Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Solitary Confinement Is Torture.

      The state likes to keep everybody in line, no disobeying rules, always do as you are told, it works hard at this with the early stages being our education system, and as you go through your life there is a tsunami of propaganda that washes over you on a daily basis, reinforcing conformity. In case this doesn't work there are the police and the judicial system, backed up by the prison system, and by any stretch of the imagination, on entering this, we have left the realms of humanity.
      Within the inhumane system of locking people up in cages, there are degrees of repression that can take you deeper into the morass of dehumanising, in an attempt to turn the individual into a submissive clone of a human. Solitary confinement breaks every aspect of humanity, we are social creatures, to take somebody and lock them away from any human contact, any form of mental stimulation, for days, weeks and months, is nothing short of torture, to break the individual. There is nothing reforming, or rehabilitating about the prison system, it is a tool of state repression to protect its apparatus and power.
      There has been a long running series of hunger strikes at the Menard Correction Center Illinois, against the excessive use of solitary confinement, like all prisoners, they need our support and solidarity.
An appeal from Anti-State STL: 
       On September 23rd, prisoners in the administrative detention unit at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois declared a hunger strike in response to the administration’s continued unwillingness to respond to their demands for relief from their conditions of long-term solitary confinement. See below for their list of demands and description of their conditions. This strike is a continuation of a series of hunger strikes by the prisoners there, which began in January 2014.
Read the full article HERE:
Our core demands are:

· We demand an end to long term solitary confinement.

    We demand minimum due process at Administrative Detention Review Hearings by providing inmates with written reasons, including new information relied upon, for Committee’s decision for our continued placement in A.D. and be allowed to grieve all adverse decisions. As it stands, the basis of the Committee’s votes are kept secret.
      We demand more access to outside recreation for the sake of our physical and mental health. As it stands, we are confined indefinitely to these cages for 6 days out of the week, with the exception of one 5-hour day. This is unbearable.
      We demand that meaningful educational programs be implemented to encourage our mental stability, rehabilitation, and social development for the sake of ourselves and our communities that we will one day return to.
     We demand access to more visiting privileges. For most of our families traveling to Menard is like traveling to another state. Considering the distance, 2-hour visits behind plexiglass is insufficient. We should be allowed 5 or 6 hours. Moreover, our family members, including inmates, should be provided the human dignity and decency to purchase food items and refreshments from vending machines after traveling such great distances. This would benefit one’s social development, as well as benefit prison staff environment.
        We ask the public’s help by calling the warden, the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Governor on September 23, 2015, and so forth, to check on our welfare.

Warden Kimberly Butler, 618-826-5071
Menard Correctional Center
711 Kaskaskia Street
Menard, IL 62259

Director John Baldwin, 217-558-2200
Illinois Department of Corrections
1301 Concordia Court
P. O. Box 19277
Springfield, IL 52794-9277

Governor Bruce Rauner, 217-782-0244
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706

       We will stay on [hunger strike] as long as possible in order to hopefully bring some change to our conditions. We thank you for any kind of support you can give us.
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Only The People Will Help The People.

       Groups of ordinary people are organising to take necessary supplies to Calais to help those fleeing the bloodshed in the Middle East. In Exarchia in Athens, anarchist have taken over an empty building and are turning it into a temporary residence for refugees. It seems that the only people making an effort to help the people fleeing the Western imperialist created cauldron in the Middle East, are the ordinary people. Governments across Europe prefer to sit in marble halls and talk, each accusing the other of not doing enough, or doing it all wrong, while those in need continue to suffer.
       States are very efficient at organising for war, but fail miserably when it comes to peace and solidarity. The final answer to the problems of the ordinary people will only come when, they themselves take control and shape society for the benefit of all. Solidarity, mutual aid, co-operation, seeing to the needs of all our people, can only be done by the people, freed from the profit motive.
       A huge banner reading "Refugees Welcome Home" is draped across the front of a derelict building in Exarchia, Athens – a district that's generally regarded as the spiritual home to the city's anarchist movement. On Tuesday morning, members of the Anti-authoritarian Movement Athens (AK) occupied a former university dining hall, with the aim of transforming it into a temporary residence for refugees. They want to fix up the space and make it fit to accommodate refugee and migrant families arriving in Athens.
        Crossing a rubble-strewn courtyard, I entered the building to find members of AK making plans for an open meeting later that day. They offered to show me around and explained that before any refugees can be housed, they'll need to work together to clean, disinfect and make the place habitable. The truth is that it'll take a hell of a lot of time and effort because at the moment it's just a building site. The three floors are vast and empty. The ground level consists of a sort of living room, plus what's left of the old kitchen and bathrooms. The first and second floor will accommodate the families, while there are also plans to turn the basement into a storage area. Once complete, it's estimated that the building will accommodate up to 200 people.
Read the full article HERE:
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Syrian Kurdistan.

