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(en) Anarchist Federation Alba (Aberdeen) resisting capitalism in scotland ..... Eagran/No. 2 An t-Sultain/Sep 2002 Saor / Free

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://flag.blackened.net/af/alba/)
Date Tue, 8 Oct 2002 02:21:46 -0400 (EDT)


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Spiv Councillors Councillors, businessmen and so
called local democracy - don't ya just lov`em?

Wonderful folk these time serving
party hacks, former trade union bureau-
crats, assorted lackeys and lickspittles that
make up our local councils. Well if that lot
are not bad enough lording it over us just
look what may be coming our way.
Not content with the misrepresenta-
tion and manipulation of tame councillors
capitalist businessmen (Federation of Small
Businesses in Scotland) intend - to coin a
phrase - to cut out the middlemen and be-
come councillors themselves. Only one little
catch though - they don't believe that they
would be well enough paid. Yes, that's right,
to avail ourselves of their expertise in exploi-
tation businessmen councillors would have
to be better paid. Poor pay for councillors is a
formidable barrier to the capitalist boss class
standing for election they claim. Doesn't it
just make your heart bleed? There's irony in
there somewhere from a group whose sup-
posed measure of success is built on the back
of exploiting the labour of the working classes
whilst paying them a pittance.

Not content with their stranglehold
grip on our society the fat cats want to fur-
ther control and rob under sham local de-
mocracy without having to rely on the lap-
dogs already there to dole them out PFI con-
tracts, outsource services and throw Council
workers out of their jobs. No let's get in there
and pay ourselves handsomely for the privi-
lege they say. All to satisfy the grasping need
of the fat cats to get even richer on public
sector work whilst paying even less lip serv-
ice than the control freaks supposedly repre-
senting local people now.

If you think that's bad well you've not
heard it all yet.

Not content with that controlling
framework they also have there eyes on
schools. Paid over the odds to build and run
a school, that's not enough for these bas-
tards, they want to become head teachers as
well. Background in education, concern for
young people, nurturing independent
thought and creativity - well who needs that?
Obviously not them. They know what's best
because they can run a business and they'll
tell us all what to think and how to behave
and conform to their agenda. Can't be wrong
can they? Oracles of information and wis-
dom these jumped up spivs and hucksters.
Trust them with your kids as they build on
campus a few practice chimneys, mines and
assembly lines for the better conditioning of
future workers. Playground - yes it's just
round the back of the practice call center
building, you can see it after the hooter
sounds but be sure you've clocked off first
sonny.

After all this their spokesperson had
the gall to say they are not being "cocky".
Well fine try but I'm not buying that one (or a
second hand car by the way). But what does
the Convention of Local Authorities have to
say about this? Fuck off and die, perhaps?
No, not quite - "We would welcome business-
men becoming actively involved in local de-
mocracy."

Well there you have it, local councils -
what a choice - washed up arselicking time
servers or thieving capitalist bastards. We'll
be well rid of all of them when the people
drive them out of the council chambers.

VICTORY FOR GLASGOW  NHS WORKERS

300 ancillary workers at the Royal Infir-
mary in Glasgow have won some decent gains
against employer Sodexho. After a short
strike, parity with NHS conditions were
agreed, pay has been increased from £4.20
per hour to £5 per hour backdated to April
2002, sick pay has been increased and
lengthened and overtime rates increased as
well. Pierre Bellon, Chief Executive of
Sodexho has an estimated wealth of £1.3
billion.

A member of Sodexho's Chairman's commit-
tee earns an average minimum of £4700 per
week!

Management had attempted to bus scabs
in but they were followed round the town by
pickets and supporters. Well done all con-
cerned. For more info on Sodexho and their
other dodgy dealings including private pris-
ons and asylum seekers vouchers contact
sod-action@fsmail.net.

Also in this issue...
Conquest of Bread - Kropotkin (Gaelic)
Water Fiasco (Scots)
Sacco & Vanzetti 75 years on
Industrial Struggles
Against Parliament For Anarchism


WHY ANARCHISTS OPPOSE PARLIAMENT?

