The languishing labor
by Farooque Chowdhury
Frontier | November 22, 2017
The tsarist Russia, the empire-system for which a section of today’s intellectuals feel love, was experiencing rapid capitalist expansion and growth till the World War I. Absence of profit wouldn’t have driven capitalists to the expansion. And, labor pushes up growth. And, having profit is impossible without toilers’ strained muscles and wet brows. And, the Great October Revolution is by the toilers.
Thus, toilers’ tale is essential to grasp the Revolution, the political process loved by the commoners while hated by the upper-class-brain. It – the toilers’ transcript – is a fundamental element required to evaluate the original “sin” Lenin and his Bolshevik “band” committed. Ignoring the toilers in the Revolution enables many theoreticians to equip themselves with “enlightened rationality” – bourgeois languorous concepts in the sphere of politics, an area full with conflict. Their purpose is to blind people so that people fail to define the Revolution aimed at achieving advancement in people’s lives.
An inquiry into the condition of labor in tsarist Russia eliminates all the “enlightened” circuit of analysis by the “humanist friends” engaged with finding out wrongs and injustices Lenin and his “gang” committed while organizing the Revolution – a process unprecedented in the world history.
Condition of labor is one of the indicators of exploitation and profit. An investigation into the condition also cancels all the condemnations of the political acts the proletariat in Russia had to initiate throughout the Revolution. The political acts grew from proletarian class-position, which is very often missed while observed through the prism of the bourgeois worldview. Despite that, the fact of toilers’ life that transpires from the inquiry, the bourgeois- and middle class-conscience feel pain with all the revolutionary acts the Revolution had to carry on in the face of situation, a part of which was imposed by the classes hostile to the Revolution, and a part was handed down by history carried past a long period of exploitation and treachery. The bourgeois- and middle class-conscience and -knowledge deny recognizing these facts, essential to comprehend the Revolution.
Rapid growths in the capitalist economy – Russia – required speedy growth of number of workers, without whose “spirited sacrifice” profit was impossible.
At the closing decades of the nineteenth century traditional Russian society began experiencing rapid transformation, and “[v]ast rural areas were soon converted into factory villages, and urban centers expanded to absorb new factories, shops, and residential districts. […] [M]ost significant of all, a new and greatly enlarged working population was formed as tens of thousands of peasants migrated from the countryside, forsaking their plows for jobs in cities and towns.” (William L Blackwell, The Beginnings of Russian Industrialization 1800-1860, Princeton, 1968, M I Tugan-Barnovsky, The Russian Factory in the 19th Century, Homewood, Ill, 1970, James H Bater, St. Petersburg: Industrialization and Change, London, 1976, etc. cited in Victoria E Bonnell, ed., The Russian Worker: Life and Labor under the Tsarist Regime, University of California Press, Berkley, Los Angeles, London, 1983, henceforth TRW)
“[I]n the Russian Empire in 1897, the year of the country’s first national census”, the total number of hired workers was 6.4 million, which included industrial workers, peasants in artisanal trades, workers in commercial firms, service, construction, transportation and communication sectors, and day laborers. In 1897, with more than half a million workers that included a large number of women and children, the textile industry (cotton, silk, wool and linen) was the largest single employer of factory labor. At the end of the 1890s, metal works employed about 414,000 workers, mainly male, and thus it was the second largest employer of factory labor. Artisanal workers including many craftsmen, a large and varied group, in urban areas labored for long hours in sweatshop conditions in subcontracting shops, many of which had features of preindustrial handicrafts production. At the turn of the century, the number of sales-clerical workers was more than 109,000 in St. Petersburg and about 86,000 in Moscow. Around 1900, most Russian workers had been born in the countryside and had spent their early years in a village. (TRW)
“Between 1860 and 1905 the number of railroad workers multiplied 67.7 times. In the decade preceding 1905 the work force more than doubled. During the boom years of the 1890s the number of workers employed in railroading rose by an average of 30,610 each year. Yet, between 1900 and 1905, when the new construction ebbed and increases in freight and passenger volume slowed owing to a depressed economy, the average yearly growth actually rose to 39,360. In 1870 there were 70,100 workers and employees on Russian railroads […] By 1890 there were 248,300, and by 1900, 554,400 […] In 1905, 751,197 workers and employees were employed in railroading […]” (Henry Reichman, Railwaymen and Revolution, Russia, 1905, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1987, henceforth RRR, emphasis in the original)
“[T]he working class in all branches of labor, both city and village, numbered in 1905, no less than 10 million, which with their families amounts to more than 25 million – […] more than the whole population of France […]” (Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution)
The increasing number was not the sole part of the story, however. Conditions of work and life of the working people were worse than animals in zoos. The following facts from the mainstream literature stand as evidences to the claim made above.
