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(en) AF Bulletin - resistance #9 - Dec 1999-Jan 2000

From Mike AF <ncajsa@yahoo.com>
Date Thu, 3 Feb 2000 13:17:17 -0500


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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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          resistance - bulletin of the Anarchist Federation (Britain)

                           ISSUE NINE - Dec/Jan 1999-2000

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Address: AF c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX, England, UK
E-mail: acf@burn.ucsd.edu   Web: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/

Note: HTML and PDF versions of resistance are available via:
 http://burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/res/

For more in-depth articles, read Organise! magazine in print or on-line: 
 http://burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/org/
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                             GLOBAL RESISTANCE!

             anti-capitalist mobilisations rock the wto summit

Seattle, November, 30th, 1999 (N30).

50,000 demonstrators on the streets. Disruption and delay of the 3rd meeting
of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Simultaneous actions are carried out
in cities around the world. This massive 'Anti-Capitalist',
'Anti-Globilisation' mobilisation in an American city was a heart warming
spectacle.

These demonstrations contained a wide range of activists and militants from
different struggles - hence its real strength. When we can start to organise
ourselves across all boundaries - worker, unemployed, etc. we are getting
closer to really combating the social system of capitalism.

Many protesters came well prepared for what was waiting, with gas masks,
camouflaged faces, hard hats, hoods and gloves. This way they were more
likely to survive the state surveillance and fight another day. The
authorities had their police force out in massive numbers, backed up by the
local National Guard. They had no hesitation in doing their job - putting
the boot into whoever starts to question the way the world is run and who it
is run for. Clinton and his 'Neo-Liberal' pals weren't about to have their
capitalist top brass meeting ruined without putting up a fight.

The fact is that any real social movement against capitalism will be met by
the full force of state repression - big states, little states and so-called
'workers' states' alike - it's their job!

All states are about the imposition and defence of capitalism for the
benefit of a tiny elite that essentially rules the world, forcing the vast
majority of us to live in poverty, misery and boredom.

                                Social Space

So when we take direct action; when we block off streets and stations during
protests, when we occupy the factories and offices where we work and when we
really control the estates and roads where we live. That's when we start to
sense the real power that we hold when we act collectively for our own
interests. This is when we can glimpse a world organised for our own real
social needs when we finally use that power.

                        The Violent Ruling Minority

Media and politicians condemn the 'violent minority' of demonstrators in
Seattle. But the whole system of capitalism has always been imposed and
maintained through violence. That is the entire history of capitalism. The
violence of war, work, poverty and starvation. The police and army are
instruments of that violence. Nothing will ever change this without social
revolution and that just 'aint gonna happen by us holding hands or sitting
in the street - unfortunately!

                         "Who's In Charge Here?"

The ruling elite will always try to absorb and accommodate any rebellious
social movements that start to challenge them directly. This is why they
will attempt to mediate via representatives. The question "Who's in charge
here?" is often asked by the cops at demonstrations that move outside of the
ritualistic methods they prefer. This is about them attempting to understand
and control social movements in terms of the organisation of capital and the
state - as a hierarchy. Clinton's bullshit about wanting to meet the
demonstrators in Seattle was about this. By drawing out self-styled leaders
and wanna-be representatives the authorities can start to relax and do
business with these troublesome crowds. We should always refuse and resist
these attempts.

                            Anarchy and Freedom

The main message of the demonstrations in Seattle seems to have been against
the negative aspects of so-called free trade. But lets face it, all trade;
free trade, markets, money, commodities, profit, wages, state, etc. are
against us. Capitalism is the social system we live in, so what kind of
social system do we desire when we attempt to organise ourselves against
capitalism? Why fight for anything less than a world where we control every
aspect of our lives. Where we decide what, how and when we produce and how
we distribute it. 'To each according to their needs, from each according to
their ability!'

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                           CLOSE DOWN CAMPSFIELD

A major demonstration against racist asylum policy took place on Saturday 27
November at Campsfield House, Oxfordshire. The Close Campsfield Campaign are
there every month, to their credit, but this Saturday marked the six
anniversary of the opening of what is to all intents and purpose a prison,
detaining around 200 refugees, many of whom have fled torture and threats of
death (see August and October 1999 issues of Resistance).

One of the most depressing things about Campsfield is the length the Group 4
bastards who run it have gone to make it impossible for detainees and
demonstrators to communicate with each other on such actions. The refugees
were all locked in-doors so we couldn't call to them, and plate metal is
attached to the perimeter fence so they can't see us or us them. But we are
sure that the refugees must have been able to hear the racket made by
several hundred angry people kicking and hammering on the fence (a noise
which, conveniently, served to cover the sound of other imaginative forms of
metal work being carried out!).

The demonstration took place in the context of initiatives to link the
asylum issue with the issue of prisons more generally: challenging the way
society deals with people it can't control or contain by taking away their
freedom. This was expressed in chants heard at the Campsfield demonstration.
In answer to the slogan "Refugees are not criminals" we were cheered to hear
the reply "Criminals are not criminals".

