strategic needs of the communities. People will conduct face-to-face meetings at the barangay level to tackle their immediate concerns; they will share ideas, duties and responsibilities to address their issues in relation to other barangays. They are encouraged to engage in discussions and debates on public facilities using their own language and the existing local mechanisms to facilitate local political mechanisms.

Obviously, an ideal political structure should not mobilize people for the purpose of elevating the political value of certain political parties for elections or for the goal of taking political power which, in a sense, would merely reinforce the inactivity of their constituents. This kind of political structure will bring the political arena at the very doorstep of the people; this will create a political atmosphere that encourages the citizens’ active, creative, imaginative and dynamic participation.

The ultimate direction of this process is to empower the vast number of marginalized citizens from below. This politics is educative since it will enhance the people’s capacity to democratically discuss, decide, formulate and implement plans with regard to their common resources and own affairs.
In general, the pre-Hispanic barangays were interdependent but loosely federated. Among their bases of interaction were trade, commerce and war (raids for slaves and wives and revenge). “Highly” federated barangays were usually found in river mouths or wherever the ports were strategically located for commerce and where economic activities were high. This is not to romanticize the idea of the baranganic system but rather to trace our traditional practice of decentralism that actually proved to be far more humane than the statist model that was imposed by that colonialists and that is still in place until today.

Our idea of decentralization here should not be mistaken as parochialism which might lead to the isolation of the locality from the rest of world. Confederalism as defined by Murray Bookchin “is above all a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular, face-to-face democratic assemblies”. In our context, structures will be independently organized from barangay or community level. Every barangay or community assembly will elect delegate/s whose function is purely administrative, such as transmitting information and other practical functions. Policy-making will take place strictly at the popular assemblies in the barangay and in community level. Delegates have no power to decide and they are totally recallable and accountable to the assemblies that mandated them. More importantly, delegates posses no privilege and authority over the citizens.

Confederal councils comprised of substantial delegates will be organized at the municipal and city level; then municipalities and cities will be confederated at the provincial level. The regional level will then comprise the Archipelagic Confederation. A confederation is a structure that connects and interlink politically and economically every community of the archipelago, and where the functions are administrative and coordinative. The ultimate idea of confederation is to integrate all social structures, not in a hierarchical or top-down orientation, but rather vice-versa. Public policies will be formulated from the grassroots, which will be expressed at the municipal, city, provincial, and regional levels.

The basis of integration is not competition but rather mutual cooperation, complementation and solidarity. Every sector, group and other formations in a municipality will find their place in production processes to ensure the needs of the communities.

We cannot blame groups inclined to party system and statist model if they immediately express a low appreciation for the proposed alternative system. Indeed, taking political power is a short cut to institute desired changes; but such changes are not necessarily meaningful for those who did not participate in the seizure of political power. In many instances, the great bulk of masses are reduced into mere spectators to the political exercise initiated by the few, again making passive, inactive and obedient constituents.

True, this process is strategic because it also involves changing the behavior of people who are highly influenced by the dominant institutions that promote and reinforce an order based on competition, individualism and imposed uniformity. As part of processes that resist the current order and the behavior that reinforces it, direct democracy can be employed. In the heist of the brutal effect of grow-or-die market capitalism and a corrupt centralized state, communities should persistently defend their own physical and social space by defining its specific interests in connection to larger communities. We should encourage locals to self-organize and maximize their traditional networks to protect and advance the interests of their localities in relation to the interests and needs of other communities.

