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Saturday, 25 October 2014 19:44
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The following article appears as the AF's contribution to the last printed issue of Freedom newpaper, October 2014. FreedomNews, the new online edition of Freedom, can be found on its shiny new website freedomnews.org.uk

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The Anarchist Federation has been going 28 years. We experienced our most recent growth in 2010-11 at the height of the actions against fees and cuts. Even as one of the larger anarchist organisations in Britain we are still small in absolute numbers and we recognise the need to continue to look for practical unity in our movement wherever possible and to support independent initiatives (such as the next issue of Black Flag which will come out again this bookfair after a year’s gap). At the same time we steadfastly continue to reject populism, electoralism and anti-organisational tendencies, to promote a social and communist anarchism.

As we covered our take on the situation ‘at home’ in the last issue of Organise! magazine (issue 82, May 2014), we’ll use the opportunity offered to us by the Freedom editors to update readers on what is going on in our international, the International of Anarchist Federations/ Internationale des Fédérations Anarchistes (IFA), founded in 1968. The AF has been part of IFA since 1999-2000 and are currently joined with anarchist federations of Argentina (FLA), Belarus (ФАБ), Bulgaria (ФАБ), Czech Republic & Slovakia (ČSAF), France, Belgium and Switzerland (FA), Germany & Switzerland (FdA), Italy (FAI), Iberia - Spain & Portugal (FAI) and Slovenia (FAO). Our latest addition is MASA (Rijeka) in Croatia who joined the FAO (Federation of Anarchist Organising) at their conference in June this year. The Secretariat of IFA rotates between 5 year congresses and after we’d taken our turn the FAI (Iberia) and, since the last Congress which took place in parallel to the St. Imier gathering in Switzerland during 2012, the FA (Fédération Anarchiste) currently holds the reins.

Important things are happening in Central Europe and the Balkans. Freedom readers will be familiar, even if they don’t know the details, about an uprising in Slovenia in 2012-3 which brought people on to the streets across the country (full story in Organise! 83). The FAO was instrumental in creating a strong libertarian current.

Internationalism has been strengthened in the region with the continuation of communications helped by successive anarchist bookfairs, the latest of these having taken place this year in Bosnia. As the joint participant statement read, “The need to confront nationalist ideology from a radical and anti-authoritarian perspective brought us together in Mostar on the 5th and 6th of September 2014, for the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. We came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Greece and other countries outside the Balkan area. The true nature of nationalism is nowhere more obvious then in Mostar, a city divided in two, with the signs of wartime brutality still evident in the streets of the city. It is essential to realize that this division was not the cause of war, but the consequence of wars and nationalist ideologies created by the ruling class.” Repression is also a constant feature for anarchists in the Balkans and Central Europe, including Belarus where we supported comrades undertaking speaking tours in Western Europe and with practical solidarity, and previously we joined the support for the Belgrade 6 prisoners in Serbia.

Another important area for IFA is North Africa and the Middle East. Renewed communication started in Tunisia several years ago resulting from the ‘Arab Spring’. Anarchists are most recently experiencing repression in Egypt. Thanks to the FA’s outreach we now have much better connections into the region which means a more meaningful solidarity is possible.

Elsewhere, IFA has been quick to support emerging initiatives such as the Observatario Crítico in Cuba and its exciting new connection through Taller Libertario Alfredo López in Havana with the comrades of Kiskeya Libertaria in the Dominican Republic, who have now come together to form a Spanish-speaking Caribbean Anarchist Federation. This adds to existing links Central and South America. Other meaningful contacts are being developed with anarchists in Greece, Iraq (Kurdish), Turkey, Poland, Iceland, the Philippines and Korea.

Being involved in IFA is always interesting. We are a grouping of social anarchist federations, not a single international anarchist federation with uniform ideas and structures between all of its member organisations. It has taken many years of membership for the AF to understand the effects of differences in level of consensus required for decision making. A more obvious challenge is language. As the AF (and this surely applies to the whole of the anarchist movement in Britain) we know we don’t translate nearly enough material ourselves and so we benefit greatly from the efforts of comrades in other countries who handle the enduring privilege of English as a language of international communication with no complaint (the other main language of communication in IFA is Spanish). Currently the German speaking federation (FdA) has tasked the whole of IFA to understand our constitutional differences even better so we can work together most efficiently.

