resistance - monthly bulletin of the Anarchist Federation (Britain and Ireland)
ISSUE THIRTY - OCTOBER 2001
Operation Infinite Profit
Following the recent terrorist attacks in the USA President George Bush and
Prime Minister Tony Blair have declared that the guilty parties must be held
We at resistance couldn’t agree more. The problem we have with them is over who
the guilty parties are. Osama bin Laden? The Taliban? If so, then also the SAS
and CIA who trained them, the British and American States who funded them. When
the separate quests for wealth and power of the western elite and the Taliban
coincided they were best of friends. Now they have diverged they will fight each
Bush has declared that the atrocity has provided “an opportunity to wage war
against terrorism”. Conveniently, it has also provided the opportunity for Bush
and Blair to boost their pitiful popularity ratings. It provides the opportunity
for them to distract people from the effects of the ever deepening recession
through a patriotism which opposes the view of society fractured along class
lines. The airline industry bosses are using the attack as an excuse to do what
they have been trying to do for months - totally restructure the global
industry. More than 100,000 people booted out of work already with more to
follow. Patriotism and ‘doing your bit’ will be used to pacify those falling on
the economic scrap-heap of a worldwide recession.
And as anarchists have always said: “War is the health of the state”. The budget
and prestige of the military will be hugely boosted by this conflict. It also is
the perfect excuse to crack down on internal dissent (anti-capitalists and
anarchists are undoubtedly in the firing line), compulsory ID cards seem certain
to be brought in and there will be even more powers for stifling dissent under
the guise of ‘anti-terrorism’.
It is important that we all cut through the fine words and smart images of the
world leaders. Their friends in the media are bombarding us with images of them
as caring people with our interests and the interests of humanity as a whole at
heart. Nonsense, they never hesitate to cut our standard of living, or drop
bombs on innocent people in other countries if there is money and power in it
for them. We must see them for what they are and remain focused on what is
really going on.
Just like any other war, this one will involve the demonisation of one man -
Osama bin Laden - as an excuse for murdering thousands of innocent civilians.
Just like any other war, the leaders will be as fit and healthy at the end as at
the beginning - remember all of the crap about the Gulf War being to ‘get’
Saddam Hussein? There he is 10 years later, still lording it up while his people
In the same way that the terrorist assaults on Americans have worked in Bush and
Blair’s favour, so their military response will work in the favour the Islamic
fundamentalism of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban who have been chosen as the
guilty parties. An assault on Afghanistan will result in much of the Muslin
world falling in behind the Taliban.
A war set up by the great and good of our society as a battle between East and
West, Barbarians and Civilisation, Dictators and Democracy, Islam and
Christianity, will suit leaders on all sides very well indeed. After all, there
is nothing better than a ‘foreign’ enemy to strengthen the dominant ideology and
keep the masses back at home in line.
Terrorism, war, recession and mass redundancies are all products of the system.
They will remain with us for as long as capitalism does.
On the day the first bombs fall protest againstthe war at 6pm in Trafalgar
THE ECONOMY OF WAR
The international airline industry had been going through a major shake up
before the slaughter at the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. As reported in
recent issues of Resistance plenty of strikes were going on due to attempted
sackings by Airline companies. Ansett (Australian), Aer Lingus (Ireland),
Lufthansa (Germany), Alitalia (Italy), Aeromexico, Asian Airlines, Aeroflot
(Russia), Air Liberte (France), Sabena (Belgian), KLM Dutch Airlines, have all
had strikes in the last few months. Now panicking bosses are ditching workers
like dangerous ballast, hoping to save their skins and profits from a hard
The following sackings have taken place already, or have been announced as
imminent:Boeing - 30,000, British Aerospace owner AMR - 20,000, United Airlines
20,000 workers, Honeywell avionics manufacturer - 12,000, Continental - 12,000
workers, US Airways -11,000, Virgin Atlantic - 1,200 workers, Aer lingus – 600,
British Airways – 7000, Northwest Airlines – 10,000, Aloha Airlines – 250.
