In Defense of a Leaky World

The British, French, German, Dutch, and U.S. Governments Crack Down on WikiLeaks’ Cyber-Defenders

Monday, 31 January 2011

IN A SERIES OF COORDINATED ATTACKS the British, French, and United States Governments handed down dozens of search warrants and engaged in raids at the homes of activists who allegedly engaged in Denial of Service (DoS) efforts aimed at defending WikiLeaks from multi-billion dollar corporations such as Amazon.com, MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa who are censoring it.

In Britain five citizens aged 15 to 26 were arrested. If convicted they face up to 10 years in prison and a £5,000 (~$7,950) fine. In a 27 January 2011 press release the group Anonymous called the arrests a “declaration of war” by the British government on the organisation and the people.

‘92% of Afghan Men in Helmand and Kandahar Have Never Heard of September 11 Attacks’

“…a recent report by the International Council on Security and Development found that 92 percent of Afghan men surveyed in Helmand and Kandahar provinces – two Taliban strongholds – were completely unaware of the September 11 attacks.

“In other word, the U.S. is bombing people who have no idea why they’ve been bombed for the past nine years. They don’t hate us for our “freedoms” as has been claimed over and over – the hate us because we’re killing them and their families” – “Obama and the Endless War”, December 2010 Socialist Worker editorial

Connolly: “Under a Socialist System…”

“Under a socialist system every nation will be the supreme arbiter of its own destinies, national and international; will be forced into no alliance against its will, but will have its independence guaranteed and its freedom respected by the enlightened self-interest of the socialist democracy of the world.” – James Connolly

Sands: “Our Vengeance…”

“Our vengeance will be the laughter of our children.” – Bobby Sands

Gramsci: “My practicality consists in this…”

“My practicality consists in this, in the knowledge that if you beat your head against the wall it is your head which breaks and not the wall… that is my strength, my only strength.”

Bayard: “War, we shall starve you”

“We do not stop organizing. We can’t. But as we keep organizing, we do also need to mourn. It keeps us human to mourn, to truly recognize the grievous loss of millions of people, to stand with their loved ones in remembrance and in defiance—to spit in the face of war. We say: no more lives, war, we will not feed you. All of us are needed, and war, we shall starve you.” – Clare Bayard, “Not One More, War

Sojourner Truth: “dere is a little weasel in” the Constitution

“Now I hears talkin about de Constitution and de rights of man. I comes up and I takes hold of dis Constitution. It looks mighty big, and I feels for my rights, but der aint any dare. Den I says, God, what ails dis Constitution? He says to me, ‘Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.’” – Sojourner Truth (~1797 – 1883), Narrative of Sojourner Truth.

Jesus: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor”

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mercury: “I am as gay as a daffodil, my dear”

“I am as gay as a daffodil, my dear”. – Freddie Mercury

The Terrorist Plot Against the Spokane MLK Day Parade

by Liam O’Ceallaigh

20 January 2011

ON THE HEELS of the January 8th shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona which left 6 dead and over 14 wounded, residents of Spokane, Washington celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday escaped their own terrorist attack as a MLK Day parade was diverted from a route where a suspicious backpack containing a shrapnel bomb was found.  The device was discovered by Spokane city workers “on a bench at the northeast corner of N. Washington Street and W. Main Avenue in downtown Spokane”.

F.B.I special agent Frank Harrill said that the bomb was “by all early analysis, a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties”. The agency is investigating white supremacist organizations in Washington state, though if Jared Loughner’s rampage or other recent rightwing domestic terrorist attacks are any indication, many of these “lone gunmen” have loose or sometimes no outright connections to the organized right.

Socialism Means the Democratic Planning of the Economy

“Not the crumbs! Not the little pieces around the edges! You have got to name the dream or you’ll never get it!” – Harvey Milk

Do you often get the question “what would a socialist society actually look like?”? Do you feel that socialists talk far too little about this question or don’t take it seriously? Far from being “utopian”, such discussions are vital to the process of building a revolutionary democratic socialist movement. We must have an evolving vision of what a participatory, democratic, and egalitarian socialist society would look like.

Here are four articles – one by American socialists Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, one by Brazilian-French socialist Michael Löwy – on the question of democratic planning in a socialist society, one by Nick Dyer-Witheford on guaranteed income, decommodifying communication, and decentralised/democratic planning, and one by Ernest Mandel defending the goal of socialist planning.  I highly recommend them.

