Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Voice Of Victor Jara Breaks The Silence Curfew.

      Some, people live their life and when they die they leave a mark that lives on and continues to inspire that ongoing struggle for peace and justice across all borders. One such person was Victor Jara, Chilean poet, song writer, theatre producer, brutally tortured and murder by that rat bag of sewer creatures, the Pinochet regime.

         Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈβiktoɾ ˈliðjo ˈxaɾa maɾˈtines]; 28 September 1932 – 16 September 1973)[1] was a Chilean teacher, theater director, poet, singer-songwriter and communist[2] political activist tortured and killed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. He developed Chilean theater by directing a broad array of works, ranging from locally produced plays to world classics, as well as the experimental work of playwrights such as Ann Jellicoe. He also played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric musicians who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement. This led to an uprising of new sounds in popular music during the administration of President Salvador Allende.
      Jara was arrested shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973, which overthrew Allende. He was tortured during interrogations and ultimately shot dead, and his body was thrown out on the street of a shantytown in Santiago.[3] The contrast between the themes of his songs—which focused on love, peace, and social justice—and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a "potent symbol of struggle for human rights and justice" for those killed during the Pinochet regime.[4][5] His preponderant role as an open admirer and propagandist for Che Guevara and Allende's government, under which he served as a cultural ambassador through the late 60's and until the early 70's crisis that ended in the coup against Allende, marked him for death.
      In June 2016, a Florida jury found former Chilean Army officer Pedro Barrientos liable for Jara's murder.[6][7] In July 2018, eight retired Chilean military officers were sentenced to 18 years and a day in prison for Jara's murder.[8]
       The people of Chile today are going through a struggle for real change in the face of fierce brutality from a state that supposedly stands under the flag of democracy, but like all states, shows its true character when challenged by the will of the people. However, Victor Jara's voice can still be heard in the face of this state repression and savagery, This from Loam:
       This is the chilling moment soprano Ayleen Jovita Romero defies the silence curfew, imposed under martial law by the government of Sebastián Piñera in Chile and sings the song “El derecho de vivir en paz”, (The right to live in peace) by Victor Jara.
      Such is the silence because of the martial law, that her voice echoes through the buildings, while people from their windows and balconies are “holding their breath” to the words of her song, until the moment she hits the final note and a wave of applause by dozens of people fills the night and space of a neighborhood under police siege.
      The video consists of two scenes of the moment from different angles, one of them being the point of view next to the singer's window.
        The soprano is singing a song from a guitar artist called Victor Jara, he was killed by the Pinochet dictatorship (imposed by the CIA back coup). Jara was taken prisoner along with thousands of others in the Chile Stadium, where guards tortured him, smashing his hands and fingers and then told to try playing his guitar. He was then shot over 40 times and killed. The song is called “The right to live in peace”.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Dear Green Place, Mired In Poverty.

      I was born in the slum of Garngad in Glasow in 1934, "The dear green place" and have lived in the city for most of my life. During that quite long spell I have seen a lot of changes in this city. However, one thing that persists is Glasgow's poverty. The once "Second City of the Empire" has known poverty from its inception right up to today. For a large part of my life I lived in Springburn, once known as a railway town in its own right, and for a while it held the dubious prize of having more children living in poverty than any other ward in Scotland, 52%. It has now lost that accolade and the prize now moves to Calton. One reason why the percentage has fallen in Springburn, is probably due to the inclusion of Robroyston a developing slightly more affluent area, not that the circumstances of the poor have changed dramatically.  
       Within the city as a whole the child poverty rate is approximately a 37% of all children, this is a crime against a vast section of the population, stunting health and potential. What makes this an even more devastating crime is the fact that the number of children living in poverty, in the city, is expected to rise by roughly, 50,000 over the next two years. Saying more than a third of children in Glasgow are living in poverty does not highlight the vast differences between one district and another, some districts are above that 37% figure.
      This chart from  Evening Times shows the disparity as you move from district to district in the city:

       Glasgow holds lots of prizes, some we can be very proud of, some that should have its citizens rising up in anger. Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, hosts the highest rates of poverty in Scotland, why?
        Chart from Understanding Glasgow:

    Aberdeen is the only city in Scotland that has shown a decrease in child poverty over this period. But we are told our GDP is growing, another crime against the system. Another damning statistic is that Edinburgh is the only city in Scotland where child poverty is below the national average, again Glasgow is top of the list.
      Chart from Understanding Glasgow:

     The number of millionaires in the country is growing, the number of children in poverty is growing, surely this must call into question the basic structure of our economic system. Every child in poverty is a life of stunted growth in health and a lost opportunity for a child to blossom to its full potential. These are unforgivable crimes in a very rich country where a pampered few live a life of opulence at the expense of the many. Where is your righteous anger?
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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

When Is The Time To Vent Your Righteous Anger?

