August 29, 2004

Police riot

Twenty-six years ago today, police beat hundreds of protesters, bystanders, and the press to disrupt the Democratic Party convention in Chicago.

August 28, 2004

Anarchism and Violence

"The Jurassic, the Spanish, and the Italian federation and sections of the International Working Men's association, as also the French, the German and the American Anarchist groups, were for the next years the chief centres of Anarchist thought and propaganda. They refrained from any participation in parliamentary politics and always kept in close contact with the labour organizations. However, in the second half of the 1880s and the early 1890s, when the influence of the Anarchists began to be felt in strikes, in May-day demonstrations, where they promoted the idea of a general strike for an eight-hour day, and in the antimilitarist propaganda in the army, violent prosecutions were directed against them, especially in the Latin countries (including physical torture in the Barcelona castle and the United States (the execution of four Chicago Anarchists in 1887 [for being part of a protest meeting on May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square against the murder of several workers, and wounding of many more, by police responding to a strike at the McCormick Harvester factory -- the meeting (already seen to be peaceful by the mayor) was ordered dispersed by the police chief and 180 of his armed officers, when a bomb was thrown, killing 6 policemen and wounding others]). Against these prosecutions the Anarchists retaliated by acts of violence which in their turn were followed by more executions from above and new acts of revenge from below. This created in the general public the impression that violence is the substance of Anarchism, a view repudiated by its supporters, who hold that in reality violence is resorted to by all parties in proportion as their open action is obstructed by repression, and exceptional laws render them outlaws."

-- Peter Kropotkin, from "Anarchism," Encyclopedia Britannica

This ought to be considered by the authorities in New York this week as they do all they can to intimidate and prevent lawful protest during the Republican Party convention.

August 26, 2004


Peter Simple writes in the 20 August Daily Telegraph:
What is the real issue in the wind power controversy? It is not just a question of preserving beautiful landscapes. It is a choice between a country fit for human beings to live in and a country wholly devoted to material progress, where what is still coyly described as "the countryside" will be absorbed by industrial developments.

What are improved methods of generating electrical power -- always supposing that wind farms are among them, which seems doubtful -- for, apart from our comfort and convenience?

They are for the manufacture of more and more superfluous gadgets and more and more superfluous methods of communication and moronic entertainment in order that our present demented kind of life may grow indefinitely.

Bumper sticker disconnect

During a long weekend in New Paltz, New York, the following bumper stickers (among many) were seen.
"War is not the answer"

"Love is always right -- end homophobia"
The kicker is that next to the first was a sticker for John Kerry -- who says "Yes!" to war -- and next to the second was one for Kerry/Edwards -- who say "No!" to gay marriage.

August 17, 2004

More Kropotkin

"It always happens that after a political party has set before itself a purpose, and has proclaimed that nothing short of the complete attainment of that aim will satisfy it, it divides into two factions. One of them remains what it was, while the other, although it professes not to have changed a word of its previous intentions, accepts some sort of compromise, and gradually, from compromise to compromise, is driven farther from its primitive programme, and becomes a party of modest makeshift reform."

-- Peter Kropotkin, 1899, Memoirs of a Revolutionist

August 13, 2004

Technology exists to halt global warming, say scientists

Rob Socolow, co-author of an article in the 13 August Science, says:
"There are plenty of money-making prospects related to production of what would be needed to reduce carbon emissions, such as 200 million windmills ..."
Aside from that horrifying figure of 200 million windmills, there is what we could call the Industrial-Capitalist Law of Thermodynamics: The only way to make more money is to consume more energy. The eco-industrialists will indeed make money with these dark satanic mills but therefore they will not reduce carbon emissions. An essay by Stan Goff in Counterpunch examines the situation.

August 10, 2004

Save energy. Eat less meat.

'Darley touches briefly on alternative sources of energy, such as hydrogen, solar and wind, but discounts them as full-scale replacements for oil and gas because their implementation is too expensive.

'So what can be done? Darley offers some small-scale steps for ordinary people to take, including turning off appliances, insulating homes, using cloth instead of plastic grocery shopping bags, wearing sweaters instead of cranking the heat up, and eating less meat (which requires far more energy to produce than plants).'

-- Salon review (August 8) of High Noon for Natural Gas by Julian Darley
Here are some facts about the waste of resources that go to meat production.
  • Producing a calorie of beef protein requires 40 times more fuel than producing a calorie of soy protein.
  • One third of all raw materials and fuels used in the U.S. are used in the production of meat.
  • More than half of all the water used in the U.S. is used for livestock production.
  • Producing a pound of beef uses 200 times more water than producing a pound of wheat.
  • Eighty percent of the corn and 95% of the oats grown in the U.S. go to animals raised as food. Worldwide, 75% of all grain produced goes to animals.
  • Meat contains only 10% of the protein that was in the grains the animals ate. The same amount of grain used to produce a pound of beef could feed more than 30 people.