Nearing May Day

Commemorating The Historic Struggle Of Working People
"It is not surprising that the state, business leaders, mainstream union officials, and the media would want to hide the true history of May Day. In its attempt to erase the history and significance of May Day, the United States government declared May 1st to be "Law Day", and gave the workers instead Labor Day, the first Monday of September - a holiday devoid of any historical significance. Nevertheless, rather than suppressing the labour and anarchist movements, the events of 1886 and the execution of the Chicago anarchists – spokesmen of the movement for the eight-hour day – mobilised many generations of radicals. Emma Goldman, a young immigrant at the time, later pointed to the Haymarket affair as her political birth. As workers, we must recognize and commemorate May Day not only for it's historical significance, but also as a time to organise around issues of vital importance to the working-class, i.e. the people, of today.
Reclaim Mayday for Anarchism
Anarchists were very active in the Central Labour Union (which included the eleven largest unions in the city) and aimed to make it, in the words of Albert Parsons (one of the Martyrs), "the embryonic group of the future 'free society.'" The anarchists were also part of the International Working People's Association (also called the "Black International") which had representatives from 26 cities at its founding convention. The I.W.P.A. soon made headway among trade unions, especially in the mid-west and its ideas of direct action of the rank and file and of trade unions serving as the instrument of the working class for the complete destruction of capitalism and the nucleus for the formation of a new society became known as the "Chicago Idea" (an idea which later inspired the Industrial Workers of the World which was founded in Chicago in 1905).

This idea was expressed in the manifesto issued at the I.W.P.A.'s Pittsburgh Congress of 1883:

"First -- Destruction of the existing class rule, by all means, i.e. by energetic, relentless, revolutionary and international action.

"Second -- Establishment of a free society based upon co-operative organisation of production.

"Third -- Free exchange of equivalent products by and between the productive organisations without commerce and profit-mongery.

"Fourth -- Organisation of education on a secular, scientific and equal basis for both sexes.

"Fifth -- Equal rights for all without distinction to sex or race.

"Sixth -- Regulation of all public affairs by free contracts between autonomous (independent) communes and associations, resting on a federalistic basis."

In addition to their union organising, the Chicago anarchist movement also organised social societies, picnics, lectures, dances, libraries and a host of other activities. These all helped to forge a distinctly working-class revolutionary culture in the heart of the "American Dream." The threat to the ruling class and their system was too great to allow it to continue (particularly with memories of the vast uprising of labour in 1877 still fresh. As in 1886, that revolt was also meet by state violence). Hence the repression, kangaroo court, and the state murder of those the state and capitalist class considered "leaders" of the movement.

The Chicago anarchists, like all anarchists, were applying their ideas to the class struggle. They were forming unions organised and animated with the libertarian spirit. They saw that anarchism was not a utopian dream but rather a means of action -- of (to use Bakunin's words) "creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself" by means of direct action, solidarity and organising from the bottom up. That was why they were effective and why the state framed and murdered them.

On the anniversary of the first May Day, we must apply our anarchist ideas to everyday life and the class struggle, inside and outside industry, in order to make anarchism a possibility. As Kropotkin put it, "anarchism was born among the people; and it will continue to be full of life and creative power only as long as it remains a thing of the people."

Reclaim the anarchist spirit of May Day. Make everyday an International Day of solidarity and direct action!

Anarchist Communities

From: http://www.njjewishnews.com/njjn.com/042706/sxJewishHistoryBuff.html
The utopian groups, many of which were formed in the early 20th century, were alternative communities espousing nontraditional lifestyles.

They include the Roosevelt, the Free Acres, the Modern School at Stelton, and Farmingdale communities. Free Acres was a cooperative single-tax community and Farmingdale was a cooperative agricultural community. According to a guide to the Roosevelt community written by Fernanda Perrone, archivist and director of the special collections department, as part of a “Utopian Communities Project” program, Roosevelt began its existence as a New Deal community of Jewish settlers supported by economic cooperatives in the form of farm operations, a factory, and retail shops. Perrone also wrote a guide to the Modern School collection, which was connected to the anarchist community near Stelton and provided an alternative education encouraging students’ creativity and self-reliance.

“The utopian communities’ material gets the most use,” Becker said. “We have oral histories, pictures, archives.”

The Farmingdale collection even includes copies of some of the records of the community kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Many of the utopian communities were started by people connected to the socialist and communist parties.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_and_present_anarchist_communities

This is a list of past and present anarchist communities.

Anarchists since their start have been involved in a wide variety of social, worker, and liberation struggles. While there are only a few examples of large scale "anarchies" that have come about from anarchist revolutions, there are quite a lot of examples of societies being created through anarchist principles without large anarchist movements. In fact, in recent years, a global growth in "anti-authoritarianism", (that is, anti-state, anti-capitalist), has led to the creation of various social movements that are striving for a world very much like that envisioned by anarchists. As more and more people in various communities decide to organize their world under principles of self-management and mutual aid, cooperation and direct democracy, more and more anti-authoritarian and anarchist systems continue to crop up.


