Friday, May 21, 2010


Earlier this month At Haitian agriculture minister announced that his government had accepted a "gift of 475,947 kilograms [about 523.6 US tons] of hybrid corn seeds along with 2,067 kilograms of vegetable seeds" from the Monsanto Company.

You get where this is going don't you?

Well, Monsanto said these were generically modified seeds.  Who would doubt there word.  Let's say they are telling the truth.  Let's say they are just sending mostly hybrid seeds like they say.  Hybrid seeds don’t have a great track record for re-planting, which means that farmers typically must buy new seeds every year.  Guess who sells them?

The number one recommendation of a recent report by Catholic Relief Services on post-earthquake Haiti is to focus on local seed fairs and not to introduce new or “improved” varieties at this time.  Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay and the National Peasant Movement of the Papay Congress said in a recent article published by Grassroots International that “if people start sending hybrid, NGO seeds, that’s the end of Haitian agriculture.”

Monsanto’s donation – just like the US government’s in-kind food aid donations – should empower rather than dis-empower the rural communities working to grow food for their country over the long term. 

Does anyone think that's what Monsanto has in mind?

The following is from the Black Commentator.

Guinea Pigs for Global Corporations - Solidarity America
By John Funiciello - Columnist

Transnational corporations are consolidating their stranglehold over food and food production, not just in the U.S., but also around the world.
Our own country is a very important market for them, since it is the most lucrative market, but there is trouble brewing in the food system and it involves strange diseases and maladies among young and old that the medical establishment can’t seem to understand, let alone resolve.

This week, the press reported that a recent analysis of U.S. health data links ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) with exposure to chemicals that are commonly and widely used in the production of fruits and vegetables.

Although the research is not conclusive, researchers say that the study points in the direction of chemical residues - pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals that delay or speed up ripening or preserve the food - that children consume when they eat the food.

Only researchers in public health (or individual health for that matter) are required to prove so conclusively that something is dangerous. The chemical and other industries that are involved in filling the shelves of America’s supermarkets virtually have to prove nothing before they are allowed to pour their products into the environment - and onto and into humans.

Of the approximately 80,000 chemicals in use today, only several hundred are tested to ensure that they are safe for people and for the environment before they are put into routine use. The biosphere is full of such chemicals and the result of their combinations, over time, is completely unknown - perhaps unknowable. Yet, new chemicals continue to be added to the brew.

Where do they all go? For the most part, they go directly into the bodies of individuals, they go onto crop fields, into the air, and they go into the groundwater. From the groundwater, they go into the lakes, streams, and rivers, and then into the oceans. Casual observers know that the oceans have been in serious trouble, even before the monumental spill by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico that continues today.

Another problem that should continue to be a topic of heated discussion in coming months and years is the use of genetically manipulated - commonly known as “genetically modified” or GMOs - plants used for food.
GMOs were developed as a way to corner the seed market, which, to a great extent, has been accomplished by Monsanto, a St. Louis-based chemical and seed transnational corporation. GMO plants (and, even, animals) can be patented and profits can be made from them. Of course, Monsanto has not managed to control of all seeds in the world, but they have made great progress toward that end.

As much as 70-80 percent of U.S. corn seed is reported to be GMO, along with soybean seed, which is said to be 91 percent GMO in the U.S. That means that most of the prepared foods in America that contain either soy or corn are genetically manipulated.
Monsanto, which holds patents on such crops, makes huge profits from the patents. Their position as part of Corporate America helps to consolidate their power over farmers and growers, as the national seed pool is inexorably shrunk to include mostly their seeds and their chemicals, which are needed to grow them.

A study that is not scheduled to be released until July was recently reported by Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, in Huffington Post last month, who noted that experiments on hamsters have shown severe damage from ingestion of GMO foods.

The experiment, by two Russian scientific organizations, Smith wrote, showed that “after feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.”

He pointed out that the problems did not show up in the first, or even the second generation, but that the third generation was the one that paid the price. The full study is likely to paint a broader picture. While it’s true that hamsters are not people, the effects of this study should give pause to those who wish to plunge headlong into the full use of every genetically manipulated plant that can be developed for general use as food for humans.

Why is this a special problem for those who live in cities? It is especially a problem for the poor and working class Americans who live in cities, because they usually don’t have the means or knowledge to seek out non-GMO foods. They have few choices in supermarkets, when one is available, so they eat more prepared and fast foods.

Those foods contain much of the genetically manipulated crops and they are the ones that are hugely subsidized by the government, so they can be sold more cheaply as fast foods and other prepared foods. Again, the long-term effects are unknown.

In the last two weeks, there was a story in a weekly farm paper that described a “donation” of corn seed to 4,500 Haitian farmers. When asked, who the donor was, the public relations woman said the donor wished to remain anonymous, which immediately raises a flag of suspicion. What kind of seed was donated? Were they genetically manipulated? Tragedies like the January earthquake could enhance U.S. seed companies’ efforts to spread their GMO seeds.

At the same time, Marguerite Laurent (aka Ezili Danto), founder and president of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), has questioned a donation of 475 tons of seed corn offered to Haitian farmers by Monsanto. The company has reportedly told concerned Haitians that the seed is not GMO, but many remain skeptical.

Transnational corporations are working to capture the seed market in every country possible, even though the long-term effects on humans (and other creatures) who eat the GMO foods are not known and may not be able to be determined for two more generations.

Although so many questions remain about the use of GMO seeds for every crop possible, their use is being encouraged and promoted by the U.S., presumably as a way of extending and enhancing Corporate America’s economic hegemony over scores of other countries.
President Barack Obama has named proponents of GMO technology to his administration and they occupy important policy positions in his government.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was a strong proponent of GMOs well before Obama nominated him.

Islam Siddiqui is now the chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. trade representative in the Obama Administration. He formerly served as vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, where he was in charge of issues related to crop protection chemicals around the world.

And, CropLife, the powerful trade organization for producers and distributors of “crop protection products,” otherwise known as pesticides, was notable - before Siddiqui’s nomination - for its criticism of Michelle Obama’s creation of an organic garden on the White House grounds. It’s obvious why CropLife was critical.

The Organic Consumers Association generated strong opposition to the naming by Obama of former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor as a Food and Drug Administration senior advisor on “food safety.”
OCA stated at the time: “Michael Taylor should not be a senior FDA food safety adviser. The vice president for public policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it.”

It’s long past the time when Americans should have had a full discussion and debate on our food system and its effects on individual health, public health, and the sustainability of our family farm agriculture. Until that happens - and until people are educated thoroughly about food production - Americans will continue to be the victims of a system that for decades has put profits above individual and public health.

When Americans have that debate and take action, all of the other countries - like Haiti - that are victims of the same forces, will benefit by Americans having reined in their bully corporations. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a labor organizer and former union organizer. His union work started when he became a local president of The Newspaper Guild in the early 1970s. He was a reporter for 14 years for newspapers in New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Click here to contact Mr. Funiciello.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


R.I.P Bella...You will surely be missed.I'll let the post below speak for itself.  It is from the Justice for Bella Petition site where you can sign a petition.
Our Beloved Sweet Dog, Bella...

         Shot and Killed by Cabarrus County Animal Control

On April 29, 2010, our beloved dog, Bella, escaped from our back yard and was shot and killed by an animal control officer. Despite showing no aggression and surrounded by neighbors and children, the officer used excessive and unnecessary force to capture a frightened animal. For him, it resolved a frustrating situation that had exceeded his time limit; for us, it murdered a member of our family.

Bella and her companion, Jaxson were just two streets over when a neighbor contacted the Cabarrus County Animal Control to retrieve them. While many people in the area were familiar with the friendly nature of our dogs, on this day they were prematurely feared due to misconceptions about their breed. American Pitbull Terriers are often portrayed as intimidating, muscular and vicious , but as our pets, they were loving, docile and kind. We raised them both with our six year old daughter, Jayden, who loved and played with them like siblings.

