Archive | July, 2012

“Our bodies were policed”: G20 protesters illegally arrested & profiled as “Black Bloc” for clothing and appearance fight back by serving lawsuits against Toronto Police

31 Jul

“Our bodies were policed”: G20 protesters illegally arrested & profiled as “Black Bloc” for clothing and appearance fight back by serving lawsuits against Toronto Police

7 people from the Hamilton area will serve a $1.4 million claim against the Toronto Police Services Board for illegal G20 arrests.

They will hold a press conference outside of the Toronto Police Service Headquarters at 40 College Street this Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 10 a.m.

Although not expressly mentioned in the statement of claim, some of the Plaintiffs believe they were profiled for arrest because of their appearance, including “hairy legs.” This assertion received support when a police complaint about the arrest was substantiated in a written report produced by the Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). The report found that TPS Constable James Ure (#863) wrote in his arrest notes, “all parties appear to be protesters; back packs; clothing & females all have hairy legs.” Constable Ure told OIPRD investigators, “…it was something that – one indicator that I associated with protesters down at the G20 that weekend.” The OIPRD found that Constable Ure committed Discreditable Conduct after it was alleged that during the arrest he said: “fucking cunts, shave your legs, you dykes.”

The lawsuit also makes a direct connection between orders given by Chief Bill Blair and other senior TPS officers and the illegal arrests of protestors by TPS officers on the street during the G20. The claim alleges:

“Senior TPS officers were frustrated that front line officers were not able to stop the vandalism. At approximately 5 p.m. on June 26, 2010, senior TPS officers including the Chief of Police William Blair, Deputy Chief Tony Warr, Superintendent Mark Fenton, and Superintendent Hugh Ferguson met, and thereafter gave orders or authorized more assertive and aggressive police tactics. After this meeting, senior TPS commanders used inflammatory and excessive language when giving orders to subordinate officers encouraging them to “take back the streets” and referring to vandals as “terrorists”. Senior TPS command created a climate within the TPS of hostility towards peaceful protestors and reckless disregard for the rights of people to engage in activities that are protected by law, and specifically s. 2 of the Charter.” [emphasis added]

The claim further alleges the following:

The Plaintiffs were falsely arrested as they walked out of Amato Pizza at 429 Yonge Street on the Sunday of the G20. One of the Plaintiff’s asked the reason for the arrest and was told that police would “make one up”;

One of the women was sexually assaulted by a male officer during a road side search;

The Plaintiffs spent more than 24 hours at the Eastern Avenue Detention Centre and were then released without charge; and

The Plaintiffs were held unlawfully for many hours in handcuffs and were illegally strip searched.

The lawsuit was filed just prior to the 2 year limitation period at the end of June, 2012 and may be the last G20 legal action to be served against the TPS Board.

For more information and for copies of the Statement of Claim and the OIPRD Report contact lawyer Davin Charney: Phone: 1-226-747-2317; Email:

Man and Socialism in Cuba-Che Guevara

29 Jul

Che Guevara
Socialism and man in Cuba


Written: March, 1965
First Published: March 12, 1965, under the title, “From Algiers, for Marcha . The Cuban Revolution Today.&rdquo
Source: The Che Reader, Ocean Press, © 2005.
Translated: See also: Alternate Translation
Transcription/Markup: Ocean Press/Brian Baggins
Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at and via its website at

This article was written in the form of a letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha, a weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay. Guevara wrote it while on a three-month overseas trip, during which he addressed the United Nations General Assembly and then visited a number of countries in Africa. Subheads have been added.


Dear compañero ,[29]

Though belatedly, I am completing these notes in the course of my trip through Africa,[30] hoping in this way to keep my promise. I would like to do so by dealing with the theme set forth in the title above. I think it may be of interest to Uruguayan readers.

A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokespeople, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the abolition of the individual for the sake of the state. I will not try to refute this argument solely on theoretical grounds but rather to establish the facts as they exist in Cuba and then add comments of a general nature. Let me begin by broadly sketching the history of our revolutionary struggle before and after the taking of power.

As is well known, the exact date of the beginning of the revolutionary struggle — which would culminate in January 1959 — was July 26, 1953. A group led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada barracks in Oriente Province on the morning of that day. The attack was a failure; the failure became a disaster; and the survivors ended up in prison, beginning the revolutionary struggle again after they were freed by an amnesty. In this process, in which there was only the germ of socialism, the individual was a fundamental factor. We put our trust in him — individual, specific, with a first and last name — and the triumph or failure of the mission entrusted to him depended on that individual’s capacity for action. Then came the stage of guerrilla struggle. It developed in two distinct environments: the people, the still sleeping mass that had to be mobilized; and its vanguard, the guerrillas, the motor force of the mobilization, the generator of revolutionary consciousness and militant enthusiasm. This vanguard was the catalyzing agent that created the subjective conditions necessary for victory.

Here again, in the framework of the proletarianization of our thinking, of this revolution that took place in our habits and our minds, the individual was the basic factor. Every one of the combatants of the Sierra Maestra who reached an upper rank in the revolutionary forces has a record of outstanding deeds to his or her credit. They attained their rank on this basis.

First heroic stage
This was the first heroic period, and in which combatants competed for the heaviest responsibilities, for the greatest dangers, with no other satisfaction than fulfilling a duty. In our work of revolutionary education we frequently return to this instructive theme. In the attitude of our fighters could be glimpsed the man and woman of the future.[31]

On other occasions in our history the act of total dedication to the revolutionary cause was repeated. During the October [1962 missile] crisis and in the days of Hurricane Flora [in October 1963] we saw exceptional deeds of valor and sacrifice performed by an entire people.[32] Finding the method to perpetuate this heroic attitude in daily life is, from the ideological standpoint, one of our fundamental tasks.

In January 1959, the revolutionary government was established with the participation of various members of the treacherous bourgeoisie. The presence of the Rebel Army was the basic element constituting the guarantee of power. Serious contradictions developed right away. In the first instance, in February 1959, these were resolved when Fidel Castro assumed leadership of the government, taking the post of prime minister. This process culminated in July of the same year with the resignation under mass pressure of President Urrutia.[33]

In the history of the Cuban Revolution there now appeared a character, well defined in its features, which would systematically reappear: the mass. This multifaceted being is not, as is claimed, the sum of elements of the same type (reduced, moreover, to that same type by the ruling system), which acts like a flock of sheep. It is true that it follows its leaders, basically Fidel Castro, without hesitation. But the degree to which he won this trust results precisely from having interpreted the full meaning of the people’s desires and aspirations, and from the sincere struggle to fulfill the promises he made.

Participation of the masses
The mass participated in the agrarian reform and in the difficult task of administering state enterprises;[34] it went through the heroic experience of the Bay of Pigs;[35] it was hardened in the battles against various groups of bandits armed by the CIA; it lived through one of the most important decisions of modern times during the October [missile] crisis; and today it continues to work for the building of socialism.

Viewed superficially, it might appear that those who speak of the subordination of the individual to the state are right. The mass carries out with matchless enthusiasm and discipline the tasks set by the government, whether in the field of the economy, culture, defense, sports, etc. The initiative generally comes from Fidel, or from the revolutionary leadership, and is explained to the people, who make it their own. In some cases the party and government take a local experience and generalize it, following the same procedure.

Nevertheless, the state sometimes makes mistakes. When one of these mistakes occurs, one notes a decline in collective enthusiasm due to the effect of a quantitative diminution in each of the elements that make up the mass. Work is paralyzed until it is reduced to an insignificant level. It is time to make a correction. That is what happened in March 1962, as a result of the sectarian policy imposed on the party by Aníbal Escalante.[36] Clearly this mechanism is not enough to ensure a succession of sensible measures. A more structured connection with the mass is needed, and we must improve it in the course of the coming years. But as far as initiatives originating in the upper strata of the government are concerned, we are currently utilizing the almost intuitive method of sounding out general reactions to the great problems we confront.

In this Fidel is a master. His own special way of fusing himself with the people can be appreciated only by seeing him in action. At the great public mass meetings one can observe something like the dialogue of two tuning forks whose vibrations interact, producing new sounds. Fidel and the mass begin to vibrate together in a dialogue of growing intensity until they reach the climax in an abrupt conclusion crowned by our cry of struggle and victory. The difficult thing to understand for someone not living through the experience of the revolution is this close dialectical unity between the individual and the mass, in which both are interrelated and, at the same time, in which the mass, as an aggregate of individuals, interacts with its leaders.