Face-to-face meeting is vital to IFA. We meet 2-3 times a year at formal delegate meetings (Commission de relations de l'internationale des fédérations anarchistes, CRIFA) and at bookfairs. This year we will welcome IFA comrades, amongst other international participants, at AFem 2014 as well as the London bookfair.

Mike, AF International Secretariat Coordinator & IFA contact. www.afed.org.uk

For more information and specific activities visit http://i-f-a.org

Saturday, 25 October 2014 18:51
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We are pleased to announce a 12-page issue of our paper Resistance (#157, ANGRY WOMEN WIN) for October 2014 and we also have a brand new Organise! magazine - issue 83 Winter 2014, plus a new edition of our pamphlet Basic Bakunin.

Resistance #157 and Basic Bakunin are free downloads (or to order in print) and Organise! is currently available as a single issue or annual subscription in print direct from us and is also available, as usual, from the AK Press and Active Distribution online shops.

Get Organise! 83 now from Active Distribution: http://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/magazines/3337-organise-83.html (you can also order the latest issue of Black Flag: http://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/magazines/3336-black-flag-236.html ).

Bulk orders are available - email distribution [at] afed.org.uk for details. Please note we have suspended new subscriptions to Resistance due to our move to larger but irregular themed issues (we have written to all current subscribers about this change).

See below on the home page for full details, or use the above links in the 'Publications' menu on our site.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:14
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The Ebola catastrophe that threatens to be the next deadly pandemic is entirely unleashed by capitalism and will be a holocaust against the poor.


It is a product of environmental destruction, overcrowding, hunger and the absence of public health infrastructure - exacerbated by years of war.

The virus is not new and has been extensively studied for nearly 40 years, not least because it's first appearance in 1976 in Southern Sudan and then in Congo (from whose Ebola river it gets it's name) was suspected of being a Cold War biological plot by the respective rival super powers.

It is one of a range of Haemorrhagic Fever viruses to have dwelt harmlessly in their hosts in deep forest interiors that have crossed the species barrier as environmental exploitation for logging and minerals brings them into closer contact with humans.

Previous outbreaks of virulent diseases like Ebola or Marburg virus (more familiar as Green Monkey disease) have occurred in small isolated communities and have been ruthlessly quarantined to burn themselves out, often by the affected communities themselves. But war and commercial interest have rapidly increased urban migration and populations living in large shanty towns. Poor in income and food choices, many are dependent on the trade in 'bush meats' to eat, increasing contact with host species. In the case of this outbreak, the trade in Fruit Bat meat, a known host of the virus, is seen as the most likely cause.

Now, poverty, combined with overcrowding and poor sanitation have turned what might previously have burned out into a raging firestorm - with very few people to fight the fire. Liberia had just 100 medical doctors at the beginning of the outbreak and the medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has borne the brunt, with the help of local largely unqualified volunteers. This has been the case in Guinea and Sierra Leone too.

It is the scale of this challenge versus the paucity of resources that has led to the abandonment of well established protocols for responding to an outbreak. And it has come as no surprise. In May, MSF made clear they were overwhelmed and that neither they nor the governments of the affected countries could contain or treat the epidemics. They had indicated in March that this point would soon be reached.

Seven months later we prepare for its imminent arrival in the world outside Africa, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The World Health Organisation and United Nations appear to have woken up - but they are not benign third parties, they are effectively the international organs of the wealthy major powers. While promises and preparations begin for an effective response, infection rates are rising exponentially, doubling every 3 weeks. Numbers in West Africa, as more countries in the region report cases ( notably Nigeria, Africa's largest economy), are expected to rise from the current 10,000 to nearly 1,500,000 early next year.
Care currently, where it's provided, is palliative - there is no available treatment or vaccine. If people survive long enough through feeding and hydration, their immune systems begin to fight back and may beat the virus. 50% will survive. Where this care isn't available, mortality soars to 70-80%. The maths is not rocket science.

Comparisons of scale and proportionality are erroneously being draw with other major global killers like Malaria and HIV, but these are diversions that don't stand up to scrutiny.

Malaria kills nearly a million people a year with perhaps 200 ,000,000 cases. On the face of it, Ebola seems negligible. But malaria is a known quantity and people with malaria do not go on to infect twice their number every 3 weeks.
HIV began as a cross species infection, probably in the 1950's. Its asymptomatic phase is around 10 years and while it can be specifically transmitted, it is not infectious passing through ordinary human contact.