Two Police Officers attempted to catch the dogs. Jaxson, came and jumped into the back of the police car as soon as they opened the door. Bella was a little more hesitant. Animal control was called. The Animal Control Officer attempted to capture the Bella by chasing her with a catch pole. She simply ran around in circles and in fear. During this time, neighbors and children familiar with the dogs attempted to explain that they knew the owners and that the dogs were harmless. They were ignored.

After several failed attempts to catch Bella, witnesses watched as the officer shot her in the back while she was running away. Witnesses say that Bella screamed and continue to try and run. Her legs flailed from under her and she fell to the ground. Since the officer had not been trained on the proper use of a tranquilizer gun, he fired a 9 mm handgun at a helpless, frightened animal surrounded by neighbors, several of whom were children.He had only been on the scene for 20 minutes.

Witnesses watched as the officers put her into a crate in the back of his truck to return to animal control. At the time, no one knew if she was alive or dead and the animal control officers did not seem to care. As soon as we arrived home and learned what happened, we immediately contacted animal control only to learn that the office was closed. Despite having microchips, with all of our information, implanted on our dogs , we were never contacted by the animal control department about the situation or to retrieve our pets. After calling again the next morning, we were told that we could come and get the Jaxson at noon and could speak with the officer that shot Bella. When we arrived, we asked the officer about Bella's body, we were told that she had already been destroyed, her body cremated along with three other dogs.

The officer that shot Bella showed absolutely no remorse, compassion, respect or humanity. Since we had never known either of the dogs to be aggressive, we asked the officer if she showed any signs of aggression to anyone while they were trying to catch her. When he told us that she had not, we asked why he shot and killed her. He replied, "What do you want me to do? Stay there for three hours? I have other calls to get to. I'm not going to just leave a pit bull running around a neighborhood."

The only report from animal control states that they seized two dogs: Victims: 0, Weapons/Tools: Not Applicable none, Forcible: no.

While the animal control report omits the use of a weapon and the death of our dog, our story is validated with notarized witness statements, children who watched the tragedy take place, and video footage of our conversations with the animal control officer.

Bella was a sweet and loving dog to both familiar faces and strangers alike and we will miss her terribly. We will do everything in our power to ensure Bella's murder will improve animal control procedures and ensure the ethical treatment of animals. While our dog did not have to die in such a cruel and senseless manner, we hope to make a change and prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else.

JAIL JON BURGE!!! over twenty years Chicago cops led by former police Commander Jon Burge  beat and tortured prisoners, Blacks and Latinos with complete impunity. After years of people's struggle a special prosecutor ruled in 2006 that Burge and several detectives under his leadership tortured more than 100 suspects into confessing to crimes through beatings, electric shock and other heinous methods between 1972 and 1991 while in custody at either Area 2 or Area 3.

The city of Chicago, it should be noted, spent millions of taxpayers dollars defending Burge and his crew.

Burge is finally is set to go on trial this month. Of course, that may change. However, at this time a rally has been called on that day to demand that Burge be locked up once and for all. If you are in or near Chicago you ought to be there.

Did I mention that twenty of those tortured are still sitting in jail trying appeal.

The following is from South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action.

Jon Burge Faces Protests During Torture Trial
As notoriously racist and corrupt former CPD Detective Jon Burge goes to trial, community groups and the recently exonerated are organizing protests to give Burge a Chicago welcome:
Jail Cops Who Torture! Retrials for Their Victims! Cut Their Pensions!

Over 20 years of terror, Police Cdr. Jon Burge and his “Midnight Crew” tortured 200+ Latino and African American men and their children to obtain confessions. 20 of these victims are still incarcerated, hoping to be re-tried. Burge has been evading justice since ‘93 and the City of Chicago has spent over $10 MILLION in taxpayer dollars paying for his defense even after the Police Department Review Board ruled that he was guilty of using torture!
Take A Stand Against Torture on May 24th, 2010*
@ Daley Plaza (55 W Randolph St) 8:30-10AM
*Trial date may change. Visit for more info.

* Spread the word: Facebook event and Flyer: JPG or PDF

Jail Jon Burge Committee Calls for Justice on May 24

Taking a stand against torture, the Jail Jon Burge Committee urges the residents of Illinois to join in a cry for justice from 8:30 to 10:00am on May 24, 2010.  The event will signal the commencement of the trial of former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge, accused of perjury and obstruction of justice during a civil suit related to torture.

The event will feature appearances by victims who were tortured during Jon Burge’s tenure as commander, as well as their families.  Speakers will include Mark Clements, Marvin Reaves and Nick Escamilla, who are all victims of Burge’s torture regime.  Attorney Flint Taylor, renowned advocate for police torture victims, and 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins, fierce public advocate, will also appear.

The group has three demands, which include new trials by all who have alleged they have experienced police torture; cessation of pensions of all those who engaged in torture, as identified by the Special Prosecutor’s review; and indictment, trial, and imprisonment for all those found guilty of perjury related to their role in torture.   United with organizations across Chicago, the Committee will advocate on behalf of these victims, their families, and Chicago taxpayers, who continue to bear the financial burden of Burge’s defense costs.

In 1993, the Police Department Review Board determined that Jon Burge had used torture to obtain confessions between the years of 1972 and 1991, torturing an alleged 200 African American and Latino suspects.  Following an investigation by a special prosecutor that concluded in 2006, Burge was found to have committed torture in multiple instances. Due to the statute of limitations on torture crimes, however, Jon Burge and his “Midnight Crew” were never indicted for their offenses.  The trial of Burge for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the special prosecutor’s investigation marks the first time that Burge will be held accountable for even a fraction of the crimes that he has committed.

The Committee urges all interested and concerned parties to join them in their cry for justice at the May 24 Event.  Groups wishing to endorse the event should contact the Committee by calling 312-939-2750 or by emailing contact (at)

ANTI-RACIST, ANTI-FASCIST SOCCER GERMAN TEAM MAKES THE BIG TIME JUST AS OWNER STEPS DOWN's with shock that I read today that the president of Hamburg's FC St Pauli soccer club, Corny Littmann, has announced his immediate resignation just after the club's move into the top level of German soccer.

"About seven and a half years ago, I took over the helm of a significantly sinking ship," he explained on the club's website.... "We, the board, were only able to keep plugging the holes in the vessel thanks the support of our fans and members from throughout Germany and, during our four-year sail across the River Elbe, our cutter was often close to capsizing."Now, docked in the harbour, there is a magnificent pirate's ship ready to set sail and able to defy any storm to salvage points."That was always my dream and that is how I wanted to pass this ship on to its next captain: At the top."

The deal is St. Pauli is no ordinary team. This is an anti-racist, anti-fascist, pretty much anarchist soccer team which represents a shall we say bohemian area of Hamburg home to prostitutes, squatters and activists of the left wing and anarchist persuation. Opposition to fascism, sexism and homophobia has actually been included in the club constitution.

More than 20,000 fans regularly pack the home stadium, and the club has the largest proportion of female fans in German football.

Littman himself was the leagues only openly gay owner.

The following is from Reuters.

Red light buccaneers back in the big time

(Reuters) - The St Pauli district of Hamburg is famous for prostitution, pop music and a pirate flag that will fly over the Bundesliga again next season, right on cue for the centenary of a uniquely popular club.


Tens of thousands of fans took to the Reeperbahn, the street at the heart of Hamburg's red light district, to celebrate the return of FC St Pauli to the top flight of German football this month.

No one really expects St Pauli to stay in the Bundesliga for long, but the prospect of Bayern Munich and the rest of the German elite visiting the Millerntor is enough for now, at a club where success has never been measured by trophies.

