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(en) AF Bulletin - resistance #11 - March 2000

From Mike AF <ncajsa@yahoo.com>
Date Wed, 8 Mar 2000 05:44:14 -0500


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

                            ISSUE ELEVEN - March 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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                            SAFE IN THEIR HANDS?

                     NHS - from the cradle to the grave

The general practitioner Harold Shipman was responsible for murdering at
least 15 of his most vulnerable patients. These and perhaps scores more of
middle aged and elderly women who placed their total trust in this man died
of massive morphine overdoses. Whilst Shipman's acts were probably extremely
isolated cases the fact remains that all people are vulnerable in the hands
of the medical profession.

The NHS has long been a source of pride for politicians and, in particular,
Labour politicians but there are serious flaws in this organisation. Anyone
who has visited a hospital will be aware of the class system which operates.
The consultants are gods who claim special knowledge and special salaries.
Typically, they treat less qualified doctors and all ranks below them with
contempt.

Even patients are often barely tolerated by all levels of medical
specialists. There is an underlying authoritarianism throughout the health
service and at the bottom of the pile come those who need medical help. It
helps, of course if you are upper or middle class. Then your GP or medical
specialist might even explain about the treatments given, the risks, etc.
Working class people are often barely considered human by the know-all
professionals and accordingly are often expected to take the treatment
offered without any explanation.

Modern medicine and health care does not generally concern itself with the
whole person. People are treated as mechanical objects who can be repaired
piece by piece as problems arise. As technology advances, new techniques are
developed which are enormously expensive and so the cost of health care
constantly goes up. There is great financial reliance on technology to
identify problems and give treatments and a consequent rationing of this
treatment because of cost.

'Treatment'
 by the medical profession is positively life threatening.
Patients have the wrong kidney removed or suffer as a result of
mis-diagnosis and prescription of the wrong drugs. Hospitals are highly
dangerous places to stay. Because of the failure to use even basic methods
of hygiene such as the washing of hands by surgeons, the risk of serious
infection is ever present. According to a recent report, nurses who tried to
remind doctors of their need for hygiene were put in their place and
'steamrollered' into obedience.

                            System of Authority

>From an anarchist approach the issues are clear. Patients come first, not
the practitioners. There should be emphasis on prevention rather than on
repair jobs. Patients should be treated as whole human beings rather than as
passive, unthinking machines. Medicine as a science should be made open to
all. The class structure of medicine and health care needs to be swept away
along with the prevailing militaristic, authoritarian structures. Finally,
working people need to take control over health and medicine as well as
other aspects of our lives.

Harold Shipman was able to kill people for years because of the system of
authority on the one hand by medical professionals and accepting submission
by everyone else. Shipman is a symbol of the whole system. It must be
destroyed.

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                               J18 PRISONERS

People are still getting sent down as a result of J18 last year. Several of
those jailed have already been released.

The prisoners below would appreciate letters - but please remember that
letters to prisoners are opened and read by prison officers so don't write
anything that could jeopardize anyone's freedom. Remember they're in there
for us, we're out here for them.

Sean Brown (Sept 99? sentenced to 12 Months)
BP5610, HMYOI Ashfield, Sherwood Road, Pucklechurch, Bristol, BS16 9LY

Jeff Booker (21/1/00 sent. 21 months)
DN7071, Elmley, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4OZ

Stuart Tokam (21/1/00 sent. 12 months)
DN7072, HM Prison, Jebb Avenue, Brixton, London, SW2 5XF

Thomas Wall (4/2/00 sent. 18 months)
FF4431, HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, Thamesmead, London, SE28 0EB

Kuldip Bajwa (7/2/00 sent. 21 months)
DN7230, HM Prison, Jebb Avenue, Brixton, London, SW2 5XF

Jon Barnett (11/2/00 sent. 6 months)
FB5538, HMYOI, Bedfont Road, Feltham, Middx, TW13 4ND

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                         THE UGLY FACE OF LENINISM

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union leftie groups that support the
Leninist form of capitalism have been in terminal decline. In a desperate
attempt to prolong their undead existence they have now started to lurk
around the libertarian movement.

