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(en) resistance issue 53, September 2002. Anarchist Federation (Britain)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 25 Sep 2003 21:41:36 +0200 (CEST)


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WAR IS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE
The United States and Britain continue to get more bogged down
in Iraq as casualties for troops from both countries continue to
mount. The expectation that the military operation in Iraq would be
a quick “surgical strike” is beginning to turn into a
nightmare scenario for the Blair and Bush regimes as the situation
in Iraq begins to turn into something that has a lot of the same
hallmarks as the Vietnam war. Not only are casualties mounting
but the task of reconstructing the Iraqi infrastructure is proving to
be a costly operation. The mouth watering thought of American
companies - with British companies running a poor second - being
given the contracts for this reconstruction is also turning into a
nightmare as contractors are killed and the prospect of carrying
out these contracts becomes very risky indeed.
Undoubtedly supporters of the Saddam regime, remnants of his
huge secret police and elite Republican Guard, are amongst those
offering resistance. But this fails to take account of the antipathy
felt towards the British and American occupiers from the
population in general. They were glad and relieved to see the end
of the Saddam regime but are not well disposed to the Allies who
have adopted an increasingly arrogant attitude towards the
population, with the widely held suspicion that control of Iraqi oil
supplies was the main reason for the war. The Allies have
attempted to explain away the high level of anger directed at them
by the Iraqi population by talking about the shadowy menace of
Moslem fundamentalist terrorists infiltrating from Saudi Arabia,
Syria and Iran!
The United States is increasingly feeling that its military forces
are spread too thin, with other parts of the world , like Liberia and
Colombia requiring attention. Increasingly they are putting
pressure on their other allies, who unlike Britain were not so keen
on the Iraqi adventure, to get involved in sending military forces to
Iraq. Understandably, countries like Pakistan are having second
thoughts about this, with popular opinion at home being massively
against the war. The Australian government, which did sign up for
the adventure, are now facing mounting opposition to the war and
occupation.

Blair in it up to the neck
At home, the Blair regime is facing acute embarrassment as the
Hutton inquiry reveals how deeply they are involved in spin,
subterfuge and outright lying to justify the Iraqi military venture.
The corruption of our warmongering leaders is revealed more and
more. The first military stage of the war against Iraq has been
completed, despite millions of people taking to the streets across
the world. The second stage, the mopping up of the remnants of
Saddam’s forces and the “stabilisation” of Iraq under
American control is now under way. Despite millions coming out
on the streets for the first stage of the war, the demonstrations
were kept within the confines of official “protest” and
there were few examples of direct action breaking out of the
confines of this straitjacket. The Leninist left, in particular the
Socialist Workers Party, has had an important role to play in
making sure that the anti-war mobilisations did not break away
from respectability and legality.
Now, we must try to help a break with this to come about. On the
plus side, there is mounting opposition to the occupation both in
the States and Britain. On the minus side, the inertia and passive
outlook created among those opposed to the war and occupation
is a major obstacle. Time will tell as to whether a major break with
this outlook can come about, and minority actions to sabotage
their war effort can be turned into mass actions.

Direct action will be taking place against the DSEi arms fair
between 6-10 September, and there will be a libertarian bloc on
the demo against the occupation of Iraq on the 27th September.
For more info see back page.

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ON THE FRONTLINE

We’ll start this month with a bit of good news: 130 men
sacked during the miner’s strike of 1984-85 have finally won
the right to compensatory pension payments, after 18 years of
struggle. The payments of up to £20,000 still fall far short of
what they would have earned had they not been sacked (often for
the most trivial of reasons - e.g. crossing a white line on a road
outside their colliery.).
And talking of trivial sackings a Royal Mail worker who was
sacked after his delivery van was stolen (after 16 years of
working there!) has been re-instated after his workmates
threatened to walk out. Typical RM management tactics -
they’re desperate to cut the work-force and impose changes
and have been deliberately trying to lower staff morale so that
people leave of their own accord.
3000 Nursery Nurses are set for a week long strike across
Scotland in an escalation of their long running pay dispute which
has already seen a series of 2 and 3 day strikes, overtime refusal
and informal resistance. This dispute is taking on an increasingly
militant shape with the workers forcing the unions to support
actions they wouldn’t have touched with a bargepole before -
at some point though, the union bosses will say ‘enough is
enough’ and reveal their real agenda. Workers must ready for
this and make plans now to organise autonomously with their
fellow workers and link up with others in struggle.
Yet another dispute on the buses, this time in Yorkshire, where
200 First-Bus drivers are set to strike despite their union failing to
inform the company within the required 7-days warning, and
thereby leaving the drivers open to being sacked. (Makes you
wonder why people bother paying their subs doesn’t it?).
First-Bus has also had previously trouble with drivers in Norwich,
Oldham, Wigan, Bolton, Bury and Manchester.
Workers at Fujitsu Services, Manchester have decided to take
strike action in a dispute, which has revealed that 1/3 of the
company’s staff receive less than the company’s own
minimum rates; fifty employees walked out of the RM delivery
office in Castle Bromwich due to low staffing levels, forcing
management to get off their overpaid arses and deliver the mail
themselves; and more than 400 workers at Aston Martin plants in
Newport, Pagnell and Bloxham walked out for two days over their
working conditions. Plenty more that we’ve not space for
-keep it up!