Some phenomena of this kind can be seen under capitalism, when politicians appear capable of mobilizing popular opinion. But when these are not genuine social movements — if they were, it would not be entirely correct to call them capitalist — they live only so long as the individual who inspires them, or until the harshness of capitalist society puts an end to the people’s illusions.

Invisible laws of capitalism
In capitalist society individuals are controlled by a pitiless law usually beyond their comprehension. The alienated human specimen is tied to society as a whole by an invisible umbilical cord: the law of value.[37] This law acts upon all aspects of one’s life, shaping its course and destiny. The laws of capitalism, which are blind and are invisible to ordinary people, act upon the individual without he or she being aware of it. One sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon ahead. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller[38] — whether or not it is true — about the possibilities of individual success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for a Rockefeller to emerge, and the amount of depravity entailed in the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible for the popular forces to expose this clearly. (A discussion of how the workers in the imperialist countries gradually lose the spirit of working-class internationalism due to a certain degree of complicity in the exploitation of the dependent countries, and how this at the same time weakens the combativity of the masses in the imperialist countries, would be appropriate here, but that is a theme that goes beyond the scope of these notes.)

In any case, the road to success is portrayed as beset with perils — perils that, it would seem, an individual with the proper qualities can overcome to attain the goal. The reward is seen in the distance; the way is lonely. Furthermore, it is a contest among wolves. One can win only at the cost of the failure of others.

The individual and socialism
I would now like to try to define the individual, the actor in this strange and moving drama of the building of socialism, in a dual existence as a unique being and as a member of society.

I think the place to start is to recognize the individual’s quality of incompleteness, of being an unfinished product. The vestiges of the past are brought into the present in one’s consciousness, and a continual labor is necessary to eradicate them.[39] The process is two-sided. On the one hand, society acts through direct and indirect education; on the other, the individual submits to a conscious process of self-education. The new society in formation has to compete fiercely with the past. This past makes itself felt not only in one’s consciousness — in which the residue of an education systematically oriented toward isolating the individual still weighs heavily — but also through the very character of this transition period in which commodity relations still persist. The commodity is the economic cell of capitalist society. So long as it exists its effects will make themselves felt in the organization of production and, consequently, in consciousness.

Marx outlined the transition period as resulting from the explosive transformation of the capitalist system destroyed by its own contradictions. In historical reality, however, we have seen that some countries that were weak limbs on the tree of imperialism were torn off first — a phenomenon foreseen by Lenin.

In these countries, capitalism had developed sufficiently to make its effects felt by the people in one way or another. But it was not capitalism’s internal contradictions that, having exhausted all possibilities, caused the system to explode. The struggle for liberation from a foreign oppressor; the misery caused by external events such as war, whose consequences privileged classes place on the backs of the exploited; liberation movements aimed at overthrowing neo-colonial regimes — these are the usual factors in unleashing this kind of explosion. Conscious action does the rest. A complete education for social labor has not yet taken place in these countries, and wealth is far from being within the reach of the masses through the simple process of appropriation. Underdevelopment, on the one hand, and the usual flight of capital, on the other, make a rapid transition without sacrifices impossible.[40] There remains a long way to go in constructing the economic base, and the temptation is very great to follow the beaten track of material interest as the lever with which to accelerate development.

There is the danger that the forest will not be seen for the trees. The pipe dream that socialism can be achieved with the help of the dull instruments left to us by capitalism (the commodity as the economic cell, profitability, individual material interest as a lever, etc.) can lead into a blind alley. When you wind up there after having traveled a long distance with many crossroads, it is hard to figure out just where you took the wrong turn. Meanwhile, the economic foundation that has been laid has done its work of undermining the development of consciousness. To build communism it is necessary, simultaneous with the new material foundations, to build the new man and woman.

New consciousness
That is why it is very important to choose the right instrument for mobilizing the masses. Basically, this instrument must be moral in character, without neglecting, however, a correct use of the material incentive — especially of a social character.[41]

As I have already said, in moments of great peril it is easy to muster a powerful response with moral incentives. Retaining their effectiveness, however, requires the development of a consciousness in which there is a new scale of values. Society as a whole must be converted into a gigantic school.

In rough outline this phenomenon is similar to the process by which capitalist consciousness was formed in its initial period. Capitalism uses force, but it also educates people in the system. Direct propaganda is carried out by those entrusted with explaining the inevitability of class society, either through some theory of divine origin or a mechanical theory of natural law. This lulls the masses, since they see themselves as being oppressed by an evil against which it is impossible to struggle.

Next comes hope of improvement — and in this, capitalism differed from the earlier caste systems, which offered no way out. For some people, the principle of the caste system will remain in effect: The reward for the obedient is to be transported after death to some fabulous other world where, according to the old beliefs, good people are rewarded. For other people there is this innovation: class divisions are determined by fate, but individuals can rise out of their class through work, initiative, etc. This process, and the myth of the self-made man, has to be profoundly hypocritical: it is the self-serving demonstration that a lie is the truth.

In our case, direct education acquires a much greater importance.[42] The explanation is convincing because it is true; no subterfuge is needed. It is carried on by the state’s educational apparatus as a function of general, technical and ideological education through such agencies as the Ministry of Education and the party’s informational apparatus. Education takes hold among the masses and the foreseen new attitude tends to become a habit. The masses continue to make it their own and to influence those who have not yet educated themselves. This is the indirect form of educating the masses, as powerful as the other, structured, one.

Conscious process of self-education
But the process is a conscious one. Individuals continually feel the impact of the new social power and perceive that they do not entirely measure up to its standards. Under the pressure of indirect education, they try to adjust themselves to a situation that they feel is right and that their own lack of development had prevented them from reaching previously. They educate themselves.

In this period of the building of socialism we can see the new man and woman being born. The image is not yet completely finished — it never will be, since the process goes forward hand in hand with the development of new economic forms.

Aside from those whose lack of education makes them take the solitary road toward satisfying their own personal ambitions, there are those — even within this new panorama of a unified march forward — who have a tendency to walk separately from the masses accompanying them. What is important, however, is that each day individuals are acquiring ever more consciousness of the need for their incorporation into society and, at the same time, of their importance as the motor of that society.

They no longer travel completely alone over lost roads toward distant aspirations. They follow their vanguard, consisting of the party, the advanced workers, the advanced individuals who walk in unity with the masses and in close communion with them.[43] The vanguard has its eyes fixed on the future and its reward, but this is not a vision of reward for the individual. The prize is the new society in which individuals will have different characteristics: the society of communist human beings.

The road is long and full of difficulties. At times we lose our way and must turn back. At other times we go too fast and separate ourselves from the masses. Sometimes we go too slow and feel the hot breath of those treading at our heels. In our zeal as revolutionaries we try to move ahead as fast as possible, clearing the way. But we know we must draw our nourishment from the mass and that it can advance more rapidly only if we inspire it by our example.

Despite the importance given to moral incentives, the fact that there remains a division into two main groups (excluding, of course, the minority that for one reason or another does not participate in the building of socialism) indicates the relative lack of development of social consciousness. The vanguard group is ideologically more advanced than the mass; the latter understands the new values, but not sufficiently. While among the former there has been a qualitative change that enables them to make sacrifices in their capacity as an advance guard, the latter see only part of the picture and must be subject to incentives and pressures of a certain intensity. This is the dictatorship of the proletariat operating not only on the defeated class but also on individuals of the victorious class.

All of this means that for total success a series of mechanisms, of revolutionary institutions, is needed.[44] Along with the image of the multitudes marching toward the future comes the concept of institutionalization as a harmonious set of channels, steps, restraints and well-oiled mechanisms which facilitate the advance, which facilitate the natural selection of those destined to march in the vanguard, and which bestow rewards on those who fulfill their duties and punishments on those who commit a crime against the society that is being built.

Institutionalization of the revolution
This institutionalization of the revolution has not yet been achieved. We are looking for something new that will permit a complete identification between the government and the community in its entirety, something appropriate to the special conditions of the building of socialism, while avoiding at all costs transplanting the commonplaces of bourgeois democracy — such as legislative chambers, for example — into the society in formation.