We will be serialising our leaflet Against Par-
liament, For anarchism over the coming
months until the Holyrood elections. The
whole leaflet can be downloaded at
http://flag.blackened.net/af/ce/ap_index.html

We are constantly told that we live in a free
society. The guarantee of this "freedom" is
said to be the parliamentary system. This al-
lows us to elect representatives who govern
the country in our name, and who are an-
swerable to us. That, at least, is the theory.
This system had its beginnings in a body which
only represented feudal nobles, and evolved
into one which represented land-owning and
agricultural interests more generally. There
was no pretence that it was democratic, i.e.
representing the will of all the people. By the
19th century, with the development of in-
dustrial capitalism, the newly-rich owners of
factories and mills lacked political power to
match their economic strength. Agitation for
an extension of the franchise produced the
so-called Great Reform Act of 1832, which
only granted the right to vote to property-
owners like the industrialists despite their
reliance on working-class support during the
long campaign. The working-class continued
to have no significant economic or political
voice. Consequences of this situation were
the working-class fight for the vote in the
Chartist movement and the growth of trade
unions. Most significant, in terms of an inde-
pendent class outlook, was the development
during the rest of the century of various forms
of socialism, communism and anarchism.

>Government:  the Way to Freedom?
Anarchists, because of their belief in the
strength of voluntary co-operation and mu-
tual aid, were (and are) opposed to the coer-
cive power of government on principle. They
therefore denied the notion that the work-
ing-class should work to extend the fran-
chise and then vote its own representatives
into power, convinced that this could only
ever achieve domination by a minority. How-
ever the idea was spread by others (often
socialists from the middle -class) that capi-
talism and the many laws required to sus-
tain it could eventually be legislated away
once enough working-class parliamentary
seats had been gained. Similarly a socialist
system, using the power of the State in the
working-class' favour, could then be intro-
duced by Acts of Parliament. Strangely, one
of the reasons for taking this line was pre-
cisely the repressive capabilities which the
capitalist State had built up. Only anarchists
anticipated that such standard governmen-
tal tools as courts, prisons, police and troops,
whoever commanded them, would end up
preserving a society of inequality and exploi-
tation, not abolishing it. But parliamentary
socialists, believing that any attempt at revo-
lution must resolve itself to the advantage of
the ruling-class, took a gradual, reformist ap-
proach. By patient legal changes, a socialist
utopia would be arrived at, and no-one hurt
or aggrieved in the process. Typical of this
outlook were the Fabians, an early socialist
think-tank still influential in the Labour Party.
Many believed in the reasonableness of such
sentiments. With the gradual winning of the
vote by all of the working-class, subsequent
history has too often revolved around work-
ers giving up their power by electing "repre-
sentatives". The fallacy has been that, by ced-
ing power to someone or some party claim-
ing to represent you, your interests and those
of others like you will be the chief concern of
those representatives. This idea has legiti-
mised the election of full-time union officials
as well as politicians.

It has proved untrue on two counts. Short of
the actual deposition of the class of industri-
alists, bankers, stockbrokers, etc., political
representatives are driven to make deals with
these people, whose prime aim is to preserve
and expand their social and economic privi-
leges, not give them up. And these repre-
sentatives themselves, when not born into
the ruling-class (making connections and
assumptions at public school and university
to last a lifetime), sooner rather than later
adopt its attitudes. Supposedly working-class
MPs lose touch with their original back-
ground, just as do those elected primarily as
women or black; and for the same reasons.

>The Ruling-Class
What is it that makes such attitudes so easy
to adopt? It stems from the fact that, once
existing in a world of large salaries, consul-
tancies and bribes, chauffeurs and private
secretaries, politicians become largely di-
vorced from life as most of us experience it.
Tney are also both more and less informed
than most people. On one hand, privy to in-
formation and the making of decisions which
will affect millions, with only a selected por-
tion of that information available for what is
laughably termed public debate. On the
other, living in ignorance of everyday life and
having their information filtered via civil serv-
ants, lobbyists and journalists. The contempt
for the public thus encouraged is plain in the
constant necessity for leaks to enable us to
know much at all of this world. There is in
addition a basic condescension on the part of
politicians, in their assumption that some
people (i.e. themselves and their economic
counterparts) are best suited to making the
major decisions on how society should run
its affairs.

The 1996 debates about MPs' pay, with the
outcome of increases of 26% (whilst urging
3% or less on everyone else), were especially
significant in revealing this gulf between gov-
ernment and the governed. Once, the argu-
ment was that Parliament would work for
the working-class through the election of
working-class representatives, on the basis
of common interest and experience. Now it
was said that MPs' wages had to be raised by
huge amounts in order to attract the right
calibre of person, who would otherwise be
lost to a managerial position in industry. Ex-
actly so. MPs and ministers are political mid-
dle managers, and their gaze is so frequently
turned to the City and the Confederation of
British Industry (and their international
equivalents, such as the Council of Ministers
of the European Union, the World Trade Or-
ganisation and the IMF) because these are
the people to whom they are really account-
able. For their part, they exert firm central
control via local councils and also by means
of placeperson-packed quangos (unelected
bodies like hospital trust boards, responsible
for spending millions in public funds). This in
turn exposes the hollowness of local "democ-
racy".