Video from Caledonia Mob Protesting Six Nations Blockade April 24th 2006

There are two excellent videos here that were posted by Timmer of BigEyes Productions. The first shows the settler mob at the Caledonia fairgrounds before they marched over to the blockade and tried to get through. The second video shows the scene on the Six Nations side before the marchers arrived. Word is that the townspeople are planning another rally on Friday night, April 28th.

April 28, 2006

I am Not a Machine, I am A Human Being Technology as Mediation

by Mia X. Kursions (formerly known as the Dolly Llamas)
Given our current reality, how can we begin to live differently? What could a less mediated, less technologically-dependent world look like for us here and now? Can we regain direct contact with our world? Does it just mean escape and isolation? How do we avoid postmodern complacency? Can there be a transition? These are all vital questions to ask ourselves, as we embark on a critique of, resistance to, and departure from this technologic nightmare that is worsening with each micro-second. While simply "going back" is not a possibility, the virus has been released and the techno-logic is everywhere, it is still encouraging that for most of our time on this planet, humans lived in direct connection with our world, without the mediating factors of technology and instrumental thinking. Perhaps our most significant lessons are here. Despite the bleak outlook, our future is still unwritten, and while I still maintain an ounce of strength and free will, while I am still of flesh and blood and can still discover and connect to my passions and dreams, I am sure that I am not a Machine, I am a human being.

[Ok, so we're human beings, and not machines. I can only speak for myself when I say, true - AND I use the tool of technology to express myself and to learn from others...to me the internet as a whole, is akin to mixing it up with "god," "all that is"...and accumulation of all consciousness...and then some.]



Anarchist/Anti-Authoritarian Bloc for A29 Demo in NYC

On Saturday, April 29 there will be a huge anti-war march and peace & justice festival in New York City (Manhattan) being organized by United For Peace and Justice.

Information at www.April29.org

An anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc will be assembling at the intersection of 20th and Park, SW corner, at 11 am (look for the red and black flags!). This will consist (currently) of various Students For a Democratic Society chapters (all chapters from new york city, as well as Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey), the Industrial Workers of the World, the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, the War Resisters League, and various other anarchist groups and individuals from New York City and elsewhere. THIS IS NOT A BLACK BLOC, HOWEVER there will be time (march doesn't step off until 12) for anyone who wishes to form a black bloc and/or participate in direct action to group up at the assembly point.

In addition, the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, Students For A Democratic Society-Pace, and others have called for all anarchists and anti-authoritarians to march in solidarity with the Transit Workers Union and imprisoned Roger Toussaint, to support them against their attack by the City of New York before the main anti-war march. Assemble at the corner of Canal and Centre Street, in front of the Starbucks at 10:00 AM to march passed Toussaint’s jail cell at 10:30 (on Centre between White and Baxter). [Take the N,Q,R,W,J,M,Z, or 6 train to Canal St.] This march will then proceed to meet up with the main anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc on 20th St. before the main anti-war march steps off.

See you in the streets! more info: anarchistNJ@yahoo.com

Mexican government kill striking workers

The struggle between the Mexican government and the Mexican Mine Workers Union which has gone on now for more than two months, took a violent turn when police killed two workers while storming a plant held by strikers in Lázaro Cárdenas on April 20. Workers and townspeople retook the plant, but were then besieged by the police. Parts of the plant have been taken over by the Mexican Army and the Mexican Navy. Government human rights organizations have gone to the scene to investigate and prevent further loss of life. Other unions are dispatching their members to Lázaro Cárdenas to support the mine workers.

Reports from around the country indicate attacks on miners by authorities or vigilantes in other parts of the country. Because of their importance we have dedicated a substantial part of this issue to these events. We are also asking that you send letters of protest to the Mexican government.

Police shot and killed two workers, five were gravely injured, and over 40 others were wounded, most by gunshots, when authorities launched an assault to expel striking workers occupying the SICARTSA steel mill in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, Mexico on April 20. Reports from the scene suggest that others may also have been killed or may die from their wounds. A video taken at the scene and released to the press shows Michoacán state police taking aim at strikers and police later admitted shooting at them.

