resistance - monthly bulletin of the Anarchist Federation (Britain and Ireland)
ISSUE THIRTY ONE - NOVEMBER 2001
Don’t believe the hype
THE WAR has highlighted what many people have always known about the nature of the powers that be. Hypocrisy, greed, injustice and force are the values they hold for the benefit of the few, at the expense of the many. The media however would have us believe otherwise. Here we provide a between the lines interpretation of recent media spin.
“The bombing of Afghanistan is an act of justice”
Bush and Blair are saying their actions are justified. But hang on, they viewed the bombing of the world trade center as an atrocity. Hypocrites. Killing of innocent people is an atrocity no matter who does it and for whatever reason.
“September 11th was an
attack on Western civilisation”
What’s so civilised about the US with its high prison population, over consumption of world resources, extremes of wealth and poverty? The whole of western ‘civilisation’ was built by brutality and conquest. The capitalist system is based on greed and self-interest. So where’s the civilisation?
Of course the Taliban, like any government, are merely a bunch of ruthless gangsters. Bin Laden and Bush are the enemies of all true civilisation.
“War on the Taliban is a defence of
Democracy? Since when do politicians ever do what they promise they’re going to do in an election? In any case, a minority of the population voted for both Blair and Bush, so they can’t even claim to be democratically elected. Most of the war coalition is made up of dictatorships, like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The so-called democracies are always willing to support whatever oppressive regime when it suits their interests. It was the US’s obsession with fighting state communism that led them to support Muslim fanatics like Osama bin Laden against the Russians in Afghanistan in the first place. All this talk about defending democracy is just a smokescreen.
“Now is the time for the nation to pull together”
The way people responded in the aftermath of the attack - the bravery of the rescue workers and the solidarity shown by New York residents - was a natural example of mutual aid. Bush is calling on everyone to pull together and to make sacrifices, but company bosses don’t seem to think this applies to them. Airlines rushed to sack workers, causing untold hardship for thousands of families. Obviously profits can never be sacrificed. Nationalism is a con trick used by the rich to keep workers compliant. We call for class solidarity and not national unity.
“We must defeat the terrorists at all cost”
How come the state has so much money to wage a war? We’re constantly being told that there’s not enough money to do anything about the NHS, the transport system, or the environment. There’s certainly never enough to give anyone, except the corporate bosses and politicians, a pay rise. But now they seem to have unlimited supplies of money. Where did it all come from?
“This is a war against terrorism and for freedom”
Utter rubbish. This is a war to advance Western political and economic interests - particularly the oil barons that funded Bush. The US for a start can’t stand the idea that there are governments out there that won’t behave, as they want them to. They also love to flex their military muscle now and again to show people who’s in charge. And how can bombing as a strategy possibly defeat
terrorism? Would bombing Northern
Ireland stop terrorism there? Who, anyway, decides what is terrorist and what isn’t? How is what happened in New York worse than the bombing Kabul?
As anarchists we treat all news and views pumped through the corporate media machine with the utmost suspicion. Politicians and journalists are not exactly the most trustworthy of people.
Think for yourself!
Continuing out regular look at history:
Women start the Russian Revolution
In Petrograd in Russia in 1917, in the midst of world war, women textile workers decided to celebrate International Women’s Day on February 23rd.
One local Bolshevik factory organiser told the women to refrain from strike
action. Despite this, meetings took place the next day, and a mass of women marched to the Municipal Duma, the
puppet parliament set up by the Tsar’s
regime, to demand bread. The soldatki, the wives, daughters and mothers of soldiers, left the massive bread lines and raised
banners demanding bread and saying “Our children are starving”.
Joined by housewives and women textile workers of the Vyborg district, they swarmed over the bridges on the River Neva towards the centre of town. The women of the trolley terminus on Vasilev Island joined them, as they visited the nearby infantry barracks to get the pledge of the soldiers that they would not fire if they came out on strike. 90,000 workers, both women and men, started to come out on strike, as the women textile workers went to the large metal factories calling on the men to join them.