        As a rule most people want to get on with their lives, see their friends and family, indulge in some sort of pastime, listen to a bit of music, whatever. What they don't want is to confront armed police, face brutal beatings, arrests and killings. However when a population comes on to the streets in vast numbers, and faces these situations, then you must accept they are very dissatisfied, angry and want something to change. 
This photo is actually from Catalunya, not Chile, but state treatment of protestors is the same.
      Even in the appearance of placidity that that goes as normal in most societies, for the ordinary people, in this capitalist society there is always struggle, and there is always a rumbling undercurrent of dissatisfaction and anger. Sometimes it doesn't take much of a spark for that anger to vent itself, in Chile it was the increase in fares on public transport. Once that anger is out, the original spark can fade into insignificance and all the other resentments and injustices come out into the open. That is what is happening in Chile today.
      If anyone wants to see who our so called democracies deals with those who show anger and discontent with the system, need look no further than what is happening in Chile right now, twenty first century representative democracy at work.
  This from Act For Freedom Now
        There is a State of emergency currently in Chile, decreed by the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera as a result of the outbreak of a revolt that exploded on Friday October 18 2019.
        This text is born from the need to communicate the situation that currently exists in this territory with comrades in various latitudes of the world. We are sharing what we consider to be some of the main points to be made known to contribute to understanding the present moment from an anarchist viewpoint.
     After a week of mass fare evasions of the underground train service, mainly by high school students during the month of October before the price increase in the transport services, multiple episodes of individual and collective disobedience spread through various parts of the city of Santiago that resulted in destruction of infrastructure and clashes with police forces inside and outside underground train stations. On Friday, October 18, the spread of these massive evasions and the level of radicality they reached was a surprise for many and unforeseen by the government which, along with its loyal journalists and social researchers, still can’t explain why these events led to a situation of widespread chaos that is still going on to this day.
       On Friday, October 18, the revolt radicalized at the moment when clashes with the police and the destruction of capitalist infrastructure took the streets of Santiago city centre. Initiated outside the government palace, actions of street violence quickly spread well into the night in various parts of the city. Faced with a situation of widespread rebellion and diffuse chaos in multiple urban sectors, the police forces were unable to contain the explosion of rage. Since that day this has infected broad sectors of a society that had seemed to be sleeping, tired by various forms of oppression and precariousness of life that originated in the continuity of the neoliberal economic system and from the police State installed in Chile during the recent civil and military dictatorship (1973-1990). These conditions of existence and domination were then strengthened by the centre left and right governments that have alternated in power since the return to democracy.
      To the disturbances that exploded in the city centre were soon added thousands of people demonstrating in the neighbourhoods, banging on empty pots as a form of protest. Outbreaks of rebellion, arson and destruction materialized concerning dozens of buses; public and commercial buildings were attacked, looted and burned, and, crucially, dozens of underground train stations were vandalized and set fire to by hordes of enraged individuals until late into the night.
       Clearly surpassed, the government did not lose much time before decreeing a State of emergency in the city of Santiago, a state of exception that includes the military in the streets and the armed forces in charge of order. However, a wild, inorganic, massive and unprecedented revolt in the post-dictatorship scenario was already underway, destroying in practice the obedience submission and fear imposed by decades of capitalist dominance in Chile.
      On Saturday, September 19, in the face of the persistence and heightening of the unrest the armed forces deploy in various points of the city. Soldiers guard the streets, commercial facilities and underground train stations in the centre of Santiago and suburbs. However, the protesters of every kind do not retreat and all repudiate the military presence with the vivid memory of the repression experienced a few decades ago during the years of the dictatorship. That same day the number of buses, cars and underground train stations burned by protesters increases. In parallel, the looting of supermarkets and huge shopping centres becomes uncontrollable and the image of hundreds of people taking back their lives by snatching goods in the centres of consumerism has been one of the most transcendent images of the days of revolt and were an important factor for the government, overwhelmed by the looting violence, imposing the curfew in the city of Santiago that same night.
      Quite unashamedly the President and the military chief in charge of the city communicate to the media that the restriction of “civil liberties” would take effect that day from 7 pm until 6 the next morning. That night, the demonstrations, riots, looting, fires and clashes with the repressive forces continued again into the small hours of the morning all over the city.
     Between Saturday and Sunday the spark of rage spread even more, igniting mass demonstrations and scenarios of wild violence in other parts of the country. This gave way to an ensuing moment of generalised chaos with multiple acts of rebellion and riots in various cities within a couple of days, leaving a good part of the urban infrastructure under siege, in ruins and ashes with barricades, vandalism and incendiary attacks on municipal dependencies, government buildings, shopping centres and official media premises.
      By that time the revolt had gone beyond any specific demands, meaning that people from diverse origins and places find themselves and others amid protests and riots opening up a huge critical fracture in the Chilean neoliberal system and its model of capitalist/ extractivist exploitation that affects the whole territory.
      From Sunday October 20, the State of Emergency and a curfew were decreed by the government against the cities in revolt, but nevertheless the riots continued to extend until late into the night, ignoring the impositions and demonstrating that the rage and violence unleashed by people against the established order had broken the fear and passivity that had reigned for decades in broad sectors of the Chilean population.
      Since the beginning of the state of emergency, State repression has heightened and has also spread openly to the various territories in revolt.
      As anarchists, we are clear that we do not hold a victimistic position, however, it is always good to share information about the tactics that dominion puts into practice as part of the confrontation with the insurgents, the rebels and the population in revolt generally.
      In the current context, the repressive arsenal of the Chilean State has materialised as:
        – More than two thousand people arrested and more than 15 people killed in addition to an unknown number of people reported missing.
      – Shooting with various types of projectiles, including tear gas bombs, rubber pellets and weapons of war against protesters leaving an increasing and not known number of people injured and killed in public roads in addition to animals and people living in the street also wounded and killed as shooting targets.
       – Beatings and physical, psychological and sexual torture in the road and inside police vehicles and police stations against people who were detained.
        – People kidnapped inside police and civilian vehicles. Images have been seen of persons being locked inside the trunks of police vehicles.
        – Shooting from behind of people in the street who are given a false chance to escape arrest.
        – False police and military authorizations to loot supermarkets that end with arrests and murders later reported as deaths from the riots.
        – Fires in large commercial premises caused by repressive forces so that companies can claim insurance. Burned corpses have appeared in some of these fires.
       – Throwing people out of moving police cars then shooting them.
       – Hanging of bodies of people killed in abandoned sites and of people alive in police barracks.
       The widespread use of social networks on the internet such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook has allowed immediate circulation of massive audiovisual evidence of the situations described above, which is being disseminated by “alternative” groups and linked to struggles, succeeding in breaking through the communication strategy deployed by the government and historically supported by the official media in the service of power.
Read the full article HERE: 

