Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Austerity, The Success Story.

        So austerity is working, it is doing what it was intended to do, reduce the UK to a sweatshop economy. The corporate boardrooms are rubbing its hands with greedy glee. According to a report just recently published by the TUC, between 2007 and 2015, in the UK, real wages fell by 10.4%. A massive bonus to directors and shareholders. hooray for austerity.
        This decline in real wages puts the UK at the bottom of the league of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operaration and Development) as far as I am aware there are 29 countries across the globe who are members of this organisation. The report also found that during the same period, real wages grew by varying amounts through the OECD, in Poland real wages increased by 23%, in Germany 14%, France 11%, and on average, across the whole of the OECD, real wages increased by 6.7%. 
       We here in the UK, thanks to “austerity”, have suffered the largest fall in real wages of any advanced country other than Greece. In fact in the OECD, Greece, Portugal and the UK were the only three countries where real wages fell. Yet to listen to the bullshit spewing from the mouths of government ministers, you would think that we lived in Utopia.
       Of course we would be naive if we thought that this trend was likely to change any day soon. It is all going in the right direction, the falling pound, combined with cheaper labour, means we can compete with the other sweatshops of the world, enhancing the profits of the corporate bodies. Across the boardrooms of the UK they are working hard at persuading the powers that be to keeping this wonderful austerity plan going. 
         We the British public paid dearly to help the bankers out of their greed fest, no doubt our lords and masters will be planning for us to help UK industry and services out of any Brexit problems that might arise. Oh when will we ever learn?

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Like Lions After Slumber.

         The capitalist world seems to be in perpetual change, but no matter how it changes, some things remain as constant, exploitation, injustice and inequality. However, the divisions have become clearer, the lines more clearly drawn, which side to choose has become simpler. We are witnessing a world of greed and inequality laid bare, the façade has fallen, the illusion is melting into a thin haze.
       The dreams we have held in our hearts for generations are now being seen as possible, seen as the only answer, the only way. The debating should be over, it is time to gather your friends, step outside the ”economy” create communes in the cities, in the valleys and the fields, link your communities through bonds of mutual aid. Each creaking capitalist crisis, widens our path, re-enforces our dream, opens opportunities.
        It is now obvious the we, the ordinary people, must put ourselves on a war footing and accept the we are fighting a class war we can’t afford to lose, and act accordingly. If we win, the world is ours, to fashion as we wish, to see to the needs of all our people. If we lose, we remain on our knees, in servitude to corporate capital, and will hand that legacy to our children and grandchildren.

The Mask Of Anarchy. 

'rise like lions after slumber
 In unvanquishable number, 
Shake your chains to earth like dew 
Which in sleep had fallen on you --
 Ye are many -- they are few. 

 `What is Freedom? -- ye can tell 
That which slavery is, too well -- 
For its very name has grown 
To an echo of your own.

'Tis to work and have such pay 
As just keeps life from day to day 
In your limbs, as in a cell 
For the tyrants' use to dwell, 

`So that ye for them are made 
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
 With or without your own will bent 
To their defence and nourishment.
Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Charlie Doran.

      To all you knowledgeable comrades out there who remember names from the past, I'm seeking information regarding a Charlie Doran, 1894-1974. He was involved in the anti-parliamentary groups of the 1920-30s, during WW2 he was involved with Willie MacDougal, (well know Glasgow anarchist of that era, oddly enough, born the same year as Doran), and served in the Spanish Civil War. Since I know nothing of this person, it would great if we could build some sort of picture of his life. 
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Another Death In Police Custody.

        I haven’t seen much of this on our babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media. They seem to report on “terrorist” attacks and the Tour de France, and that’s probably because there is a UK citizen leading. However the citizens of France are not sitting idly at road side cafés sipping their lattes. There are thousands still on the streets protesting, and the riot police are in full swing, doing what they do best, beating the shit out of people. 
       Fresh clashes have erupted between French police and protesters in the suburbs of Paris for a third night amid simmering anger over the death of a young man in police custody.
      On Thursday night, a group of furious protesters set fire to 15 vehicles in the town of Beaumont-sur-Oise, north of Paris, two days after Adama Traore, 24, was reported to have died following his arrest by police.
      Traore’s family and friends say he was healthy, and was “beaten to death” after being taken into custody on charges of interfering in the arrest of his brother in an extortion case.
      Authorities, however, said Traore was suffering from a serious infection at the time of his death, citing an autopsy report that they said showed little signs of violence on his body.
      Local prosecutor Yves Jannier said Traore “fainted during the ride” to a police station, adding that the paramedics summoned to attend to him were unable to revive him.
Read the full article HERE:
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Worries About Academics.