The following day, numbers in the street had risen to 197,000. Women went up to the officers, taking hold of their rifles and demanding: ”Put down your bayonets and join us”. By February 26th women were going up to the soldiers’ ranks in masses and taking their guns. The Russian Revolution was unfolding, and the Bolsheviks and all the other socialist parties were taken completely by surprise.
In spite of centuries of deeply-ingrained submissiveness and fatalism, working women got off their knees and were to start one of the most important events in human history. After World War had come Revolution.
For more on the history of the Russian revolution read “The Russian Tragedy” by Alexander Berkman. Available from AK distribution, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE or www.akuk.com for £4.50 plus 60p postage and packing.
CELEBRITY PRAT OF THE MONTH
Here at resistance we refuse to be intimidated by the threat of
terrorists and state terrorists. So it’s back to normal with our regular
column on famous arseholes.
As the disparities of money obtainable under capitalism come ever more to depend on ‘status’, they move far beyond the bounds of basic common decency when it comes to celebrity, profit and property. Television presenter, John Fashanu, lured a homeless man off a London street with a bribe of £300 to stand for two nights in a huge queue so that he (Fashanu) could bid a million pounds on a two-bedroomed flat.
Obviously the irony escaped the dumb, or perhaps he’s just insanely insensitive, Fashanu: here’s a fellow human being without a roof over his head and no prospect of regular shelter or even a hot meal, and Fashanu sees fit to splash a seven figure sum on a property he doesn’t need and will likely spend very little time in. What sort of a society is it that, not only permits, but positively encourages such offensive inconsistencies to take place in its name? Not only that, as if Fashanu’s self-delusions of superiority had barely surfaced, he goes on to humiliate the itinerant street-dweller by gloating: “I put down polythene for the man to sit on in my Mercades. I told him to sit in line and not to move whatever he did.” Frankly, we’re only surprised the crassly arrogant Fashanu didn’t insist the poor bloke travel inside the boot of his fancy, but ultimately useless (on London’s streets anyway), limo!
NO WAR BUT THE CLASS WAR
ON THE day the bombing of Afghanistan started protesters took to the streets. 50 people gathered at Trafalgar Square while 100 held a peace vigil opposite Downing Street. A group went through Trafalgar Square to Whitehall, then to Parliament Square chanting “No War but the Class War”. The constantly moving demo kept police confused until dispersing into nearby side streets.
On October 11th, about 20 people
invaded and occupied the armed forces
recruitment office on Queens Road in Brighton. Despite uniformed squaddies on the door, the protesters managed to barge their way in, shutting down the office for 1 - 2 hours during its main busy period over lunchtime. The group No War But The Class War distributed leaflets to passers-by and hung a banner saying “Sabotage the War Effort” while police closed off the whole road, redirected traffic and called out the fire brigade. The action was
reported on local radio, right after news of more casualties in Afghanistan. No War
But The Class War meetings happen in Brighton at 7.30pm every Monday, upstairs at the Hobgoblin pub on London Road.
The intensification of the attack on Afghanistan provoked a huge demonstration in London. We estimate that 50,000 people turned out. Given the intensity of the pro-war propaganda put out by the establishment the size of the demonstration is very positive. The massive gap between what the ruling elite want us to believe and peoples ability to develop their own views and judge situations amongst themselves was there for all to see.
The demonstration was made up of people from all walks of life, united in their opposition to the war.
We see large demonstrations like these as an important part of a developing anti-war movement. The feeling of solidarity and unity that we take away with us is not to be underestimated – nor is the opportunity to exchange ideas and news with others. However, any struggle against the war should not be confined just to demonstrations.
As a first step, we’d like to see people getting together with friends and work mates in their own towns and cities, forming anti-war groups that spread the message of opposition. Lets bypass the corporate media lie machine and get our views out to people direct. And when doing so lets work together as equals and not get taken in by the left-wing organisations who just want to recruit new members.
