Comrade Equus: Anti-authoritarianism and Unions

30 03 2011

Editors note: Trusted sources have reported sightings of the good Comrade Equus in around the American Midwest, fomenting dissent and acting as a general public-nuisance in his fight against the forces of evil. The good Comrade has taken notice of recent discussion in libertarian and Anarchist circles denouncing unions and collective action.  He is not pleased.  He has taken time off his subversice activities to contribute the following to the discussion as part of his role as special contributor on this blog. Comrade Equus reports

 

Here in the US there’s all kinds of talk right now about recent legislation in the Midwest that restricts or eliminates the power of unions.

Most Libertarian and Anarchist bloggers reported on Madison and offered some opinion on the matter. I was surprised to see how many were willing to throw public sector workers under the bus.

Basically the argument is that unions are hanging onto government ensured privilege, followed by a laughable assertion that your high school teacher makes six figures every year, while the regular private sector worker toils under the stress of the system.

There are a few things that need clarification.

There is a difference between asking and taking

The labor movement started in opposition to The State and the employing class.

They slowly but surely calmed down and more or less became puppets of the Democrats. However, they are markedly separate from The State in that they have demonstrated a willingness to act outside of legal channels when attacked. This is not a matter of holding onto government given privilege, but an example of unions fighting The State.

The State has tried to strip them of collective bargaining rights, and they are fighting back.

Perhaps they would bend to similar concessions under a Democratic governor, but perhaps next time they will not.  After seeing unions stand up like this, I am beginning to think that the labor movement is not as dead as we once thought.

Workers in the US died for the rights they have now.  Unions (at least the rank and file members, not so much the leadership) are starting to realize they cannot just ask The State to give them something. They are perhaps beginning to just take it.

These bills empower The State

The anti-union legislation in Wisconsin that took away collective bargaining gave more power to The State.

The laws passed in the Midwest did not stop the government from employing people, and at best simply set up a way of contracting private sector companies. The State is still in a position of employment. Instead of having to bargain with unions as a whole they can now deal with each worker individually, resulting in pay discrimination and benefits being taken away. This will only stratify society more, give some more political, economic, and social powers over others and basically expand authoritarianism in general.

Public Sector Unions have certainly been subservient to The State, and their leadership deserves a lot of criticism.

However, these bills have taken power from the unions (which would continue to exist independent of The State) and given it to The State. No doubt that unions have their own hierarchies and problems, but now all they have fought for (wages, 8-hour days, benefits) are directly in control of The State and the companies with which it contracts.

Where we are

As it stands, Democrats have been pretty good at saving face. I wouldn’t jump to any conclusion too quickly though.

Students have been some of the most ardent fighters lately, and they are the future union members and workers. It is, after all, their future that’s being fucked.

If young people can go beyond just protesting and begin to build sustainable, anti-authoritarian alternatives to The State, then we’re starting to get revolutionary.

I, for one, would expect much more fighting from the Midwest. I visited there once. If I learned anything important, it’s that Midwesterners can do two things better: brew their own beer and fight.





“Yes, we can” turns deadly

7 10 2010

In the past, I wished upon a star that Obama’s election to the American presidency would pop the idealism cherry of a new generation.  I can’t help but noticed I missed something.  At least so far.

After Obama was elected, everyone was happy he wasn’t Bush.  And why not?  Bush was a tyrant.  Bad things deserved to happen to the nether regions of George Bush as some kind of karmic retribution for all the terrible things he did.  But what people fail to realise is that Obama has been no better.

And no, let me preface the following by saying that I really don’t care about Obama’s “socialism” or whatever else certain American demographics have falsely branded the guy with. (hint: the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” immediately spring to mind)

Seems like a good dose of “he isn’t Bush,” is more powerful than rohypnol.  After all, if Bush had carried out raids on anti-war activists, half the world would be up in arms.

As Cindy Sheehan wrote in a blog post for Al Jazeera,

“These raids have terrifying implications for dissent here in the US.

First of all, these US citizens have been long-time and devoted anti-war activists who organised an anti-war rally that was violently suppressed by the US police state in Minneapolis-St. Paul, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Because the Minneapolis activists have integrity, they had already announced that they would do the same if the Democrats hold their convention there in 2012.

I have observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.

I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands of people in the streets to protest. This is one of the reasons an escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under Obama – even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who should be adamantly opposed to such policies.

Secondly, I believe because the raids happened to basically ‘unsung’ and unknown, but very active workers in the movement, that the coordinated, early morning home invasions were designed to intimidate and frighten those of us who are still doing the work. The Obama regime would like nothing better than for us to shut up or go underground and to quit embarrassing it by pointing out its abject failures and highlighting its obvious crimes.