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Monday, 28 October 2019

Chile Today - Tmorrow----


        It doesn't get much, if any, coverage on our mainstream media, but what is happening in Chile is a mass popular uprising being met with fierce, brutal state repression. This is happening now, and across many other countries, how long can this festering sewer of an economic system last. Well it will last as long as the people tolerate its existence, it will collapse when the people say, "enough is enough".
      Some videos of what is happening in Chile, you don't have to know the language to understand what is going on. Videos from arrezafe.

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Sunday, 27 October 2019

It's Our World, Let's Take It And Shape It The Way We Want.

        I think it is fair to say that a very large section of the world's population is in revolt. It is difficult to find a country where the people aren't taking to the streets in protest. From Hong Kong to Haiti, from Ecuador to Chile from Iraq to Uruguay, from Sudan to Bolivia, from France to Catalunya, and others. So it is obvious that there is something rotten at the heart of the economic system that dominates the world, capitalism,
       Of course our problem is how do we the ordinary people unify these protests into  a force for real change to create an economic system that works for the benefit of all, and in so doing destroys the planet destroying system of capitalism.  No mean task, however, I believe that the ideas for the foundation of that better world, lie in most people's hearts, justice, co-operation, respect for all humans, mutual aid and a desire to see an end to poverty and wars. Sooner or later we all have to see the root cause of most of the world's problem lie in the profit motive embedded in capitalism. This inevitably leads to vast wealth differences, and therefore power differences, corruption follows when all that wealth and power lies in the hands of the few. Capitalism cannot function any other way.
     Each protest against the machinations of the state and its bed partner capitalism, should demand our solidarity and support, and a forceful attempt to link up. Capitalism is never patriotic, it knows no borders, it is pan-continental, our protests have to be likewise, pan-continental. It is our brothers and sisters that are in protest, we must join them in what ever way we can. 

