The rich lie:
The rest die
As the capitalist war machine scales new heights of barbarism, so the capitalist lie machine - the media and politicians - intensifies its activities.
The war against terrorism has become a vehicle for the US and British governments to spread their own brand of terror to Afghanistan and beyond. That this is for the best is not questioned at all by politicians and journalists - the guardians of our democracy. They just fall in line with their superiors, ultimately Tony Blair and the military generals who themselves make every effort to be in perfect step with the US superstate.
Next it’s Iraq we’re told, not that the US has ever stopped bombing Iraqis. It will not be the start of a new war, but the intensification of one that has been going on for the last 11 years. Once again, Britain’s ruling elite will be slavishly following their counterparts in the US, regardless of the fact that most of us don’t want another war. The war against terrorism is not just a war against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq but a war against us all. It is a political struggle aimed at clamping down on civil rights and dissent at home and an economic struggle also. Apart from the innocent people that die as a result of bombing raids there will be the innocents here who will die due to yet more funds being diverted from the NHS to the ever hungry war machine. This war is not between enemy nations but between enemy classes.
As the attacks on our class intensify we need to intensify our resistance. Thousands of people have demonstrated against the war and this needs to be built upon. A positive move would be for people to get together with friends and work mates in their own towns and cities forming independent anti-war groups to spread the message of anti-war opposition. Let’s by-pass the corporate media lie machine and get our views out to people direct. Here’s a report from Ireland which shows how effective we can be:
Resistance in Ireland
Between September 2001 and July 2002, a daily average of 6 American military planes have been stopping to re-fuel at Shannon airport in the west of Ireland (this is, or was, a civilian airport).
On August 17th a group of around 70 anti-war protesters gathered to challenge this. A police checkpoint was set up to prevent people from driving into the airport grounds, by checking for flight tickets. Our entry blocked that way, we protested outside the airport for about 30 minutes, before holding a meeting to decide on how to proceed and how to get pass the police blockade.
After forming up behind the banners, we swept past a half hearted police attempt to stop us from getting in to the airport, enthusiastically reclaiming our right to protest on what is supposedly public property.
Meanwhile observers who had reached the main terminal building saw a Hercules US military plane land, and quickly take off again without re-fueling, presumably either because some order giver wants to avoid publicity or is very paranoid about the "security threat" posed by 70 protesters!
The march went up the road to the terminal causing traffic tailback and police consternation as it went. More police blockaded the entry to the airport buildings, including the non-uniformed political police of the Special Branch. At this point an open mic was held for people to give speeche. Some hours later one person was arrested after scaling a fence and getting on to the runway, but was later released without charge.
On a related note two US Navy warships which were due to dock in Cork at the end of August cancelled their stopover, in all probability due to the fact that planned protests could have attracted harmful publicity harmful for the government.
This report is based on an article from Irish resistance. Free from: AFI, PO Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ.
The Scottish AF bulletin Ar-A-Mach is free from: AF (Alba), PO Box 248, Aberdeen, AB25 1JE. Both available online via: www.afed.org.uk
ON THE FRONTLINE
August saw another busy month of industrial unrest, with strike action being taken in a range of industries, and with the threat of significant escalation in a number of them.
First up, a success story. 300 ancillary workers at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow have won some decent gains against employer Sodexho. After a short strike, parity with NHS conditions were agreed, pay has been increased from £4.20 per hour to £5 per hour backdated to April 2002, sick pay has been increased and lengthened and overtime rates increased as well. Pierre Bellon, Chief Executive of Sodexho has an estimated wealth of £1.3 billion. A member of Sodexho’s Chairman’s committee earns an average minimum of £4 700 per week! Management had attempted to bus scabs in but they were followed around the town by pickets and supporters. Well done all concerned.
The long running disputes on the rail network continue. Trains across the north of England were stopped by a series of walkouts and 48-hour strikes on both First North-Western and Arriva trains. Drivers on FNW are angry at backtracking on an agreed 19% pay deal, and at provocative measures such as making drivers pick up litter when travelling off-duty. A 48-hour walkout is planned for September 10th. Arriva conductors have staged a series of one-day strikes against a pay-offer which is actually worse than one they previously rejected. With more trouble looming on the tube and in other areas, the possibility of workers linking up with those on different lines and with different companies, for a co-ordinated plan of action is very real – at the minute the unions and the companies are both very happy to see disputes localised and divided.