Stand for 18 hours & sleep beside machine
In Russia, “[i]n the last quarter of nineteenth century working hours were 12-14 hours per day. For 1885 […] 8 working hours were at 2,2% of factories, 9 hours – 2,1%, 10 hours – 18,1% , 11 hours – 20,8% , 12 hours – 36,8%, more than 12 hours – 20%.” The law on limitation of working day was issued on June 2, 1897, which set the maximum limit of working day at no more than 11.5 hours on weekdays and 10 hours on Saturdays and on days before holidays, or if the working hours at least partly fell on night time.” (Ekaterina Khaustova, “Pre-revolution living standards: Russia 1888-1917”)
“At the turn of the century, workers spent better part of their waking hours at the place of employment. Working time varied considerably according to the industry or occupation, but it was not uncommon for workers (especially those in artisanal shops and sales firms) to spend as much as sixteen hours a day at the workplace, six or seven days a week.” (Victoria E Bonnell, Roots of Rebellion, Workers’ Politics and Organizations in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 1900-1914, University of California Press, Berkley, Los Angeles, London, 1983, henceforth RR)
“[I]n the Tifflis [railway workshops] ‘a number of men stood for as long as eighteen hours’ and others ‘did not leave the shops for weeks on end and slept beside their machines.’ At the Moscow shops of the Moscow-Kazan Railroad workers complained that long hours left little time to tend to even the most basic necessities.’” (RRR)
“When, in 1899, Andreev [a railroad director] wrote in Zheleznodorozhnaia nedelia that the ‘largest part’ of complaints by engine-drivers of extensive overwork and 24-hour shifts were ‘no more than a powerful exaggeration,’ the editors felt obliged to interject a note to the effect that although violations of work-time norms might be rare on the South West Railroad, that line was unusual; on other roads violations were more the rule than the exception.” (RRR)
“As the old Bolshevik Sergei Alliluyev recalled, in the Tifflis shops if the Transcaucasian Railroad basic daily ‘wages decreased by about 40 to 50 percent’ in the 1890s. ‘To secure minimum living wage, every workman had to put in fifty working days a month. In other words, one had to stay for a further five or six hours at overtime.’” (The Alliluyev Memoirs, D Tutaev, ed. London, 1968, cited in RRR)
Boys & girls
“[I]t was not unusual for ten-year-old boys and girls to serve an apprenticeship in workshops and commercial firms. An oral contract concluded between parents and the shop owner committed these children to the employer’s tutelage and authority [….] [S]ome peasant youths entered an apprenticeship when barely into their teens, there were many others between the age of twelve and fifteen who performed unskilled factory work without the prospect of advancing to a more skilled and specialized occupation. […] [C]hild labor was especially prevalent in the textile industry […]” (TRW)
“Apprenticeship is generally very hard on children. At the beginning they suffer enormously, particularly from the physical strain of having to do work well beyond the capacities of their years. They have to live in an environment where the level of morality is very low. Scenes of drunkenness and debauchery induce the boys to smoke and drink at an early age.” (E A Oliunina, Portnovskii promysel, cited in RR)
Only tea & dark bread
To estimate a complete picture Ekaterina Khaustova compared main Russian cities with London, Amsterdam and Milan for the observed period. London workers enjoyed highest living standards and welfare ratio in Europe, Milan had the lowest standards of living among European cities while Amsterdam by the beginning of twentieth century had the middle place. The welfare ratios from 1888 to 1914 for unskilled workers in Moscow and St. Petersburg were higher than in Milan. But in case of Moscow unskilled workers situation was not that encouraging. The standard of living of workers in London was always much higher than that of workers in Russia. (Ekaterina Khaustova, op. cit.)
