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(en) Britain, BETRAYAL IN SOUTH AMERICA - Resistance issue 64 - August 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 1 Aug 2004 23:02:39 +0200 (CEST)


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The people of South America have been betrayed by those they put their
hope in to deliver real social change to their terribly impoverished
living conditions. Their illusions that the popular leaders they gave
office would bring them what they desired were dashed as it became clear
that only the rich and powerful were being served (reminds you of Tony
“Thatcher mark II” Blair, doesn’t it?). Just a few years back there
seemed to be a lot of hope for the oppressed workers of that
poverty-stricken continent. After decades of largely peaceful struggle
many thought that they were about to achieve a breakthrough. In many
countries the so called ‘leaders of the dispossessed’ were gaining
office in government.
Venezuela was first, with the presidency of Hugo Chávez and the
“Bolivarian revolution”. Then came Brazil, with Lula da Silva becoming
prime minister, after nearly two decades of running, and losing ,
elections. Lastly, Evo Morales, the Bolivian leader of the cocaleros
(coca-leaf growing peasants) and of the MAS (Movement Towards
Socialism), who came second in the general elections. Many people
thought that something was about to change.
Several years have passed since then, and we can now look back and
take stock. Venezuela is a divided country, with a president that poses
as the most strident anti-imperialist, while making business with the
same corporations that ransacked the country for its natural riches. All
the money from the massive oil exports have ended up in the hands of
American corporations, of which Enron is only one example. The
relentless application of monetarist recipes for recovery has only
plunged the country deeper into poverty.
In Brazil practically nothing has changed. Many were suspicious when
Lula seemed favourite to win so early in the election. Soon they found
out why. The secret deal he had br okered with bankers and international
businessmen won him the position, and he dutifully began to apply the
measures they advised. Cuts in welfare programs for the working class,
cuts in taxes for the rich…. Again, disappointment.
In Bolivia, after the so-called gas wars, Morales started backing the
new government with it’s neoliberal policies, to the frustration of the
peasants – who kicked him our of the COB general union in mid July.
There is a common thread running throughout these diverse experiences.
The working class backs a leader to parliament, builds up a mass
movement directed by a party, places the bloke in office … only to
discover that they are to be traded for a bigger share of power. The
problem is not in backing one or another politician, or backing this
party rather than that. The problem is in accepting leaders, and
believing that parliamentary politics is going to bring about any
meaningful change.
It is about time that we ordinary people started to organise ourselves
collectively without leaders, using delegates rather than
representatives. Many of us are already doing just that and we can learn
from each others’ struggles. In Latin America, as much as here.

---

KEEPING OCCUPIED

After a visit from an Israeli activist from Anarchists against the Wall,
Manchester Anarchist Group have made a presentation available showing
what the wall in Palestine is really about: www.af-north.org/wall.htm
<http://www.af-north.org/wall.htm>

---

ON THE FRONTLINE

We’ll start in South Yorkshire where a strike by 800 drivers on First
buses has brought public transport to a standstill. First are
characterised by regular accusations of management bullying and regular
unoffical local actions. This strike is over crap pay and conditions has
stopped almost all buses in South Yorks for nearly a week now (except
for a few being driven by management) and there are no plans to discuss
the dispute with management as we go to press - the strike itself is
solid with overwhelming support from the drivers for the action and no
sign of a return to work being on the cards.

Staying with transport, a strike is looking very likely on the Eurostar
network, where drivers are angry at an inadequate pay offer and at
attempts by management to turn different sections of the workforce
against each other by offering different pay in different areas -
workers in Ashford are paid £4,000 a year less than in Waterloo - and
that pay itself has not been raised for ten years!

And just to complete the transport network hat trick, British Airways
check-in workers at Heathrow and Gatwick, are on the brink of also
walking out, effectively shutting down the airports to all travel, the
dispute is over a pay freeze disguised as a reasonable pay increase and
also the exactly the same salami chopping tactics to divide the
workforce against each other as above - tactics that BAs management have
become very skilled at during the cut-backs of the last few years.
These are the same workers who managed to shut down the airports in a
mass wildcat last year, so we already know they’re prepared to put up a
fight to maintain their conditions.

The fire-fighters might be coming out again as well, as they’re still in
dispute over their promised pay-raise, but with management still
withholding the money.