As always, in future demonstrations anarchists will be walking together. Look out for the black flags and join us on our journey to a free and peaceful society.
A public meeting of London No War But The Class War has been called on 21st October at 2pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1.
Glasgow saw a 2000 strong anti-war demonstration on the same day as the
INTERNATIONAL ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT
Hundreds of anti-war demonstrations have taken place around the world. Here are reports from some sent to www.ainfos.ca/en
FIFTEEN anarchists protested in front of the American embassy against the new war. Two of the placards were “US GOVERNMENT - TERRORIST #1" and “BIN LADEN OR BUSH, WHERE IS THE DIFFERENCE”.
Over 250 people turned up at the US consulate in Toronto with only a few hours’ notice to protest against the American/British attacks against several cities in
Up to 500 people demonstrated against war and racism in Quebec City. The call was made by an ad-hoc coalition of student unions, international solidarity groups and anarchists and socialists.
To read the leaflet the North Eastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists
distributed at the march, go to
AROUND 1,000 people marched through the centre of Dublin as part of an anti- war protest. A stall was set up by a member of the recently launched Anarchist Federation (Ireland), contact them by Email: email@example.com or Tel: 07951 0797 19.
On October 3rd in Aksai, West Kazakhstan, a small town in the immediate vicinity of the huge Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field, leaflets were glued and bubblegummed by anonymous workers group members in the Western oilmen ghetto. It’s a highly restricted residential area for managers and specialists with special pass system (various time limits) and strong security infrastructure. It’s
especially guarded against locals (if they’re not young girls).
The Leaflets had the following text: "Fight your real enemies: COPS-BOSSES-POLITICIANS. NO WAR, BUT CLASS WAR!”
An estimated 7000 people came together in Amsterdam to protest against the new war. It was an incredibly fast mobilisation, with the organising “Platform against the New War” formed just two weeks ago, and the largest demonstration in Amsterdam since the EU summit in 1997. Very inspiring. The platform denounced all military action.
As part of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (ACC) Philippines call for direct action against the war promoted by the US government, Food not Bombs and the rest of ACC conducted a Food not Bombs vegetarian community dinner on September 29, in Manila, Philippines, a sanctuary of the country’s homeless and hungry people.
ON September 28th students and community members held a “Solidarity Sit-In for Peace” in the MLK commons at Northern Illinois University. In solidarity with those rallying in DC this weekend, they denounced Bush’s “War On Terrorism” and called for peace. Around 40 people showed up to this rally.
WASHINGTON - A few thousand anti-war demonstrators marched through the nation’s capital.
The protests were mainly peaceful, but police in riot gear used pepper spray on demonstrators at least once during a morning march led by an anarchist group. Police arrested some protesters at the skirmish. In another incident, Terrance Gainer, the District of Columbia assistant police chief, was sprayed in the face with something that brought him to his knees. Two officers helped him behind police barricades and he later returned to work.
An anti-war demo was organised by the Polish Anarchist Federation in Poznan at the American consulate. About 80 people came. There were some speeches in which it was explained that war against Afghanistan would follow the same logic which the attackers against WTC were following in their opposition to US. Slogans like “Politicians to the trenches” were yelled. A demo was also organised in Katowice.
A navy recruitment centre in the South Western town of Pau came under petrol bomb attack from the Totally Anti-War Group, who declare themselves against war, capitalism and imperialism.
ON THE FRONTLINE
Malawi Health Workers Strike
Medical staff at Malawi’s main hospital, The Queen Elizabeth, went on strike demanding salary increases and allowances on 5th October. Many units, including the children’s and maternity wards, were shut. Only the intensive care unit and operating theatres remained open. A senior health official said the strike was illegal because no proper notice was given. It is the latest in a series of strikes among public service workers in Malawi.