"If you look back you'll see we've never actually won a title," Stefan Schatz, of the St Pauli fan project, told Reuters. "We've come up again this time as runners-up, which is typical for us.

"For a team that's never won anything we're amazingly popular."

The Millerntor stands barely more than a goal kick away from the Reeperbahn, still the centre of the city's sex trade, just as it was when The Beatles honed their live act at clubs on and around the street in the early 1960s.

Such an earthy setting has always suited a football club that has long been defined by the alternative fan scene that grew up among punks and left-wing supporters, and whose players run out on to the pitch to 'Hells Bells' by heavy rock band AC/DC.

Still fiercely anti-racist, and still with the brown-and-white first-team colours, there are nevertheless signs that the modern business of football is catching up with a club that less than a decade ago was on the brink of extinction.


At first glance from the car park, the stadium appears to be in the same ramshackle state as ever -- the corrugated iron of the near stand's roof peeling away, the pillars rusting and the plastic seats faded to a dusty shade of red.

However, on the other side of the ground a transformation is well underway. A gleaming new main stand should be completed in time for the centenary season, part of a rebuilding plan that will eventually see the whole stadium modernized.

New offices and a shop have been in place for some time at a club now run by the theatre owner Corny Littmann and even on a rainy workday morning there are dozens of customers queuing up to buy merchandise plastered with the skull-and-crossbones symbol that has become famous far beyond this modest corner of Hamburg.

"When we played third division with only three sides to the ground, with one stand torn down, we still had 15,000 coming to every game," Schatz said.

"These are the days when you're proud of the reputation you have, with fans from all over the world coming and feeling connected with St Pauli. That makes me proud to be part of the St Pauli thing.

"At the same time it's kind of annoying that now you can't go anywhere without people wearing skull-and-crossbones T-shirts. For some it is just a fashion accessory."

The fan organisation is based round the corner from the new club offices in shabby premises serving as a meeting place for supporters and filled with battered, old, brown, leather sofas, scarves from companion fan groups around the world and, of course, a table football game.

"The whole thing with the skull and crossbones happened 25 years ago when punks from the squatter houses on the harbour street came to St Pauli," Schatz said. "Now I think in Germany we are top five in merchandise sales. It's crazy."


That there is anything left to market is something of a surprise given the dire financial situation in 2003 caused by successive relegations to the regional third division.

The club called on the community to rally round and the response was vigorous. A "Swig for St Pauli" weekend in local pubs brought in a chunk of cash, sales of "savoir" T-shirts, charity concerts and friendlies added much more and the club's third-division status was eventually saved.

In 2007 they climbed back into the professional ranks of the second division and three years on they have timed their promotion to the Bundesliga to perfection -- 100 years after the club started playing organized football matches.

Other recent highlights include a run to the semi-finals of the German Cup in 2006, and four years previously a victory over Bayern Munich that inspired the term "Weltpokalsiegerbesieger" or "World-champion beaters." Bayern were world club champions at the time and T-shirts bearing the newly coined slogan are a common sight among fans to this day.

"We are always the underdog, always popular everywhere," said taxi driver Lars Jacobsen before going into the shop to take a look through the merchandise, which includes toasters, rugby shirts, baby clothes and ashtrays -- all with the familiar skull-and-crossbones logo.

"Now we have another chance to play Bayern Munich here. For us that's like the Champions League."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


 Romanians aren't happy about austerity plans being put forth by their government. The demonstrators were protesting a 25-percent cut in public sector wages, a 15-percent cut in pensions and unemployment
benefits, the curtailing of child and child rearing allowances by 15 percent, and the trimming of the wages of employees of state-owned companies.

The demonstration considered to be the largest in the last few years, was attended by 30,000 people - half as many as those in attendance at the AC/DC concert held a few days ago.


Daniel Barbu, who teaches at the University of Bucharest, says "going to a concert is a choice you make for yourself. It is strictly individual, while going to a trade union or a political rally means adhering to a cause. It is about the individualistic and fragmented nature of our society, as well as about trade union weakness. But ultimately individualism is a sign of modernity," Barbu told ZF 24.

Personally, I think that's the kind of individualism we could use less of. If that is a sign of modernity, give me the good old days.

The following is from Hot

Rally ends. Protesters leave Piata Victoriei. Unions threaten to call general strike on May 31

The protest against austerity measures organised by the great unions in Bucharest in Piata Victoriei on Wednesday, May 19, is over. The participants - 50,000 according to the organisers, 30,000 according to the Gendarmeries' estimates - have left the square. But unions threaten to call general strike on May 31. The protest, assisted by approximately 1,200 cops and gendarmes, was well organised, so that not unexpected events interfered.

The protest began earlier than authorised by the city's council (11am local time) and finished around 13:30. During the protest, several protesters had to be transported to the Floreasca Emergency Hospital and other twenty-two had to receive care in the two first aid tents set up for emergency cases, according to SMURD doctor Constantin Oletanu, Mediafax informs.

UPDATE 13:25 Unions threat with calling a general strike on May 31: "The last message is the general strike on May 31", a shout from the tribune announced.

13:20: A Romanian artist is performing a hip-hop protest song on the stage

13:10: Around 15,000 protesters remained in Piata Victoriei

12:54: A group of policemen, union members, are shouting at the Government: "Thieves!" and threw their caps on the walkway in front of the Government's building.

12:45: Little by little, small groups of protesters leave Piata Victoriei. The authorisation for protest expires at 1 pm.

12:30: The atmosphere in Piata Victoriei is relatively calm. No tension to lead to potential violence. Many protesters seem tired after the long journey to Bucharest and the standing.

UPDATE 11.55 HotNews reporters estimate a number of approximately 30,000 protesters

UPDATE 11.50 Spiru Haret Union Federation president Marius Nistor

    * We are in Piata Victoriei [Victory Squate], [the square] of victory against dictatorship.

    * Over 60,000 union members are here and millions support us.

    * Wake up, respectful leaders, the presidential elections are behind us. It is time you know the reality we all live in.

    * We're living in a country where those in power starve their children, starve their parents, and condemn their pensioners to death. 

UPDATE 11:40  Union leader asks the Government's resignation

Bogdan Hossu, leader of Cartel Alfa union bloc, has asked the Government to resign:

    * After refusing to discuss with us, they announced their achievement: cutting pensions, salaries, unemployment benefit and they asked us to show solidarity. We ask them to show us solidarity and resign.

    * Mr. President Basescu must dismiss this Government and bring another one, capable of working for the citizens

    * The only issue is Down with the Government. Leave! They ask us today to make another sacrifice. Our reply is a firm NO.

    * We want to work and we want a decent, normal salary for our work.

    * We have to remind them that they did not want to change the letter and we've been stagnating for 10 days, because there is no other solution. One solution may be the change of the current government and we remind them that this is one of the best solutions

UPDATE 11:30 LibDem Marcel Hoara has been intensively booed by protesters while interviewed by Antena 3 news channel in Piata Victoriei. The journalists intervened to calm the protesters.

UPDATE 11:00 From the set-up tribune, people shout: "Where is the metallurgy, where are the miners, where are those in car manufacturing?", "Come and take the laces, We need to occupy the square", "Where are those in Bucharest? Come along!"

Union members claim that there are 50,000 people in the square, but reporters in Piata Victoriei estimate around 20,000.

UPDATE  10:30: A row of several thousand people enter Piata Victoriei (union members from Iasi, Suceava, Botosani, Brasov, Prahova, Vrancea), shouting anti-Basescu slogans. They have banners reading "Basescu, economic assassin", "The resignation of the irresponsible who leads the country into disaster and civil war through lies and social instigation"

The first groups of union members started to come in Piata Victoriei shortly after 9 am (local time). The five big union confederations promised to bring in Piata Victoriei over 60.000 people to protest against austerity measures imposed by the Romanian Government in what has been announced to become on of the biggest protests Romania has seen in the last years.