The fire-fighters dispute moves ever closer to the first nation-wide stoppage since 1977. They’ve been holding a series of protest marches in different cites (London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, Belfast) whilst the Army has been preparing to carry out the same scabbing operation as in 1977. The action could kick off as early as next month.
Also in August: Strike action was voted for at the Coventry’s Massey Ferguson tractor plant; workers at CA Parsons steam turbine factory in Newcastle are also preparing to strike; Easyjet baggage handlers are voting now for strike action, as are 6 000 ‘Reality’ call-centre workers; Steelworkers at the Caparo factories, struck in a pensions dispute.
These struggles are just the tip of the iceberg - so much for the bosses claims that industrial disputes are a thing of the past and 'we’re all on the same side now.'
CELEBRITY PRAT OF THE MONTH
"The war in Afghanistan has been handled well"
Whatever else Sept. 11, New York was it’s proving to be quite a money spinner for the faded and jaded rock/pop circuit. It came as no surprise that Paul McCartney was first in a long line of 'stars' to ride the tragedy to relaunch himself on a stunned public.
Now none other than the "highly respected" pop icon, Bruce Springsteen, also appears to have boarded the bandwagon. We shouldn’t be surprised; those of us with longer memories than we like to admit can recall way back in the middle of the previous century when a young Elvis Presley thrust his groin provocatively into the face of a startled post-war world, snarling at sneering at everyone representing power and control.
When Elvis got fat along came Bob Dylan to change the times and sell us back our dreams of a peaceful, fairer world. Bob failed us too when he went and got religion. John Lennon? Dead and gone, a mult-millionaire not having much in common with those “working class heroes” he usurped in song, murdered by a demented fan.
The 80s and Bruce Springsteen rides into town declaring his affinity with factory hands and waitresses. “The Boss” was actually quite vocal and generous in support of the British miners in The Great Strike of ‘84. Now, nearly 20 years on, he’s apparently lining alongside war mongering US president George Bush Jnr, happy to assure us: "The war in Afghanistan has been handled well."
Oh, c’mon Bruce, what is this? One year after 9/11 and already thousands more innocent people have been wiped out in Afghanistan that were in the twin towers slaughter. “Handling this well”? Could’a fooled us mate. For all the bantering publicity about Springsteen’s relating the “blue collar experience”, identifying with working class lives, could it be that the proletarian connection only extends to workers who will buy the records? Aren’t those good folks out in Afghanistan that Bush and Blair are responsible for killing, working class also? Recognising the truth of that wouldn’t help to sell the product though, would it Brucey.
MORE PRISON REVOLTS
More PEOPLE than ever are now in Britian’s prisons. The vast majority are working class, who are there as a result of the relentless redistribution of wealth from poor to rich. The speed of the rise in inmate numbers has lead to inevitable overcrowding which has in turn lead to resistance.
Recently at HMP Swaleside jail on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, ten prisoners refused to return to their cells and damaged part of a building. The trouble at Swaleside ended after a few hours and the Prison Service moved the inmates in the protest to another jail.
Other disturbances and protests have occurred at HMP Pentonville prison in North London and at HMP Ashfield jail near Bristol, which is no longer accepting new inmates in an attempt to avoid further disturbances.
Fifty-two inmates at HMP Pentonville staged an eight-hour sitdown protest recently. They were demonstrating against staff shortages that resulted in them being confined to their cells for most of the day. The prisoners, from D-wing, went to an exercise yard at 10.30am and began a sit-down protest. The incident ended when staff with dogs and squads of officers in riot gear entered the exercise yard at 6.45pm and the inmates gave up peacefully.
One prison officer was injured at HMP Ashfield young offender institution near Bristol. Twenty-two inmates refused to return to cells on Monday night, causing superficial damage to their cells during a five-hour stand-off.
The Ashfield rebellion came after what the authorities described as "concerted indiscipline" at adult Prison Service jails in HMP Liverpool and HMP Dorchester over the previous weekend.
Anarchists are currently starting to organise for prisoner support and anti-prison direct action. To join the email discussion list send an Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
ANTI-FASCISM IN BURNLEY
Anti-fascists have attacked a shop in Burnley owned by fascist Steve Smith, the local British National Party organiser. The shop, in the town centre, sells very little - some armour, a few old flags and some old photos. It is mainly used as a base for BNP organising work in the area, and as a distribution point for BNP and Countryside Alliance propaganda. Anti-fascists smashed windows and graffitied the front of the shop to show that fascists will not go unopposed in Burnley or anywhere.