Some experiments aimed at the gradual institutionalization of the revolution have been made, but without undue haste. The greatest brake has been our fear lest any appearance of formality might separate us from the masses and from the individual, which might make us lose sight of the ultimate and most important revolutionary aspiration: to see human beings liberated from their alienation.

Despite the lack of institutions, which must be overcome gradually, the masses are now making history as a conscious collective of individuals fighting for the same cause. The individual under socialism, despite apparent standardization, is more complete. Despite the lack of a perfect mechanism for it, the opportunities for self expression and making oneself felt in the social organism are infinitely greater.

It is still necessary to deepen conscious participation, individual and collective, in all the structures of management and production, and to link this to the idea of the need for technical and ideological education, so that the individual will realize that these processes are closely interdependent and their advancement is parallel. In this way the individual will reach total consciousness as a social being, which is equivalent to the full realization as a human creature, once the chains of alienation are broken. This will be translated concretely into the reconquering of one’s true nature through liberated labor, and the expression of one’s own human condition through culture and art.

New status of work
In order to develop a new culture, work must acquire a new status.[45] Human beings-as-commodities cease to exist, and a system is installed that establishes a quota for the fulfillment of one’s social duty. The means of production belong to society, and the machine is merely the trench where duty is performed. A person begins to become free from thinking of the annoying fact that one needs to work to satisfy one’s animal needs. Individuals start to see themselves reflected in their work and to understand their full stature as human beings through the object created, through the work accomplished. Work no longer entails surrendering a part of one’s being in the form of labor power sold, which no longer belongs to the individual, but becomes an expression of oneself, a contribution to the common life in which one is reflected, the fulfillment of one’s social duty.

We are doing everything possible to give work this new status as a social duty and to link it on the one hand with the development of technology, which will create the conditions for greater freedom, and on the other hand with voluntary work based on the Marxist appreciation that one truly reaches a full human condition when no longer compelled to produce by the physical necessity to sell oneself as a commodity. Of course, there are still coercive aspects to work, even when it is voluntary. We have not transformed all the coercion that surrounds us into conditioned reflexes of a social character and, in many cases, is still produced under the pressures of one’s environment. (Fidel calls this moral compulsion.) There is still a need to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in one’s attitude toward one’s own work, freed from the direct pressure of the social environment, though linked to it by new habits. That will be communism. The change in consciousness does not take place automatically, just as change in the economy does not take place automatically. The alterations are slow and not rhythmic; there are periods of acceleration, periods that are slower, and even retrogressions.

Furthermore, we must take into account, as I pointed out before, that we are not dealing with a period of pure transition, as Marx envisaged in his Critique of the Gotha Program, but rather with a new phase unforeseen by him: an initial period of the transition to communism, or of the construction of socialism. This transition is taking place in the midst of violent class struggles, and with elements of capitalism within it that obscure a complete understanding of its essence.[46]

If we add to this the scholasticism that has held back the development of Marxist philosophy and impeded a systematic treatment of the transition period, whose political economy has not yet been developed, we must agree that we are still in diapers and that it is necessary to devote ourselves to investigating all the principal characteristics of this period before elaborating an economic and political theory of greater scope.

The resulting theory will, no doubt, put great stress on the two pillars of the construction of socialism: the education of the new man and woman and the development of technology. Much remains to be done in regard to both, but delay is least excusable in regard to the concept of technology as a basic foundation, since this is not a question of going forward blindly but of following a long stretch of road already opened up by the world’s more advanced countries. This is why Fidel pounds away with such insistence on the need for the technological and scientific training of our people and especially of its vanguard.

In the field of ideas that do not lead to activities involving production, it is easier to see the division between material and spiritual necessity. For a long time individuals have been trying to free themselves from alienation through culture and art. While a person dies every day during the eight or more hours in which he or she functions as a commodity, individuals come to life afterward in their spiritual creations. But this remedy bears the germs of the same sickness: that of a solitary being seeking harmony with the world. One defends one’s individuality, which is oppressed by the environment, and reacts to aesthetic ideas as a unique being whose aspiration is to remain immaculate. It is nothing more than an attempt to escape. The law of value is no longer simply a reflection of the relations of production; the monopoly capitalists — even while employing purely empirical methods — surround that law with a complicated scaffolding that turns it into a docile servant. The superstructure imposes a kind of art in which the artist must be educated. Rebels are subdued by the machine, and only exceptional talents may create their own work. The rest become shamefaced hirelings or are crushed.

A school of artistic experimentation is invented, which is said to be the definition of freedom; but this “experimentation” has its limits, imperceptible until there is a clash, that is, until the real problems of individual alienation arise. Meaningless anguish or vulgar amusement thus become convenient safety valves for human anxiety. The idea of using art as a weapon of protest is combated.

Those who play by the rules of the game are showered with honors — such honors as a monkey might get for performing pirouettes. The condition is that one does not try to escape from the invisible cage.

New impulse for artistic experimentation
When the revolution took power there was an exodus of those who had been completely housebroken. The rest — whether they were revolutionaries or not — saw a new road. Artistic inquiry experienced a new impulse. The paths, however, had already been more or less laid out, and the escapist concept hid itself behind the word “freedom.” This attitude was often found even among the revolutionaries themselves, a reflection in their consciousness of bourgeois idealism.

In countries that have gone through a similar process, attempts have been made to combat such tendencies with an exaggerated dogmatism. General culture became virtually taboo, and the acme of cultural aspiration was declared to be the formally exact representation of nature. This was later transformed into a mechanical representation of the social reality they wanted to show: the ideal society, almost without conflicts or contradictions, that they sought to create.

Socialism is young and has its mistakes. We revolutionaries often lack the knowledge and intellectual audacity needed to meet the task of developing the new man and woman with methods different from the conventional ones; conventional methods suffer from the influences of the society that created them. (Once again the theme of the relationship between form and content is posed.) Disorientation is widespread, and the problems of material construction absorb us. There are no artists of great authority who also have great revolutionary authority. The members of the party must take this task in hand and seek the achievement of the main goal: to educate the people.

What is sought then is simplification, something everyone can understand, something functionaries understand. True artistic experimentation ends, and the problem of general culture is reduced to assimilating the socialist present and the dead (therefore, not dangerous) past. Thus socialist realism arises upon the foundations of the art of the last century.[47] The realistic art of the 19th century, however, also has a class character, more purely capitalist perhaps than the decadent art of the 20th century that reveals the anguish of the alienated individual. In the field of culture, capitalism has given all that it had to give, and nothing remains but the stench of a corpse, today’s decadence in art.

But why try to find the only valid prescription in the frozen forms of socialist realism? We cannot counterpose “freedom” to socialist realism, because the former does not yet exist and will not exist until the complete development of the new society. We must not, from the pontifical throne of realism-at-all-costs, condemn all art forms since the first half of the 19th century, for we would then fall into the Proudhonian mistake of going back to the past, of putting a strait-jacket on the artistic expression of the people who are being born and are in the process of making themselves. What is needed is the development of an ideological-cultural mechanism that permits both free inquiry and the uprooting of the weeds that multiply so easily in the fertilized soil of state subsidies.

In our country the error of mechanical realism has not appeared, but rather its opposite. This is because the need for the creation of a new individual has not been understood, a new human being who would represent neither the ideas of the 19th century nor those of our own decadent and morbid century.

What we must create is the human being of the 21stcentury, although this is still a subjective aspiration, not yet systematized. This is precisely one of the fundamental objectives of our study and our work. To the extent that we achieve concrete success on a theoretical plane — or, vice versa, to the extent that we draw theoretical conclusions of a broad character on the basis of our concrete research — we will have made a valuable contribution to Marxism-Leninism, to the cause of humanity.

By reacting against the human being of the 19th century we have relapsed into the decadence of the 20th century. It is not a very grave error, but we must overcome it lest we leave open the door for revisionism. The great multitudes continue to develop. The new ideas are gaining a good momentum within society. The material possibilities for the integrated development of absolutely all members of society make the task much more fruitful. The present is a time of struggle; the future is ours.

New revolutionary generation
To sum up, the fault of many of our artists and intellectuals lies in their original sin: they are not true revolutionaries. We can try to graft the elm tree so that it will bear pears, but at the same time we must plant pear trees. New generations will come that will be free of original sin. The probability that great artists will appear will be greater to the degree that the field of culture and the possibilities for expression are broadened.

