WAR AGAINST WAR
Whenever there is a war humanity is defeated. When the machinery of confrontation gets started it follows a logic of its own, that goes past the human beings trapped in its path, over whom it will roll. When war is declared all things that make us human are abolished.
Compassion, pity, desire for the truth, equity and justice, care for others, freedom and rebellion are the first to be banned. The laws of confrontation state that the enemy is no longer a person capable of feelings, just a thing to be destroyed, and that whichever appalling deeds they commit must be returned tenfold. Otherwise defeat would follow. When war starts the whole of the enemy side is alienated from our concept of humanity, because otherwise our side’s deeds wouldn´t be justified. In these days of general conflict and preventive wars, an awful lot of people fall under this category. The ranks of humanity are being quickly depleted. We are all being defeated by this New Order policy.
Conflict is deeply ingrained in capitalist society. It is only natural that when there is inequality there will be confrontation particularly when there is the level of injustice that there is now. Some years ago there was still hope in progress, that would level inequalities as production progressed, allowing cheaper things to reach the dispossessed. It was proven to be the other way round. In the choice between a thousand rice bowls and a digital camera mobile, the bowls were sold to buy the one phone. Despair is spreading, and war is mounting, following the path of the neoliberal delusion. Bigger, more profound changes are needed. Reform was never a valid option, but now it won´t even ease our consciences.
Too often it is conveniently forgotten that there are other ways of dealing with problems. Politicians, particularly at some levels and in some nations, stress the idea of conflict and confrontation. So do the filthy rich, you know who they are, as if they had never had help from any one when making their fortunes, when it is most likely they already owned them at birth.
So do some thinkers, paid by the same filthy rich, who go on ranting about social Darwinism, civilization conflict. Because they own the media and they bomb every one with these ideas, many end up believing war is the natural state in society and winner takes all. But we know that cooperation and solidarity are valid ways of solving issues and much better ones. In fact, anything is better that the war they have declared on humanity.
They know how to make this conflict serve them. Politicians enhance their careers posing as tough on immigrants, asylum seekers...whichever weaker group they have declared to be the enemy, the scape goat. Nationalism and religion are used to manipulate people by those who don´t believe in anything but in power. Corporations use states to wage war and gain access to further resources, as in Iraq now, and politicians work out the reasoning to hide the real motivations.
The rich declare themselves the fair winners of a competition that never happened.
But their interest is not ours. We need to step outside this logic of war before we sink any deeper in it and it spreads to more corners of the planet. As workers, it is in our interest that no one joins the army, works in arm dealing companies or is involved in any way in the military effort. What we do in our everyday lives is not innocent.
Take a stand against the routine of capitalist warmongering! Turn your backs on their calls for support, don´t believe their lies, don´t buy their shit. Don´t research on weapons, don´t transport arms, don´t deliver their supplies, come back home from the occupation front! Soldiers, desert!; Join the ranks of humanity, defeat war!
During the first week of February, residents of Copenhagen Street in Islington (London), including many mothers with baby buggies, blocked their street to prevent unauthorised heavy goods vehicles and buses from driving down it. The vehicles had long been banned from the street, which includes three nurseries, two primary schools, and a children’s library, but were diverting down there anyway due to Channel Tunnel Rail Link works causing the closure of another street. CTRL’s response was to sack two drivers who may well not have been given clear information or prior warning by their managers. This along with the Laing workers’ strike at Kings Cross shows the impact the Link is having on working class people, both those constructing it, and those living in the community surrounding it. That both groups are taking direct action to resist both pay cuts and threats to their safety by CTRL is a positive sign, and one that we hope people will apply to their own situations.
ON THE FRONTLINE
Our regular look at industrial struggle:
First up this month is the news of a very important (and long fought) victory for part-time and low paid workers.
North Cumbria Acute NHS Trust has been ordered to pay between £35,000 and £250,000 to women workers that it systematically discriminated against for 14 years. This has far wider importance than this single case and opens the door to other claims in the public services from part-time workers. There has been a clear determination amongst public sector managers to try and divide their workforce along gender/part-time/full time lines over the last 20 years – this victory is a very welcome step towards rejecting this false division.
Lecturers have voted to stage a one-day strike this month – over 70 colleges are expected to shut down on 24th February when 9000 lecturers walk out in protest at their failure to implement nationally agreed pay rises. There is also the threat of a nationwide open-ended stoppage over the governments falsely engineered “pensions crisis”.
