UK Newswire Archive
09:00 until 17:00
Taking the piss out of the fascists is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel and because they are so good at making of mess of what they do it often seems that there isn’t much for anti-fascists to do. However, thanks to the support of the popular media and political discourse for increasingly authoritarian and reactionary politics on immigration, the “undeserving” poor and ethnic and cultural minorities, fertile ground for far right recruitment has been created. It only takes the far right to stop screwing up for a little while for them to find something that works and take off with it. For example:
The chameleon-like ability of the far right to infiltrate local politics with their own brand of fascist politics is one of the major threats that they pose. The biggest success for the EDL and the BNP in the East Midlands this year was the Thurnby Lodge protests in Leicester against the takeover of a disused scout hut by a local Muslim group.
The BNP and EDL exploited existing community tensions and a well-founded distrust of the local council to spin a dispute over community resources into an anti-Muslim crusade. At times, hundreds of local residents were involved in nightly pickets of a community centre where the As Salaam group had their prayer meetings. The crowds were addressed by BNP leader, Nick Griffin, on one occasion, although some residents distanced themselves from far right groups in public. The far right helped the process along by making up a story about Christians being forced to cover up a cross whilst Muslim prayers were being held. The story was discovered to have been made up but not before additional hysteria had been whipped up.
The pickets have now been going on for many months under the leadership of EDL activist Chris Hopewell, who has been photographed shaking hands with Leicester’s mayor. Members of As Salaam have complained of intimidation by protestors at the nightly pickets and in response the police have started imposing S.14 restrictions on numbers present at and the location of protests. They have also arrested several people they suspect of being organisers of unauthorised protests, including BNP members. A pigs head has been left at the doors of the community centre in an attempt to insult the Muslim group in response to the crackdown and now 4 people have been arrested for religiously-aggravated public order offences.
While the state crackdown will almost certainly drive a wedge between the extreme racist hardcore and most local residents, the fact that the far right have been subverting this campaign for so long (and doubtless recruiting and spreading their poisonous ideas) is a failure for anti-fascists. These kind of successes are the sort of thing we should be nipping in the bud, not by accusing everyone involved of being a racist, but by separating the legitimate concerns from divisive and paranoid ones.
Whilst not explicitly far right in nature, Dean Everitt’s anti-immigration demo in Boston was relatively successful and left some of the far right supporters who turned up eager for more. Again, the issue is one where many local people have legitimate concerns – the latest census results showed that Boston has seen a higher level of immigration than anywhere else over the last decade and local resources are clearly stretched. The issue undoubtedly plays on racist fears as well though. Given that Everitt himself is a supporter of far right groups and many of the people who were invited were from the EDL and BNP, it is fair to say the far right has some influence on this movement.
There has been talk of a future anti-immigration demo in Spalding in the new year. We need to make sure we continue to expose the involvement of the far right in this movement.
As the organised far right fragments it can be predicted that there will be more incidents of fascists acting on their own, without any restrictions imposed by a larger organisation. Indeed, the number of racist attacks, particularly against Muslims, appears to be on the rise. Lincolnshire police have reported a sharp rise in racist incidents as have schools in Derbyshire. There have also been some high profile attacks on Muslims in Leicester, Northants, Lincoln and Bingham, often involving people with links to far right organisations.
Many people wrongly think that the police will deal with these isolated incidents. In reality, Notts police were criticised for their extremely racist stop and search profiling and Leicestershire cops were were highlighted for the racist way in which they policed the EDL demo in February.
Anti-fascism will only succeed if the wider struggle against racial and religious divisions within society is also strong. There is no point in beating off organised fascism while the seeds of its rebirth are being sown all around us.
2012 saw a long-awaited resurgence of confidence in street-level anti-fascism. This was in no small part due to an increased militancy of UAF in tackling the EDL but also thanks to the growth of the decentralised Anti-Fascist Network. Anti-fascists had a number of victories over the fading EDL, most notably in Walthamstow where they blocked the EDL’s march and the fascists had to be kettled for their own safety.