Our task is to prevent the current generation, torn asunder by its conflicts, from becoming perverted and from perverting new generations. We must not create either docile servants of official thought, or “scholarship students” who live at the expense of the state — practicing freedom in quotation marks. Revolutionaries will come who will sing the song of the new man and woman in the true voice of the people. This is a process that takes time. In our society the youth and the party play a big part.[48] The former is especially important because it is the malleable clay from which the new person can be built with none of the old defects. The youth are treated in accordance with our aspirations. Their education is every day more complete, and we do not neglect their incorporation into work from the outset. Our scholarship students do physical work during their vacations or along with their studies. Work is a reward in some cases, a means of education in others, but it is never a punishment. A new generation is being born. The party is a vanguard organization. It is made up of the best workers, who are proposed for membership by their fellow workers. It is a minority, but it has great authority because of the quality of its cadres. Our aspiration is for the party to become a mass party, but only when the masses have reached the level of the vanguard, that is, when they are educated for communism. Our work constantly strives toward this education. The party is the living example; its cadres must teach hard work and sacrifice. By their action, they must lead the masses to the completion of the revolutionary task, which involves years of hard struggle against the difficulties of construction, class enemies, the maladies of the past, imperialism.

Role of the individual
Now, I would like to explain the role played by the personality, by men and women as individuals leading the masses that make history. This is our experience; it is not a prescription.

Fidel gave the revolution its impulse in the first years, and also its leadership.[49] He always set its tone; but there is a good group of revolutionaries who are developing along the same road as the central leader. And there is a great mass that follows its leaders because it has faith in them. It has faith in those leaders because they have known how to interpret its aspirations.

It is not a matter of how many kilograms of meat one has to eat, or of how many times a year someone can go to the beach, or how many pretty things from abroad you might be able to buy with present-day wages. It is a matter of making the individual feel more complete, with much more inner wealth and much more responsibility.

People in our country know that the glorious period in which they happen to live is one of sacrifice; they are familiar with sacrifice. The first ones came to know it in the Sierra Maestra and wherever they fought; later, everyone in Cuba came to know it. Cuba is the vanguard of America and must make sacrifices because it occupies the post of advance guard, because it shows the masses of Latin America the road to full freedom. Within the country the leadership has to carry out its vanguard role. It must be said with all sincerity that in a real revolution, to which one gives his or her all and from which one expects no material reward, the task of the vanguard revolutionary is both magnificent and agonizing.

Love of living humanity
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice.

The leaders of the revolution have children just beginning to talk, who are not learning to say “daddy”; their wives, too, must be part of the general sacrifice of their lives in order to take the revolution to its destiny. The circle of their friends is limited strictly to the circle of comrades in the revolution. There is no life outside of it.

In these circumstances one must have a large dose of humanity, a large dose of a sense of justice and truth in order to avoid dogmatic extremes, cold scholasticism, or an isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity is transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.

The revolutionary, the ideological motor force of the revolution within the party, is consumed by this uninterrupted activity that comes to an end only with death, unless the construction of socialism is accomplished on a world scale. If one’s revolutionary zeal is blunted when the most urgent tasks have been accomplished on a local scale and one forgets about proletarian internationalism, the revolution one leads will cease to be a driving force and sink into a comfortable drowsiness that imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize to gain ground. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. This is the way we educate our people.

Danger of dogmatism
Of course there are dangers in the present situation, and not only that of dogmatism, not only that of freezing the ties with the masses midway in the great task. There is also the danger of the weaknesses we can fall into. The way is open to infection by the germs of future corruption if a person thinks that dedicating his or her entire life to the revolution means that, in return, one should not be distracted by such worries as that one’s child lacks certain things, that one’s children’s shoes are worn out, that one’s family lacks some necessity.

In our case we have maintained that our children must have, or lack, those things that the children of the ordinary citizen have or lack; our families should understand this and struggle for it to be that way. The revolution is made through human beings, but individuals must forge their revolutionary spirit day by day.

Thus we march on. At the head of the immense column — we are neither ashamed nor afraid to say it — is Fidel. After him come the best cadres of the party, and immediately behind them, so close that we feel its tremendous force, comes the people in its entirety, a solid structure of individual beings moving toward a common goal, men and women who have attained consciousness of what must be done, people who fight to escape from the realm of necessity and to enter that of freedom.

This great throng organizes itself; its organization results from its consciousness of the necessity of this organization. It is no longer a dispersed force, divisible into thousands of fragments thrown into the air like splinters from a hand grenade, trying by any means to achieve some protection from an uncertain future, in desperate struggle with their fellows.

We know that sacrifices lie ahead and that we must pay a price for the heroic fact that we are, as a nation, a vanguard. We, as leaders, know that we must pay a price for the right to say that we are at the head of a people that is at the head of America.[50] Each and every one of us readily pays his or her quota of sacrifice, conscious of being rewarded with the satisfaction of fulfilling a duty, conscious of advancing with everyone toward the new man and woman glimpsed on the horizon.

Allow me to draw some conclusions:[51]

We socialists are freer because we are more fulfilled; we are more fulfilled because we are freer.
The skeleton of our complete freedom is already formed. The flesh and the clothing are lacking; we will create them.
Our freedom and its daily sustenance are paid for in blood and sacrifice. Our sacrifice is a conscious one: an installment paid on the freedom that we are building.
The road is long and, in part, unknown. We recognize our limitations. We will make the human being of the 21stcentury — we, ourselves. We will forge ourselves in daily action, creating a new man and woman with a new technology.
Individuals play a role in mobilizing and leading the masses insofar as they embody the highest virtues and aspirations of the people and do not wander from the path.
Clearing the way is the vanguard group, the best among the good, the party.

The basic clay of our work is the youth; we place our hope in it and prepare it to take the banner from our hands. If this inarticulate letter clarifies anything, it has accomplished the objective that motivated it. Accept our ritual greeting — which is like a handshake or an “Ave Maria Puríssima”:

Patria o muerte! [Homeland or death!]


[29]. This letter was sent to Carlos Quijano, director of the Uruguayan weekly publication, Marcha . It was published on March 12, 1965, under the title, “From Algiers, for Marcha . The Cuban Revolution Today.” In the original edition the following editor’s note was added: “Che Guevara sent this letter to Marcha from Algiers. This document is of the utmost importance, especially in order to understand the aims and goals of the Cuban Revolution as seen by one of the main actors in that process. The thesis presented is intended to provoke debate and, at the same time, give a new perspective on some of the foundations of current socialist thought.” On November 5, 1965, the letter was republished and presented as “Exclusive: A Special Note from Che Guevara.” A memo explained that Marcha ‘s readers in Argentina had not been able to read the original publication, because the week that it was first published the magazine was banned in Buenos Aires. Subheadings are based on those used in the original Cuban edition. They have been added by the publisher.

[30]. When Che sent the letter to Quijano, he had been touring Africa since December 1964. During this African tour, Che held many meetings with African revolutionary leaders.

[31]. Che’s concept of the man or woman of the future, as first evident in the consciousness of the combatants in Cuba’s revolutionary war, was explored by his article, “Social Ideals of the Rebel Army” (1959). These ideas were further developed in a speech, “The Revolutionary Doctor” (1960), where he described how Cuba was creating “a new type of individual” as a result of the revolution, because “there is nothing that can educate a person… like living through a revolution.” These first ideas were deepened as part of Che’s concept of the individual as a direct and conscious actor in the process of constructing socialism. This article presents a synthesis of his ideas on this question.

[32]. These two events in the early years of the revolution seriously tested the valor of the Cuban people in the face of disaster: first, the October [Missile] Crisis of 1962, during which the U.S. actions aimed at overthrowing the Cuban Revolution brought the world to the brink of crisis; and second, Hurricane Flora, which battered the eastern region of Cuba on October 4, 1963, resulting in over a thousand deaths. Nevertheless, Che believed that if, in fact, a new society was to be created, the masses needed to apply the same kind of consciousness in everyday activities as they had heroically displayed in such special circumstances.

[33]. The revolutionary victory of January 1, 1959, meant that for the first time in their history, the Cuban people attained a genuine level of popular participation in power. At first, the government was made up of figures from traditional political parties that had in one way or another supported the revolution. As measures were adopted that affected the ruling classes, some dissent emerged that became the germ of the future counterrevolution, which was subsequently supported and funded by the U.S. Government. In this early confrontation, President Manuel Urrutia was forced to resign due to public pressure when it became clear that he was presenting obstacles to measures that would benefit the population as a whole. It was at this time, with the full backing of the Cuban people, that Fidel assumed government leadership and became Prime Minister.

