Have you got that sinking feeling?
Don’t go down with the ship of capitalism!
We might as well accept that until we get rid of capitalism, it is impossible for it not to have a stranglehold on so many aspects of our lives.
The past year’s uncertainty on the stock market may seem remote from many of our lives- we don’t start the day by checking our shares in the Financial Times! However, the “slide” is going to have serious implications for pensions and jobs. We are all to a certain extent, held hostage by capitalism; and all its massive profits depend on us remaining so. Many working class people are in huge debt with mortgages, remortgages, and hire purchase agreements for a household full of the latest gadgets and designer clothes, all made to seem to be “necessities” by high-power advertising. All this is possible because people are encouraged to use credit cards as if the money society had already been abolished and because banks fall over each other to lend money to those who own a house which they can then repossess if the loan is not repaid.
The implication of our debt is that our basic financial security is tied up with the success of capitalism. And the current chaos shows just how unhealthy that system is. The aftermath of September 11, the precarious state of companies even before that and a few financial scandals have meant that the whole bubble could burst any moment. This is, of course, what capitalism is about, not creating prosperity for the many but vast wealth for a few. If there is an economic crisis (a regular feature of capitalism), it is not the ruling elite who will lose out. They can declare bankruptcy knowing that they can wipe out their debts whilst still holding on to all their other assets which are well hidden away. And if they lose one financial directorship, there is always another one, or possibly a job as a special advisor to the government. It will be the working class that will lose their jobs, have their pensions decimated or their homes repossessed. We saw this when the airline companies had financial difficulties after September 11. It was the ordinary workers who got laid off and the bosses and shareholders got a hand out.
Clearly, capitalism is an absurd and brutal system where the whims of a few speculators can literally kill and therefore the sooner it goes the better. However, this is easier said than done. Meanwhile what can you do to begin to free yourself? Some might argue that you need to give up the job, go live in a tepee and grow your own vegetables.
However, for those of you who don’t quite fancy giving up all your creature comforts, resistance can offer some “financial advice” on how to escape from the quicksand of capitalism.
Get out of debt. Think about how much interest is going into the pockets of the rich bastards! Burn your credit cards. Abandon the legalised loan sharks. All this is made possible when you tell them to stuff their consumer society.
When you are thinking of forking out £70 on that pair of designer trainers, send a donation to resistance instead! If things get worse, there’s plenty of examples people fighting back against the tyranny of the banks and the ineffectiveness of politicians.
Faced with an even more catastrophic financial crisis than we are suffering, the working people of Argentina are taking control of their own lives. Politicians are terrified to walk the streets and have shown themselves incapable of doing anything. The bankrupt banks which have stolen the people’s money are blockaded and besieged. Money is worthless so people are finding other ways of surviving and directly-elected popular assemblies are offering new ways of organising day-to-day lives without politicians.
POSITION OF THE MONTH
Women could no more reform the decaying parliamentary institution than men could...the woman professional politician is neither more nor less desirable than the man professional: the less the world has of either, the better it is for it.”
Sylvia Pankhurst, (commenting on the election of eight women to parliament).
ON THE FRONTLINE
Summer of Discontent?
In the last issue of resistance we looked at the upsurge in class struggle on the continent – this issue we concentrate closer to home, and find the same militant spirit is very much in evidence – not much of a revelation but there you go.
First up are the Council workers, nearly a million of whom were on a twenty-four strike on the 17th July, paralysing local services in the first national strike since 1979 – the infamous ‘winter of discontent’. Schools, libraries, museums, leisure centres and council offices were closed and rubbish was left uncollected as the workers rejected the 3% pay offer and demanded a 6% rise. Many council workers are actually paid less now than in 1979! More stoppages are planned for next month.
Next up is transport. Immediately following the above, thousands of London Underground drivers, station staff and signallers brought the tube to a standstill with a 24 hour stoppage, in protest at the continuing plans to forge ahead with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Also in transport, there are to be a series of 48-hour strikes on First Northwest trains in a pay dispute. There’s also trouble brewing in the air industry: Manchester airport has been the target of a number of 2-hour walkouts over safety concerns, and Heathrow and Gatwick Baggage handlers are to strike for higher pay. This combined with the continuing continent wide air traffic controllers dispute is making life very difficult for the bosses, who’ve been using the fall out from the Sept 11 events to attack working conditions.