Workers at Scotlands largest whiskey bottling plant (which produces
Famous Grouse) are striking over a pay row - they are in a particularly
strong position as each day of strike action costs the company £7
million – 94% of the workforce voted to support the action, so this
could develop into a rather bitter little conflict.

---

ALL GOVERNMENTS MURDER

Manchester Anarchist Federation went to a picket outside Marks and
Spencer in the city centre on 24th July. The pro-Palestinian Victory to
the Intifada (VI) has picketed every Saturday for the past three years.
They chose M&S because of its financial support for the Israeli State. A
few weeks before, Likud (right wing Israeli Zionist party) began an
aggressive counter picket. If we had not known, we would have thought
Likud were fascists from the British National Party or Combat 18.
VI have adopted a policy of not talking to Likud, not wishing to be
involved in violence and knowing that M&S would use this as an excuse to
slap Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) on them. Amongst the Zionist
group were big, aggressive men resembling football thugs hiding behind
baseball caps and high-buttoned jackets.
Their role was to provoke VI through racist and homophobic insults.
ASBOs would suit them just fine. Also present were ordinary Jewish
people with their sons. Few Zionist women were there. The kids handed
out leaflets referring to the pickets as National Socialists, the Nazi
Party’s name in Germany.

What made this a shocking demonstration?
Because of so much fear and aggression, neither group was engaging in
any discussion. The VI adopted dignified silence as their tactic. Likud
heavies made sure that no Jews could talk to the VI. The riot police
made a wall between them. Anarchists believe in connecting with
individuals on a human level. When we tried to talk to the thug element
they said, “If you don’t understand the question, you are too
unintelligent to talk to.” They labelled us as unintelligent just as the
Nazis labelled their victims in the Holocaust. Labelling people means
you can treat them as less than human which is exactly what the Israeli
State is doing to the Palestinians. Manchester Anarchists talked
creatively to the more ordinary Jews, putting forward an Anarchist
solution of no state and showing how all the leaders were murdering
workers and children, Israelis and Palestinians. One aggressive Likud
member screamed rep eatedly at the VI demonstrators, “One state or two?
One state or two?” We would answer “NO STATE but an Anarchist World.”

---

WHO KILLED SHEFFIELD JOHN?

A teenage worker has died after being buried under tons of rubble on a
construction site in Sheffield. Eighteen year old John Morton was
suffocated under rubble when a ten foot deep trench collapsed on top of
him. A co-worker, Dan Thompson, suffered multiple injuries.
Firefighters had to haul away mountains of shale, bricks and stones to
get to them, but too late. The ‘accident’ is now being investigated by
the police and the Health and Safety Executive. The safety record of
construction firm TG Beighton Ltd – who made no comment - is under scrutiny.
In incidents like this – all too common, unfortunately – the word
‘accident’ is both overused and often just plain wrong. Unskilled,
inexperienced – and therefore cheap – youngsters frequently work at the
outer edges of safety and are often sent into dangerous situations
because more experienced workers won’t g o there. Such refusals are the
last line of defence for workers. The company health and safety reps
turn a blind eye on danger, union reps are rarely seen on sight and shop
stewards sacked as soon as they question working methods. Workers who
know the danger do sometimes refuse to do the work but only get away
with it because the developer wants his profit and won’t risk a walk-out
or delays. Teenage workers who don’t are the ones who pay the price in
crippling injuries or – in John’s case – a horrible death, with choked
mouth and crushed limbs.
The sad fact is that such deaths are becoming more common, not less,
as time and money – not safety or sound construction – rule the building
sites. But construction firms are rarely blamed and almost never
prosecuted, except in really blatant cases. Laws and union lobbying
have not changed a thing in fifty years. Its time for bu ilding workers
to take their workplaces back, and that means getting organised around
the real issue: will they be alive when its time to knock off? Or will
they be just another statistic and a time-consuming insurance claim at
corporate HQ?

---

Am-BUSH-ed!!