[34]. The Agrarian Reform Law of May 17, 1959, after only four months of taking power, was seen as the decisive step in fulfilling the revolutionary program proposed at Moncada in 1953. Che participated in the drafting of this new law along with other comrades proposed by the revolutionary leadership.

[35]. On April 17, 1961, mercenary troops that were trained and financed by the U.S. Government, along with exile counterrevolutionary groups, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. This was part of the U.S. plan to destabilize and ultimately overthrow the revolution. In these circumstances, the Cuban masses, who felt that they were the participants in a genuine process of social transformation, showed they were ready to defend the gains of the revolution and were able to defeat any attempt to destroy it.

[36]. The manifestations of sectarianism, which emerged in Cuba in the 1960s, forced the revolutionary leadership to take measures that would impede any tendency toward separating the government from the masses. As part of that leadership, Che participated in this process and analyzed on many occasions the grave consequences of such a separation. He expressed these views, for example, in the prolog he wrote for the book, The Marxist-Leninist Party , published in 1963, where he explained: “Mistakes were made in the leadership; the party lost those essential qualities that linked them with the masses, the exercise of democratic centralism and the spirit of sacrifice… the function of the driving force of ideology is lost… [F]ortunately the old bases for this type of sectarianism have been destroyed.”

[37]. The debate over the role of the law of value within the construction of socialism formed part of Che’s outline of an economic framework and his initial ideas for the Budgetary Finance System. Due to his revolutionary humanist perspective, Che rejected any notion that included using capitalist tools or fetishes. These ideas were widely discussed in his article, “On the Concept of Value,” published in the magazine Our Industry in October 1963. Here we see the beginning of the economic debate that Che initiated in those years and which had international significance. This polemic was conducted in his typically rigorous style. Outlining the guidelines to be followed, Che wrote: “We want to make it clear that the debate we have initiated can be invaluable for our development only if we are capable of conducting it with a strictly scientific approach and with the greatest equanimity.”

[38]. Nelson Rockefeller, who became one of the wealthiest people in the United States, acquired his capital by a “stroke of luck,” so the story goes, when his family discovered oil. Rockefeller’s economic power brought him great political influence for many years — especially with regard to Latin America policy — irrespective of who was in the White House.

[39]. For Che, socialism could not exist if economics was not combined with social and political consciousness. Without an awareness of rights and duties, it would be impossible to construct a new society. This attitude would be the mechanism of socialist transition and the essential form of expressing this would be through consciousness. In this work, Che analyzed the decisive role of consciousness as opposed to the distortions produced by “real existing socialism,” based on the separation of the material base of society from its superstructure. Unfortunately, historical events proved Che right, when a moral and political crisis brought about the collapse of the socialist system. Among Che’s writings on this question are: “Collective Discussion: Decisions and Sole Responsibilities” (1961), “On the Construction of the Party” (1963), “Awarding Certificates for Communist Work” (1964) and “A New Attitude to Work” (1964).

[40]. From early on Che studied the concept of underdevelopment as he tried to define the realities of the Third World. In his article, “Cuba: Historical Exception or Vanguard in the Anticolonial Struggle?” (1961), Che asked: “What is ‘underdevelopment’? A dwarf with an enormous head and swollen chest is ‘underdeveloped,’ insofar as his fragile legs and short arms do not match the rest of his anatomy. He is the product of an abnormal and distorted development. That is what we are in reality — we, who are politely referred to as ‘underdeveloped.’ In truth, we are colonial, semicolonial or dependent countries, whose economies have been deformed by imperialism, which has peculiarly developed only those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its own complex economy.”

[41]. Che argued that the full liberation of humankind is reached when work becomes a social duty carried out with complete satisfaction and sustained by a value system that contributes to the realization of conscious action in performing tasks. This could only be achieved by systematic education, acquired by passing through various stages in which collective action is increased. Che recognized that this would be difficult and would take time. In his desire to speed up this process, however, he developed methods of mobilizing people, bringing together their collective and individual interests. Among the most significant of these instruments were moral and material incentives, while deepening consciousness as a way of developing toward socialism. See Che’s speeches: “Homage to Emulation Prize Winners” (1962) and “A New Attitude to Work” (1964).

[42]. In the process of creating the new man and woman, Che considered that education should be directly related to production and that it should be conducted on a daily basis as the only way for individuals to better themselves. This should also be undertaken in a collective spirit, so that it contributes to the development of consciousness and has a greater impact. On a practical level he developed an education system within the Ministry of Industry that guaranteed a minimum level of training for workers, so that they could meet the new scientific and technolgical challenges Cuba faced.

[43]. Che discussed the role of the vanguard at key points. First, he defined the vanguard as a necessary element in leading the struggle and within the first line of defense. After the revolution, Che saw the vanguard as providing the real impulse for the masses to participate actively in the construction of a new society; at the head of the vanguard being the party. For this reason, Che occasionally insisted that the revolution was an accelerated process wherein those who play an active role have the right to become tired but not to become tired of being the vanguard.

[44]. In the period when Che was a leader, the Cuban Revolution had not yet reached a level of institutionalization so that old power structures had been completely eliminated. Nevertheless, Che argued that such institutionalization was important as a means of formalizing the integration of the masses and the vanguard. Years later in 1976, after the First Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, this task of institutionalization was codified, as an expression of the power structures created by the revolution.

[45]. It was Che’s view that work played a crucial role in the construction of a new society. He analyzed the differences between work undertaken within a capitalist society and that which was free of alienation in a socialist society. He was aware of what was required so that workers would give their utmost and put duty and sacrifice ahead of individual gain. In a speech in 1961, Che referred to daily work as, “the most difficult, constant task that demands neither an instant violent sacrifice nor a single minute in a comrade’s life in order to defend the revolution, but demands long hours ever day…”

[46]. In order to understand the construction of socialism as a process that would eliminate the persistent roots of the previous society, Che examined the inherited relations of production. He insisted that two fundamental changes must occur as the only way to put an end to the exploitation of one human being by another and to achieve a socialist society: an increase in production and a deepening of consciousness.

[47]. An article such as Socialism and Man in Cuba could not avoid a discussion of culture, given the enormous changes that were taking place in Cuban society and power structures at the time. It was not an easy task to reflect on the concept of socialist culture in a country that was just emerging from underdevelopment and was still characterized by a neocolonial culture, imposed by a dominant class. There was a constant struggle between the values of the past and the attempt to construct an all-encompassing culture based on solidarity between people and real social justice. The struggle was made more difficult, not only by the persistence of the past culture but also by dogmatic and authoritarian tendencies of so-called “socialist realism” in socialist countries. The antidote was to defend the best and most unique aspects of Cuban culture, avoiding excesses, and by trying to construct a culture that would express the feelings of the majority without vulgarity and schemas. This is the perspective that has been maintained in the development of revolutionary culture in Cuba, and neither neoliberalism nor globalization has been able to impede the genuine process of popular culture. This is the expression of a truly socialist society.

[48]. The role of the party and revolutionary youth in the construction of a new society was broadly analyzed by Che: “On the Construction of the Party,” “The Marxist-Leninist Party,” “To be a Young Communist” and “Youth and Revolution.”

[49]. The harmony established between Fidel and Che from their first meeting in Mexico in 1955 represented a coming together of common ideals and a common approach to the liberation of Latin America and the building of a new society. Che referred to Fidel on many occasions in his writings and speeches, evaluating his qualities as a leader and statesman with sincere admiration and respect. Fidel reciprocated these feelings countless times. Their relationship should be investigated more deeply in order to gain a greater understanding of a transcendental historical era. For further reference see Che’s Episodes of a Revolutionary War , Guerrilla Warfare , “Cuba: Historical Exception or Vanguard in the Anticolonial Struggle?”, “Political Sovereignty and Economic Independence” and “The Marxist-Leninist Party.”

[50]. The study of the different stages of the Cuban Revolution — from guerrilla warfare to the achievement of revolutionary power — is systematically reflected in all Che’s writings and speeches. He always highlighted the significance of Cuba’s example for the rest of the Third World, as a symbol of freedom and showing the fruits of the initial stages of constructing socialism in an underdeveloped country. Aside from those already cited, see: “Farewell to the International Brigades for Voluntary Work” (1960) and “The Cuban Revolution’s Influence in Latin America” (1962).

[51]. Che’s conclusions here summarized some of the most important concepts permeating his works, which are beautifully synthesized in this volume. These ideas provide a complete spectrum that encompasses philosophy, ethics and politics, spanning a range of complex questions.

The torture of marian price

28 Jul
“No Dissent Will be Tolerated”

The Torture of Marian Price


Marian Price has been imprisoned in Northern Ireland for more than a year on the basis of secret evidence neither she nor her lawyers have been allowed to see. She is effectively interned without a trial, sentence, or release date.  Unless the courts intervene, she will only be released by order of a British Cabinet Minister, Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Overruling the Courts

Twice she has been arrested and brought before a non-jury Diplock Court. Twice a judge ordered her released on bail.

Each time Owen Paterson overruled the judge and ordered her back to prison. He said that he was revoking her license (parole in American terms) because he had “confidential information” against her. This “information” could only have come from MI5.

In May 2011, she was charged with “encouraging support for an illegal organization” after she held up a piece of paper from which a masked man read a statement.  Northern Ireland must be one of the very few places where holding up a piece of paper can constitute a crime.

On May 11, 2012, almost exactly a year after these charges were filed, they were dismissed because the British government hadn’t produced any evidence. But Marian Price remains in prison.

In July 2011she was charged with “providing property for the purposes of terrorism”. She was accused of giving a cell phone to someone who participated in the killing of two British soldiers. She had been questioned about this and released 18 months before being charged. Her solicitor, Peter Corrigan, told the BBC that there was no new evidence against her.

Once again she was released on bail, and, again, Owen Paterson said he was revoking her license and ordered her back to prison.

The Vanishing Pardon

But Marian Price and her legal team insist that she was never actually on license. They say that after being convicted of IRA bombings in Britain, she received a full royal pardon (the “Royal Prerogative of Mercy”) when she was freed in 1980 after she appeared to be on the brink of death from severe anorexia nervosa.

The British Government now says the pardon “cannot be located” – that it has been lost or shredded and that no copy exists.  Peter Corrigan told a public meeting in Belfast that this is the only time in the entire history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy that a pardon has gone missing. The veteran Irish human rights campaigner Mgr. Raymond Murray said that “You can draw your own conclusions.”

There is good reason to be concerned about Marian Price’s health and well being. She was unable to appear in court on May11th, even by video link. Prison doctors have said that she should either be in a hospital or home with her family.

She was held in solitary confinement for more than a year. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for a ban solitary confinement of more than 15 days.

Marian Price’s Health

Marian Price’s health was permanently damaged when she was force fed over 400 times while on hunger strike in a British prison. She described the force feeding in an interview with the Dublin magazine The Village. “Four male prison officers tie you into the chair so tightly with sheets you can’t struggle. You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed but they push a metal spring device around your jaw to prise it open. They force a wooden clamp with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then, they insert a big rubber tube down that. They hold your head back. You can’t speak or move. You’re frightened you’ll choke to death.”

Marian Price’s husband, Jerry McGlinchey, said in an interview with “Radio Free Eireann” on WBAI, the New York Pacifica station, that he is “very, very worried” about her health. He says she never recovered from the force feeding which caused tuberculosis that had to be treated as recently as 2010. The anorexia has returned and she suffers from such severe arthritis that she can’t even open her hand.

McGlinchey believes that her health will get steadily worse as long as she is in prison. He said that “My fear is that Marian will slip into a deep depression that it would take her years to come out of. I believe that is what the government intends.”

Her prison conditions have contributed to the decline in Marian Price’s health. Male prison guards shine a flashlight in her eyes throughout the night. Protestant prisoners in nearby cells sing anti-Catholic songs at the top of their lungs all night long, making it impossible for her to sleep.

Support for Marian Price

Very few people agree with Marian Price’s politics. She is a “dissident” Irish republican who believes in the necessity of an armed struggle to end British rule. Nevertheless the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the two major nationalist parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labor Party, have all called for her release.

But what is at stake is more than Marian Price or her politics. The Irish civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey has said that her treatmenrt, “Is a clear signal to everybody who is not “on board”  and who is not of the same mind as the government: that no dissent will be tolerated. No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”

Sandy Boyer is the co-host of “Radio Free Eireann” broadcast Saturdays at 1pm on WBAI, 99.5 FM or He has helped to mobilize support for political prisoners in Ireland and the US.


The Carbon Credit Hoax

28 Jul
System Gaming the Planet

The Carbon Credit Hoax


Rarely can a single story encapsulate so much of what is wrong with the economic system at work in the West as the one that follows. According to the New York Times (link), a group of industrial gas companies in India gamed the ‘carbon credit’ system to (1) increase the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted while (2) earning large ‘profits’ they wouldn’t otherwise have earned and in so doing (3) bought political influence to keep the practice going while (4) driving the price of their highly polluting product down so that (5) less polluting products couldn’t compete and (5) more of their highly polluting product was used. The purported intent of carbon credits is the exact opposite of all of this.

The basic story is that companies in India (and China) were producing a coolant gas that also produced a highly polluting waste by-product. Both the coolant and the by-product are potent greenhouse gases. Carbon credits were offered to induce the companies to destroy the by-product rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. But by paying the companies to both produce the gas and to destroy the waste the good capitalists running them quickly saw that the more gas and waste they produced the more money they made. In fact, it seems that the companies produced to the maximum limit of the carbon credits being offered, far more than they were previously producing, and then went home for the year.

The people running these companies knew that they were producing dangerous greenhouse gases and that their gain was the world’s loss. They were receiving carbon credits because their products were polluting. But what was economically rational to them, what maximized profits and paychecks, was to produce a much greater quantity of these products, and with them greenhouse gases, than they otherwise would have. They also understood that in a sane world they would be sent to prison for this behavior, or maybe even shot. So they took their ‘profits’ and bought political influence to see that this didn’t happen. The Koch Brothers couldn’t have done it any better.

Carbon credits were developed by neo-liberal economists to replace environmental regulations with ‘market-based’ incentives to reduce pollution. The premises behind them are that (1) industrial companies will pollute, (2) economic growth over time will mean that total pollution will increase over time, (3) regulations to restrict pollution are inefficient because industry knows better than regulators how to reduce it, (4) therefore providing financial incentives to individual firms to reduce pollution is the best way to get them to do so and (5) the best that can be done is to slow the growth of total pollution rather than reduce it.

The problem of pollution and other types of ‘cost shifting’ was recognized by capitalist economists decades ago. Pollution was at different times considered a form of economic totalitarianism—the unjust infliction of an economic harm (cost) on those who had not given their consent. (The economic benefit to the polluter is the lower cost of production than if the producer had had to keep the pollution from occurring). Even the radical Austrian (free-market) economist Friedrich Hayek held a similar view early in his career:

There are, too, certain fields where the system of competition is impracticable. For example, the harmful effects of deforestation or of the smoke of factories cannot be confined to the owner of the property in question. But the fact that we have to resort to direct regulation by authority where the conditions for the proper working of competition cannot be created does not prove that we should suppress competition where it can be made to function.” — Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (link).

The path from Mr. Hayek’s views in 1940 to carbon credits required a number of theoretical ‘innovations.’ Before global warming was identified, pollution was considered a specific harm to specific people. In Mr. Hayek’s formulation, those harmed by factory pollution were those in the vicinity of the factories. Variations on this view ultimately led to a series of civil lawsuits in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that resulted in limited recompense to specific people, or classes of people, for specific harms from pollution.

(This ‘ambulance chasing’ is the great bogeyman of the industrial right and still finds voice in Congress today amongst the antique Illiterati who decry ‘trial lawyers’ as the assassins of free enterprise).

However, compensation for harm caused by pollution is after the fact—the harms have already been caused. By the 1970s the government effort in the U.S. turned to preventing these harms from occurring in the first place. Government agencies were created to study potential pollutants and companies were required to demonstrate that their practices didn’t cause harm. Regulations were developed to protect workers and citizens from the harms of pollution. And for a brief while a few of them were actually enforced. The result was that pollution was effectively reduced.