Participatory Planning” by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel in Socialist Visions edited by Stephen Shalom (South End Press).

and

Ecosocialism and Democratic Planning” by Michael Löwy.

and

Alternatives” by Nick Dyer-Witheford in Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism.

and

In Defense of Socialist Planning” by Ernest Mandel

Some Quotes:

“Are we being utopian? It is utopian to expect more from a system than it can possibly deliver. To expect equality and justice —or even rationality—from capitalism is utopian. To expect social solidarity from markets, or self-management from central planning, is equally utopian. To argue that competition can yield empathy or that authoritarianism can promote initiative or that keeping most people from decision-making can employ human potential most fully: these are utopian fantasies without question. But to recognize human potentials and to seek to embody their development into a set of economic institutions and then to expect those institutions to encourage desirable outcomes is no more than reasonable theorizing. What is utopian is not planting new seeds but expecting flowers from dying weeds.” – Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, “Participatory Planning”.

“In Volume Three of Capital Marx defined socialism as a society where ‘the associated producers rationally organize their exchange (Stoffwechsel) with nature’. But in Volume One of Capital there is a broader approach: socialism is conceived as ‘an association of free human beings (Menschen) which works with common (gemeinschaftlichen) means of production’. This is a much more appropriate conception: the rational organization of production and consumption has to be the work not only of the ‘producers’, but also of the consumers; in fact, of the whole society, with its productive and ‘non-productive’ population, which includes students, youth, housewives (and house-husbands), pensioners, etc.” – Michael Löwy, “Ecosocialism and Democratic Planning”.

The Spartacist League: “The question today is not democracy or dictatorship”

“The question today is not democracy or dictatorship. The question that history has put on the agenda reads: bourgeois democracy or socialist democracy. For the dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean bombs, putsches, riots and anarchy, as the agents of capitalist profits deliberately and falsely claim. Rather, it means using all instruments of political power to achieve socialism, to expropriate the capitalist class, through and in accordance with the will of the revolutionary majority of the proletariat.” – The Spartacist Manifesto, 1918

Mowlānā, or, Rūmī: “Emptiness”

by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى, popularly known as ‘Mowlānā‘ or ‘Rūmī’ (in the English-speaking world)

Consider the difference
in our actions and God’s actions.
We often ask, “Why did you do that?”
or “Why did I act like that?”
We do act, and yet everything we do
is God’s creative action.
We look back and analyse the events
of our lives, but there is another way
of seeing, a backward-and-forward-at-once
vision, that is not rationally understandable.
Only God can understand it.

Bloch: “People who do not believe in a happy end…”

“People who do not believe at all in a happy end impede changing the world almost as much as the sweet swindlers, the marriage-swindlers, the charlatans of apotheosis. Unconditional pessimism therefore promotes the business of reaction not much less than artificially conditioned optimism; the latter is nevertheless not so stupid that it does not believe in anything at all. It does not immortalize the trudging of the little life, does not give humanity the face of a chloroformed gravestone. It does not give the world the deathly sad background in front of which it is not worth doing anything at all. In contrast to pessimism which itself belongs to rottenness and may serve it, a tested optimism, when the scales fall from its eyes, does not deny the goal-belief in general; on the contrary, what matters now is to find the right one and to prove it. For this reason there is more possible pleasure in the idea of a converted Nazi than from all the cynics and nihilists. That is why the most dogged enemy of socialism is not only, as is understandable, great capital, but equally the load of indifference and hopelessness; otherwise great capital would stand alone.” – Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope

Slaughter: “Turn the imperialist war into a civil war!”

“In the epoch of imperialist wars there must be parties steeled to resist all jingoism and patriotism, to proclaim the slogan ‘Turn the imperialist war into a civil war!’ The working class of each country had the duty of ‘revolutionary defeatism’ since the main question was one of cracking the front of imperialism.” – Cliff Slaughter, “What Is Revolutionary Leadership?” (1960)

Jesus: “If your leaders say to you…”

“If your leaders say to you, ‘look, the kingdom of heaven is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘it is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom of heaven is within you and it is in the midst of you.” – The 3rd Logion of Jesus, the Gospel of Thomas

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