MAY 2013 RESISTANCE is out. THE GREEN SHOOTS OF REVOLT (Bedroom Tax), Pro-choice in Ireland, Benefits interviewee campaign, Bristol Bookfair report (and forthcoming Sheffield bookfair), Greece migrant worker attacks, Bangladesh factory solidarity, Jock Palfreeman prisoner support.
The Green Shoots of Revolt
Spring finally came at the end of April. But the same month saw a raft of new attacks on living conditions being pushed out by the State. Especially nasty have been cuts to welfare that many people - in work or unemployed - depend on because of low-pay, lack of work or inability to do paid work.
One of the high profile changes is the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ which means many council house and housing association tenants are facing bills or housing benefit cuts for having spare rooms. As well as the bills, people are feeling under pressure to move to smaller places that may not even be available. Many people need spare rooms for a variety of reasons - and why shouldn’t we have space for friends or family anyway?
Quite rightly the Bedroom Tax has caused an anger which has seen people taking to the streets in many towns to say ‘Can’t pay, Won’t pay!’
Often this has involved pressuring local councils not to evict anyone who gets behind. Like in the anti-Poll Tax campaign that brought down Thatcher, local groups of campaigners are starting to get together to oppose the new tax. This is a very positive development, but as with the Poll Tax, it is vital that the campaigning is controlled by the people themselves. Otherwise it will be taken over by politicians and celebrities who will make their parties or themselves look good, but do little to strengthen our collective fight back.
Anarchists are well aware of the need for maximum participation and ‘direct democracy’ in campaigns. When the current economic crisis got started, an anti-cuts movement arose, with inspiring self-organisation by students. They did not trust the self-interested leaders of the National Union of Students who were making deals with the government. Networks involving universities and colleges operated with people treating each other as equals. This was a very good start. But overall, since then, anti-cuts campaigning has suffered in many towns from the agendas of this or that political party.
That is why it is encouraging that a regional Bedroom Tax campaign in Scotland has taken off with self-organising principles. A recent get together in Edinburgh and West Lothian agreed that decision-making power should be in the hands of local groups and that the co-ordination between them should be done through recallable delegates. This kind of ‘anarchy in action’ is vital to keep the struggle in the hands of the people rather than political parties. Anarchist Federation members are involved with this process and are hoping this way of working will extend to the whole of Scotland, and who knows, the whole of Britain.
Resistance is the regular bulletin of the Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk
Read more in Resistance bullletin, issue 151, May 2013
The Anarchist Federation's Organise! magazine #80 reviews the recent SolFed booklet Fighting for Ourselves, published in October 2012. The review is reproduced here as an AF blog article. The latest Organise! contains several other reviews of contemporary publications from the anarchist movement that we hope readers will find interesting.
Fighting for Ourselves: Anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle.
Solidarity Federation. 2012. 121pp. Availability & pricing: http://www.selfed.org.uk/read/ffo
Since its publication in October of last year, Fighting for Ourselves has been the subject of much discussion and deserved interest in the broad libertarian left. The book constitutes the first major exposition of the political perspectives of the British section of the International Workers Association since Winning the Class War, their previous attempt at providing such an outline in 1991.The book attempts to give an historical overview of the workers’ movement, in what it describes as its ‘mainstream’ and ‘radical’ forms, before describing the phenomenon of 20th Century anarcho-syndicalism through the experience of three unions in Germany, Spain and Argentina. Indeed, the bulk of the book is taken up with history; only the last 17 pages focussing on present day anarcho-syndicalism and specifically the Solidarity Federation’s (SolFed) strategy for moving from being a ‘simple political propaganda organisation’ to a ‘revolutionary union’ (p.94). The historical section contains justification for why the SolFed believe that their particular version of anarcho-syndicalism has both universal and particular (or local) application.
Disabled People Against Cuts are serving an eviction notice on Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the front garden of his mansion in Swanbourne, Bucks! Protests have also been carrying on at David/Lord/Baron Freud's (Welfare Minister and architect of the recent reforms who switched from Labour to the Tories around time of election) with UKUncut 'Millionaire eviction specialists' white van and many activists on foot paying him a visit (see picture below and video). Word has it that some of Freud's neighbours in Highgate are providing refreshments. These are both part of a day of action Who wants to evict a Millionaire? against the bedroom tax and benefits cap. Other actions have taken place at Chancellor George Osborne's Knutsford house and in city centres. This is already looking to be an interesting day for the government, and the police. The month of April introduces more massive cuts in benefits and introduction of further testing, many of these specifically hitting people with disabilities. Keep it up, one and all!