This from Anarchist News:

On the Front Lines in Chile

          Since October 18, a full-scale uprising has unfolded in Chile as people of all walks of life come together to protest austerity measures, fight police repression, destroy the symbols of capitalism, and defy a military occupation reminiscent of the years of the dictatorship. The following interview and firsthand accounts explore the character of the uprising and the experiences of those on its front lines.
        This is part of a global wave of revolts unfolding in Haiti, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Hong Kong, Honduras, Catalunya, and elsewhere. The uprising in Chile was sparked in part by a social movement in Ecuador that occupied the parliament and forced the government to withdraw planned austerity measures. There are signs of the momentum spreading elsewhere in South America: clashes at the Chilean consulates in Mendoza and Buenos Aires, protests in Bolivia, unrest in Uruguay. All of these revolts are driven by the same fundamental conditions—the same disparities in wealth and power caused by capitalism and the same loss of faith in the institutions of the state.

           In a globally interlinked world, in which all governments—from the United States to Turkey, Russia, and China—are working together to coordinate the repression of all who struggle for freedom and dignity, it is essential that we understand our struggles as interlinked and interdependent. We must stand up for each other or else we will all be crushed one by one. As one comrade put it,
       “Solidarity is important. Even if you just hold a banner with some friends to post a photo expressing solidarity, even if you just hang that banner from a bridge over the highway, the tiniest gestures of solidarity can mean a lot to people who are struggling elsewhere, it can make them feel less alone. Even if you just shut down the security gate to show Turkish Airlines’ affiliates. Even if you just take over the Chilean consulate. Even if you just blockade a highway.”
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The Rent Strike, And what We Can Laern From It.

        During the first world war the landlords in Glasgow and else where, decided to increase the rents on the already struggle tenants. However, the Glasgow women were having none of it, and started to organise and resit the rent increases, so the great 1915 rent strike was born. By determination and community organising and a host of strategies they forced the government of the day to introduce the "Rent Restriction Act" freezing rents until after the war. 
      Today there is a lot we can learn from this grass-roots community action that brought victory to struggling tenants. It is also a victory worth remembering in its own right
    A group is trying to mark the anniversary of this great victory with events that can let us learn from that struggle, you can help this happen by coming along to the next organising meeting. 

      To all those interested in the 1915 rent strike and what we can learn from it regarding today's situation. The rent strike organising group are working to create events around this date and have already organised a film showing for November 11th, at CCA. There is another orgainsing meeting today at 1:30pm, in the Electron Club at the CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street. Do come along and bring your ideas and thoughts on how we can capitalise from this great working class victory.
Hope to see you there:
November, 27th.
Electron Club
350 Sauchiehall Street
     This is the details of the free film/discussion/music/poetry event we hope you will support and enjoy.  

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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Occupation, No Pay We Stay.

       One of the principles of capitalism is that the CEO makes loads of cash and bonuses, share holders get regular bonuses for doing nothing and the workers get a pittance for doing all the work in producing that wealth. When the project has been milked to death CEO and the share holders walk away to their luxury mansions and the workers get dumped on the dole. This formula has been repeated for generations and is still part and parcel of the capitalist system.
     Sometimes workers walk away and accept their enforced poverty, other times the workers take a stand and fight back.
      On ongoing case of workers taking a stand and fighting back is the Harlan County Miners. They have occupied the mine and are stopping movement of coal, their slogan, "No Pay, We Stay". It is obvious that the coal mine should belong to thse who work the mine and the local community, as should all workplaces and communities, and owned for the equal benefit of all. They deserve our solidarity in their struggle.
This report from Freedom Socialist Party: 

       On July 1, U.S. Coal giant Blackjewel suddenly declared bankruptcy and fired 1,800 workers, mostly in Kentucky. One June paycheck bounced and the final checks never came. Blackjewel owes miners millions in earned wages, health insurance, retirement savings and coverage for Black Lung disease.
       On July 30, a train carrying a load of coal worth $1.4 million was blocked by Appalachian miners and their families. No coal train has moved since. In the brave 100-year tradition of Harlan County miners, “No pay, we stay,” they declared.
      A blockade encampment is now organized with a phone line, solar shower and collective kitchen. Unions, other workers and local businesses have donated food, raised money and helped block the tracks. A group of transgender anarchists arrived and spent a month helping organize work, meals and publicity.
     It’s a “which side are you on” moment. Blockaders are fighting against unscrupulous companies using bankruptcy to steal from healthcare funds, retirement and paychecks. Support from all organized labor is needed. Individuals and unions can donate by visiting
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Friday, 25 October 2019

Speak The Truth, And You Are An Enemy Of The State.