These staff reductions will allow airline bosses to reduce levels of air
traffic, and so orders for new planes, which will have a knock on effect
throughout the travel industry (manufacturers, ground crew, baggage handlers,
ticket sellers, travel agents). People remaining in the industry will see wages
frozen or reduced, and benefits slashed as the bosses make sure that workers
carry all of the burden of the loss of income.
It is very clear that thousands more workers will be sacked over the months
ahead. These mass sackings will happen across many industries world-wide. But
will these attacks on workers be met with resistance? Will strikes and other
forms of resistance be fought on international lines as we hope? We think this
depends on a number of key points. The first is how far worker’s allow
themselves to be controlled by the trade unions. The unions and political
parties that attempt to represent workers will be shouting the ‘anti-terrorist’
propaganda as loud as the rest of the bosses. Keeping fucked-off workers in line
is the role of unions within the structure of democracy. As anarchists we want
autonomous methods of struggle to develop, a movement that breaks out of the
restrictive ideas and apparatus of the Left, and potentially challenges the war
machine and the system as a whole.
The second hurdle to be overcome will be jingoistic flag waving in the name of
‘anti-terrorism’. We are all anti-terrorist! It is important to realise that
Governments are the biggest terrorists of all, and that support for them through
the irrationality of patriotism is support for further war-mongering. We must
not let politicians con us with patriotism and lead us in to the acceptance of
war, job cuts and attacks on wages and conditions, as part of being a ‘good
citizen’ - making patriotic victims of yet another capitalist onslaught.
ONE MANS MISFORTUNE......
The manufacturers of weapons will be receiving plenty of orders right now and in
the future. Major weapons manufactures such as BAE Systems (UK), Lockheed Martin
(US), Boeing (US), Raytheon (US), General Dynamics (US), Northrop Grumman (US),
EADS (France), Thales (France), United Technologies (US) and TRW (US) will be
rubbing their hands with delight at the prospect of war.
Share values increased for many of these companies immediately after the attacks
in New York and Washington. Above are the World’s top ten weapons manufacturers
but there are plenty of UK based firms employing thousands of workers.
Will workers in the booming sectors of weapons and related industries show
solidarity with people laid off in other areas? Many of these companies are
involved in both civil aviation and weapons production. This means that
anti-layoff strikes could involve several areas of the same company. Any
industrial action at the moment will help sabotage this Labour administration’s
war effort. That would be anti-war action through the class war.
As the bosses try to get us to wave their flag and knuckle down to a war economy
in the name of freedom, we take our regular look at the history of revolt:
opposition to the Vietnam war.
In the 1960s and 70s a generation of young people began to reject the rubbish
they had been fed at school about America being the champion of freedom and
democracy. As many looked deeper into the reasons why America was in Vietnam,
they began to see what the real problem was: an economic and political system
that adopted policies that were wanted by the few while the ordinary people, the
working class suffered. In other words the real enemy was capitalism. This
realisation soon gave way to anger and rage at the entire system.
This awareness led people to look for alternatives. Unfortunately the
alternatives were very limited. Some advocated ‘turning on, tuning in and
dropping out’. People experimented with drugs and alternative life styles,
setting up communes or living rough on the streets of the city. Others in their
rejection of American capitalism supported unquestioningly the countries that
claimed to be socialist. Ho Chi Mihn was idolised and activity against the war
became activity in support of the Vietnamese ‘communist’ regime.
Various factions emerged based primarily on the support of a particular regime
or ideologue. Pro-Albanians debated with pro-Soviets as Trotskyists clashed with
Maoists. They also romanticised all ‘Third World’ national liberation struggles,
putting them forward as the vanguard in the fight against world capitalism.
And mutiny in the army...
Resistance among the American military was a major but little publicised factor
in the ending of the war. In June 1971 Colonel Robert D. Heinl wrote in the
Armed Forces Journal: “ By every conceivable factor our army that remains in
Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or
having refused combat, murdering their officers and non-commissioned officers,
drug ridden and dispirited when not near mutinous”.
