Anarchist Federation bulletin - Resistance 98 - November / December 2007
Also read/download PDF format from http://www.afed.org.uk
Contents of the November / December 2007 issue:
HATE TO SAY WE TOLD YOU SO - What a fine mess parliament voted themselves into, when they invaded Iraq.
TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT, PERMANENT DISCRIMINATION - 12,000 employment agencies in Britain keep 1.5 million workers in casual jobs.
OCCUPATION STRUGGLES IN READING - Common ground garden evicted but squatters continue to resist in nearby buildings.
SURVEILLANCE STATE - UK Borders Act means ID card for 'foreigners' and paves the way for national identity card.
ON THE FRONT LINE - Manchester nurses strike in solidarity, Royal Mail workers wildcat in Belfast, Carlisle & Crick.
ANTI-FASCISM - BNP Notts meeting is blockaded, Barnsley stall is upset, and Nick Griffin gets hounded in USA.
ANARCHIST FEDERATION NEWS - reports from Class Wars 'Bash the Rich' event and 'Defend NHS' demo on same day.
SHORT FUSE - detention centre sabotage, cow attacks cop, nudist attacks cop, royal blackmail.
PRISONER SUPPORT - Irish 'Rossport Solidarity' activist jailed in Cork, and Belarus anti-fascists wait for parole.
SUBVERT! - diary dates for November and December.
HATE TO SAY WE TOLD YOU SO ...
February 2003 - Two million people demonstrate against the invasion of Iraq. Blair tells us that Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programme is “… active, detailed and growing” and that if Saddam does not go there will be “Bloody consequences”
March 2003 - Defying popular calls against an invasion, parliament votes for British troops to invade Iraq with USA, Australia, Poland and Denmark. At least 7,500 Iraqi civilians are killed during the “shock and awe” campaign. The last word of the invasion’s code name “Operation Iraqi Liberation” is changed by the White House to “Freedom”, after someone realises it spells out O.I.L.
May 2003 - Bush declares “Mission Accomplished” and an end to all major combat operations. No Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found and the death toll stands at 10,000.
September 2003 - Hundreds of thousands of people come onto the streets during Bush’s state visit to the UK to demonstrate against the occupation of Iraq. Death toll for Iraqis alone reaches 15,000. Still no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
January 2004 - American corporation Haliburton secures $8 billion dollars worth of contracts “rebuilding” Iraq, including development contracts in Iraq’s oil and gas infrastructure. Vice President Cheney owns stock options in the company worth more than $10 million dollars.
April 2005 - Two years after major fighting is supposed to have ended, the death toll reaches 40,000 for Iraqis alone. British intelligence chief admits “we got it wrong on WMDs in Iraq”.
December 2006 - The Iraqi death toll reaches 150,000. Over 4.2 million Iraqis have lost their homes or become refugees (more than 16% of the population).
June 2007 - The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions launches a strike to underlie its call to keep Iraqi oil out of the hands of foreign, private corporations. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responds by calling out the army to surround the strikers and issues arrest warrants for union leaders.
October 2007 - “We had no plan for Iraq” admits head of the British army. Death toll stands at estimates between 200,000 and 1 million. Brown declares that troops will be withdrawn.
The debate is over. Millions of people demonstrated against the war and we have now been vindicated. We were right, they were wrong and they are now slowly having to admit it. But this doesn’t mean the story is over... Iraq is still occupied, serving US and UK foreign policy aspirations as well as being big business for American and British corporations. 177 Iraqis were killed in the past week (from the 7th to the 13th), the latest casualties being a suspected insurgent’s wife and baby caught in US crossfire in a household in Mosul. Brown has still pledged to maintain a force in Iraq to continue the occupation; this is why activists up and down the country are continuing to confront those responsible for the destruction and profiteering in Iraq.
The “Stop the War Coalition” has been an important tool for getting people together to have a united voice against this war and occupation. But this movement does not belong to the activists involved. It is dominated by political factions who have turned StWC into a recruiting ground. We need a renewed approach to the war, a more honest and democratic movement. It is time for Anarchists to take to the streets once again and fight the occupation. No political agendas, no “frontism”, no recruitment drives, no endless speeches in Hyde park, just no war, NO WAR ... BUT THE CLASS WAR.
TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT – PERMANENT DISCRIMINATION
In Britain there are more then 12 000 temporary employment agencies employing about 1.5 million workers, the highest number in the European Union. Lately, this is also spreading throughout Europe even though it is associated with many financial and social risks for workers. The work is characterised by its permanent instability. There is no guarantee that employees will be provided with a minimum number of hours and wages are also much lower then that of contractors, with up to 20% of workers salaries being taken by the agency.
Temporary jobs also tend to be simple physical tasks – like cleaning, work in factories and in farming, where a cheap, unqualified labour force is needed. This is the reason why many bosses prefer employing unqualified immigrants for most of these jobs. They are able to exploit their poor financial condition, problems with understanding the language and ignorance of the law/regulations in their workplace to enforce exploitative working conditions on these workers.
Temporary employment is insecure and marked by the risk of poverty and the threat of discrimination in the workplace. We must fight this model of employment and fight the bosses who seek to impose it on workers everywhere.
Sheffield Anarchist Federation is organizing with European workers affected by these industries, for more info.
READING COUNCIL ARE A BUNCH OF...
The Reading Common Ground Community Garden was created early this year by local residents, squatters and activists on derelict council owned land. For five years the council had left three buildings and the surrounding land in Silver Street as a junkyard, filled with trash and needles. From January to May, they worked directly-democratically, using recycling and the generosity of neighbours and family to create a community garden.
Two days before the opening day on May 19th, Reading Council began to respond in the same way they planned to carry on: with criminalisation and threats. Of course, the collective also set their tone: resistance! The council secured an injunction banning the open day. Up to 200 local residents ignored it, enjoying the garden, live music and a BBQ. Every day for the next five months the garden was open to all, and has been enjoyed by many local residents of all ages and colours.
Finally, on October 18th council officials and bailiffs, backed up by cops, evicted the squatters and dragged one local resident (also an AFer) from the garden, before boarding the site up.
However, it aint over yet! Since that day, the buildings have been repeatedly re-opened by squatters and re-sealed by builders. On a less-positive note, the garden has begun to return to the state of disrepair it was in a year ago, as vandalism and theft crept back in. So people involved in Common Ground decided to re-open the garden - an act which is not illegal. But since when has the law ever mattered to people in power? Cops in an unmarked car arrested the three gardeners halfway through their task. The three were nicked for 'attempted burglary and going equipped' before being added to the DNA database and held in the cells for eight hours. Eventually, after explaining to the interviewing cops that they weren’t breaking into a building, but opening the garden (as they had originally explained to the arresting officers!), the three were released without charge.
Meanwhile a little way down the road, similar processes are at work, as profiteering bosses are seeking the eviction of up to 40 squatters. Townsend House is a 53 bedroom building, in the same area as Common Ground. It was originally run by a charity as a shelter for vulnerable women. However, in what looks like a seriously dodgy deal, the building was 'internally' sold in 2006 to the charities parent company for less than £100,000 and the women were re-housed by the council!
Since then it has become home to a diverse community of people, including migrants, families with children, unemployed or retired workers and assorted young people. It is organised through weekly assemblies, and though definitely not perfect, it is an interesting example of a self managed community.
A recent court hearing gave the squatters a three week adjournment, but no doubt the law will protect the bosses 'property rights' over the needs of the residents in the end. However, it does look possible that the residents could resist eviction through direct-action if legal means fail. Local activists should lend their support when the time comes.
SURVEILLANCE STATE - ID for 'foreigners' paves the way for national identity card
Don’t say we didn’t tell you so. The UK Borders Bill (2007) quietly got its ‘royal assent’ on October 30th and this new Act of parliament will now aim to issue ID cards to non-British residents and visitors as soon as next year. It will also give immigration officials new powers to detain people at borders, to harass asylum seekers, and to increase sharing of data gathered for tax purposes.
In previous issues of Resistance we have shown how national ID is being brought in on an anti-immigrant ticket and this is now clearer than ever. In fact asylum seekers already have ID cards and have their fingerprints stored and regularly checked by the Home Office’s ‘Border and Immigration Agency’.
