resistance readers may have noticed that the House of Lords has held up the governments Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, which Jack Straw was hoping would become law sometime soon. Readers may be forgiven for not actually having heard of this bill, prior to now, as its not something New Labour have been shouting too loudly about. It is, however, a particularly nasty piece of repressive legislation quite obviously aimed at political activists. So whats it all about?
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIPB) has three parts. The first part covers the interception of communications, the second, the use of intrusive surveillance and the third part concerns decryption powers. Potentially, the measures outlined could mean:
Monitoring of individuals and organisations sending and receiving e-mails and using websites
State interception of communications (but without a specific warrant)
The granting of these powers of interception to any public authority
Wide ranging powers of interception with a warrant for reasons of national security which specifically includes safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK. Serious crime is defined as the conduct of a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose (!). i.e. political campaigns, even picket lines
Surveillance of individuals (without a warrant) on the orders of the police, military, customs and public authorities
The right of the state to acquire the internet account number, address, credit card details and passwords of individuals, on very wide grounds
A broader remit for the state to bug the homes, cars and workplaces of individuals, than ever before
Liability to unlimited fines and jail sentences for internet service providers who fail to co-operate with state monitoring
Exemption from civil liability for incidental conduct for intelligence operatives . Essentially carte blanch for state agencies
The granting of the power of inducement in the course of detecting crime to those undertaking covert human intelligence (i.e. undercover police, paid informers etc.). So, therefore protecting agents provocateurs
Authorisation for the use of covert intelligence gathering for any purpose laid down by the secretary of State
That the state already does much of what this legislation makes legal shouldnt mean we can afford to be complacent in the face of the RIPB. So far, opposition to the bill has been muted. Several human rights organisations have expressed concern, some individuals in the business community have expressed a fear that e-commerce may be adversely affected (!) and the left has been generally very quiet indeed. The Lords may have delayed its introduction, wishing to make the proviso that those who feel adversely affected by the legislation will have recourse to an independent tribunal, but they dont disagree with its aims.
Opposition to the bill from anarchists and libertarians will have to take place at the level of a continuing campaign of counter-information and of a general tightening up of our security measures against state and public authority infiltration and disruption. Rest assured, we wont allow this legislation, or the forthcoming anti-terrorist laws (see resistance #13 for details) to distract us from our goal of building a global movement to bring down capital and the state.
The mid summer Edinburgh Street Party was a huge success. 1000 people reclaimed streets all over the city centre for 4 hours on 17th June, with only 1 or 2 arrests.
Despite a front page article in the local press urging the police not to permit any disruption, and despite the deployment of horses and several van loads of polis, people by-passed police lines and took over Princes St., the citys main throughfare. Drummers and a pedal driven sound system played, a giant puppet cavorted, and there was dancing in the street.
As a leaflet for the day put it: for once our space will be our space, collectively controlled for our pleasure, not ruled by the few for their profit...
Info for any further actions should be available in ACE info shop, 17 W. Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA, tel 0131 557 6542 (ACE were not the action organisers.)
Colombia has been torn apart by conflicts throughout its history. In the early twentieth century the fight was between conservative, pro-church centralisers and liberal anti-church federalists. In the last two or three decades of that century up to today, the social war has been between the state and capitalism on the one hand and leftist guerillas on the other. Like most Marxist organisations, the leftist M19 group flirted with legalistic, liberal democracy and stood candidates for election in the 1980s only to see their candidates butchered at the polls. Since then, the leftist guerillas have returned to violent methods and now control considerable areas of territory, particularly FARC in the South.
Class warfare in Colombia is a dirty business involving a great deal of violence and intimidation. Drug barons maintain private armies, often manned by government soldiers out of uniform. Since drugs are about the only profitable industry in Colombia, everyone wants a piece of the action - right-wing gangsters, the army and the guerilla organisations. The right wing paramilitaries regularly carry out massacres of peasants and suspected leftists, spreading terror throughout the countryside. Peasants are deserting the land for the safety of the cities and the result has been a sharp fall in land prices. This land is then snapped up and sold cheaply to foreign investors.
Fuelled by drug profits both sides in the civil war, the army and guerillas, are embarking on an arms race. At the moment there is a stand off, the army cannot defeat the guerillas in their enclaves and the guerillas arent strong enough to capture state power.
However, new forms of resistance are emerging. People are starting to organise and turn to direct action. Road blocks have been set up to resist state oppression and whole cities have been isolated from attacks for months at a time. Indigenous groups are fighting back, opposing racism, exploitation and dams which threaten their existence.
Anarchist groups emerged in the 1990s and are organising for resistance. Though there are small anarchist insurrectionist groups, the main focus of anarchist activity has been anti-militarist - opposing conscription and police/army brutality.