          I have always been a bit wary of academics, I feel a lot of them could put all that research and studying to better use. I'm afraid young Ben Palmer has just reinforced that feeling. It appears that universities are just there for the furtherance of corporate profits and assisting the state. Yes, I know, there is a spin-off, that benefits society, a mere by product.

        Smart riot shields that appear see-through one-way could allow police to hide their numbers during potentially violent clashes. The design – by Nottingham Trent University undergraduate Ben Palmer - may help diffuse or prevent disorders, as protestors would have little or no knowledge of who they face.
       The 21-year-old – who's studying BA Product Design - interviewed rioters and police to help shape his product. "Riot police have a difficult job to do, and can regularly face very intense situations", said Ben, who's studying at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. "So I wanted to use my degree to explore how smart technology could be used to enhance the tools they have at their disposal. "By interviewing rioters, it became very clear that police could gain a psychological advantage if their shields incorporated one-way privacy. "Not only would it allow police to mask their numbers, but rioters wouldn't know who or what they were facing."
         Ben's designs recently went on show for Nottingham Trent University's 2016 Art & Design Degree Show. The show was one of the largest collections of graduating art and design talent in the UK, with more than 1,300 works on public display.

Read the full article HERE: 
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Nature's Finite Bounty.

       The weather is not really being kind to us here in Glasgow. We get a good day then a couple of crap days, what happened to that long, hot, balmy summer? Despite the weather, I have managed out a couple of times since my wee jaunt up the Loch on Tuesday. I know there are those young Titans who go out in all weathers, but for me those days are over, needs necessitate that I pick and choose my days carefully. 
      Both trips found me in familiar territory, round the Campsie area but just one photo, as I decided to forego the obligatory plate of lentil soup, and didn't bother stopping on the second run. 
Nature's finite bounty to humanity, clean water.
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Merchat City Fringe, Glasgow.

        Anti-establishment, anti-corporate, anti-mainstream, pro-people, pro-community, pro-a-good-time, without the frills and the prices, well mark your diaries, Glasgow's High Street is the place to go, come the beginning of August. Never mind the high prices, cocktails, "trendy" Merchant City Festival, head for the fringe. 
4 – 7 August, 2016
High Street, Glasgow
        The Blue Chair & McChuills present, in association with Fail Better and STFU, The Merchant City Fringe -a gloriously noisy celebration of creativity and everything underground and awesome in Glasgow.
          The MERCHANT CITY FRINGE is a celebration of places deemed 'too far away' to be considered for the Merchant City Festival (even though we are talking a few yards away). Conspiracy theorists are claiming it's because High Street ain't hip enough and their beer is not dear enough so this year the Merchant City Fringe is BORN and piggybacking off the main festivals success with a host of events across THE BLUE CHAIR and MCCHUILLS...
       2 venues, 3 days, 1 parastic festival attaching itself to a corporate behomoth in the spirit of community and art and music and poetry and having a good craic.
       alt-folk! punk-punk! post-punk! hip-hop! spoken word! Chill-out DJs! Lip Sync battles! market stalls! Clowning! A poetry workshop for children! And loads of other tasty treats!
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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Remembering Women Peace Crusaders.

      I'm just a wee bit late for the launch of this one, but still time to give it a visit. In these sabre rattling and blood-letting days, this is well worth supporting, an exhibition at The Glasgow Women's Library.
Forward! Remembering Women Peace Crusaders: Exhibition
July 23 - August 31
Elspeth Lamb, Timepiece, 2012. Photo Alan Dimmick
This small exhibition draws on research undertaken into some of the key figures of the Women’s Peace Crusade, highlighting a sample of some of their incredible achievements. From Glasgow based activists such as Helen Crawfurd, to national and international figures such as Rosa Manus, the research, curated by Fiona Dean and developed in collaboration with staff, learners and volunteers at GWL, aims to bring the voices and lives of a selection of women of the Peace Crusades into Glasgow Women’s Library – directly into the former Gentleman’s reading room of Bridgeton Library, a space that would not have been accessible to women of that time. The exhibition includes a newly realised series of portraits by Sarah Amy Fishlock.
 Forward! Remembering Women Peace Crusaders Exhibition from 23rd July to 31st August.
The exhibition will include newly commissioned ‘portraits’ representing workshop participants with a selection of the material about the historic women they have uncovered.
Join us for the Launch Event on Saturday 23rd July when we will lead a procession in the Crusaders’ footsteps from Glasgow Green to the exhibition at GWL. The exhibition launch will be followed by a screening of GWL and RCS’s barnstorming film, MARCH. To book for the launch event please visit this website.
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A Date For Your Diary.