There is however one striking parallel - those who these diseases kill are overwhelming the worlds poorest people, and as with Ebola, the rich world belatedly responded when its own interests of commerce and profit where threatened.

It took 15 years for effective HIV treatments to emerge following the first reported cases, a luxurious time scale compared to Ebola.

Poor people, black people, cheap labour, capitalism's 'variable capital' is seen as expendable. But now the developed world's trade, profit and security interests are directly affected, and capitalism belatedly responds. Its self interest is always short term and this greedy self interest now confronts us with a potential crisis of unimaginable proportions.

Africa is portrayed as a continent in perpetual crisis - those portraying it as such seldom own up to being the cause. As the state managers of capital prepare to pull up the drawbridge and impose their own forms of self interested quarantine, millions in Africa will be left to die.

Governments are already using this, as with the other monsters they have created (the war on terror, recession and debt) to cow and intimidate us into compliance and submission - if we let them!

Even when this slaughter has been stopped or burned out, the ruthless exploitation of the planet and its people for profit has more doors to catastrophe to open to enrich the few at the expense of the rest of us. Our struggle against it is literally a mater of life or death. Its eradication or ours.

Saturday, 20 September 2014 15:55
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Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair - September 13, 2014.


Over the Walls of Nationalisms and Wars

https://bask2014.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/over-the-walls-of-nationalisms-and-wars/

Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair

It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990’s helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.

The need to confront nationalist ideology from a radical and anti-authoritarian perspective gathered us in Mostar on the 5th and 6th of September 2014, for the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. We came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Greece and other countries outside the Balkan area.

The true nature of nationalism is nowhere more obvious then in Mostar, a city divided in two, with the signs of wartime brutality still evident in the streets of the city.

It is essential to realize that this division was not the cause of war, but the consequence of wars and nationalist ideologies created by the ruling class.

This was clear to the demonstrators in Tuzla who wrote the graffiti “Death to nationalism” as well as to demonstrators in Mostar who burned down the headquarters of both nationalist parties in February.

Still, in other parts of the world new nationalisms and conflicts are being created on similar lines and with predictable consequences.

Many in the Ukraine today think they have to respond to the false choices of war posed by states and corporations (amongst them are even some anarchists and “anarchists”[1]. We, however, maintain that nationalism is always an ideology that reproduces the State, a system of repression and exploitation, and pits the exploited and oppressed against one another. Today we see in the Ukraine the same mechanism that was used also in the war(s) in former Yugoslavia: Nationalism is the tool of those in power to push people into war for the interests of capital. As anarchists, we opposed all war efforts in former Yugoslavia through solidarity that continues to this day. Far from liberal pacifism or obsessions with left-nationalist guerrilla armies, our struggle will never take the side of militarist politics and the destruction that all states are based on.

Against nationalism, militarism and war! Against all governments and states! For solidarity and autonomy!

___________________________

[1] From anti-colonial nationalists of “Mlada Bosna” from Sarajevo of 1914 influenced by anarchism, and especially to the case of posers like the “anarcho”-nationalist group “Slobodari” from Sarajevo of 2014, all attempts of combining anarchism with nationalism, have shown that the result is simply: nationalism. “Slobodari”, are a small group from Sarajevo who pose as anarchists but are in contact with Nazis from the Ukraine (the so called autonomous nationalists “Autonomous resistance” ). They have many websites which created a lot of confusion, including a Balkan anarchist black cross website, more on this here: http://www.sabotagemedia.anarkhia.org/2014/03/on-self-styled-libertarians-and-antiauthoritarians-from-bosnia/

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See also, transcript of Slovenian radio show prior to the bookfair (English part is at 1:48 till 20:00 with one song in between):

http://www.radiostudent.si/druzba/crna-luknja/bask-septembra-2014-prihaja-v-mostar


