Archive for March, 2016

“13 arrested for blocking entry to timber mill / Dioxin discharges cloud mill’s expansion plans,” The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon. March 27, 1989. Pages 19 & 20

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March 26, 2016: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM (cfrcradio). Music by Coil, Minimal Man, Blanka, liefhall, Eyeballs, The (Hypothetical) Prophets, Dreamboy, Clock DVA, Taylor Rouss, and more. Tune in at 101.9 FM, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or download the finished show at cfrc.ca.

Thanks to algebradebaldor for the John Maus suggestion

Willis Earl Beal – “This Way” Through The Dark
Blood Music – “Speak Like Violence” Blood Music (2013)
Minimal Man – “Loneliness” The Shroud Of (1981)
John Maus – “Night of the World (2008)” unreleased
Petra Schelm – “Stagger Into” Split with //Zoo (2013)
Coil – “Dream Photography” Unnatural History (1990)
Blanka – “Maxim” Yasuda

Clock DVA – “Alien Tapes” Black Words on White Paper (1992)
Lief Hall – “Rivers” Voices (2014)
Heather Leigh – “The Return” I Abused Animal
Dreamboy – “Negative Feelings” Negative Feelings (2014)
Eyeballs – “Body” Bad Art
The (Hypothetical) Prophets – “Back To The Burner” Around The World (1982)
Taylor Rouss – “Wires to the Inmates” 44 (2015)

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“So what happened to the promise of equality in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic read out on Easter Monday 1916 by the poet and rebel leader Patrick Pearse, and addressed to “Irishmen and Irishwomen”? The proclamation declared an end to British rule but it also guaranteed religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens. It made a commitment to universal suffrage, extraordinary for the time, and two years before women in Britain won the vote.

So how did the document’s message become stifled by a conservative culture obsessed with female chastity and purity, and so terrified of glimpsing the outlines of a woman’s body that in the 1950s we were still condemned to conceal ourselves in voluminous cardigans? How did that dream of a radical, free Ireland give way in the succeeding years to Holy Ireland, where generations of women felt they had to hide themselves away?

Historians now tell us that there was a tussle to have women included so pointedly in the proclamation. It was a struggle won by James Connolly – socialist, trade union leader and head of the Irish Citizen Army – and by Constance Markievicz, the prominent feminist and socialist. But even two years later in the general election of 1918, when Sinn Féin swept the boards, it was clear that socialists and feminists had been pushed aside. Most of the dreamers and visionaries had been shot in 1916, and a more pragmatic and conservative leadership concentrated totally on the nationalist goal of separation from the UK. The Irish Labour movement decided to stand aside in 1918 so as not to split the nationalist vote, and the only woman elected was Markievicz.

However, the real change that occurred between 1916 and 1918 was that the Roman Catholic church had finally come on board to back the rebel cause. The church didn’t like radical movements, and individual senior church men actually condemned the 1916 Easter Rising. But anger at the execution of the rising’s leaders swung public opinion firmly behind the rebels, and the Catholic church, ever pragmatic, quietly changed its stance.

The church was by far the largest and most powerful institution in the new Irish state that would emerge six years after the rebellion, and was determined to shape it. The first Free State government tried in its first constitution to reflect a pluralist state, but in Eamon de Valera’s 1937 constitution the church was given a special position, and its social teachings were enshrined. Contraception and divorce were expressly banned – and women were told to stay at home.”

– Olivia O’Leary, “Why, 100 years after the Easter Rising, are Irish women still fighting?Guardian. Opinion, March 25, 2016.

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“Views Taken During The Enlargement of the Iroquois and Morrisburg Canals.” from J. Smyth Carter, The Story of Dundas: Being A History of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904. Iroquois: The St. Lawrence News Publishing Company, 1905.