Contact:

CAGE: email - CAGE@veggies.org.uk or c/o 188 Mansfield Rd., Nottingham, NG1
3HW

National Coalition of Campaigns Against Deportation:

ncadc@ncadc.demon.co.uk or http://www.ncadc.demon.co.uk or 101 Villa Rd.,
Birmingham, B19 1NH

Close Campsfield Campaign: email: asylum@sable.ox.ac.uk

Find out more about Campsfield and about new similar detention centres at
Oakington (Cambridgeshire) and Aldington (Kent) and next time someone
whinges about refugees living the Life of Riley on their taxes, tell them
how this "democratic" and "free" country treats people who come to it for
help.

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                              Clinton Trips Up

Greek anarchists were at the forefront of protests against US President
Clinton's visit to Athens as part of his 10 day European tour. As Clinton's
plane touched down in the almost completely evicted Athens airport, an
estimated 10,000 protesters gathered on the city's central Syndagma Square
before going on a rampage that left dozens of shops and banks in flames,
including damage to the American Express office. Anarchists rioted in
response to NATO's 78-day bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, whilst Greek
politicians accused the 'extremists' of taking cover behind the 'small but
relatively disciplined' communists, who had promised peaceful rallies!

The mass of protesters carried signs portraying Clinton as a murderer and
"Butcher of the Balkans". Walking slowly down the streets towards the US
Embassy, they came face-to-face with the police and their tear gas. A group
of anarchists, who had gathered at a nearby rally, joined the main
demonstration and responded to the police use of tear gas by hurling
firebombs, rocks and marine flares, smashing storefront windows and burning
US flags. At least 40 people were arrested. The US president had to stay in
a hotel on the edge of Athens because his Embassy was deemed too risky.
Other highlights of the Clinton tour included talks towards admitting Turkey
to the EU, and the Bulgarian capital Sofia being made into a high security
zone, much to the annoyance of its residents. Ironically at the end of his
trip, in Kosovo, Clinton tried to put forward a peace message against the
victimisation of the remaining Serbians inside the region.

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                            BLAST FROM THE PAST

To the authorities, the ten week Commune of Paris in 1871 was a most
dangerous experiment that could not be allowed to succeed. Following a
disastrous war between France and Prussia which meant acute suffering, the
ordinary people of Paris rose up against "their" state to build something
better.

The spark which set Paris alight occurred when the Parisian militia in the
working class districts resisted the army's attempt to steal their cannons.
Then, spontaneously a bloodless insurrection spread throughout the city ,
with women playing a decisive role. Soldiers disobeyed their commanders and
two unpopular generals were shot by the crowds consisting mainly of their
own troops. The President of France scuttled out of Paris leaving the Hotel
de Ville by the backstairs.

The experiment now began. The revolutionary character of the revolt was not
in question. As one local committee declared, "Every member of the vigilance
committee declares himself to belong to the party of socialist revolution.
Consequently he demands and seeks by all possible means the suppression of
the privileges of the bourgeoisie, its downfall as a controlling caste, and
the political advent of the workers. In short, social equality. No more
bosses, no more proletariat, no more classes."

The people of Paris had an excellent and healthy mistrust of centralised
authority. With government absent, the workers were in no mood to restore
some workers dictatorship as Marxists have always demanded. On the contrary,
revolutionary Paris erected a system of direct democracy based around the
locality. All elected officials were subject to immediate removal by the
voters and equally, they were paid workers wages as a disincentive to
careerism. Power remained in the streets.

As the government counter attack took place the commune became increasingly
radical. Schemes were drawn up to reform education and crucially, to
expropriate the capitalists. The whole of Paris took part in an explosive
debate on how to move forward. The church was attacked as a polluter of
peoples minds, the guillotine was burned in a street party and monuments of
oppression were destroyed.

                              HAIL OF BULLETS

The Commune greeted the capitalist enemy at the barricades. Street by street
they fought the enemy but the Communards were no match for the heavily armed
regular army. Despite a spirited defence, the Commune was drowned in blood.
Twenty thousand Parisians were killed in battle and another ten thousand
were executed, imprisoned or deported in the following weeks. The dream
turned into a nightmare but the memory of the Commune live on.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             Posties go Wildcat

Union bosses tried to end a wildcat strike and told 2,600 postal workers to
get back to work. At a mass meeting the posties told them just where to go!

Initially 1,100 late and night shift workers at the Springburn Mail centre
in Glasgow walked out on Wednesday 27th November. A further 1,500 at 22
delivery offices in the Glasgow area joined the wildcat the next day pissed
off with the Communication Workers Union - backed pay deal for the Christmas
period. The posties took direct action which infuriated management and union
officials at local and national level. The entire mail system in the West of
Scotland ground to a halt despite the best efforts of management.

Although, under pressure from the union, the posties returned to work on the
Friday evening, the militancy of the wildcat bodes well for the future. Over
on the East coast there's been no less than 21 wildcats by posties in the
last four years, the latest being in October and covering Edinburgh, the
Lothians and Fife. What such exemplary action shows is that direct action
works and that militancy outside the union is a real possibility.