There were several thousand people in Piata Victoriei before the start of the protest. For the moment, people are coming in small groups. The protesters sang "The Penguin's Dance", which became famous after a rally organised by a local mayor on May 1:

"A Penguin heads the Government / And everything moves slowly, slowly, slowly
A Penguin brings hell / But he thinks himself as dragon, dragon, dragon
Berceanu and Udrea and Blaga and Oprea / They all are led by Boc, Boc, Boc
And nothing in the Government works with them there / And everything here stagnates, stagnates, stagnates
A penguin leads a gang / Which makes no advance, advance, advance

The Government did not impose additional restrictions at the Piata Victoriei entrance. Journalists are allowed in the Palace Court. PM Emil Boc was out, in front of the Government's headquarters.

Public Sector Employees National Alliance SED LEX leader Vasile Marica declared for Realitatea TV news channel that "all the political class which has been in power for the last 20 years has been stealing".

"They were never reformed as parties and they ask us today to reform ourselves", he said, accusing that "the fools have paid all gifts in the electoral campaign, which have not been bought with the politician's money, but with public money. "And now we're paying", he concluded.

Buses with protesters have left big cities like Timisoara (west), Iasi (North-East), Sibiu (Central), Constanta (south-east), Brasov (Central), Targul Mures (North). 15o miners from Valea Jiului will join them. They left Petrosani last night, heading towards the Capital in three buses, TV channels broadcast.

The busses filled with union members will be accompanied by gendarmes from the entrance in Bucharest to Piata Victoriei.

Over 1,000 miners are heading towards Bucharest to take part in the protests.


Virtue police, can you imagine. Well, one of these holy cops got the surprise of his life when a Saudi women turned out to be sick and tired of it all and beat the crap out of him. While her action certainly was a righteous one which I presume all who read this agree there is a problem. She'll probably go to jail an...d be lashed.

Just another nice day for women in another of the countries we count as an ally. Although, t'is true that numerous countries we count as enemies are just the same.

Be outraged today!

The following is from Mail Online.

Saudi woman beats up religious police officer who stopped her for walking with a man

An unidentified Saudi woman is being hailed a hero after beating up a virtue cop who stopped her for walking with a man

Virtue: A Saudi woman makes sure she is properly covered up while in a shopping mall (file photo). An unidentified Saudi woman is being hailed a hero after beating up a virtue cop who stopped her for walking with a manWhen a Saudi religious policeman questioned a young couple walking together in an amusement park he got a painful surprise - when the woman suddenly attacked him.

The officer, from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, asked the pair to confirm their identities and relationship to one another.

Unmarried men and women are barred from mixing under Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic rules.

The young man immediately collapsed for reasons that have not been made clear, the Jerusalem Post reported.
But before the policeman could do anything else, the woman - believed to be in her mid-twenties - laid into him.

Pictured Here: A Saudi woman makes sure she is properly
covered up while in a shopping mall (file photo)

He was punched repeatedly about the head and upper torso during the attack in the eastern city of Hofuf Mubarraz.

The assault was so severe and sustained, the officer was eventually taken to hospital suffering from severe bruising.

Neither religious nor local police have commented on the incident, which was widely played out in the Saudi media. 

If the woman is charged with assaulting the officer, she could face a lengthy prison term, or a lashing, or both.
But public opinion appears to have been firmly behind her.

'People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years,' Saudi human rights activist Wajiha Al Huwaidar told the Media Line news agency.

'To see resistance from a woman means a lot... This is just the beginning and there will be more.'

The incident took place in the city of Mubarraz in Saudi Arabia

The incident took place in the city of Mubarraz in Saudi Arabia

Saudi's archaic laws mean that, in addition to being barred from socialising with men in public, Saudi woman are also banned from driving.

They cannot divorce, inherit, or gain custody of their children, and they must be chaperoned in public by a male relative at all times.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - known locally as the Hai'a - are tasked with enforcing these laws. 

But resistance to the draconian measures - fuelled and empowered by the internet - has been growing in recent months. 

'There is some sort of change taking place,' Nadya Khalife, the Middle East women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Media Line.

'But it’s not quite clear what’s happening and it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.'

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Hey, all you pacifists out there, take a deep breath if you read the following interview taken from Earth First Journal.

Militant Feminism
An Explosive Interview with a KKKanadian Urban Guerilla

Juliet Belmas One Hour After Being Arrested
Juliet Belmas was arrested in January 1983, at the age of 19, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her involvement in the militant Guerrilla groups Direct Action (DA), and The Wimmin’s Fire Brigade. DA claimed responsibility for the bombings of the Cherokee Dunsmire Hydro substation on Vancouver Island, and the bombing of Litton Systems, an Ontario company that was building guidance systems for the nuclear cruise missile; other smaller actions included paint bombing of AMEX offices, and they had plans to sink an icebreaker being used to push forth plans for offshore drilling, as well as bombing the military base at Cold Lake.

The Wimmins Fire Brigade fire bombed three stores of the pornography chain Red Hot Video (RVH), after a failing long term campaign by mainstream feminist groups to stop the chain from selling films of womyn and children being violently and repeatedly beaten and raped.
Juliet now has a degree from art school and makes independent films, and does work around the issues faced by womyn in prison. I was lucky enough to meet Juliet and hear many of her exciting stories recently—she had so much to say that needed to be heard by others. I took this opportunity to ask her about the connections between anarchism, feminism, punk rock and militancy.

Comrade Black: So now that you are not blowing shit up anymore, what are you doing? Are you still a revolutionary?

Juliet Belmas: I film shit blowing up all the time now, as a camera technician in the film industry, and over the past few years I’ve been talking­—mainly with young people eager to know what it’s like being a revolutionary, about how it all began for me and what it was like. I tell them time, don’t wait for nobody, it goes just like that, so listen up!

As for being a revolutionary—a parrhesiast is what I am. I don’t suck-hole to anybody! I tell the truth, despite the risks, and my fidelity to truth is pivotal to my self-examination and maturation as a human being. I choose frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of falsehood, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest or moral apathy.

CB: During the trials, a prisoner support group put out some bulletin claiming you had “ratted” out the others. Was there any validity to this? How did that rumor start? How did it affect your time in prison and relationship to your co-defendants?

JB: It all began with an article carried by the “Leftist Press,” entitled “Julie Rats Out,” dating back to the mid 1980s. It’s not surprising that the article was not signed. Writers with journalistic integrity always sign their articles (except in some countries like Mexico, Colombia or Algeria where their lives could be threatened by what they write!). But I can see why the person who wrote that article didn’t sign it; it is full of lies and partiality. They depicted Brent Taylor like some demi-god and steered the reader into concluding that Julie was the Judas who betrayed the group for self-interest; while the others, the true believers, must now suffer a worse fate. They take the fact that I pled guilty and appealed a 20-year sentence and make it seem that, because I did that, I automatically “ratted out”—damn! If you only knew how the whole place was wiretapped and what people said, like the cops would learn anything from me or anybody else for that matter. Weird, seems like whoever wrote that article had to find a scapegoat to elevate the others—I don’t know, but what I do know is that I was lucky I wasn’t the lone woman in the group, otherwise the optics would be so much worse. History is so unforgiving!

Also, I can’t believe they wrote an entire article about Julie Belmas without even talking to Julie Belmas, or her lawyer. Who were their sources? Never once mentioned in the article! It even slid into low-level gossiping, insinuating I was a rat because of a “slide into religion” or because I “left Gerry.” Not a single word about the fact that he let the others threaten the life of the women he said he loved, which was unbelievable!