“Leaving the various roads, we now come to river navigation, with which
Dundas county is also favored. The grand old St. Lawrence river marks the
southern boundary of Dundas county; a truly magnificent sheet of fresh
water, 700 miles long, and from one to two miles in width, and navigable for
vessels of fourteen feet draught its entire length. Rafting was an early
means of navigation employed by the early settlers to convey their produce,
principally grain and potash, to Montreal. Batteau and Durham boats were
crafts of a later period. A batteau was a flat-bottomed boat about thirty
feet long, with a sail and movable mast. It was propelled by means of iron-shod poles used by the members of the crew. It was customary for several
batteaux to go in company and if a very strong current was met with a number of the men would go ashore and by means of ropes would assist in pulling
the boats along, while the captain of each remained in the stern and by means
of a large paddle piloted the craft. A Durham boat, with rounded bow and
square stern, was larger than a batteau and was steered by a rudder. On each side of the boat was a gangway from which the men directed operations, as its
the case of the batteau. With one end of a stout pole under his arm and the
other on the river bed, the boatmen walked from stem to stern pushing the
craft along in this laborious fashion. An extensive carrying trade was done
by means of batteaux and Durham boats, as steamboats, railroads and even
good wagon roads did not then exist. A trip up the river from Montreal to
Kingston required several days, and Mr. Pringle, referring to the voyage,
says: “Each night the boat’s crew bivouacked on the bank of the river,
cooked and ate their peaspea-soupoup and pork, and slept in the open air.” The run
down the St. Lawrence was both speedy and pleasant, and the happy crews,
chiefly French-Canadian, enlivened the journey with song. A good cargo
was generally aboard, principally of grain and potash. Keen vigilance was
required and some skill in running the rapids, but the river men had become
so schooled in this work that few accidents occurred.

 While the transportation of goods was attended with some success, it was
the traveller who suffered most during the river voyage. A trip on a batteau
was not without its dangers, which is borne out by the testimony of travellers. A voyager writing from abroad, after noting the beauty and grandeur
of the great river, remarked : “Tis a sad waste of life to ascend the St, Lawrence on a batteau.” In order to get on board a small boat was run out to
meet the batteau, which received the voyager with his food and blankets, as
none of these conveniences were provided, but otherwise everything possible
was done by the crew to promote the traveller’s comfort.

 The appearance of steamboats on the St. Lawrence was gladly hailed, as
it ensured quicker travel, safety, and more comfort. The “Accommodation,’
a small craft built by Hon, George Molson, of Montreal, was possibly the first
steamboat to ply Canadian waters. She plied between Montreal and Quebec.
On the upper St, Lawrence the "Ontario” was among the first ; but as early as
1820 the “Dalhousie” was running between Prescott and Kingston. About
1828 the “Neptune” ran between Cornwall and Coteau, and later the “High-
lander” covered the trip. The first steamer, we understand, doing service
along our local frontier was the “Iroquois,” which appeared about 1830. This
boat was strongly built, but was unable to stem the strong currents. At
Rapid du Plat and other points posts were sunken on the bank and as the
“Iroquois” proceeded she was from time to time made fast until enough steam
could be raised to enable her to reach the next post. After a couple of seasons she was replaced by the “Dolphin,” a larger boat, constructed by the
Americans, and by them called the “Black Hawk.” Speaking of the “Dolphin”
Mr. Croil tells us of her descending the St. Lawrence during the fall of ‘38,
having on board a number of rebel prisoners. Ascending the river the following spring she encountered great difficulty in passing the Long Sault, and it was only after much labor and with the aid of twenty yoke of oxen that the
task was accomplished. The “Jack Downing,” with headquarters at Waddington, was another steamer of those days ; but perhaps the most peculiar
craft of all was the “Rapid,” constructed about 1835 through the enterprise of
some of the front farmers. The hull of this boat consisted of two hollow
cigar-shaped cylinders, between which a large wheel operated* She was
fitted up with the engines of the “Jack Downing,” but she proved a failure,
her first trip down the river being her last* The “(Hldersleeve,” the “Kingston” and the “Brockville,” were other early boats which figured prominently.
About the year 1866-7 a boat, named the “Experiment,” was constructed at
Weaver’s Point by Dr. Oasselman without the aid of a ship carpenter. While
lying at the Point it attracted considerable attention.

 Before the construction of the St. Lawrence canals boats had to be towed at
certain points by horses and oxen . At Rapid du Plaut, Pine Tree Point and
at Point Iroquois the current is particularly strong. Many of the farmers
often earned four dollars or more per day when thus employed. Considerable
rivalry existed in this work, and great haste was often made from the harvest
fields when the boats were observed ascending the river. Favor with the
‘captain was a condition eagerly courted by those seeking employment.

