Anarchist Federation | 05.11.2004 13:38
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WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO HIDE?
“Anarchism… stands for direct action, the open defiance of, and resistance to, all laws and restrictions, economic, social and moral.” Emma Goldman
The British government continue their policy of war abroad and increasing social control at home. The events of 9-11 have served as a smoke screen to introduce ever increasing draconian legislation, supported by a scare mongering media every step of the way. We are already the most monitored people on earth, with new CCTV cameras going up at a rate of 300 a week. The police along with six government agencies can monitor our emails and internet usage without court orders, and the UK government pushed legislation through allowing them to store information on the whole of the EU. The culture of surveillance is also apparent at work where bosses routinely monitor emails, internet usage and phone calls.
The government particularly target minority communities and children for social control. The use of drug testing in schools and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO’s) to enforce curfews, are examples of the criminalization and control of children. According to Drugscope, sniffer dogs are regularly used in over 100 schools throughout England and Wales. The Anti Social Behaviour Act, allows the police to disperse groups of two or more, and after 9pm remove from the streets anyone under the age of 16. ASBO’s have been issued with conditions such as banning the wearing of one golf glove, breaking an ASBO results in a 5 year prison sentence, and hearsay is admissible as evidence!
Introducing ID cards will increase this surveillance to unprecedented levels, although not compulsory to carry they will soon dominate life to such an extent that Blunkett gloats “I doubt whether non-use of it would last very long.” ID cards will particularly be used to target working class minorities, increasing the police powers of stop and search, to include the use of biometric data. With public consultation quietly over, an ID card bill is likely to appear in the Queen’s speech. Blunkett’s policy seems to be a piecemeal introduction, hoping to avoid resistance. Coupling testing systems with introducing biometric passports and driving licences it is expected 80% of the “economically active” will be covered by 2008. It is not surprising that IT corporations have their snouts in the trough, five participated in the trials and are likely to remain involved, including Atos Origin, NEC, Identix, Mori and Iridian technologies. These companies aim to profit from the development of the cards and also the long term “managed operations” contracts, raking it in running these schemes. ID cards like so many policies of the government are being sold as a necessity for security but the true necessity is to secure the profits for the companies involved.
The introduction of ID cards in Australia led to massive opposition, as the news of associated offences and penalties surfaced, resistance spread and strengthened its resolve. In the face of massive public protests, a party revolt and civil disobedience, the government scrapped the ID card proposal. In the face of ID card legislation in the UK, resistance is growing. A national network, Defy-ID, has come to life. In Glasgow Home Office minister Des Browne arrived to launch the latest trial run to be met by Glasgow Defy-ID who managed to disrupt the press launch. Other actions have taken place in Glasgow and local anti-ID groups are growing around the country.
More info from: www.defy-id.org.uk
ON THE FRONTLINE
Our regular look at struggles in the work place:
First off, the biggy – nearly 300 000 civil servants are to strike against the governments plans to cut 100 000 jobs in the sector as well as proposed cuts to sick pay, rises in pension age and forced relocation – the largest public sector strike in a decade.
This follows a series of smaller strikes and localised stoppages that have been ignored by the state. Like the recent Fire-fighters strike which split the FBU off from the Labour party this dispute has the potential to seriously divide the ‘official labour movement’ right down the middle with the Labour Party attacking what was previously seen as one of its core constituencies - and they’re showing no signs of backing down whatsoever. Keep your eyes on this one.
Yet more trouble for the bosses at the airports this month - in an entirely different dispute from the various strikes that have already taken place by other airport workers this year, a strike has been called for the weekend of 23rd and 24th October at Gatwick over long standing concerns about working practices and harassment of shop stewards - the seventh stoppage in this particular dispute, and given that the company has already suspended workers for supporting strike action this doesn’t look like it’s going to finish anytime soon.
On top of this, baggage handlers at Stansted have again voted to go out on strike in a dispute over pay and Heathrow bus drivers also walked out in protest at low pay.
And in another case of deja vu, Stagecoach are facing another bout of industrial action across Kent, Sussex and Hampshire over plans to pay workers different wages for the same job – a clear case of the company trying to isolate and split workers apart in order to be more effective when they eventually decide to attack their pay and conditions – as Stagecoach are likely to do. This follows on from stagecoaches humiliating defeat in South Yorkshire a few months back and their caving into Bristol drivers – let’s hope we get a similar result this time.
