Mar 272014
 

 3. “Bennett’s Pets”

aa_news_1930s-Henry_Ford's_Man_BennettAmong the feverishly active workers at the River Rouge Plant, there were always a number of conspicuously idle men. Muscular hulking fellows, with broken noses, cauliflower ears and scarred faces, they sauntered up and down the busy assembly lines, stood beside the doorways to the various shops, and hovered near the gates leading into the plant. They were members of the Service Department’s strong-arm unit. Ford workers called them “Bennett’s pets.”

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Mar 252014
 
Niccolo_Machiavelliright

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527)

The Renaissance consigliere and political thinker Niccolò Machiavelli has for centuries been portrayed, indeed demonised, as the ideological father of political duplicity, manipulation, amorality and cold selfishness. All of these are identifiable traits common not only among the “political” and mandarin classes but also among those individuals and institutions who pursue their interests, i.e. money, power, market-share, sex, etc., as though in a “society in which the individual stands alone, with no motives and no interests except those supplied by his own egoism”.

The view that Machiavelli’s analysis of the nature and mechanics of political power reflects the values of an individual motivated by a self-interest that overrides all other considerations is not, I believe, one that can be sustained by a careful consideration of his writings. In fact, the very opposite can be said to be the case … Machiavelli argues in both The Prince and The Discourses that all well-ordered principalities and republics are based on mutual understanding between rulers and ruled, and that the state is no more than the sum of the individuals who comprise it. In addition, the state has characteristics and responsibilities that cannot be explained in terms of the properties and ethical relationships to one another of the individuals within society.

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Mar 182014
 

OhWhataLovelyWarWith the current centennial chatter on the whys and wherefores of the First World War, not much has been said about the preceding general European social crisis as a force for international tension in 1914. The debate on the origins of the war has long revolved around ascribing responsibility for the bloody conflagration on this or that state or on the breakdown of the standard operating procedures of the various alliance systems of the great powers. 1 The other main focus of historical attention has centred on the Marxist-Leninist theory of imperialism, which contends that international rivalry, aggravated by the need for markets and sources of raw materials, made the war inevitable. Marxist historian A.L. Morton (A People’s History of England, 1976) has highlighted some of the key points of conflict around which the international politics of the period turned: trade rivalry between Britain and Germany; the economic struggle between France and Germany over the iron deposits in eastern France and the coal mines of western Germany; Russia’s desire for easier access to the Mediterranean. These problems had, however, existed for some time and, in spite of the series of international crises which marked the decade prior to 1914, none, as James Joll (Europe Since 1870, 1983)

has pointed out, had led to violent conflicts. Not one of the great powers had been prepared to go to war for the purely selfish, local interests of any one of the Balkan states as against its neighbours. What then differentiated the situation in July 1914 from other similar crises, and initiated the process that many people throughout Europe had been predicting for the past nine years? Perhaps one answer lies in an additional contending factor — the rising curve of social discontent throughout Europe that marked the early years of the twentieth century.

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Mar 132014
 

FerrerCover6300The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School by Francisco Ferrer. First published 1913 by Watts & Co, 17 Johnson’s Court, Fleet Street, London, E.C.

The Origin and Ideals of The Modern School, Francisco Ferrer i Guardia (translated by Joseph McCabe) Kindle edition. First published by ChristieBooks in 2014 —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  — £1.24/€1.48/$2.10  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

Chapter I — THE BIRTH OF MY IDEALS………………………………………………………. 6

Chapter II — MLLE. MEUNIER……………………………………………………………………… 9

Chapter III — I ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY………………………………………….. 11

Chapter IV — THE EARLY PROGRAMME…………………………………………………… 14

Chapter V — THE CO-EDUCATION OF THE SEXES…………………………………….. 17

Chapter VI — CO-EDUCATION OF THE SOCIAL CLASSES…………………………… 21

Chapter VII — SCHOOL HYGIENE………………………………………………………………. 24

Chapter VIII — THE TEACHERS…………………………………………………………………. 25

Chapter IX — THE REFORM OF THE SCHOOL……………………………………………. 27

Chapter X — NO REWARD OR PUNISHMENT…………………………………………….. 32

Chapter XI — THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE LIBRARY…………………………. 35