In the latest stage of a months-long struggle between the government of President Vicente Fox and the Mexican Miners’ and Metal Workers Union (SNTMMRM), some 800 state and federal police, using tear gas, clubs and fire arms, stormed the steel plant held by 500 workers. The SICARTSA steelworkers are members of Local 271 of the Miners union. The workers have been on strike since April 2, demanding the reinstatement of the union’s top official who had been removed from office by the government and replaced by a new leader close to Mexican mining companies.

Killing US Slowly

by Michael Treis
I can’t emphasize enough that there are powerful people in high places with no accountability. They and they’re cohorts are deeply embedded in our government, controlling organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group the richest most powerful people in the world. They run this world. They run the banks, major corporations and read like a Who’s Who in New York and around the world.

The documents below; the Corbin Club documents from the 1992 Earth Eco Summit, and Negative Population Growth are but two of many that have surfaced that show of the plan originally known as Global 2000 and Plan 2000. They document the fact of plans to lower the population to fewer than 2 BILLION by the target goal of around the turn of the century (2000), the final goal of a world population of under 1 BILLION to be reached ASAP.

The world population reached 6 BILLION in 1999; there is NO way to reach that goal naturally. They have to kill 5 BILLION to reach their goal! But it doesn’t have to be done all at once. In his speech to the bankers McNamara (president of the World Bank at that time) argued that “population growth was leading to instability, that a 10 billion world population would not be controllable."

Said McNamara, "It is not a world that any of us would want to live in. Is such a world inevitable? It is not sure but there are two possible ways by which a world of 10 billion people can be averted. Either the current birth rates must come down more quickly or the current death rates must go up. There is no other way." In 1969 in a speech at Notre Dame he called the African population explosion “a mushrooming cloud of overpopulation”. To view the sick sort of logic employed by McNamara I continue his quotes; “the children who are dying were fortunate, for the millions of those who lived languidly on were stunted in their bodies and crippled in their minds.”

(See: Promise and Power, the Life and Times of Robert McNamara by Deborah Shapley, Little Brown, Boston 1993). As Former Secretary of defense (1963-1970) he approved the funds for the US Special Virus Cancer Program, as president of the World Bank later he assured the continued funding. By 1977 they had produced 27,818 liters of AIDS according to the 1977 Virus Cancer Program Progress Report. (See The Man Made Plague by this author)

This program also invented what I call “cancer time bombs,” viral cancers. They appear as the flu in a week to 10 days it seems to go away. BUT, from as quick as 2 months to as long as 6 years later your dead with some form of cancer. There are many different time lengths depending on the particular strain.

Hey, if they didn’t mind being obvious they’d line us up against a wall and shoot us. There is no money in that. There is however plenty of buck$ to be made treating cancer and other diseases and ailments of their design, and where is the smoking gun?

There isn’t one except in exposes like this and in their documents that are getting harder to find.

Think I’m joking here are the documents I promised.

Parents sue school over same-sex fairy tale

[Really, the headline says it all..."Let's deny the reality of homosexuality.." - American Idiots]

Two families filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a Massachusetts town and its public school system after a teacher read a gay-themed fairy tale to children without notifying them first.

The suit against Lexington, about 12 miles west of Boston, seeks unspecified damages after the book "King & King" was read to a classroom of about 20 mostly 7 years olds. It is believed the first of its kind, the families' lawyers said.

The complaint said the school had "begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."

It also charges that Lexington broke a 1996 Massachusetts law requiring that parents be notified of sex-education lessons. It names Lexington Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash and several other school and town officials.

Ash said the school was under no legal obligation to inform parents the book would be read. "This school district is committed to a welcoming environment for all kids. We embrace the diverse nature of the community," he told Reuters.

"King & King" tells the story of a crown prince who rejects a bevy of beautiful princesses, rebuffing each suitor until falling in love with a prince. The two marry, sealing the union with a kiss, and live happily ever after.

Ash has said reading the book was not intended as sex education but as a way to educate children about the world in which they live, especially in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state where gays and lesbians can legally wed.

