TURNING UP THE HEAT!
Apparently the class war is over – replaced by industrial harmony and peaceful
co-operation between boss and worker – that is if you believe the media or the
self-serving words of our political leaders.
In the real world however, we can recognize this for the blatant bullshit it is.
Class war is raging as fierce as ever in the workplace – in fact, this year has seen
a remarkable spread of open struggle, which shows no sign of slowing down.
The state’s own figures show that this year has seen the largest number of strikes
since 1989, and since the Labour Party (the workers friend!) came to power the
number of days lost to strike action has risen by a massive 500%, and these figures
don’t include the ongoing disputes on the railways or the temporarily suspended
fire-fighters’ national strike. London teachers and ambulance workers in Scotland
and Lincolnshire are also preparing to take action, whilst the postal service is
regularly hit by wildcats (see inside for the latest info).
This year there have been stoppages on the railways; at airports; in schools; on the
buses; on the tube; in hospitals; on the docks; in call centers; in the post office;
in the courts; in museums; at steel works; at various factories all over the country
– and this is only the tip of the iceberg, there are hundreds of small scale or
regional disputes that are taking place without being reported.
A September survey of 240 companies and unions found that they believe “Strikes and
other forms of industrial action are set to increase during the coming year”.
This is very encouraging as it shows that the working class is starting to once
again put its needs above those of the bosses, the current wave of struggles are
helping to re-build the confidence in our own collective power and develop the sense
of social solidarity that we once took for granted. Despite all the setbacks of the
last few decades, the bosses are still dependent on our labour – we are the ones
with the power!
How this growth in militancy develops will depend upon the workers’ ability to form
direct links with other workers in struggle and their autonomous organisation that
operates according to their agenda not those of a union bureaucrat. We saw recently
in the Edinburgh bus drivers dispute (see Ar-A-Mach issue 3, details inside) how
unions are prepared to act in their interests first – mass assemblies and rank and
file committees independent of the union can ensure control of the dispute remains
in workers hands.
This upsurge of class struggle has shown that working class rebellion and resistance
hasn’t disappeared – and it won’t until we’ve destroyed this system that forces us
into a life of slavery!
A prison riot broke out in Lincolnshire prison on the evening of the 24th October. A
group of inmates attacked a prison guard, beating him over the head with his own
truncheon and locking him in a cell.
The prisoners stole the officers’ keys and unlocked more than 150 cells, before
setting fire to three parts of the jail and smashing windows.
After the riot a spokesman for the Prison Officers’ Association said the damage to
the Victorian jail was likely to reach £2m. Three prison officers were injured, and
several prisoners suffered side efftects after breaking into the pharmacy. One
prisoner died of an overdose.
ON THE FRONTLINE
The International McStrike!
Global Day of action against McDonalds
From McDonalds Workers Resistance: “This is an attempt to give a taste of struggle
on October 16th from a workers perspective. Its difficult to know where to start
because so much happened – sections of the McDonalds workforce launched an
unprecedented counter attack against exploitation and boredom.
Its 3:00am GMT, Wednesday October 16th 2002, some tired and slightly drunk
Glaswegians are trying to vandalise a McDonalds restaurant. Unremarkable, except
that these are McDonalds own employees and at the very same time on the other side
of the world, in New Zealand they’re attempting a strike, and the leaflets are
reaching workers in Australia
Six McDonalds in France represented by the CNT union on strike. Temporary work
stoppage in Moscow. Strike in Norfolk. Attempts at strikes in three London stores.
Walkout in Nottingham. Demonstration in Mexico which has unfortunately resulted in
94 arrests. A mass of direct action and sabotage. Actions to encourage workers
resistance from Sweden to Sydney. Class struggle from Aberdeen to Adelaide, from
Milan to Malmoe. The whole thing captured on an all day radio special in Slovenia.
The streets of Milan are filled with hundreds of supporters of fast food workers,
while ten bus loads of cops wait in the driving Frankfurt rain to try and limit
communication between the Freie ArbeiterInnen Union and the golden arches employees.
Now its lunchtime in Europe and, for a time, eight McDonalds can’t function because
the staff are no longer prepared to sacrifice themselves obediently to the McProfit
machine. McDonalds workers taking direct action and solidarity actions all over the
Regrettably, we have heard that those arrested in Mexico may be facing very serious
charges and are in urgent need of solidarity.
We hope to have more information on what can be done to help soon.
More info on prisoners on the back page.