Attacks on officers (‘fraggings’) rose from 126 in 1969 to 271 in 1970. In 1968
there were 68 recorded incidents of combat refusal. By 1969 entire units were
refusing orders and by 1970 there were 35 separate refusals in the Air Cavalry
alone. Desertion and AWOL (Absent Without Leave) became epidemic with one GI
leaving every three minutes at the height of the war.
Lets hope that in this latest war rebels at home and in the armed forces will
also make a formidable enemy for the capitalists.
NO WAR OR JUST JAW JAW?
The current outbreak in hostilities between two different ruling elites (Western
and Taliban) is yet another manifestation of the greed and power-lust of the
enemies of humanity. How will those apparently on the side of humanity respond?
Past experience leaves little room for optimism.
The Left, as ever, will attempt to muddy the waters (anti-imperialism, national
liberation, support of this or that faction). Part of the politics of
authoritarian groups is making situations that are easily comprehensible
infinitely complicated, so leaving the political strategy to those clued up
enough on the correct ideology (Marxism,
Leninism, Trotskyism, Maoism, etc.). The job of the party members is not to
understand, but to learn a few slogans and follow the orders of their wise
leaders. During the bombing of Yugoslavia the various left groups all chose
their favourite army to back, though some even managed to switch allegiance in
the middle of the conflict.
Pacifists will be calling for a non-violent response, but within the framework
of the capitalist state. Asking states to be non-violent is like telling the
tide to stop coming in. It’s not enough just to ask the state to be nicer - the
state must be destroyed. During the gulf war pacifists called for sanctions
instead of bombs against Iraq. These sanctions have now killed hundreds of
thousands more than the bombs ever did!
Are anarchist different?
Anarchists claim to be different. We realise that the biggest weapon the
ruling class have got is not this or that gun, tank or missile, but the power
over our minds, over what we think. Disinformation amplified by the media and
mystification through religion and patriotism add up to formidable tools. These
aim to prevent us from understanding what’s really going on in our lives and the
world and how we should respond to it. So as anarchists we aim to raise our
level of understanding and encourage others to do likewise.
Will Britain’s anarchists rise to the challenge of this war, in words and deeds,
by putting across a clear revolutionary analysis of the situation? Will there be
attempts to get a strong, aggressive, class based message across to working
class people? Will we make people think?
The response from many anarchists to previous wars has been at best confused,
and many just retreated into the anarchist/anti-capitalist social scene and
spent endless hours hand wringing and arguing among themselves in irrelevant
meetings that no sane person would go within a mile of.
How ridiculous that every time a war starts the same 20-30 odd people get
together in London to hold ‘No War But The Class War’ (NWBTCW) meetings. A fine
slogan, for sure, but who else hears it beyond the walls in which they meet? Are
we brave enough to decide a clear message and take it out onto the streets?
During the Gulf War one meeting of ‘NWBTCW’ had to spend ages deciding whether
to even go on an anit-war march. It’s difficult to think of a more pointless way
to spend time.
And what of the so-called ‘anti-capitalist’ scene? Will it develop into an
anti-war movement? When bombs were falling on Yugoslavia the political weakness
of this scene was clearly exposed. First there was hopeless confusion, as there
was no simple ‘good guys vs. bad guys’ to support. Soon after attempts at
analysis were abandoned and the war was to a large extent ignored.
‘Anti-capitalism’ is a strange blend of Christians, Liberals, Left-wing parties,
do-gooders and occasional anarchists. It never has, and never will have, any
relevance to the majority of people. It has no foundation in workplaces, no
roots in communities, and the times it has looked most interesting are when
already existing social movements have temporarily got involved.
Make war on the ruling class!
The people involved in ‘anti-capitalism’ have got to decide. More of the same
‘celebrations of the diversity of our struggles’, or the realisation that this
is a directionless and politically inept movement with no hope of contributing
to the creation of a free and equal society?
The can be only one response to capitalist war - a clear call for a war against
the rulers and would be rulers of all states. To end war we must end capitalism.
As the Western leaders prepare for war struggles around the world continue...
