ISSUE TWENTY FIVE
So here we are again - its election time. Its time to be oh so grateful to the powers that be for letting us choose exactly which group of them are going to spend the next 5 years running the show. No doubt theyll be shutting up libraries, running down hospitals, arming the police, locking up our friends, starting wars, starving our grandparents, destroying our environment, and generally making the enjoyment of life more fucking difficult every day.
Does anyone still seriously believe that politicians are going to change things for the better? Does anyone still seriously believe that they are going to do anything other than what the police, the judges, the prison governors, the company directors, the stinking rich want them to? Well? So why vote?
Only one thing shifts power from the ruling elite to working class people, and this is direct action. The direct action of the thousands of postal workers who over the last year havent waited for orders from their union reps to stick it to their bosses, but just got on with it themselves with wildcat strikes and sit-ins. The direct action of the Glaswegians who are fighting to make their community their own (see article below) and the Hackney parents who took over a nursery which the council wanted to close down. The direct action of the anti-capitalists who shook up the City of London in June 99 and had the combined power of 3 different police forces on the run.
So lets get together at work and spread the word that we dont have to accept the day- to-day grind, the ever worsening pay and conditions. Lets get together where we live, and let the council know that no more cuts will be tolerated, and the police that no more patrols are wanted.
When we begin to organise ourselves and act together we soon realise the power that we have in our own hands. When we act not to appeal to those in authority, but to impose our power on them we soon realise our revolutionary potential as a class.
Lifes too short to give party politicians another chance, another 5 years. Lets start making real change now.
Louise Christian is the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Socialist Alliance in Hornsey and Wood Green. She is well known as the lawyer representing the victims of the Paddington rail crash. Less well known is her work for UCATT, the Trade Union. A mere 5 years ago she served a High Court writ and the threat of an injunction against Brian Higgins, the Northampton branch secretary of UCATT. His crime? Writing a letter to a newspaper in which he was critical of UCATT leader Dominic Hehir for refusing to support two builders sacked by Southwark Direct Labour Organisation. Brian was also secretary of the rank and file Building Workers Group, and as such represented a threat to the established order within the union. No wonder the union leaders didnt like him. And no wonder Louise Christian didnt either. Both trade unions and Socialist politicians have always been more than a little bit fond of the established order.
For more info contact: Haringey Heckler, PO 1681, London N8 7DN.
And in Manchester...
At the march in support of asylum seekers in Manchester on the 7th April, The Socialist Alliance were out in force collecting money for their election campaign - never mind the asylum seekers. One woman collecting, when challenged, said she wasnt asking asylum seekers for money and she could tell by the appearance of individuals who were and who were not asylum seekers. So, not only was she a parasitical scumbags but she was also racist!
Despite having only a couple of dozen supporters the fascists of the National Front (NF) have been glimpsed behind the massed ranks of police several times recently. Not in Oldham though, where 1500 people representing all communities from the Borough turned out to demonstrate against the them. The NF had spread the word that they were planning to march there. This dominated the local news. In the event the march didnt take place, probably because the NF knew they were in for a good kicking if they turned up. They did manage to turn up a couple of times in South London where they were greeted by hundreds of counter demonstrators. And near Leicester on April 21st we found their secret meeting point. The scum scarpered when they realised wed rumbled them but not without getting a brick through their windscreen. Eventually, under massive police protection (including the police having Section 60 stop and search powers), they were able to hold a short march on a closed off stretch of road. Pricks.
Contact: No Platform Anti-Fascist Network, BM Box 5827, London, WC1N 3XX.
Christ, how we laughed when a contestant on The Weakest Link was voted off for being a copper. Other contestants made no bones about their reasons for wanting to see this little piggy scurrying back home. Chris, who held the casting vote, proudly declared I felt it was my duty. So how does it feel to be welcome nowhere copper? In fact, dont bother answering, cos we couldnt give a fuck anyway.
ON THE FRONTLINE
Glasgow: Struggle has broken out in the Govanhill area, as around 12 people from a group protesting against the closure of a local swimming pool have occupyed the building, in events reminiscent of tactics used when school closures were on the cards some years ago. Some have chained themselves in, and all are refusing to leave until the city council meets their demands. A 500 strong march has also taken place through the area, rallying high levels of public support.
