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Detroit meeting and interview

Ruined factory in DetroitDetroit is a city of legends for the left arising from the level of mass worker militancy there during the 1960's and 1970's.  But it is also a city legendary for its decay in the years since and the anti-social crime that accompanies urban decay.  Some months before I arrived I'd done one of the very first meetings of the tour just a km away across the river in the Canadian city of Windsor and been told all sorts of horror stories by the four people who had crossed the border from Detroit for this meeting.  As I looked across the river the next morning and wondered how two cities so close together could be so different I'd not guessed I'd be in Detroit just a few months later.

At Cleveland C-Space

C spaceI was lucky to get a lift from Kent down to Cleveland for my next engagement. Cleveland is another rust belt city that has seen its population drop in half since the 1950's.  It was so industrial that in 1969 the  Cuyahoga River famously went on fire such was the volume of pollutants in it.  On December 15, 1978 it became the first American city since the great depression to default on its loans and became know as  "the mistake on the lake." Today the economy is still clearly struggling, a fact given away by the hope placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located there.

Cutting wages and solving the crisis...

While it has not become widespread, yet, we are sure to see calls for wage cuts to solve the current economic crisis. We must, apparently, tighten our belts in order to make more profits for the idiots who got us into this mess...

Yet, it is hard on the surface to advance such a call. As one left-wing Keynesian notes:

"This dismal experience comes on top of three decades of wage stagnation during which household income only grew because of longer working hours and having both household heads work."

Kent State University

Most of the second leg of the rust belt stops city stops had been put together by either NEFAC members or anarchists who I knew already.  The one exception was Kent, Ohio.  Now I'd have known nothing about Ohio at all before the tour but when I got an email from the Kent Anti-Racist Action chapter offering to host a talk I recognised 'Kent State University' as the site of the massacre on May 4th 1970 when four people were killed when the National Guard fired into an anti-war demonstration.

Another letter to Weekly Worker

Well, the debate in the CPGB's Weekly Worker continues. Here is my follow up letter, covering the basics. If anyone is interested in the subject, my article critiquing the SWP's analysis of the rise of Stalinism should be consulted:

How the Revolution was Lost?

This is being printed (over three issues) in Black Flag just now.

Anyway, here is the letter.

Dear Weekly Worker

Pittsburgh at the Thomas Merton Center

Thomas Merton centre As part of the anarchism in Ireland speaking tour I spoke at the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh April 2008. While in the city I stayed with and met with Pittsburgh anarchists and checked out some of the radical left and union history of Pittsburgh.

With the CTC in Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the major historic cities of the south but my first glimpse of it on Greyhound was of skyscrapers with blacked out windows that looked like missing teeth.  It turned out two tornado's had run through the city center a day or two previously.  The modern city is bit with some 6 million people living in the metropolitan area and at least the areas I saw had no resemblance to Gone with the Wind.

Winter Soldier in Gainesville Florida

CMC Gainsville The curse of the clashing meetings caught up with me again in Gainesville when my talk ended up as being just before the start of a 'Winter Soldier' hearing in another part of town. Despite this we got around 25 people along which was good for a town of 90,000.  

Now with added pirates!

Now with added pirates!

Headlines I did not expect to see:

Pirates release French yacht crew

Off the coast of that "anarcho"-capitalist utopia, Somalia. I wonder if the ideologues will using that as a selling point? I can just see it now:

"Not only does anarcho-capitalism hold the possibility of voluntary slavery, you can also be a pirate! Just like in the movies..."

Letter to Anarchy

Well, I seem to have pissed off Lawrence Jarach of Anarchy magazine. Not sure how, exactly. Maybe it was my letters critiquing their attacks on Platformism a few years back. If you are interested, they are:

http://anarchism.ws/writers/anarcho/movement/AJODAletterPlatform.html

http://anarchism.ws/writers/anarcho/movement/AJODAplatform2.html

http://anarchism.ws/writers/anarcho/anarchism/postleft/sentbb.html

  


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