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SCHOOLS TO CLOSE?

We are getting closer and closer to seeing the closure of many
schools. The government has changed the way that schools are
funded, which has led to schools receiving less money. The
government passes money set aside for funding education to the
Local Education Authorities (LEAs) which then retain some of
the money and pass a certain amount on to schools, the problem
being that the government have underestimated how much it is
costing schools to pay for the extra 1% that employers must pay
on National Insurance and the 5% increase in teachers pensions.
This is something the government has publicly admitted. But
recently the government has accused the LEAs of retaining more
money than they should’ve done. It’s difficult to tell
who’s telling the truth here but it looks as if the government
are trying to use the LEAs as a scapegoat. The government has
also withdrawn most of the Standards Funds, which is money
given to schools to raise standards.
All this has left schools in a very tricky situation, being forced to
make cuts so they can afford to pay staff salaries (which
compose between 80-85% of any school budget). One area in
which cuts are being made is supply teachers who cost schools
approximately £150 per day. The need for supply teachers is
unpredictable. Many local schools will no longer be able to pay for
these teachers who are used whenever a teacher is sick or on a
course. A lot of schools have been forced to stop employing
classroom assistants. But the government is introducing
‘Working Time Directives’ in September 2003, which will
take teachers out of the classroom for half a day a week. This has
been bitterly opposed by the NUT (the teachers union) as it
means untrained assistants will be put in charge of classes of
children, but with the cuts being made it looks as if these people
won’t even be there to cover!
To try and settle school budgets the LEAs are letting schools
access money set aside for repairing buildings, but this means
that when the schools are damaged there won’t be any money
left to repair them! Ultimately we are likely to see staff cuts in the
schools if things continue the way they are. This is just another
example of a government promising to make reforms to benefit the
people and then getting into power and breaking all it’s
promises. We’ve got to give up trusting things as important as
our children’s education to politicians and take matters into
our own hands.
Schools should be run by the teachers, parents, and pupils, not by
faceless bureaucrats in the councils and government. These
people don’t know the problems there are in running schools
but yet claim to have answers to all of them.

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ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS!

Christianity must be the daftest of the major religions. The belief
that God impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to Jesus (and
later, his brother James) and still remained a virgin is just one
piece of Christian nonsense. The idea that the consumption of
wine and a biscuit on a Sunday in a church really is about eating
the body of Christ and drinking his blood is another. In fact, the
gospels are full of absurd myths and contradictions.
Christianity rarely has much to do with the message of peace and
love supposedly spread by Jesus (there is no historical evidence
outside the bible that he ever existed). Saint Paul and later
Christians ignored the message of Jesus and replaced it with a
women-hating, anti-sex, slave-owning religion, which when in
power from the late Roman Empire onwards justified all sorts of
inhumane practices. Torture under the Inquisition, for example,
fits perfectly into this Christian tradition.
So, it should come as no surprise that self-proclaimed Christians
such as George Bush and Tony Blair managed to combine piety on
a Sunday with State brutality in their foreign policies. Bush has
consistently supported Israel's brutal treatment of the desperately
poor Palestinians. And of course, as recent events have
demonstrated, the bombing of the Iraqis with thousands of civilian
deaths presents them with no moral problems whatsoever.
The fact is, that Christian or otherwise, all state leaders are
egotistical, power crazed bullies who are totally indifferent to the
human cost so long as the interests of the rich and powerful are
preserved and extended.