The Socialist Worker's Party have got involved in the Mumia Must Live!
campaign (which has had people with a wide range of politics involved) by
sending full timers to meetings to bully, intimidate and even gurn at other
people there. Then when they didn't get their own way they've just used to
name of the campaign to promote their own meetings.

Another Leninist group, Workers Power have come to MayDay 2000 meetings to
argue for a 'semi-state' (where presumably we'll be 'semi-imprisoned',
'semi-tortured' and 'semi-shot').

All Leninsts support a strong capitalist state - with themselves in charge.
It is not revolutionary to allow people like this into our organisations.
Campaigns need to be organised with clear principles. In some campaigns it
is possible to work with some Leninists - as we have done for over a year in
Mumia Must Live! But we should never forget they are our enemies.
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                                 FOR US....

FOR US....

'For us communism is a society without prisons'

Network for Worker's Autonomy. Italy.

On Tuesday 7th December 1999 Italian police carried out raids in several
towns - homes of around 20 communist militants were raided. Five were
arrested, some beaten in police stations. Those arrested have been charged
with subversion and membership of an armed group. They have been accused of
belonging to an organisation named by the Italian State as the Partisan
Groups of Sabotage (GPS). No such group exists! One of those the police have
targeted, Diego Negri who is involved in the Network for Worker's Autonomy
whose politics condemn all elite organisations armed or not! They know that
only a massive social movement can really take on and destroy capitalism and
all states. These arrests and charges have been carried out under the
emergency laws that were introduced by the Italian State in the 1970s.
During that period in Italy and other parts of Europe there was a powerful
wave of working class militancy. This repression is about stamping a State
boot right on the face of any new beginnings of working class resistance in
Europe. Currently most of those arrested are now out on bail but could be
facing prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Defence fund donations to:

Lidia Triossi Precari Nati. via Jussi 4 40128 Bologna Italy.

In this country the Labour party are pushing new 'anti-terrorist' laws
through parliament. These new laws will be aimed the opposition movements
that act outside and against all institutions. People and organisations
involved in direct action - the only way we can ever really change anything
in this world could be deemed TERRORIST! In the near future we will organise
solidarity actions in support of those arrested in Italy and as way of
acting against the new repressive laws here in the UK.

STOP THE TERRORISM BILL!

SUNDAY APRIL 30TH 2PM @ HIGHBURY FIELDS, LONDON, N5, TUBE: HIGHBURY &
ISLINGTON. 
A30 GROUP: C/O DEPT. 29, WILMSLOW ROAD, MANCHESTER. M14 5LW. 0161 226 6814
                   --------------------------------------

                            Susanne Owens

American prisoner Susanne Owens has repeatedly been denied parole despite
being in prison for nearly a quarter of a century. Write to the South
Carolina parole board asking:

1) What is the parole procedure presently employed by the State of South
Carolina?

2) In Ms Owens case, what reasonable expectations does the parole board have
if she is to be a successful parole candidate?

You can contact the board at:

State of South Carolina,

Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services,

Director Stephen K. Benjamin,
2221 Devine Street, Suite 600,
Post Office Box 50666,
Columbia, South Carolina 29250, USA

Susanne would love to hear from you!

Susanne Owens 086789,
Leath Correctional Institution M-1-204-B
2809 Airport Road, Greenwood,
South Carolina, 29646-2945, USA H
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                          Anti-War Demo in Moscow

There was an anarchist's 40 strong anti-war demonstration in Moscow, on
February, 12. We had black and red-and-black banners, some slogans against
state terrorism and for class solidarity. We were selling newspapers and
producing leaflets. Common people were interested in this action, many of
them supported us. The demonstration lasted one hour and forty five minutes.
In Moscow it was a fifth anarchist's antiwar demonstration. Some

anarchist's actions, graffiti and leafleting against war took part in
Moscow, Krasnodar, Novorossysk, Kasimov, Sankt-Peterburg, Niznii Novgorod.
Further actions are planned.