The Colombian working class and peasantry now have an alternative to the statist alternatives of bourgeois democracy and the leftists - the prospect of genuine liberation and autonomy. For more information write to: A.A. 54413, Medellin, Colombia, Latin America.
Music has great potential to spread libertarian ideas in Colombia, but second-hand equipment and money for recording & live gigging is badly needed. If you can help, or if you are interested in organising band exchanges between Europe and Colombia, please get in touch at the same address.
Following the brutal imposition of martial law in April in Bolivia, workers, students and peasants went out on the streets, resulting in many confrontations, arrests, woundings, and some killings by military snipers. Over the next five days at the University of La Paz, hundreds of university students confronted riot police with dynamite. The press was alarmed by the widespread and militant protests, and the government was embarrassed into saying that it would meet most of the demands. On Mayday, marches in a number of cities included anarchist contingents, something which had not been seen in Bolivia for a long time.
On July 6, in the small northeastern region of Caranavi, small-scale coffee growers played a major part in a protest against the EMDEX company, a coffee exporter, forcing the management to negotiate. The protesters burned and smashed the companys plant equipment, computers and furniture, and threw oil on stored coffee beans. They were protesting about reselling of coffee bought from them at a tenth of the price, and bad treatment by the coffee transporters. Most of the growers are former mine workers, who after a massive lay-off in the mines in 1985, migrated to Caranavi where coffee growing is concentrated. They barely survive on the meager payments they receive.
There have been many other cases of direct action this year and these struggles are being supported by Juventudes Libertarias (Libertarian Youth), a newly formed collective of libertarian communists, which has a working-class orientation. It is a small group of workers and university students, some of whom were expelled for anti-fascist activities during recent conflicts. Their most immediate objective is to set up a libertarian network for coordinating activities among Bolivian anarchists. The group is preparing to publish a weekly paper, and hope to put up a web page. Right now they need videos (documentaries, other kinds of films, etc.), books, zines and other materials in English or Spanish to help them spread anarchist ideas at this important time in Bolivia. Anyone who wants to help can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1915 Glasgow Rent Strike
During the first world war, rent increases across Glasgow provoked massive working class opposition, mainly from women organised in tenants groups. Their struggle against profiteering landlords during extremely difficult circumstances is a valuable example of how collective action really gets results. Starting in Govan that April, strikers paid only their normal rent, refusing the increase. Despite intimidation by rent collectors the strikers succeeded, and by June, the landlords had given in. News of the success spread to other parts of the city, where tenants organised agitation and propaganda against the landlords. The solidarity of the working class women was strong, so strong in fact, that it could not be broken by the rent collectors, who then had to apply to court to evict the tenants instead. Sheriff officers were called in to serve the writs and carry out the evictions, but yet again the strikers took action, barring the path of any sheriff officers entering their communities. The rent strike reached its peak in October with 30,000 tenants taking part. Large scale demonstrations were held whenever an eviction notice was served. In the face of such massive working class solidarity and action, the landlords changed their tactics, and attempted to pursue tenants thought the small claims court. That month 18 munitions workers were summoned to the court for non-payment. On the day of the hearing, 10,000 protesters from all over the city made their way to the court house to demand that the charges were dropped and that the rents be frozen at their original levels. If this was not done, they said, then a general strike was to be called for 22nd November. The government were terrified by the rising working class radicalisation, and gave in to the demands of the strikers, ordering the sheriff to drop the charges. The Rent Restriction Act followed, which fixed rents at their pre-war level for the duration of the conflict and for six months after all over the UK. Working class people are still being shafted by local councils and housing associations like Scottish Homes. Only a system as shitty as capitalism can make a market out of peoples homes. But if we work together, like the strikers in 1915, we can bring it to an end for good!
On the 14th of July 1789 French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison and released hundreds of political prisoners.
The people who gathered at Golders Green station on Bastille day this year were probably not expecting anything as dramatic, but you wouldnt have guessed it from the huge numbers of coppers that followed us. Our destination was a site in Ashford, Surrey, where a womens prison is going to be built. Construction hasnt started yet so there wasnt much to do on arrival except get on with setting up camp. An information tent explaining what we were doing to oppose the prison building programme was set up, as well as a prisoners support tent where people could write to prisoners.
At the moment the land we were on is mainly used by locals to walk their dogs or ride their bikes so it wasnt long before curious people were stopping to ask what was going on. When they found out we were campaigning against the prison being built they were very supportive and many offered to help out. The uselessness of campaigning through legal channels was also revealed as many were demoralised and said: Weve already tried that, we had a petition.
The Anarchist teapot caterers kept us well fed and an offy and pub were situated conveniently close by. It didnt seem long before we were getting steadily paralytic around the campfire and some local lads wed been chatting to in the pub came and joined us. Apparently they stayed up til four but light-weights like me crashed out earlier.
The next day people managed to get it together quite early (no doubt help by the people shouting at everyone to get up!) After a site meeting most of us set off to a picket of Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow airport, a mere hour and a halfs stroll away from where we were camping. The picket was a lively affair and we were able to shout through the wire to the people imprisoned there. Then it was back to the camp (we held out for a lift on the return journey), where there was a choice of getting stuck into more activities, going up to London for Mad Pride or in my case going home for a well deserved bath.
SCHNEWS OF THE WORLD
And a report from Schnews adds: On Sunday, 12 people entered Harmondsworth with the names of people we had managed to get to speak to. There were people from Algeria, Kosova, Albania, and other war-torn beneficiaries of the British arms industry. They welcomed us warmly. One refugee, Salim Rambo, had been caught up in the civil war in Zaire. He has not seen a solicitor or had his case listened to. Salim said that inmates who come to understand too much about what rights they have, are moved elsewhere so as not to stir up the other detainees. He was due to be deported on Tuesday to Germany. Germany had already refused his asylum application, so from there he would be deported straight back to Zaire and possible death. We could only get him a solicitor.
Early on Tuesday morning 11 people from CAGE leafleted passengers about to board the same flight as Salim was on. One passenger was arrested after standing up and refusing to let the flight depart. The flight was delayed for two hours, until eventually Salim was removed at the demand of the pilot. Immigration officials threatened him with a beating, but he is now back in detention in London.
Salims new solicitor believes his deportation order was illegal as he did not have proper legal representation. This is being taken up in court. Similar actions in Belgium have led to commercial airlines refusing to deport asylum seekers. A spokesperson from CAGE said: ...BA and its shareholders are profiting from the forced removal of people from the UK. This is the ultimate in putting profit before life, and it is nice to see that people here are standing up to it...literally!
Its important that more people get involved in the struggle against the prison system, and in supporting those already inside. The Labour Party have just announced even more funds for prison building and already some prisons have been privatised (yes, prisons can be profitable). The prospect of the nightmare situation in the USA, where over 2 million people are incarcerated, crossing the Atlantic draws ever closer.
CAGE, PO Box 68, Oxford, OX3 1RH Tel 07931 401962 www.veggies.org.uk/cage
The Anarchist Federation will soon be updating and re-printing the old Anarchist Black Cross pamphlets on supporting prisoners. Watch this space for details.
LET THE GRAVY TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN
If any journey on London Undergroud is delayed by more than 15 minutes passengers are entitled to a full refund. Forms are available at all stations and London Underground have admitted that due to the number of people claiming and the number of delays each day that they cant check the truth of the claims. I used to get a weekly travel card regularly and often made three false claims a week. Thats over a tenner. Not bad for a couple of minutes work filling out the forms.
Send your top scamming tip to resistance and if we print it well give you a free subscription.
Mums in Camden staged an impromptu protest on the buses last week. The driver of the C11 low floor bus refused to move until a mum either folded her pushchair or got off. Mums on the bus rose up in solidarity and staged a sit in on the bus until the local copper arrived. Low level buses have given pushchair users freedom from struggling with a baby under one arm, collapsing the pushchair with the other whilst holding the weekly shopping between their knees or teeth. However London Buses state that wheelchair users have priority over space and that pushchairs must be folded before boarding. This is out right discrimination against pushchair users, most of who cant afford the luxury of a car or hired help to assist with the weekly shop with babies and toddlers in tow.
We suggest that all pushchair users continue to resist this discriminatory ruling and just wheel those pushchairs on regardless, yep and those wheels do give nasty bruises!!
A spirited street carnival snaked successfully through Shettleston, Glasgow on 27th May in opposition to the attempts by William Rubbish Rat Comber to set up a waste business in Gartocher Terrace. The day culminated with protesters storming Combes compound, creatively dismantling fencing and improving the ventilation in his industrial units.
A highpoint of the carnival came when the sound system, figures in white contamination suits and around 150 demonstrators laid siege to Shettleston police station. The polis have gone beyond even their normal duty to protect capitalists by providing Combe with a personal escort in and out of his compound, and by swamping the east end street with up to 200 cops to combat small demonstrations by the residents and supporters.
The residents have been heartened by the day and are determined to continue their long-running self-organised struggle to force the rubbish rat out of their street.
Write: The Residents, Gartocher Terrace, Glasgow, G32 OHE, tel: 07979 836223
Please visit the regularly updated Anarchist Federation diary page for details of the latest events
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