Once again we see the spectre of direct action being used in community disputes. This can only increase as more and more cut backs are made, and local amenities are sacrificed in the name of progress and modernisation.
Germany: Thousands block trainload of reprocessed nuclear waste returning from France. State mobilises 20,000 police.
Israel/Palestine: Arabs and Jews march together in Land Day protests at Israeli State land grabs in 76.
Turkey: Several days of street protests across country in response to severe economic conditions as a result of political corruption and IMF anti-inflation programme.
Across the globe thousands of women (predominantly) are being bought and sold for sex. Most are from the most impoverished regions - S.E.Asia, Latin America, West Africa. Across Europe thousands are kept as slaves. Some travel willingly, others are duped, lied to, or forced to leave:
Albania: Shipped via throughout Europe to work brothelsand strip joints.
Britain: An MP was found using a massage parlour where Thai women were being forcibly kept and made to work against their will
Canada: Government covered up foreign diplomats bringing in women and children to work as domestic and sex slaves.
Kosovo: 12 women freed from captivity while awaiting export. Arrested men were KLA freedom fighters! Serb and Albanian adversaries have no problem working together selling women into slavery.
Timor/Indonesia: Indonesian army officers have forcibly shipped Timorese women to Java to work as prostitutes.
A World To Win! These examples are a drop in the ocean. Sex sells, and women are a commodity. There can be no clearer example of the horrors of authoritarian society. This is the struggle for womens liberation, not putting the odd female suit onto the boards of multinationals. Until all are free, were all slaves.
When actors complain of exhaustion, I think, for Gods sake, people are clocking up 12-hour shifts in factories. Actors get knackered going to too many parties.
Melanie Hill, Actress
Well, blow us down! At last, something sensible to report from the mouth of someone in the nefarious world of entertainment. But, truth to tell Melanie, long hours hard at it before the grindstone are only the half of it. Theres liverish bosses to put up with, crap pay that no film star would ever dream of getting out of bed for, no security in or out of work, unpleasant and boring conditions to contend with, and the scenery is neither exotic nor does it ever change. Youre dead right its no fun being working class these days (when was it ever?) and, if were to be compelled to sell our lives in order to live, as we unfailingly are under capitalism, then we reckon each and every genuine worker deserves at least as much as any footballer or actress for their contribution to society. After all, what makes celebrities lives more valuable than those of the workers who actually produce and provide all the essentials?
Members of the Coalition of Immokalle Workers (CIW) and students across Florida, USA are fighting against Taco Bell (TB). The Taco Bell Truth Tour has been visiting TBs in many different cities, holding teach-ins, mass marches and protests in a campaign against the working and living conditions of farmers who pick TB tomatoes. Those who pick tomatoes for the Six Ls Packing Co. Inc. are paid just 40c for every 32lb bucket they pick - the same piece rate paid in 1978! The CIW has demanded the right to organise, have requested overtime pay for overtime work, and various other items such as health insurance, sick leave, paid holiday, etc....Meanwhile TB reported profits of $5 billion in 1999, while Tricon (TBs parent company which also owns Pizza Hut and KFC) earned over $22 billion last year. The CIW, who organise from the bottom-up, have been successfully fighting back. Next stop? Perhaps taking over the means of production themselves.
For more info: PO Box 603, Immokalee, Fla 34143, USA. www.ciw-online.org
Riots broke out in Cincinnati following the shooting of a black man in a disgraceful act of murder by a lowlife of a cop. As people took to the streets the authorities tried to subdue them with tear gas and rubber bullets only to be met with bricks and real bullets. At least one pig was hit and seriously injured as many of the angry rebels grabbed for their guns and met fire with fire. The uprising continued for 3 days.
Anarchists have been at the forefront of protests against capitalists and politicians meeting in Quebec. A statement for Quebec has also been issued by anarchist communist groups from around the world, including the AF. For more information on the protests, and the anarchist prisoners in need of support contact the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nefac.org
Is there anybody in Britain aside from the government and NFU (National Farmers Union - homicidal tendency) who actually thinks livestock shouldnt have been vaccinated? So why this bizarre policy of obliterating livestock production? Simple really, PROFIT!
