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(en) resistance bulletin - issue 44 - December 2002. Anarchist Federation (Britain)

From "E W" <nastyned@email.com>
Date Thu, 28 Nov 2002 10:56:47 -0500 (EST)


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ALL FIRED UP!

The facts behind this dispute are simple: The firefighters
have been on the same wage scale since 1977. An
independent review recommended a 40% wage increase as
the modern job requires a more skills and more training -
significantly more than the one the current wage scale is
based on.
MPs rejected this out of hand, despite accepting the same
group?s pay recommendations for themselves - apparently a
41% increase is good enough for MPs but not for people who
actually do something socially useful. A 16% rise was offered,
but Prescott stepped in to say no way and 4% was offered
instead - unsurprisingly, this insulting offer was rejected and
the highest ever vote in favour of strike action followed.
A new offer, based on Bain?s report, of 11% over two years
but tied to modernisation proposals has also been rejected.
Bain?s proposals would mean the end of the ?watch system?,
the 1985 Fire Cover standards, and agreement not to oppose
Fire Station closures - in effect dismantling the system and
replacing it with a casualised workforce. As we go to press
the first of a planned series of eight day stoppages has just
begun.
This dispute is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, if
the strike is successful other public sector workers will look
to improve their own position; this dispute could act as a
catalyst for an expansion in open offensive class struggle.
And there is money available to fund these raises - for
example tax avoidance, mainly by large companies, runs at
around £100 billion p/a.
Secondly the true role of the media has been exposed, ?Fire
union chiefs are stooges of Saddam Hussein?, and ??Flaming
Greed? are just two examples. When it counts, the media
rally around the boss class. They aren?t just unsympathetic,
they are actively opposed to us. This should aways be
remembered when dealing with these clowns.
Thirdly, when it came to the crunch, the FBU were left
floundering, calling off the first strike just as it was due to
start, angering it?s members and demonstrating to the
government that it was desperately looking for a way out
rather than a straightforward battle for its members interests.
Any action that has taken place is down to the rank and file
workers.
To win the strike, Firefighters need to directly link up with
other people in struggle. Tube workers showed how this
could be done when they refused to work during the strike for
?safety? reasons. Train/tube drivers, airport staff, teachers
and others have the power to shut down much of the country
and back up each other?s demands.
This will only be done outside of the unions though - they
will never follow a policy that puts their legality at risk.
What?s required is working class action in support of
working class interests not those of the bureaucrats.
The message is clear from this and other disputes - we?re not
going to take it lying down anymore.
Get down to the picket line and show some solidarity!

---

GLASGOW WIDCAT STRIKE

EIGHT HUNDRED NORTH Glasgow Hospital workers
have been on unofficial strike since 9th November.
The strike, for better pay through regrading, though
supported by the local branch, was condemned by Scottish
Unison national organisers, who demanded an immediate
return to work.
Since then they have done as much as possible to undermine
and isolate the strikers with an initial backstabbing press
release and since then a conspiracy of
silence and pressure on the local branch. The clerical and
administrative workers are amongst the lowest in the paid
public sector.
Sick of repeated promises of a ballot from Unison, they
decided to take
matters into their own hands. A mass meeting on Tuesday
19th November decided to continue the fight. Direct action in
action! Given their already bread-line existence and the
proximity of Christmas, the determination of the strikers has
been inspiring.
Local firefighters have shown solidarity, offering to divert
support funds to them. The key to victory must be the
spreading of the strike to other hospitals and other public
sector workers as isolation is always demoralising and a real
danger.
Without any union funds, financial support is vital.
Contributions to their strike fund should be sent to:
Family Support Group, c/o John Kerr, 6 Westray Place,
Bishopbriggs, Glasgow G64 1UQ.
Cheques payable to Family Support Group.

---

ON THE FRONTLINE

It seems that the fire-fighters fight-back has encouraged
other workers to put their needs ahead of those of the bosses
- this year?s rise in industrial action has continued for yet
another month.
First off the blocks this month were - surprise surprise - the
posties who forced Royal Mail to abandon plans to sell off its
cash handling section to Securicor, a company notorious for
introducing redundancies and poorer working conditions.
The whole postal system was threatened with shutdown by
staff threatening to refuse to handle cash.
250 colleges nationwide were shut by lecturers and support
staff walking out over a 2.3% wage offer, whilst London
based lecturers also struck on the 15th in support of a fairer
London weighting, and schoolteachers are planning to do the
same on the 26th.
Train drivers on First North Western and Wales & Borders
trains are to strike on 14, 15, 21, and 22 December, whilst it
looks likely there will be major strikes at the countries largest
airports from November 28th with severe disruption
expected. The British Airport Authority has just announced
an increase in profits (£350 million in last six months!) but is
still only offering a paltry rise of 3% for the next two years.
Across the channel now - Eurostar catering workers didn?t
bother with any half-hearted bureaucratic negotiations - they
simply piled onto the track at Gare du Nord station in Paris
and blocked any trains attempting to leave until their
demands were met. Surely a lesson for British rail (and other)
workers?
The list of General strikes in Europe this year has just grown
by one - following hard on the heels of Italy and Spain comes
Portugal - where hundreds of thousands went on strike
against austerity measures and proposed labour reforms,
which resulted in the country practically shutting down. A
second strike has been called for December 10th - if past
resistance to these reforms in Portugal are anything to judge
by this could be a highly explosive dispute.

Worker needs our urgent support
Alex McGuigan, a member of the Industrial Workers of the
World, is currently off work due to stress related illness. He is
willing to return to work, but the company are preventing
him from doing so. They have also stopped his sick pay.
Please contact Novas to urge them to reinstate Alex?s sick
pay. Write to: Mary Connolly, Novas, Chancery House,
Paradise Street, Liverpool, UK. Email: policy@novas.org Tel:
0870 9019701
More info from: www.iww.org.uk

---

CELEBRITY PRAT OF THE MONTH

?Now, it is really unpopular to be middle class. It is worse
than being upper or lower class. Middle class is the worst.?
Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Sophie Ellis Bextor is spot on but very probably hasn?t
figured out why. We shall enlighten her. We agree 100% that
the pretentious posturings of the so called ?middle class? fits
them to being the dregs of humanity. Truth be told, all most
of them have ever done with their accumulation-fuelled lives
is to carry out the bosses? orders, inevitably resulting in us
proles having a hard time of it in the survival stakes.
Social positioning is what the average middle class aspirant
craves and they have no qualms about realising their petty
ambitions on the backs of working class folk. Little wonder
they are collectively the most reviled strata of all society. As
we state in our ?aims and principles? (see any edition of
?Organise!?), capitalism is based upon the power of the
ruling class to exploit the workers. The problem with that (for
them) is they don?t have the numbers themselves to enslave,
as S.E.B. would put it, the ?lower orders?, into toiling
singulary for their own immediate benefit, hence they enlist
the ?motivated? middle class to do their bidding, with both
groups simultaneously feeding off our exertions over a
lifetime?s labour.
Everywhere, we encounter the values, morals and assumed
superiority of the middle class - at work/in school/politics/the
community/media/administration/welfare. It is always the
middle class dishing out the crap, wielding control in order
that their mentors can reap infinite profit from our existence.
That?s why workers are referred to as ?human resources?.
This conniving relationship perpetuates a lack of class
awareness thus clearing the way for the middle class to
trample all over us whilst the capitalist overlords gain in
influence, wealth and domination. Prats are middle class,
right, Sophie?

---

CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Pressure is increasing in the build up to the imminent war on
Iraq. If we want to prevent the bloodshed of thousands of
working class people, we must escalate our efforts of
resistance.
There are a number of groups who are taking this lead. The
firefighters? dispute is the most prominent of these. The
firefighters? struggle is inextricably linked with war
resistance. The government can?t fight both the class war
and an imperialist war, with troops unable to combat both
working class resistance and bomb civilians. Amazing how
they can always afford bombs but not proper wages for
serving the community!
Local groups are also organising against Bush and Blair?s
murderous plans. We all need to build up resistance in our
workplaces and communities.
In Walthamstow local anarchists have redecorated a
territorial army base (see picture above right). If you want to
practice your decorating skills contact them at:
Walthamstow Anarchist Group, PO Box 35832, London E11
3WT,
Tel: 07810 288 889, Email:
info@walthamstowanarchy.org.uk, Visit:
www.walthamstowanarchy.org.uk
In Surrey anarchists have vigorously flyposted anti-war
posters. You can download a copy by visiting:
www.surreyanarchy.org.uk
The Confederation of British Industry got a shock they fully
deserved when their annual conference was invaded by
anti-war protesters in Manchester.
 On Dec 14th a ?Mass weapons inspection? will be made at
USAF Fairford (Gloucestershire) in response to the arrival of
the US Stealth Bombers which will be used to bomb Iraq. For
more information Visit: www.gwi.org.uk or Tel: 0117 9514
744. The example set at Shannon in Ireland should inspire
anyone wanting to disrupt an airport (see reports in Irish
resistance at: www.afireland.cjb.net)
Show your anger! BUILD opposition to the war! ORGANISE
with workmates. PUT up posters, CALL meetings, PICKET
army recruitment centres, WRITE your opposition on the
walls. DON?T go to work the day after war starts. GO to your
local MP?s house or office and protest. BLOCK roads,
CONFRONT MP?s at their homes and offices. DON?T let
them support murder without feeling some heat in return.
Together we can stop them.
The Anarchist Federation has produced a new range of
anti-war stickers and posters. Ask for a bundle, contact
details on back page.

---

ON THE ATTACK IN ITALY

Fiat, the Italian car giant, has always played a central role in
the political and economic struggles of Italian workers.
Its recent plans to restructure, which involve laying off about
eight thousand workers have emphasised this. The
traditionally rebellious Fiat plant workers  have done their
predecessors proud by meeting the proposals with fierce
resistance. The main centres of struggle have been at the
company?s huge industrial complexes at Turin and Termini
Imerese in Sicliy.
The Sicilian workers have been particularly aggressive, with
the dispute smashing some of the artificial boundaries which
all to often isolate workers? struggles.
Firstly, the struggle has involved many non workers. There is
a highly militant Wives and Families support group as well as
actions by students, No Global protesters and workers in
other industries.
Secondly, the participants in the struggle have not restricted
themselves to picketing the factory gates but have shown that
they are more than willing to attack any other part of the
economy, using direct action as their tool.
On 12 November, after vowing that ?not a single bolt would
leave the factory?  the workers and their supporters
completely isolated Palermo?s airport by blocking all the
underground and overhead railway links and all the motorway
links to it.
A couple of days later, with the railway lines still blockaded,
the workers moved in on the naval port at Termini Imerese in
order to stop the shipment of a consignment of 3,700 Punto
cars. The workers positioned themselves so as to stop all
movement of people and cargo in and out of the port and so it
was made impossible for the ship to leave. By the 15th, the
blockade of the Straits of Messina became total. Over 1,000
workers positioned themselves at various strategic points
around another of the island?s major ports - Messina - to
impede the arrival and departure of trains and motorised
transport.
As well as this, there has been a huge 50,000 strong
demonstration at Termini Imerese and a 6,000 strong
demonstration of Palermitan students in solidarity with the
workers and the arrested ?No Global? organisers (see article
below).
At the time of going to press, the struggle is moving from
strength to strength, with Termini Imarese?s rail station
currently under occupation by the Wives and Families
support group.
This article has concentrated on the resistance in Sicily but in
Turin things have been kicking off too with large supporting
demonstrations, strikes and occupations of railway lines to
stop the movement of goods. Looks like Berlusconi and Co.
might have bitten off a bit more than they can chew this time.

---

REPRESSION IN ITALY

Following the million strong attendance at the ?No Global?
Florence Social Forum (a conference and demonstration
about alternatives to capitalism) the forces of law and order in
Italy have instigated a wave of repression against the
organisers. The arrests have provoked spontaneous
demonstrations throughout Italy?s towns and cities.
As industrial unrest, of which the Fiat struggle is just one
example, continues to spread, and coupled by a vibrant
anti-capitalist youth movement, the state can only respond in
the way it always has - with force.
The Correspondence Commission of the Italian Anarchist
Federation (our sister organisation in Italy) has released the
following statement which we resistance editors support
wholeheartedly:
?We should have known... that after the totally peaceful
protest in Florence which upset their plans, they wouldn?t
take this lying down. They have staged their latest
provocation and 42 people have been put under house arrest,
most of whom are from the anti-globalisation movement in
southern Italy. One of these is our comrade Claudio
Dionesalvi from Cosenza.  They are accused, amongst other
things, of ?violently subverting the economic order of the
state.? Out of the kind of charges used in similar
circumstances, this is a relatively new one.
It shows that the repressive mechanisms of the state are
aiming their sights at everyone who is not willing to passively
submit to the exploitation imposed on the majority of
humanity by a privileged few. We wish to show our
unconditional solidarity with all victims of state
repression. We also warn all our comrades to be extra
vigilant, so that yet another attempt at inducing silence in
those unwilling to submit to the arrogance of the powerful
few, may not happen again.?
The London AF is organising a solidarity action to take place
on Saturday 30th November. Contact details are on the back
page for more info.

---

TIME BOMB

The Kwangju Insurrection
South Korea has long been the scene of bitter class warfare -
most famously the ?Great struggle? of 1987 that brought
down the military dictatorship. The Kwangju insurrection of
May 1980 is rarely mentioned though - probably because it
was a living example of how collective action and solidarity
can lead to taking back control of our own lives.
The facts of the uprising are that the military had taken
power the previous year, and were faced with escalating
protests by students and workers, who had developed a
powerful alliance. These protests usually ended in pitched
battles with the riot police. Following a rally on May 18th in
Kwangju the usual fighting broke out - this time though, the
police lost the battle, despite firing thousands of rubber
bullets and so much tear-gas that leaves died on the trees.
Virtually the whole of the city now took to the streets.
Panicked, the state ordered the Army to open fire, killing
hundreds. Big mistake. Workers immediately ransacked their
workplaces for weapons caches the state required them to
hold, and formed workers? militias. Buses, trams and military
vehicles (including Armoured Personnel Carriers) were
seized and used to form barricades.
A huge battle took place around the Town Hall - the army
eventually retreated. The working class had defeated the riot
cops and the Army. What followed during the next week
following has been described as ?unprecedented? in Korean
history. Instead of trading, people shared. Massive communal
meals for hundreds were cooked and distributed. Motor
vehicles were handed out to keep the city safe, to create a
new distribution system that depended on neither state nor
capital, and to transport the hundreds of decaying corpses
through the springtime streets for identification.?
As news of the uprising spread, the military decided to try
and re-take the city again. This time they used US trained
paratroopers who killed over 2000 protesters in doing so.
Despite these deaths, the students and workers refused to
give up, and eventually the dictatorship was thrown out .
Kwangju still lives as a shining example of what the working
class can achieve when it realises its own power and moves
to rid itself of its oppressors - Kwangju can never be retaken!

---

An issue of Merseyside resistance has been produced by AF
members in Merseyside. Available via London AF.