Posties do it again
Postal workers have once again shown their not afraid of taking action despite what
Consignia are doing or threatening to do. Wildcat actions have happened at postal
offices in Manchester, Bath, Walthamstow and Somerset and an official strike broke
out at Ayr delivery office over bank holiday allocations.
CELEBRITY PRAT OF THE MONTH
Cushy five day week skive at the “Theatre Royal”... dining out in swanky restaurants
serving up caviar, smoked salmon and triple pounder sirloins ... swilling champagne
at parties thrown by failed tory ministers ... swanning to and fro in your own black
luxury BMW ... quite some life prisoners lead these days, eh? But only if you are
no. FF8282 AKA Lord Jeffrey Archer, lying knob of a novelist jailed for four years
Martin Narey, prisons director, claims (the swelling in his cheek could well be his
tongue!): “Archer has been treated no differently than any other inmate”. Really?
Pull the other one, guv! Let’s take just one example for comparison, that of
mixed-race Liverpool prisoner Ray Gilbert. Barely able to leave his cell
unaccompanied to visit the toilet, never mind cruising round town on a set of posh
wheels, Ray’s family must travel hundreds of miles each way to see him. Serious
ill-health dogs all of Ray’s close kin yet prison officials continue to deny him a
move nearer his loved ones. Unlike Lord of the Lies who can seemingly open his cell
door, call up a bevy of well connected pals and waltz off to a binge whenever the
urge takes him.
Contrast this malarkey with a recent visit to Ray paid by his brother and step dad:
throughout the allotted time a small army of eight burly guards stood ringed round
Ray, 5' 4" in his socks, whilst one of the screws made note of every word that
passed between Ray and his folks. You can bet your old Aunt Fanny that nobody
earwigs on Archer’s circle of cronies when he’s regaling his chums with the waffle
he’s going to inject into a forthcoming yarn. A well-worn used cliche we know, but
never has it been more apt: there’s one set of rules for them and another for us.
And nobody can tell us any different! For Ray’s contact details see resistance 41.
A TALE OF TWO PROTESTS
Shannon airport has been used as a stopover for US troops going to and from
Afghanistan (see resistance 41).
The first demonstration I was at in Shannon warport had an open meeting for all
participants prior to it.
We formed a circle and debated our course of action, while our entrance to the
airport grounds was being blocked by the police. We decided collectively as equals.
In the end (and this was a short-ish discussion, based upon the idea that we could
go separate ways) most people marched up the road with no negotiations, no
compromise and no surrender. Others choose a different route – as was their right.
At the second demonstration the megaphone wielding apparatchiks of the “Socialist”
Worker’s Party successfully sabotaged events (despite prior assurances there would
be a meeting) and led the march up the road to the airport. This, incidentally,
after negotiations with the police (i.e. accepting the authority of the state), and,
according to a police spokesman, giving assurances to them there would be no action.
So what did this mean? Firstly; that proceedings belonged to the “Irish Anti-War
Movement” (the current pseudonym for the Politburo of the “Socialist” Worker’s
Party) rather than to all participants as equals.
Secondly; that there was no collective open discussion about direct action prior to
it kicking off.
So, anyways, we marched to the airport building, and upon arriving spontaneously
blockaded the entrance to the terminal. Out with megaphones for an “open mic” and
this soon died away. An “open mic” which by curious design had as it’s first speaker
none other than Patricia McKenna MEP for the Green Party.
Thankfully the situation was saved when a number of individuals took the initiative
to tear down the fence on the way out of the airport, and about one hundred people
piled across, much to the consternation of Mr Plod, both of the soft cop and regular
variety. A number of arrests were made.
Eventually a stand off ensued when a body of protesters refused to the leave the
runway grounds, despite arrests and threatened use of water cannon and police dogs.
Meanwhile outside the now demolished perimeter wire, another group of protesters
briefly blocked the road, for the same reason. This group included a number of
prominent members of the SWP, who were then ordered to desist by their leadership!
After assurances that the arrestees would be released, we went en masse to the cop
shop to make sure. With an unruly mob (OK, slight exaggeration) outside the police
station, the ten arrested people were processed and released.
SABOTAGE THE WAR EFFORT!