“A survey of lower administrative employees on the Nicolas Railroad revealed that most ate but one full meal a day, and many existed almost solely on tea and dark bread. A clerk on the Riga-Orel Railroad earning 30 rubles per month found this ‘not enough for milk and food for children, nor for vegetables … or even tobacco.” (RRR)
“Workers with families in the countryside spend the smallest possible amount of their wages on food and clothing. They send everything they can to their families. [….] The subcontract workers […] wear quilted jackets and felt boots. In these workshops, one can find half-dressed workers wearing nothing but a calico shirt, often torn and dirty, and a pair of faded pants and long underwear. They work barefoot. When they go out, they cover themselves with a jacket.” (RR)
Increase income by prostitution
“Two-thirds of textile and garments workers were female, and it was common for entire families to work in textile mills; women and girls worked as spinners and performed other unskilled operations, and men and boy apprentices worked as skilled machinists. Female workers received significantly lower wages than their male counterparts, and they were often subject to sexual harassment and even sexual abuse by managers and foremen. Labor activists complained that single workingwomen sometimes had no choice but to turn to prostitution to supplement their meager incomes. Women with families faced additional pressures. Fearful of losing their jobs for absenteeism, pregnant women worked throughout their pregnancies and returned to work almost immediately after giving birth.
[….] [In St. Petersburg], “workers […] commonly spent half their income on rent and food. Working-class life must have been lonely for many people; 60 percent of all workers lived apart from their families. The housing shortage forced many to rent not an apartment, not a room, but a corner of a room. In 1904 St. Petersburg officials estimated that an average of 16 people lived in each apartment with as many as six people to a room. Fewer than one-third of apartment buildings in working class neighborhoods had running water or indoor plumbing; workers relied instead on outdoors latrines and courtyard water pumps. Drinking water had to be boiled before it was safe because latrine waste often ended up in the same rivers from which the water supply was drawn. As might be expected, disease haunted the city. Cholera hit every three years on average, and tuberculosis and typhus were also serious problems. In fact, at the turn of the century, St. Petersburg had the highest mortality rate of any European capital, including Constantinople.
“One strategy workers used to cope with the problems of urban life was to form artels, cooperatives of 10 to 20 workers, often migrants from the same region, who pooled their wages to pay for food and housing. [….] The housing shortages meant that the poorest workers had no choice but to live in barracks provided either by factories or, in bigger cities, by charities. Photographs of these barracks indicate that as many as 75 workers slept in one large room. The furnishings in the sleeping room at the barracks of Moscow’s Prokhorovskaia Trekhgornia textile mill in the 1890s consisted of six plank beds: long, wooden platforms, each divided into more than a dozen sleeping spaces by foot-high partitions. Residents of the workers’ dormitory run by the St. Petersburg Temperance Society in 1909 at least had separate beds, which were numbered to prevent confusion in a room housing roughly 70 men. As if the privacy in the barracks was not bad enough, workers also suffered the indignity of knowing that when they were at work, someone else was sleeping in the space they have just vacated; day-shift workers slept in the barracks at night, and the night-shift workers occupied those same beds during the day.
“[….] Religions also played a part in the workers’ world; most factory workshops took up collections for candles and oil for icon lamps, and many workers attended church services. [….]
“Workers, of course, did not have intellectuals to explain that their lives were difficult. Skilled workers […] increasingly resented their low status and the glaring disparities between rich and poor. At the same time, recently arrived peasants, who had come to cities fleeing rural poverty, resented their new conditions, and many were willing to engage in violent protest. Their growing frustration so worried state officials that in 1990 the head of the Moscow police, Sergei V Zubatov, began to form government-sponsored workers’ clubs in the hope that sanctioned outlets for their grievances might lessen the appeal of socialism. Contrary to these expectations, workers in many cities transformed these clubs into de facto unions that called for radical reforms and played significant roles in strikes in 1903 and 1905.” (Frank W Thackeray, ed., Events that Changed Russia since 1855, “Industrialization, 1881-1913”, Greenwood Press, Connecticut and London, 2007)
Rent a corner
“Several families often shared a single room, which sometimes also served as a workplace for a garret-master shoemaker or tailor. ‘Rented rooms […] are generally overcrowded and damp. There is constant noise and hubbub in such living quarters, and workers can never find the relaxation they need after a hard day’s work. [….] [Unskilled and semiskilled] workers frequently rented a cot, or a corner of a room […]” (RR)
Taverns & beer halls
“During the leisure hours, many workers frequented the taverns and beer halls that were characteristic feature of working class neighborhoods. In the immediate vicinity of the St. Petersburg Putilov plant alone, more than fifty drinking establishments were operating at the turn of the century. When workers left factory gates at payday (Saturday), there was hardly a free place in these pubs. On Sunday, a full or partial day of rest, many workers attended services in the morning at the local Russian Orthodox church. Religious observance was widespread among all segments of the laboring population, and some employers even required church attendance as a condition of employment. Few workers’ quarters lacked ‘a holy icon, blackened with age, [hanging] in the corner,’ and an icon could be found in most places of employment.” (ibid.)