---

INSIDE INFORMATION

Prison Action meeting
A meeting has been booked at the London Action Resource
Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street, London, (nearest tube
Whitechapel) for Saturday December 14th at 4pm to discuss
what the new prison action group will do. Come along and
get involved.
To join the prison action egroup send a blank Email to:
prison_action-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Social centre attacked
As we go to press the following report has just come in:
?The Leeds temporary social centre A-Spire was attacked by
police 3am Sunday morning. While hundreds of people were
partying inside the police forced their way in using tear gas
and pepper spray. About 12 arrests have been reported as well
as many baton injuries.?
 To get in touch with the organisers of A-Spire Email:
info@a-spire.org.uk or
Tel: 07796 343 085.
Anti-war activists arrested
On October 31st, an anti-war day of ?direct action? took
place. There were several arrests that evening in Central
London, and some are facing serious charges. If you were
witness to these arrests please contact:  Legal Defence and
Monitoring Group, BM Box Haven, London, WC1N 3XX
Tel: 020 8245 2930
Email: ldmgmail@yahoo.co.uk
Visit: http://www2.phreak.co.uk/ldmg/index.php

Turkish Anarchist?s Jail Defiance
Mehmet Bal is a conscientious objector who is being kept in
Adana Military Prison. He has faced torture since 25 of
October-starting from the first moment that he was put in
jail. Despite the repression, Mehmet is clear in this reason for
resistance; ?Exactly at this point, I as an individual wish to
make clear that, under no conditions will I ever submit to
rules or values put forth by any system, ideology or religion,
and shall live in accordance with my own conscience and
will. I refuse to take place in any kind of system that bears
inhuman tendencies, whatever the consequences may be.?
For now, it is very important to write to the prison authorities
in Adana, to prevent further torture. You can write protest
letters demanding an end of the practice of chaining Mehmet
Bal?s arms and legs; to protest the arrest of Mehmet Bal:
Adana 6. Kolordu Askeri Cezaevi, Adana, Turkey or fax:
+90-322-322 8136
For more info Email ABC-Ankara at: abcankara@yahoo.com

Joint Terrorism Task Force Told Where to Go!
US Eco-defender Craig ?critter? Marshall who is currently on
a 5 and a 1/2 year sentence for a 1999 arson of three trucks,
has been under further pressure from the cop-quango known
as the ?Joint Terrorism Task Force? (JTTF) to name names.
He was offered release from prison if he would grass people
up, and threatened with more charges when he refuse, but he
still didn?t cooperate with the authorities. Way to go Critter!
Write to him at:
Craig Marshall #13797662, 777 Stanton Blvd. Ontario, OR
97914, USA.

---

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.

Get down to a picket line and show the firefighters some
solidarity!
DECEMBER: 1: Anti War Dayschool/Prop making. In
preparation for the demonstration on 2nd. Kingsley Hall,
Powis Road, off Bruce Road, London E3. 0845 458 2564
voices@viwuk.freeserve.co.uk
2: No War on Iraq War Zone Whitehall. A die-in against war
and sanctions on Iraq. 10.30am Whitehall Place, London
SW1. 0845 4582564 voices@viwuk.freeserve.co.uk
7: Manchester Radical Bookfair 1pm until 5pm at Bridge 5
Mill, 22A Beswick Street, Ancoats Manchester.
info@radicalbookfair.org.uk www.radicalbookfair.org.uk
12: Menwith Hill Women?s Peace Camp: Womens day for
protest - details as below.
13: Menwith Hill Bloackade. Women?s Blockade (A59):
Bring warm clothes, banners, music, good spirit. Info: Helen
John, Tel. 01943 468 593.
14: Mass Weapons Inspection Of USAF Fairford: See ?Calm
before the storm? inside.
14: Prison Action meeting, London - details above.
20: Showing of film ?Argentina in Revolt?, 8pm, William
Morris Community Centre, Greenleaf Rd, Walthamstow,
London, Contact W@G on 07810 288 889, or Visit:
www.walthamstowanarchy.org.uk
LEICESTER ANARCHIST FEDERATION meets every
FIRST TUESDAY of the month at 8pm, upstairs at the Ale
Wagon pub Charles Street, Leicester LE1

---

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
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:

Anarchist Federation,
84B, Whitechapel High Street,
London,  E1 7QX. Tel: 07946 214 590
Visit: www.afed.org.uk
Email: anarchistfederation@bigfoot.com




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