The impending war against Iraq may have recently slipped out of the headlines of the
bosses’ press, but it hasn’t slipped our minds. We know the probability of mass
murder by state terrorists like Bush and Blair is still high. And while it was good
to see hundreds of thousands of people mobilise against this war, as anarchists, we
also acknowledge the limits of such demonstrations. For while these big marches can
show the strength of opposition to this war, it is nevertheless a strength that is
not utilised. Ultimately, the demonstrators go home, and maybe later watch
themselves on telly. So in place of this, we advocate direct action as the key
But can direct action really stop the war? An easy answer ... Yes. But unfortunately
the reality is not so simple.
If the workers of Britain, the US and any other country involved were to stage a
mass strike, the bosses’ war machine would undoubtedly grind to a halt. But what
with current levels of general revolutionary consciousness among our class, plus the
nature and role of the trade unions in customarily undermining or sabotaging such
activities, then it makes this scenario a tad unlikely.
In spite of this, on a less grand scale there are still many things we can do which
can undermine, hamper and seriously sabotage the war effort. And to this aim, the
Anarchist Federation urges everyone to organise to do what they can.
Recently, AF-ers in Leicester intervened at a general ‘Stop the War!’ meeting in the
town and called for a direct
action campaign to sabotage the war
effort. And although our comrades actually expected a luke warm response, they were
pleasantly surprised by the positive reception their suggestions were given by many
of those present. Luckily, there are more than a few quality activists in the
Leicester anti-war group (and fortunately it hasn’t been swamped with pacifists and
Trotskyists). Subsequently, the AF called a local organising meeting for ‘direct
action against the war’, which was well attended, the outcome being that a concerted
local effort is now under way in Leicester, to propagandise for a general and
immediate response of direct action to the ‘official’ outbreak of war.
Local “Sabotage the War Effort” posters (similar to those produced by the AF) have
been printed for flyposting around the city, as have flyers for handing out in the
town centre and outside factory gates.
This AF poster puts out the call to do the following on the morning after war
“officially” begins ... “Don’t go into work - either go on strike (if possible) or
phone in sick. Get together with your mates and congregate outside the homes of your
local MPs - make sure you bring the war home to them! Stop ‘business as usual’,
blockade roads to stop other people getting into work. And when you go into work,
try and set up a direct action group against the war with your workmates. Get in
touch with the AF and anyone else who’s into putting the kybosh on Blair’s Bush’s
and all the other leeches’ war plans.” It seems to us at resistance that similar
concerted campaigns in other towns around the country can only be a good thing.
Let’s get on with it! Organise to fight the bosses, not their wars!
If you want a bundle of the AF’s “Sabotage the war effort” poster for flyposting,
college/work noticeboards etc, then drop us a line - contact details are on the back
page and in article on the right.
HEREFORD AGAINST WAR
On Saturday, 5th October, around 60 people including a small anarchist bloc,
gathered in Hereford to protest against a possible war in Iraq. The protesters made
their way into the city centre along a main road, temporarily blocking traffic, with
the local plod in hot pursuit (who carried on following them through the
pedestrianised area, still in their car!).
Once there, around 30 people staged a ‘die-in‘ to signify all the innocent people
this war would kill. Obviously 30 silent people laying down posed a threat to the
public as the police called in back-ups. However, no arrests were made. Although
this action gained a lot of publicity and voiced concerns about a war in Iraq, it
still wasn’t enough. As one passer-by put it “why are they lying down here? Why
aren’t they blocking traffic?” The state can cope with 100,000’s of people lying
down in wide open spaces, but only direct action will stop a war, and only direct
action will stop this war from starting - mass civil disobedience that stops this
whole system from functioning.
Indeed, a social movement that abolishes capitalism and the state and establishes an
anarchist communist society is the only alternative to war. Email Hereford AF at:
On 5th October in London the AF hosted a international anarchist meeting with
delegates from the British, Czecho-Slovak, French, Italian and Iberian Anarchist
Discussions took place about the international situation and better cooridination,
as well as preparing for the internationnal anarchist congress in Germany in early
2003. This marks a further stage in
co-ordination between anarchists on a
European wide level. In the evening the delegates were treated to some British
culture by being taken out for a curry.
October also saw a new issue of our magazine, Organise! for revolutionary anarchism
come out. Articles on Sex, class struggle, revolutionary history and more. Available
for £1.50 from the address on the back page.
A new edition of our popular pamphlet Basic Bakunin has also been produced. This is
a great introduction to the revolutionary ideas of this early anarchist militant.
We have now produced the first issue of Student resistance, with article focusing on
education. Available free from our website or send us a stamp for a copy.