1,300 Rail freight workers are set to immediately strike over job losses and working conditions following the High Courts lifting of a legal ban sought by EWS.
Hundreds of workers at the TT Electronics plant in Irvine have also been out this month following the bosses refusal to implement agreed wage raises.
ANARCHY IN ACTION
We are receiving more and more news about practical anarchist ideas from all around the world. This proves that anarchism is alive, spreading and growing, even if only now beginning to recover the strength and relevance it once had. And as they say in Brazil, the path is made by walking ...
Comrades of the Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FARJ) took another step in the endless construction of anarchy. On Saturday 18th of September the Centre for Social Culture opened in that town. Here is an account of this and other important projects of the FARJ:
“We all sat in a big circle in our backyard and all our projects were presented. Many that had attended the International Anarchist Gathering had came as well to visit the Social Library Fabio Luz, which comprises books on the history, thought and struggles of anarchy and anarchists, as well as philosophy, education, literature, poetry, etc ... It follows on the spirit of the old union and anarchist libraries.
After this, our main project was presented, which is a bakery run by young students, between 14 and 18 from impoverished communities of the area, mainly the Macacos shanty town. The youngsters themselves presented the project, talking about the experience of self-managed work, where every decision is taking by them in open meeting. Our collective only provides the means of production (equipment, ovens, electricity, gas, etc.) and all the money from selling the pasties is divided among them.
We have also donated some space to the Luz do Sol group, so they can carry on a project of learning support for children of neighbouring communities, as well as a recycling centre (initially only for tetrapacks and other containers) which is run by our comrade Berimbau.
Next Sunday, 26th, we are having an exhibition of objects made with these recycled materials. There is a yoga workshop, as well. We are also organising a group of lawyers to provide legal support to people from the deprived areas of Vila Isabel, which group will carry the name of the great anarchist writer Lima Barreto. After talking about the internal activities of the social centre we presented the external ones, and those we are supporting as squatting at the urban areas of Nova Conquista, Jacarepagua, Chiquinha Gonzaga and downtown. To finish the comrades from Chile and France gave a talk. And then we had some drinks.” Now, who can say anarchism is not a practical working idea?
EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM
Thousands of people from more than 70 countries came to London for the 16th –18th October to take part in the European Social Forum (ESF) an event claiming to bring together those interested in grassroots social change. Yet, as expected, the weekend was hijacked and dominated by leftist careerists and party hacks.
The disenchantment with the ESF eventually boiled over with anarchists storming the stage on Saturday evening, which prevented the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone from speaking. Livingstone is a member of the Labour Party – the party that took Britain to war against Iraq and who recently announced that people should cross a tube workers’ picket line.
The left offers no alternative to capitalism and the state and that more and more people are realising this is an encouraging sign. We shed no tears at the leftists continuing decline.
On the 18th October the group know as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) finally passed away after a 50 year struggle to contain, defuse and lead class struggle up the garden path and back to Bolshevik Russia.
It had a turbulent and busy life chasing after each new struggle in a desperate attempt to recruit new members. In the course of these wild goose chases the party often destroyed anything good about the struggles and effectively killed them off as viable movements.
In it’s later years peoples unwillingness to work with the SWP lead to the formation of various front groups designed to enable recruitment by stealth. It was known throughout it’s long and useless life for the ignorance, arrogance and dishonesty of many of its leading members.
Finally, over the European Social Forum (ESF) weekend of the 16th - 18th October the SWP passed on - it went kicking and screaming making wild accusations against those who dared stand up to it. On the Monday morning following the ESF groups across the continent lined up to declare the SWP politically dead.
ANARCHISTS AGAINST THE WALL
“We will not be stopped! No to the apartheid wall! No to state violence!
October 18th saw the start of court hearing of 11 activists who demonstrated against the apartheid wall at the war ministry compound in Tel Aviv, Israel on 23rd February 2004 - the day the international court in Hague started deliberation on the apartheid wall.
That day dozens of activists demonstrated and blocked the street, in protest against the building of the separation fence by the Israeli government, after they were stopped from reaching the demo with Palestinian people in Tul Karem area, where the fence separated them from their fields.