       How far will the state go to protect its secret misdeeds and lies? As far as it needs, with no regard to humanity, human dignity, or human life.  What is definite is that no one is safe if the state thinks they might upset their secrecy and make public their double dealings.
     The cases of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are just two from a catalogue of individuals who have crossed that line and the state believes they have to be silenced. How this is done differs from state to state. Character assassination, disappearances, weird suicides, long prison sentences, torture, extra-judicial murders, and so the list go on. The case in this country of Julian Assange, is  case in point, the unbelievable savage treatment that this man has been subject to is simply state torture.
 The following is from Void Network:

Julian Assange Tortured with Psychotropic Drug

in Global movement

        Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh.
    The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:
      Interviewing is the wrong word. I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome. Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ.
        BZ is a powerful drug that produces hallucinations. “Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror,” the New Yorker reported. “…The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished.”
      Assange is being chemically lobotomized prior to being extradited to the United States to stand trial on bogus computer hacking charges that—and the corporate media won’t tell you this—passed the statute of limitations three years ago (see 18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States).
      Forget about the statute of limitations. The US government has long violated both domestic and international law. It is a rogue nation led by an ignorant clown who opened the back door and ushered in neocon psychopaths notorious for killing millions. In normal times, these criminals would be in the dock at The Hague standing trial for crimes against humanity. But we don’t live in normal times.
       The message is clear: if you expose the massive criminal enterprise at the heart of the US government, you will be renditioned, chemically tortured (a favorite of Chemical Gina, now CIA director), chewed up and spit out until you’re a babbling mental case like David Shayler (who believes he is the Second Coming of Christ). Shayler, a former MI5 agent, made the mistake of exposing the UK’s support of terror operations in Libya. Shayler spent three weeks at Belmarsh after a conviction for breaching the Official Secrets Act. He emerged from prison broken and delusional.
        I seriously doubt most Americans care about the chemical torture of Julian Assange. On social media, liberals and so-called progressives, along with their “conservative” counterparts, celebrate Assange’s arrest, confinement, and torture. Members of Congress have called for his execution, while one media talking head (teleprompter script reader) demanded the CIA send a hit team to London and assassinate Assange.
     Americans are similar to the propagandized and brainwashed citizens of Nazi Germany. Most went along with Hitler right up until the end when their cities lay in smoldering ruins and their once proud country was carved up, half of it given over to the communists. They set up the Stasi to deal with East Germans who were not following the totalitarian program.
         I personally can't validate these details, but others of well known and respected reputation, who have seen him recently state that they were shock and horrified at the deterioration of his physical and mental health. One went as far as to say the they didn't think that he would last much into next year. This is a 48 year old man who was of good health before the state got its claws into him.  
        More on Julian Assange:
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That Was A Great March!!!

         I wrote this article away back on October 24th. 2010, I still hold that same opinion, marches and rallies will never achieve any meaningful change. It way well publicise your cause, make you feel good, but don't expect the government to be too bothered by your colourful and boisterous march/rally.  

 They are laughing at you.
       I was at the mass “demonstration and rally” against the cuts, held in Edinburgh on Saturday 23rd. The figure was put at about 20,000, it was very colourful with lots of banners fluttering in the stiff breeze. As we marched down Princes Street it seemed to be a very sombre, quiet and sedate affair, we could have been following a funeral. At this point a comrade turned to me and in a cynical manner stated, “This will have them shaking in their shoes.”  When was the last time a government in this country changed its policies because of mass demonstrations and rallies? It certainly wasn’t the Iraq war, it went ahead in spite of the largest demonstrations seen in Britain and across the world for many a year. It wasn’t the poll tax, the poll tax disappeared because of civil disobedience, non-payment and grass roots organisation and the marches and rallies turned to riots. Around 11am. on Thursday 21st. 11 people occupied a large bank in Glasgow city centre and closed the bank for a couple of hours. They left before there were any arrests. Those 11 probably had a greater impact than the 20,000, though the 20,000 gave a lot of police officers some easy overtime payment.
       If you want a government to move in a particular direction then you have to have strategies other than marching from A to B waving your banners and shouting at the selective deaf. Selective targets, boycotts, work to rule, occupying and selective picketing have to be among your weapons, Surprise and unpredictability are the hallmarks of good planning, mass rallies may politicise more people and can be a gauge of the support for a particular idea but are hopeless weapons by themselves if you are trying to implement change.
           If everybody at that demonstration and rally went back to their community and workplace and organised to fight at that level, in federation with other communities and workplaces, it would have a far greater effect than organising another and bigger demonstration and rally in a few months time. The struggle for change has to be every day and everywhere.