        You all know that on the whole, TV turns out a very, very high percentage of crap and bilge water. So this Tuesday why not spare yourself the brain damage and take yourself over to Castlemilk  for some real live entertainment created by real people just like you and me. Words, music and poetry with a punch. 
          Castlemilk Against Austerity is having another night of music and poetry, this is shaping up to be a great night with a purpose, as the read-out says, For the People, by the People.
           Come along to this free event its amazing the amount of poets, story tellers, and musicians who are amongst us and it serves to remind us that we have the talent and skills to break away from the TV dominated world that makes us passive recipients instead of creators. Come and get involved even if its just to listen we have loads of talent showing the way in the shape of 'fullertone' Christina Quarrel, Michelle Fisher, Darren Loki Mcgarvey, Johnny Cypher and Liam McCormick just for starters it really is by the people for the people.
Tuesday, 26th. July, 19:30
Castlemilk Youth Complex,
39 Ardencraig Road,
Glasgow, G45 0EQ. 
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One World, One People.

         In spite of, or perhaps because of, the dreadful economic conditions in Greece, and despite the vast numbers of migrants in that country, people are still gathering in numbers and open demonstrations of support for migrants. With unemployment running at approximately 25%, among the young it is at around 50%, this is the usual fertile ground for the anti-migrant brigade, so it is encouraging to see a strong open defence of migrants.

        This is aimed at locals, migrants and even more to those who mobilize in solidarity on the issue of immigration. We consider that the attenuation of the political movement, the local and international socio-political upheavals, and the particularities of the summer season make us a target for the state and fascists. We must act today with our strength and unity in solidarity with the collective subject of the broad refugee-migrant solidarity movement. Transcending our individual differences, we are calling for a march that passes by the housing and solidarity projects which operate on the basis of self-organization. At the end of the march we will convene an open assembly for establishing dynamic structures of unified self-defense in street, mainly for the migrant housing projects, but with broader anti-repression, antifascist content.
6.00 ΜΜ, PEDION AREOS – Athens
Assembly for self-defence structure: National Technical University of Athens (Gine Building)
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Workers, Know Your History. San Francisco 1916.

      Across the centuries states have knowingly been the perpetrators of miscarriages of justice, some come to light, others never see the light of day, they just become statistics in some judiciary report. What is today considered by some, to be a modern phenomenon, "acts of terrorism" have often been grasp by the state as an opportunity to strengthen its grip on society, and to rid itself of those it considers a problem. 100 years ago, what was San Francisco's worst act of "terrorism" was one such event that brought about one of America's worst "miscarriage of justice" 
     A brutal bomb attack on a crowded street on a day of war triumphalism, saw two innocent men spend years in prison, one under the sentence of death. The usual ingredients were there, corrupt officials, compliant lacks serving those officials, lying witnesses and a bitter anti trade union and anti socialist/anarchist bias. That was 100 years ago, how many such cases of this type of "miscarriage of justice" can you recall, and how much do you think things have changed?

         As members of the Grand Army of the Republic assembled at the Ferry Building, awaiting the start of San Francisco's lavish Preparedness Day parade, one elderly veteran fainted. Just as an ambulance reached the fallen man, a explosion shook Market Street.
        When the dust settled, a bloody scene painted the street. The sidewalks ran red and "all around the bodies of men and women, almost stripped of their clothes, lay in horrible grotesque heaps," wrote the Chronicle. Windows blocks away were shattered. Ten were dead, including one child, and another 40 injured.
        It remains the only terrorist attack in San Francisco history.-------
And so the sham of justice moves into action:

       Despite the shocking blast, the parade went on as scheduled. Bodies were still on the street when the parade continued on over the broken, bloody ground. Among the rubble, police found the bomb on Steuart and Market: a suitcase packed with bullets and shrapnel and set off with a timed explosion. Without a scrap of evidence, they knew who to blame.
         "A man who would commit so dastardly and cowardly an outrage must be a man with anarchistic principles," San Francisco police chief D.A. White said.
          When district attorney Charles Flickert arrived at the scene, he told reporters, "You know, men, I already think I know who did this."
        Five days later, police arrested William K. Billings, 22, and Thomas J. Mooney, 33, without warrants. Billings, a shoe cutter from New York, was already well-known to police. He'd been arrested for the assault of the foreman at a shoe company in 1913 and had recently been found carrying explosives on a street car in Sacramento. But he was just the lackey, prosecutors argued. Mooney was the true mastermind.
         Mooney had been on the police radar for years despite having no criminal record. He was one of the city's foremost radical leaders, a well-known socialist in the labor community. With the country roiling in anti-socialist sentiment, it's perhaps no surprise Billings and Mooney were singled out.
        And the willing public had no qualms playing along, despite a complete lack of evidence.-------
Read the full article HERE: 
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The First Black Flag.