It was read during a lesson on different types of weddings.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston alleges violations of the federal civil rights of the two sets of parents, David and Tonia Parker, and Rob and Robin Wirthlin. The families are devout Judeo-Christians, it said.


"I was concerned that I had not broached this topic with my young child yet and I was concerned that the point of view that was being presented was different from our family's personal moral values," Robin Wirthlin told a news conference.

The suit also accuses the town and school officials of violating the Massachusetts civil rights code and the state's parental notification law, according to the parents' attorney, Boston law firm Denner Associates.

"This is plainly a civil-rights matter," their lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, told Reuters.

The issue erupted when Robin Wirthlin complained to the school's principal after her 7-year-old son told her about the reading last month. She then turned to the conservative Massachusetts-based advocacy group Parents Rights Coalition, which issued a statement on the case to the media last week.

David Parker has been entangled with the town's school system since he was arrested a year ago for trespassing when he refused to leave school grounds until authorities promised to excuse his son from classroom discussions on same-sex parents.

His son, who at the time was about 5 years old, had brought home a "diversity book bag" that included the book "Who's in a Family?" The book includes pictures of same-sex parents along with other types of families.

"King & King" was ranked eighth among the top 10 books people wanted removed from libraries in 2004, according to the American Library Association. Its Berkeley, California publisher, Tricycle Press, said complaints over the 32-page book first surfaced in 2004 in North Carolina.

Written by two Dutch women, the book has sold about 15,000 copies in the United States since it was translated and published in 2002.

Setting Grandmotherhood Aside, Judge Lets 18 Go in Peace

They came, they shuffled, they conquered.

Eighteen "grannies" who were swept up by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours were acquitted yesterday of charges that they blocked the entrance to the military recruitment center in Times Square when they tried to enlist.

After six days of a nonjury trial, the grandmothers and dozens of their supporters filled a courtroom in Manhattan Criminal Court to hear whether they would be found guilty of two counts of disorderly conduct for refusing to move, which could have put them in jail for 15 days. The women call their group the Granny Peace Brigade and said they wanted to join the armed forces and thus offer their lives for those of younger soldiers in Iraq.

The women — from 59 to 91, many gray-haired, some carrying canes, one legally blind, one with a walker — listened gravely and in obvious suspense as Judge Neil E. Ross delivered a carefully worded 15-minute speech in which he said his verdict was not a referendum on the Police Department, the defendants' antiwar message or, indeed, their very grandmotherhood.

But, he said, there was credible evidence that the grandmothers had left room for people to enter the recruitment center, and that therefore they had been wrongly arrested.

He then pronounced them not guilty, concluding. "The defendants are all discharged."

The women, sitting in the jury box at the invitation of the judge, to make it easier for them to see and hear, let out a collective "Oh!" and burst into applause, rushing forward, as quickly as women their age could rush, to hug and kiss their lawyers, Norman Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Earl Ward.

"Listen to your granny, she knows best," crowed Joan Wile, 74, a retired cabaret singer and jingle writer who was one of the defendants.

Outside the courthouse minutes later, the women burst into their unofficial anthem, "God Help America," composed by Kay Sather, a member of a sister group in Arizona, the Raging Grannies of Tucson, which goes, "God help America, We need you bad, 'cause our leaders are cheaters, and they're making the world really mad."

The trial was extraordinary, if only because it gave 18 impassioned women — some of whom dated their political activism to the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg — a chance to testify at length about their antiwar sentiments and their commitment to free speech and dissent, in a courtroom that attracted reporters from France and Germany.

Despite the judge's demurrals, the verdict was one in a series of victories for protesters who have been arrested by the New York police since the invasion of Iraq.

While more than 300 people were detained for minor offenses during demonstrations at the 2004 Republican National Convention, few were convicted. Also, earlier this year, a state judge rejected the city's efforts to quash Critical Mass, a monthly bicycle rally in Manhattan.

"I was sure we were sunk," said Lillian Rydell, 86, a defendant who testified during the trial that she went to "the school of hard knocks," instead of college.

"I love everybody," she said. The defendants called themselves "grannies" because they are all old enough to be grandmothers, even if some of them are not, and because in their view, grandmothers are a core American value, as patriotic as mom and apple pie.