It took just few minutes for the riot police to arrest 13 of the activist using excessive violence, documented by four video cameras. The video tape refutes the police claim that a “police man was attacked while on duty”, which is what the demonstrators are accused of. One of the 13 arrested was even taken to hospital for treatment of seriously damaged nose, another activist lost consciousness and a female activist was sexually harassed while in custody. The 13 demonstrators – one of them under-age, were detained for the night at the Abu-Kabir detention facility. Next day they were brought to court where the judge refused to follow the police demand to limit their right of demonstration in the future as a conditions of release.
This was the first time of such court action was taken against “Anarchists Against The Wall” since the shooting at the Mas’ha village gate on 26.12.2003 when Gil Naamaty’s legs were hit. Next month there is the court hearing of other under age activists also accused of blocking streets in Tel Aviv. It seems this is the beginning of a chain of harassment and political persecution culminating in a urgent and substantial danger to the freedom of expression and demonstration in Israel.
Before this demonstration and even after it there were dozens of political and social demonstrations in which roads were blocked, but no court indictments were made. Never before had the security service bothered to send a representative to a police station – like with our people – to interrogate and warn the detainees.
We intend to transform the trial to a trail against the wall. With the help of supporters we will stand in the court processes and insist to convey the message for which we blocked the road: The apartheid wall will only lead to despair and hatred.”
NOTTINGHAM RESIDENTS KICK BUTT!
Residents in Nottingham were contacted by their City Council this Autumn and told that their visitor car parking pass was now void and they must use a new scratch card system, one per visitor per day at 50p each, and be limited to 100 per year!
Residents have objected to the principle of having to pay, the attempt to ration visits, and also to the high-handed manner in which Mr. Kevan Butt (manager of the council’s Parking Services) announced the changes, without any attempt at consultation. He did do residents the “favour” of giving them their first book of 25 cards for free, but this was small compensation because the “use by” date had already passed. What a waste of money on printing, and what an insult!
Not only are residents fuming, but many of them are dependent on numerous visits each week from friends, family and professionals who look after them. More than one elderly resident was almost in tears at the thought of having to balance the cost against the alternative: isolation.
As a result of media coverage of neighbourhood organising, Mr Butt has conceded that the old passes can still be used and has promised to consult people about future changes. A victory perhaps, but residents will stay on their toes. This won’t be the last time the Council will try to claw back the money it was forced to give back to Council Tax payers in the city who they had systematically overcharged.
In addition they are trying a game of divide and rule.
Mr Butt says the problem is caused by student households abusing visitor passes by using them all the time as a third resident’s permit. But students are city residents too and are forced by economics to live several to a house. Whilst our transport system is so car-orientated they should have enough parking permits. It isn’t residents’ fault if public transport still doesn’t meet our needs.
We should continue the fight back against council plans should they try to rip us off and restrict our freedom again.
What do anarchists think about schools and education?
In a society such as ours, where capitalism needs to exploit ordinary working people, schools play a crucial role. What children learn at school are not so much knowledge and skills but how to obey and accept orders unconditionally.
From their very first day at school, free four and five year olds learn obedience; how to stand in line; how to stop play and instantly freeze at the sound of a bell and how to fit into a system based upon total control from above.
School uniforms do just that. They turn individuals into the uniform – all the same in a psychological terror system.
Kids do of course learn ideas and skills but only those which benefit the bosses. Hence, in the computer age, it is office skills and technology which everyone learns – future employers need servile workers with the skills to suit their search for ever greater profits.
But the capitalist system also needs to train new generations of bosses and leaders. For these roles to be met there exist public schools and the poshest universities where (lots of) money buys brains, connections and confidence.
So, all in all, for most of us schools are prisons of mind control. They have little to do with education with all that implies – freeing the spirit, imagination and creativity of everyone. Guess we’ll have to wait for an anarchist society for that.
THE strong arm of the state has been flexing its muscles censoring the media it doesn’t control.
Internet newswire group Indymedia UK have been forced to leave their two main servers closed down amid fears of tampering. Much of Indymedia’s online network went down when a world-wide operation of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led to computer servers being seized across three continents without explanation. Two UK servers were later returned on request.
Given the sensitive nature of the servers’ contents, including details of hundreds of writers and volunteers, Indymedia are loathe to bring them back online until the system has been checked for hidden spyware and virus hacks. The FBI won’t say why they took the servers, save that it was done under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on behalf of the Italian and Swiss states.