        The Black Flag has been associated with anarchism from around the 1880's, though it was also flown in the 1840s during hunger riots, as a symbol of the desperation of the starving urban poor.
        However I have no doubt the thoughts and ideas behind the Black Flag stretch well back into the annuls of time. Long before the word anarchism was in use, long before it was nailed to a pole, its ideas were in the minds of individuals. Deep in every heart there has always been the desire to be in charge of your own life, to be free, to question injustice, to challenge a wrong, to work in co-operation on equal terms.
      Victor Hugo tries to capture that spirit of the first "Black Flag" in his poem of that name. Though I think the poems stands on its own without the reference to Job.
The First Black Flag.

JOB. Hast thou ne'er heard men say
That, in the Black Wood, 'twixt Cologne and Spire,
Upon a rock flanked by the towering mountains,
A castle stands, renowned among all castles?
And in this fort, on piles of lava built,
A burgrave dwells, among all burgraves famed?
Hast heard of this wild man who laughs at laws--
Charged with a thousand crimes--for warlike deeds
Renowned--and placed under the Empire's ban
By the Diet of Frankfort; by the Council
Of Pisa banished from the Holy Church;
Reprobate, isolated, cursed--yet still
Unconquered 'mid his mountains and in will;
The bitter foe of the Count Palatine
And Treves' proud archbishop; who has spurned
For sixty years the ladder which the Empire
Upreared to scale his walls? Hast heard that he
Shelters the brave--the flaunting rich man strips--
Of master makes a slave? That here, above
All dukes, aye, kings, eke emperors--in the eyes
Of Germany to their fierce strife a prey,
He rears upon his tower, in stern defiance,
A signal of appeal to the crushed people,
A banner vast, of Sorrow's sable hue,
Snapped by the tempest in its whirlwind wrath,
So that kings quiver as the jades at whips?
Hast heard, he touches now his hundredth year--
And that, defying fate, in face of heaven,
On his invincible peak, no force of war
Uprooting other holds--nor powerful Caesar--
Nor Rome--nor age, that bows the pride of man--
Nor aught on earth--hath vanquished, or subdued,
Or bent this ancient Titan of the Rhine,
The excommunicated Job?

Victor Hugo.
         "Why is our flag black? Black is a shade of negation. The black flag is the negation of all flags. It is a negation of nationhood which puts the human race against itself and denies the unity of all humankind. Black is a mood of anger and outrage at all the hideous crimes against humanity perpetrated in the name of allegiance to one state or another. It is anger and outrage at the insult to human intelligence implied in the pretences, hypocrisies, and cheap chicaneries of governments . . . Black is also a colour of mourning; the black flag which cancels out the nation also mourns its victims the countless millions murdered in wars, external and internal, to the greater glory and stability of some bloody state. It mourns for those whose labour is robbed (taxed) to pay for the slaughter and oppression of other human beings. It mourns not only the death of the body but the crippling of the spirit under authoritarian and hierarchic systems; it mourns the millions of brain cells blacked out with never a chance to light up the world. It is a colour of inconsolable grief.
         "But black is also beautiful. It is a colour of determination, of resolve, of strength, a colour by which all others are clarified and defined. Black is the mysterious surrounding of germination, of fertility, the breeding ground of new life which always evolves, renews, refreshes, and reproduces itself in darkness. The seed hidden in the earth, the strange journey of the sperm, the secret growth of the embryo in the womb all these the blackness surrounds and protects.
         "So black is negation, is anger, is outrage, is mourning, is beauty, is hope, is the fostering and sheltering of new forms of human life and relationship on and with this earth. The black flag means all these things. We are proud to carry it, sorry we have to, and look forward to the day when such a symbol will no longer be necessary." ["Why the Black Flag?", Howard Ehrlich (ed.), Reinventing Anarchy, Again, pp. 31-2]
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Wonders Of Smooth Tarmac.

