On the 6th of December the latest fashion for disrupting meetings of the rich and powerful (as seen in Birmingham, London, Seattle, Prague, etc.) was extended to include European Union summits. Around 70 000 people gathered in the French town of Nice, the day before the opening of the summit. The majority of these people were trades unionists, with smaller numbers of anarchists and leftists also present. A short and dull official march took place, most trades unionists seemed happy that their symbolic demands for greater reforms had been heard, though thousand of activists had more radical plans...
1 500 Italians that had tried to get to Nice by train were blocked at the border, which lead to thousands of demonstrators to occupy Nice railway station after the official march and demand the border was opened. The riot police reacted by attacking the demonstrators throwing them out of the station. Sporadic scuffles then took place in the centre of the city.
On December 7th around 5-6 000 formed various groups to hassle the participants of the summit and the thousands of cops and soldiers protecting them. There were several violent confrontations with the security forces and so much tear gas was used clouds of it formed above Nice and the air conditioning of the hotel where the summit was sucked it in. French president Chirac was amongst the dignitaries bleary eyed and sneezing after getting a taste of their own medicine. Several banks were trashed and windows smashed but the demonstrators were unable to get to the summit centre. Later there was a confrontation with members of the fascist National Front and stink bombs were let off in businesses felt to stink more than most.
About 60 arrests were made. Solidarity actions also took place in several cities across Europe.
As on previous occasions the demonstrators were far less united than the ruling class and their security forces. The trades unionists made peaceful demands for a charter of rights to be strengthened but thousands of them did nothing whilst people were having their right not to be battered by heavily tooled up riot cops violated. And of the hard core protesters the Marxist-Leninists caused the usual problems of trying to assume leadership for their party.
The struggle against capitalism and the state takes many forms but it does not include appealing to our rulers to be nicer or trying to become the new rulers. Its up to us, individually and collectively, to find the best course of action:- from questioning our assumptions to directly confronting the forces of the state.
Well drink to that!
According to recent figures almost 15 million working days are lost each year as a result of drinking alcohol. And 15% of companies have reported drug use a problem in the workplace.
Is that all? As Oscar Wilde said: Work is the curse of the drinking classes
URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPPORT FOR AN ANARCHIST PRISONER IN TURKEY!!!!
We have just received [a letter] from an anarchist in Turkey. This is a letter about the unbearable conditions anarchists prisoners face in Turkish prisons. The person who wrote this letter has been subjected to torture by the Turkish authorities. We have recently heard from him that his health is seriously deteriorating. He has no means of supporting himself. Therefore, we ask everyone to give financial support, whatever you can. Please contact the
5th MAY GROUP, PO Box 2474, London, N8
FIFTH INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
March 15 2001 marks the fifth year of this international day of protest and solidarity against police brutality. It first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Black Flag collective in Switzerland along with the help of COBP (French acronym for Citizens Opposed to Police Brutality) of Montreal. This date was chosen because on March 15th, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by the Swiss police. This day of denouncing police brutality is also an opportunity to create and strengthen ties between groups that work directly or indirectly against State brutality around the world. It permits the creation an indispensable international solidarity in the fight against police forces that collaborate
OUR STRUGGLE HAS NO BORDERS
DOWN WITH POLICE STATES EVERYWHERE
HELP ORGANISE INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
For more info visit:
Mailing address: COBP, c/o The Alternative Bookshop, 2035 St-Laurent 2nd floor, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2X 2T3
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
POPE'S A CATHOLIC SHOCKER
An interesting episode occurred in Italy in the weeks before Christmas. In the same way that a Christmas tree is donated by another country to Britain and placed in Trafalgar square each year, so a tree is given to the Vatican to be placed in St Peters Square. Three years ago it was decided that the tree for 2000 would be donated by the Austrian province of Carinthia. So far, so boring. But then a certain Jorg Haider of the neo-nazi Freedom Party is elected governor of the province, meaning that he is to lead a delegation to present the tree to the Pope.
When it became clear that the Pope has no intention of knocking back Haider (or his tree!) the Italian left reacted in the usual predictable manner, bleating on about how the Pope should refuse to meet Haider, publicly condemn him, and so on.
But why all of the fuss. The Papacy meeting with, not to mention appeasing and joining forces with (other) reactionary elements is nothing new. In the early 20th Century, as revolutionary ideas spread throughout the globe and literacy levels amongst working class people and peasants rose, the grip of Roman Catholic superstition on peoples minds was loosened, and the number of believers began to fall dramatically. As revolution loomed in Germany, Italy, Spain and South America, and with Russia already lost, the Vatican saw the need for a new policy to deal with this threat to its power and wealth.
This policy consisted of co-operating with which State powers would best see to the destruction of the international revolutionary movement. As far as Europe went this meant co-operation with Fascists in Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria though maybe the word co-operation does not do justice to the situation as many prominent Catholics were actually Fascists and vice versa.
Hence Pope Pius XII consecrated Fascism in these countries, giving Mussolini, Hitler and Franco the power to veto the Popes choice of bishops in their countries, these shining examples of humanity surtaxed Catholics under their jurisdiction and sent the money raised to Rome. Sorted. So when we see the Pope or any other religious leader meeting up with politicians let us remember that the various Churches play power politics just like any government or big business does.
To condemn the Pope for meeting Haider is to miss the point entirely. We should treat this sort of incident as an excellent opportunity to show the Papacy up for what it is. A vicious elite with no respect for humanity what-so-ever, for whom the defence of power and privilege by the annihilation of free-thought and if necessary life itself are fundamental. When the mask slips we should not try to put it back on but point to the grotesque nature of the beast beneath.
For as long as it has existed the Papacy has been synonymous with war, conquest, death and destruction.
Pope John Paul II and Jorg Haider? A match made in heaven.
Newsnight anchorman Jeremy Paxman admits TV news presenting is essentially an occupation for trained chimpanzees! Well blow us down, that rarest of species, a television talking head who actually speaks the truth! Trouble is, they get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for their daily/nightly deceptions. They might well possess about as much talent or intellect as chimpanzees, but its us, the paying public, theyre making monkeys out of. Turn em off, we say, and lets rely on ourselves for news and information about what really matters.
Following the announcement that the Republican 32-County Sovereignty Movement had held a benefit gig at the Cock Tavern in London at the end of last November, the National Front called a demonstration outside the pub, mustering a combined force of about a dozen assorted boneheads. A counter demo of mainly ANL members met them at the other end of the street. A seperate group of anti-fascists got involved in a direct discussion with the fash when they wandered through police lines to greet them, which resulted in six anti fascists being arrested and charged, what was later lowered to a Section 4 of the Public Order Act. They have been offered bind overs, which they are currently deciding whether to Accept.
From a report sent to us: In protest at the government plans to reinstate the roads building programme by stealth, and the blatant hypocrisy between this and the Governments claims to be tackling climate change the offices of Sir Michael Meacher, Environment Minister and Lord Gus McDonald, Transport Minister were occupied on Friday 1st of December. 25 individuals from the anarchist environmental movement Earth First! gathered in London to occupy and shut down the DETR. The DETR was on Black Alert (appropriate!) so after dodging a minimal police and security presence a handful of activists gained access to the DETR while others raised banners on the sculpture outside No More Roads etc.. and others locked on to access gates to deny entry to bureaucrats going to meetings. Several offices were occupied and Sir Michael Meachers which was barricaded.
Having access to internal phone lists Tony Blair, John Presscot plus everyone else, were phoned and harangued.
The window of Meachers office was covered with the slogan Reduce CO2! and the office was held for three hours before police managed to break in. Even after scrambling a riot van for each of us and a lorry load of crowd control fencing there was only a handful of arrests, all released without charge. Wed just like to say if we can access Government buildings and occupy their offices anyone can, and why not!
For more info visit: www.eco-action.org
Increasing numbers of mobile phone masts are being erected on top of buildings where people live and work, including schools, in urban areas in Britain.
By the end of the next decade, 90% of electronic communications will be carried through cellular networks meaning a transmitter every 500 yards. There are currently around 20,000 transmitter sites, a further 40,000 are planned over the next three years.
There is increasing evidence that transmitters are a serious health risk, due to the electro-magnetic fields they emit. Because they are smaller, children act as aerials, absorbing more radiation. An 18 year Australian study of TV and FM radio transmitters showed a 2.74 fold increase in childhood leukemias in their vicinity, a Swedish study showed impaired academic ability in youngsters. Research among members of the Polish military exposed between 1971-1985 showed an increased risk of cancer, especially neoplastic disease, blood and bone marrow cancers and leukemia. Suppressed US government reports of 1990 and 1994 linked EMF fields to cancer in children.
In Hackney, council tenants children have suffered a range of skin disorders from rashes to lumps since living under an Orange mast, and one woman has had most of her thyroid gland surgically removed.
Fears about these health risks have led to over 200 campaigns against existing/threatened masts in Britain. In rural areas of Ireland locals have dismantled or damaged aerials erected by Orange. In Hackney this year residents and protesters have stopped masts being erected and further work carried out at Hawksley, Alexandra and Lister Courts amongst others.
Grassroots campaigning to educate workers and residents and direct action are the only way to remove aerials and prevent more being erected. The companies do not need planning permission, and together with the government they ignore the increasing evidence against masts, while pocketing the profits. Only a few months ago the government pocketed £22.5 billion for mobile franchises from the phone companies - no vested interest there then!
Powerwatch - www.powerwatch.org.uk
UK mast action site - www.freespace.virginnet.co.uk/mast.action
From an anonymous statement: Today (Tuesday, 19 Dec 2000), approximately 20 people entered the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) offices in Sheffield in protest at the continued imprisonment of Sheffield man Mark Barnsley, and the withholding of vital evidence from his defence.
Entrance was gained easily by smartly dressed people, and then everyone else ran inside and up to the upper offices. The invasion and occupation caused a major disturbance and CPS workers were left with no uncertainty about the strength of feeling about this miscarriage of justice.
Leaflets were given to all the staff stating: The CPS have framed Mark Barnsley...they would like to think that he doesnt exist, but we wont forget... if they wont release the evidence then we will just go look for it ourselves. Unfortunately the police station is next door to the CPS building, and the police arrived very quickly and people were ejected from the building. A banner proclaiming Free Mark Barnsley was hung from trees right outside the building so passers-by knew what was going on.
In total 16 people were arrested. They were held for up to 10 hours and all charged with conspiracy to burgle, with intent. They have been bailed to appear at Hull Magistrates (they cannot be prosecuted by Sheffield CPS!) on 9th January for what could be an interesting court case where all the CPS dirty laundry about all the evidence they have been withholding in Marks case could be aired in public!
Mark Barnsley has been framed for a crime he did not commit. For more information on his case please look at the website:www.appleonline.net/markbarnsley/mark.html or read Beaten Up, Fitted Up, Locked Up is available for £2 from PO Box 381, Huddersfield, HD1 3XX. Please, find out more about this campaign, and get involved in the fight to free him.
You can help by sending letters and e-mails to British Home Secretary, Jack Straw expressing your support for Marks struggle for justice and demanding that Sheffield Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) hand over to Marks lawyers the large quantity of evidence which they have been unlawfully withholding since 1994.
Please write to:
Jack Straw Home Secretary, 50 Queen Annes Gate, London, SW1H 9AT
Please also write to your local newspapers to inform readers about Marks fight for justice.
Ali Khalid Abdullah needs our urgent support and solidarity. In a letter from October 31st 2000 to Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) Innsbruck Ali said that soon he will have to appear before the Parole Board again, which decides on his release. Already in 1999 Ali Khalid Abdullah had been denied this. For the next Parole Board Ali fears a refusal once again. For this reason Ali asks us to write as many protest and support letters as possible. Ali is a long-time active anarchist and through the foundation of the Political Prisoners Of War Coalition (PPWC) he has helped lots of incarcerated comrades. Now he himself needs urgently our aid, however he has only received this at a very low level. Ali writes that he is quite frustrated and disappointed over the anarchist movement at the moment, because it doesnt support him really. If enough protest letters dont arrive then Ali will withdraw from all political activities. To prevent this happening need to support Ali in all possible ways. Below is a possible text for such letters. You may use this text for a petition list. Please do not send the signed lists directly to the Michigan Parole Board, but send one copy to Ali himself, and a second one either to the PPWC Headquarters or to ABC Innsbruck. Ali wants to read all the signatures himself to the Parole Board. THANX!
Ali Khalid Abdullah #148130, Thumb Correctional Facility, 3225 John Conley Drive, Lapeer, MI 48446, USA
With my signature below I declare my support for ALI KHALID ABDULLAH , (imprisoned by the Michigan Department of Corrections and currently housed at the Thumb Correctional Facility), and ask for the Michigan Parole Board to consider the good that Ali has done since his incarceration and the people he has been and is helping in the prison system, as well as outside the prison system. Ali deserves a chance to live his life and has paid his debt. Therefore in SOLIDARITY I ask that you grant him his release.
Contact to the PPWC-headquarters:
Cynthia Ritsher, PPWC Information Center, P.O. Box 554, Lincoln, MA 01773, USA
Article written and distributed by Anarchist Black Cross Innsbruck:
LOM, Postlagernd, 6024 Innsbruck, Austria
Was your Christmas post even later than usual this year?
That may have had something to do with the various stoppages running up to the festive period, including a walkout by Coventry posties. This action was only one of hundreds that had taken place in the Post Office in 2000, the overwhelming majority of which have been unofficial (see Go Wildcat! in resistance 20) and opposed by the Communication Workers Union. This consistent direct action approach seems guaranteed to continue in 2001. So why are the postal workers so pissed off and up for it? Well, despite the happy Postman Pat type image, postal work is a stress filled job, and comparatively poorly paid to boot. The hourly-rate for a postal worker is £4.46!
This means that, just to make ends meet many postal workers, particularly those with family responsibilities have to do some serious overtime. As a young postie I used to consider those who did hours and hours of overtime to be a bit sad or mad, now, with a family, I can understand why some people never seemed to leave the office! On top of this, the Post Office has, particularly since the national 1988 strike, been an increasingly shitty place to work, with speed-ups and flexibility drives which have been pushed by management and union alike. The Way Forward package which the Royal Mail and CWU bosses have been pushing is the latest formalisation of this anti-worker offensive. Management has been attempting to weed-out troublemakers in the hope that the Way Forward can be made workable, but with little success. Postal workers have stood firm against threats and have been generally quick to respond, regardless of the illegality of their actions, with walkouts, sit-ins etc. What has encouraged the posties is that this has actually been effective and action has been taken regardless of the opposition of union officials on a regional and national level. The left have seen this willingness to fight back as the basis for a democratisation of the union, to rebuild union strength within the Labour Party (or at their most radical for the union to break links with New Labour). The need for a left-wing leadership of the union is trotted out again. What the left dont want is for postal or any other workers to organise themselves outside of the unions. They cant imagine that workers could actually struggle outside the union structures - even when theyre actually doing it successfully already!
Anarchists argue that when groups of workers start to get out of control, they need to deepen and extend that autonomy not find ways back into the union prison! Examples of workplace resistance as inspiring as that of the posties havent been exactly thick on the ground recently but hopefully the habit of direct action will be taken up by increasing numbers of workers in 2001.
Please visit the regularly updated Anarchist Federation diary page for details of the latest events
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