THE RICH COME TO TOWN
The foot and mouth crisis over, the Countryside Alliance has resumed their plans for a London march. Since the last one, the situation has changed considerably. It is now difficult for the ‘countryside’ to be too arrogant about city dwellers as they have been made aware that it is tourism, not farming that keeps the rural areas going. Farming has received billions in hand-outs, paid for out of the taxes of the urban working class.
So what is this march? Clearly there are still problems in rural areas of transport, housing and low wages, but these problems exist in the city as well. The working class as a whole is suffering from the usual problems of a capitalist economy where service provision is a low priority compared to hand-outs to business and war expenditure.
Of the small pot available, rural residents have received a greater proportion over the past years than their urban counterparts. So it’s hard to believe that the march is mainly about people the rural working class feeling hard done by. No, there is another agenda – one that has been behind all the Countryside alliance marches. It is not a march of the countryside, but a march of the rich, both urban and rural.
The main demand, as usual, will be to maintain fox hunting. The rich feel particularly under threat now that Scotland has banned the sport. Though, Scotland had few actually hunts, the symbolic value of the ban worries the rich in England and Wales. Of course it will not be just the rich that march. There will be the usual array of rural workers who have been encouraged to attend the march.
Another significant factor is that they will be Tory voters. It is a disguised way of organising Conservative Party supporters since there is so very little else where they differ from Labour.
So though it is called a Countryside march and they will be trying to have it seen as a question or urban vs. rural, we must remember that it is a class march. We mustn’t fall into the trap ourselves as seeing everyone in the countryside as the enemy. The rural working class and small farmers have suffered enormously and they must have our support.
We need to break the cross-class alliance that has been so cleverly constructed. There is no sharp division amongst the ruling class between urban and rural; we must make sure that the working class has no such divisions either.
September 22 would be a good day to burgle country estates, but failing that, you can demonstrate against the Countryside Alliance in Parliament Square.
RESISTANCE IN URUGUAY
There have been outbreaks of looting in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, as workers held a general strike in protest at their ever worsening economic situation. Protesters threw rocks at police and robbed supermarkets, bakeries, butchers’ shops and a pizzeria before the filth moved in.
The violence came two days after the government ordered banks to close to try to stop people withdrawing savings. The South American state ground to a halt as workers demanded higher wages. Most workers walked off the job to demonstrate against the government.
Economic troubles are intensifying for the people of Uruguay, meanwhile for the ruling elite there is a fear that the whole of the Latin American region faces meltdown. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has discussed fresh loans with politicians in Uruguay, as well as in Brazil and Argentina. The government is in the midst of debating further cuts in public spending, while also trying to control the working class, one in four of whom are unable to meet basic food needs or pay home bills.
WHEELING OUT THE BOSS
Several thousand shipyard workers in Szczecin, Poland invaded the Odra clothes factory where women workers have not received pay for several months. The clothes factory workers are on partial strike and stop work for six hours a day. The intruders dragged out the director of the enterprise and threw eggs on him, and performed the ritual of driving the boss out the factory on a wheelbarrow (age old custom in Poland when firing your boss). The police didn’t intervene out of “fear of enraging the demonstrators”.
Mutiny - Calais 1919
The British Armed Forces have a long and distinguished tradition of mutiny, rebellion and refusal to obey orders – from the mass naval mutinies of the 18th century to the Cairo Parliament in WW2, the Armed forces have always been a site for class struggles. One particularly turbulent month in 1919 saw three large scale mutinies: first in Southampton when 20,000 soldiers went on strike and took over the docks; quickly followed by RAF Biggin Hill which saw a successful strike by 500 wireless operators; and most importantly at the Val de Lievre camp in Calais.
Conditions at the camp were terrible, and the men were restless, as they had been promised speedy demobilisation. The decision to mutiny was taken at a mess meeting of the soldiers, following the arrest of one of their number for giving a “seditious speech” – the jail was attacked and the rebel-soldier released. A stand-off between the authorities and the soldiers now took place, which was used by the latter to build up a network of Soldiers Councils amongst the surrounding camps. Men at the nearby Vendreux camp came out in solidarity. There were now 20 000 mutineers, and, significantly, French rail workers were helping them, putting a stop to all military traffic and placing an embargo on troop movements.