Essentially, Judge Ross had found himself with grandmotherhood on trial in his courtroom. He seemed to acknowledge his dilemma when he said, in his decision, "This case is not a referendum on future actions at the location in question, on police tactics nor the age of the defendants or the content of their message."

He said he did not fault the police for making a decision in the heat of the moment to arrest the women last October, but he said that as a judge, he had the "luxury of time and hindsight" in which to consider events.

Before the verdict yesterday, both sides delivered their closing arguments.

The youthful prosecutor, Artie McConnell, allowed that it would be foolish of him to "cross swords" with a veteran civil liberties lawyer like Mr. Siegel on the First Amendment. "Luckily for me," he said, "I don't have to, because that's not what this case is about."

The case, he continued, was about breaking the law. "These defendants do not get a pass for who they are, no matter how noble their cause may be," he said.

If Mr. McConnell stuck to prose, Mr. Siegel did not hesitate to offer poetry. The defendants, he said in his closing, "tried to alert an apathetic public to the immorality, the illegality, the destructiveness and the wrongness of the war in Iraq." The grannies could not be punished for failing to obey a police command if that command violated their constitutional right to protest, he said.

When it was over, the grannies seemed ready to do it again. "The decision today says the First Amendment protects you to protest peacefully," Mr. Siegel said, addressing his clients outside the courthouse after the verdict. "So — go do it!"

And the grannies cheered.

Petition to Governments etc

by Althea
Please feel free to use this petition in any way you can. websites, newspapers, send to Government Rep., UN, All International Bodies and Faith Communities.

This is the statement which we are putting into the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Sunday 30th April.

Noam Chomsky, Nobel Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, well known names in Israeli/Palestine and world community will be invited to sign. If you know of such well-known willing to sign please send them immediately to. Thank you

Subject: The petition
To the Government of Israel
Stop mistreating Mordechai Vanunu!
Lift restrictions imposed on him!

In the past week the Government of Israel has extended for the third year
the restrictions it imposed on Mordechai Vanunu when he was released from prison.
He is released from prison. He is forbidden to leave Israel;may not move freely inside Israel; is forbidden to speak to foreign nationals "for fear of causing damage to the State".

Mordechai Vanunu served the sentence that was imposed on him -18 years-in prison, of which he spent 11 and a half years in complete isolation.

He came out of prison wholly committed to the idea of a world without Weapons
of Mass Destruction-the same idea he upheld when he was in imprisoned.He remains convinced of the rightness of this cause.

The element of vengence is plain to see. No-one in their senses believes that Vanunu represents a threat to the security of Israel.He told everything he knew to the Sunday Times in 1986.

All the experts in Israel and abroad-except those who speak for the Secret Services-agree that after 20 years away from the Dimona reactor Vanunu has not a shred of information that could endanger the security of the State.

The restrictions imposed on Mordechai Vanunu violate the basic rights of citizens
in a democratic country -the freedom of expression and of movement. These restrictions also conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on Political and Civil Rights.

Mr.Prime Minister, the Chiefs of the Security Security Services of Israel-

Let Mordechai Vanunu leave, to live wherever he chooses. He would like to have a family of his own and to exist as a free man without Big Brother dominating his existence.

Let Mordechai go free

(On May 1th the go the court hearing will take place in Jerusalem)


US, NYCC, 5/4 TUE: Candlelight vigil for Haymarket & Kent State massacres

When: Thursday, May 4th @ 9:00 -- Where: Union Square South-14th St. May 4th is anniversary of both the Haymarket and Kent State Massacres. So, Join the Pace University Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society*, and others, at Union Square, for a candlelight vigil to honor and remember those murdered by the state while struggling for freedom.

We will be reading the words of the Haymarket Martyrs, Malcolm X, Joe Hill, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. The point is not only to remember them, but to ensure that their message, heart, and struggle carries on, and never dies. Come and commemorate anyone whose words and/or actions have touched you, but their time on earth was cut short.


Pace-Students for a Democratic Society

Panel dumps Net neutrality

by arch stanton
Panel dumps Net neutrality

House committee drops amendment banning two-tier Internet

Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer

Internet carriers would have a free hand to charge the likes of Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. extra for faster delivery of services to consumers under a bill approved by a House committee Wednesday.