On June 28th, protesters successfully disrupted George Bush’s visit to
Ireland at Shannon airport. A participant writes...
We assemble at the peace camp at the Clonmoney fly-over, the head of the
march formed by the Mid-west Against Military Aggression banner, next a
cluster of red and black flags, and alas but a solitary green and black.
Heading off up the open road with energy and enthusiasm, a zeal
tempered with only a little trepidation, the stock of hooters recently
acquired from Catalonia added a celebratory cacophony to the chants of
‘Whose Streets? Our Streets!’.
As we advance up the Dual Carriageway a desultory attempt is made to
stop us, police hurriedly erecting a steel crowd control barrier. A few
people run to it’s sides, a few more run to it and hop over, or push it
aside, and we are through, the path cleared for the main body of protesters.
As we approach the junction and flyover of the section of road reserved
for the leaders of the free world, a more serious attempt at blocking
our path is made.
About one hundred riot cops sealed off both lanes of the road.
We fan out across both lanes.
The Prime Time special live from Drumoland showed the American press
corps running to take their seats, and this was the headline news across
the United States i.e. protesters delay summit press conference, with
mentions elsewhere, e.g. Lebanon, Turkey, Mexico, Portugal.
Now as riot police resolutely blocked our path, as had previously been
agreed it was time to find an alternative route.
We turn; head back in the direction from whence we had came, back
towards the peace camp.
At Ballycasey Beg, we turn and go cross country through wasteland at the
rear of the industrial estate at Smithstown, and reaching a Lufthansa
building ran straight into two Irish Army armoured cars. Breaking
through the so-called “security cordon”.
Refusing to be inti midated by armour or lines of balaclava clad riot
cops, the mood was festive and celebratory as well as defiant. We
expressed our feelings about the ridiculous coercive apparatus unveiled
by the Irish state by surrounding and blockading the two armoured cars.
It was probably the best demonstration in Shannon since the mass
trespass on October 12th 2002, or perhaps even the best.
The extent of popular support that the protesters had restrained the
police and army, forcing them to adopt a softly-softly approach. The
action worked because it wasn’t planned or organised by a small group of
people, but was a product of many groups who were able to respond
creatively and dynamically as the situation changed.
Finally the 3 people in a boat, who breached the security cordon
according to Garda, plus the woman who was to play Lady Macbeth and was
arrested on a harassment charge, as well as one person arrested on
Friday night in unclear circumstances, all these peop le will need
support.
Our naval unit makes it’s next court appearance on 3rd of September
in Ennis courthouse.

---

TRUCKERS' BLOCKADE

Port truckers across the US have been taking direct action in response
to declining conditions. Spikes in fuel costs, together with generally
worsening conditions as truck brokers undercut each other- passing the
losses onto the owner/operator drivers- drove truckers in Los Angeles to
blockade freeways during the early morning commute on April 30th. This
inspired other truckers to picket shipping lines at the ports of
Stockton and Oakland. The Oakland picket lasted eight days until the
port authority obtained a court injunction which intimidated the
truckers from blocking the main gate of American President Lines.
The State’s latest tactic has been to pick three of the de-facto Oakland
leaders and charge them with disruption. A nationwide event was planned
to start on June 28th, calling on Non-Troquores to picket- “Economic
torture can be used by the workers as well... The Oakland 3 are victims
of economic imprisonment, a state of the art tool to keep worke rs from
organising”.

---

OCCUPATION OF IRAQ

The secular Family Status Law that Iraqi women fought for and won in the
1950s- and which gave them more rights and freedoms than enjoyed by any
other women in the middle east- was nearly abolished by the
US-controlled Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). In a secret vote on
December 29th, the IGC passed Resolution 137, which would, if approved
by Paul Bremer, have replaced the secular code with Islamic Shar’ia law.
This particular resolution was eventually defeated by women’s protest,
but was a close call.
In other occupation news, the Iraqi Federations of Trade Unions is being
lined up internationally as the only legitimate trade union in Iraq-
such that any more militant workers’ organisation is likely to be crushed.
For information about the radical “Federation of Workers Councils and
Unions in Iraq” please visit www.uuiraq.org/ <http://www.uuiraq.org/>

---

TENANTS FIGHT BACK

Council tenants living in a tower block in Stockport are opposing recent
“upgrading” of their security system which, along with the installation
of extra CCTV cameras, has also seen the introduction of “electronic PAC
fobs” in replacement of the old key system. The use of these swipe-keys
to gain entry to the building is closely monitored, providing security
with information on exactly who is in and out, and when the flat is empty.
All visitors and tenants will now be monitored, as they now have to gain
access through security.
One tenant has already had their fob blocked for dropping it out of
their window to a visiting relative. Tenants are fighting back against
the system by swapping fobs with other tenants on their block on a
regular basis, so as to preserve access but disrupt the monitoring of
their movements by the council security guards. This new system isn’t
exclusive to this area, and other tenants experiencing the same invasion
of privacy are encouraged to follow a similar line of action.
For more information, contact mrwinstonsmith@msn.com
<mailto:mrwinstonsmith@msn.com>