The posties are threatening one day nationwide strikes next month if Consignia’s plans to sell off the facilities department (£1 Billion) goes ahead – they’re worried that this will effect their ability to stay in the current pension plan, as well as all the other fuckwit plans management are paid to come up with – see past resistances.
The fire-fighters are also close to calling a countrywide strike in September over lack of pay upgrades for new skills - like the council workers, this would be the first such stoppage since the last Labour government – could there possibly be some connection we wonder?
Glasgow Royal Infirmary cleaners, porters and cooks are being shafted by the horrible Sodexho, they’re paid much less than fellow workers who are employed directly by the NHS and are demanding a £1000 lump sum in compensation.
The tanker drivers for Shell are also unhappy at their pay and have called a three day strike for next week
CELEBRITY PRATS OF THE MONTH
Here at resistance we don’t just pour scorn on all these vomit-inducing allegedly famous names simply because they are vain, shallow and transparent as a pane of glass. No, we do so because the money and publicity they attract highlights better than anything we could ever dream up the crazy, insulting, topsy-turvy (il)logic of what passes for life under capitalism. Take the dysfunctional Osbourne family for instance. Apparently in addition to the £14 million TV deal they’ve negotiated, they also demanded as part of their package free psychotherapy treatment for life for their pets. Er, psychobabble for cats and dogs? Hang on a minute, exactly who is in need of having their heads examined here?
If anyone should be seeking the attentions of a shrink we reckon it has got to be the fatuous overblown Osbournes themselves. Or maybe those so spellbound by the antics of complete non-entities on the small screen that they can’t see through the whole celebrity charade where trivia is portrayed as a success and suffering, injustice and oppression is ignored. Something wrong somewhere? That’s capitalism for you – pompous prats and pampered pets before human beings!
The USA and its lapdogs (like Tony Blair) have been spending the last months preparing for a war of annihilation against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. All of this is justified in the name of the war against terrorism. There is no doubt the Saddam regime is terroristic: against its own people. The Kurds, working class organisations, marsh Arabs and religious minorities have all been subject to massacres, torture and generalised state violence. Present day Iraq is a living hell for all outside of Saddam’s family and hangers-on.
But the ‘war against terror’ is a catch-all term to explain away America’s determination to strengthen its grip on the world. Other terroristic regimes are actually supported by the USA, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Colombia and Turkey. So what are Bush’s motives? The answer is simple; the USA will support any government which will buy and sell US products like Coca Cola, MacDonalds etc. or which meekly accept the USA’s status as global superpower.
Blair is going along with all of this and we do not know the full extent of how much money and resources the government is actually giving to the war effort. It’s funny that an increase in taxes was announced this year, supposedly for the NHS.
Don’t let them forget that the majority of people in this country are not “standing shoulder to shoulder” with Bush. Instead, we need to show solidarity with all those around the world who are sick to death of ordinary people suffering whilst the world’s governments play their all too real power games.
Send a donation to London AF for a bundle of anti-war stickers.
NEW ANARCHIST BULLETIN
The Anarchist Federation in
Scotland have launched their own bulletin, Ar-A-mach (which means Insurrection in Gaelic). There are articles are in English and Gealic.
Send four pounds for 12 issues to:
PO Box 248,
Cheques payable to “AF Scotland”.
It’s also available on the internet in PDF format at:
Once again the insurrectionary people of Mexico have shown the way ahead. In the face of state seizures of their land Mexican peasants armed with machetes fought back.
Some of their number were arrested by the authorities, effectively taken as hostages. The peasant anarchists reply was to arrest “hostages” of their own including a deputy state prosecutor and several police officers. Petrol trucks were hijacked and the peasants prepared vast stocks of petrol bombs. Faced with this determined stand, the state hostages were releases in exchange for the government officials.
“We give our thanks to these brothers. Without them, our victory would not have been possible,” said protester Ignacio Del Valle, referring to anarchist student strikers who shuttered the nation’s largest university for more than a year, and a Mexico City neighbourhood group known for hijacking buses and carrying poles and bats to protest marches. “We may be aggressive, we may be rebellious, but we are right.” “Villa and Zapata always carried machetes,” said David Pajaro, another protester. “The machete is in our blood.”
In democratic Britain the state and its goons happily flout their own laws to suit themselves.