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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Do The Peple Of Scotland Deserve This??

        The UK as a whole has the highest prison population per head of population in the whole of Western Europe. However Scotland takes pride of place as the leader in incarcerating its population with the highest per head of population. We're a wee country but we're very good at locking our people up in cages.
      Scotland has the highest prison population rate per head in Western Europe, with 150 people held in prison for every 100,000 of the population, according to a new report.
       Meanwhile, in England and Wales there were more than 140,000 admissions into prison in 2017—the highest number in western Europe, according to report Prison: the facts, which reveals that, despite the number falling in recent years, England and Wales still have over 40,000 more admissions to prison than Germany, the second-highest—which has a significantly larger national population.
     The comparative figures are taken from the latest available Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics.
       The rate of prison admissions, which accounts for the effects of differences in national populations, shows that England and Wales have a rate approximately three times that of Italy and Spain, and almost twice as high as Germany, with 238 prison admissions for every 100,000 people.
       The UK as a whole continues to be an outlier in western Europe in its use of custody, with significantly higher prison populations than other countries. Scotland’s prison population rate per head, 150 per 100,000 of the population, is closely followed by England and Wales, with 139 per 100,000. Northern Ireland by contrast imprisons 76 per 100,000.
      Scotland also has the highest proportion of probationers under supervision for “offences against persons” in all of Europe.
     While the UK and Scottish government continue to believe that we are somehow, a more criminal population than the rest of Western Europe and proceed with this ancient and barbaric practice of caging people, they refuse to consider the conditions in which they are incarcerated.  
    Europe’s anti-torture watchdog has described conditions in Scotland’s overcrowded prisons as an emergency situation, in a damning report that highlights a rise in drug-related violence, the overuse of segregation, and inmates confined to their cells for lengthy periods of time, sometimes in less than 3m2 of living space.
    Julia Kozma, who led the delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) when they visited five Scottish prisons last October, described witnessing an influx of new arrivals at HMP Grampian. She said it was “like an emergency situation” as staff searched frantically for spare mattresses.
     “We don’t see the numbers going down so the emergency is becoming more and more the norm,” she added.
     The blame for this inhumane and barbaric situation lies squarely at the feet of the state and its loaded judicial system. The state oversees a system of intolerable inequalities and continues to pass legislation that ensures that this system of exploitation and inequality persists. Though its priority is to unsure that the wealth and power of the predatory class is preserved, by caging those who dare to transgress its loaded legalities that are legislated to protect that class, they in no way provide for the humane treatment of those so accused and caged.
         The report reserves its greatest criticisms for the treatment of inmates at the Cornton Vale women’s prison, where the delegation found “women who clearly were in need of urgent care and treatment in a psychiatric facility, and [who] should not have been in a prison environment”. They included one woman who had bitten through the skin and muscle of her arm down to the bone and another who set fire to her hair in her cell. Since the delegation’s visit it is understood these women have been transferred to a medium secure psychiatric facility.
     There is no democracy or justice in a society that cages humans and then heaps humiliation, degrading and often violent conditions on them. If we want a better society then we have to treat all our people as human beings. Our present economic system does not allow for that.
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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Workers Know Your History, Hamburg, 1923.

         An email from a comrade in Germany marking October 23rd 1923, uprising in Hamburg 
1923 - 2019  
       We commemorate the Hamburg uprising 96 years ago. In the early hours of October 23, 1923, our comrades stormed Hamburg police stations and disarmed the police. The signal for the revolution was to come from Saxony, but there was no revolutionary uprising.
       In Hamburg it was believed that there was fighting everywhere. But only in   Hamburg was fighting. For 3 days the workers fought against a heavily armed superiority.
       If there had been our German October 1923, how much suffering would have been spared mankind. No fascism, no support for Franco by the Nazis, no World War II and no Auschwitz...
     In the district of Barmbeck, which Ernst Thälmann called "immortal" in his 1925 speech on the Hamburg Uprising, the fiercest battles raged. Today, when I walk through the streets of this, my district, I feel sadness and pride, but no resignation. Our struggle is just, whether here or elsewhere in the world.
Larissa Reissner wrote about the Hamburg uprising.
Red greetings from Hamburg ! Reinhardt
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And The Fox Makes Friends With The Hounds!!

