Activism and Wikipedia

Yeah, Wikipedia isn’t always accurate. You have to cross check what you find, to be sure of the accuracy (which you should have been doing anyway ). That said, it tends to be more accurate than a lot of sources, and you can find some truly amazing things there.

About 10-15 years ago my Father-in-Law bought Pierre Berton’s “The Great Depression”, a truly fantastic book. There was a lot that bothered me in that book, starting with the opening, which documents Toronto Police clearing the lawns of Queens Park with horses and clubs, because someone was speaking that they didn’t approve of. Rather than just arresting that one person, they assaulted nearly every person who was there, including people there to eat lunch in the sunshine, mothers walking their children, etc. This really bothered me at the time I read it. Heck, I didn’t believe it at first, but yes, this really happened.

So the other night I found a reference to a Red Squad, which was interesting, and lead me to an article at the University of Chicago about Red Squads, which lead me to a page about the Haymarket Bombing, which lead to an article about the Patriot Act in the USA, which lead me to an article about the Domestic Security Act of 2003, which lead me to an article about COINTELPRO, which lead me to an article about The Church Committee, which led me to an article on Red Scares or the Red Menace. And all of these articles are pretty accurate.

Why is this important? Because the Swedish Parliament has passed a regulation meaning that Swedes Are To Be Wiretapped, Despite Protests.

So it’s not only the USA going berserko with the Patriot Act, it’s not just the Italian Police beating protesters with truncheons, there is a madness which appears to have infected every country in the world, an insanity beyond parallel.

And if we don’t stop them, it will get worse.


Activism in Italy

V2 Day was Friday, April 25, 2008. V stands for “Vaffanculo” (“F… off”). It’s an Italian grass roots movement aiming to reform the Italian state. Needless to say it is not popular with the political class, and it’s been mostly ignored in the Italian media, even though there was a huge turn out on Friday, possibly as many as 1.5 Million people.

Of course Italy is different. The current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, elected earlier this month, owns most of the television stations, and a lot of the newspapers in Italy. As one columnist said, imagine Barrack Obama owning Fox, ABC, and CBS, controlling 90% of the TV Americans get to watch. As a result it’s not possible to get the sort of media coverage that would be possible with an independent press, so Italians have been organizing on the internet, where as comedian Beppe Grillo says, “We are all journalists.”

This is something that the politicians don’t like at all. Italy’s press is licensed, a hold over from the Mussolini regime, that was placed into law before World War II, and never withdrawn after Italy surrendered in 1943. An attempt was made to require all bloggers to be licensed, which thankfully died a quick death.

There’s an excellent article on the BBC which everyone should read, and those of us who don’t live in Italy should watch to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to us: