July/August 2013 RESISTANCE is out. Contents: UPRISING! Coming to a democracy near you (Eqypt, Turkey, Brazil, Slovenia), Whistle Blowers, Industrial Roundup (Bridgewater postal strike, Runcorn building workers wildcat, Teachers’ Strike, Brighton refuse-worker update), Spanish Anarchist Prisoner Support, Clément Méric anti-fascist demo.
UPRISING! Coming to a democracy near you
The past months have seen huge uprisings on the streets of Brazil, Turkey and Slovenia. In Brazil, protests began over bus fare prices and cost of tickets for the coming World Cup. In Turkey, residents wanted to save trees. In Slovenia, the issue was a speed radar scheme. These seemingly small issues were just the last straw. In Turkey, the real problem is an increasingly Islamist state. In Brazil, poverty is the issue. In Slovenia, it is political corruption. And all populations are angry at the growing economic crisis and forced austerity.
In each case, the state clamped down on peaceful protest at an early stage, and with unprecedented violence. Tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets have been used. People have died and there have been mass arrests and detentions. The protesters bravely refuse to be forced off the streets. On one level, it seems like the Arab Spring has spread to other continents.
But there is a crucial difference. Unlike the dictatorships of the Arab Spring, these countries are supposedly democracies. Their governments were voted in. Whilst anarchists reject such ‘representative democracy’ in favour of ‘direct democracy’, it is nonetheless the case that these are countries in which, in theory, people regularly get to elect their rulers.
Of course it is not unusual for mass protests to take place in modern democracies, nor for states to use ‘non-lethal’ and even lethal weapons against them. The British state in Northern Ireland is an example close to home. But it is not common, and 2013 has seen an escalation in the level of violence by ‘democratic’ states.
We also can see that these democracies were well prepared to attack their electorate. What else is an arsenal of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon for? Which other states have these weapons in reserve, waiting for a demonstration that won’t fizzle out quietly?
As austerity bites harder here, and the recently announced measures against the unwaged and public employees kick in, the working class in Britain will have to mobilise more demonstrations that will hold their ground. Then we’ll see what our state is prepared to do to us.
Read more in Resistance bulletin, issue 153, July/August 2013
A Solidarity Statement with Anarchists and Anti-Fascists marching against the murderers of Clément Méric
This weekend, Saturday 22rd and Sunday 23th June, will see huge anti-fascist demonstrations throughout France. The participants will be making known their anger at the murder of the much loved 18-year old Parisian antifascist student, Clément Méric (see article below). The message will be ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget’. This comment is not only about the death of their comrade, but a comment about fascism itself, both as it is manifested at the moment in France, and as it has manifested itself historically and in many countries.
The attack in which Clément Méric died has shocked people in France more widely than anarchists and antifascists. But this mainstream response has been unhelpful in fighting the far-right. It seems that left-of-centre liberals and reformists and also the ‘socialist’ government itself are taking over commemorations as far as they can, and claiming Clément as one of their own, diluting the message of militant antifascism. This is insulting to his memory and to the feelings of those close to him. But more than that, it justifies the state proscription, announced by President Hollande, of the far-right group that many consider responsible. This is not the way to defeat fascism. It must be defeated by the deeds and words of antifascists and of the groups and communities threatened by fascism. When has state repression ever killed an idea or a belief successfully? It will create martyrs as the right resists the new law. The way to be rid of fascism is to work every day towards a society in which its ideas become irrelevant and working class people of all kinds feel united in struggle: against the state and the capitalist system; against neo-colonialist wars and the militarisation of our society; against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other bigotry that attacks who we are and how we want to live.
Some on the authoritarian left will support the outlawing of fascist groups, on the basis that these will now be less visible and less vocal. Libertarian communists, such as ourselves, oppose attempts at state censorship. But, because the goal of fascism is to silence the voices of others, it must be denied a platform nonetheless. So we deny it a voice through community-level action. This is because, if the authoritarian right is silenced primarily by an act of the state, similar laws can be used against anyone seeking change without going through the state.
In this specific situation, the French state and media choose to stress that the fascist group in question considers itself ‘revolutionary’. Its idea of ‘revolution’ is a million miles from ours. But if ‘revolution’ because a dirty word, something that decent people should oppose, and if, like the term ‘communist’, it loses all positive meaning, we will find ourselves fighting an even harder battle for the transformation of society along anarchist-communist lines.