       I don't often poke my nose into the "Brexit" pantomime, or should that be tragedy, as I feel I would be entering a very badly working dilapidated  shithouse. The Boris Brexiteers are all cock-a-hoop over a trade deal with America peddling the illusion that we would get a "good" deal. However what the public should be aware of is that America is raw capitalism, capitalism with the gloves off, bare-knuckle capitalism, and will eagerly gobble up anything and everything that will make a profit for the predatory moguls that control the levers of capitalism. However, this article has some interesting facts, so I thought it was worth repeating in full.
This from True Publica:

      By TruePublica Editor: In the magical illusions of the smoke and mirrors ideology behind Brexit, we should be acutely aware of what a trade deal with America means. In our article this week – The MAGA Agenda – it seems that among those on the radical right – the government, their acolytes and corporate donors – there is a widely held belief that a favourable trade deal can easily be negotiated with the United States. But this belief flies in the face of historical evidence as the US has proved on more than one occasion to be a ruthless and exploitative (so-called) partner where its own economic interests are involved. It is naive to think that America will be a cooperative and fair ally or partner in the common interest – it won’t. And being a sycophant of Trump’s America – with his MAGA agenda will prove to be the final nail in Britain’s coffin.
      The radical right – members of the ERG, such as – Michael Gove, Iain Duncan-Smith, Priti Patel and Chris Grayling to name a tiny handful are driving Britain into the arms of a country that exploits everyone except the very few. American values are not British values and we should never dismiss the scale of damage that the USA inflicted upon Britain over the decades since the last World War.
     For Boris Johnson to use inflammatory language to stoke up nationalism and adopt Churchillian euphemisms as a means to his own ends would make those who lost their lives to save this country from all sorts of evils turn in their graves. The fact is that the Americans exploited our position during the War and especially from 1945 for their own financial and economic gain. They were not just duplicitous, they were shameless about it and Britain should never trust them again – much as the Kurds in Northern Syria have just found out to their horror.
       In the background, as the political warfare of Brexit rages on in the mainstream media, various Bill’s that relate to Brexit and future trade deals are being heard. For any politician to say that the latest Brexit deal continues to protect the rights of workers, protects the environment, food and medical supplies is simply lying, blindfolded or doesn’t understand the deceitful machinations of this government.
        On the announcement of a new Trade Bill (1), Jean Blaylock, trade campaign manager at Global Justice Now, said:
     “Parliament needs to have a say on trade deals so that unaccountable government ministers aren’t able to use them to slash regulations, entrench privatisation and block climate action. This should be a simple, basic requirement in any democracy. MPs, Lords, business and civil society have all steadfastly been raising this for the past two years, and earlier this year Parliament introduced a clause in the old Trade Bill to guarantee that trade deals will be voted on. Yet Johnson’s government is so scared of having to answer to Parliament that it plans to have a new Trade Bill that conveniently leaves out all of these democratic provisions.
      “We know that Johnson’s government wants to do a trade deal with the US in a hurry. Trump’s administration has already told us what it wants in deal, and it’s very worrying – chlorine chicken, higher prices for medicines, and an end to any attempt to rein in the power of Silicon Valley big tech firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook. A deal like that demonstrates the need for Parliament to be able to review what’s on the table and have a vote.”
      The big problem with having made a career out of writing fantasies and falsities as Boris Johnson has done is that no-one believes the promises of habitual liars. And so it is with the one institution that stands heads and shoulders above all others in the UK – the NHS.
       Last month, promises made by Boris Johnson that the NHS isoff the table in negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal with the US simply cannot be relied upon. As Nick Dearden says:
      “Johnson’s promise to protect the NHS should be taken with a very large pinch of salt, because the threat to our health system will be written across a US-UK trade deal, from the new powers it gives big pharmaceutical corporations to charge higher prices for medicines, to restrictions on preventing Big Tech companies from mining the NHS database.
     This will go well beyond a US trade deal, however. Johnson’s government is talking to countries across the world who will want to use Brexit to insist on even more damaging environmental policies from the UK. Only last week Malaysia said that reducing regulations on palm oil production would be the price of a post -Brexit free trade deal.”
      The other point to remember is this – why would any country rely on America in any deal to play fair and by the rules. They don’t even in their own country. American’s don’t trust the regulatory agencies to do their work properly or professionally when most of them are drenched in corruption or bribery scandals. Take for instance the USDA’s National Organic (food) Program. Described by national media organisations as a feckless agency involving its complicity in what might be the biggest consumer scam in decades: the sale of phoney organic food. It’s a scam that’s been going on for years and years and yet the federal government looks the other way. Millions of American consumers have been — and are still being — duped, buying pricier “organic” products that are imported into the country without the correct licences or country of origin certificates, repackaged and sold on – making huge profits along the way. Food products can arrive from places like China, South America or Africa, be covered in pesticides and ridden with deadly heavy metals and sold as healthy organic produce simply by repackaging with misleading attractive labels.
      Corporations all across America consider being fined billions of dollars for fraud and corruption as the cost of doing business. People and consumers are the last consideration. And healthcare companies are some of the worst in America. As the Forbes said at the end of last year – in an article entitled ‘Shame, Scandal Plague Healthcare Providers In 2018′ – “Unfortunately, the problems (of corruption) are endemic and deeply embedded in medical culture.”
       Nowhere are these ill-effects more apparent than in cancer care. A recent report titled Unintended Consequences of Expensive Cancer Therapeutics found that the last 71 chemotherapy agents to receive FDA approval extend life by an average of only 2.1 months—time often spent in pain, isolated from friends and family – purely for the purposes of making bigger profits. It’s extortion practices even extend to the heartbreak of a family member dying before your eyes.
        In America today – two-thirds (66.5%) of all bankruptcies are caused by not having the right health insurance. Last year, 530,000 families lost everything – homes, savings, assets built for retirement – to save a family member from illness – only for everyone else in the family to be pauperised. A recent study found that only 40 per cent of Americans have enough saved to cover a $1,000 emergency expense – and medical care comes with co-pay (percentage of contribution) costs that can roll into thousands depending on the cover.
       In 2019, the average price of health insurance rose above $20,000 for families that obtain their coverage through work. They pay just over $6.000 assuming that someone in the family has a good job as they employer stumps up $14,000 per employee – per year. The Keiser Foundation report into American healthcare costs said:
        “These numbers are grotesque. Insuring a single family for a year costs almost as much as a Honda Civic. This fact should be a subject of daily outrage, and it probably would be if more workers realized just how much of their compensation is devoured by the cost of health care. After all, every dollar a company pays to Aetna or Cigna is a dollar it might otherwise be able spend on salaries and wages.”
       Boris Johnson knows this. He was born in America. From faking his ancestral history to bendy bananas, eurocoffins, and the banning of prawn cocktail crisps. Boris Johnson has been fired more than once for lying and made to apologise for outrageous allegations such as he did about the Hillsborough disaster. From his philandering and now accusations of corruption with a pole dancing ‘entrepreneur’, Boris Johnson’s honesty and integrity in any area of life mean nothing. He will be as happy selling Britain down a river without a paddle for a bit of personal glory and people will believe him.
       Was it Noel Coward who once said – “It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”
      This trade deal cannot be trusted to be in the best interests of Britain if left to the whims and fantasies of this government.
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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