Just look at how the Democrats are demonising activists who are trying to point out the inconvenient truth that the country (under a near Democratic tyranny) is sliding further into economic collapse, environmental decay and perpetual war for enormous profit.”

So, let’s just recap;

  • Bombing campaigns conducted inside allied country’s borders — yes, we can!
  • Continuation of Bush era legal doctrines to maintain government cover-ups — yes, we can!
  • Increased support for secret special forces groups to conduct extra-judicial killings in Afghanistan — yes, we can!
  • Extra-judicial executions of American citizens abroad– yes, we can!
  • Scaling up almost decade long war in developing country for access to resources (minerals) — yes, we can!
  • Declaration of “victory” in Iraq despite continued American presence — yes, we can!
  • Raids on anti-war activists for being anti-war — yes, we can!

Who knew the inspirational phrase, “yes, we can” would have such a downside?  Then I can’t imagine the world would be much safer with McCain leading America, either.  “No leaders” probably doesn’t seem like such an radical proposal for those across the pond.

————————————————————————

UPDATE:

Found this great article at The Superfluous Man discussing how Obama is no different from the average, big name political pundit, but also the inability for critiques from all corners of statist politics to grasp exactly this fact.

Why on earth wouldn’t he? He’s blowing hundreds of billions on the stimulus so that he and his political allies can fund pet projects, justify the exercise of greater influence and power over society and pass out government swag to friends, allies, and supporters. He’s doing the standard, normal thing for someone with political power to do – he’s just able to do more because of the circumstances he finds himself in.

He wants to raise taxes on higher income brackets? So does every other center-left politician cultivating his “friend of the people” persona. He wants to increase federal involvement in this or that sector of the economy? He’d be a bizarre anomaly if he was a major American politician who didn’t.

The same can be said of questions raised by faltering or disenchanted Obama supporters: Why hasn’t he shown interest in liberalizing drug laws? Why isn’t he renouncing the Bush era’s offenses against civil liberties and separation of powers? Why is he handing out wagonloads of boodle to big corporations?

Why would it be otherwise?

The problem D’Souza has- and that many conservative critics of Obama have, and that many liberal admirers of Obama have- is this: He thinks there must be some interesting, unusual, or complex explanation for what is actually entirely mundane, typical behavior with a mundane, typical explanation.

The conservative reaction to Obama’s programs are remarkably similar to the liberal reaction to George W. Bush, which also tended to ridiculously exaggerate the novelty of what Bush was doing by acting as if incremental changes building on established precedent were new and shocking.





The US Government goes for internet’s jugular

27 09 2010

This article was originally published by Techeye.net.  I’ve reposted it here as a matter that needs urgent attention inside and outside the US.

The US government has decided that it has the right to take down content on any website in the world if a movie or recording studio complains about it.

The worldwide censorship programme will let the Justice Department seek US court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world and shut them down through domain registration.

According to Wired the law has the backing of both republicans and democrats and is quite possibly the first time that the US has attempted to impose its quaint medieval legal system on the rest of the world.  It is certainly the first time that the US has ordered other nation states to obey the will of its own private companies.

Basically the only reason that the world has to listen is that the US has control of the domain registration system.

The law is called “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” and as Wired points out it is the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement.

If passed, the Justice Department could ask a federal court to for an injunction that would order a domain registrar or registry to stop resolving an infringing site’s domain name, so that visitors to ThePirateBay.org, for example, would get a 404 error.

It is being pushed by Orin Hatch who is a Republican from Utah who claims that this world wide wibble thing is a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property.

But whether the proposal would ever become law is unclear. For a start there will be a large number of foreign countries who will be leaning on the US to drop it. Wars have been fought for less and the world wide wibble is an important economic resource.

Hollywood has shown that it is quite prepared to blanket ban all filesharing sites on the basis that pirated material could be shared. A law like this would enable it to shut down internet access to any company which makes technology it does not approve of.

The fact that taxpayer money is being used to defend Hollywood against people who may not have any cash at all is another point. But the law could also be used to shut down Wikileaks on the basis that the material is copyrighted. The fact the site is hosted in foreign countries would not protect it.

The US has always been reluctant to give up its control of the internet, usually making the claim that it invented it. The fact that what it came up with is nothing like you see today does not matter to it. It now seems that US politicians are using it to prop up their entertainment industry’s sick business model.

Our bet is that if the law is enacted then it will push other governments to set up a rival internet structure without the US.  After all you can’t have a system of taxation or legal repression without representation.  Where have we heard that before?