One note (no. 146) in the paragraph quoted above said: “An ethnographic study conducted in the 1920s reported that 70 percent of the male workers and 85 percent of the female workers who were interviewed had attended church prior to the 1917 revolution.” (ibid.)
“Outside the windows of my apartment, workers wander around aimlessly hour after hour, bored, sluggish, as though half asleep. On this gloomy autumn day I keep on thinking how much willpower and firmness of character a worker need in order to avoid the temptations which, in the provinces, destroy thousands of people, even among the intelligentsia. I have in mind alcohol, cardplaying, and sexual promiscuity.” (F P Pavlov, “Ten years of experience” in TRW)
Unable to eat
“I have seen women workers come into the refectory and fall on the benches in utter exhaustion, unable even to eat. They only wanted to lie there for a quarter or half an hour in order to rest their tired limbs and ease their headaches. By the time they are thirty, most of these women have been sapped of their strength through such long hours of labor and have lost the capacity for sustained work. This is why the labor force in the workshops is so young.” (E A Oliunina, “The tailoring trade in Moscow” in TRW)
No family contact
“Workers with families in the countryside did not always have regular or frequent contact with those they left behind. [….] Timofeev has recounted the situation facing such workers in capital metalworking industry: [….] Eleven of the eighteen men there were married, and all their wives lived in the village. Only one of them had been visited by his wife recently, and before that she hadn’t seen her husband in four whole years. One of them had lived there [St. Petersburg] for five years without seeing his wife.” (Timofeev, Chem zhivet, cited in RR)
“Railroading was thought to be overflowing with opportunity […] and the economic position of railwaymen was deemed enviable. As the former director of the South West Railroad, P Andreev, wrote in 1900: ‘No other department can claim as many institutions devoted to improving the lives of its employees as on the railroads: pension funds […] other departments don’t even dream; schools, hospitals, orphanages, affordable cafeterias, libraries, consumer societies – all aimed at bettering the lives of railroad employees…. [And] can anyone deny that salaries on the railroads are disproportionately higher than anyone else?’” (n. 1 in part 3: “Railroad labor: wages, hours, conditions”, ZhN, July 21, 1900, cited in RRR)
But, “[s]uch was not the view of most railwaymen. In the decade preceding 1905 complaints of inadequate pay, long hours, and harsh working conditions were endemic. It would be difficult to exaggerate the extent to which the pages of the railroad press were filled with vivid exposures of railroad poverty and an accompanying lack of official concern. [….] Andreev’s voice was lonely one, and his article, critics charge, was subjective, self-serving, and based solely on the exceptional experience of the South West Railroad, the merits of which he exaggerated. One critic pointed out that a comparison of daily wages in the workshops of the South West Railroad with those in private industry offered by Andreev was invalid, since the rates cited for railroad work were for 1898 while those for industry came from an 1893 study. In reality, wages in railroad shops probably lagged behind incomes in the private metal working industry.” (RRR)
Not even water
“Conditions of labor in the workshops were probably somewhat worse than in the metal industry as a whole […] On the Moscow-Kazan Railroad workers often supplied their own tools. [….] ‘Alongside the palatial workshops that have been built [in different industrial centers] exist […] slums […] ‘In some workshops they have hot and cold showers, in others they have to work in winter under an open sky, and inside it is dark and cold. [….] In some shops they dispense tea, in others not even water. In most shops at least some work, usually carriage repair, took place outdoors in freight yards or under a plain wooden roof open at the sides to the elements. Indoor workers complained of stale and dirty air, filled with smoke and coal dust, and of inadequate lighting, and railroad doctors generally the accusations. Shopmen also complained of headaches caused by incessant noise [….] Railroad doctors contended that railroading was exceeded in physical danger only by military combat.” (RRR)
Control leisure time