Despite the form of a democratic political
process which allegedly includes us all, the
impotence of national governments before
the activities of transnational companies (oth-
erwise known as globalisation or neo-liber-
alism) has meant that its content has increas-
ingly become concerned simply with devis-
ing ways to improve the lot of the well-off or
ease their worries. Since its election in May
1997, the Labour government has been at
pains to stress how business-friendly it is both
to domestic and foreign investors. The proof
has been in such measures as its appoint-
ments of business- people to head various
commissions on aspects of the Welfare State
(e.g. the ex-chief of Barclays Bank in charge
of a commision on benefits!) , its harassment
of the unemployed and the setting of a mini-
mum wage based on what bosses wish to pay
rather than what workers need. The non-
Tory parties now believe in only the most mild
reforms of unfettered capitalism, based on
the further belief that nothing but a capital-
ist system is workable. And this conviction
unites all of the main political parties - hence
the growing ease with which they swop mem-
bers. This is the essential "choice" of which
they make so much.

None of the above comments should be mis-
taken for any nationalistic stance. Anarchists
are quite clear that the injustices suffered by
the working-class are common across the
globe. Indeed it is this common character that
helps create a working-class that is interna-
tional, for all its local variations, and makes
the need to unite across national boundaries
ever more urgent. And this despite the fact
that bosses and politicians still play up na-
tional differences in order to maintain weak-
ness and division amongst the world's work-
ers. Those who today complain about Brus-
sels' interference should simply ask them-
selves, is a British boss or politician so pref-
erable? The idea that they are somehow more
under our control or more sympathetic is a
fallacy. No, it is having a ruling-class at all
that is the root problem, whether its mem-
bers are of the same nationality or not.

>A Free Society?
For those who cannot be pacified by material
goods (or at least the hope of them), the other
side of the democratic picture is coercion. This
goes both for those who have an insecure
hold on work, housing or education, and those
who dissent. With the continuing legal and
technical tooling-up of the police, detailed ism
and linked government databases, and the
widespread use of closed-circuit TV, all the
means for a totally authoritarian system are
coming into place. Freedom is reduced to
mere consumerism.

Crime is the justification for these measures.
Anything that might indict the role that the
propaganda and pressures of a capitalist
world play is disregarded as an excuse for
individual weakness. More than this, in a
system where the market is held to be su-
preme, any assertion of the interests of the
working-class that is not thoroughly diluted
by politicians and union bureaucrats itself
becomes defined as verging on crime. Thus
the outlawing or restriction of strikes, dem-
onstrations, picketing, etc.

The point which we have reached today re-
veals the basic fallacy that has always un-
derlaid the parliamentary road. This is that
the working-class can make continuing and
permanent gains while another class domi-
nates it economically and politically. The "
finest hour" of parliamentary socialism in the
post-1945 nationalisations and creation of
the National Health Service continued to pre-
serve managerial chains of command and
had no idea of how to counteract the harm-
ful inroads of market capitalism other than
through subsidies. This may have cushioned
the workforces against unemployment for
some decades, but by now the truth is plain:
the ruling-class drive for profit is the su-
preme value in a capitalist world. If this
means a return to sweatshops, disregard for
the health and safety of workers and exces-
sive hours of work, this is the price to be paid
to compete in a global market. In the case of
public services it means either their aban-
donment in privatisation, or severe limita-
tions being placed upon their
expenditure.The same point is true of all such
areas that have been the object of reform by
Parliament: if they can be clawed back for
profit's sake, they will be.