Later in Mr. Hayek’s life, when he was fully dependent for his living and physical well being (he was in poor health) on arch ideologue and polluting industrialist Fred Koch, father of the infamous Koch Brothers and founding member of the John Birch Society, he had the revelation that capitalism was such a gift to humanity that market based solutions to ‘externalities’ like pollution were in almost all cases preferable to government regulation. This became the mantra for the radical right and industrial capitalists and a cottage industry of economic shills developing market-based schemes and contraptions was launched.

According to the Times article, the Indian government has no problem with their citizen-industrialists who gamed the credits because they (government) had been bought off with profits from the deals. It is European bureaucrats and the capitalist ideologues who conceived the credits that take issue with the way they were used. But what can be said when the premise behind the credits is that people are everywhere and always self-interested assholes who must be bribed to not kill the planet? These particular self-interested assholes took the bribes while increasing pollution and earning greater ‘profits’ than they would have had they ‘played by the rules.’ Under the premises at hand, this makes them good capitalists.

The question for proponents of schemes and contraptions like carbon credits is what they will do to prevent this type of outcome in the future? The possible answers illustrate the rank idiocy of the entire project. The first likely effort will be to write more comprehensive rules for use of the credits. But what this incident illustrates is that the rules writers didn’t anticipate even the initial outcome (increased production), let alone the extended (Nth order) effects like having more polluting products crowd out less polluting products because of the carbon credit subsidy.

Another way to say this is that rules makers must conceive of circumstances that don’t yet exist and write rules today to cover them. In the first case this isn’t possible and in the second, even if it were possible the volume of rules and cross rules required to be effective wouldn’t be effective because of the volume of rules and cross rules. Lawyers have jobs to argue paradox and ambiguity in rule based language. Ultimately, successful interpretation comes down to social power, not the specifics of language, no matter how tightly written. (Think of those forty page ‘disclaimers’ that credit card companies were sending out a few years back. No army of lawyers could agree on what the legalese actually means because the language contains paradox and ambiguity—in that case intentionally so).

The other question is one of enforcement. If profits can be used to buy government complicity in socially egregious behavior as the banks, insurance companies and the oil and gas industry etc. have done in the U.S. and Europe, who would make firms comply with the intent of incentives?  The Indian government isn’t going to prosecute their industrialists for gaming the carbon credits because the credits have no basis in Indian law and the issuers of the credits have no power to enforce their intent in India.

Readers should consider that these same issues of system gaming and the purchase of state power with ill-gotten profits lie behind all capitalist enterprise. When Barack Obama proposed the ACA (Affordable Care Act) I read through the details to see where the Department of Making Insurance Companies Do What You (Obama) Say They Will Do would be located and where the $50 billion per annum (minimum) budget to fund said department had been signed off on by Congressional Republicans. True to form, Mr. Obama is using what could be called ‘insurance credits’ to induce insurance companies to actually provide health care. But they just spent the last thirty years figuring out how to take in premiums without paying out claims (link). Again, who is going to make them provide health care?

Global warming puts not just our health at risk, but continued life on this planet. With stakes this high, science needn’t prove that global warming ‘exists’ in the legalistic framework of the right for prudent action to be taken. What isn’t prudent is the game of cat and mouse (without the cat) behind carbon credit schemes and contraptions. With the entirety of the political establishment in the West in the pockets of greenhouse gas emitting industrialists and carbon trading profiteers, well-intentioned policy recommendations are unlikely to be heard. In a political system where money is power, those without it don’t have a voice.

I invite incrementalist readers to explain how their good ideas will be turned in to concrete actions? Otherwise, the choices are to shut up or start a revolution.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist in New York.

Anti Austerity discussion a success, tent city post poned due to tornado warning and yesterdays crazy storm

27 Jul

On July 26th members of the community gathered to oppose the austerity budget of the provincial Lie-beral government and the dirty trick that landed Witmer, who gutted workers rights to be placed as head of the WSIB. Due to last nights crazy storm and the tornado warnings we decided that tent city will be post poned a week to next thursday at four. After figuring that out our discussion began.

Our First speaker from the Toronto based OCAP, Gary, spoke about the global economic crisis and its local impacts. The discussion then turned to what the Lie-beral government is doing through their austerity budget such as freezing workers wages, cutting community start up and gutting social programs.

the discussion then came up about the insult to injured workers that the liberals did by appointing Witmer, the former Tory who gutted workers rights under the Harris regime to the head of the WSIB which is supposed to serve injured workers. Many agreed that this opportunistic move that the Lie-berals pulled so they can get their majority is part of the broader campaign of both Tories and Liberals to enrich themselves off of the backs of those injured most by capitalism and must be opposed.

It was decided that we would do tent city next thursday at 4 and meet at the gazeboo on the island and that during the by election we will intervene by opposing both of these opportunistic parties by informing the general public about this nepotism and call on the people to support the basic rights of injured workers.

The meeting ended with enthusiasm as an agenda and plan of action was set.

Hail the 59th anniversery of the Moncada attack, Long Live the Cuban Revolution

26 Jul

59 years ago, Cuban youth, under the leadership of Fidel Castro stormed the Moncada Barricades, firing the opening shots of the anti imperialist struggle in Cuba that eventually lead to the flight of U$ Puppet Batista and created one of the first free territories in the Americas.

The attack on Moncada which was met with severe repression, torture and assassination of such heroes such as Abel Santamaria gave birth to the July 26th movement, and the victory of the Cuban revolution, a bastion of anti imperialism in the western hemisphere.

59 years after the Moncada attack Cuba still is marching forward defending socialism and their right to determine their own destiny. Despite the failed bay of pigs invasion, the October crisis, U$ lead terrorism, Blockade and attack the Cuban people have not only resisted all these imperialist attacks but moved forward wiping out illiteracy, homelessness and setting an example of true proletariat internationalism.

After all it was the Cuban sacrifices in Angola that helped speed the fall of apartheid South Africa, and it was socialist Cuba with Venezuela that brought down the U$ imperialist scheme known as the Free Trade Area of the Americas and instead set up the Bolivarian alternative.

Despite the collapse of the soviet Union and loss of 85% of all trade Cuba is continuing to fight to maintain their sovereignty, dignity and economic system that puts the people first.
On the 59th Aniversery of Moncada, let us remember those that died heroically so that Cuba can live and let us salute all the Cubans that died in the strugglles in Bolivia, Angola and all across the world striking a serious blow to imperialism

Free Marian Price and Martin Corey Now! End Internment of Irish Republicans!Rally and Picket Aug 27th!!!

25 Jul

Free Marian Price and Martin Corey Now! End Internment of Irish Republicans!

Information picket and rally
August 27, 5 p.m.

British Consulate
777 Bay St. College Park

Speakers Include: PRAC, Association for freedom of prisoners of imperialism, Anti Colonialist Working Group, Anarchist Black Cross, Toronto Forum on Cuba and more

The illegal arrest, torture and internment of Marian Price and Martin Corey without trial on the orders of the UN-elected British secretary of state of Northern Ireland is a travesty! The use of internment as a tool to silence Irish Republicans is becoming more and more widespread. Join with us to demand the freedom of these two Irish Republicans imprisoned simply because of their politics.

For more info on Irish Republican prisoners please check the following webpage

Tertiary grounds, the state orchestration of the image of Kelly Pflug Back as a domestic terrorist

24 Jul

in court when trying to look at bail or sentencing there are several things one takes into account, tertiary grounds, which is if the public will respect the legitimacy of the courts to safe guard them is one ground that is always taken into account. Basicly it states that if releasing a person there will be public outrage due to the gravity of the offense then the person must be detained so as the public respects the legitimacy of the courts.

in the case of Pflug Back, she was initially arrested on three charges and released on bail. She was to reside in Norwood but other than that her conditions did not restrict her from leaving her house. So the police knew where she was and how to find her. Several months later, while kelly was out the police demanded that she turn herself in for several other charges. until this point there was no breeches, nor did Kelly have a history of disobeying the courts. The police instead of waiting a reasonable amount of time for people to get ahold of her and turn herself in, (which she did as soon as she found out from her friends not the media) The police went on every news channel and blasted her picture claiming that she was responsible for all the violence and was wanted, creating an atmosphere of hysteria.