Fascism thrives in societies suffering economic crisis. It is no surprise that it is now more visible in France, where it is using the recent legalisation of gay marriage as an excuse to promote bigotry. In Britain, the far-right is becoming more visible too. Here it uses the horrible murder of Lee Rigby to promote violence against Muslims in general, including children. Homophobia and racism are symptoms of societies in which some people feel marginalised, ignored, and abandoned by the state, and have nothing to resort to but hatred of other groups. We have to change this analysis with our ideas and our actions, by creating positive, examples of how society can organise itself better, to benefit all of us. But we are not pacifists. We want to win hearts and minds but we will not let fascism undermine the equality and freedom that humanity deserves. NO PASARAN!
Fachos hors de nos vies! Fascists out of our lives!
International Secretariat - Anarchist Federation (Britain) - http://www.afed.org.uk
19th June 2013
StopG8 Statement on Protests and Police Violence 11 June 2013
StopG8 held a “Carnival Against Capitalism” in the West End of London today (11 June), demonstrating against 100 murderous banks, corporations, “dens of the rich” and other hiding places of power in the run up to the G8 Summit.
The carnival went ahead despite extreme pre-emptive violence from the Metropolitan and City Police, which caused a number of protesters to be injured. The police surrounded the StopG8 Social Centre on Beak Street, W1 from 10am, and then broke in through the front doors and from the roof later in the morning. At the demonstrations starting at 12 noon in Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, police snatch squads violently arrested and assaulted more demonstrators.
Updates on StopG8 website: http://network23.org/stopg8/
WE ARE WINNING
Assessment of actions in Taksim Square/Gezi Park, Istanbul, Turkey.
Article by Revolutionist Anarchist Action / Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF) in Meydan Newspaper. 12th June 2013
This is a revolt
This is a revolt
Urban Transformation Projects have long been threatening living spaces of Istanbul residents. First slum demolitions, and then 63 million square meters of forests to be pillaged for the third bridge, shopping malls built one after another, luxury hotels, and while the pedestrianization project continued, next was Gezi Park. Istanbul residents continued to resist all of these projects that threatened life. Until excavators came to Gezi Park and uprooted the trees. Until "a handful of marginals" that claimed the trees and their shadows and said "Do not uproot trees, do not build a shopping mall to Gezi Park". This demonstration was introduced as a "ecological and peaceful" action. Until the police did a early morning operation and smothered the park area with gas. The state must have "a lot" to profit since it's trying to bring this peaceful protest down as hard as it can. Police violence had been climbing up in the last few months and protesters were unexpectedly exposed to it. Deputies of opposition parties and artists came to Gezi Park to protest this and to support protesters, but they also had their share of state terror.
In the first day of demolition, state could not get what he wanted because of this scene. Protesters stayed in Gezi Park for the night. It's unknown if they were expecting an attack the next morning, but all protesters were thrown out of the park with the police raid in the morning. The police burned protesters' tents, blankets and belongings. The videos of protesters exposed to continuous gas bombs and violently taken in custody invoked rage in everyone who watched.
Of course this rage was not the rage for a single demonstration. This rage was accumulated. Accumulated for increasing police violence.
It was the attacks with gas bombs, batons and arms that created this rage. It was forbidden May 1st, Dilan, Şerzan, Metin Lokumcu, Aydin Erdem... What created this rage was more than two days. It was increasing oppression, restrictions, censorship, economic exploitation... What created this rage was the state exercising its power on the people recklessly, relentlessly and without questioning legitimacy.
The ones who ascribe the "People's Revolt" as post modern style of action, must see this clearly. The people spontaneously came to the streets because they felt the social, political and economic oppression heavily. The events are neither a deal in the last few days as the blind-deaf mainstream media says, nor are affected by "marginal" groups as the one in state power says.
It is time to raise the curtain before the eyes. This is a revolt. It is the reaction of people against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation. This is the end of legitimacy of the new state power that had gained the love of other states, international institutions and global corporations.
The Democracy of Marginalization, Othering and Neglect
It's very important that the revolt is happening at a time when the propaganda of state power is "Democratic Turkey". By this reaction to state terrorism, the people have pulled down the "democratic" respectability of the state.
People were on the streets in a setting where the freedom of the people were ignored, people were tortured and killed arbitrarily, all of the mainstream media turned into official state press, the state is preparing for war nearby and killing its own people with its own hands while doing it.