More pictures here too: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/13/bedroom-tax-protests-uk-uncut_n_3075946.html
APRIL 2013 RESISTANCE #150 is out. WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO FOOL? (The Labour Party), Food prices, Mayday, Belarus ABC info-tour report. Wildcat strikes worldwide, Thatcher death parties, Prisoner news, Bristol Anarchist Bookfair.
WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO FOOL?
15 years ago we launched Resistance after a year of New Labour. We have come a long way since then, and the Tories may seem worse than ever, but it’s worth remembering how we got here under the last Labour government.
We are ten years since the start of the first Iraq War, but Labour’s first major war of their time in power was in the former Yugoslavia, where they ordered the bombing of Serbian cities over repression being meted out by the military in the region of Kosovo. We argued against NATO’s warmongering in print and on the street before, but to no avail. Many more people have since suffered the consequences of Labour’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the Coalition launches a new wave of benefit attacks, let us cast an eye back to another snippet from Resistance issue 1, where we reported that Newcastle benefits agency had carried out a sustained months-long victimisation campaign against Incapacity Action member Chris Marshall. They confiscated his benefit book and paid him nothing for weeks on end. Chris, who was waiting for joint replacement surgery, was told by the SS to “get a job instead of sponging off the State” (yes, it really was still called Social Security in 1998!).
This is worth bearing in mind whilst the Labour opposition and its Trotskyist apologists bleat about how much they are against the unfairness of the Bedroom Tax and the other nasty welfare cuts that begin this month.
Massive NHS reforms also get underway this month, with almost the entire budget passing to the control of GPs and a National Commissioning Board, with immense pressure to buy as cheap as possible. But let’s not forget that when it was last in power Labour massively pushed forward the ‘purchaser-provider split’ in healthcare that was begun by the Tories in the 1990s. It is this that is allowing more for-profit companies into the NHS. Not only this, but Labour were responsible for the creation of Treatment Centres and outsourcing of NHS purchasing to the logistics company DHL. They also presided over further contracting out of cleaning and of GP out-of-hours services.
So the record of Labour in power is clear and anyone who thought they were better last time around, and has maybe forgotten what they got up to, would do well to examine the history books and not be fooled again.
Resistance is the regular bulletin of the Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk
Read more in Resistance bullletin, issue 150, April 2013.
Action from home continues all week, many demonstrations being planned for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April.
Week of Action call-out by Bristol AF: http://www.facebook.com/events/638806569470027/
Homebase has recently been exposed for exploiting people on workfare (unemployed people forced to work for no money) to cut the number of normal hours & overtime for its paid staff! All without offering any new people paid work.
We feel it is essential to stop the spread of these practices that negatively impact on all of us - working, unemployed, tax payers (workfare costs billions), and users of state services(where the billions should be being spent).
We call on people to participate in a week of actions starting with communications and complaints sent to them via post phone and online from now, and then protests and pickets at homebase stores next weekend - Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th (many homebase stores are busiest on sunday!).
Demo events announced publically so far:
Bristol (Saturday) https://www.facebook.com/events/349778525143853/
London; Wood Green (Saturday): https://www.facebook.com/events/508892175814572/
London; Haringey (Sunday): https://www.facebook.com/events/566930743328510/
Bath (Sunday): https://www.facebook.com/events/351144644991794/
Perhaps eager to claim a chocolate Easter egg bonus, Job Centre staff in Finsbury Park (London) this week congratulated each other for securing 21 workfare placements in a single Homebase store in Haringay. This is a store that is not advertising for workers: more evidence that workfare replaces paid work.
Homebase have responded to the spontaneous public reaction calling for them to quit the scheme by deleting tens of comments on its Facebook Page, then disabling comments, then promising a statement on Tuesday, then taking the page down, then resurrecting the page free of any mention of workfare, then taking the page down again. It’s clear our actions are having an impact.
Let’s keep going until everyone working in their stores is paid!
On Facebook (if they bring their page back again): facebook.com/homebase
By phone: 0845 077 8888 or 0845 601 6911
Or contact the company they are owned by: The Home Retail Group.
- Disrespectful party people - Organise! #80 editorial excerpt
- After Thatcher Parties ... (Feel This Moment)
- German-speaking anarchists consolidate organisation as a Federation
- Photos and video from Sussex university anti-privatisation demonstration
- Revolutionary call-out in advance of the World Social Forum in Tunis, 23-28th March 2013
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