As mentioned on the left, Leicester AF have produced a new anti-war poster, as well
as holding a public meeting against the war. Subscribers should received a copy with
this edition of resistance or contact Leicester AF, Dept Z, 73 Humberstone Gate,
Leicester, LE1 1WB.
We are also having more anti-war stickers printed. Send us a donation for a bundle.
Over in Ireland AF members have produced a new bulletin, Wildcat in conjunction with
the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation. Send them a stamp for a copy (AFI, PO Box 505,
Belfast, BT12 6BQ) or download it from www.afireland.cjb.net
You can also find Irish
edition of resistance there.
The AF in Scotland are now up to
issue three of their bulletin, Ar-A-Mach, available from AF Alba, PO Box 248,
Aberdeen, AB25 1JE or
On November 9th an
anarchist dayschool is being held in Glasgow, details on the back page.
Anarchist supporters raise £500!
Supporters of anarchist prisoner Harold H Thompson (see resistance 38) have raised
£500 pounds to support his campaign to allow political literature into US prisons.
Thanks to all who’ve contributed, much appreciated.
For more info: Friends of Harold H Thompson, PO Box 375, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey,
Spanish anarchists and anti-fascists face repression.
A mass demonstration against legal fascist party Platform Spain 2000 scheduled for
the 11th Oct met with extreme harassment.
The march itself was met with intense police repression and two arrests for
resisting police and failure to show identification. Over the next three days the
repression continued. On the afternoon of the 12th, two workers setting up a
benefit concert for the anti-fascist organising an occupied social centre were
detained at gun point and taken to police headquarters, where one was released. The
other was held for 24 hours before being released with an order to return to court.
The morning of the 14th, a joint force of riot police and private security raided
another occupied social centre and attempted to forcibly evict the residents, which
was delayed by fast legal work on the part of one of the occupants, but not before
the police confiscated and photographed various material.
On the 15th, four comrades were arrested for allegedly taking violent direct action
against commercial real estate interests. One was badly beaten by the arresting
officers. They have been charged with Illegal Association With Intent to Disturb the
Public Order, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. The police have raided
the homes of the four comrades and taken as evidence pamphlets and correspondence.
Two of the arrested are members of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT-AIT.
Fax’s and e-mails of solidarity should be sent to CNT Valencia. Fax: 96 341 59 90 or
Freedom for the anti-McDonalds political prisoners
Ninety four demonstrators were arrested in an Anti-McDonalds protest on 16th
October. Each protester is being held under a bond of $14,000.
The Mexico City Anti-McDonalds protest was held from the Monumento a la Revolucion
to Zocalo to denounce the transnational companies which plunder poor countries and
trample over their flora and fauna without respecting anybody. They are held under
the accusation of damaging Federal Property and carrying explosives, which were
simply fireworks. Once arrested, the State, skilled in the art of extortion, has
posted a bond of $14,000 for each protester, just for damaging a shade umbrella and
a windowpane, as well as refusing their rights to make a phone call or use the
The bank account to support the prisoners is:
Name of bank: BBV Bancomer Account number: 1299949054 Recipient: Martha Cecilia
Subvert and resist
9: Scottish Anarchist Day School in Glasgow. Kinning Park Centre – nearest
underground Kinning Park. 10 am – 5 pm. Admission £3/£1 concs. Workshops on anarchist
alternatives to capitalism, Anarchists organising in the community, Getting the
message across- libertarian media, The libertarian movement today- Scotland and beyond.
Anarchofirstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
14-19 – Trident Ploughshares International Disarmament Camp. For more information
and a briefing pack Tel: 08454 588 363 Email: Devonport@tridentploughshares.org
http://www.tridentploughshares.org Main Tel: 0845 45 88 366
15 – Demonstration at the next court appearance of the 12 Yarl’s Wood detainees
facing charges over the fire at Yarl’s Wood in February. 9am Harrow Crown Court,
Hailsham Drive, Harrow. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07786 517 379
22-24 – Women Speak Out – a weekend gathering of women activists. For more info
contact: WSO Manchester, Dept 29, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HS
Tel: 0161 227 8086 Mobile: 07753 606 723 Visit: www.bellow.org.uk
23 – Brighton March Against the War. Organised by Sussex Action for Peace. Starts at
12 noon, hopefully from Preston Park (Details to be confirmed nearer the time)
7 – Manchester Radical Bookfair 1pm until 5pm at Bridge 5 Mill, 22A
Beswick Street, Ancoats Manchester. Visit the AF stall. Email:
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
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