One million other public sector workers are being balloted for a one day strike over the same issue in mid-march. This clearly isn’t enough, and is a result of the union and Labour bureaucracies meeting at the end of February to hammer out a deal that would suit them both rather then those likely to be affected (and to ensure union support for Labour at the upcoming general Election). Any real challenge over the pensions issue is going to have to be built against these two.
Figures released this month show that hundreds of workers are being sacked each year for refusing to work in unsafe conditions or “whistle blowing” on unsafe procedures and conditions. The report concludes that “in the five years since 1999, 1,500 workers have found themselves out of a job for raising safety concerns with their employers.” and that bosses often employ the existing labour legislation to sack people as the fines they will face for unfair dismissal are lower then bringing the workplace up to standard – and this only covers unionised workplaces.
Conditions elsewhere are significantly worse. And how much has the Labour party, done to remedy this situation of legalised murder since it came to power – nothing. Nothing at all. It’s even blocked the introduction of Corporate Manslaughter legislation.
ACTION AGAINST WAR AND MILITARISM
To coincide with the anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq as well as the anniversary of the Bolshevik repression of the mutiny at Kronstadt (see Time Bomb in this issue), member sections of the
International of Anarchist Federations (IAF/IFA) are organising a series of actions against the war and against the general militarisation of society.
Increased police and state repression in Italy and the war in Chechnya are all examples of where anarchists are having to organise in increasingly repressive circumstances.
It is important to recognise that this process of militarisation is going on all over the world and therefore, the IFA wants to show that anarchists are also trying to build a global resistance.
The Anarchist Federation is contributing to this international event by publishing this special anti-militarism issue of resistance, attending the demonstration and carrying out some local actions. We have also produced some stickers that you can order from:
AF, 84b Whitechapel High St., London E1.
There has been a lot in the news recently about murder and torture by British troops in Iraq, highly suspicious “suicides” amongst them at “home” (Deepcut Barracks and elsewhere), and “an unchecked culture of secrecy and bullying” in the army.
40 families of 40 soldiers who died in suspicious circumstances at British Army Bases between 1987-2002 are considering legal action against the MOD (Ministry of Death). Record numbers of troops are deserting, and the army is finding it hard to recruit, especially after the 2nd Gulf War.
Seven members of the 3rd battalion of the parachute regiment face a court martial arising from the violent death of an Iraqi civilian, Nadhem Abdullah, in southern Iraq in May 2003. Another squaddie from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment has been charged with murdering another Iraqi civilian in August 2003.
Three Royal Regiment of Fusiliers soldiers face nine charges of abusing Iraqis at a Basra aid camp in May 2003, including forcing them to simulate sex acts, after 22 photos of the incidents were reported by a woman processing them in a shop. Major Dan Taylor, camp commander, ordered that the prisoners be “worked hard”. The Iraqis were allegedly caught stealing powdered milk and food.
There have been 138 military British “suicides” between 1996-2001; the death count for the 1991 Gulf War by comparison was only 47, and only 9 servicemen were killed in action during this period. Four of these deaths were at the Deepcut Barracks in Surrey; two aged 20 and 18 (gunshot wounds to the chest, one to head) in 1995, a 17 year old in 2001 (two shots in head), and another 17 year old in 2002 (single headshot). In Northern Ireland between 1992-2002 the respective figures were 20 deaths from suicides / “unexplained circumstances” compared with 13 soldiers killed by “terrorists”. One of these “suicides” had been shot 3 times in the head! An internal Army report contains allegations of sexual assault and gay rape in his regiment, the Royal Irish.
A quarter of court martials in the first 6 months of 2003 were for sexual offences (the 2002 figure was 20%), and only a fraction of incidents are reported. Barrack room culture consists of “initiation rites”, homo-erotic bullying, sexual harassment of women, illegal hardcore porn, and alcohol fuelled violence involving knives, iron bars, and heavy sticks. A 2003 survey of women cadets at the premier US military academy found that 10% had been raped or sexually assaulted.
Record numbers of soldiers are deserting from the British Army – 1 in 48 deserting or going AWOL (absent without leave) in 2000, compared with 1 in 55 in 1996, with bullying a main cause. In 1999 there were 2000 desertions, many from the junior ranks.
Of course there is bullying in the Army (and military generally): they are based on brutalising people, training them to kill complete strangers (fellow workers in the same position) because ‘their’ government has labelled them ‘the enemy’. The military exists to protect the rich and powerful (and grab more resources for them); they are often used against their own people – in strikes and civil unrest, as well as war. We say up the desertions and resistance, down with all armies!
