Capitalism vs. humanity
PREDATORY CAPITALISM continues to rampage throughout the world. At home and abroad attacks continue on working people. Hours are longer, “rights” are denied, strikes are made illegal and still the crushing machine advances, accumulating vast profits in the process. Living standards in the UK are supposedly rising, yet millions of children live in poverty and millions more adults are finding that job security is a joke and wages are pathetic. The struggle for survival consumes most of our lives.
Not content with screwing the life blood out of workers here, workers in the less industrially developed parts of the world face crushing exploitation, famine, war and imperial domination. All in the name of increasing profits, Africa, South America and Asia are witnessing the pauperisation of literally billions of workers and their families. The improvishment of the Third World means that workers there work for peanuts, often doing work that was formerly done in the West. So, all workers of the world in different ways are being driven to the wall.
And of course, with international capitalism, we get international wars. The history of the previous century and this new one illustrate this clearly. So we know what the problem is, but what is the solution?
Socialism used to be considered the answer but what have the various forms of socialism actually produced? Marxism has either produced brutal dictatorships over the working class or degenerated into pro-capitalist reformism. Of the former, China and North Korea are good examples of the “workers’ paradise”. If possible, exploitation in “socialist” China is even worse than in free market economies. And North Korea must be the most regimented society in the whole world.
And what of reformist “socialism”? Well, Tony Blair and co. are a good example of what that sort of socialism means. It is not just that the Labour Party has had to adapt to survive, Blairism and its old Labour predecessors have actually embraced capitalism. New Labour, though, makes no pretence of being anything other than an instrument of capitalist oppression, exploitation and domination. Tory anti-union laws remain on the statute books, identity cards are imminent and the worst kind of free market capitalism is actively encouraged.
So if socialism is part of the problem of capitalism, what is the way forward? Only anarchist communism provides any real hope of ending capitalist exploitation and state oppression. Being opposed to both, it avoids the nightmare of state terror and the chaos and poverty created by the free market.
Anarchist communism is socialism without government, based on workers’ control and direct democracy, arrived at by workers and oppressed acting for themselves, together, freely and as equals.
Only anarchist communism is built around the self-activity and autonomy of actual living people rather than ideological stereotypes. Through self-directed revolution and the creation of organisations after the revolution based upon free association, federation and equality, a free and better world can be made. Find out about it now!
ON THE FRONTLINE
Like clockwork the British working class flexes it muscles – never mind the first cuckoo – the first mass Wildcat of the year now seems to herald the coming of the spring!
Bosses at the Royal Mail centre in Cowley and two local sorting offices are licking their wounds after being on the receiving end of a 17 day wildcat by 400 workers after the by now usual intimidation and bullying from RM management eventually went too far and ended up costing themselves a cool £1 million in lost business. Well done to all involved and let’s hope other people soon follow the example and refuse to let the bosses walk all over them.
The nursery nurses strike in Scotland has now reached its eighth week and there are clear signs that the city councils have lost their nerve – they’ve offered of a 19% wage increase after refusing to come anywhere near this over the previous few weeks. Solidarity gets the goods again!
The prospect of a nationwide rail stoppage (the first for ten years) has moved closer this month with the balloting of 7000 signal control staff, with a second ballot of technical staff – a vote for strike action would effectively shut down two thirds of the rail system. The dispute is over a pathetic offer of 3% and plans to gut the pension scheme.
On top of this the Civil Service dispute gets even more bitter, with over 100 000 walking out for a second two day stoppage on April 13 over pay and plans to cut jobs – around 10 000 workers with the Department for Work and Pensions also walked out putting even more pressure on the government on this front. Like the rail strike, these two have the potential to get extremely acrimonious and kick up some real dust over the coming months so keep your eyes on this one.
There are strong rumblings of discontent coming from the fire-fighters again. They’re angry at management’s refusal to introduce the increases they were promised in return for settling last year’s strike, and also at plans to increase their workload by forcing them to train as surrogate ambulance crews as a cost-cutting measure.
And finally, just to keep the fires of the old class-war burning bright, we feel we should mention the report by the Independent Remuneration Solutions which found that pay packages for bosses jumped 24% last year from their already disgustingly high and undeserved level - this brought the average payout for each company chief was £5.4m!
ELECTRICIAN LOCK OUT
Last May, electricians working on 1 Piccadilly Gardens, a prestigious office block in Central Manchester, were locked out by their employers. Their crime was to organise a TGWU shop on the site to challenge employer, DAF Electrical. DAF Electrical have ignored Holiday Pay entitlements, Health and Safety Laws and the National Agreement. Instead the men were replaced with agency sub-contractors.
The electricians have picketed DAF contracts since then. They have now moved on to the Crown Court. They are fighting their case through to the Industrial tribunal. Initially supported by the TGWU, the men have found first hardship pay and now their legal support withdrawn. Determined to carry on, they are fighting their own case. They have received support from Manchester Social Forum who have held meetings and raised funds.
DAF Electrical are typical of many builders in Manchester. The city resembles a construction site, with new buildings, usually high priced apartments and office blocks. Instead of paying the rate for the job, they prefer to hire contract labour and ignore safety regulations. As wages go down, their profits rise and the death rate among building workers escalates.
Manchester is a Labour council. The electricians contacted all the councillors to ask for support. They have been snubbed and ignored. As much of the new building is council sponsored, they are supporting the employers in their attacks on workers on building sites.
Fighting Fund Contact 07813 456 831
Manchester Social Forum:
EUROPE 2004: POLICE STATE
The familiar response of authoritarians to any threats is to increase repression in the name of "defence". From the "USA Patriot Act" to the UK Anti-Terror laws, we are all familiar with the dual-purpose nature of these state responses. The measures ostensibly brought into UK law to deal with football hooliganism have predominantly been used to crack down on political dissent, as have the anti-terror measures that allow "preventative arrest".
At the latest EU Summit, the EU released a set of 57 measures as a response to the Madrid bombings. True to form, they are being used as a method of augmenting the power of the state by stealth. A Statewatch analysis finds that nearly half of the measures- 27- have "little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism" and mainly focus on general surveillance of the population.
When Blunkett tested the water by suggesting the UK-wide implementation of ID cards, he was firmly rebuffed. The state then started the usual incremental approach of sector-by-sector implementation with their "benefits entitlement card", to get ID cards in by the back door. The fact that the proposals mean "the fingerprinting of nearly everyone in the EU by the introduction of biometric passports and ID cards for citizens and the same for resident aliens" should worry us all.
At least 450 Iraqis have been killed and more than 1000 others wounded in fighting in the city of Falluja this week, says Dr Rafi Hayad who runs the city's main hospital. Iraqi dead, across the country may be as high as 900 during this episode of fighting..
At least 80 foreign mercenaries - security guards recruited from the United States, Europe and South Africa and working for American companies - have been killed in the past eight days in Iraq. Lieutenant-General Mark Kimmitt admitted on Tuesday that "about 70" American and other Western troops had died during the Iraqi insurgency since April 1 but he made no mention of the mercenaries, apparently fearful that the full total of Western dead would have serious political fallout.
At least 18 000 mercenaries, many of them tasked to protect US troops and personnel, are now believed to be in Iraq, some of them earning $1000 a day. But their companies rarely acknowledge their losses unless - like the four American murdered and mutilated in Fallujah three weeks ago - their deaths are already public knowledge.
Good luck to the Iraqis in ridding their country of all these mercenaries.
WORLD ANARCHIST CONGRESS
The 7th congress of the International of Anarchist Federations was held over the Easter weekend in Proudhon's birthplace, Besancon (Pierre Joseph Proudhon was one of the first French anarchists). It was attended by well over 100 delegates from the federations (including the Iberian peninsula, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Argentina, Russia and Britain) and other organisations interested in the work of the IFA, including the British anarchist paper Freedom and other anarchist organisations in Belarus, Uruguay and Venezuela. The congress was an opportunity to gather together a wide variety of experiences in struggle in order to analyse the current international situation as well as to plan and coordinate resistance to capitalism, the state, religion and the militarisation of the world.