“Some workers knew little of city life, for they were not permitted to leave the workplace at mealtimes or even at the end of the workday. In many artisanal and commercial firms, workers remained confined to the shop during their laboring time, often for fourteen or sixteen hours at a stretch, taking all their meals in the workshop. [….] The right to depart at mealtimes represented only one aspect of a worker’s control over nonworking time. [….] At the turn of the century, there were still many segments of the St. Petersburg and Moscow labor force – mainly artisans, salesclerks, and service workers – for whom the workplace was both the location of employment and of lodging. [….] Workers forced to live on the premises of the shop had to endure the continual surveillance of the employer, who, in many cases, controlled not only working hours but also their leisure time. In many [shops], employers locked the doors at the end of the workday to prevent workers from departing.” (RR)
On the opposite of the workers, there were powerful figures. “The factory director […] wielded vast power over his employees, controlling the destiny of hundreds or even thousands of individuals. The shop owner was no less powerful, […] within the confines of the workshop or sales firm the employer could be a merciless tyrant […]” (TRW)
Tsar & god
“‘In the railroad world, the director is the tsar and god”, wrote a pamphleteer in 1906, echoing the very words used by one manager to subordinates just two years before.* Official authority could extend even to the private lives and leisure time of railroad staff. Early in 1905 workers on the Moscow-Vindau-Rybinsk Railroad demanded removal of the line’s assistant director, whom they charged with forcing workers to repair his apartment and clean his clothes. On one road in late 1890s the director forbade workers and nearby residents to hang laundry in places visible to passing trains so as to avoid offering passengers a ‘motley an unattractive’ view. When train greasemen on another line petitioned for a redress of their grievances, the director dismissed them haughtily, wondering with open contempt, ‘Do greasemen have right? What kind of right could they have?’
“Such abuses were not the sole preserve of higher officials. ‘He fails to grab only who does not want’ went a common saying on the railroad. It was normal, for example, for a stationmaster or road foreman to order a switchman or track repairman to milk his cows, feed his horses, hoe his cucumber patch, carry water to his kitchen, or chop his wood, even after a twelve-to-fourteen-hour shift. A chief clerk might force subordinates to overcharge shippers so that he might pocket the excess. On one road a worker unloading grain ripped the sole from his shoe and, after putting his bast sandals, was fired by the stationmaster for damaging railway property with his feet. The authority of the railway director could be so extensive and personalized that official wives often tyrannized subordinates alongside their husbands. ‘These “madames” played no small role in the organization and management of the work force,’ one memoirist recalled. ‘Since the creation of the world, not a single soldier has been subjected to as many officers as in this dismal railroad gloom,’ went a line from an [sic.] 1986 railroading tale.” (*Note 33 in part 1: “Railroad development and labor policy”: In 1904 a protest by four assistant engine-drivers against 24-hour work assignments drew the wrath of their director, who immediately labeled their complaint a strike. “How dare you talk like this to me!” he was reported to have declared. “After all, I am your tsar! I am your god!” Zhel, 56, June 22, 1904, RRR)
“‘It is difficult to find a sphere of labor so penetrated by the demoralizing influence of our old regime’, wrote the All-Russian Railroad Union leader V Romanov in 1906.* With some exaggeration, a former clerk on the Riazan-Ural Railroad drew an analogy with the patriarchal relations of the pre-emancipation village: ‘The legal position of the railroad worker, especially the manual worker, the man of the repair shops, the conductor, in short, the lower strata, was such that there was not the slightest distinction from the position of the surf. The difference was only that it was not the landlord who ruled over these railroad nobodies, but the railroad big shots, all sorts of officials, backed by gendarme’s fist. Repressions rained down as if from a horn of plenty. The arbitrariness of their rule defies description. Firings and fines, simply at the whims of this or that ‘Mr. Director,’ were interminable…. Tyranny was the very system of management.’” (*Note 38 in part 1: “Railroad development and labor policy”: I S Sokolov, 1905 god na Riazanosko-Ural’skoi zheleznoi doroge (Saratov, 1925). A reference to the pre-emancipation village was also made in Zheleznodororozhnoe delo (Zhel), a railroad publication, begun in 1882, as an organ of the Imperial Russian Technical Society, carrying articles on railroad policy and labor conditions in addition to technical pieces, 57, June 29, 1904. Zheleznodorozhnaia nedelia (ZhN), a publication more important than the Zhel, first appeared in 1899, criticized the relevant ministry and offered outlets for reform-minded officials, December 8, 1902, referred to officials and the majority of workers as “two hostile camps between which there could be no thought of comradely relations.” RRR)