Postscript: It's spreading. On Tuesday 30th November 750 production workers
at Alexander's bus plant in Falkirk downed tools and walked out over
management plans to ship work out. And what do you know, they didn't ask
permission from the union bureaucrats! Meanwhile, 52 teachers at a Bonnyrig,
Midlothian, High School resigned en masse from 'their' union, the EIS,
accusing it of failing to involve union members in decision making and of
selling them out with a crap 3.6% pay deal in October. Is workers' autonomy
starting to develop? Watch this space!

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                            Anarchy on the N30?

The mini-riot viewers were treated to on TV overshadowed some of the day's
other anti-WTO activities in London. Commuters were spoken to, given
leaflets and engaged in discussion to the disappointment of the violence-
eager news crews and journo hacks.

By mid-day the Construction Safety Campaign were demonstrating outside the
Canadian embassy in protest at Canada's attempts to get the WTO to reverse
the ban some EU countries have placed on cancer-causing asbestos use. Later
students targeted Citibank at their involvement in student loan debt.
Nigerian exiles and other activists held a peoples court in Covent Garden,
charging President Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mark Moody-Stuart of
Royal-Dutch/Shell of human rights abuses and environmental devastation.

The evening rally was attended by nearly 2,000 people who danced to the
Samba band before hearing speeches from Reclaim The Streets, the Zapatista
support group, Genetic Engineering Network, Mumia Must Live! and others. It
was following the speeches that the media-fest occurred.

About 200 people headed into the bus station area following a group of
drummers who had broken away from the main group. Minutes later a line of
cops who had gathered at the end of the street were charged and they
responded with baton blows. In the course of events an empty police van was
turned over and set ablaze. Skirmishes continued for several hours. By about
8.30 the police encircled about 200 demonstrators who they wouldn't release
until taking details and photos.

The most questionable event of the evening was what exactly was an empty
police van doing parked up beside the demonstrators when all other vehicles
were kept out of the station. The van 'handily' had a couple of scaffold
poles on it's roof rack and some snap happy police photographers with their
lenses fixed on the van and the protesters around it. A provocation? We'll
let you decide on that one.

The same lesson needs repeating yet again: we must avoid getting drawn into
stand offs with the cops which we have no chance of winning, under blanket
surveillance and not on our own turf. Ritualistic confrontations with the
old bill will only put our liberty and safety, and that of others at risk.
Violence is an often necessary occurrence to defend our gains from attack.
London N30 was not such an occasion.
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                      Worldwide Mumia demo's continue

US death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has only one appeal left.

There has been a mass of activity around the world to support him, including
a national demo in London last month. Events continue throughout Europe in
December. The case is likely to return to the courts towards the end of
February/beginning of March.

For the latest news contact: Mumia Must Live!, BM Haven, London, WC1N 3XX or
http://www.callnetuk.com/home/mumia/

email: mumia@callnetuk.com

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                             NEWS OF THE WORLD

                              MORE WTO ACTIONS

Milan: Large number of anarchists joined a grass roots trade union
demonstration (not connected to N30) leafleting workers about free trade and
the WTO. Meanwhile the 'white coveralls' group occupied McDonalds, locking
themselves to the building and hanging banners.

Berlin: A parade was held throughout the day in Berlin projecting 'Jam the
WTO' on building walls as well as making music and mayhem.

Paris: 20,000 people attended Anti-WTO protest, focusing on the Tobin tax (a
financial transaction tax which has operated for 18 months). Protesters
supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal joined the demo. McDonalds and journalists were
attacked by some of the protesters.

Padua, Italy: A peaceful demo in front of a GMO exibition 'Bionova' attended
by managers of GMO companies was attacked by the police.

                            UNITED IRISH BOSSES

As Irish republicans enter the government of Northern Ireland they have made
a significant step closer to their goal - that of becoming the new ruling
class in Ireland.

                                 OCCUPATION

At Rennes in Western France 60 anarchist militants of the Federation
Anarchiste, CNT and SCALP occupied the Franco-American institute (which will
soon house a US consulate) demanding the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

                             ANARCHY IN RUSSIA

The Russian Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists have widely
distributed the following leaflet :

"They've taken us for idiots for far too long. Yeltsin and co they're all
part of one and the same gang - those who organised the terror in Moscow, at
Volgodonsk - in Dagestan and Chechnia it is their conflict. It is their war.
They need to consolidate their power. This is a war for petrol. Why must we
let our children die for their interests? Let the oligarchy kill each other!

Don't believe in the nationalist delerium; a whole people cannot be accused
of crimes, whose instigators are still unknown but which we see already
profit the masters and leaders of all nations.

Don't take part in this war and don't let your children go down there!

Don't support the war!

Oppose it by every means!

Strike against the war and the war mongers!".

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                              What's Going on?

Please visit the regularly updated Anarchist Federation diary page for
details of the latest events: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/news/

-



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