That said, there is still a lot of poor analysis in the broader anti-fascist movement which tends to see fascism as one element of “extremism”, a label which is as likely to include people fighting for freedom as fascists. This can lead to our movement being appropriated by populist politicians for their own ends. If anti-fascism is not also against our authoritarian, racist state then it doesn’t deserve the name.
There is also a tendency towards anti-working class prejudice in some quarters, with the EDL and co being mocked as thick simply because they don’t express themselves in a suitably Guardian-reading manner. Anti-fascism should be a grassroots movement welcoming of all those who are sick of the divisions in our communities not an elitist sneering club.
Locally, anti-fascists had a relatively low profile although a successful benefit gig for anti-fascist prisoners was held in Nottingham, the Lincoln Underground Collective hosted a discussion on anti-fascism and Leicester anti-fascists took action against a coach company used by the EDL. It is harder to mobilise against the fascists when they are weak and don’t seem to pose much of a threat but that is exactly what we need to do to if we really want to stamp them out. If we can’t beat them when they are weak we will have no chance by the time they are strong again.
There is a lot to be done so support your local anti-fascist group and help build the Anti-Fascist Network.
Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army
Mexico, December 30 2012.
To the People of Mexico:
To the People and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
In the early morning hours of December 21, 2012, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and took, peacefully and silently, five municipal seats in the southeast Mexican state of Chiapas.
In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristóbal de las Casas, we looked at you and at ourselves in silence.
Ours is not a message of resignation.
It is not one of war, death, or destruction.
Our message is one of struggle and resistance.
Migrants can be held for many years for the "crime" of crossing a border, and for most of those there for the long-term, are there with no end to their detention in sight.
January 1st has also become the date that many are given as a date of birth when no records exist. January the 1st is therefore many migrant's official 'birthday', and a solidarity action was organised on this day with people from different networks meeting in the afternoon and heading to Harmondsworth Detention centre to make noise and express solidarity with those inside.
04-01-2013 20:09Brixton, London, 31 December 2012…almost midnight
The Gregorian calendar is moving towards the next chapter in the existence of those who mark time in the boredom of ritual …Suddenly they appear out of nowhere, a few people out of step, dressed in black. Unfurling banners, a strange light in their eyes, they unhurriedly conquer the urban high street and proceed towards Brixton prison.
This leaflet was handed out at the prisoner solidarity demo at HMP Nottingham on New Years Eve:
Prisons destroy people. They destroy families, friendships and communities too. Putting somebody in prison is an act of violence which contributes nothing real or positive and only brutalises those who are already struggling. We don't believe that prison is the answer to any questions we have ever asked.
Solidarity is our weapon.
Our passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons.
Prisons are the embodiment and reinforcement of the white supremacist, patriarchal and classist society we live in. They protect property and capital whilst attacking those who are oppressed and marginalised by the dominant structures of this society.
Prisons are racist - Black prisoners make up 15% of the prisoner population compared with 2.2% of the general population.
Prisons destroy people - The suicide rate in prisons is almost 15 times higher than in the general population: in 2002 the rate was 143 per 100,000 compared to 9 per 100,00 in the general population.
Prisons are an attack on the poor - 37% of people are unemployed at the time of imprisonment - around 7 times the national unemployment rate. 13% are unable to work because of long-term sickness or disability.
The prison-industrial complex is growing - The current UK prison population is around 100,000. Thirty years ago it was half of that. New Labour created one new imprisonable offence for each day they were in office.
Prisons reinforce the patriarchy - Over half the women in prison report having suffered domestic violence and one in three has experienced sexual abuse.
Solidarity to all prisoners.
Fire to the prisons!
to be called the cause of Chinese headache syndrome... it is unfair to Chinese restaurants not using MSG to link MSG only to certain Chinese
restaurants and not to thousands of corporate foods.