Chapter XII — SUNDAY LECTURES…………………………………………………………….. 41

Chapter XIII — THE RESULTS……………………………………………………………………. 43

Chapter XIV — A DEFENSIVE CHAPTER…………………………………………………….. 46

Chapter XV — THE INGENUOUSNESS OF THE CHILD………………………………… 51

Chapter XVI — THE “BULLETIN“……………………………………………………………….. 55

Chapter XVII — THE CLOSING OF THE MODERN SCHOOL………………………… 58

EPILOGUE By J. M……………………………………………………………………………………….. 61

INTRODUCTION

On October 12, 1909, Francisco Ferrer y Guardia was shot in the trenches of the Montjuich Fortress at Barcelona. A Military Council of War had found him guilty of being “head of the insurrection” which had, a few months before, lit the flame of civil war in the city and province. The clergy had openly petitioned the Spanish Premier, when Ferrer was arrested, to look to the Modern School and its founder for the source of the revolutionary feeling; and the Premier had, instead of rebuking them, promised to do so. When Ferrer was arrested, the prosecution spent many weeks in collecting evidence against him, and granted a free pardon to several men who were implicated in the riot, for testifying against him. These three or four men were the only witnesses out of fifty who would have been heard patiently in a civil court of justice, and even their testimony would at once have crumbled under cross-examination. But there was no cross-examination, and no witnesses were brought before the court. Five weeks were occupied in compiling an enormously lengthy indictment of Ferrer; then twenty-four hours were given to an inexperienced officer, chosen at random, to analyse it and prepare a defence. Evidence sent in Ferrer’s favour was confiscated by the police; the witnesses who could have disproved the case against him were kept in custody miles away from Barcelona; and documents that would have tended to show his innocence were refused to the defending officer. And after the mere hearing of the long and hopelessly bewildering indictment (in which the evidence was even falsified), and in spite of the impassioned protest of the defending officer against the brutal injustice of the proceedings, the military judges found Ferrer guilty, and he was shot.

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Mar 042014
 

StammheimcoverTHE STAMMHEIM DEATHS, ‘Suicide Most Foul. CPAR 4 (Kindle edition). First published by ChristieBooks in 2014 —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  — £1.23/€1.49/$2.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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Jan-CarlRaspeRadio broadcasts on the morning of October 18, 1977 were full of news about the reported suicide of Jan Carl Raspe, Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader, and of the attempted suicide of Irmgard Möller. The evening’s television news brought more of the same. “Three suicides — a signal for new terror?”1 reported the front page of Die Welt, one of the largest daily newspapers in Germany; “Hostages free — Suicides in Stammheim”2 read the headlines in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; “Three Baader-Meinhof prisoners commit suicide”3 appeared sprawled across the front page of the Westfälische Rundschau; and the version in the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung was “Suicide: Baader, Raspe, Ensslin.”4

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Feb 282014
 
HenryFord
Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947)
Ford has directly created and distributed more wealth than any other man since the beginning of time. None of his wealth and consequent employment was at the expense of any one or anything.
From “Way to Wealth, an article by Samuel Crowther published in the Saturday Evening Post on May 17, 1930.
 
Maybe we were endowed by our creator
With certain inalienable rights including
The right to assemble in peace and petition . . ..
Maybe God Almighty wrote it out
We could shoot off our mouths where we pleased  
   and with what and no Thank-yous
But try it at River Rouge with the Ford militia.
Try it if Mister Ford’s opinions are otherwise.
Try it and see where you land with your back broken . . .
            From Land of the Free, by Archibald MacLeish

 

1. Man and Myth

“We’ll never recognize the United Automobile Workers or any other union,” declared Henry Ford after all other leading auto manufacturers had signed contracts with the UAW. “Labor unions are the worst thing that ever struck the earth.”

No other American industrialist had waged so ruthlessly effective a fight as Henry Ford against trade unions; and the passage of the Wagner Labor Act had by no means diminished his determination to see that his employees remained unorganized. Ford had long regarded himself as above the laws of the land.