Three hundred people marched through Athy, Ireland recently in support of
workers at Peerless Rugs (PR) who have been on strike against bosses since
July. PR announced closure of their plant, and have refused to pay out promised
redundancies to workers, declaring itself bankrupt in spite of the fact that
they have merely transferred work to plants elsewhere.
Workers responded however by occupying their factory, catching their
frightened union by surprise. In the process, PR boss Martin Buckley was trapped
inside his office for several hours before being rescued by local police.
The occupation, a typical anarchist tactic, has massive support from local
people while even some local businesses have shown solidarity with the workers.
In the meantime, worried union leaders while publicly expressing support for the
occupation are contriving with bosses for a more ‘sensible’ resolution to the
stand-off, one of which will inevitably involve persuading workers to end their
occupation in return for meaningless concessions that will probably never be
One thousand people displaced by the Three gorges Dam project in China rose up
after being denied compensation for the loss of their homes. The Beijing
government is believed to have already moved over half a million people and
plans to flood 2 cities and over 100 towns by 2009.
Those who have been deported have become sickened by the large-scale corruption
of the government. Fights broke out with police at Yongzhou, where people have
been relocated. 1,000 demonstrators threatened to commandeer a train to go back
to their home of Chongqing after demanding immediate payment of a £200 living
£40 million of the £1.4 billion ear marked for resettlement payment has already
been embezzled, the Government itself admitted.
WALTHAMSTOW anarchist group now have a new phone number. To get involved tel:
To find out why anarchists reject both terrorism and pacifism read:
‘Anarchism and violence’ by Errico Malatesta available for £1 from London
There are a number of Italians and 15 Germans facing serious charges under the
Italian anti-terrorism act. They have all either been released on bail or are
expecting to be bailed soon. Donations towards their defence should be paid into
the EA Berlin Sonder-Konto, account holder: Klaus Schmidt, Postgiro Berlin bank,
sortcode 100 100 00, Account number 206-10-106.
For more info: Anarchist Committee for Defence and Solidarity (based in Genoa)
Anti-fascist Prisoner Support:
There are several anti-fascists in prison in Sweden at the moment. Swedish AFA
are calling for donations towards their support: PostGirot account 276 02-2,
account holder Nisse Laets Minnesfond, label the payment ‘Antifa Solidaritet’,
sortcode: PGS ISESS, address: SE-105 00, Stockholm, Sweden. Contact them for
further information via Solidaritygroup GBG, c/o Syndikalistiskt Forum, Box
7267, 40235 Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jeffrey Luers, aka Free, who was arrested last year with Craig Marshall
(Critter) in Eugene, Oregon on various charges relating to arson, received a
sentence of nearly 23 years. An appeal is underway. Support is vital so write to
him: #13797671, 82911 Beach Access Road, Two Rivers Correctional Facility,
Umatilla, Oregon 97882, USA, or contact the Legal Defence Committee, PO Box
11922, Eugene Oregon 97440, USA and make a donation towards the appeal.
Craig Marshall (Critter), #13797662, EOCI, 2500 Westgate, Pendleton, OR 97801,
USA. (Serving 5 years 5 months).
Eduardo Garcia Macias: Eduardo will have been in jail for a year in November. A
Spanish member of the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), he is being framed for
sending letterbombs to rightwing newspapers and for some bomb attacks. Three of
the four judges dealing with the four different cases have already dismissed
their cases, and Eduardo would be free, except that the fourth judge is
insisting on remand and the trial.
The campaign to free him is growing so show your support, contact him: Modulo 3
C.P, Madrid V Soto del Real Apdo. 200 28791 Soto del Real, Madrid, Spain. And
his support campaign via: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Spanish ABC (see contacts list).
Mark Barnsley: After being shunted to HMP Wakefield, getting into trouble for
refusing prison slave labour, and a number of noise demos taking place outside
the prison and an action on the prison labour company, Mark’s been moved to HMP
Armley, 2 Gloucester Terrace, Armely, Leeds LS12 2TJ.
for more info on prisoners support contact: Brighton ABC, c/o 6 Tilbury Place,
Brighton, BN2 2GY.
or visit: www.schnews.org.uk/prisoners
See also the AF prisoners pages at: