Radical media, politics and culture.


Dead anarchist becomes cause célèbre in Italy

Peter Kiefer

From the International Herald Tribune

Until this week, Passannante's skull and brain - preserved in formaldehyde -
were on display at a criminology museum in Rome in what ranked as one of
Italy's more macabre showcases. It was a strange punishment in a
museum-loving society for someone who tried to kill the king of Italy 120
years ago.

At the anarchist's death, the head and brain were removed to be studied by
sociologists, an act in keeping with the scientific eugenicist theory made
popular at the time by a criminologist named Cesare Lombroso. Lombroso
believed that criminality was inherited and could be identified by physical

For the last 70 years the brain and skull have been in a neon-light display
case, framed by old anarchist manifestos on the second floor of the
Criminology Museum, just off the Via Giulia.

But this week the skull and brain were to leave the museum in front of
reporters and photographers, for burial with the body, under pressure
brought by an eclectic group of hundreds of petition signers. Instead, on
Thursday, under a cloak of secrecy, the remnants were whisked away and
buried in his hometown in the Basilicata region of southern Italy.

Police Reportedly Search German Anti-G8 Projects

Gipfelsoli Info Group

Since Wednesday morning 8 AM a wave of searches is taking places against
left structures throughout Germany. Targeted are social projects and
private persons that are organizing against the coming G8 summit — or
suspected to do so.

In Berlin at least seven flats and office spaces are being searched,
amongst which two offices in Bethanien, a social centre in Kreuzberg,
Berlin, and the Fusion shop in the same district. The latter is a space
used by an antifascist organization and the Interventionist Left.
Moreover, a bookshop in Mehringhof and the office spaces of several
alternative media projects in Lausitzer Straße have been searched.

Quick and Dirty Pedal Power

Employees Of Mount Washington Bike Shop Go Union

From The Baltimore City Paper

Ed Ericson Jr.

It's day three of the union at Joe's Bike Shop in Mount Washington, and
owner Joe Traill steps outside to say that nothing has changed "so far."

Traill wears a worried look and chooses his words carefully so he won't
sound too defensive. On May 1 he learned that all 10 of his employees
had joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)--the storied Wobblies.

"My guess is the significance of May Day was not lost on them," he says.

The IWW formed in 1905, and while it never numbered more than about
200,000 members, its radical influence is still felt today. Wobblies got
the eight-hour day for lumberjacks, put backbone in the dockworkers
unions, integrated racially and across gender lines, were imprisoned for
sedition, and were lynched. Legendary leftists like Big Bill Haywood,
Mother Jones, and Joe Hill were red-card-carrying Wobblies, and the men
and women of the rank and file were tough, fearless class warriors
fighting mine barons and government repression.

Islamic street preachers

Riazat Butt

From The Guardian

From Boston to Lahore and beyond, the tentacles of taqwacore - aka Islamic punk rock - are spreading. And it's giving disenfranchised young Muslims a voice

There can't be that many female playwrights who are deaf, punk and Muslim, so Sabina England is something of a find. With a lurid Mohawk and leather jacket slathered with slogans, she looks every inch the rebel and has an attitude to match.
Sabina, who says she lives in the "shitty midwest of the United States" or the "HELL-HOLE OF BOREDOM AND YUPPIES", is part of a subculture that, until a few years ago, existed only on paper.

The Taqwacores - a novel about a fictitious Muslim punk scene in the US - has spawned an actual movement that is being driven forward by young Muslims worldwide. Some bands - such as the Kominas - have a cult following. Others, such as Sabina, are virtually unknown. In a brief email exchange, she lays out some harsh truths.

Dutch-American Writer, "Resist"

Co-Founder Hans Koning Dies

Radical writer and "Resist" co-founder Hans Koning died April 13, 2007 at the age of 85 at his home in Easton, Connecticut after a short illness. The author of over 40 fiction and non-fiction books, he was also a prolific journalist, contributing for almost 60 years to many periodicals including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Harpers and The New Yorker.

Born in Amsterdam on July 12th 1921 to Elisabeth van Collem and Daniel Koningsberger, he was educated at the University of Amsterdam 1939-41, The University of Zurich 1941-43, and the Sorbonne in 1946. He was the grandson of the well-known Dutch poet Abraham van Collem.

Escaping occupied Holland with the Resistance (he was a wearer of the Dutch Resistance Cross), he was one of the youngest sergeants in the British Liberation Army, 7 Troop, 4 Commando, working as an interpreter during the allied occupation of Germany at the end of the war. His Major wrote of him, “The problems of occupation have been made much easier with the help of this NCO who not only knows the character and customs of the German people but has studied the academic approach to international affairs. Sgt ‘Hans’ as he is known to everyone in the battery has been a loyal and trustworthy member of the unit…his quiet sense of humor and his fundamentally serious mien have won him the friendship of officers and men alike”.