The present system of St. Lawrence navigation is superb. Beautiful steamers grace our river, possessed of every convenience and comfort, making
travel a luxury. The Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company’s palace
steamers run tri-weekly between Montreal and Hamilton, from May till November, calling at intervening ports, including Morrisburg and Iroquois. Other
lines of boats also make regular trips and calls during the season. Some idea of the gross tonnage and popularity of the St. Lawrence route may be had
from the fact that 1,700 vessels passed through the Long Lock at Iroquois
during the season of 1903, exclusive of many vessels which passed nap the river
outside , Millions of dollars have been expended by the Dominion Government in canal and other improvements of the St. Lawrence river route, and
millions more could be profitably expended in further dredging, deepening
and widening the canals so that ocean going vessels might load at Port Arthur
and unload at Liverpool without breaking cargo. Until this has been accomplished the great problem of Canadian transportation can never he
properly solved.”

– J. Smyth Carter, The Story of Dundas: Being A History of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904. Iroquois: The St. Lawrence News Publishing Company, 1905. pp. 69-70

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“The mother of a 28-year-old woman found naked and crying for help late one night in Thunder Bay, Ont., says police are ignoring a crime because her daughter is a First Nations woman and an addict.

Robin Sutherland, 31, said he and another man responded to a woman’s calls for help on Clavet Street around 12:15 a.m. on March 10.

“We saw a naked lady approaching us and she was quite distressed, screaming for help, and so she came up to us and I gave her my sweater to warm her up,” Sutherland said.

He stuck around after police arrived, waiting to get his sweater back. He said he heard the woman tell police she had been paid for sex that night and the transaction had gone horribly wrong.

“She started off by saying that he tried to kill her and drown her in the lake,” Sutherland said.”

– Jody Porter, “Thunder Bay police criticized for response to indigenous woman found naked on city street.” CBC News, March 22, 2016.


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Ambrose, “All Through The Night,” single. Self-released / Visage Music, 2016,

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The problem of the workers’ government. 

The political consequences of the putsch ran very deep, even in the regions
where neither workers’ councils nor workers’ militias were formed, even
where the working people were content to follow the order to strike without
taking up arms. For millions of Germans, the main lesson of the putsch was
its demonstration of the bankruptcy of the Social-Democratic leadership.
Noske, ‘the generals’ socialist’, whom they discarded as soon as his job was
done, was completely discredited, and his political career was at an end. 

Moreover, it was the workers who had defeated the putschists, by a general
strike which was started without the knowledge of the Majority Social-
Democratic government, and in a certain sense in spite of it. During the
struggle, activists of the different parties, who until that time had been opposing
each other, drew closer together. For the first time since before the War they
had fought side by side against the class enemy. The prestige of the trade-
union leadership rose; Legien had issued the order for the general strike when
Noske and Ebert ran away. From that point, the trade-union leaders were
expected to take on political responsibilities.
There was deep confusion in the ranks of the SPD. The President, Otto
Wels, posed the problem on 30 March in these terms: ‘How are we going to
get the Party out of the chaos into which it has been plunged by the common
fight against reaction?’ In very many localities, the Social-Democratic activists
and even their organisations had marched with the Communists and the
Independents with slogans contrary to those of their national leadership. For
example, in Elberfeld, a leader of the SPD had gone so far as to sign with
the representatives of the Independents and the KPD(S) a call for struggle
‘for the dictatorship of the proletariat’  Vorwärts expressed the sentiment of
nearly every German worker when it wrote on 18 March: ‘The government
must be rebuilt. Not to its right but to its left. We need a government which
makes up its mind unreservedly to fight against the militarist, nationalist
reaction, and which knows how to win the confidence of the workers as far
as possible to its left.’ 

It was clear before Kapp’s flight that the bourgeoisie was trying to assemble
a front of the Reichswehr and the governmental parties against the reawakening of the working class. Vice-Chancellor Schiffer and General von Seeckt together
issued in the name of the government an appeal for a return to calm, for
national unity ‘against Bolshevism’. The SPD was torn between opposing
tendencies. But this also happened in the USPD to some extent, particularly
in places where its right-wing leaders had lined up with the Majority’s
capitulatory approach. The USPD’s activists expressed the united pressure
of the working class, shoulder to shoulder in the strike, and the demand for
guarantees at the level of government; the Party’s press broadly reflected this

The Party apparatus and the parliamentary group, however, were
inclined to favour restoring the parliamentary coalition. The latter issued an
appeal in which it declared that the continuation of ‘the people’s strike’ after
the leaders of the putsch had fled was a threat to the unity of the ‘republican
front’. At the same time, a proclamation signed jointly by Schiffer and the
Prussian Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Hirsch, assured everyone
that the police and the Reichswehr had done their duty throughout, and had
at no time been accomplices in the putsch. This ‘amnesty’ was evidently
necessary for order to be restored, and the government proclaimed a state of
extreme emergency on 19 March. 