>Freedom of Choice
In this pamphlet we explore the ideas of many
political parties. Most offer some variant of
managing capitalism politically. Ultimately
this is to resign ourselves to continuing stress-
ful work, unemployment, discrimination,
pollution, and wars, whether over over natu-
ral resources (as in the Gulf War) or regional
political influence (as in the Balkans). Natu-
rally, policies for this management vary, as
do the gestures towards social justice. But
although certain specific policies will change,
there are ideological limits to each party
which preserve continuity. Thus today's La-
bour Party, while being explicitly more pro-
business in its outlook than its early 1980s
model, in both cases is part of a tradition that
has never envisaged any more than the tam-
ing of the market, rather than its abolition.
Similarly, its commitment to reformation of
the House of Lords will only mean that we
can elect more of our oppressors, instead of
their simply inheriting the right to do so.
Similar examples could be given for all of the
parties. They adapt, change rhetoric, sym-
bols, even their names, but they never shift
 so much that their own self-importance (the
"need" for them or other bosses) is put in
doubt. Those claiming to be socialist (rather
than social democratic) or communist, while
perhaps committed to economic equality, see
political equality as a goal that is much fur-
ther off. They, of course, will benignly rule
us in the meantime. Thus they end up on a
par with the others, who always seek to offer
"strong leadership" when not merely "rep-
resenting" us. What we are trying to do
throughout this pamphlet is highlight some
of the parties' defining ideas, with reference
where appropriate to their current policies.
But though there will undoubtedly be a fu-
ture need to update this account, the conti-
nuity must never be obscured by the inevita-
ble hype over policy changes, or even party
splits.

>Anarchist Apathy?
It is often argued that those like anarchists
who deliberately refuse to vote in elections
are apathetic, and have no right to comment
on political affairs if they do not participate
in the approved manner. Anarchists vigor-
ously deny this. Even the politicians profess
to be disturbed at the mounting lack of par-
ticipation in the "democratic process", a
worldwide phenomenon. Anarchists in fact
argue for constant and general involvement
in politics, that is , all of the questions (work,
food, housing, transport, education, etc.)
which affect our lives. Apathy - and despair-
are the by-products of a vote every few years
and the chance to sign the occasional peti-
tion to Parliament. They do not come from
the refusal to be mocked in a farce. As anar-
chist-communists, then, we are opposed to
parliamentary democracy and capitalism.
Neither can we be satisfied with the end of
one and not the other. For example, capital
can thrive in all kinds of political environ-
ments but it will still produce similar misery
and injustice.

We conclude by outlining some of our posi-
tive views of a world in which they have both
been superseded. Our starting-point is that
individual freedom is best realised in a soci-
ety without domination, brought together
instead by voluntary co-operation and asso-
ciation. The needs of the individual and the
needs of society are in a constant tension,
but they stand the best chance of being har-
monised in a world which has seen the abo-
lition of classes. This means an end to the
power of anyone to dominate, either eco-
nomically or politically. Power would instead
be diffused. One hundred years ago, anar-
chists chiefly argued against the working-
class taking the parliamentary road on a theo-
retical level. Today we have all too much ex-
perience to confirm their original insight that
freedom, equality and well-being are not to
be achieved via that route. In the 21st cen-
tury it is more than time to leave behind the
political illusions which littered the 20th. This
pamphlet is a contribution to the exposure of
one still deeply-rooted.

TIME BOMB SACCO & VANZETTI 75 YEARS ON....

The murder trial of two Italian-born anar-
chists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti,
was the most celebrated political case of the
20th Century. On Aug. 23rd, global justice,
immigrant rights, anti-war, and anti-death
penalty activists around the world commemo-
rated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the
judicial murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, which
took place on Aug. 23rd, 1927. The Sacco-
Vanzetti Commemoration Committee, organ-
ized by New York City activists, held a mass
rally and memorial on Aug. 23rd in NYC,
where more than half a million people gath-
ered in 1927 to protest the state-sanctioned
killing of the two anarchists.

 Framed for a killing in Massachusetts,
Sacco and Vanzetti were the most famous
victims of the Red Scares - the first great
wave of US government persecution against
political dissidents. Their case inspired mass
protest around the world, and their memory
has never been forgotten. Yet again and
again, during the McCarthy Era, the Civil
Rights and Vietnam War struggles, and now
during the "war on terror," the state has per-
secuted, scapegoated, and framed dissidents
- especially immigrants, the poor, and people
of colour - to suit its political ends. Now more
than ever, we must remember the legacy of
Sacco and Vanzetti: * As hundreds of immi-
grants sit in jails, rounded up in a wave of
hysteria after Sept. 11. * As hundreds more
sit on death rows around the United States.
* As the Bush Administration prepares an
unprecedented assault on civil rights in the
name of "homeland security."