Meeting anarchists from many different parts of the world, representing several generations, is an indication that anarchism is a growing and vibrant movement. Capitalism may be global, but so is anarchism. The success of the congress in bringing together significant sections of this global movement is an important step in the building of effective international resistance.
The congress was a living example of anarchist organisation, showing that the principles of federation and direct democracy are not utopian dreams but the best way to organise as equals, without leaders.
The federations reaffirmed their desires to cooperate and act on a global level. The congress took concrete steps towards the IFA becoming an International that is not only reactive, but goes on the offensive against Capital and State.
For more info on the IFA visit the AF website at www.afed.org.uk
AMBUSH & DISSENT: NETWORKS OF RESISTANCE
Ambush2004 – Ireland:
The latest EU-US summit is to take place in Dromoland castle in Clare, in the west of Ireland, on the 26th of June. George Bush will land in Shannon airport on Friday the 25th, and to be ferried from there to the summit place before going on to a NATO meeting in Turkey. Also present will be representatives of those EU states involved in the war, seeking to iron over their differences with the supposedly anti-war bloc of France and Germany.
The choice of Shannon airport is particularly apt, for it is this formerly civilian airport which of late is being turned into America’s garrison in Ireland. A re-fuelling stop over for soldiers and weaponry on their way to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. AMBUSH 2004! is for making a stand against any alternative their system offers: Against the US/UK war machine, and most particularly it’s use of Shannon airport as a military transit point on the way to Iraq and Afghanistan. Against the United Nations, architects of the sanctions on Iraq which murdered so many. Against the Franco-German bloc’s plans for the militarisation of the E.U. as a counter-balance to the United States.
The summit offers us a chance to demonstrate our rejection of murder for profit in front of the world’s press and T.V. cameras. But most importantly it offers us a chance to gather at the place where the Irish state plays it’s role in the flow of blood, oil and profit: Shannon airport. Where it happens. Where the war is in Ireland. For more info email
Dissent Against the G8 – Britain
The G8 (Group of Eight most industrialised nations) Summit is coming to Britain in the summer of 2005. In past years, everywhere they have tried to meet they have been met with a massive response from the world’s social movements. Now, in Britain, a network of groups and individuals is emerging that hopes to resist the Summit, and build a lasting movement against capitalism. ‘Dissent! A Network of Resistance Against the G8’ was formed in late 2003. Local groups are now forming to build a response to the G8, firmly rooted in local networking, which it is hoped will exist well beyond the summer of 2005. Work has already started on producing publicity and information materials and putting together road-shows to mobilise people for action. The ‘Dissent!’ network, is committed to taking a confrontational stance, calling for direct action. Nobody owns the network and it has no leaders. It is open to anyone who wants to work under the hallmarks laid down by Peoples’ Global Action (PGA)
The Saint-Imier Congress of 1872
Due to bureaucratic manoeuvres (that will be familiar to many anarchists today!) control of the most important worldwide revolutionary union of its time – the First International – was centralised in the hands of Karl Marx and his cronies early in 1872. Refusing to submit to centralised control and adopt reformist Marxist policies the anarchists who had been involved in the First International convened a congress in the town of Saint-Imier in the Swiss Jura in September 1872.
Delegates came from the Spanish Federation, the Italian Federation, the Jura Federation, France and the United States.
The resolutions of the congress were adopted unanimously. The main principle voiced was that “the autonomy and independence of the working-class sections and federations constitute the essential condition of the emancipation of the workers.” The congress “categorically denied the legislative right of all congresses, whether general or regional, and recognised that such congresses had no other mission than to show forth the aspirations, the needs, and the ideas of the proletariat in the various localities or countries, so that such ideas may he harmonised and unified . . . in no case can the majority of a congress . . . impose its resolutions upon the minority.”
In order to combat the authoritarian tendency which had appeared within the old International, the delegates at Saint-Imier concluded a “friendly pact for solidarity and mutual defence among the free federations.”