        Donnacha DeLong, Circled A Radio, returns this week with a show about what's happening in Syrian Kurdistan, with an activist who has seen first hand the new society Kurds are trying to build in the midst of conflict. Features Tottenham's own Zaher Baher talking about what's going on in Rojava in Syria and why they need our solidarity. 

From Libcom By Zaher Baher, from Haringey Solidarity Group and Kurdistan Anarchists Forum

Also a talk on the subject from last year's Anarchist Bookfair.
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Monday, 28 September 2015

Elegy Written In A Country Graveyard.

        A few verses from, Elegy Written in a Country Graveyard, by Thomas Gray, a poem that moved me as a child at school, and still one of my favourites.

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
         Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
         The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
         And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
         The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
         If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
         The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
         Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
         Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
         Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
         Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
         Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
         And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
         The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
         And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
         The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
         Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
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An Appeal For Solidarity And Help.


       Hi there: Several different groups from Glasgow are planning to take things to Calais in the week starting Monday 12th October so we are having one last push to collect donations to take.
      WE NO LONGER NEED ANY MORE CLOTHES - thank you to everyone who has donated clothes but we have been overwhelmed and have more than enough. The clothes are being sorted and some will be donated to charities in Glasgow, others will be sold on to raise funds to help pay for taking things to Calais. A lot of the clothes are going to be sent by container to refugee camps in the Lebanon and elsewhere.


- saws,
- hammers,
- screwdrivers,
- crow-bars,
- boltcutters,
- spades
- pickaxes,
- work gloves
- nails and screws,
- wood burners
- camping gas cookers
- cooking pots [not crockery or cutlery please]
- water containers,
- candles,
- tents,
- tarpaulins
- plastic sheeting
- sleeping bags
- blankets.
- Push bikes

       Donations can be dropped off at the St Pauls Building opposite Strathclyde Student Union, 90 John Street G1 1JH MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS & FRIDAYS from 4pm - 7pm.

       We're also looking to raise money to cover the cost of an extra van from Glasgow. If you can help support us please make a donation to the Calais Solidarity Mission…/solidarity-mission-to-calais-ca…

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

A cool day, on a cool bike.

How can you not be captivated by the Loch?
       Looking at September, I think some how, some where, somebody, has got our season mixed up. March to August is our cold wet and windy Autumn, followed some how by our September summer, then we can expect our October to March to be our lousy cold, windy, winter. Spring is some kind of illusion.
        In saying that, today I had another nice day up the Loch, you know the one. When I left the north end of Glasgow, it was warm with lots of sunny intervals and little cloud. The loch side was cool, and rather cloudy, not the sun caressing my ageing body with warmth, that I had hoped for, never the less, a great day.
 The plate of soup is just round the next bend.
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America, A World Of Wealth And Squalor.

      America, land of the free, the pinnacle of capitalist development, probably the richest country in the world. So we should look to it to see the wonderful benefits of the capitalist system. In capitalist terms, America is successful. In the last six years America's wealth has grown by approximately 60%, during roughly the same time America's homeless children has grown by the same amount, 60%. In that American success story of capitalism, 16 million, 22% of families, live below the federal poverty level. 45% of families live in the low income level, and 16 million kids qualify for food stamps.
       Child poverty is field in which the great American capitalist dream leads the world. 
And from the Washington Post:
America is a 'Leader' in Child Poverty
       The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, "[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States."  Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty. With 32.2 percent of children living below this line, the U.S. ranks 36th out of the 41 wealthy countries included in the UNICEF report. By contrast, only 5.3 percent of Norwegian kids currently meet this definition of poverty.
      The sad and horrific conditions of the citizens of the wealthiest country in the world goes on, in every aspect of their lives, poverty overwhelms them in the midst of opulence.