        What a glorious day, imagine a summer like that, in this country. I suppose some people will say that is what we get, sadly it is just a one day summer. I decided that it has been a while since I went up the Loch, (Loch Lomond), so that was where I ended up. It was a beautiful run, the usual chaotic traffic, but after all these years, you get used to it. One surprise, last time up that way, some of that road was in a dreadful state, especially the part where you approach the Inverbeg Hotel. It is a cyclist's nightmare, dreadful potholes, cracked surface, broken tarmac and loose gravel. However, the powers that be have seen fit to re-surface a large section of the road on that stretch. Gone are the nightmares and the swearing, it was pure dead brilliant, smooth black tarmac, and the quiet whir of the wheels, gliding along in magnificent sunshine, with the Loch on one side, the hills beyond, and trees and shrubbery on the other side. A wondrous vista of natural beauty.
The entrance to Tarbet Hotel Loch Lomond.
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Monday, 18 July 2016


          There has been a lot written about the volunteers that went to fight fascism in Spain, 1936/39, but I personally haven't read anything about the Chinese contingent, that may be due to my ignorance. So it was interesting to come across this article giving some details of this, small, but dedicated group of volunteers from a country, on the other side of the world, that was facing its own problems from imperialist Japan.

         In the autumn of 1937, Zhang Ruishu was enjoying a rare break from his 14-hour days on the frontline. One of very few, if not the only, Chinese in Madrid, he hadn’t asked for time off – there was so much to do – but his commander had insisted he take a break. The Spanish capital was decorated with defiant if raggedy banners reading No pasarán (“They shall not pass”) and Madrid será la tumba del fascismo (“Madrid will be the tomb of fascism”). Zhang had seen many such signs before. At a newsstand, however, a large promotional poster for Spanish news magazine Estampa caught his eye.
        The intriguing poster featured a man’s face in profile. It wasn’t a handsome face, but ruddy and weathered, with tightly cropped hair, hollow cheeks and a muddle of crooked teeth in a mouth set slightly agape – the face of a no-nonsense man who had known hardship. Suddenly, a crowd was gathering around Zhang; eyes were widening and fingers pointing. “That’s him!” they cried, lunging forward to shake the stranger’s hand.
Read the full article HERE:

         Xie Weijin (left) and Zhang Ji (right) with a fellow Chinese in Spain, in 1938. Photo: courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.
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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Anti-Trident Protests.

         For others who didn't know about the July 16th. Protest against Trident, it was happening across this country, mainly in the Glasgow and Clyde area, where these weapons are situated. These are not defensive weapons, all we have to do is remember Hiroshima, one bomb, and a city with its inhabitants incinerated, civilians, men, women and children.

Published on July 16, 2016
        As the 'British' Parliament prepare to 'debate' the renewal of the trident missile weapons system based at the Gareloch in west of Scotland, concerned citizens throughout the country express their dissent. This is Dumbarton, 15 minutes from the base which houses these weapons of mass destruction. The 'debate' takes place on Monday 18 July and although all but one of Scotland's MPs will vote against it, there is no doubt that the Tory Government and its Red Tory cohorts in the so-called Labour Party will vote to impose this horror on Scotland and its people. Shameful affront to democracy.
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Planting Seeds.

       Saturday July 16th. saw demonstrations across the country against the abomination that is the Trident nuclear weapon system. Glasgow held its protest against these weapons of mass destruction at the Donald Dewar statue, at the top of Buchanan Street. The usual colourful array of banners, posters and leaflets were on display, Greens, Unions, anti-detention, refugees welcome, anti-austerity, Communist Party and various socialist groups. Alas I didn't see any anarchist presence, I did chat to two anarchist in the crowd, but no leaflets, no papers, no literature of any sort.
       I always feel these events are ideal places to put out our ideas, these are people who have a gripe with the system, people who are prepared to stand up and protests against what they see as a wrong. If we don't put our ideas on their table, then when they are looking for answers, they wont pick up ours. At these events it is not just the committed that you can make contact with, but the general public, the passers-by, the curious, it is a most fertile ground to plant your seeds. We should be there, putting our ideas out there with the myriad of material that surfaces at these events. We have to meet other's ideas with our ideas when ever and where ever they surface. After all it is the ordinary people that we have to reach, those on the street. 


When the hordes run with their flaming torches,
When they light the torch of freedom
Burning all injustices
Scorching all hypocrisies
Making a bonfire of poverty
Throwing dogma, patriotism and religion on the flames,
I’ll be there, among them with my box of matches.

Some photos from Saturday.
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