The third resolution dealt with the question of political action, a key problem of the old International. It rejected centralisation and reaffirmed the freedom of autonomous federations. It also rejected compromise with the ruling class and taking political power, instead calling for social revolution and the self organisation of workers.
The promoters of the new International journeyed home filled with the determination to attract to the anarchist banner all the active spirits of the socialist movement. Within a year, even Marx’s follower Engels had to admit that the anarchist International was much stronger than the remains of the old, Marxist controlled, International.
Today many anarchists see the Saint-Imier congress as the moment when anarchism first came into being as a specific, independent force. From the start anarchists were revolutionary, internationalist and federally organised - a tradition which continues to this day.
Jerome White-Bey needs your help
Jerome White-Bey has asked for help from all comrades. There’s been a new attack upon him. Jerome was informed by the unit manager Paul McPheeters that he will remain in the hole (administrative segregation) for as long as he’s confined in prison. The only way to get out of the hole is by getting the approval of George A. Lombardi, the director of the Division of Adult Institutions in Missouri. Jerome has nothing in writing; all information has been given to him verbally.
Jerome is at this moment working on a campaign letter and is planning on filing a law suit over this bullshit. He needs all the support he can get.
Call or write these persons: George A. Lombardi, Director Division of Adult Insitutions, 573-751-2389, P.O. Box 236, Jefferson City, MO 65102, USA
Michael Bowersox, Superintendant South Central Correctional Center, 573-674-4470, South Central Correctional Center, 255 W Hwy 32, Licking, MO 65542, USA.
Ask the following questions:
When will Jerome be released from Administrative Segregation?
Mr Paul Mc Pheeters is telling Jerome that Director Lombardi is the only person who can release Jerome from Administrative Segregation. Is that true?
Why is Mr McPheeter refusing to move Jerome to the 2-House step up program even though Jerome is exhibiting good behavior.
Send answers you recieve to firstname.lastname@example.org
Money is needed in order to file the law suit. Write to: Jerome White-Bey Support, Perry Sanders, 4548 N Dover St #1, Chicago IL 60640-5529, USA.
The Missouri Prisoners Labor Union (MPLU) has a new website, email list for action alerts and MPLU related news.
German prisoner on hungerstrike
Since February 26th Ronald Haug has been on hungerstrike in Stammheim Prison, Germany, against a decision by the German Supreme Court to impose “closed conditions” on his visits.
This means that a plastic screen prevents all physical contact with his wife, child, or other visitors during visiting periods. Rony has said that he will stay on hungerstrike until there is an end to the closed visiting conditions.
Letters of support: Ronald Haug, JVA Stammheim, Aspergerstr.: 60, 70439 Stuttgart-Stammheim, Germany.
June marks the fourth year that activist Jeff “Free” Luers has been imprisoned and held captive by the state. Sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene, Jeff has continued to be active in prison and fight back with his words and inspiration.
This June 12, his supporters aim to strengthen his efforts by promoting a day of action and solidarity with Jeff throughout the world.
Take some time and read about it on the website: www.freefreenow.org
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.
MAY: 1 Mayday Join the Libertarian bloc for the TUC march on International Workers Day. Provisional meet up 12noon, Clerkenwell Green. See www.enrager.net for updates
1 Mayday in Dublin. Join the anti-EU festivities on the the streets of Dublin, Ireland. RTS parties, street blocades and forging links with Ireland based activists. For info on getting to and staying in Dublin, go to www.geocities.com/eufortress or www.wombles.org.uk
15 International Conscientious Objectors’ Day
19 Lecture by Noam Chomsky. ‘Simple Truths, Hard Choices: Some Thoughts on Terror, Justice and Self-defense’. 5.30 pm in Logan Hall, The Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1. Free.
20: London AF/Freedom public discussion meeting - 7pm, Freedom Books, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St. London (Nearest tube Aldgate East).
JUNE: 5: Manchester Radical Bookfair, Bridge 5 Mill, Ancoats, Manchester. See www.radicalbookfair.org.uk
Every Thursday: Manchester Social Forum, 7.30, Friends Meeting House, Mancs.
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