Nevertheless, other measures of child well-being tend to confirm what the high childhood poverty rate suggests: According to a UNICEF report on 29 similarly affluent countries, American children rank 25th in safety, 27th in education, and 23rd in housing and environment, among other metrics. These results are less open to charges of political bias; the education ranking, for example, bases its findings mostly on school participation rates and international test scores.
       So this is where capitalist success leads us, low incomes, child poverty, poor education, but richer and richer countries, where that wealth is channelled into fewer and fewer hands. 

Los Angeles just realized it has a ginormous Skid Row problem and is galloping to the rescue with alleged plans to help the homeless. Bizarrely, this happened right after a devastating L.A. Weekly article detailed just how hideous things there are now. I guess the article shamed the city into doing something.
Skid Row in Los Angeles is so dangerous and disease-ridden that Union Rescue Mission workers are afraid to eat lunch at nearby restaurants and its CEO is now confined to a wheelchair due to bacterial infections he got from walking around the area. It’s at least as bad as diseased third world cities.
I lived in L.A. for years so pardon my skepticism, but I’m guessing the plan involves chasing the homeless out of the Skid Row, sterilizing and fumigating the area, then gentrifying it. Sure, housing for homeless might help some of them. However many homeless prefer living on the street and the plans don’t involve looking at roots causes, like what caused them to be homeless and, often, addicted to something. It’ll be out of sight, out of mind. The homeless will go elsewhere.
Andy Bales, the CEO now in a wheelchair, says “conditions on Skid Row are worse than they have ever been in the 11 years I’ve been here and I would venture to say that they are the worst and the most violent and the most lawless they have ever been.” He had a blister that became infected with E. coli, staph,, and strep while walking around, even though wearing a special boot. It quickly became hideously infected.
The shockingly unsanitary conditions found on Skid Row are rarely seen outside the Third World. In 2013, public health officials discovered a strain of tuberculosis believed unique to the area. And while all this makes just walking down the street dangerous, for diabetics and other people with compromised immune systems, it can be deadly.
Monochrome photos from "Making-invisible-visible"

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Corporate Fascism's Strangle Hold.

         Every day it becomes ever more clear that the world is not controlled by governments, but by corporations. More and more the big corporations and the financial Mafia, shape the structure of our societies, they dictate to governments the policies that they want, and these policies are never for the benefit of the citizens of those countries. All is to maximise profit for their shareholders, anything that gets in the way of that aim, has to be removed. This corporate fascism is not in its initial stages, they are at the point of dotting the i's and crossing the t's to finalise their total control over our lives, irrespective of what government you vote in to power. Today we have the illusion of democracy, tomorrow we will real corporatism. The shape of our world will be in the hands of CEOs in the marble halls of corporate power. If you're naive enough to believe that you can somehow stop this by voting in some messiah and a bunch of their cronies, you will be sadly disappointed. Governments are the paid managers of the corporate plan, the are there to give the corporate fascism the semblance of legitimise, and to control the civil population.
An appeal from Global Justice Now:
        Remember the secret corporate courts that allow corporations to sue governments for protecting their citizens?
         Following pressure from thousands of people like you from across Europe, the European Commission has now admitted that these courts are bad in their current form. However, the EU now wants to sign a lesser-known toxic trade agreement leaving our government open to huge law suits for things like raising the minimum wage or stopping fracking.

Take action now to stop the corporate courts.

        Today is one year since the EU and Canada finished negotiating the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). Our elected representatives in the EU parliament will vote on CETA next year. We need to remind them that as they have already rejected secret corporate courts, they will also have to reject CETA.

Tell your Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) it’s time to reject CETA now.

        CETA is TTIP's little brother. It poses major threats to our public services, local jobs, the environment, and to the safety of our food. We’re facing raft of dangerous trade deals, and as CETA is the furthest progressed, it is vital we stop this toxic deal.

Best wishes

Guy Taylor
Global Justice Now trade campaigner
Join Global Justice Now:
Become part of the movement for a more just and equal
world by joining as a member today. Join now.
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Our mailing address is:
Global Justice Now
66 Offley Road, London SW9 0LS
Phone: 020 7820 4900
We used to be the World Development Movement. Find out more.
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The Downward Spiral To Deprivation.