---

INSIDE INFORMATION

War resisters released
Five young men imprisoned in Israel for refusing to kill for the state,
are to be released on September 15th. A military committee has
recognised their substantial support for other inmates, and been forced
to acknowledge that they are committed conscientious objectors.
The Refusers Parents’ Forum wishes to express gratitude for support
received, as it undoubtedly contributed to the decision to reduce their
sentence by a quarter. A public campaign will commence shortly, as they
need continuing support.
For more information visit: www.refuz.org.il <http://www.refuz.org.il>

UK Prisoners
James Borek LL6803, HMP Blundeston, D-108, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 5BG
Sentenced in January 2004 to four and a half years for injuring a cop
during the June 18th 1999 “Carnival against Capital” riot in London’s
financial district.
John Bowden 6729, HMP Glenochil, King O’ Muir Road, Tullibody,
Clackmannanshire, FK10 3AD Long time prison resister.
Keith Pringle CB0078, HMP Whitemoor, March, Cambs, PE15 0PR
Keith has been inside for 11 years and continually harrassed for
standing up for himself and other prisoners, rioting, dirty protests,
and general disobedience. Recently fitted up for threatening to kill a
screw landing him with another 3 years just when he was due for release.

European Prisoners
There’s a steady stream of reports of extensive repression from Italy.
Ecological anarchists, squatters and ALF activists are more and more
active, but are also facing more arrests, raids and random fit-ups. The
following five anarchists were accused of belonging to a fictional armed
anarchist organisation, and fitted up by the infamous prosecutor Marini
in a trial ending on April 20th, 2004.
Gregorian Garagin, Via G. Leopardi 2, 61034, Fossombrone (PU), Italy
(sentenced to 30 years)
Francesco Porcu, Via provinciale San Biagio, 81030 Carinola (CE), Italy
(sentenced to life)
Carlo Tesseri, c.c. La Dozza, Via del gomito,2, 40100 Bologna, Italy
(sentenced to 3 years 10 months)
Alfredo Maria Bonanno, Via Papiniano 1, 34133 Trieste, Italy (sentenced
to 6 years)

Tagged
Seventy asylum seekers in Scotland are guinea pigs in a pilot scheme in
electronic tagging.
They will be tracked by satellites. The Home Office say they will be
able to pinpoint which side of the street a person is walking down. The
government have plans for three contracts in England and Wales, and one
in Scotland, which aim ultimately to cover 18,000 asylum seekers. Entire
families fleeing persecution could land here, only to be tagged- further
victimising people already at rock bottom.

For more prisoner information, please contact the Anarchist Black Cross
at www.brightonabc.org.uk <http://www.brightonabc.org.uk>

---

Subvert and resist

AUGUST:
3rd-9th: EarthFirst! Summer Gathering. Non-hierarchical anti-capitalist
direct eco-action summer camp in the west midlands. For more
information: www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk
<http://www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk>. Phone: 0845 3550111
5th: Manchester Social forum, Friends Meeting House, 7.30 pm.
20th – 29th: No Borders camp in Rivesaltes, France. Latest in a series
of camps over the last few years fighting against state borders and for
the free movement of human beings. www.rivesaltes2004.org
<http://www.rivesaltes2004.org>
20th – 22nd: Anarchist Youth Network Summer gathering, Birmingham.
Gathering of younger UK anarchists, organised and administered by
themselves. Everyone welcome. More information from
wmanarchists@email.com <mailto:wmanarchists@email.com>
23rd: Mass non-violent direct action against nuclear bases in Scotland.
Coulport and Faslane will be targeted: More info at
www.tridentplowshares.org <http ://www.tridentplowshares.org>
27th – 30th: Reclaim the Bases summer camp. Aldermasten (near Reading)
sees this years’ anti-militarist summer gathering. More info:
www.reclaimthebases.org.uk <http://www.reclaimthebases.org.uk>
29th – 2nd: Smash EDO Protest camp. Campaign against arms dealers EDO,
who manufacture weapons in Brighton. Protests throughout the week.
Contact thewallmustfall@hotmail.com <mailto:thewallmustfall@hotmail.com>

---

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 t hey 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 <http://www.afed.org.uk>
Email: info@afed.org.uk <mailto:info@afed.org.uk>

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