The government had been saved by the general strike. But would it use
against the workers the generals who had refused to resist the putschists?
Were Ebert and Noske to retain power? Had the workers fought for nothing
else but to keep them there? The reply to these political questions depended
largely on the leaders of the workers’ parties and trade unions. 

The workers had a very powerful weapon at their disposal: the general
strike. Legien was aware of this. On 17 March, he called on the USPD Executive
to send representatives to a meeting of the General Commission of the trade
unions. The Executive delegated Hilferding and Koenen, and Legien proposed
to them that a ‘workers’ government’ be formed, made up of representatives
of the workers’ parties and the trade unions. He justified his proposal by
explaining that from now on, no government could rule in Germany against
the trade unions, and that in an exceptional situation the latter were ready
to take on their responsibilities.
Clearly, neither the representatives of the Independents nor the railway
worker Geschke, who had also been invited to the meeting, where he
represented the KPD(S), could give a reply before they had consulted the
responsible bodies in their parties, which they then did. 

During the meeting
of the Executive of the Independents, Koenen and Hilferding spoke in favour
of accepting Legien’s proposal, and of opening negotiations with a view to
forming a workers’ government. Crispien, who was Chairman of the Party
and the leader of its right wing, protested that he could not possibly sit at
the same table with people who ‘had murdered workers’, and that no discussion
was possible with ‘betrayers of the working class’ such as the members of
the General Commission. Däumig, the leader of the left wing, supported him,
and said that he was ready to resign his function and even to leave the Party
if the Executive engaged in such negotiations. Koenen and Hilferding did
not find much support amongst their comrades. Stoecker and Rosenfeld, other
leaders of the Left, expressed surprise at Koenen’s views, and demanded
simply that the Executive should not brusquely reject them, for fear of not
being understood by the millions of striking workers. When the vote was
taken, the categorical refusal which Crispien and Däumig proposed was
carried by a large majority.

But Legien did not withdraw from the game. On the next day, 18 March,
despite the pressure on him from Social-Democratic elements close to the
apparatus who urged him to call off the strike now that the putsch had been
defeated, he prevailed upon the General Council to prolong it until the working
class had received sufficient guarantees about the composition and the policies
of the government. Laborious discussions began between the leaders of the
trade unions and the representatives of the government. Legien warned his
questioners that he would not hesitate, if he thought it necessary, to form a
‘workers’ government’ himself, which would use force to prevent the return of the Bauer government in Berlin, even if this initiative were to lead to civil
war, as he knew it might.

Legien put forward a number of non-negotiable conditions. Noske must
resign from the government of the Reich, as must two ministers, Heine and
Oeser, from that of Prussia; trade-union delegates must have key posts in the
government; the putschists and their accomplices must be severely punished,
and the army and the police must be thoroughly purged. He repeated that
there existed an immediate possibility of forming a workers’ government
with representatives of the trade unions and the two Social-Democratic Parties.
The trade-union leadership opened an unprecedented crisis in the SPD by
its call for a general strike, and by its open opposition to the Party’s leaders.
This shook the Party to the very top of its apparatus, the Executive and the
parliamentary group. But the attitude of the Independents was decisive. The
problem was not simple for them. The Left was divided, with Däumig opposing
Koenen. One section of the Right, including Crispien himself, went back on
its first response on the evening of 17 March, when a new delegation from
the Executive sought out Legien to tell him that they wanted to continue the
discussions. Däumig, however, stood completely firm; he declared that he
could not agree to the Party approving any ‘workers’’, government unless it
called for the dictatorship of the proletariat and the régime of workers’

Despite the opposition of his comrades of the same tendency who
controlled the trade unions in Berlin, he carried the day. The majority of the
Left agreed with him that the workers’ government which Legien proposed
would amount to nothing but a fresh version of ‘the Noske régime’, a new
edition of the Ebert-Haase government of 1918. As for the right wing, it
finally reached its decision in the light of the risks involved in forming such
a government under the fire of criticism from the Left and the threat of a
split, in a situation in which it would become nothing more than a fragile
left cover for the government. Legien had to drop his proposal. 

However, Legien still had to present to the government his conditions for
resumption of work. On the morning of the 19th, after long negotiations, the representatives of the government solemnly undertook to fulfil the conditions
which Legien dictated, and which were called ‘the nine points of the trade
unions’. These were: 

Recognition by the future government of the role of the trade-union
organisations in the economic and social reconstruction of the country. 

Disarming and immediate punishment of the rebels and their accomplices. 

Immediate purge of all counter-revolutionaries from the state
administration and state undertakings, and immediate reinstatement of
all workers dismissed for trade-union or political activity. 

Reform of the state on a democratic basis, in agreement and cooperation
with the trade unions. 

Full application of existing social legislation and adoption of new, more
progressive laws. 

Immediate resumption of measures to prepare for the socialisation of
the economy, convocation of the socialisation commission, and immediate
socialisation of the coal and potash mines. 

Requisition of foodstuffs to control the food supply. 

Dissolution of all counter-revolutionary armed formations. 

of defence leagues on the basis of the trade-union organisations, with
the units of the Reichswehr and the police which remained loyal at the
time of the putsch to be unaffected. 

Sacking of Noske and Heine.

On this basis, the ADGB and the AFA decided to call for a return to work, and most of the ministers and the parliamentarians made their way back to
Berlin. But neither the Independents nor the Greater Berlin strike committee
had given their agreement, and the decision remained on paper awaiting the
meetings of the strikers, which were generally called for Sunday, 21 March.

Indeed, the agreement of the strikers was far from having been won. Many
of the meetings decided to reject the decision of the trade-union confederations,
believing that the government had given nothing but promises for which the
workers had no guarantee, and that to endorse the decision would effectively
be giving the government a blank cheque. Furthermore, when ‘government’ troops had entered the suburbs of Berlin, there had been several violent
confrontations with armed workers, exchanges of shots, and arrests.

 A messenger presented himself at the Greater Berlin strike committee
bearing an appeal for help from the workers in the Ruhr who were under
pressure from the Reichswehr. The representatives of the KPD(S), followed
by many Independent workers, opposed ending the strike. Pieck and Walcher
argued that they should protect the Ruhr workers and continue the movement
until their security was ensured, that is, until the proletariat was armed. 

the question of the workers’ government was raised publicly for the first
time. Däumig denounced what he considered to be the manoeuvres of Legien
and his ‘government operation’, the sole purpose of which was to pull the
Independents into the parliamentary game and to provide a left-wing cover
for the enfeebled coalition. The Communists had no mandate on this question.
They said that they were only learning about Legien’s proposals in the meeting
itself, and that they could speak only as individuals.

Walcher emphasised that the sort of workers’ government that the trade
unions proposed would be a ‘socialist government against Ebert and Haase’,
and that it did not need, contrary to what Däumig demanded, to announce
formally that it recognised the dictatorship of the proletariat, in order to be,
by its very existence, a step forward and a victory for the workers’ movement.
He turned to the trade-union delegates and said:

If you take your undertakings seriously, if you really want to arm the workers
and to disarm the counter-revolution, if you really want to purge the
administration of all the counter-revolutionary elements, then that means
civil war. In which case, it is not only obvious that we support the government,
but still more that we shall be at the forefront of the struggle. If, on the
contrary, you betray your programme and stab the workers in the back,
then we – and we very much hope that we shall be supported by people
coming from your ranks – we shall undertake the most resolute struggle,
without reserve and with all the means at our disposal.

At the end of a stormy session, it was finally decided, with the support of
the KPD(S) delegates, to demand that the strike be continued until guarantees
had been obtained, especially about the eighth point, the integration of workers
in the forces of ‘republican defence’. At the end of the meeting, negotiations
opened between the delegates of the two Social-Democratic Parties and the
trade unions. The Majority Social-Democratic delegates had a vital interest
in driving a wedge between the Communists and the Independents, and in
ending the general strike. In the name of the Social-Democratic fraction, Bauer
undertook to respect these four conditions: withdrawal of the Berlin troops
to the line of the Spree; lifting of the state of siege; undertaking to take no
offensive action against the armed workers, especially in the Ruhr; and
enrolment in Prussia of working people in ‘defence groups’ under
trade-union control.”

– Pierre Broue, The German Revolution, 1917-1923. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006, pp. 361-367.

Photographs are: Top: Berlin, U-Bahn Bülowstraße, März 1920 Generalstreik Kapp-Putsch.  Above, left: Postcard showing women fetching water during the General Strik in Berlin. Source. Above, right: Funeral procession in Solingen, Rhineland, of fallen militants, who died at Hahnerberg ( Wuppertal ), 1920. Source. Bottom: Portrait of Carl Legien.

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