As soon as the press release went out, in the public eye she was already guilty and as more and more articles went out there the police continued to promote this line which has not been proven at the time in the public eye that she was the “Mistress of Mayhem”. This in and off itself created the conditions that if she took her charges to trial she would be found guilty regardless of what actually happened, because in the public eye she was painted as the coordinator of all the violence at the g20 (which is really ironic cause last time i checked she was neither the head of the opp, nor Toronto police, nor the RCMP, nor did she kidnap over 1000 people and put them in cages).

in any case, this hysteria, started by the police and fueled by the capitalist media, particularly when she agreed to a plea bargain where she plead to seven counts of mischief (which is seen in the courts as not the most serious charge one can face) created the tertiary grounds that gave the judge no room to do anything other than make her an example.

The evidence they used to “prove”that she was more than a participant was guilt by association and a statement that she made to someone telling them not to break a window. This is the sort of evidence that if used to convict someone in a Muslim country would have amnesty and everyone outraged.

So as everyone awaited for the sentencing, in many ways the sentence was already passed due to the tertiary grounds that the state themselves created eg. they create the outrage then imprison someone to maintain their legitimacy by calming people that they themselves incited, sounds very Orwellian to me.

Sad Wings of Destiny

23 Jul

Last night I had a serious nightmare, it started with me and two other activists just hanging out, one of which I havent talked to in quite some time. suddenly an indescribable sense of dread hit us and we were being chased. We got on motorcycles and drove as fast as we could but no matter how fast we drove away, the sense of being chased and the foreboding doom still followed, finally we reached a house and sat down until a voice told us your not safe even here.

I woke up screaming, drenched in sweat, and by my yells i was not the only one who woke up. I went downstairs and tried calling a friend, only to get into an argument about boundaries etc. (who really wants a call from me at some god forsaken hour).

i went outside for a cigarette trying to figure out what this dream means, what am i running from? The more I smoked the more things i could think about that I was running from, for one thing, my health, i havent seen a doctor in a few months and the last thing I promised him was that I would quit smoking in a week, and as you can see that plan is going amazingly, Im running from the horrible conditions around and the death and loss that surrounds it, fuck the way i deal with my dead is I pretend they never existed except when i tell stories and or drink, but what I really believe was chasing me in my dream was this cruel and brutal system that targets and persecutes people, especially if they are demanding their rights, for simply holding an ideology.

After all my preliminary hearing is coming up and im getting screwed over left and right by a crown attorney who thinks that court appointed dates are just suggestions. After all how can I get a fair trial when i dont even have the swift and proper deliverance of the material and evidence that will be brought against me?

i make some coffee and put on judas priest dream deceiver off of the album sad wings of destiny and light another cigarette. As im sitting listening to the eerie voice and mellow guitars on this guitar I ask myself a serious question. Why am I running and why must my wings of destiny be sad? Is it in my nature just to wait and hope for the best? Is it in my nature to be quiet while I get screwed over by a crown who is trying to throw me in jail because of what i write? FUCK NO!!!!

I started organizing because I saw the effect that capitalism has had on my community and have not backed down since. With these charges more is at stake then my comfort for if they can silence me and dan keller, target us for our ideology and attack us and if we take it quietly then there narrative gets out and the normalization of repression becomes the status quo.

I write the previous blog to how the absurdity of what is being done to me and how the crown is trying to screw me over more than before, I light another cigarette (sorry docter), make another coffee and start mobilizing lawyers for advice, friends for support and liberals for funding (this last part is a joke). Once again im running, but like Ice T says “im running faster, but im not running from you, IM RUNNiNG AT YOU”

So come one miller bring it, im not scare and there is no dirty trick that you can pull on me that will defeat or silence me.

is crown prosecutor Jason Miller smoking crack, and why do police like to scare old sick men like my dad?

23 Jul

Disclaimer: on the street when somone is acting irrational you say are you on crack or something, this blog is a mix of this and what they do in the movie corporation with a check list, as well it trys to address a serious issue through the use of humor, i am in no way stating as a fact that miller smokes crack

Several days I decided to call my dad and see how he is doing. I was in Toronto dealing with legal stuff and being that he’s on in his years i just wanted to let him know that Im fine and whatnot. As soon as he answered the phone he told me police came to the house looking for me and said i better have a good lawyer, i asked him what they wanted and he said he didnt know, but there handwriting is more horrendous than mine, which he also told the officer.

I called Waterloo regional police and asked for the police detective that was at my house, he was not in (probably off scaring other old men) and no one at the station had any idea what this was about. Finally I got my lawyer friend to call and he found out that on the behest of Mr. Miller i was served several important documents in regards to my upcoming preliminary hearing which is three counts, indictable for my blog.

i get home to talk to my dad and start reading these documents and my dad starts complaining how he feels like hes in jail with all this harassment etc. I look up from these documents and I break the news to him, according to these documents you are, it says here that the papers were served to an inmate, dumitru ichim at 126 madison ave s. kitchener. He starts laughing and says I always knew living with you was like being in jail, now the courts agree with me. I’m like hey I know sometimes im hard to live with but to say that im a jailer and your and inmate and my house is a jail is going to far.

I further read these papers and it states that Mr. Miller will produce a witness who is an expert on the internet also known as the world wide web (if they real were an expert they would know that they are two different things. I look down and the affidavit of service is not even signed by a judge or the person who served me. I ask a lawyer buddy what this is all about and i find out that they were not even suppose to give me the affidavit of service.
From these screw ups and other screw ups that Mr Miller made such as claiming to not receive my list of witnesses and issues which were due may 1st despite the fact that I have a stamped copy from the court stating I handed it in April 20th, as well as him ignoring the court and instead of responding to me by june 15th i get his response mid july, as well as that they had the wrong address on I can only deduce two things 1. Mr. Miller is on hard drugs and needs to get his shit together or 2. he is deliberately screwing with my right to a fair trial by deliberately ignoring the court not giving me enough time to prepare.

Given the fact that my dad was write the papers i was served looks like it was filled out by my cat, and the lack of a judges signature etc. I tend to think that a good argument can be made that Mr. Miller has a serious drug problem and needs help. What purpose does it serve to bring an expert on the internet and how ill that help him prosecute me? Is he just wasting the courts time and money or is he really pocketing money for his secret addiction? Given the fact i was at the crowns office last week and could have easily picked up these papers as well, it shows that he is suffering from memory loss, a side effect of prolonged use of crack cocaine and the fact that the legal papers were improperly filled and he mistakes my dads house for a jail and my dad an inmate shows that he has lost touch with reality. If this is the case for the sake of the court I would suggest to Mr. Miller that our organization runs many programs to get people off of drugs and he can access these services.

However I think that the truth is a little bit more scary then mr miller loving his blow too much. i think the truth of the matter is that the prosecution is acting in a malevolent way to hurt my case, intimidate those whom i love like my dad and deny me a fair trial. First of all I believe that my list of witnesses and issues were received on time since i have the court stamp to prove it and him not finding it was no accident but rather an attempt to stall robbing me of time to prepare my defense. This would also explain why i did not receive my response on june 15th as he promised the courts but rather a month later. The issue of my address being mistaken is bullshit at best since during the g20 this was where i was bailed out and during these recent charges this is where i was charged. The fact that my blog come get me pigs states that this is my adress and every cop in the area knows i live here also justifies this. His vagueness that he will either call detective a or b also stops me from knowing which cop to subpena and i have little time till september 18th to get all this shit done.

This and the quality of the papers my dad was served shows the arrogance of the crowns office that they feel they are above the courts and no matter what they will put me in jail. Well if Mr. Miller thinks his acts of sabotage will hurt my defense he is sadly mistaken I am charged for being political and my defense will be political. This is a political trial and even if he convicts me I still win because the political fallout will be evidence that CANADA PUTS PEOPLE IN JAIL SiMPLY BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY WRITE OR THINK!!!! AND AS STATED BEFORE IN JAIL MY POLITICAL STRUGGLE WILL INTENSIFY DEMANDiNG BASIC DIGNITY AND THE RIGHT TO HOLD MARXIST LENINIST IDEOLOGY WITHOUT BEING CRIMiNALIZED!!!

STILL I THINK AND KNOW IN MY HEART THAT i WiLL WiN THIS CASE BECAUSE IT WONT BE FOUGHT IN THE COURTS BUT IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINiON and i don’t care how many witnesses and experts he brings on the internet or how to type etc. because i have truth and justice on my side. If he thinks his sabotage will achieve anything or even put a dent on my defense he’s got another thing coming!!!!!!