I believe the reason why the “Leftist Press” singled me out, and labeled me a rat says more about the dogma-laden Left. I didn’t know anybody. I came right out of the suburbs with revolutionary zeal like no other. I never took the state’s evidence, blamed or “ratted” on any one of my ex-comrades. I was a pawn and couldn’t make a move; I watched helplessly as reporters from both the mainstream and the Left began pitting me against the others to sell their stories. Media sucks, and the truth is that the huge sentence I got is proof that I never hid behind anyone’s skirt and I even tried to protect some people. I got a heavier sentence because of that, but it was much harder with that “rat” label, especially in prison; so you can see why I’m not on the best terms with the four others and even some of their most ardent supporters. They had a responsibility, especially my boyfriend (at the time), to remove that “bad jacket” and they never did. They would’ve had to admit they were wrong and obviously they weren’t capable of that. They chose to be rigid politically, instead of being human.

CB: What does Militancy and Direct Action mean to you?

JB: Militancy means a constant preparedness for the point of no return. Direct action means big tent action by committee.

 CB: Is property destruction and sabotage violent? How do you define violence?

JB: Property damage and sabotage are violence if aimed at the epicenter of an intended target; I define violence as a natural part of being H-U-M-A-N.
It’s obvious; politics is violence: politics needs force, politics needs Christ, politics needs money, politics needs ignorance, politics needs fools, politics needs poverty—you get the progression—politics is violence.

CB: What was the goal of using militant direct action? Why did you choose militancy over other tactics? And how did you choose your targets?

JB: The goal was not to anger people but to scare them, to wake them up. Picketing seemed like a waste of time; nothing ever changes. I targeted Red Hot Video because it was doing business near my family home in Port Coquitlam, and I was very disturbed by it. All I wanted to do was destroy it—smash it up and burn it down! Actually, I wanted to blow it to smithereens with the dynamite we stole, but the others wouldn’t go along with that. Red Hot Video was the only action I chose and the only action I never regretted—not one bit!

CB: Many people in the mainstream and those who work for the state, such as the pigs, often call you a terrorist. Do you feel what you have done was terrorism? How do you feel about being called a terrorist? What does that word mean to you?

JB: When people label me a terrorist it hits two birds with one stone; first, I get to claw back the representational dynamics of a word that continues to misinform our understanding of history throughout the ages; secondly, it makes me feel special. For instance, when I tell stories highlighting my exploits, people always say to me: “Really? Why were you in prison?” and I always take the opportunity to explain it was for political extremism; if I use the word terrorism, they are always surprised and say, “Ah yeah? And she overcame this?” and somehow I see in their eyes that what I had just said to them kinda gave them hope. I read it in their faces something like: “If a person can have a good life after serving six and a half years in prison for worst acts than those I have done, I sure can have a good life too.” You can do something, and you can make a difference by making the best of it. That’s the way people think, and if you have an influence on one person’s perceptions then you’re doing all right.

CB: Mistakes were made at Litton Systems causing serious injuries to some of the security and staff, could these have been avoided?

JB: Days before the Litton bombing, a problem was discovered with the bomb’s digital timer, it wasn’t cycling down to zero properly. We should’ve aborted the action right there and then, but we didn’t. Instead, a decision was made to contact the individual who built the timer back in Vancouver before proceeding. It was all beyond me, to tell you the truth, why we continued.

But moreover, to this day I believe it was a miracle no one was killed, we should never have attacked a civilian target (a place where people worked) with 550 pounds of dynamite; it was wacko crazy.

The way we transported and stored the dynamite and the blasting caps was just as irresponsible; there was little consideration for the public’s safety, not to mention mine. The others had previous experience handling dynamite, whereas, I did not. It  had been a common misconception that I did the Cheekeye Dunsmuuir bombing. I never did. Anyways, I was asked to do the telephone bomb warning for the Litton action, because the person originally involved crapped out. As it turned out, the dynamite contaminated my clothing (which was bagged and used as evidence in court), it entered my bloodstream, and it made me real sick.
Get one thing straight, I’m not making excuses or looking for sympathy at this point in the journey; it took me a long time to be able to look back at events with clarity (due to post traumatic stress). But given the facts, it’s clear I suffered nitrate poisoning during the days leading up to the bombing. Nitrate poisoning usually occurs when people are in close contact with dynamite for two or three days. I slept beside it for two full weeks (while the blasting caps were with Ann and Brent); I complained of particles flying in my face while packing it from place to place. Mistakes definitely could’ve been avoided!

CB: So often, when you talk about militancy, it is often perceived as macho, or sexist, and many feminists have even argued that “violence” is an inherently male trait. However, you, a strong feminist, were involved in a militant group. Does this disprove the theory held by some feminists?

JB: I believe violence is a human trait that has nothing to do with gender.
I think most feminist theories fail to explore the way most girls’ actively construct their own gender, and they make big mistakes in focusing on socialization, rather than on girl resistance to socialization. And  the big problem with academia is so much gets lost in translation.

CB: So what then is the connection between Militancy and Feminism?

JB: The connection between Militancy and Feminism for me was girl resistance and DIY gun empowerment. In other words, guerrilla irreverence for patriarchal institutions and power.

For my seventeenth birthday, my oldest sister gives me a book called “The Women’s Room” by Marilyn French. It was a feminist novel that featured a radical militant feminist as central character and for me, it ignited new perspectives on female passivity and male domination. When a friend got me a job at a door factory punching holes in aluminum eight hours a day, five days a week, I remember trying to talk to her about the book’s ideas during coffee breaks and lunch hours. She was too busy suck-holing and trying to impress floor boss—she was a hard working asshole like him.

Luckily, I was listening to female rock icons at the time like Patty Smith, Polystyrene of the X-Ray Spex, and guitarists like Ellen McIlwaine, who were taking on male traits in their music, and I was attracted to that new rhythm generating. Soon after, I told the floor boss to shove it (under my breathe), and made a b-line directly for the Vancouver punk scene in bondage trousers, combat boots and a ripped shirt. I was not trying to be sexual or indecent, but mocking female sexuality (social norms) through parody. My entry into punk rock moved me from a position of victimization, as an assembly line worker from the suburbs, to one of agency, as a person in control of my self-presentation.

Militant parody in the form of punk rock was girl resistance to subservient, fucked up roles for young women. I was more afraid of doing nothing to combat that, than being patted on the head and falling into line as a “good girl.”

CB: How does anarchism work into all this? What is the connection between anarchism, and feminism, or anarchism and militancy?

JB: Well after that job in the Port Coquitlam piss factory, I didn’t much care for work place rules and regulations anymore—or any rules for that matter. I sensed that I would remain subjugated for the rest of my life if I remained complacent and let fucked up people tell me what to do, and on and on it would go. I wanted to seize the time and express my femininity in a way that smashed other people’s ideas of how I should behave.

I grew up with a lot of freedom, being the youngest of six. My siblings grew up in the over-controlling 50s, while I was all freedom-loving 60s and wanting to be a “hippie” right off the bat. My parents had seen it all and tolerated me expressing myself through any imagery I desired, not to mention the uncompromising four-four beat of British punk rock.

So I started fashioning my own punk rock, anarcho-feminism style: ripped fishnet stockings, safety pins, skin-tight black leather, spiked hair and wristbands. I drew anarchy symbols on everything I wore. I even wore a Mickey Mouse cap around the house with Nazi symbols for ears that made my Mother laugh. I found refuge in the music of the Sex Pistols and other British bands whose records I was collecting at the time, because just expressing any deviation from the norm in the suburbs (where I grew up) drew staunch repression. I would soon learn the same to be true, and even worse in downtown Vancouver. Punk was really out there back then, not like it is now.

So then, while I was staying at a punk house off Commercial Drive, I got violently attacked in broad daylight by baseball bat-wielding fascists. After that, something in me changed drastically. At first I returned to Port Coquitlam and dropped out of the scene for a while, suffering post-traumatic stress in quiet desperation. Then I started reading newspapers (having never been interested in news), and identifying with media accounts of paramilitary death squads operating with impunity in the Third World, trapping and massacring women and children in churches! The realization that it almost happened to me here hit me like a ton of bricks.

