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(en) UK, Hereford, AF Anarchist Federation have a new local group: site and bulletin - the Insurgent AF Issue 1 - Jan/Feb 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 1 Feb 2004 16:16:30 +0100 (CET)


________________________________________________
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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AF Hereford have produced the first in a new irregular bulletin - The Hereford Insurgent.
http://flag.blackened.net/af/hereford/index.html
The Hereford Insurgent - Herefordshire's only working class newspaper Free Donations welcome
Who are we?
The Hereford Insurgent has been produced by the Hereford branch of
the Anarchist Federation. The Anarchist Federation is an organisation
of class struggle anarchists (based in Britain and Ireland, but
with many contacts overseas) which aims 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 it's destruction must
be complete and world wide. We reject attempts to reform it such as
working through parliament and national liberation movements (like
the IRA) 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 (Hereford), PO Box 7, Pontypool, Gwent,
NP4 8YB Visit: www.afed.org.uk
Email: hereford@afed.cjb.net
For working class self
organisation and
social revolution

KICK OUT THE COUNCIL - TIME TO ORGANISE AS TAX TO RISE AGAIN

It's that time of year again when
we all look back at our finances
and realise that we overspent buy-
ing other people presents and such
like over christmas and tell our-
selves, yet again, that we can't let it
happen again next year. Similarly,
it is also the time of year that the
Council look over their finances
and realise how much they're in
debt. But that's where the similarities end.

Unlike other people, the Council
have run up their debts - not by
spending their money on other
people - but by spending our
money on pay rises for the top
brass and other pointless things.
Pointless things like spending &900
a year to rent one drill from Jarvis,
the private company whom they
sold it to in the first place (who also
now manage many of the Council's
services after they were privatised
last year). And it is us that suffers
the effects of their lavish spending.
This year, like many others, we
will no doubt see our council tax
rise yet again. Last year it was raised
by around 14%, well over inflation.
And this year could be around the
same. Why do we take it? Year
upon year having our taxes raised
because they over spend, we have
to take the burden. And what do
we see for it? Better schools? Im-
proved public services such as li-
braries and buses? Better financial
help for the unemployed? No. All
we see is a silver lining for the rich
developers to bring their profit-
before-people businesses into the
city. We're sure that if the Queen
moved to Hereford tomorrow
we'd see a vast improvement in
services and the city. But for 50
000+ `proles`? Why bother!

Picture: Demonstrations that killed the Council Tax's precursor - the Poll Tax

In the public interest?

So why would they raise the taxes
yet again? Well, yet again there has
been a huge cut in funding from
central government which coinci-
dently tallies very nicely with the
overspend on the Iraq war. Surely
we wouldn't be made to pay for
their bloodbath?! And then there's
the more local issue of having to
find an extra &3 million to finance
the Rotherwas Access Road which
will only serve the interests of
businesses at Rotherwas, and will not
do anything to reduce road congestion
in the city. Plus any pay rises or
`business trips` the Council bosses
decide to give themselves. Could
these be the reasons
for possible rises in taxes?!
It's time we organised against this
charade and showed the Council
whose really boss. Campaigns of
non-payment, protests and riots -
like we saw against the much hated
Poll Tax - will show the Council
we won't take it lying down.

Light at the end of the tunnel with... COMMUNITY RESISTANCE

Most of us will agree that the way we live our lives is
not exactly what you'd call `perfect`. You'd be hard
pressed to find a tenant on a housing estate in Here-
ford who is happy with every aspect of his or her life.
Similarly with people in privately owned or rented
homes. Fact is, that life as it stands is, on the whole,
shit. That is unless you're one of those rich people
whose only problem is what to spend all your money
on.
Working class people are constantly up against it -
in a permanent state of defence and collective de-
pression - faced with rising council taxes; cuts in ser-
vices; crap wages and bosses blatantly breaking the
laws at work. A never ending list of people in debt up
to their eye balls; No say in what's going on in our
communities or how our life's mapped out; the con-
stant cycle of work, rest, sleep, work, rest, sleep to
meet the bills instead of living our lives for ourselves.
And our only choice in politics is in what Mickey
Mouse politician will govern our lives for us. They
pit the ethnic minorities against the `whites` in some
phoney `race war`, constantly isolating the working
class to make us weak and limit our chances of at-
tack. It's divide and rule and we let it happen.
It is in the face of this that the Anarchist Federation
push for working class community resistance groups
to fight back and to unite against the forces that cre-
ate this state of affairs - State and capitalism.
The majority of local residents groups or commu-
nity associations have been set up by or heavily in-
volve the Herefordshire Council as an equal. Illegiti-
mate community nobodies such as vicars, police and
other `community leaders` (with whom our class has
nothing in common) are often found here and are a
burden to progress.
We've seen in recent times that there is potential
for residents groups to collectively fight back. It was
not too long ago that the Redhill Residents Associa-
tion organised a road blockade to protest against the
cuts in bus services in the area. Informally organised
Tupsley residents also organised against unwanted
buses in their area.
It is in this context that we encourage all residents
of Hereford to set up their own independent work-
ing class resistance groups to fight back. For too long
we have been in a state of defence and it's time to
show that we're a force to be reckoned with.