The top brass feared an escalation - their fears were heightened when troops delayed by the travel embargos joined in with the mutineers. A General Byng was sent with fresh troops in an attempt to intimidate the soldiers back into line, but his troops also joined the rebellion! The movement was taking on a very serious character - troops at Dunkirk and on the Rhine were also ready to come out, whilst women of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary stayed away from work in solidarity. The camps were being run by “The Calais Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Association”, which operated on a strict recallable delegate basis and it was noted that conditions in the camps were immeasurably better under direct control of the soldiers.
The authorities realised that they were unable to beat the strike head on, and so were forced into a position where they had to agree to the mutineer’s demands. One commentator wrote “Had the movement continued it could clearly have developed a revolutionary character.” The strength of collective working class action was once again shown to be more than a match for authority.
To get resistance electronically each month send a blank email to: AF_resistanceemail@example.com
Support US protesters
In August of 2000, when the Republican Convention met in Philadelphia, local activists invited their friends to be out in the streets protesting the Republicans’ abysmal stance on criminal justice issues. Over 400 of the protesters were arrested, and a trial date of October 9th, 2002 has been set for Eric Steinberg, Darby Landy, and Camilo (pronounced Camille) Viveiros who are charged with conspiracy and violations against then police chief John Timoney.
Background information on the Timoney 3, the Republican Convention and how to help out can be found at www.r2klegal.org
Anti Fascists Jailed
Another anti-fascist was jailed for bashing the fash in September (see
resistance 40). Send letters of support to: Malachi Nicholls JN4126, HMP Whealstun (open), Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7AZ
After seven years beyond his original sentence (21 served so far) Ray Gilbert languishes behind bars resulting out a conviction for a crime he does not, cannot and will not admit to. It is a heavy price to pay for resolutely maintaining his innocence. Ray needs help to oppose the continuing injustice of imprisonment and is asking the class struggle movement to support him by sending packets of envelopes (8x4s) from time to time so he can pursue appeals through MPs and the like in order to focus his case. Any kind of aid would be helpful; a few stamps, a postal order, what-you-may.
Please help to right an enormous wrong done to a working class comrade. Ray’s address is: Ray Gilbert H10111, HMP Woodhill, HU6A - ‘CSC’ Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, MK4 4DN. To find out more see Miscarriages of Justice at www.mojuk.org.uk
Ray would also appreciate books on black history.
Support Sherman Austin
Federal prosecutors are indicting Sherman Austin, 19 year old founder / webmaster of Raise the Fist, an anarchist independent media / direct action network (see resistance 34). Sherman is one of the first victims of the new USA Patriots Act. He had his home raided by the FBI and Secret Service. He was later arrested at a demonstration and eventually charged with distributing information about explosives and possessing an unlicensed firearm. Sherman rejected a guilty plea in court offering him 1 month in jail, 5 months in a half-way house and 3 years supervised release. If found guilty in trial, Sherman could serve a of 3-4 years in prison.
For more information visit: www.StopLBrepression.org
The trial of 5 Turkish anarchists from Usak has just ended and all of them have been acquitted! The court started on 10:15 with participation of 30 anarchists (for solidarity) and ended about 11:35. Thanx to all comrades for their solidarity! In the name of a world without prisons! Anarchist Black Crescent/Anarsist Kara Ay - Ankaraabcankara@yahoo.com
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.
26: Nought for Conduct film night. Crowd bites wolf , a film about the S26 demonstration in Prague, introduced by a participant. 7.30pm at Marchmont St Community Centre, Marchmont St, London WC1. Wheelchair access. £2 Waged, £1 Unwaged. Organised by the Anarchist Federation (London). Tel: 07946 214 590 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
6: Demo and actions at Lakenheath US air force base in Norfolk. More info: www.LakenheathAction.org
17: Leicester Anarchist Federation Public Meeting: War and Barbarism or the anarchist alternative? 7.30pm, upstairs at The Ale Wagon, Charles Street, Leicester LE1.
19: Anarchist Bookfair: stalls, speakers, etc. Camden Centre, Euston Road, London, WC1. All day. Be sure to visit the AF stall. More info:
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