English text from the radio show:
We turn our attention today to the Balkans as seen, understood, imagined and built by the anarchists of the region. After last year's inspiring gathering in Ljubljana they will be meeting, plotting and mingling at the Balkan anarchist bookfair again in early September this year. This time in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a brief introduction we will hear more about the bookfair directly from Alan, one of the Mostar comrades.
History teaches us that stakes are high in the Balkans, even more so in precarious times of ours when the usual balance of power is often challenged on both global geopolitical and local level. Sometimes by the genuine aspirations of people striving to build the world free from all exploitatin, but often also by dodgy interests working in the shadows.
As we all know it was in the Balkans that the first shots of the I. World War were shot a century ago. That war ended with mighty empires destroyed and promises of a new revolutionary and just world still not fully betrayed by the self-appointed avantgadist class. The Balkans remained a space of social and political experimentation throughout 20th century. It had its share of radical workers struggles and inspirational and to same extent successful revolutionary projects. It also had its share of military dictatorship, totalitarian one-party rule and war. Despite its many promises 20Th century ended with the war that tore Yugoslavia apart and stroke a huge blow to the vision of just, anti-capitalist and anti-nationalist future in the Balkans.
Now back to the present. The Balkans has not remained calm during the latest capitalist crisis that is – rather predictably – being used by global financial institutions to redistribute the wealth towards the already rich, using the forcefully imposed regime of austerity as a tool. That Greece has been a laboratory of not only the neoliberalism but also of the resistance against it is widely known. But in recent years mass protests against the continuous social destruction erupted in an unprecedented way in Bulgaria, Slovenia and to a lesser degree in Croatia. And while Serbia is being constantly on the edge of an eruption, some promising antiauthoritarian struggles against capitalist nigtmare are emerging also in Romania around the opposition to Rosa Montana gold mining project.
And in february this year Bosnia and Herzegovina was the site of the last and maybe the strongest expression of rejection of capitalist conditions that are being imposed on the people by the country's nationalist elites.
It is fitting then that Mostar, a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be a host to this year's Balkan Anarchist bookfair. Under the theme “Over the Walls of Nationalism” many anarchists and other anti-authoritarians of the Balkans and beyond will converge in Mostar in the early days of September this year.
We were speaking with Alan about the bookfair, the recent uprising in Bosnia and its aftermath, the pressing issues facing anarchists in local context of Mostar and about the role that anarchism and anarchists could have in a place that has been so devastated recently by capital and nationalism.
[Intervju]
The invite is open to all anarchist and antiauthoritarian groups, individuals, publishers, initiatives and projects from Balkan and beyond. Come and participate at the bookfair, in discussions and meetings which will help us build solidarity networks and strong anti-nationalist and anti-capitalist movement in the Balkans and beyond. All the latest information about the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2014 in Mostar can be found at the webpage: bask2014.wordpress.com or just search the web for Mostar
Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2014. See you soon in Mostar! Vidimo se uskoro u Mostaru!

 

 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 12:42
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Once again the news coming out of Ireland regarding the welfare of women and children is both appalling and yet unsurprising.

The country which imprisoned and starved women and their babies for being respectively pregnant and illegitimate and which buried them in mass graves, has committed another atrocity against a woman. She is unnamed, a non-national, who speaks little English and was, at the time the crisis pregnancy began, a minor aged 17.

This woman has suffered multiple rapes. Firstly she was raped by the penis, then by the medical instruments wielded by doctors and other practitioners who forced the equipment into her body, down her throat and into her abdomen and womb. She was forced to carry the foetus she did not want. The whole horrible, sad mess is another example of how a male-based, church-based, state based power deals with women who don’t fit and accept its structure. When we do not accept the power of a male-based religion, a capitalist patriarchal state we are assaulted by its full strength.

When Savita Haloppanovar died in Galway 2 years ago, after being refused a termination despite being in the throes of miscarriage and suffering from septicaemia, many reproductive rights activists including myself, thought, this is it. They can’t allow any more disasters like this. The law will change, people needing terminations will be able to get them where they need them and when they need them. We thought the Irish State would not want to expose itself to any further international embarrassment. In the last month the Irish State has been heavily criticised by the United Nations for its cruel abortion legislation. But, no. The wheels of legislation rumble slowly and the bodies of those pregnant are ground between the cogs of the machine.

The State does not exist for the welfare of its citizens. The State exists for the benefit of, amongst others, the powerful and the rich, the religious hierarchy and those who benefit from patriarchy. We anarchists know this well. Horror stories such as this one will continue as long as we are governed . It will only be in an anarchist revolution that all the components of this horrible story, from male violence, oppressive state legislation, medical dominance, ageism where young people’s decision making is invalidated will be removed. The organisations working in Ireland are campaigning for the repeal of the 8th amendment. Whilst this will improve the situation it will not truly free us. The power of the state will remain.

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