I'M SO BORED WITH THE JSA
A rant from Marc &43.25. That's what I have to live
on while I'm unemployed. This is
what is supposed to get me
through the week.
There's a negative attitude from
society for being on the dole. As
though we shouldn't be. As though
while we're unemployed, looking
for a job, we don't need any money
and shouldn't get any even if we
needed it. As though we like being
on the dole and poor, and that
it's our fault we're unemployed.
It's not like that.
Being unemployed is tough. You
don't find the job you're looking
for `just like that`. It can take
months of searching, months of
rejections from potential employers.
Months of poverty benefits.
&43.50 is not a lot to live on, you
know. Try it. Think of all the things
you need (not want) to buy in a
week. It's hard. There's travel,
food and drink, occasional cloth-
ing, bills. And then there's debts
you might have. I, personally, have
&100 worth of debts I have to
slowly pay back, but fast enough
to keep the debt collectors off my
back. And then there's hassle from
the Job Centre. The threat of being
shifted onto the New Deal if
you don't find a job after 6 months.
And all this with no means of resistance.

In employment there are unions
(for all they're worth) as a means
of defending rights already gained
and fighting for others yet to be
won. It provides help and a means
of meeting people also interested
in defending their lot. No such
luck with unemployment or the
dole, I'm afraid. Resistance groups
are a necessary means to fight back
and they're something that the
unemployed themselves need to
create.
Although not local, the Nottingham
Claiments Action homepage can be
of much help to JSA claiments.
www.geocities.com/ncajsa

Revolution... by the book
Publications available from the Anarchist Federation
(Hereford). Prices include postage:
Beyond Resistance - a revolutionary manifesto: The
AF's in-depth analysis of the capitalist world in crisis,
suggestions about what the alternative anarchist communist
society could be like, and evalution of social and
organisational forces which play a part in the revlutionary
process.&2
Anarchism - As we see it: a very popular pamphlet describing
the basic ideas of anarchist communism in an easy to read form. &1.
Basic Bakunin: this revised edition outlines the ideas of one
of the 19th century founders of class struggle anarchism. &1.
Work: why work is so terrible and why it must be destroyed
before it destroys us. &1.
Organise! - the magazine of the Anarchist Federation: The
latest issue contains articles on anti-war action in
Ireland and the North East; Trade Unionism; Kropotkin and
the Paris Commune; Punk rock; Class struggle in the
new economy. &1.50
Cheques made payable to `AF`. Send to: AF - Hereford, c/o
PO Box 7, Pontypool, Gwent, NP4 8YB