I started my own DIY punkzine, called Opposition (I criticized punks for doing nothing but sitting on their asses), I joined a punk band called No Exit and penned “Nothing New,” one of the best punk anthems that came out of the Vancouver punk scene.  At the same time, I was making anti-war and anti-fascist posters using clippings of images of guerrilla fighters from Time magazine. It was a big time of connectivity, channeling my anger into creative energy, and that’s what lead up to my slide into militancy.

CB: Some people today feel that feminism “has gone too far,” that womyn are now equal to men, and that there is no need for feminism anymore. How do you feel about this, do you see a need for feminism today?

JB: Level playing field, hah! I see a dire need for feminists (both male and female) to unite around truth-telling and self-empowerment, whichever way they choose.

CB: What do you say to all those people that think feminists hate men?

JB: I say, the 80s called and wants its dogma back.

CB: Second wave feminism was very anti-porn, where as third wave feminism adopted a pro-sex stance. Was the fire bombing of the Red Hot Videos was this based on a anti-porn stance? Would an action like this have been a product of the feminism of the time, or would it have still happened if the entire situation occurred 10 years later when Little Sister’s was fighting against censorship, if a store like RHV was selling rape and snuff films in the height of the pro-sex feminist movement?

JB: We were all radical militant second wavers who believed that video porn should be prohibited (censored) because it was dangerously desensitizing to the viewer and correlated with increased levels of violence against women and children. Also, mainstream feminist groups did such a good job picketing the shops and setting up the issue of snuff pornography in the collective consciousness that direct action was able to spring board into public discourse.
I don’t think it would have the same galvanizing effect today, because Third Wave feminists express themselves differently. They are reclaiming their personal journeys out of the ashes of censorship and re-constructing female identity through empowering labels previously defined and censored as “unfeminine” such as prostitution and pornography. Today, feminist third-wavers are choosing to control their means of production rather than smash them. It’s so cool, because the forty, fifty year olds like me did our thing, now the twenty, thirty year olds are interested in doing their thing, and on and on it goes.

 CB: Why did you choose the spelling you used of Wimmin?

JB: The Brigade as a collective chose “wimmin” as the spelling, because some comrades thought that by using the term we’d build solidarity in other areas of the movement (outside Canada). In other words, we chose the word thinking it would make our Direct Action message more accessible. Today, our target audience wonders “what’s up with that word?”

CB: How did your actions affect the overall movement? Did you have any support from the mainstream anti-war and feminist moments?

JB: Our actions caused sorrow, tears, confusion and the regular trademarks of repression. At the time, we did not have widespread support, but the individual people who knew us within those movements supported us passionately, and still do. Conversely, I barely knew anyone in the movement when I was arrested and as a result, I did not get the same sort of support as the others.

CB: What about race? As mainly white, heterosexual, activists, and largely from middle class backgrounds did your privilege play into any of this? How did this work in solidarity with People of Color, especially indigenous people who’s land we are fighting on?

JB: I had a hunch that there was more to life than my white bread dysfunctional culture when I started hanging out at the Smiling Buddha and other punk venues in the inner city. I was from the suburbs, right away my family and friends started making a case for violence and homelessness saying that it wasn’t safe for me to be downtown. They pointed to local newspaper stories that linked indiscriminate violence with homelessness and Native people in the area. I remember arguing with them and challenging them to read between the lines of stupid media messages I was hearing, like the way women were supposed to dress and be subservient to men. I knew I was privileged and that it was my responsibility to rebel by seeking truth—the uncompromising truth of injustice, poverty and violence—everything that I was supposed to be swallowing in the media, that is how my white, privileged background played into all this.

How this worked in solidarity with First Nations was awesome! One time, we (me and my DA comrades) were heading to the Stein River Valley for a week of R&R and we had to pass through First Nations territory to get there. There we were moving slow in the stolen four wheel drive—our eyes were on the winding road ahead—when suddenly about twenty First Nations youth appeared out of thin air and blocked the road in front of us with logs and trees so we could not pass. We realized that this was a campaign of non-white direct actions aimed at an aggressive logging company in the area that had marked the last natural watershed for clear cut logging, so we raised our fists in solidarity; we made a peace offering with a cassette tape of John Trudell talking about his life experiences. By respecting Native road blocks, whites can work in solidarity with People of Color to protect the earth. That’s how solidarity works!


Militant Feminism
An Explosive Interview with and Urban Guerilla

A Self-Portrait Done While in Jail, 1983
This is the second half of a two-part interview with Juliet Belmas, an activist with Direct Action and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, two groups who used explosives or incendiary devices in the early 1980s to further anti-colonial, ecological and feminist struggles. Juliet was arrested in January 1983, at the age of 19, along with the other four members of the Vancouver 5. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Today, Juliet makes independent films and does work around issues faced by womyn in priosn.

The first half appeared in the March-April 2010 Earth First! Journal. To order a back issue, write

Comrade Black: How did you learn the skills needed, and get the guns, TNT and so on that you used in these actions?

Juliet Belmas: I registered for a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) soon after meeting Brent Taylor in 1981. Then, I bought and licensed two mini-14 assault rifles about a year later, because I wanted to learn how to shoot for self-protection. Gerry Hannah didn’t want his name on any lists, so I registered his gun for him under my FAC … and that’s how Gerry and I got our guns. The rest of the Direct Action (DA) arsenal was expropriated from gun collectors before I officially joined DA on June 30, 1982.

Although, I joined in order to get rid of the video porn shop in my suburban neighborhood, the priority of the group at the time was the Litton action and the expropriation of support material to make that action happen, like getting our hands on two-way short-wave radios and dynamite. It was disappointing for me to have to put off target practicing with my new mini-14 .223 caliber Ruger until we succeeded in finding a Department of Highways TNT cache full of dynamite, and then it was, “Wait until after Litton.”

Anyways, we were all really tired and on our way home from another day of uneventful searching around for dynamite between Squamish and Whistler when, suddenly, I started pointing at the vehicle directly in front of us and laughing hysterically. It was a Department of Highways service vehicle tagged with an explosives sign in plain view for us to see! Naturally, we followed it to its destination a mile or so up the road and then followed it back to a highways-compound, where it parked overnight. Then, we returned under the cover of the night to steal the keys that were sitting in plain view on the dashboard and unlocked the gate to the service road, helping ourselves to more than 2,000 pounds of dynamite. It was that simple!

CB: One thing very unique about your group was that you were anarchists, not Marxists like most other guerrilla groups such as the Red Army Faction, the Front de Libération du Québec, the Irish Republican Army, the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground. How did it work to be an anarchist using a model generally shaped by Marxists?

JB: Those rigid models caused a vanguard mentality even in our group that eventually produced a lot of tension and ultimately divided us in the same way that media uses black and white (didactic) stories to sell newspapers and dummy everything down for purposes of social control. Seriously, as soon as the shit hit the fan when people were injured in the Litton bombing, everyone became more rigid in the group fast! Sure, some political idealism is about envisioning utopia and how to get there, but the nuts and bolts behind revolutionary illegal political activity is a different thing altogether. I have to say that I was attracted to being a real life bad girl devoted to drugs, guns and fucking in the streets! That’s what made me want to become an urban guerrilla, not some rigid political ideology. No way! And I challenge anyone who tries to say otherwise, or who tries to say that it makes me any less of a revolutionary in the struggle for freedom. In fact, I believe I was ahead of my time in many ways.

CB: So, you were only 18 years old when you got involved with underground radical action. How does someone that young get involved with something so radical? Was it a mistake to get involved at that young of an age?