LEAFLET TEXT:

DO YOU NEED THE WAR IN CHECHNYA? We believe that 'anti-terrorist operation'
is not an 'apology' for thousands of killed soldiers and inhabitants. We
think that massive bombings are inadmissible in modern society. We realise
that only the ruling class benefits from this war, which creates a

nationalist hysteria. To ours mind war expenses ruin our country. As long as
we are silent, the authorities think that all the country agrees with this
war. In the West people have experience of anti-war actions. Hundreds of
thousands of American people joined demonstrations against USA war actions
in Vietnam. During so-called 'Kosovo operation' there were anti-NATO actions
in all European countries. If you don't like the events in Chechnya, say
'NO'!

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                             OUT OF THIS WORLD

The American physicist Freeman Dyson wants to create habitable conditions on
other planets by planting genetically engineered trees in order to
facilitate space tourism and the export of surplus population to protect the
earth from ecological disaster. Call us cynical but we don't think he agrees
with our ideas of surplus - bosses and politicians. Such nonsense from
scientists is a result of a science which sees humanity as dominating (and
so exploiting) the rest of nature. Science and technology are not pure or
neutral and can never be, but part and parcel of society. Capitalist science
develops technologies which maintain and increase the profit and control of
the few (the ruling class) at the expense of the working class majority.
Scientists and politicians like to present decisions on future projects such
as airports, roads, and GM food as purely technical/technological to try and
convince us to leave it to 'the experts' - 'Sometimes you have to tell
people what's best for them' as Professor Bainbridge, chair of the
government advisory committee on novel foods and processes said about
whether consumers should have choice regarding GM foods.
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                             NEWS OF THE WORLD

Ecuador: 

1999 saw an economic slump in Latin America (while USA and EU
analysts proclaimed they'd never had it so good!). The Sucre (currency)
halved in value against the dollar, to a point where the economy was
dollarised. Bank accounts were frozen for those who had them, though not
before government officials had withdrawn over $200 million of their own
ill-gotten loot to foreign banks. Food prices increased 70%, service costs
rose sharply too, and many public services had already been withdrawn. Many
children were forced out of school, as they now have to pay for education.
The basic salary has increased only 30%.

This crisis came only 4 months after the IMF imposed a structural adjustment
plan to cope with the slump. Ecuador is supposed to enrich itself by
following export led growth, where it is at the mercy of wildly fluctuating
global prices it has no control over. It meant more oil drilling, more
flower growing, farming more shrimp, and growing more bananas. This has had
a devastating effect on the environment, and yet the people are still living
in abject poverty. External debt has increased 500%.

People are fighting back though , led by the Indigena (indigenous tribes are
40% of population). Roads have been blocked, barricaded and dug up; sealing
off neighbourhoods and crippling communications. Electricity offices have
been occupied, communications towers seized, catholic church offices have
been occupied (for supporting the government), and demonstrations have taken
place.

A state of emergency has been declared, and 30,000 troops deployed. However,
police are unpaid and soldiers are sympathetic, though military leaders have
moved to back the government. Industrial lobbyists have been calling for
tough repression. Over 400 have been arrested and at least 13 shot. The
Indigena have been joined by taxi drivers, teachers and medical staff
(unpaid in months), transport workers, banana workers, informal sellers, oil
unions and students. A 'people's parliament' has been set up to bring these
groups together. They are calling for civil disobedience. Also less
positively, they are demanding a new ethical government (Surely an
unreasonable demand!), and a strong decentralised state. The Indigena call
this 'a fight for life, against hunger'.

Mexico: 

UNAM (national autonomous university of Mexico) students have been
striking since March '99 against World Bank inspired attacks on free
education, with campus buildings being occupied. Following a media led
campaign to criminalise the strikers, the campuses came under attack. On
2.2.00, 251 were arrested, 37 injured, and 1 striker was stabbed to death,
as 200 students were forced from a building they were occupying. Anti-strike
demonstrators (hired thugs and student members of the PRD, who control the
Mexico City government) attacked them with sticks and rocks. Once in they
were supported by 150 from the university security force. Having regrouped
strikers fought back and retook the building. 400 federal police PFP arrived
and arrested the strikers. Police are banned from the campus following
previous excessive behaviour! However, the rector of UNAM called them in.