Wobblies Organize Brooklyn Warehouses

Caitlin Esch

From the Brooklyn Rail

In 1903, when Japanese and Mexican immigrant workers wanted to unionize in California, the American Federation of Labor denied them a union charter, refusing to work with non-whites. The Industrial Workers of the World, on the other hand, embraced workers of all colors, as long as they were a little “red.” At less than $4 an hour, some Mexican workers in Brooklyn today earn little more than they would have in 1903—and these workers are again turning to the IWW.

On March 10, in the sparsely inhabited industrial graveyard that straddles the borough divide between Brooklyn and Queens, 15 to 20 people picketed outside EZ-Supply/Sunrise Plus, a food distribution warehouse, to protest labor abuses. EZ-Supply/Sunrise Plus employs about 25 workers and is the largest of five food distribution warehouses in the area where workers are trying to unionize. The others—Amersino, Giant Big Apple Beer, Top City and Handyfat—employ about 65 workers total.

IWW organizer and do-rag bestyled Billy Randel explains that the point of the small picket, far from the eyes of the public, is to remind the owner, one Mr. Lester Wen, that he is being watched. Randel elaborates, “This warehouse is really bad. It’s one of the worst. When we first came in here about a year ago, workers were working 60 to 70 hours for around $350 a week.”

French Philosopher and Social Theorist Jean Baudrillard Dies

Elaine Ganley, Canadian Press

PARIS (AP) — Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.

Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.

Pollutants Change 'He' Frogs into 'She' Frogs

Marlowe Hood

PARIS (AFP) — Frogs that started life as male tadpoles were changed in an experiment into females by estrogen-like pollutants similar to those found in the environment, according to a new study.

The results may shed light on at least one reason that up to a third of frog species around the world are threatened with extinction, suggests the study, set to appear in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in May.

In a laboratory at Uppsala University in Sweden, two species of frogs were exposed to levels of estrogen similar to those detected in natural bodies of water in Europe, the United States and Canada.

The results were startling: whereas the percentage of females in two control groups was under 50 percent — not unusual among frogs — the sex ratio in three pairs of groups maturing in water dosed with different levels of estrogen were significantly skewed.

Francis Wheen: Show Me the Kapital to make "Karl Marx the Movie"
Oliver Duff

Francis Wheen's 1999 biography of Karl Marx portrayed an endearing, cigar-chomping Victorian hellraiser prone to intellectual bullying, drunken pub crawls and organising his daughter's suitors; penniless and largely ignored in his lifetime. Fans of the book included the militia leaders of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

Now Wheen, columnist, historian and deputy editor of Private Eye, is in talks to turn his opus into a film. On Friday, he met in Paris with the Haitian director Raoul Peck, a former cab driver who became the Haitian Culture minister during a brief democratic hiatus, soon to work with Martin Scorsese.

"It's early days, but quite exciting," Wheen tells Pandora. "Raoul Peck seems very nice. We're putting together a treatment and finding funds from somewhere."

Wheen has been here before - in 1999, with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, then boss of Miramax. Weinstein sent his emissary Tina Brown to London to tell Wheen that he loved the book, wanted Tom Stoppard to write a screenplay and planned to cast Ralph Fiennes as Marx and Gwyneth Paltrow as the aristocratic wife, Jenny von Westphalen.

Weinstein and Brown's interest evaporated. A subsequent BBC dramatisation was pulled when Greg Dyke "suddenly said he was fed up with 19th-century dramas with bonnets". Says Wheen: "I explained, unsuccessfully, that there aren't many bonnets in the Marx story."

Wheen's ideal casting? "Johnny Depp and [his wife] Vanessa Paradis."

Solve et Coagula writes: "It seems 'their' silly, poisonous and useless chemtrails didnt work out neatly, hmm!?!?! When do human beings realize/accept that we're part of Nature itself, to see the entire Cosmos as a lovely, caring Being where everything is in its perfect place for good reason, and when are we humble enough to start benefiting from these eternal forces..."

US Urges Scientists To Block Out Sun

David Adam and Liz Minchin

The US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming.

It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday).

The US has also attempted to steer the UN report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), away from conclusions that would support a new worldwide climate treaty based on binding targets to reduce emissions. It has demanded a draft of the report be changed to emphasise the benefits of voluntary agreements and to include criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol, which the US opposes.


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