      In the UK the cull of the working class continues unabated. A recent statement from a food bank charity says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before. Still the Bullingdon Club Boys, sitting in The Westminster Houses of Hypocrisy and Corruption, trumpet this as a "strong" economy. Another sign of their "strong" economy, is the steep rise in homelessness. The England and Wales figures of homeless for June to July 2014 was 55,090 compared with 39,480 for the same period 2010. 
     The massive rise in food bank distribution and the stark increase in homelessness, is nothing short of a human tragedy, a crime waged against the poor and vulnerable, in this extremely wealthy country. One homeless charity says it can no longer offer a bed to all the homeless and instead is giving then bus tickets so they can sleep on the bus at night. It says ‘We tell them which routes to choose, so that they will be travelling around all night".
        Of course the UK state is not the only state that is slashing the living conditions of the people. It is a European wide strategy, we all know how far they have gone in Greece, we are aware of the viciousness of the Spanish state. The people in Finland have taken to the streets as their government moves in with the hatchet to slash at the people's living conditions. New legislation in Finland will abolish two paid holidays, introduce wage cuts, and cut overtime payments, among a raft of other "austerity" measures. Big business wants a sweatshop economy here in Europe and the governments are hell bent on delivering. The UK has already given them a pool of free labour in the shape of workfare.
        Living standards across Europe are all under attack, big business is hungry, wages have to come down, working conditions have to "liberalised", social spending has to be cut to a minimum. Slashing social services means that the government can cut taxes to big business, and those services can be provided, at a profit, by big business. 
       This is not going to change because the government and their pay masters, big business, decide that it is time to raise the living standards of the people and give them a bigger slice of the cake. We are not going to see this wealthy bunch of parasitical shareholders, become a caring compassionate group eager to share their ill-gotten plunder with the people. We are on a downward spiral to deprivation, unless we decide that we want all the fruits of our labour to come to us, and take the necessary steps to ensure that happens. We don't need CEO, banksters, parasitical shareholders, nor do me need their protector that state.
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Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Surveillance Society.

       Big business and state apparatus will always be found to be holding hands, it is a festering marriage that destroys any semblance of democracy. Big business buys governments, governments give the stamp of legitimacy to the big business's plundering of the earth. Both agree that the populace must be kept under control, otherwise their partnership of greed and corruption collapses. Whatever foul deed they get involved in should not surprise us, our only answer to this cancerous marriage is the destruction of the present economic system. Though the fight to get that desired end will take many different shapes, we should not lose sight of the fact that if we want freedom, justice, peace, sustainability, and a society that sees to the needs of all our people, then each battle should be with that destruction of the economic system in mind.
     Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce, Symantec, and a handful of other companies just betrayed billions of people and publicly aligned themselves with spy agencies like the NSA.1
        We tend to be pretty skeptical, so it’s hard for tech companies to shock us. But this latest development is significant because these companies aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they’re lobbying for MORE government spying, and asking for government handouts and protection if they play nice.
      Here are the facts: last week, this group of companies sent a letter to Congress endorsing bills like CISA—the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. It’s a dangerous bill that security experts say will erode our privacy while actually making our data less secure.2
      So why are these companies pushing for it? Because the government is offering legal immunity to companies that share private user information with dozens of government agencies.
       We need to act now because if we don’t respond swiftly and loudly, more companies will jump on the bandwagon and sell out their users privacy in exchange for government protection. If more major companies endorse CISA, it will be almost impossible to stop it in Congress.
      We have an opportunity right now, but it won’t last long. If we can create a massive public backlash and make these companies regret endorsing CISA, we can make sure that no other companies are willing to betray their users so publicly, and send a message to Congress that this is still a supremely unpopular bill, no matter what Microsoft and Apple’s lobbyists say.
    Thanks for all you do. More on this soon.
~ Evan at Fight for the Future
P.S. We’re a small group of activists who consistently take on and win huge campaigns — chip in $5 to help us make sure we have the resources we need to beat these companies.
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Can The World's People March Together

       It is hard to imagine that our political lords and masters, who are, no more than the bed fellows of the corporate world, will do anything about climate change. The corporate world's short term strategies for fast profit, is hardly a recipe for change that will address the issue of climate change. It is only by the pressure of the world's people that we can halt this insane policy of profit at the expense of our planet. Capitalism and conservation do not make happy partners, conservation is the sane road, capitalism the insane. 
This from Avaaz:
Dear friends,
     Something magical is happening... All across the world we’re coming together to hit the streets on November 29th — hours before the most important climate summit this decade! This is a day of action not to be missed — click on the map to find an event near you: 

      This is going to be mega! Last year almost 700,000 people took to their streets and created the largest mobilisation on climate change in history. This year we are going even bigger! If hundreds of thousands of us join events in cities and towns everywhere, we’ll show our leaders meeting in Paris that our movement cannot be ignored and we will accept nothing less than an ambitious climate deal, with a global commitment to 100% clean energy!

