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Isocracy Newsletter #11 March 15, 2011


Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Woodrow Wilson (U.S. President, 1913-1921, Speech at New York Press Club 9th September 1912)

Election Round-Up

On March 4 Presidental elections in Togo have resulted in incumbent Faure Gnassingbe of the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) winning 1.24 million votes, defeating Jean-Pierre Fabre of the centre-left United Forces for Change with 692 thousand. Local and international observers said the election was transparent and devoid of violence. Prior to 1991, the RPT enjoyed 22 years of single-party rule.

Parliamentary elections were held in Iraq on 7 March 2010 for the the 325 members of the Council of Representatives of Iraq. The Council elects both the Prime Minister and President. The election was planned for the same day as a referendum on the Status of Forces Agreement. Final results in terms of raw votes are 554,000 for the State of Law Coalition (theocratic, Shi'ite, includes militant anti-occupation elements), 452,000 for the Iraqi National Movement (secular, includes anti-occupation elements), 400,000 for the National Iraqi Alliance (theocratic Shi'ite) and 301,000 for the Kurdistani Alliance (secular, centre-left, ethnic).


1. Bombings in Lahore

There has been three related bombings in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, killing seventy-two people. The March 8 bombing has killed 13 and injured 90 and targetted the Federal Investigation Agency. On March 12, there were two bombings, both near the Royal Artillery Bazaar, the apparent target a nearby military convey. The two bombings killed 59, including 10 soldiers, and wounded approximately 100. Local Police officials have said that the death toll is likely to rise. In the late afternoon, five more bombs were detonated in an Iqbal Town market, causing injuries.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for these attacks arguing retribution for recent attacks by the Pakistani military and the United States Central Intelligence Agency on tribal areas and to avenge the death of Qari Zafar.

2. Religious Riots in Jos, Nigeria

Clashes between Christians farmers and Muslims pastoraliss in the central-plateau region near the city of Jos has led to several hundred dead. The follows violence with two hundred fatalities in January. In 2001, a thousand people were killed in riots, and in 2008, approximately 300. According to the New York Times, the slaughtered villagers were Yoruba, mostly Christians farmers, slain by machete attacks from the Hausa-Fulani, a group of Muslim herdsmen. More than 5,000 people have been displaced in the violence.

3. Thai court seizes Thaksin assets; Protests Arise

More than $1bn USD of the frozen assets of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, will be confiscated after a court ruled that he had abused his power. Thailand froze $2.3bn of Thaksin's assets after he was forced from power and convicted of graft in absentia. The pro-Thaksin movement ("red shirts"), known formally as the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has led a march of tens of thousands in Bankok against the judgment, with large numbers combing in from the countryside where Thaksin is popular among the impoverished, and demanding the resignation of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Prime Minister, who has the support of the People's Action for Democracy ("yellow shirts"). PAD supports a significantly greater role for the royal family and military in determining the make-up of parliament.

The political crisis triggered by Thaksin's ouster has left Thailand and its economy in a state of unrest and uncertainty over the past four years, with frequent protests, airport blockades and three changes in government in 15 months.


1. Tanzania and Zambia are currently lobbying for exemptions to the existing worldwide ban on ivory trading. The ban has been succesful in reducing poaching and reducing prices for ivory. Despite the ban, some 30,000 African elephants are still killed illegally for ivory each year. Another group of African states have countered by calling to extend the trade ban for 20 years. The UN Endangered Species will be meeting this week; the following Avaaz petition will be delivered in to the UN meeting in Doha:

2. The Spanish Supreme Court is considering stripping stripping Judge Baltasar Garzón of his license. Garzón is internationally famous for investigations against crimes against humanity. However he has recently engaged in local corruption scandals. He is accused of violating the 1977 amnesty law, but legal experts say international law states that crimes against humanity cannot be amnestied.

3. America's Alaskan rainforest, the Tongass National Forest, is under threat from new legislation in Congress that will transfer much of the land to the Sealaska Corporation for industrial clearcut logging and other private development. Sealaska Corporation has already clearcut some 300,000 acres of the best and biggest trees on the Tongass, exporting the timber to international markets.

4. Papua New Guinea is probably the worst country in the world in terms of domestic violence and rape, with some 60% of men admit to participating in gang rape. In 2008, the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, spoke publicly of his shame over his country’s appalling rates of domestic violence. Then last year, he made a commitment to eradicate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. Amnesty International is hand delivering a petition to the Prime Minister in Port Morseby, calling publicly for action to back his words.

Interview with Joe Toscano, Anarchist Media Institute

Dr. Joe Toscano, of the Anarchist Media Institute, is a well-known libertarian activist. A medical practitoner and surgeon, he has run the Anarchist World radio show on 3CR since 1977 and producted a weekly newsletter, the Anarchist Age Review, since 1991. He was a chief organiser of the 1986 Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations. One of the most prominent recent campaigns he has been involved in is founding and promoting "Defend and Extend Medicare", Australia's public health system, through decentralised community groups. The groups attracted not only the criticism of the government's health minister (and now opposition leader) as well as briefing papers on the activists by "a senior intelligence official".

The Isocracy Network raised a number of questions with Joe, which he responded en bloc Firstly Joe, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on The Isocracy Network. Can you give our readers a brief background on your own activities and that of the Anarchist Media Institute? You're an anarchist, you are not enrolled to vote, and yet you stand as a candidate for Federal parliamentary elections and as the Lord Mayor for Melbourne. You have probably received some criticism, both by from fellow anarchists and from mainstream politicians. Why do you do this? Politically, you've advocated delegative and direct rather representative and indirect democracy, and collective rather than representative decision-making. A serious criticism of this model is that majorities can - and often do - oppress minorities. What are the limits of collective action in your view? What about economically models of organisation? What is your perspectives on anarchist economic organisations, such as mutualism, or commonwealth approaches, such as Georgism? Finally, what are the priorities of activity for an politically-involved anarchist today?