JB: ’K, so I’m hanging out with my new punk friends that I met on a film set that we were all extras in called, “All Washed Up,” a.k.a. “The Fabulous Stains.” I had a car and, as soon as I graduated from grade 12, I told my parents I was going to live in this punk house off Commercial Drive. They weren’t too happy, but, like I said, I had a lot of freedom growing up. So, life’s one big party at the Punk Manor until one of the punk guys gets drunk and boots a neighbor’s car in. The next day was Italian Day 1980, and we were suddenly attacked by a group of masked-men wielding baseball bats. I’ll never forget the moment as carnival sounds from the parade from [Commercial] Drive meshed with windows smashing and people screaming from the violence in the foreground and then the desensitizing effects that stayed with me for years!

Anyways, after that incident, I went back home and began challenging my family and friends over newspaper accounts of death squads operating with impunity throughout the third world and pointing out that it could happen here too.
That’s how I became involved so young—the violent repression I experienced as a punk girl in resistance to mainstream norms was so extreme that it set off a compulsion for guns and militancy that probably attracted other militant cohorts or they attracted me. Whichever way it worked, that’s how I became so radical at such a young age, and was it a mistake? As I get older, I think not. I think it was all meant to be.

CB: Did you think you would get caught? Go to prison? What was prison like for you?

JB: Yes and no. It’s weird, because I was prepared to do what I had to in order to stand by my word and back up my friends/comrades, but there was no suicide pact—while, at the same time, I am heard on the wiretap several times saying that I’d rather die than go to prison.

CB: Did you receive a fair trial?

JB: No! Immediately, my comrades wanted to censor the wiretap transcripts, and I did not see key pieces of evidence during my prosecution. Two bugs were placed in our underground house: one upstairs in the kitchen and one downstairs in Ann and Brent’s room. My comrades, including my boyfriend, didn’t think it was good for me to see the downstairs wiretap transcripts and advised against it. This is problematic, because I was convicted of conspiracy with them, and I should have had access to all evidence before and during trial just like everybody else in this country.

Also, when you consider that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had only been enacted about 30 days before our arrest, I’m sure you can understand that, given the climate we were in, it’s unlikely I received a fair trial.

CB: Do you have any advice for activists looking at a long prison term?

JB: My advice is to focus your time on education, because it is the only thing that holds equal value in the semi-free world. Like, a lot of prison activists focus on work programs for prisoners, which I suppose have some merit in the sense that one earns a skilled trade before leaving prison, but who the hell is going to hire someone who got their hairdressing degree from Oakalla or Prison 4 Women? Really, it’s a sad joke when you think about it.

It’s also important to keep notes and document your experiences as you’re doing your time in order to share your ordeal with others. After all, a unique set of experiences put you there.

CB: How can we work to support anarchist and other revolutionary prisoners?

JB: Sure, it helps to write letters of support and visit anarchist and revolutionary prisoners, but it’s even more important to offer moral and/or financial support to the families, who are often left out in the cold wondering what the hell just happened.

CB: What was your connection to punk, and did the punk scene have any affect on your political actions?

JB: Me? I just wanted to look cool. I wasn’t trying to do anything like revolution at first. I know people would like to think that I was always about breaking boundaries of politics and gender, but Gerry and I didn’t really have time for that; we were really too busy trying to pull enough money together for records, beer and the rent. But, I have to admit that, during the early ’80s, there was way more social-political activity going on all around in Vancouver—much more than any time since, that’s for sure: peace marches by the thousands, lots of socialism themes in the various political rallies, Rock Against Prisons every August, the Trade Union movement, general strikes, and so on and so on. Amidst all of that, I identified as a punk, because I wanted a safe place where I could express myself in less “feminine” ways than other girls—to be assertive, aggressive, outspoken—and reject that good-girl shit as soon as it was pushed in my face and made me feel uncomfortable.

It’s important to note that its very common for adolescent males to reject mainstream norms and expectations by identifying with a sub-cultural identity of some sort, and the Vancouver punk rock scene was no different. It was accepted as a right of passage for men, whereas, for women, it was very different. Sure, I was just as disaffected and rebellious as my male peers in rejecting society’s norms and expectations, but, moreover, I was actively resisting both the constructs of feminine norms as well as sexist punk attitudes that valorized adolescent masculinity, toughness, coolness, rebelliousness and even aggressive possessiveness of punk girls. Unlike punk guys, I was constructing my identity from two opposing constructs, which does in fact hold broader implications for thinking about DA and violence as an inherently male trait. I have to think about that for a while.

Anyways, looking back, I believe that when me and my punk friends, especially the guys, were attacked with baseball bats for being punks, it sublimely impacted how I viewed the playing field of politics as one of violence.

CB: What were some of the biggest influences on you?

JB: Violence, love, punk rock music, DIY ethics, episodic ’70s television …you get the progression.

CB: Ann Hansen put out a book entailing her version of your collective story, Direct Action, Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla. What do you think of her book?

JB: It was a shock to read how she depicted me as a romantic rival and both Gerry and I as stupid. And she doesn’t talk about her life in prison and her relationships with the rest of us after the trial. In my opinion, the emotional aspects of all of that are important, and that is what I feel was lacking from Ann’s book.

CB: So, you grew up near Robert Pickton, right? And I believe you told me before that you knew wimmin in prison who disappeared at his hands? Also, do you think the allegations that the pigs were working with Pickton are accurate? How did this dumb fuck get away with raping and killing wimmin for so many years?

JB: Yeah, I grew up a few blocks over. In February 2002, when he and his crew were arrested and their pictures splattered all over the place, I was like, “Hey, wait a minute. That’s the guy who stole my dog and harassed me back in ’97!” Yeah, I sensed the danger, and, luckily, I was still a fighter and recorded the license plate number and had the good sense to hold onto it. On the day, I tried reporting it to the local police, who weren’t interested at all—they were more interested in me being on parole and not bothering people in my neighborhood!
Sure is creepy though the way all of that DNA from bone fragments of missing women dated back to 1982, the same year I picked up the gun and blamed a video porn shop for bothering my neighborhood. Then, after so many years and so many women I knew from prison disappearing from the Downtown Eastside and then the police descending on the century-old farmland and the neighbor charged, damn! If you only knew of the integrity of those women … They’d never turn their backs on you, no matter what! And one thing they all had in common was that they cared more about others than they cared about themselves. I still have a very hard time reconciling what happened to those women there and don’t know if I ever will [get over that].

I would tend to agree with those allegations, considering how the trial played out and then more. How ‘bout all of those media bans? That was a huge indication to me that something was going on behind closed doors, at the systemic level. One thing people should realize is that, all of the time, the police and crown collude and omit things that they don’t want entered into evidence and made public. Rules of admissibility of evidence are what drive our criminal justice system. Anyways, I attended a few days of Pickton’s pre-trial arguments and found it surprising similar to our trial in that it all came down to admissibility of evidence and trial by media. And the most troubling aspect of it all was knowing that, deep in our collective consciousness, he didn’t realistically act alone. We know that there’s a community of people also who [were so] desensitized that they don’t notice or want to notice body parts laying around in garbage cans, cops included. It’s a moral conundrum. I think he got away with it by passing himself off as a “hard-working asshole,” and cops and everybody left him alone.

CB: We are gearing up here for the Olympics, and there is a large resistance movement against it. There is also heavy police repression already, with the pigs coming to the homes of activists in both Vancouver and Victoria to harass them and look for informants. They are also training especially for the Olympic security. Do you think the activists have a chance? What are your general opinions on the Olympics and anti-Olympics movement?

JB: I think that the time is now for a convergence of activism to succeed, as odds are that the Olympic movement does not want images of police brutality and repression following it wherever it goes (next stop, Europe), and, although the anti-Olympic movement is smarting from repression, there is a chance of changing the way people view colonial/capitalist spectacle, like the Olympics, for years to come.

CB: What are your general impressions of the feminist, environmentalist and anarchist movements today?

JB: It’s reaffirming to see the movements catalyze around protecting the Earth, queer rights and First Nations empowerment.

CB: What do you think of the bombings of the ENCARTA sour-gas pipelines happening in northern British Columbia in the last year?

JB: I think whatever people do to protect their land and local health needs is righteous!

CB: I have a friend in Edmonton who feels that, whenever someone claiming to be an anarchist blows shit up, it harms the movement. What do you think?

JB: I see media buzzwords and images used all of the time to sell stories and hook the viewer into thinking they can actually make a moral judgment or an informed decision about another community’s moral conscience and direct action. In the same way, your friend’s “keep ’em separated” and “violence is not me” subtext is moralistic in tone and smacks of censorship, because uncompromising anger is the true force behind all social change.

I think the Gandhian, non-violent, direct-action movement is based on a romanticized Hollywood notion that idealizes a time and culture altogether different than what we’re experiencing. Today’s post-colonial police state has had a lot of time to perfect techniques that keep people in perpetual submission and within the confines of capitalist norms and institutions. For instance, I’ve noticed a surge in bank-manager syndrome: It has now become an acceptable and justifiable part of everyday life to say, “Talk to the hand,” and dismiss the first intonation of anger in anyone, no matter the circumstances, political activists included.

I don’t think the Movement will go very far if it doesn’t address this tendency to want to censor out militancy from its collective psyche. Fear of political violence and imprisonment has effectively neutered the movement. People fear to fight for freedom; activists attempt to convince rather than challenge, and the mere suggestion of violence has become the purple elephant in the living room that no one wants to talk about.

CB: In an interview you gave while you were still in prison, they stated that you renounced the use of violence. Is this true? Do you still feel the same years later?

JB: It is interesting, because, in the beginning of all this, I really didn’t understand why I became an urban guerrilla and I definitely didn’t understand how it would impact my perspective later on in life. I was very spontaneous and of the moment back then. Now, after many years of reflection, I return to my past with a clearer understanding of events and a firmer belief that action speaks louder than words.

CB: Here is the million-dollar question: If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you? Do you have any regrets?

JB: Yes and no; I truly regret that I injured people, but the ship can’t be turned around.

Comrade Black is a genderqueer green-anarchist feminist from Victoria, British Columbia. They are a founder of the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair collective, Victoria anarchist reading circle, and a member of the Camas Collective Infoshop.



Organizations representing the Roma People in Hungary are expressing growing concern over right wing anti-Roma activities. They especially point to the fascist Movement for a Better Hungary, or Jobbik, which officially entered parliament this week as the country's third political force, after recent elections. The Jobbik party exploited anti-Semitic and anti Gypsy sentiment to surge from almost nowhere to 16.7 percent of the voting that ended Sunday.

Jobbik is not just some bunch of dissatisfied racists.  Jobbik has the potential of being the real nazi thing.

And Roma hatred is not limited to the fascists. Fidesz, the center-right party that won the election, has linked its "law and order" pledge to keeping a closer eye on on Hungary's estimated 500,000-800,000 Gypsies or Roma.  The endemic nationalist and racist hatred indicated by the mainstream party's use of a slightly more "pleasant" race bating  illustrates the depths the Jobbik have yet to mine, but are banking their future on.

The eight hundred thousand Roma  and between fifty and one hundred thousand Jews face a very troubling future

My guess is that most of the world could really care less..

My guess is the other European nations will take the same action they took as the Nazi's came to to nothing.

The following is from Spiked.

Jobbik: an extreme form of the politics of identity
The advance of the far-right in Hungary's elections shows that zombie politics can potentially make a big impact in public life today.
Frank Furedi

The massive electoral triumph of the right-wing Fidesz party in yesterday's elections in Hungary has been overshadowed by the electoral breakthrough of the radical nationalist Jobbik movement. The success of this backward-looking, chauvinist party, which has gained seats in the Hungarian parliament for the first time, suggests that zombie politics can potentially make a significant impact on public life today.

Western observers make the mistake of depicting the success of Jobbik as symptomatic of the recent rise in support for far-right parties across Europe. Jobbik is presented as a Magyar version of France's National Front, or as an East European equivalent of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party. Even comparisons with the British National Party miss the point. Western European far-right parties are essentially protest movements that give voice to the estrangement of a significant section of society from public life. These movements often focus on one issue: immigration. Their support comes from people who experience everyday insecurities as a threat to their identities and way of life. A typical BNP supporter complains that his or her community is about to be, or has been, taken over by an alien culture, and demand a return to the British way of life.

In comparison to Jobbik, the Dutch Freedom Party comes across as relatively tolerant and liberal. Unlike Western far-right parties, supporters of Jobbik are not so much concerned about losing a way of life as they are with inventing one. Throughout history, Hungarian nationalism has been thwarted by military defeats and humiliations. The sense of loss that permeates the Hungarian national consciousness has fostered a mood of bitter resentment towards the intangible forces that 'frustrate' the nation. With the fall of the Communist regime and the changes brought about by the end of the Cold War, many believed that prosperity was just around the corner. Sadly, for many Hungarians, the promise of prosperity has not been realised. Eighteen months ago I talked to a 52-year-old fitter called Joska. Pointing his finger at the other customers in the bar in Szekszárd where we were drinking, he said: 'You see them – we are all losers.' When I asked him what have they lost, he paused, and then with a note of sadness said: 'Everything.'

I sensed the same feeling of melancholy bitterness when I happened to wander into a Jobbik rally a few years ago. What struck me was the intense, bitter hatred that dominated the proceedings. Although some of the speakers denounced foreign capitalists, and through euphemistic (and not so euphemistic) rhetoric pointed the finger of blame at Gypsies and Jews, their hatred appeared to be directed at anyone who was not a 'true Hungarian'. What seemed unusual to me was the feeling of restless anger, which seemed to be in search of a cause. Unlike at your average BNP meeting, many of the Jobbik speakers and activists appeared to be university-educated and relatively sophisticated operators. These were not eccentric malcontents standing on the margins of society, but articulate individuals who felt that they were giving voice to mainstream concerns.

The main impression I got from the rally, and from the other things I have seen and heard about Jobbik, is that this is a very modern movement run by aspirant and frustrated activists who are self-consciously reinventing the Hungarian past as a focus for populist mobilisation. Most observers have commented on the movement's cynical promotion of Gypsy crime panics and anti-Jewish conspiracy stories about a Zionist takeover of Hungary's economy. However, Jobbik's zombie politics is not confined to traditional anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsy racism – more broadly this is a movement committed to the cultural rehabilitation of Hungarian identity. It has tried to mobilise so-called Christian values in an attempt to construct an identity that links religion and nationality. Predictably, this cultural construction often appears as a caricature of itself. Members of the Hungarian Guard, Jobbik's paramilitary arm, dress up in traditional outfits usually worn by Magyar folk-dancers. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Jobbik performs nationalism rather than lives it. In a Western setting, this would be characterised as the politics of identity.

Despite its electoral success, it is not yet clear whether Jobbik has the political capability to be anything more than an important radical extremist force. What the Hungarian elections do definitely signify is the discrediting and disintegration of the Hungarian political elite. It is the behaviour of the corrupt and self-serving post-Communist oligarchy that gave rise to the current political crisis in Hungary. In practice, 'regime change' in Hungary after the end of the Cold War often meant little more than the old Stalinist regime reinventing itself and privatising itself. In such circumstances, popular grievance towards those who are responsible for the injustices of the present can become seamlessly bound up with a demand for revenging the misdeeds of the past. It is the fact that many of the injustices that Jobbik appeals to are real ones which provides this party with the potential to gain influence in the future.