Members of the Direct Action Against War Now (DAAWN) group occupied offices of the Israeli terror state’s tourist office and El Al on May 13 this year. The British government has consistently remained silent about Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, effectively giving this regime moral support. Arm sales to Israel are a lucrative income source.
So, what did our British bobbies do to the determined yet peaceful anti-war protesters? Charged them with violent disorder – a rap which potentially carries a five year prison sentence. Members of the group were arrested MONTHS after the occupation in order to terrorise and intimidate the growing direct action movement in Britain. Their homes were raided, and computers and personal belongings were confiscated.
Visit the DAAWN website at: www.daawn.cjb.net/
“Germinal” group to be sentenced
Two days before the start of last year’s summit of the Americas in Quebec city (April 2001) seven members of the montreal based affinity group “Germinal” had their apartments raided and were arrested on charges of “conspiracy to commit mischief that could present a real danger to the lives of people”, “possession of explosives with dangerous intent” and “theft and concealment of military equipment”.
In reality the group’s only “crime” was possession of some gas masks, smoke bombs, shields and some anarchist literature.
The group is due to be sentenced in August, with the prosecution looking for at least 20 months house arrest.
Contact Germinal at:
c/o Yanik Sevigny,
2265 Pie IX, #1,
H1V 2EG, Canada
The 12–14 July saw the first national gathering of the Anarchist Youth Network (AYN). The group decided to start a direct action campaign against prisons and another against exams. Prisons play a crucial role in the oppression of the working class and exams are used control youths and result in the destruction of childhood.
AYN , c/o 84b, Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX Tel: 07814 629780
ANARCHY CLUB NOW LEGAL!
a jury has decided that Sissonville High School, USA, was wrong to ban an anarchy club set up by Katie Sierra (see resistance #34). She was suspended for three days because she had fliers at her desk promoting her club after administrators rejected it.
Sadly the jury agreed with the school board’s argument that wearing an anti-war T-shirt disrupted other students’ education. Not as much as being bombed has disrupted the lives of Afghans.
The uprising that took Albania to the brink of revolution in 1997 was not supposed to happen – the Albanians, we were told, had shaken off their Stalinist masters and were now enjoying their new found capitalist freedom. The true picture was a little different however – millions of jobs lost, social security and pensions cut and the countries infrastructure was nearing collapse, all as a result of plans to open the country up to western investment. The real spark for the uprising was the IMF pressure which forced the state to abolish guarantees on bank deposits, and liberalise the banking and financial sector allowing pyramid schemes offering monthly interest rates of up to 100% to become legally possible – many people deposited their life savings with these crooked schemes – the end result being that $2 Billion (80% of GDP) was stolen by the bosses who, to make matters worse, then tried to invest this stolen money in businesses - they tried to get the people to work for their own stolen money!
This state of affairs was met by fierce resistance by the heavily armed population. Armouries were attacked and the weapons distributed; prisoners were released; party buildings torched; police stations and courts burnt to the ground; “shik” (secret police) agents killed on sight; banks looted; presidential palaces occupied .The revolt spread from the south of the country and soon covered the whole of the country except parts of the capital, Tirana, which the “Shik” still controlled. “Two Albanias” were in existence.
The states institutions had literally disintegrated over the period of a few days fighting (with around 100 dead), the police were not to be seen anywhere. But this was only a first step – a situation of dual power soon developed, with towns organising their own organs of self-defence (often with deserters from the Army being particularly active) and local self-management with various forms of autonomous councils springing up nationally and taking care of the supply and circulation of essential provisions – decisions being taken at mass public assemblies.
This situation threatened the EU who feared the insurrection could spread to Greece and Macedonia - a multi-national taskforce was sent to restore order – this was fully supported by the leftist parties who rallied around a ‘government of national unity’ led by Berisha (who had only recently survived a dynamite attack) and slowly the state crept back into existence. Remember though, a state was made to disappear in a matter of days!
Legal Defence & Monitoring Group
The Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) are emailing regular updates about their work supporting people arrested on demonstrations. LDMG UPDATE is (for reasons of cost) an e-mail only newsletter. To subscribe send a blank e-mail with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org (to unsubscribe send a blank e-mail with “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line). Please forward to anyone who may be interested.
One thing they mention is that witnesses are urgently needed for people arrested on MayDay. This is the crucial time for people preparing their defences and we still urgently require witnesses to arrests, particularly in Old Compton Street, Wardour Street and Dean Street. If you witnessed an arrest please get in touch with them.