04-01-2013 14:36Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal set up by ruling Awami League Party with the intention to carry out summary execution of opposition leaders.
04-01-2013 12:00As part of the ongoing anarchist war for total liberation, we carried out a hit on the Bathampton radio and TV relay station. Fires were set at four points of the structures, and we left undisturbed. As a result of the sabotage, on top of causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, we regionally shut down all TV channels on Freeview as well as all national analogue and digital radio stations. Additionally it took down Vodaphone and other mobile networks, damaging police communications and other digital services. 80,000 homes and businesses in the area were affected.
04-01-2013 08:55On New Year’s Eve around 30 people turned up outside the gates of Nottingham prison to make some noise and show solidarity with the people being held inside. We toured the perimeter of the fence with a sound-system, banging pots and pans against the side of the fence, chanting and shouting, whilst fireworks were set off and thrown over the walls.
A parent of one of the prisoners had this to say afterwards: ‘‘Thanks very much for doing this. My son says it’s fucking amazing and when he heard the shouting he said it made him smile. Too many working class boys are in prison and it’s all because everything is unequal and the rich ones are taking the piss. But it’s great that you did that and that people inside heard. Love and respect to all of you’’.
This was just one of many prisoner solidarity demos that happened around the world on New Year’s Eve (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2013/01/505180.html). The prison system is a brutal and violent means of repression and control by the state that needs to be challenged and resisted in our struggle for freedom. Noise demos are just one small way of breaking the isolation that prisoners are subjected to, letting them know that they are not forgotten.
Here’s an unashamed plug for Lesley Riddoch’s Nordic Horizons series with two events coming up ‘The Great Green Danes’ in January and ‘Iceland Bounces Back’ in February.
03-01-2013 23:51Accident and emergency (A&E) units and a range of other departments at National Health Service (NHS) district general hospitals (DGHs) across Greater Manchester in North West England are confronted with the threat of closure.
Bradley Manning is back in court at Fort Meade, Maryland, US from Tuesday 8 - Friday 11 January.
Vigil at the US Embassy in London 2pm Tuesday 8 January.
The entire soundtrack of the Collateral Murder video will be played.
The situation in Morton Hall immigration detention centre is at boiling point again after a series of incidents around Christmas. The trigger for events was another serious breach of their responsibilities by the detention centre management who failed to deal swiftly with disruptions to the water supply. A large number of detainees refused to return to their cells in protest. A serious disturbance on Christmas Eve resulted in a detainee ending up in hospital with a serious head injury and injuries to a number of prison officers. There was also a thwarted escape attempt on Christmas Day.
According to No Deportations the situation that sparked the incident was grim:
there was a serious water supply failure, before the incident, all toilets blocked, no running water whatsoever, no cooked meals, detainees given sandwiches and cold drinks
Libcom has more detail:
Several prison officers are reported to have been injured during a serious disturbance at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre on Christmas Eve. One prisoner is said to be in a serious condition in hospital with a head injury. Between 30 and 40 Prisoners are believed to have started a peaceful protest against conditions within the facility, and refused to return to their cells when instructed to.
Despite the UK border agency playing down the incident, the POA (Prison Officer Association) claim that around 50 individuals were involved in serious violence that included the use of home-made knives, pool-cues, and snooker balls. They also claim that there was a serious escape attempt thwarted on Christmas day.
A POA spokesperson stated that:
“We feel one of our people is going to get killed as staffing levels have been reduced. We will get a member of staff killed on duty”.
Local activists with contacts inside the prison had been told of detainees being locked in their cells without access to toilet facilities for most of the day in another disgraceful abuse of power by the authorities. Other reports suggest that detainees have been subjected to a long-running campaign of sleep deprivation by guards deliberately banging doors when doing night time checks.
When people are forced into intolerable conditions for the "crime" of crossing borders without asking permission it is no surprise that they resist. We need to demonstrate our active solidarity when they do.