FOOD FOR PROFIT
Food for Peace is a program which forces US workers to pay gigantic US food tyrannies to flood poor countries with subsidised food, drives out local producers and provides what are called “counterpart funds” which go to puppet leaders to enrich the already rich and drive local farmers off their land. It’s one of the reasons why Colombian farmers were chased into the Amazon jungle to harvest drug crops and no longer produce wheat. America’s government used it to help Saddam murder Kurds with gas in 1988, even though back then, as a bread basket of the Middle East, Iraq was one of the few countries in the region which was producing food efficiently and even exporting. But the destruction of the Kurdish agricultural areas and the people who lived in them with US chemical agents was leaving Saddam with food shortages, so America stepped in to help him continue with his gas project, for a minimal agribusiness fee, of course. And the American state’s generosity in Iraq doesn’t stop there.
According to Corporatewatch, new laws have recently been put in place to prevent Iraqi farmers from saving seeds. This new “Plant Variety Protection” law heralds the arrival of patents on life forms law and means that Iraq will no longer be able to feed its starving and diseased population. That fits in nicely with the US vision of future Iraqi agriculture -an industrial system hopelessly dependent upon the big US food tyrannies for input and terminator seeds, which farmers will have to buy from them every year.
In 2002, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which is itself in the pocket of corporation genetic engineers, 97% of Iraqi farmers used saved seeds from their own stocks from the previous year’s harvest or from local markets. If they do this after the new US law is put into effect they will be prosecuted on behalf of corporation food tyrannies by their new vassal king in Baghdad. This is the latest phase of the war on the people of Iraq and is just standard state capitalist war economics.
ASDA USING CHILD LABOUR
Asda Cwmbran in Wales are punishing children who pinch from their supermarket – and other young offenders – by making them work in their store for no wages
This is to teach the young offender to “realise the harm caused by their criminal behaviour and for them show some remorse”. This, for the child, we are informed “is a very emotional experience” and “helps them accept responsibility for what they have done”.
We wonder if the Youth Offending Team (YOT) realise that exploitation under capitalism means that workers are robbed through the system of wage slavery by their employers of the full value of their labour? The rewards workers receive in the form of wages are less than the value of the products and services they bring about. The difference in value between what workers produce and what they earn is the basis of profit which goes to the capitalist boss class. So “legalised” robbery of the worker occurs on a daily basis. Theft for their class is the economic norm. For our class it is a crime.
The rate of exploitation depends on what Asda pays its workers. The going wage at its Cwmbran store for shop-floor workers is a pathetic £4.95 and £5.26 per hour! Now they can get children to work for nothing. so they can teach them a lesson. Presumably a lesson how to rip people off big time?
Asda are owned by the US based Wal-Mart whose work practices have come in for criticism. The US National Labor Committee reported that Wal-Mart’s contractors in Bangladesh were paying workers as little as 5p per hour and were expected to work an 80 hour week. Wal-Mart has also used sweatshop labour in China where wages range from 13 cents to 35 cents per hour. To boost profits further Asda Cwmbran can get kids to work for them for sod all! We wonder what punishment should be dealt out to Asda and the YOT team? Who are the real criminals?
The Kronstadt Uprising
In March 1921 the sailors of the Kronstadt naval base in the Gulf of Finland rose in revolt against the Bolshevik government, which they themselves had helped into power in Russia. Under the slogan of “free soviets” they established a revolutionary commune that survived for 16 days, until the Red Army was sent across the ice to crush it. After a long and savage struggle, the rebels were subdued
Those who took part were radicals of various types- some were Socialist-Revolutionaries, some anarchists, quite a few rank and file Bolsheviks, disgusted by the behaviour of their Party, and many were revolutionaries who belonged to no party at all.
The Kronstadt rebels demanded freedom of speech and press to workers and peasants, anarchists and left socialist parties, and the release of political prisoners of socialist parties, together with those imprisoned in connection with the labour and peasant movements. They wanted equalisation of rations and an end to the Bolshevik detachments used to repress the workers.
The Bolsheviks killed 600 insurgents in the assault on Kronstadt and in the aftermath hundreds more were summarily executed, and many perished in their prisons and concentration camps.
In the aftermath, a number of foreign Communists questioned their faith in a government that had dealt so ruthlessly with genuine mass protest.