We've Surely Learnt Our Lesson!!

        In 2008 the "crisis" hit the world, the choice of word "crisis" was very clever. A crisis suggests an event that everybody should run to assist in helping to alleviate, but this was not a crisis for everybody, this was a crisis for the money people from the excessive gambling of the financial Mafia. However to resolve their disastrous failure in the worlds biggest gambling casino the financial Mafia demanded that the governments of the world bail them out by plundering the public purse. We all know what followed was years of "austerity" for the ordinary people, slashing of social services, attack on wages and working conditions, a vicious attack on those receiving social benefits. The financial mafia recovered, but we the people still haven't recovered to where we were in living standards in 2008.
    The leeches that make up the financial Mafia have learnt nothing from that experience, the next "crisis" looms large on the horizon. For the first time in about ten years the US Federal Reserve is forced to lend emergency cash to banks to shore up their cracking structures. In the psyche of the financial Mafia the gambling frenzy didn't go away, it is their methodology for their get rich quick ideology. Most "financial experts" clam that the world's major banks are even more concentrated, and in the category of "too big to fail" than they were in 2008, and are more likely to fail in the inevitable coming financial crunch. After more than a decade of a very limp recovery, the global economy is looking at another "crisis". The bailouts and the easy cheap money policies, in no way went to fix the structural failures inherent in the capitalist system. The cheap money policies facilitated another boom in speculation and irresponsible lending, boosting share prices without any increase in real value and building that massive debt bubble that is now about to burst. 

       When that bubble burst, and it will, and soon, the failing banks and corporations will once again turn to the governments to heap the problem on the backs of the ordinary people. Surely this time round, unlike our capitalist gamblers, we have learnt something, and we will not tolerate an other decade or more of austerity to hit our families, so that the financial Mafia can again get back its massive gambling debts. We should by now be well aware of the game they play at our expense, and should take a more revolutionary road to protect ourselves and our families from this never ending cycle of bursting bubbles that heap poverty and misery on us, while the perpetrators regain all their plundered wealth.

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