Read the original here





Racism, the Media and the non-existant “Gang of 49″

25 04 2010

While doing some unrelated research, I stumbled upon this article which reported on a protest undertaken by Indigenous People on the steps of Parliament house at the time when the “Gang of 49″ was being painted as the greatest scourge to white, middle class Adelaidean populations.  Of course, there never was a “Gang of 49″ and the mainstream media pretty much fabricated and overplayed all stories relating to said gang.  The most moving aspect of the article is not its content but the comments section below.  I’ve chosen a select few to be reproduced here;

“To you Michael Atkinson, what is ‘pure evil’ is the fact that the ancestors of the alleged “gang of 49″ were massacred for their country (land, water, minerals) by the colonists.

Today, your “south australia” is still a penal colony and for this reason the sovereign people of these many lands are still being marginalised by the so called “australian government” for the same ongoing reasons….minerals for your crown. Our minerals and our lands.

When did the Kaurna people cede their land to you and your business acquaintances, willingly and without harrassment??? When did any of us… NEVER!!

No wonder some our young people are turning to crime. It seems to be their only way out of a miserable life that they have being locked into since “colonialism” entered our lands.

The deeds you mention, pale in comparison to your own Snowtown murders of innocent pensioners.

When the human rights of aboriginal people is truly addressed by an independent body and ourselves and the past acknowledged and acted upon, maybe our young people will have a reason to feel proud and start turning their lives around. But you don’t want it this way. We are billionaires with a refugee problem because the colonial system only exists to exploit our minerals, therefore the colonists have a PROBLEM in admitting and accepting their own legal faults to their own people.

Theft is hardly something for any politician to be pointing a finger at.

This last effort to project and incite rasicm before the hopeful re-election of this or any political party is very clear to all. What gang of 49? Who did the head-count?” - Isobelle Dingaman


“I copied this from another thread and it pretty much sums up the current politicians. The discussion so far has produced many facts. These ageing politician-colonists are on borrowed time. East Germany’s socialist government also crumbled and fell, amongst it’s lies and ideals.

Those natives who think they are enjoying all of the fringe benefits of this white society are selling the bigger picture short. Any of you on a government paypacket needs to reassess his or her dependency and whether or not you are just making a difference to “yourself” and how you appear to fit in, OR do you really care about your heritage which is being slipped out from underneath you. AND you are slipping out from underneath your cousins, but in particular the state wards. Do you care about these vicitims of the system? Or do you care more about how they could make you look? You are all a meal ticket for these colonists and they thrive on the fact you want to look respectable. Are you disassociating yourselves from the state wards here? It’s not clear.

Take a look at history and see what these colonists as you call them have, which belongs to you, yours and others including the state wards. What I see here is a lot of fish who are all caught nicely on the colonist’s hook.

This lady below is very smart. She worked it out. How many are still in there saying the right words, but not making the difference? Puppets for the colonists helping the colonists to assimilate YOU. And yes, the target is your land hence your forgetfulness. You think you need to be “acceptable” and “blend in”. You don’t. You need to BE who you are or continually expect to have these rallies.

This or any government wants power over YOUR land even by default. Default being assimilation and the death of your elders and you believing that they are YOUR government. They aren’t !!!

“Grotesque amounts of money” that have not produced a single house.

Natasha Robinson | August 15, 2009

ABORIGINAL politician Alison Anderson yesterday labelled the $672 million indigenous housing program the biggest scandal she had seen in her political career, as Labor narrowly avoided being thrown from power in the Northern Territory.
…”I dreamed that I could help change things for Aboriginal people in the bush,” said the member for the central Australian seat of MacDonnell.

“I believed the Labor Party cared about Aboriginal issues, that Labor was the party for the Aboriginal cause. After four years in the system, I know I was wrong.

“Labor lives on the Aboriginal vote, it talks constantly about Aboriginal people, but what it’s really good at is spending Aboriginal money.” ” – Gerard Reiper

“I live in Adelaide and didn’t now anything about this rally. So much for the mainstream media and what passes for freedom of the press. Looks like the press has the freedom to make certain people and issues invisible.

A month or so ago, a house in Elizabeth occupied by an Aboriginal family was the subject of a home invasion by white supremacists who beat up the father of the house in front of his family. The mother and the children were also threatened. Not only wasn’t this on the front page of the Advertiser, it wasn’t in there at all!

Many thanks again to CPRT for the courage to report on this.” – Mike


“Could it be Mike that the Adelaide media are all embarrassed by their obliging assistance in generating what could be called malicious racism, for want on no real news to report?

On checking their stories to date it’s all alleged, suspected and “not exactly”. There is no hard evidence of an organised gang. And like Klynton says, if they were so organised, why are they getting caught.

It seems we have discovered the source of racism (not that we didn’t know) for as Isabelle points out, nothing could top the Snow Town premeditated, gruesome murders.