In the three and a half decades that had elapsed since Ford first experimented in an empty stable in Detroit with a strange looking contraption resembling a large perambulator with a motor in the back, the once obscure mechanic had become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

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Feb 272014
 
AntonioCastro

Antonio Castro (Fidel’s son): international golf champion, Habanero mover and shaker, and champion of the Castroite Cuban ‘buro-bourgeoisie’ and bon-viveurs…

CL28    Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?  After rejecting calls for a ‘more rapid move toward the implementation of Socialism’, Raúl Castro announced (in January) the inauguration of the Mariel ‘Special Development Zone’, a commercial/industrial business zone in which the now mature Cuban ruling class (men such as Castro’s son Antonio Castro) can invite foreign entrepreneurs, rentier capitalists and bankers to invest in Cuba. Presumably with the aim of building capitalism in one country …

 

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Feb 172014
 

Berkman1abALEXANDER BERKMAN, ANARCHIST — Life, Work, Ideas, Bill Nowlin ISBN 978-1-873976-69-2 (Kindle edition). First published by ChristieBooks in 2014 —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  — £3.08/€3.76/$5.50  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! LIMITED PRINT EDITION (25 copies) ALSO AVAILABLE — £25.00 (+ £5.00 p+p)

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As a young student in Russia, Alexander Berkman claims to have heard the bomb explode which killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881. He emigrated to America and, inspired by the Haymarket martyrs, became active in Jewish anarchist circles. When Henry Clay Frick of Carnegie Steel sent in armed Pinkertons who killed strikers at Homestead Steel, Berkman traveled to Pittsburg and shot Frick in an assassination attempt of his own, hoping to inspire a workers’ revolt. He spent 14 years in prison, then rejoined his comrade Emma Goldman and was active in the free speech movement, in setting up free schools, in the beginnings of the birth control movement, and in defending numerous activists charged by prosecutors. He and Goldman organized against military conscription during World War I and were deported to Russia, arriving shortly after the Revolution. There, as anarchists, they also ran afoul of the Communist Party authorities who were intent on consolidating political power. They had to leave Russia as well, and then to leave Germany, finally landing in exile in France. Throughout, Berkman was a skilled organizer and both edited and wrote numerous publications. His life, his work, and his ideas are explored in this book.  The way Berkman lived his life, maturing in his thought but remaining true to his principles, has been an inspiration to those who have known of him.

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Feb 132014
 

che_fidel_97Castro and Che Guevara in the early stages of the line-up that laid the groundwork in Mexico  for the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. The aborted attempt on the life of dictator Franco in San Sebastian in 1962. These days the anarchist Octavio Alberola Surinach (born in Alaior in the Balearic Islands in 1928) is critical of Castroism and a zealous champion of historical memory.

 “In the 60s, a lot of young Cubans opposed to General Batista’s dictatorship started arriving in Mexico. By 1956, the Castro brothers’ movement, the 26 July Movement, was the largest Cuban revolutionary group in Mexico.” The dictator Batista had just pardoned them after they were arrested in connection with the failed attack on the Moncada barracks and among their number were the Castro brothers who then made contact with people eager and ready to assist them. One such person was the libertarian Octavio Alberola Surinach: “At the time I was a member of the Mexican student movement and had links with groups and trade union organisations that might hep them to organise propaganda events in support of the fight against the Cuban dictatorship”, Alberola says. Remember that this was an anarchist who arrived in Mexico aboard the vessel ‘Ipanema’ from France with hundreds more refuges, along  with his father who had been a teacher in the rationalist schools that operated in Spain up until 1939.

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Feb 112014
 

JamesK1I have not voted through the ballot box or taken part in any sort of electoral process for years. My politics belong in an alternative tradition. I stand with the anti-parliamentarian left. It is a solid part of the wider socialist movement. A great many share this position throughout the world. In Britain people are less aware of this alternative tradition. State propaganda pushes the anti-parliamentarian left somewhere to the outer limits. We are asked to believe that all shades of opinion are included in its own political process. What a lie! It is so brazen. It says we can all be accomodated within a political framework that is in essence hierarchical, so much as so that it includes an extremely large extended family each of whose members we must address as “your majesty”, pay to them huge sums of dough and grant them lands and general riches.

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