Merseyside Fire-fighters’ Wildcat
An unofficial strike brought the
Merseyside fire service to its knees on 10th September. Staff at all 26 stations walked out in protest at the suspension of a
colleague. A spokesman for Merseyside Fire Service described the situation as anarchy. Fire fighters went back to work at as
management prepared to take High Court action to force crews back.
Pilots wildcat strike
On 7th September a Sabena pilots strike disrupted the movement of 20,000 passengers. The pilot’s two-day strike was against restructuring plans which threaten 200 cockpit jobs. The wildcat forced Sabena to cancel all morning flights scheduled out of Brussels. Sabena President Christoph Muller whinged that. “Contradictory to their statements saying that they would not hijack customers, today thousands of customers have been taken by surprise by this wild strike.”
Air-traffic controllers on hunger strike
On 10th October air-traffic controllers in Omsk, Siberia, began a hunger strike in protest at a proposed new Labour Code, as well as the refusal of the administration to raise salaries despite increased profits. The hunger-strike, initially planned for two days, is part of a general campaign of action with pickets and stoppages in many workplaces.
Support the Siberian air traffic controllers
Fax: 00 7 (3812)164 115
General strike called in Italy
A general strike against the war has been called by the teaching section of unicobas, the militant Italian union. October 19th will see thousands giving work a miss and attending a national demonstration in Rome, the last of which attracted 50,000 people.
Spread the anti-war message!
We’ve produced thousands of anti-war stickers. Send a donation to London Anarchist Federation for a bundle
Anarchist needs support
ANARCHIST prisoner Chris Plummer will be release on parole in January 2002, after serving eight years for an anti-
fascist action, four of them in solitary. He has sustained serious injuries whilst inside at the hands of the state and fascist gangs.
His parole is ‘super intensive’, meaning he will be closely monitored, because he has made it clear he will be getting straight back into anti-fascist action once outside.
He needs funds and support to adjust to the outside. Contact him at:
Chris Plummer, TDCJ # 677345,
PO Box 4500, TN Colony, TX 75886, USA or Rebecca Plummer, PO Box 101, Austin, TX 78767, USA.
Free Eduardo Garcia!
AN INTERNATIONAL week of action from 8th - 14th November has been called in support of anarchist prisoner Eduardo Garcia Macias. On November 8th it will be a year since the state started trying to frame him for sending letter bombs. In all this time he’s been rotting in prison and no evidence has been produced!
People are asked to show solidarity during this week. There are many ways to do this:
• Write demanding that the frame-up is halted to:
Ma Teresa Palacios,
Juzgado de Instrucion No3,
C/ Garcia Gutierrez No1,
28994 Madrid, Spain.
• On Saturday 10th take to the streets and demonstrate in support of Eduardo.
• Contact Eduardo at: Modulo 3 C.P, Madrid V Soto del Real Apdo. 200 28791 Soto del Real, Madrid, Spain.
• Contact his support campaign by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Cruz Negra Anarquista, Comite Relaciones Internacionales Peninsula Iberica, Apdo. 5, 28901 Getafe, Madrid, Spanish state.
Urgent solidarity needed!
Dominik Sawicki, an anarcho-syndycalist from Szczecin in Poland, has been accused of "incitement to criminal activity" after he distributed the paper "shipyard worker" to work mates.
His trial is going to take place soon. One of the accusations given by shipyard management against Dominik is that since he started working there (in 1996), efficiency of workers has decreased, when at the same time exploitation of materials increased. It is possible that they will try to charge him with the costs of that as he propagated strikes and sabotage as a means of fighting for the rights of workers.
Send protests to:
VI Wydzial karny,
ul. Kaszubska 42,
70 - 952 Szczecin,
(nr. 500 1893/a),
All protest letters are VERY important! More info from Anarchist Black Cross Bialystok, Email: email@example.com
Anarchist prisoner moved
On 5th of October Mark Barnsley was moved yet again. His new address is:
Mark Barnsley WA2897 - HMP Whitemoor,
Longhill Road, March, Cambs, PE15 OPR.