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COMMUNITY RESISTANCE

A couple years back, I was a tenant on the Holly Street estate in
Hackney East London. It was one of those estates that had really
been through the mill - it was a “high crime” area, most of
the old blocks were cockroach infested, and it was claimed to be
the 2nd or 3rd most deprived estate in the whole of the UK. So
with this in mind, it became something of a political flagship of
urban regeneration, and politicians took ample opportunity to pose
around the estate looking for photo opportunities.
And so the estate was eventually regenerated. Millions were
spent and Tories claimed it as their success story while New
Labour said it was theirs. The tenants got decanted into nice little
cockroach free new-build properties and we began to feel happier
and more positive about life on Holly Street.
Then came the new Community Centre... in the early days, when
the centre had just been opened, the tenants, particularly those
who lived adjacent to it found it to be anything but a community
spirited place.
There was a problem. The Holly Street Community Centre had to
gain the bulk of its revenue by booking out its main hall to private
functions. Most of these parties seemed to be booked by people
from the more well-heeled areas. When they ended late at night
people would spill out of the hall, there would be regular fights
outside the building and in the nearby streets, rubbish and broken
bottles would be thrown into gardens, people would piss in
tenants doorways, etc, etc. The noise would keep people up till
about 5 or 6am and children would be kept awake frightened all
night. This would all happen at least twice a week. The morning
after, the tenants would have clean up the mess outisde their
doorways.
Tenants regularly complained to the council and the centre, who
either responded with disinterest, or else made lots of promises
which they forgot come the next party booking.
Realising that appeals to those in authority was a complete waste
of time, the short lived Holly Street Action Group was formed
when a couple of feisty residents dashed off a quick leaflet and
pushed it through every letterbox on the two streets, as well as
the big tower block on the other side of the Community Centre.
The result was, people came together. Crowded meetings were
held in the living rooms and kitchens of the two streets while a
plan of direct action was formed. Neighbours who barely knew
each other were suddenly united by this struggle.
The day after next big party at the Centre, the local residents
were meticulous in cleaning up the two streets of rubbish, beer
cans and broken bottles. They bagged it all up and hung about
casually chatting in the street outside the centre. Then, as a
journalist turned up, the tenants all marched into the community
centre and dumped all the rubbish in the foyer. This was followed
by some little kids marching in and kicking the rubbish all over the
place. The photographer took his pictures and put them on the
front page of the local paper.
And so the parties at the centre stopped, with the promise that
any future parties would never be so disruptive to the tenants.
Without doubt, direct action got results.
Yet the power those tenants once excercised, could also be
harnessed for so many other things like problems with the council,
harassment by cops, hassle with benefits. Such street and estate
action groups could be a basis for real working class power on the
community level - a power far removed from us passively relying
on local politicians and “community leaders”.
Maybe the veterans of the Holly Street Action group and other
residents in working class areas up and down the country should
think of the power they hold in their hands, and what they could do
with that power, should they choose to excercise it on a daily
basis.

---

AMERICAS ROUNDUP

Patagonia–Miguel Angel Mansilla, an anarchist involved in the
Unemployed Workers Movement is one of the young people who
have created a new anarchist movement in southern Argentina,
the MALO (Anarchist Movement for Workers Liberation). The
government has recently moved against any attempt to create a
revolutionary movement, attempting to criminalise all propaganda
and organisation from workers in struggle. The police have
menaced activists, carried out illegal detentions, and beatings.
Mansilla was arrested and taken to the local police station,
stripped, beaten and kept locked up in secret for several days. He
has now been framed on the bogus charges of armed robbery and
attempted murder and may still be in prison.
New York–Waiters in a Chinese restaurant have been on
strike since May of this year. The workers were fired after
demanding payment of tips stolen by the owner, union recognition
and the end of sweatshop conditions. The waiters and supporters
maintain pickets to also pressure the owner to recognize their
demands. As well as to convince the public from eating at the
restaurant. The struggle will take some time and the waiters are
now in need of financial aid. To help see
www.workersolidarity.org
Cuba–“The time has come for the anarchist ideal to rise
once again after 40 years of Castroist tyranny"–Members of
illegal trade unions, young libertarians and others celebrated the
Spanish Revolution for the first time in Cuba since the rise of
Castro. Anarchists were once the strongest force in the Cuban
working class, helping bring down two dictatorships, but
condmened to prison death or exile since Castro’s reign.