Kronstadt represented the genuine and original spirit of the Russian Revolution and of free, libertarian socialism, in sharp contrast to the authoritarian and heavy handed repression of the Bolsheviks. As they themselves said: “ Kronstadt has been the first to break the chains and the iron bars of the prison. It is fighting for a different kind of socialism, for a Soviet Republic of the toilers, in which the producer himself will be the sole master and can dispose of his products as he sees fit”
UNDER THE PAVEMENT
Under the Pavement is a groundbreaking radical alternative radio show broadcast fortnightly on south Manchester’s ALL FM 96.9 community radio station and with highlights from the shows available online at:
The show reports on Manchester’s diverse radical and activist actions and campaigns. They have guests, music and news. Check it out
Two members of “New Revolutionary Alternative” organisation have been imprisoned for anti-war activities.
The NRA first appeared in Russia in the autumn of 1996 when they attempted to burn down a military conscription centre in Moscow, in protest against the Chechen war. Over the next few years their targets included Government, military and police buildings.
Olga Aleksandrovna Nevskaya, UU163/5, 7 Otryad, pos.Dzerzhinskiy, Mozhaysk140090 Moskovskaya oblast, Russia.
Larisa Valerevna Romanova, pos. Golovino, OD 1/2,Sudogordskiy Rayon, 601395 Vladimirskaya Oblast, Russia.
James Borek LL6803,HMP Blundeston, D-108, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 5BG Sentenced in January 2004 to four and a half years for injuring a cop during the June 18th 1999 “Carnival against Capital” riot in London’s financial district.
Keith Pringle CB0078, HMP Whitemoor, March, Cambs, PE15 0PR
Keith has been inside for 11 years and continually harassed for standing up for himself and other prisoners, rioting, dirty protests, and general disobedience. Recently fitted up for threatening to kill a screw landing him with another 3 years just when he was due for release.
Tomek Wilkoszewski, Zaklad Karny, ul. Orzechowa 5, 98-200 Sieradz, Poland.
Polish anti-fascist sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a nazi in Radomsko in self-defence in 1997. See his website www.wilkoszewski.pl for more info
Thomas Meyer Falk, JVA Bruchsal, Zelle 3117, Schoenbornstr. 32, 76646 Bruchsal, Germany: In 1996, Thomas was sent down for a bank robbery. He’ll be inside until at least 2010. Because of his strong beliefs, he’s been subject to very harsh repression – kept in solitary, daily cell raids, suppression and censorship of mail (no packages, and he has recently been denied his regular correspondence with some political groups by High Court Ruling), no access to education. On top of this his cell is in bad disrepair. Protest letters and faxes are needed towards improving his conditions. When writing to him don’t mention you are a political supporter. Besides hand-written letters, the only things he can get in the post are 3 IRC’s at a time.
For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or see http://www.freedom–for-thomas.de.
New Prisons Pamphlet
In this new pamphlet, Mark Barnsley tells the story of 10 long years in prison, a story of resistance against repression, about struggle and solidarity. He explains how the State attempted to crush the British prison struggle, and the tactics they used, he looks at the Prison Industrial Complex, the use of prison labour, prison privatisation, prisoner solidarity, and more.
For more information, or to order copies, please e-mail IPRN@mail.com or Markbarnsley@mail.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.
MARCH: 6: Celebrate Anniversaries of Struggle. Newcastle. 100 years since the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, 20 Years since the end of the Miners’ Strike. Films, talks, music. Starts 1 PM, The Side Cinema, 5/9 Side, Newcastle, NE1 3JE
6: Working Class Movement Library International Women’s Day event. 51 Crescent, Salford. Tel; 0161-736-3601. 2.30pm www.wcml.org.uk email: email@example.com
6-21: Trial and celebration of resistance. Five Irish saboteurs are up on a trial expected to last 2 weeks at Dublins Four Courts for disabling a US war plane at Shannon Airport, on Ireland's West Coast. http://geocities.com/pit_stop_ploughshares/pitnews.html
11-12: Benefit gigs for Catalan political prisoners. 9pm on both days in a North London squat – call 07792 141 840 for details. 7pm on the 12th in Leeds at the Fenton, Woodhouse lane.
16-28: Behind the Smile: the tsunami of tourism. Is a major exhibition illustrating the plight of hotel workers and their communities in tsunami struck Thailand and bomb-blasted Kenya. Oxo Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1
21: Destroy the arms trade - International Day of Direct Action. International groups are calling for a day of direct action against the arms trade to coincide with the second anniversary of the start of war on Iraq. www.dsei.org for more information.
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