The LDMG provides legal observers for protests/demonstrations. They cannot cover every event but are always willing to advise. They also provide unconditional support for anyone arrested on protests where they had legal observers.
Write to them at:
LDMG, c/o BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX (please send a stamped self-addressed envelope)
Tel: 020 8245 2930
Finnish anarchist imprisoned
Antti Suniala is a committed anarchist who has been imprisoned for six months for refusing both military and alternative service. He was an activist of the now defunct Black Star group of Jarvenpaa, and has DJed for many Reclaim the Streets actions. Antti will be released in December. His prison adress is:
Antti Suniala Helsingin tyosiirtola PL 36 01531 Vantaa Finland
He has appealed for transfer to Turku, so after September it is better to write via Anarchist Black Cross of Turku:
AMR-Turku PL 994 20101 Turku Finland.
Anti Fascists Jailed
Five anti-fascists (mostly from Leeds/Bradford) were jailed for nine months for a scrap with the National Front in Pudsey in September... Any support would be much appreciated...
They include: Michael Davison JN4124, , Callum Currie JN4121, Howard Oakes JN4122, John Winfrow JN4123
HMP Whealstun, Walton to Thorp Arch Rd, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7AZ
Prison Action Email list
A new egroup has been set up for discussing setting up a prisoner support/anti-prison direct action network in the UK. To subscribe send an Email to: email@example.com
It looks like Wayne Heaton, mentioned in the last issue of resistance wasn’t fighting fascists, but is in fact a fascist himself.
Well, unless that is the flood anarchist literature he’s no doubt received since we mentioned him has made him see the error of his ways!
Subvert and resist
Take precautions when going on demonstrations and don’t take cameras, booze or drugs. If you’re nicked give your name and address then say ‘no comment’ to any other questions.
AUGUST – 3-11: National week of action against war and sanctions on Iraq. Tel: 0845 458 2564 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.viwuk.freeserve.co.uk
6: Anti-war, anti-sanctions, anti-nuclear, nonviolent direct action on the anniversary of Hiroshima and imposition of economic sanctions on Iraq. 8am Faslane nuclear weapons base, Scotland. Tel: 0845 458 2564 Email: email@example.com
8:Nought for Conduct film night. You can’t take it with you, an anti-authoritarian comedy by Frank Capra. 7.30pm at Marchmont St Community Centre, Marchmont St, London WC1. Wheelchair access. (Nearest tubes Russell Square & Kings Cross) £2 Waged, £1 Unwaged. Organised by the Anarchist Federation. Tel: 07946 214 590 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
31: Close Campsfield (refugee) Detention Centre, Kidlington, Oxford. 12-2pm. Visit: www.CloseCampsfield.org.uk
SEPTEMBER – 6-8: The Big Blether 3. A weekend to bring together people interested in direct action in Scotland. Tel: 0131 557 6242 Email: email@example.com
26: Nought for Conduct film night. Crowd bites wolf , a film about the S26 demonstration in Prague, introduced by a participant. Details as above.
28: Demo against Bush and Blair’s proposed war against Iraq. Organised by Stop the War Coalition, so no doubt it’s a standard Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square march.
Join the resistance
The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of class struggle anarchists aiming to
abolish capitalism and all oppression to
create a free and equal society. This is
We see today’s society as being divided into two main opposing classes: the ruling class which controls all the power and wealth, and the working class which the rulers exploit to maintain this. By racism, sexism and other forms of oppression, as well as war and environmental destruction the rulers weaken and divide us. Only the direct action of working class people can defeat these attacks and ultimately overthrow capitalism.
As the capitalist system rules the whole world, its destruction must be complete and world wide. We reject attempts to reform it, such as working through parliament and
national liberation movements, as they fail to challenge capitalism itself. Unions also work as a part of the capitalist system, so although workers struggle within them they will be unable to bring about capitalism’s destruction unless they go beyond these limits.
Organisation is vital if we’re to beat the bosses, so we work for a united
anarchist movement and are affiliated to the International of Anarchist Federations.
The Anarchist Federation has members across Britain and Ireland fighting for the kind of world outlined above. Contact us at:
84B, Whitechapel High Street,
London, E1 7QX. Tel: 07946 214 590