The NFU represents agri-business. It uses small farmers as its disgruntled stormtroopers to lever ever more concessions, which invariably favour big producers. While small producers benefit from finance services from the NFU, its leadership couldnt care less about them. Britain has the largest sized land holdings and the most industrialised agriculture in Europe. It looks with envy towards North American style prairie farming. The idea of thousands of small producers being ruined and selling up on the cheap is a dream come true for them. The NFU leaders and their ilk are the cats that will get all the cream.
Mr 14 farms Willie Cleave the livestock trader posing as a farmer who helped so much to spread the disease around Britain and into Europe will earn £1.3million for his efforts, no doubt allowing him to buy up more of his ruined neighbours. Anyone got a nice big pyre to stick him on perhaps?
The NFU and MAFF are a nest of thieves. National policies are joint efforts. The slaughter policy is their way of defending export earnings, the ruination of thousands of small producers a superb bonus.
RESISTANCE: A community at Lydney in Gloucestershire is refusing to allow the slaughter of its healthy animals, and has barricaded out MAFF and the Police. Many farmers, contrary to NFU bullshit dont support the slaughter policy; we would like to know of other acts of defiance.
Posties in Scotland have once again shown how things are done, by bringing postal services to a complete standstill.
The strike started on 27th March after a manager was allowed to return to his job after being grilled for making indecent proposals to a 16 year old girl. Posties in the Springburn office where he works walked out, and pretty soon, there were 3000 in total across the west of Scotland!
The unions and bosses shat a brick, especially when the following day, a further 1600 workers walked out in Edinburgh and Perth in solidarity. Things were escalating, with reports that some workers in Shettleston had attempted to occupy the sorting office!
Sadly, the pace couldnt be maintained. The union got them all back to work later the second day, and by the third day everyone was back at work, with the union bleating about an official ballet on industrial action. Yeah, right, heard that one before.
This strike was a short, sharp, shock, and it showed how very easily it is to grind things to a halt. Hopefully, it wont be long before we see the wildcat stalking the workplace once again, claws out!
Guinness workers throughout Ireland placed pickets on all the companys factories in a strike over the closure of the Dundalk packaging plant, a move that would result in the loss of 147 jobs.
In general, there have been a lot of key industries totally shut down by Western European workers over the last month indicating a significant level of militancy. Here are a few other big ones that we have heard about:
Belgian Railways, Italian Railways, French Railways, Dutch Railways, London Underground, Aer Lingus (Irish Airline), Lufthansa (German Airline), French Buses, Cypriot Airlines and Fire Brigades (in a joint action).
We are sure that there are lots more, its just not that easy to find out about them given the extent to which news is censored in this country. No doubt we have only heard of the above actions because they are official trade union sanctioned ones.
In true trade union style they have all been limited to one day (or series of one day) strikes, a classic move which unions use to dissipate workers anger and limit the damage done by the desire to strike. The only benefit is to give their bureaucrats a little more power at the bargaining table. Its the same story for working people all around the world. If you want to strike to win serious victories, to create working class unity, and use this unity as the basis for a revolutionary movement, the unions are a waste of time.
The state, its lackeys, and its allies the media have mounted a huge offensive against the Mayday actions (more on Mayday below) Bumbling officers from Her Majestys Finest launched a daring raid on an empty factory in Brixton, South-East London, in a bid to foil anarchist preparations for the upcoming Mayday celebrations. According to the right-wing broadsheet The Sunday Telegraph, the Button Factory was partially destroyed to prevent the site being used for drilling 500 rioters in the art of modern urban warfare. And the left-wing broadsheet The Observer has been doing its best to demoralise protesters, talking of splits in the movement and how various groups (including the AF) have been targeted by Special Branch. Most attention has focused on the bizarrely acronymed WOMBLES (see resistance #24) with police harrassing activists and the press spreading ridiculous bullshit (the tabloids are as bad as the broadsheets). London mayor Ken Livingstone, darling of the left, has put the boot in already calling for tough police action and urging people not to attend. The plus side of all this state repression is it clearly shows that the powers that be are rattled. The police in London will no doubt hassle demonstrators on Mayday using Section 60 powers. These allow the police to stop whoever they feel like and search them for weapons, but you dont have to give your name and address. So when they start pumping you for information answer No Comment.