Giving ID cards to overseas residents and biometric visas to all foreign visitors is one more step towards ID cards and fingerprinting of everyone in the country. The ID cards Act (2006) already allows the state to issue ID cards to British citizens alongside passports and in 2010 this will become compulsory. After that the government intends to get us all fingerprinted and on the National Identity Register whether we have a passport or not.
So while for many of us born in Britain the axe won't come down for a few years, by 2010 much of the national identity scheme will be already be in place. It is often said that that the working class has no country. For this to mean anything the time to fight is now. It means supporting people who fall foul of immigration laws and defying identity schemes within and between borders. To get involved, Defy -ID and the No Borders network are amongst the grassroots campaigns worth contacting.
UK Borders Act: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills/200607/uk_borders.htm
ON THE FRONTLINE
Manchester nurses strike for Karen Reissman
More than 150 staff are on picket lines across Manchester and say they will not return to work until senior nurse Karen Reissmann is reinstated.
The strike follows the decision of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust bosses to sack Ms Reissmann on Monday. She worked in the city's health service for more than 20 years. The walkout by UNISON staff follows 14 days of industrial action over the summer.
Ms Reissmann is an outspoken critic of NHS cuts and privatisation of services.
Unofficial action at Royal Mai continues
Despite official strikes being called off, wildcat strikes and other disputes continue in the postal service.
Belfast - Postal workers in Belfast have won an important victory against management after unofficial action. It took the workers just one and a half hours to force down bosses’ attempts to change start times.
Carlisle - Some 500 postal workers in Carlisle walked out unofficially over the use of temporary workers to clear the backlog from the strike.
Crick - Workers at the Royal Mail’s flagship National Distribution Centre in Crick, Northamptonshire, are threatening to ballot for strike action in a dispute over the introduction of new routes for network drivers.
STICK IT IN MY DRIPPING FASCIST
The last month could have gone a bit easier on the stiff-armed boys in the BNP. Their run of poor luck began on the 16th of October in the small town of Kimberly, just outside of Nottingham, where Der Fuhrer himself Nick Griffin was due to address an invite-only audience of northern fascists. The Party Chairman was no doubt there to congratulate Brinsley BNP councillor and ex-hippy Sadie Graham on her recent election, but red faces quickly ensued as it turned out the function was not so private after all. Somebody must have invited over 100 antifascists.
As they arrived hot on the heels on Griffin. The mob quickly took control of the entrances as the cops lost control of the streets. No more than 5 supporters made it in as the crowd repelled fascists and coppers alike, suffering three arrests. As the start time came it became clear to the 50 BNP members outside that the rally was not going ahead. Their taunts and laughter gave way to soggy despair as they stood stranded in the pouring rain, cheap makeup running and hired suits soaked through.
Very little was clearly going on in the hall either, as Griffin was outside every 5 minutes to see where his horde had got to. At the 9 O’clock finish time he realised he was trapped. Only when the anti’s decided to call it a day an hour later was he able to escape under heavy police escort. The following Saturday saw “red thugs” trash the Barnsley BNP stall in the town centre, and a week later Griffin once again was prevented from speaking at a hard-right, anti-Muslim event in America by antifascist students. It’s like groundhog day, but with violence...
ANARCHIST FEDERATION NEWS
BASH THE RICH
After the Bash The Rich talk at the Anarchist Bookfair on 27 October 2007, there were a lot of expectations placed on the actual event. To a large extent the march was to symbolise the incredible increase in an interest in Anarchism this year and a revival of the old spirit of ‘Taking Anarchism to the Streets’. The march (made up of about 100-200 protesters) eventually began after 15.00, but was stopped within several minutes, at the first road intersection by the Police. The organisers approached the Police and arranged for the march to go ahead. However, the Police decided on the route and coupled with their physical display now held a monopoly of power
Towards the end of the march, physical confrontation began to escalate and the cops arrested several protesters. However, the protest was now very visible to the general public and the cops had no choice but to tone their approach down. The event ended with a meeting in the park, held by a Class War speaker and then Ian Bone. They thanked everybody that participated in the march and voiced the view that it was a success on the basis that many sceptics thought that the march would not even be able to go ahead. Ian Bone pointed out that “We pushed all the way through … The Anarchist Movement is on the streets or it is f*ckin nothing”. - the protest group then cheered triumphantly. He continued to say that “We’re tired of listening at other people’s rallies … No More… This is an Anarchist Rally … We f*ckin did it, congratulations to everyone”.
