Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Liberty and Security

Well, it's official, the knee jerk reaction to this countries (Ireland) rising organized crime problem has almost succeeded in wiping out what remains of what we once described as "Justice".

The old truism has finally manifested itself, there is no Justice, there's just us.

Gun crime has indeed increased in this country, this is due to a number of reasons, among which are the decomisioning and abandonment of Military campaigns by Militant groups in Ireland allowing their firearms to make it to the street, augmented by other factors like the changing demographics as many new cultures endeavour to make their home here, and of course the increased demand for cocaine. Cocaine demanded by, amongst other individuals, the fine solicitors of Ireland (at least two of whom I have actually seen imbibe the substance who will inevitably be applauding these recent decisions.)

Der ReichsFuhrer SS, sorry Justice Minister Michael McDowell as a response to the rising gun crime rate, the hysterical overreaction of the media, and the impending General Election has, in a body of new laws that resemble the American Rico Act of the 1970's decided to destroy many of the civil rights we take for granted.

It's the old story of loosing Liberty for Security. Didn't some American comment once on just such an exchange? Ah yes, I think it was Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

The proposed changes to our "justice" system will soon remove the right to silence of a suspect (a spin off of earlier anti-terrorist laws, where if an individual could not be proven to be a terrorist, his silence in response to questions would be taken as guilt, thus allowing a member of the police force to merely point and say, "he's a terrorist" which would be enough to secure a conviction). Also gone with the wind is a suspects right to have a trial by jury, leaving the decision to the Judge and whatever individual foibles he may have.

There are additional less concerning, though still worrying provisions that include the right to prevent a suspects release on bail whilst a trial is pending and allow full disclosure of a suspects criminal history during the trial.

Civil Liberties groups are described as being understandably "concerned". Really? concerned about the new abilities that allow the Government and its agents to condemn you to jail for undetermined amounts of time by merely pointing the finger at you, and saying that you are a "criminal".

Of course a Jury would throw this out of court, well, they would if you were still entitled to a Jury.

Perhaps it might be better to actually ensure that proper police work is actually done when dealing with these violent and ruthless criminals, police work that actually turns up what is known as "evidence" in order to put them away. This would thus make the streets safer whilst actually allowing the innocent to wander the streets without fear of arrest and imprisonment on the whim, grudge or impulse of an Officer of the law.

Or is that too forward thinking?

Peace and Hope


Gods in the Hills.

Image © Nicole Storck 2006.

Lady Wicklow shakes off her browns and greens this time of year only to reappear with a ruddy and sanguine coat pulled tight around her neck against the cold. It's a breathtaking season, that I have, thankfully over many years been able to enjoy from Wicklows frozen heart.

The wonderful thing about this time of year is that all we are required to do in order to capture at least some of its majesty is point and click.

I'm quite looking forward to my ascent of Tongalee which should be occurring sometime between Christmas and New Years. This time of the season, if you pay attention you can almost hear the breath of the land, inhaling and exhaling, belly moving in time with her breathing, as her mist drifts across the summits of the hills.

This anthropomorphism of Wicklow's ecology is, as I'm sure you probably suspect, not a new thing.

As a matter of fact, at the summit of Tongalee if you pause and look out across the valleys Eastward, you can see what the Pre-Christians used to call "the breasts of Danu" (or Brigit, depending on which books you read or which tribes cosmology you feel like subscribing to). A quattuorvirate of hills which the ancient tribes took as the physical personification of the mother goddess archetype, head, belly and breasts. This was where many religious and magickal rituals were performed to honour the land and its constant cycle of rebirth and death, right on her "bellys" apex.

Thanks to Nicole for the wonderful image.

Peace and Hope


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Anarchist Disaster Relief

I was just on my usual perambulations of the interwub, when I came across this article.

I no longer live in America, but that hardly counts with the speed of information nowadays it is as easy to keep up with current events as if my physical presence still resided in NYC. The news feeds I have been monitoring, regularly comment on how Anarchists, Burners etc are pretty much ineffective at doing anything that actually changes things for the better. These people are mostly seen as good natured hippies, hipsters and ehm, even Neophiles out to have a good time and pontificate about how they are changing the world, or planning do so, without, well, doing so.

Being of a Techno-Anarchist bent, I both agree with and despair of these comments. The above link gives me hope, and demonstrates how co-operation, imagination and dare I say it, even anarchism can coalesce and make a difference to peoples lives. Read the article, and realize that the co-operation is the natural state of humans, and not, as we may have been led to believe, competition.

Welcome to the work of the "Common Ground Collective"

It's a great example of Burners, Anarchists and various middle class counter culture types actually taking the initiative and creating a service that in many ways goes past what FEMA and the Red Cross are doing down in whats left of New Orleans. Its pretty much a "fuck you" to the naysayers.

Disaster relief as Civil Disobedience, many of the projects that these guys and girls have been up to, violate the law as it stands. They help people with medical, food and reconstruction aid and set up in areas that have not been "cleared" by the authorities, and reconstruct buildings that legally need a permit to do any work on, many times the Common Ground volunteers do not have said permit, but they do have the owners permission, and help. Common sense over bureaucracy.

When the Government has fucked up, its time to Fuck the government and do it yourself.

Anarchists functioning in an area where Government has completely failed.

Idealism turned to pragmatism.

Peace and Hope