"Everything should be done to keep alive the
tragic affair of Sacco and Vanzetti in the con-
science of mankind." ALBERT EINSTEIN,
1947

WATER JOKE
WATTER:  LEES, COMPLACENCY AND CAREERISM.
NAITIONALIZATION IS NOT THE ANSWER

"Politicians are not born, they are excreted."
(Scipio/Cato - canna mind) The wittens that
watter wesna safe tae drink maun hae come
as a stound for maist Scots, siccar in the
`knawledge' at oor watter is amang the maist
cleanest i the warld, but the issue (that po-
tentially lethal parasites cried
cryptosporidium is ayewes present i wir
watter supply - ae wumman in her eild,
sufferin fae cancer, dee'd o cryptosporidiosis
twa year syne ower the heid o drinkin tap-
watter - an that sen 1990 Scottish Water's
been legally obliged (wi an EU directive) tae
get rid o the cancer causin Trihalomethanes,
that it admits is in the watter, forby the
quantites o pysonous leid an aluminium but
hes done nocht thereanent) breirds mair
profoond questions o owerance an o priori-
ties. While in Scotland watter isna privatized,
unalike it is in Ingland (whar sair
underinvestment an the struissle tae maxi-
mize profits for sharehauders means that
fowk whiles disna hae watter ava, despite
thare bein nae drouth in terms o rain), it's
owned an run bi the state, it's no fit tae drink
naither! Thaim that hes the owerance for it
(the politicians, civil servands an the
placemen at Scottish Water) hes lee'd, latcht
an parried, playin cairtes wi public safety, an
ownin til naethin gin they hae tae -
naitionalization, giein pouer til the politicians
an careerists, in action. Whan Ross Finnie,
that hes the ministerial responsibility for
watter, threaps at he didna bather tellin fowk
at watter wesna safe akis it wad cause "pub-
lic bloody panic", and wad mean "bugger all",
whit he means is that it wad refleck badly on
him, he'd raither that fowk gets seeck an dees
like thon wumman twa year syne, as he ad-
mits whan he says it wad hae been better tae
"issue a statement saying [water] is safe and
we are monitoring it." Juist as Dr Harry
Burns, Glasgow's director of public health,
an him that's responsible for witterin the
public aboot the information resaved fae
Scottish Water, while kennin, on Thursday,
that the war "a rising number of parasites"
didna issue a warrandice til fowk tae
Setterday nicht, Proffessor Bill Reilly, co-
ordinator o the gastrointestinal section o
SCIEH, Scotland's naitional surveillance and
epidemiological centre, refuses tae tell
oniebody aboot the levels o cryptosporidium
athin wir watter supply, whil haudin that he
supports the Novemmer 2001 report intil the
ootbrek o the parasite that pit a wumman
deid in 2000 that says "It seems reasonable
to consider that, at the very least, [vulner-
able fowk] should be allowed to make an in-
formed decision as to whether they want to
boil their water."; it seems thaim that hes the
pousty in wir society is mair interestit in
keepin thon nor in protectin the public. This
is juist anither case o the incestuous naitur o
control, whar social priorities, like seein at
fowk disna dee!, is foreleetten for tae forder
fowks' ambitions an careers. It's time tae pit
an end til this immoral spectacle; pauchlin,
no goamin oniebody's interests but yer ain
an ither sic careerism is a faut o ordinar fowk
no haein pouer ower thair ain destiny. It's
time we, the ordinar workin cless, done
somethin aboot this thegither an stopt pittin
wir trust in politicians - shite's shite, whitever
rosette they gie it!

INDUSTRIAL  STRUGGLES

Firefighters from all over the land gath-
ered in Glasgow for a huge demo for a pay
increase to £30K. 55,000 members prepare
to ballot for strike action. On a related note
we utterly condemn the attacks on fire crews
by youths in the Blackhill area of Glasgow
where a crew were ambushed and attacked
with clubs, knives and bricks.

This behaviour is totally anti-working class
and the people of Blackhill should organise
themselves to sort this lumpen element out.
Obviously Blackhill is a poverty-stricken  es-
tate and  youngsters suffer alienation and
boredom but attacking firefighters who might
one day save their lives is not a way out. Per-
haps they need to look at the drug dealers
who feed on this area and increase the mis-
ery on everyone.
_____________________
Two general member-
ship branches of the In-
dustrial Workers of the
World were formed in
Scotland this month in
Lothians and Clydeside.
For more information
contact:
iwwclydeside@hushmail.com
---------------
Coming Soon...
Wed 25th September
ed 25th September - Black Flag
Meeting on Community Organising at the
John Maclean Centre.
------
Sat 19th October - 21st annual
Anarchist Bookfair, London. See advert
on Page 3.
--------------------
Sat 9th November - Anarchist Day
School in Glasgow. Venue tbc


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