Prisoner support in London
Plans are afoot to re-launch London Anarchist Black Cross prisoners support group.
If you’re interested in getting involved Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gothenburg protester acquitted!
Maarten Blok, A Dutch activist who had been extradited to Sweden for his court case on supposedly hitting a police officer during the Gothenburg EU summit in June 2001, has been found not guilty and is back in Amsterdam again.
We can’t say exactly what the influence of support groups and protests have been in this case, but what we do know is that without the support from many people Maarten would have been convicted for something he didn’t do.
Repression in Italy ...
Several anarchists were arrested after houseraids and are supposed to be responsible for several bombings.
Some of them went on hunger strike and they have received harsh treatment in prison because of their anarchist beliefs. The addresses of the prisoners are:
• David Santini / Alessio Perondi, c.c. le Vallette, via pianezza, 300, 10151 Torino, Italy
• Sergio Maria Stefani,c.c. di Palmi, via trodio, 8, 89015 Palmi (RC), Italy
• Marco Ferruzzi, c.c. Poggioreale, via nuova poggioreale, 170, sezione Venezia, 80143 Napoli, Italy
• William frediani, c.c. don Bosco ,via don Bosco, 43, 56100 Pisa, Italy
• Simone del Moro, via provinciale san Biagio, 81030 Carinola (CE), Italy
We also have news of anarchists arrested for the robbery of a jeweller’s shop in Luras (Sardinia) at the beginning of 2000: Federico, Riccardo and Salvatore have been sentenced to five years and four months, Michele to seven years and four months plus one year of probation.
• Federico Pais, c.c. Buoncammino, 09123 Cagliari, Italy.
• Michele Deroma, Salvatore Nurra, c.c. di Badue Carros, 08100 Nuoro, Italy.
• Riccardo Sotgia, Via Vittorio Emanuele26, 07041 Alghero (SS), Italy.
... And repression in Spain
Five anarchists were arrested in Spain in a series of night time raids in 2003. They have suffered physical and psychological torture.
They can be written to at:
• Carolina Forné Roig, C.P. de Ávila, Ctra. Vicolozano-Brieva, s/n., 05194 Brieva, Ávila
• Rafael Tomás y Gaspar, C.P. Madrid III, Ctra Pinto a San Martín de la Vega, Km 5, 28340 Valdemoro, Madrid
• Igor Quevedo Aragay, C.P. Madrid V Soto del Real, Apdo. 200, Colmenar Viejo 28791, Madrid
• Roger Gras Pacheco, C.P. Madrid VI (Aranjuez), Ctra Nacional 400 -Km 28-, Apartado 2000, 28300 Aranjuez, Madrid
• Joaquin Garces Villacampa, C.P. Madrid IV, Ctra Nacional V km 27,7, 28600- Navalcarnero - Madrid
Info from: www.brightonabc.org.uk
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.
NOVEMBER: 6 – Glasgow Anarchist Dayschool: A day of discussion and workshops which focus on the ideas behind anarchism and the organisational issues facing the anarchist movement. 12pm onwards, Saturday the 6th of November @ the Kinning Park Centre in Kinning Park. Contact: email@example.com
16 – Manchester Anarchist Group Meeting. 7.30 pm. Friends Meeting House. Topics to include Defy-ID. Info from: firstname.lastname@example.org
19 - 21 – Roads and Airports - Gathering. More traffic growth? More roads? Airport Expansion? You must be choking! It’s time to take action. Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone Street, Nottingham, NG7 0845 345 1998 or Email: email@example.com to book a place, or Visit: www.roadalert.org.uk
20 – Bolton Radical Boofair, Bolton Socialist Club (16 Wood Street, off Bradshawgate, Bolton BL1 1DY). There will be a radical book fair (11.00 am to 4.45 pm) and a social with bands (7.30 pm to 11.00 pm). For more info Visit: www.manchestersf.org.uk
27 – Anarchist Bookfair, University of London, Mallet Street. Tel: 020 7242 8032 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.anarchistbookfair.org Meeting Room 3C at 5-6.30pm for “The Anarchist International” meeting. Speakers from Eastern Europe, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. Hosted by the AF
30 – 30th, Manchester Anarchist group meeting . 730pm. FriendsMeeting House.
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