Category Archives: Political

Janis Zhaklis – The Real Peter The Painter

Thanks to a comment from Ben, I’ve come to learn the real identity of Peter the Painter. He was a latvian named Janis Zhaklis. Ian Bone has covered the story and has an audio interview with Philip Ruff, who traveled to Latvia numerous times to uncover the story. (You can also watch the interview on youtube).

And there’s also an interesting bit about the story of uncovering the truth from the kate sharpley library (pdf).

The short of it is that Peter the Painter was not a damned bolshevik, and he most certainly wasn’t the bolshevik responsible for the literal eradication of the anarchists in soviet russia. That’s a relief. We get to keep our folk hero.

Folk Hero, Cop-Killer Anarchist Gets Plaques In London


Update: This is not a picture of Peter afterall! See the new post!

Peter the Painter, a notorious latvian revolutionary who holed up in London for a bit, has been honored with two commerative plaques on housing projects that have been named after him, much to the ire of the police.

Peter the Painter was the possibly fictional person responsible for the shooting death of three police officers… he and his gang (I find it humorous that all accounts talk about the “leader” of this or that anarchist gang) had been robbing a jewelry store to fund their revolutionary activity when they were stopped by police. They won that shoot-out.

Then there was the Siege of Sidney Street. The police tracked down Peter and his gang to a house on Sidney street and well, you guessed it, laid siege. In a perfectly Waco-like moment, “a fire broke out” and the firefighters were prevented from putting out the fire. Winston Churchill himself was present and nearly got pwned when a bullet flew through his top hat. Apparently, this moment was caught on film. I’d love to see it. So anyhow, there was a fire, but the anarchists inside didn’t just surrender out the front door. When police finally entered, they found Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow, anarchists, dead on the floor. No Peter the Painter.

Unfortunately, there’s a chance that Peter was another name for Yakov Peters, who was actually tried and acquitted (7 people, 5 men and 2 women, were tried and acquitted in the aftermath of the siege. None of them cops.), went on to go the Bolshevik route, ruining any good reputation he may have had, and helping form the Cheka, the first soviet secret police. He got his comeuppance in the great purge of 1938.

Now of course, the police in london are calling these plaques an outrage since they defend a “murderer”. Obviously, who gets to call whom a murderer is a matter of who wins the fight in the end… are revolutionaries murderers? Perhaps some of them. Perhaps even all of them. But if so, so are police, presidents, soldiers, executioners (hell, judge and jury at that)… the list goes on. Here were people committed to a purpose, one they considered noble, of human emancipation, when agents of the state came to try and take away their freedom. They defended themselves. I’m glad they’ve got a plaque or two.

Indian CEO Gets Pwned by Workers


Okay, so I’m not usually one to revel in violence and/or bloodshed. I truly believe that you can’t blow up a social relationship. But in India just now, a CEO was shown why you can’t treat people as objects [TimeOnline article]. After firing hundreds, the head of Indian operations for Graziano Transmissioni, an italian car-parts manufacturer, was killed by the angry mob of workers. What’s important to realize is that this is not a “murder” that has happened in a vacuum (as the Times article indicates by linking it with postal violence from the 80s). Globalization has been tearing apart India’s financial independence and the recent economic boom hasn’t done shit for the poor, at least what I can tell. Hell, even the minister of labor has declined to condemn the attack.

The murder has left much of corporate India in shock. However, Oscar Fernandes, who heads India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment, declined to criticise the attack.

The minister said: “Workers should be dealt with compassion … Workers should not be pushed so hard that they resort to whatever happened.”

Told You So


Last year I wrote an article for SteamPunk Magazine describing various end-of-the-world scenarios. And of those scenarios, the one that scared me the most was the melting permafrost = methane gas that cooks us all in the atmosphere. And it looks like that has started to happen. Basically, since the last ice age there’s been a whole bunch of ice that is trapping a whole bunch of methane. And methane is 20 times the global warmer than carbon dioxide. And that ice is melting. Runaway global warming. There’s an interesting analysis of the article at the very interesting site worldchanging.com.

As for solutions, scientists are looking at massive crazy experiments that might work or might make everything worse. Worldchanging.com is arguing for a “one world civilization”. Personally, I say civilization is what got us into this mess. I advocate actual sustainability, combined with bio-regionalism and decentralization. But mostly, I advocate enjoying the hell out of your increasingly short lifespan.

Oh, that picture, by the way, is from these bastards who actually want to mine the stuff and burn it actively as fuel. There might not be good and evil in an objective sense in this world, but there’s stuff that is globally suicidal.

Bill O’Reilly Makes Up Laws, Gets Hacked

In this delightful video, Bill O’Reilly says that WikiLeaks, the website that posted information gleaned by those who hacked Sarah Palin’s emails, should be held criminally accountable. The correspondent goes on to tear into him, and he refuses to listen in a remarkably textbook example of a man speaking over a woman who is more knowledgeable than he. Anyways, between this and another video in which he calls wikileaks despicable and slimy, some hackers got a little frustrated and hacked his website, posting the a screenshot of an admin panel, complete with subscribers and their passwords. LOL.

Alan Moore Rejects “Watchman” Film

Alan Moore, the genius behind so many wonderful comics, is once again watching what should be his intellectual property taken by hollywood without his permission. And no, he’s still not happy about it, as he told the LA Times. I interviewed Mr. Moore about a year ago about his views on anarchism as well as his take on steampunk (which can be found in SteamPunk Magazine #3). Of particular note is that there is a film he’s supporting, a documentary about him and his projects called The Mindscape of Alan Moore (see the trailer or order it).

 

 

 

Palin’s Email Hacked


It’s all over the news, of course, but McCain’s VP candidate Sarah Palin had her yahoo mail hacked by hacktivist non-group Anonymous. They posted the contents of the account to that glorious site WikiLeaks [ article / zip files ]. Besides just being a generally awesome thing to do, this is particularly interesting because Palin has been accused of using personal email to conduct state’s business to avoid FOIA access to her business. Well, when freedom is granted, it is taken. Here’s to Anonymous. An interesting article about Anonymous and the action can be found at Ornaments Of The Tree.