Dont be intimidated - they cant stop us.
As the War on Drugs continues unrelentingly we look at an alternative view from nearly eighty year ago...
There are in France stringent laws aginst the traffic in drugs and against those who take them. And as always happens, the scourge grows and spreads in spite, and perhaps because of, the laws. The same is happening in the rest of Europe and America. Doctor Courtois Suffit, of the French Academy of Medicine, who, already last year , had sounded the alarm against the dangers of cocaine, noting the failure of penal legislation now demands...new and more stringent laws.
It is the old mistake of legislators, in spite of experience invariabley showing that laws, however barbarous they may be, have never served to suppress vice or to discourage. The more severe the penalties imposed on the consumers and trafficers of cocaine, the greater will be the attraction of forbidden fruits and the fascination of the risks incurred by the consumer, and the greater will be the profits made by the speculators, avid for money.
It is useless, therefore to hope for anything from the law. We must suggest another solution. Make the use and sale of cocaine free, and open kiosks where it would be sold at cost price or even under cost. And then launch a great propagnada campaign to explain to the public, and let them see for themselves, the evils of cocainel no one would engage in counter-propaganda becaue nobody could exploit the misfortunes of cocaine addicts.
Certainly the harmful use of cocaine would not disappear completely, because the social causes which create and drive these poor devils to the use of drugs would still exist. But in any case the evil would decrease, because nobody could make profits out of its sale, and nobody could speculate on the hunt for speculators. And for this reason our suggestion either will not be taken into account or it will be considered to be impractical and mad. Yet intelligent and disinterested people might say to themselves: since the penal laws have proved to be impotent, would it not be a good thing, as an experiment, to try out the anarhcists method?
From: Errico Malatesta - His life and ideas £5 +p&p from Freedom Press, 84b, Whitechapel HIgh Street, London, E1 7QX
A small group at the University of York have decided to set up an Anarchist Student Federation. Those interested in getting involved, forming similar groups etc, should contact:
Steve H, York LEAF, University of York, Heslington, York, YO1 5DD. email: email@example.com
This long awaited pamphlet explains how to play Mayday Monopoly the latest day of action under the banner of anti-capitalism. The production values of the pamphlet are excellent but the contents are a mixed bag, in part reflecting the way politics of temporary coalition tend to become vaguely liberal.
The aim of the guide is to encourage people to organise their own actions on May 1st in London. The introduction and some of the articles are well written, talking of the class nature of capitalist society and how to get organised. But the main bulk of the pamphlet is about how to play the Mayday Monopoly game and listing targets in London for each square of the monopoly board. This part is much weaker, mostly being made up of lists of bad companies like banks and shops owned by multi-nationals, some being given a star for being extra bad.
This is moving away from the fact that capitalism is a social relationship which affects us in our everyday lives, and shows that the aim of Mayday monopoly is to protest against the worst aspects of capitalism. Nothing wrong with that, but all sorts of liberals and leftists also have problems with some aspects of captialism and will seek to reform it, not destroy it. To get rid of capitalism will take more than a day of protest - a revolutionary social movement based in our workplaces and communities needs to be created.
Available for a 41p stamp from: BM Mayday, London, WC1N 3XX or the text is online at: www.maydaymonopoly.net
Another S26 show trial took place in Prague on April 3rd. This time, two anarchists, Salvador Aczon and Miguel Oliv, were both sentenced to two years for the heinous crime of throwing stones at the windows of Interbank causing approximately $125 in damage - damage which the fat cat owners can obviously ill afford. To send messages of support contact: P Houdek, PO Box 41, 565 01 Chocun, Czech Republic, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit the regularly updated Anarchist Federation diary page for details of the latest events
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