NHS DEMO Over the past year here has been a groundswell among health workers and within the union UNISON to call for action to defend the National Health Service. The union bosses have been dragging their heels over this, as they did not want to upset their friend Gordon Brown and stymie his chances of getting re-elected. On the day of the demo there were about 10,000 workers in London, on a short A to B march. There were few workers from other sectors, and the rally at the end in Trafalgar Square was one of the most snore-inducing this reporter has seen in many a long year! Trade union bureaucrat after trade union bureaucrat rambled up to the mike to deliver lacklustre and mumbling speeches, with a couple of Z-list comedians to provide "light relief". The Anarchist Federation bods had a literature stall which generated a fair bit of interest.
SHORT FUSE ...
IT’S A STICK UP!!!
The locks of the Northern Assurance Building were super-glued shut in the early hours of Friday November 2nd. This was an act of sabotage against FD Tamesis, housed in this building, intended to highlight the company's involvement in the construction of what will be the UK's largest refugee deportation centre, Brook House near Gatwick Airport.
COW BUTTS PIG
Detective Inspector Chris Poole was walking his dog on the south downs when he was suddenly struck from behind, flooring him in one. The Brighton copper was under attack not hoodies, yardies, or Internal Affairs - but botherers of a bovine breed. He was soon surrounded by fifty cows who gave him a serious going over, breaking four ribs and puncturing a lung. 'Attacks of these sort are no laughing matter', said spokesman Cow Tse-Tung.
GET YOUR COP OUT!
A nude rambler turned on 2 officers after they hit him with a truncheon, chasing them, unarmed and naked, for over half an hour before being overpowered. This is what cameras were invented for.
ROYAL BLACKMAILER REVEALED
Resistance can today exclusively reveal the identity of the Royal blackmailer plotting to screw the innocent out of millions. A gang of German crooks operating under the name 'The Windsor Family' have been conning the British taxpayer out of millions since sometime in early May, 1910. Anyone with any information on these people should immediately get a grip.
John McGrath is being held in Cork Prison. The address is:
Cork Prison, Rathmore Road, Cork City, Cork.
John was sentenced to 3 months for allegedly assaulting 4 Gardai, apparently all at the same time! He had been walking home from the pub, and 4 Gardai jumped him. He ended up being charged with their assault, and they got off scot free. The Gardai were taunting him about Rossport. This happened to him, last year, just after he had returned from Erris, where he had gone down to stand in solidarity with the local community when the blockade was broken in October 2006. If anyone wants to send letters to him, the address is above, and make sure that you put a return address on it or it won't get through to him.
Two Belarusian ANTIFA prisoners, doing time for anti-fascist actions had their parole hearing postponed. In the meantime they welcome cards and letters of support.
Lets not forget our comrades inside!
Vladislav Vladimirovich Plyashkevich
IK-10 otryad 4
Novopoltsk-5 Vitebskaya oblast
VK-2 - 21
Batowa str. 4
When going on demonstrations stay sober, don’t talk to the police and if you’re arrested give only your name and address then say “no comment” to any other questions. For more info visit: http://www.ldmg.org.uk
until 11 (starts 30 Oct) - Indymedia Exhibition. talks, audio and video presentations and workshops. See: www.indymedia.org.uk for details.
13 - Gagged! benefit gig - Give Up All Hope (giveupallhope.org), AntiMaster (myspace.com/antimaster), Jesus Bruiser (jesusbruiser.co.uk), Threat Manifesto (myspace.com/threatmanifesto) 8pm, Le Pub, Caxton Place, Newport, £3, email email@example.com web www.gaggedanarchist.tk
20 - Indymedia Media Training. Evening of talks and workshops covering all the basics, from writing an article, publishing and picture editing to internet security and data encryption. 7:00pm at Rampart social centre.
8 - National Climate March. 10am, Cycle Protest assembles at Lincoln's Inn Fields. London. 12 noon assemble Millbank for main march [Westminster Tube]. 2.30pm Rally at US Embassy. www.campaigncc.org
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 Anarchist Communism. 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:
London, WC1N 3XX.
Also visit: http://www.afed.org.uk and http://www.iaf-ifa.org
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