On 3.2.00, arrest warrants were issued for 430 students. On 6.2.00, the
auditorium was stormed early morning by the PFP while a meeting between
strikers and non-strikers was taking place. Over 600 were arrested, bringing
the total to around 1,000. In December, 70+ people were arrested at the US
embassy during a demo in support of Mumia Abu Jamal. The government of
President Zedillo, with the support of the Mexico City government (PRI - PRD
cross-party co-operation), clearly want to smash this resistance. The
students though have merely extended their demands to include the release of
those imprisoned. An offer of their release in exchange for the ending of
the strike was rejected. As education is privatised world-wide it's good to
see a fightback. Perhaps the NUS in Britain would like to review their
gutless inaction to similar cutbacks here?

Austria: 

27% of a vote gave the far-right Freedom Party a place in the new
conservative coalition government. It was widely seen as a protest vote
against the cronyism of the two main parties - the People's Party and the
Socialist Party. Its leader Jörg Haider (the Hitler fan) shrewdly remained
outside the cabinet. Their inauguration into the government was met by large
protests and running battles with police in Vienna.

On 18.2.00, 5,000 school students in Vienna walked out of lessons to show
their disapproval of Haider in the streets. Other governments, including
some in the EU made a show of their disapproval, though without doing much
of significance, after all fascist parties in the Euro Parliament are
nothing new. There is some suggestion that it was more to send a message to
other central European countries including Hungary, Czech Republic and
Poland, where racism is currently much more open, to tone it down (it's okay
to be racist, just not to be seen to be racist!), as they are likely to be
the next EU members.

In reality anti-immigrant attitudes are rife throughout the EU where the
Fortress Europe mentality is deeply enshrined in Euro law. Haider claims
many similarities with Tony Blair, which could well be our only point of
agreement. The British government is 'institutionally racist' (to steal
their current slogan), and thinks nothing of locking up torture victims, or
sending asylum seekers back to certain death. 'Foreigners' the world over
make great scapegoats for governments desperate to conceal their own crimes
in pursuit of profits for the few!

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                                 The Ideas

                                 Federalism

'An anarchist organisation must allow for complete autonomy and independence
and therefore full responsibility to individuals and groups; free agreement
between those who think it is useful to come together for co-operative
action, for common aims'.

Malatesta. Italian anarchist. 1927.

Groups such as the Anarchist Federation aim for a mass anarcho-communist
movement. But how do we, in our revolutionary struggle and if there is a
revolutionary transformation of society avoid the problems of bureaucracy
and elites? For an anarchist organisation to operate effectively its members
must unite freedom with responsibility. There should be full participation
by all militants in the decision-making process with a commitment to carry
out collective decisions. No anarchist organisation can be effective if its
members act against the collective aims and methods. However, no
organisation can be anarchist without the total freedom to take part in the
formulation of goals and methods plus the freedom to withdraw from the
process. Federalism is a form of organisation that combines the maximum
individual autonomy with collective direction. The idea is the reversal of
forms of organisation in which decisions are made by a ruling elite, visible
or not, but carried out by an obedient rank and file. With federalism,
autonomous members organised in groups or branches at the base make
decisions that are carried out by the whole organisation. This way political
power flows from the circumference to the centre since organisation is
'horizontal'. Anarchist organisations should be expressions of the
collective voice not directing centres that control people. Anarchist
Fashion For a federal system to operate in an anarchist fashion there must
be the greatest possible involvement by members plus open and free
communication to prevent the existence of any elite group or leadership.
Each layer/segment of the organisation represents its views to the whole
body directly through instantly recallable delegates. Not only the anarchist
organisation but also an anarchco-communist world society could be run on a
federal basis. The Basic social unit would probably be the commune or
council which would federate to a wider body, say the region or province.
Delegates from the councils would form bodies that would concern themselves
with issues of relevance to their mandate. These regional organisations
would in turn affiliate to the national body or equivalent since artificial
'nation-states' would disappear in a post-revolutionary world. However,
federalism alone cannot create or preserve a free society. It must be
combined with the elimination of centralised power, hierarchy, authority and
inequality. Where these are preserved federalism becomes a sham. Free
federation is possible. It is the task of revolutionaries to create it.

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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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