More police than health staff
“The fundamental repressiveness of railroad labor relations was confirmed by the extensive activities of the railroad police. A special railroad gendarmery [were more in number] than there were staff employed in the entire public health section. [….] Though the function of the railroad police was ostensibly to protect railroad property, freight, and passengers, few doubted that their main purpose was to prevent labor unrest.” (RRR)
“Government officials were growing increasingly concerned about the spreading unrest. On November 4, 1902, just as the Rostov disturbances were beginning, a special meeting “to discuss measures for terminating criminal assaults on security of railroad movement” convened in St. Petersburg with Minister of Internal affairs V K von Plehve in the chair and Khilkov, Witte, Minister of War A I Kuropatkin, and other leading bureaucrats attending. Several railroad directors […] recommended concessions to some of the most pressing worker demands, including the eight-hour day and increased benefits for shop craftsmen. But a preparatory commission agreed with Khilkov to offer only periodic bonuses to permanent staff employees. The meeting itself decisively rejected economic concessions, particularly the eight-hour day, which as “a slogan of the socialist parties in the West and one of the central elements of foreign revolutionary propaganda among our workers” could have an “undesirable and wrong effect.” The meeting accepted Plehve’s proposal to increase the size and funding of the railroad police. More important, in order “to create among the workers a more settled cadre hostile to alien influences,” it was agreed to extend permanent staff status to an additional 40,000 craftsmen. These proposals were approved by the tsar on August 20, 1903, but never fully implemented. The modest steps taken were not popular among railroad administrators, who complained of the cost and also recognized the futility of seeking to assuage unrest by expanding the ranks of the privileged when this group itself, although not yet striking, was also growing restive.” (RRR)
Is this the whole?
These facts are not the whole. These are only a tiny fragment from only a few sources. Today, the mainstream research has dug mines of information on the pre-October Revolution working people-life in Russia. Those and its sources have been checked/verified, evaluated/assessed, compared by the mainstream research.
What’s the reality that surfaces? And, what are the connections within the reality? What’s the basis of the reality? Are these isolated arrangements/acts? Are these entrenched within a system? Does the system feed these, and, simultaneously, these feed the system? Is the reality suspended from nothing? Or, is the reality connected to classes holding property, and consequently, power? Is the reality a mere fact of exploitation? Or, is it also connected to politics of classes dominating the reality? How the classes dominate the reality? Is force absent in the entire reality? Isn’t that class force?
These are very elementary/rudimentary questions related to the issue – the Revolution. But, the questions are essential. Raising these questions and finding out answers to the questions again are needed now as a group of theoreticians are questioning the Revolution, the act the proletariat in Russia organized with a long persistent effort. The proletariat had to resolve the “riddles” – the questions; and the approach and method of the resolution was broadly and basically the same all antagonistic classes follow in an arena of socio-politics while one tries to retain its power of tyranny and another strives to demolish it. Emotion and logic based on individual level fail to find out answers to questions at class level. Bourgeois world view finds wrongs in proletarian world view. The group questioning validity, etc. of the Great October Revolution entraps it within this individual-based logic and bourgeois view – a pitiful position that denies recognizing historical process and class perspective but tries to evaluate a revolution by a class.
The article is the 1st section of the 5th part, in abridged form, of a series composed on the occasion of the Great October Revolution Centenary. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th parts of the series were originally carried by Countercurrents.org, and the series is now being carried by the web site of Frontier, an independent, radical weekly from Kolkata.
A few sources referred in earlier parts have been mentioned briefly in this part.
Farooque Chowdhury, a Dhaka-based freelancer, has not authored/edited any book in English other than Micro Credit, Myth Manufactured (ed.), The Age of Crisis and What Next, The Great Financial Crisis (ed.), and he doesn’t operate any blog/web site.