Click the link to join in and find an event near you:

Let’s seize this moment, for our future, our kids’ futures, and everything we love.
With hope,
Oli, Alice, Morgan, Iain and the rest of the Avaaz team

More Information:
No plan B if Paris climate summit ends in failure, says EU climate chief (The Guardian) 

‘Climate deception dossiers’ expose oil industry lobbying (RTCC)

Taking a call for climate change to the streets (NYTimes)

People's Climate March: the revolution starts here (article on The Guardian by Avaaz founder Ricken Patel)
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Help The Homeless, Go To Prison!!!

        Once again that part of the state apparatus known as the judicial system shows its inhumane face. A group of people decide to help the homeless, so the occupy an empty building, set up places for the homeless to sleep, organise a street kitchen to help feed, run an advice centre to help homeless people find their way through the maze of bureaucracy that can exclude them form what they are entitled to, and what does this system do? It evicts them and then imprisons those trying to help the homeless. They were obviously stopping somebody or other from making money from the homeless, so they had to be punished.
      Five Activists who had occupied Liverpool’s old Bank of England building to provide shelter and feed the city’s homeless people have been jailed for almost 3 months each.
       The Love Activists moved into the unoccupied building in the middle of April to set up a support centre for Liverpool’s homeless people, incorporating places to sleep, an advice centre and a street kitchen, from where they were evicted in the early hours of 12 May and the homeless activists arrested.
      The defendants were charged in relation to the occupation of the old bank building in Castle Street, Liverpool city centre, as part of a protest over lack of support for the homeless and government austerity.
      John Hall, 50; John Rice, 22; Chelsea Stafford, 19; James Jones, 20, and James Allanson, 20, all pleaded guilty to trespass while a possession order was in place.
        The court also heard a minimum of £91,573 was spent in policing the protest, while the operation to arrest the protesters cost around £27,000. Almost all this budget was used in paying overtime to officers so as to create a heavy oppressive police presence around the building where they used a dispersal order to clear supporters away from the building and, the activists said, were refusing to allow supplies to be taken into the building.
        The Love Activists’ occupation had growing support among residents and businesses of Liverpool. A poll on the Liverpool Echo website at that time gave a majority of those asked believing the group should stand firm against their eviction order.
Read the full article HERE:

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September Sun.

       Thank you September, you came up with the goods when summer failed. Another fine day, another pleasurable spell grinding the pedals, didn't like the wind though, never the less a great wee run. They say that October is to be fine in Scotland. Who knows, perhaps this fair weather cyclist will be cycling at Christmas. Ahh, we can still dream.

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Finnish Workers Fight Back.

      An update on the Finnish workers fight back against the vicious attack on their pay and conditions by the right-wing coalition government. This government has tried to do in one fell swoop, what the Cameron Bullingdon Boys have been doing over the last few years. However, the Finnish workers are not taking it lying down, they are organising across the country, isn't it time we followed their example.
      Last week we appealed to you to send messages to the government of Finland condemning proposed new anti-union laws. Over 7,000 of you sent messages, which were shared with the Finnish labour movement. The Finnish Food Workers, on behalf of our affiliates and the wider labour movement have conveyed their warm appreciation for this show of solidarity.
     Workers in Finland's 3 national trade union centers held strikes and demonstrations on September 18 to show their opposition to the new coalition government's proposed legislative attack on collective bargaining rights. Some 300,000 workers engaged in work stoppages, including 10,000 members of the Food Workers Union SEL who held strikes ranging from 15 minutes to 4 days, depending on the company.
    30,000 workers demonstrated in torrential rain in the capital Helsinki and unions held local demonstrations across the country.

The fight has only started.

       If you were not able to respond to our earlier appeal, please take a moment now - CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE
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