The revolt spread to other cities in the second day. The shared rage against state terrorism started to burn streets everywhere. The public were on the streets not because of main opposition party or some leaders words, but with own volition. To respond to all of this by standing against police violence and state terrorism. With this consciousness, they attacked the police, state buildings and temples of capitalist exploitation. The ones that did it were not "marginal groups". This was also a revolt against the othering behaviour of the state against the ones that did not obey its power, against "marginalizing politics" of the state. Moreover the government did not have anybody to settle or deal with. This revolt was a direct action.
The state neglected the revolt from the beginning. It was banned on television, the papers and other media. It was not only on Taksim. People flowed from Besiktas, Harbiye and other places of Istanbul/ The state had closed Gezi Park and Taksim Square with all law-enforcement officers in hand. The clashes continued all day. The public got more angry on each gas bomb, on each sound bomb and each custody. They resisted the police violence with determination. Nearly a million people that filled Taksim did not step back. To say we are here against the state's neglect.
In the morning of the second day, the police violence was even more intense and we had news of deaths and wounded people. The state terrorized without caring about either legitimacy, nor human rights, nor democracy. In a two day revolt, the state throwed away all the masks of ideals and values that it had been hiding behind. The state showed its real face to its people. The monopoly of violence terrorized not just in Istanbul, but in every place that had actions of solidarity with Istanbul. News of deaths, news of wounds and custodies increased.
Whole forty hours... After nearly forty hours of clashes the people got from Istiklal street to Taksim Square. The law enforcement officers escaped with all vehicles. Forty hours became forty years, the square became the world for us. The was the freedom of revolt. Our sorrow was our friends that were wounded and lost their lives.
Then Gezi Park, then Gumussuyu, then Besiktas... Then Sakarya, Kocaeli, Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Dersim... In this revolt that is still going on, the most important motivation that kept the spontaneity was sharing and solidarity. Voluntary health workers formed civil health centers for the protesters that were affected by the police violence. Organisations like law associations, bar, Human Rights Association supported protesters in custody or in similar conditions. Chambers like Turkish Mechanical Engineers Chamber Association turned their buildings to hospitals. People opened their homes, workplaces, gave support with food and drinks. People gave information to each other over social media, people created their own means despite of silenced media.
Everywhere and everyone became the revolt against state terrorism and police violence. Social solidarity have worked when the state left the lives alone and it is continuing to work.
Reservations of Revolt
The media that became "mute" at the beginning of revolt, now tries to give a meaning to the the revolt. Of course the meaning that their boss wants. They said it is individualist, it is reckless, it is post modern, it is urban and secular... They have affirmed the people that streamed the streets with these concepts. They likened it to the Velvet Revolution in Prague. They are trying to void a revolt against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation.
The sectors that were disturbed by the party in power and its government because of conflicting economic and political interests (many of which are upper and upper-middle class) started to go out on streets on the next days. These sectors that were supporters of the previous rulers of state were emphasizing anti-government protests rather than state terror and police violence. Care must be taken to avoid strong reformist demands of this sector to block this new struggle of the oppressed against state terrorism, police violence abd capitalist exploitation. These sectors may try to manipulate the struggle towards their own economic and political interests.
Parties in opposition may try to exit the scene with profit, as with all "springs". Their call for staying away from "marginal groups" while assessing the revolt, is the most clear evidence that they are talking with the language of power. As in revolts in other places, these parties that try to gain power using this revolt will try to stop the people who revolted spontaneously, without leaders and without parties.
Since these sectors are not the organizers of the movement, they cannot impose their social-economic characters to the public. So, they cannot direct the action. Besides, their insistent phrase "marginal groups" consists of the individuals that annoy them, but are also the real mobilizers of the revolt. Moreover, they are consciously blind to the fact that other oppressed people from different sectors are resisting not only in centers like Taksim and Besiktas but also in "surrounding" areas. Yes, the revolt has an ideology| but it is not an ideology that the media, parties in opposition and various economic focus groups try to homogenize and depoliticise. The ideology of the revolt is the consciousness of the individual that feels the increasing state terror and the individual action to struggle against it.
This revolt started against state terror, police violence and capitalist exploitation as we emphasized from the beginning. We hope that it will increase with general strikes and have more of the oppressed on the streets and with this hope we are growing the revolt. Our reservations against the revolt may be realized moving forward, the revolt may be diminished into a power struggle of opposing parties. But we are not oracles. Revolutionaries do not make hopeless predictions of the future and sit on the corner. We well know that revolts like this are mobilizing moments on the way to social revolution. Our anarchist struggle will continue to embrace the revolt with all passion.
Report from Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet DAF - Revolutionist Anarchist Action (DAF):
Taksim Revolution/4 June
WE ARE WINNING!
We have seen the beach beneath the stonesi we have carried the black flag of the revolt!
On İstiklal Street, around French Consolate, 200 meters far from police, holding the stones of the beach in one hand and the flag of the revolt in the other you are clshing with the police. A piece of cloth wet with talcid is your gas mask, police is spraying pressured water, throwing gas bombs one and after, you are left in the middle of gas retreating throwing stones you are out of breath smothered, breatheless at that moment somebody run near you, spray water with antiacid on your face, asking “how are you, are you okay?” You are not okay but immediately you get well. You take a stone of the beach in one hand, taking the flag of the revolt in the other. You lean against the barricade with your half breath. Your breath is refreshing with the freedom of rebellion. Because everywhere there is solidarity, this revolt is adorned with solidarity, you fall but you are picked up, they are asking when you are hitching, you boo at the same time when the sound bomb exploded, you hold your breath together when gas bomb comes. When the blocade fades out you sing together and shout out your rebellion. Never ending pressure water, gas and resistance. You got tired sit on a pavement to take a breathe one coming with water in her hand and gives you water another one brings a sandwich. You are not either thirsty or hungry because everywhere the people share, there is no “mine” or “ours” here. Everyone is together. There is no slackness, if you were to fall the one next you would not. There is no crestfallenness, if you were to fall your comrade would not. You are getting rid of the fear which the system has created through the years and courage is to do what you are scared of. And you experience this. You are leaning against the police and you move forward as you lean. The police is doing everything they can to stop you. Even though you slow down sometimes the sound of the other clashes are whispering in your ear: “we are moving forward”. You are getting excited and you lean again and again. On the final strike you see that the police is retreating, no you see they escape maybe you are living what you have been expecting for a long time. You meet with others on Taksim Square, you are glad to see your loved ones. After hugging each other for a while you start building barricades. Without losing time. The ones with you start to croon a song from 1930’s, the song of spainsh Anarchists. You join in. “For bread, justice, freedom everyone to the barricades...” As the song gets louder the barricades are build; with upside down police cars, police buses, barriers of a “looted construction” Let them come, let them come and see the communion and solidarity is increasing. Everyone wants to move away from selfishness from competition. The tables ar opened the tents are erected. A people’s square is being created. There are a few insincere ones but you dont care. Because every moment from everywhere, from Ankara, from İzmir, Antalya, Dersim rebellion. From Athens, Thessaloniki, Paris, Sofia... The news of solidarity are coming. Solidarity is growing, one’s who share are increasing. The revolt is spreading because we are winning.
Now, a revollt is telling us about herself a revolt is telling us what we had forgotten. Telling us the importance of communion solidarity organisation and most important of all, freedom. Now the never ending cinder in our hands is glowing with a revolt. Now inside the rebellion we are looking into our shimmering eyes in other words to each other. We are holding each others hands which carry the stones of the beach, hold the flag of revolt, which were burned by the gas bombs. We are hugging each others bodies which are carrying our hearts full of revolution. And although we don’t say it aloud, we say thank you to each other with the happiness of sharing this moment. This is a temporary thank you without being content. Without being content we are waiting for tomorrow side by side from today.
Message via: Secretariat of IFA. http://i-f-a.org
Previous reports from DAF:
- June 1st, Massive Riot Against State Terrorism in Turkey
- June 2nd, The Last Situation About Clashes in Turkey
- June 3rd, Revolutionary Anarchists Call for International Solidarity
- Mayday Resistance in Istanbul
See also (commentary on various blogs/sites):
- The far right and the street: Fascists murder anti-fascist in Paris
- Anarchist Federation report from the 10 year Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, Ljubljana, Slovenia on 24-26 May 2013
- Joint statements, radio and video from the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 24-26 May 2013
- AF bulletin Resistance #152: Divide and Rule
- For anti-nationalist internationalism! - the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair - May 24th-26th 2013, Ljubljana – Slovenia
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