“All The News That Ain’t Anent,”

Weldon, others and I go back a way. All the way to the Best of the Fray on Slate. I am a numbers guy still steeped on the engineering side. Weldon is a journalist.

Bad Crow Review, “All The News That Ain’t Anent,” Weldon Berger, (substack.com).

New York Times journalists in mass strike for first time in 40 years

New York Times journalists have committed some absolutely rotten journalism over the years, whether downplaying Hitler’s anti-Semitism in 1922, or writing a puff piece about Der Fuhrer’s mountainside retreat for the Times Sunday Magazine in August of 1939, barely a month before he invaded Poland, or pretty much everything about any war ever. Also cops, Covid, LGBQT issues, Trump, whatever.

But the living ones have a union, they’ve been working without a contract for going on two years, the management are incredible whiners — “It is disappointing that they are taking such an extreme action when we are not at an impasse” — and the contract terms the Guild are fighting for include such things as raising the base salary from $45,000/yr, which is absurd for New York City, to $65,000, which is better but not lavish, and asking for raises that are at least within shouting distance of inflation. And the company is doing quite well.1

So it was that yr. editors did as the Guild requested and stayed away from Wordle today, breaking our modest winning streak and a bit of our heart as well. If you’re a Wordler or a subscriber you might consider avoiding the site for the nonce.

More suspects wanted in foiled German coup plot

One senses that this investigation could last some considerable while, and that at some point it will intersect with our own far-right.2

The interior minister of Germany’s Thuringia, Georg Maier, told DLF broadcaster on Thursday that more arrests were “expected” after police had time to process and analyze evidence seized during the raids, including cell phones.

Germany’s far-right scene has a strong presence in the eastern state, which is home to a hunting lodge owned by suspected Reichsbürger ringleader, Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, and which is now the scene of an investigation. The 71-year-old Reuss, who comes from an aristocrat family, was arrested at his house in Frankfurt on Wednesday.

Maier added that the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had provided a forum for anti-government rhetoric in Thuringia, and elsewhere.

“The AfD has become more and more radicalized. It spreads these conspiracy fantasies and fantasies of overthrowing [the government],” Maier said. The AfD is already being monitored in Thuringia for suspected “anti-constitutional” activities.

“. . . far-right scene . . .” brought Dragnet to mind. We were undercover investigating LA’s far-right scene. The berets were working.

opening a coalmine in Cumbria is a climate crime against humanity

The Tories decided to go ahead with a new coalmine, and why not?

This mine threatens to pump out 9m tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – equivalent to the cities of Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast combined. Tory backbencherssenior figures and even the former Cop26 president, Alok Sharma, have all begged the government not to open this mine. But now, past climate pledges to reduce emissions and phase out coal have been conveniently forgotten, and current clamours have fallen on closed ears. Our oft-trumpeted claims of climate leadership bypassed; our credibility on the world stage in tatters.

It’s equally false for ministers to claim now that, after the devastating war in Ukraine, we need to ensure that energy bills don’t spiral further and rely on our own “domestic resources”. Whitehaven will produce coking coal for the steel industry, not for power generation – it will make absolutely no difference to household energy bills, and will do nothing to improve domestic energy supply.

Yet even the steel industry itself neither wants nor needs this coal. British Steel (one of the UK’s two major steel customers) has said it is unlikely to use the coal, owing to its high sulphur content. A steel expert states that the mine “would not displace a single tonne of Russian coking coal from the UK”, since Russia also uses a different type of coking coal. As the Climate Change Committee notes, the site won’t support the UK steel industry at all because 85% of the coal will be exported abroad.

Ah. That’s why not.3

Why ‘Mutual Aid’? – social solidarity, not charity

Mutual-aid is a concept born from a curious hybrid of Russian evolutionary theory and anarchist thought. It is, specifically, an idea associated with Peter Kropotkin – a well-known anarchist-socialist thinker – also a naturalist, geographer, ethnographer and advocate of scientific thought. Kropotkin, along with other Russian scientists, developed mutual aid in response to the profound impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theory and the focus on competition among his adherents.

Most people have heard the phrase “survival of the fittest” or the more poetic idea of life as “red in tooth in claw” – but they are quotes often misattributed to Darwin himself. These clichés that emphasize war, violence, and destruction in the struggle for life were first used by one of Darwin’s adherents, Herbert Spencer, who was a social scientist as much as a biologist. Spencer believed in the progressive evolution of not only organisms but also human societies and helped to popularize evolutionary theory as a social, and not only biological, phenomenon. Humans are, after all, an element of nature.

Kropotkin, however, was deeply concerned about an interpretation of evolutionary theory that emphasized hostility and competition, especially when extended, as it still often is, to the social and political lives of human beings. He saw that “survival of the fittest” would inevitably be used to justify poverty, colonialism, gender inequality, racism and war as “natural” processes – innate and immutable expressions of our very genetic being.
. . .
Mutual aid has extended past this foundational argument over species evolution and biology to become a fundamental tenant of anarchist (libertarian-socialist) practice. Today its influence has pervaded a vast array of left-leaning social movements worldwide. The examples are numerous and diverse. Think occupied buildings which provide refugee housing in Europeself-managed security and medical clinics in GreeceAutonomous Tenants’ Unions as in Chicagoself-organized “Free Schools” across the U.S.worker controlled “mutual aid” funds, or rank-and-file labor organizing.4

We were just talking about rank-and-file labor organizing yesterday. The potential of it is unifying workers across the artificial divisions created by organizing them under the banners of individual crafts, where they’re concerned primarily with their own parochial concerns rather than broader working class ones. A unified rank-and-file force would obviously wield a lot more clout, with the constant threat of what would now be labeled as a general strike if worker needs were unmet. And one of the essential elements of successful strikes is mutual aid.

Yr. Editors Are Feeling Unwell

Yr. Editors are feeling unwell. We will be fine, it’s more a melancholic thing than a physical one, but newsletters may be a little sparse on the ground for a few days, and consist more of quotes than our own sparkling prose when they do surface. Bear with us.

Buzzcocks, “Sonics In The Soul;” The Only Ones, “Special View;” The Mowgli’s, “Waiting For The Dawn;” we like their music but that apostrophe wears on us.

And that, comrades, is all we got. Be well, take care.

1 The Guardian on the Guild walkout at The Times

2 Deutsche Welle on the German coup plot

3 A Green Party MP on Cumbria’s newly approved coal mine

4 Open Democracy with a primer on mutual aid