The vote, 42-12, brings a two-tier Internet one step closer to reality despite the wishes of a broad coalition of Web site operators and public interest groups that insist the fees will crush innovation.

The Web companies had hoped to amend Wednesday's legislation, thereby enshrining the status quo of "network neutrality," the catchphrase that has come to represent a system in which all Internet traffic is treated equally. But the effort failed when an amendment introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., was defeated 34-22 in a largely party line vote earlier in the day.

Internet carriers, including AT&T Inc., have been strident supporters of upending the Internet's tradition of network neutrality and have lobbied Congress to make it happen. They argue that Web sites, particularly those featuring video and audio that require significant bandwidth, should be able to pay extra so that users don't have to wait as long for downloads.

Internet carriers say they would use the money they earn to expand the Internet's capacity.

The possibility of separate slow and fast lanes on the Internet has galvanized many of the technology industry's biggest companies, including Google, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Although normally rivals, they have forged a united front to oppose the bill they say will give some Web sites an unfair advantage over others and alter the Web's landscape for years to come.

Given the cold reception in the House, the Web companies are turning their efforts to the Senate, where at least one bill requiring network neutrality has been introduced and more may be coming. In a letter Wednesday to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, they wrote that network neutrality "empowers America's citizenry, fuels our engine of innovation and is central our global leadership in Internet technology and services."

Under the bill passed by the House panel Wednesday, Internet carriers would be prohibited from blocking Web sites or degrading access to them. Violators could be fined by the Federal Communications Commission for up to $500,000.

Joe Barton, R-Tex., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, supported the Internet carriers' right to charge Web sites extra as long as they follow basic principles such as allowing users access to all online content and making it possible for them to connect online using any device.

"If they spend billions and billions of dollars to put these networks in place under these principles, they have the right to charge a fee," he said.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Atherton, called the prospect of a tiered Internet anathema to the openness that has allow it to blossom during the past 10 years. Companies that will be hurt the most are startups, she said, because they will be unlikely to afford the extra fees and therefore be at a disadvantage to more-established players that can pay.

"Make no mistake about it, this will be the most profound change on the Internet if we don't have what has come to be known as network neutrality," Eshoo said in comments before Wednesday's vote on the failed network neutrality amendment, which she co-sponsored.

The network neutrality issue is part of a much larger House bill, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, that significantly rewrites telecommunications laws. Hot-button topics such as Internet telephone calls and the licensing of telephone companies to provide video over broadband lines would be affected.

The bill will next go to a vote in the full House, but it's unclear when that will happen.

April 27, 2006

The Real May Day

by Dick Meister
Not all newspapers were as supportive, however. The strikes and demonstrations, one paper complained, amounted to "communism, lurid and rampant." The eight-hour day, another said, would encourage "loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery, and drunkenness."

The greatest opposition came in response to the demonstrations led by anarchist and socialist groups in Chicago, the heart of the eight-hour day movement. Four demonstrators were killed and more than 200 wounded by police who waded into their ranks, but what the demonstrators' opponents seized on were the events two days later at a protest rally in Haymarket Square. A bomb was thrown into the ranks of the police who had surrounded the square, killing seven and wounding 59.

The bomb thrower was never discovered, but eight labor, socialist and anarchist leaders - branded as violent, dangerous radicals by press and police alike -- were arrested on the clearly trumped up charge that they had conspired to commit murder. Four of them were hanged, one committed suicide while in jail, and three were pardoned six years later by Illinois Gov. John Peter Altgeld.

Employers responded to the so-called Haymarket Riot by mounting a counter-offensive that seriously eroded the eight-hour day movement's gains.

But the movement was an extremely effective organizing tool for the country's unions, and in 1890 President Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor was able to call for "an International Labor Day" in favor of the eight-hour workday. Similar proclamations were made by socialist and union leaders in other nations where, to this day, May Day is celebrated as Labor Day.

Workers in the United States and 13 other countries demonstrated on that May Day of 1890 -- including 30,000 of them in Chicago. The New York World hailed it as "Labor's Emancipation Day." It was. For it marked the start of an irreversible drive that finally established the eight-hour day as the standard for millions of working people.