Then there’s the Canning Stock Route massacres and other sordid undealt with criminal offences against the first people of this country. Since when was it a crime to be here first?

No other race of people is treated with such contempt, particularly on their own soil and generally they don’t belong to an “alleged” gang to be kept at the bottom of the pile.

The majority of Australians are no longer buying into this racism generated by a failed or perhaps ambitious system. It sounds like a coverup to me, or perhaps Custer’s Last Stand.

ADELAIDE NOW: “suspected” members of the Gang of 49
ADELAIDE NOW: THE “alleged” ringleader of last week’s Gang of 49
ADELAIDE NOW: the latest crime wave by the “so-called” Gang of 49
ABC: It’s “not exactly” a gang of 49
TOPIX: the “so-called” Gang of 49
SIMON BLAKE: The people that believe that “the Gang of 49 is a myth”
KLYNTON WANGANEEN: we have to deal with the “fallacies” of a “GANG of 49”

So, who “so-called” this the Gang of 49?
Is it any wonder the City media have buried their head in shame? How can they back peddle now??
” – Anthony G

Though it seems the media have found a new way of portraying First Nations people as the greatest threat to white colonial society.

These same experts – including police who sparked the gang name in January 2007 when then assistant commissioner Gary Burns revealed Operation Mandrake was monitoring a group of 49 primarily Aboriginal offenders held responsible for hundreds of crimes – now are backing away from the name “Gang of 49″.

This is despite the term’s broad use at the highest levels of our government and social-justice system, including by Social Inclusion Commissioner Monsignor David Cappo.

Members of the street gangs, primarily formed for street fighting, have a formal initiation, which generally involves bashing someone or “taking a hiding” themselves, and actively recruit new members.

Some gangs also recognise their membership with the use of American-style gothic gang tattoos.

Police spokeswoman Shelay Boothey said police were not aware of these gangs being linked to criminal activity.

“There is no evidence of the existence of any organised indigenous criminal gang structures,” Ms Boothey said.

And yet…

James Cook University researcher Laura Swanson, who last year spent four weeks mixing with 10 known Gang of 49 offenders, told a national criminology conference the young offenders were “amused” by the media attention given to the Gang of 49 and enjoyed the notoriety.

Ms Swanson said the gangs copied American gangs such as the “Crips,” “Bloods” and “Latin Kings”, adopting their image, music, clothing and language.

Some offend as a necessity – to gain peer approval and build self esteem, even collecting newspaper reports on themselves in a form of competition to see who can get the most coverage with their crimes.

Police have Operation Mandrake at the ready for the next wave of offending, but now face a much more sinister, dangerous and unpredictable enemy than first thought.

Police cannot be sure when they will strike, who will initiate the assault because of the scattering of this loosely linked network of criminals.

There is no Gang of 49 ringleader to monitor and shut down.

There is no pattern to their crimes.

There are many young Aborigines eager to join the ranks of their jailed heroes who terrorised shop keepers, bar staff, bakers and bankers with their brash, reckless onslaught which has logged more than 1000 offences over six years.

“While the Gang of 49 is a group largely consisting of indigenous males who are connected by kinship ties, it does not have an organised structure, actively recruit members or have an identifiable leadership,” Ms Swanson told the Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference, held at Monash University.

“This is complicated further by their interactions with other gangs that do fit more closely with conventional understandings.

“While there does appear to be evidence that formalised gangs do exist, the Gang of 49 has been elevated to a highly questionable gang status.

“For the Gang of 49, there is no identifiable leadership, criminal activity is sporadic and spontaneous and the `members’, while connected by kinship, live in suburbs all over the city of Adelaide.

“There is no apparent specific rationale other than opportunistic crime and while there is an engagement with criminal activity, again, it is opportunistic rather than planned and structured.”

The cells – which international terror expert Marc Sageman says appear to be similar in their establishment and operations to terrorist organisations – can be characterised by the nature of their crimes.

These cells are experts in their specialist fields of crime and are motivated by different rewards. Some have perfected the art of car theft and desire the adrenalin rush of a car chase, now going to the extreme of stalking victims with high-performance cars to steal.

Other clans want to party and strike at bottle shops for their bounty, while those groups wanting ready cash generally hit unsuspecting members of the public on the streets and in their cars.

The most established of the cells has progressed to armed robbery with larger cash loads in mind.

So, in summary, there is no “Gang of 49″ but the “Gang of 49″ is a loose confederation of degenerate young, black, Aboriginal terrorists out to terrorise suburbia and murder respectable white folk in their sleep, who we don’t know when will attack, but we know they exist and they’ll be out to get us. /sarcasm

Yeah, sure, there ain’t no racism in these parts.








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