---

RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

• Residents in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough of
London are battling to halt the massive redevelopment of the Lots
Road Power Station site despite councillors giving the go-ahead
to a 37-storey skyscraper there- which would be the tallest
building in the borough. Lots Road Action Group believe the
Council take more account of the needs of big business than local
people. None of the councillors live in the area.
• On the 21st August the head office of Spearhead, the
company organizing Europe’s largest arms fair, Defence
Systems Equipment international (DSEi) was occupied by
protesters. The “fair” will happen at the Excel Centre in
London next month and a week of protests have been organized.
Actions are happening around the country in the lead up to DSEi:
For more information about Disarm DSEi actions see
www.dsei.org
• DSEi exhibitor is targeted by activists: six activists gained
entry to the Smiths Aerospace production plane in
Wolverhampton on Thursday and climbed to the roof of the two
storey office unit at the front of the factory. They stayed on the
roof throughout the afternoon. At the same time another group of
activists carried out a makeshift ‘weapons inspection’
gaining entrance to sensitive production areas.
• A new squatted social centre has opened in Newtown,
Wales. Music, food and cinema are all on offer. Call 0402 522485
for directions.
• Gillette have withdrawn their trial of new intrusive bugging
technology after protests, increasing press coverage, a boycott,
and the growing mobilisation of campaigners against the intrusive
use RFID tags by Gillette at a Tesco store in Cambridge. RFID
(Radio Frequency ID) tags are small tags containing a microchip
which can be ‘read’ and tracked by radio sensors over
short distances for market research but they could easily be used
for more insidious purposes.
• A new anarchist workers network is being created that aims
to increase industrial activity and bring together anarchists who
are trade union members and/or involved in workplace struggles,
but is also open to unemployed and retired workers. The network
will be launched at the Anarchist Bookfair (see back page). A
temporary discussion group has been set up, to join send a blank
email to: atundiscussiongroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

---

INSIDE INFORMATION

Aircraft Saboteur Bailed
Ulla Roder who last March disarmed a Tornado jet, has been
released on unconditonal bail. She appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff
Court near Edinburgh for a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday 12th
August where a new date was set for her trial (22nd September),
with another new pre-trial hearing on the 9th September
(coincidently coinciding with the DSEi protests). In related news
charges have finally been dropped against four activists who on
20th February blocked the runway of RAF Brize Norton in an
attempt to disrupt preparations for war.

Simon Chapman Update
Simon was among 7 people framed during protests against the EU
summit in Thessalonica, and is waiting to hear the results of a
second appeal. We are hoping that this appeal will succeed. In the
meantime, Simon and the rest of the Thessaloniki 7 need a great
deal of support and solidarity. To help go to
http://www.enrager.net/simon/


Raise The Fist Webmaster Jailed
Sherman Austin, webmaster of RaisetheFist.com, was sentenced
today, August 4, 2003, to one year in federal prison, with three
years of probation. Judge Wilson shocked the courtroom when he
went against the recommendation of not only the prosecution, but
the FBI and the Justice Department, who had asked that Austin
be sentenced to 4 months in prison, and 4 months in a half-way
house, with 3 years of probation.
To contact sherman, email keepfistraised@yahoo.comUrgent:
Mumia needs your help now!
US Prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal has developed a potentially
serious health condition affecting his feet, which have swollen
painfully, making him unable to walk. Mumia suspects it may be
due to blood clotting. Health conditions are serious matters for
prisoners, and blood clotting can be fatal.
Please flood the prison’s phone lines and demand that
Mumia’s requests be met: that he be allowed to be examined
by an outside doctor of his choice, and that he be given fresh
garlic immediately to boost his body’s natural defenses. The
prison says Mumia can only be examined by a prison doctor, not
one of his own choosing, and that his request for fresh garlic
cannot be granted because they don’t have any in the prison.
Phone SCI Greene prison on +1 724 852-2902. From 8:00am to
5:00pm ask for Superintendent Folino from 5:00pm to 8:00am ask
for Captain Hall. If gone during late night, ask for current Shift
Director.
Also send protest messages to Senator Vincent Hughes:
hughes@dem.pasen.gov

---

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.

SEPTEMBER: – 5: and every Friday – Thessaloniki
Prisoner Support benefit gig, 10pm, ETON MISSION SOCIAL
CLUB, 91 EastWay, Hackney Wick, London E9
6: Close Dungavel Immigration Removal/detention Centre,
Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, Scotland 12 noon. 0141 337 8100
rfoyer@stuc.org.uk www.stuc.org.uk Transport to Demo
available.
6-10: Shut Down DSEi (Defence Systems Equipment
International). DSEi is Europe’s largest trade fair for guns,
bombs, military planes, small arms, mines and tanks. A mass
international protest has been called. For more info visit:
www.dsei.org Tel: 0781 7652 029 or 07887 620 379. Highlights
– 6: Libertarian Bloc on Disarm DSEi Unity March. meet
12noon at Cleopatra's Needle. 10: Destroy DSEi: Day of Direct
Action. Mass actions planned along with assorted affinity group
actions.
20-22: Days of international solidarity for Thessaloniki prisoners.
Details to be confirmed. For more info go to
http://www.enrager.net/simon/
27: Libertarian Bloc on End the Occupation of Iraq Demo.
Meet-up details TBA soon!
OCTOBER: 25th – Anarchist Bookfair – all day event at
University of London Union, Malet St., London. Nearest tube:
Euston. www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk

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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