(Picture OF small building with Graphity: HEROIN FOR SAIL

YOBSMACKED

During late October 2003, without the help of apa-
thetic police, archaic laws, or an out-of-touch govern-
ment, the people of Greater Leys estate in Oxford
did something for themselves. They decided they'd
had just about enough of teenagers terrorising their
neighborhood and issued an `eviction notice' to the
gang in the local park where they hang out.
The gang had taken control of the park, which
people have to cross to get to the only local shop,
and their threats and intimidation were escalating -
one youngster was smashed in the face with a sawn-
off pool cue, another slashed with a knife. One
mother who turned to the cops after both her sons
were attacked was told there was nothing they could
do. She is now living in fear of reprisals after one of
the ringleaders threatened to burn her house down.
Another local resident, Jane Lacey, said "What we
are trying to do is show them (the gang) that they're
not big or clever doing this stuff - they're screwing the
community and they will be despised for it. We also
want the parents of the gang members to sit up and
take notice before it's too late and their kids become
totally beyond control."
In Manchester, anti-mugging patrols happen on an
irregular basis in part of the Hulme estate. Mick from
Hulme said, "There are a lot of community activists
and anarchists on the estate. Residents keep in touch
with an email list called "shout". Whenever anyone
gets mugged or attacked someone sends a "shout"
out to the list. Often people then take it upon them-
selves to arrange a time to do an anti-mugging patrol.
It's not aggressive. Residents sit out around a fire or
listen to a radio at the end of one of the streets. We
tell passers by what we are doing and get a favourable
response. We can't be everywhere on the estate at
once, but the fact that there are people out and about
seems to be very good at preventing muggers, at least
for the period of the patrols. It also builds the kind
of community spirit that prevents this kind of crime
in the first place.
The people that have been mugged really appreci-
ate this informal scheme as it is obvious for them that
they live in an area where people do care about their
neighbours. It turns around the "victim mentality" by
doing something active and positive. I think the gen-
eral consensus on the estate is that we'd rather do
things this way than get CCTV. But maybe that's cos
we're all so dodgy!"
In the Easton area of Bristol - getting over-run with
crack selling yardies - locals who are tired of waiting
for police who never come have taken things into
their own hands too. They `cut off' pay phones regu-
larly used for drug dealing and spray painted `heroin
for sale' (see above) at a place of blatant public smack
dealing. One of the members of the community,
Flaco, points out "This isn't about vigilantism, but
about taking control back from all bogus authority -
whether that authority is backed by parliament, or by
a pistol in the boot of a BMW."

Oh Behave Yourself!

So what do we do about anti-social behaviour? In-
troduce more laws that ultimately get used on pro-
testors? Stalking laws were introduced to protect
women but have now been used on protestors. So
while it's quite obvious to some of us that more laws
aren't the answer, then what is? If people are getting
the crap beaten out of them while just going to the
shop, or the local playground is full of needles, it
really doesn't help anyone to say, "Don't worry- wait
for the revolution and then everything will be alright."
The answer's not easy - community action against
"anti-social behaviour" does have to be well handled
and can be a magnet for thugs, vigilantes and right-
wing reactionaries or people who want the police to
have even more powers and more CCTV. In Easton,
Bristol, the members of the community groups who
came together agreed about the need for do-it-your-
self action but found themselves divided on issues
like installing CCTV cameras. The beating to death
of Josie Dwyer, a Dublin heroin addict, by a vigilante
mob, is a particularly grim example of what can go
wrong.
Individually the people of Greater
Leys were vulnerable to attack - but collectively, by
coming together as a community, they could tell the gang
"Your behaviour isn't acceptable". As communities get
stronger and people get to know each other, they can tackle
all sorts of issues - like why there aren't decent bus
services or shops in their area. And if people from
`radical' politics are involved, local communities might
just start taking their ideas seriously.
Taken from SchNEWS: www.schnews.org.uk

HIGH SPIRITS AS HAYCOCK RESIGNS

Many of us only know November as the month of
long cold nights, demoralising weather and
another fast approaching, debt burdened christmas.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. For anti-fascist cam-
paigners it was the time celebration came early.
Bromyard and Winslow Town Council released the
long awaited news that fascist town councillor, John
Haycock, had resigned.
John `nazi no brains` Haycock had become a
town councillor for Bromyard back in May
2003, by default under the banner `Union Flag Inde-
pendent - No Asylum Seekers`. The ignorant bigot fa-
mously became the firstBritish National Party
(BNP) councillor (again for Bromyard) in recent times
in 2001. Unfortunately for him, he never bothered
turning up for council meetings and was kicked
off the board because of this.Celebrations
The news of Haycock's resignation was greeted with
celebrations from anti-fas-cists around the county. A
local news sheet, Rebel Bull (produced by the now de-
funct Herefordshire Anarchist Group), had ran a
campaign against this racist nutter in every issue
following his election printing both home address and
telephone number, and although reasons for his res-
ignation are unknown, this is thought to have been the
cause.
What this shows is that even with a small degree of
opposition, racists like this can (and must) be stopped
and forced to think again before they spread their
hate-filled propaganda.
And working class selforganisation is where it begins.

Pictute with graphity on a fence:
TAX THE RICH NOT THE POOR
ONE SOLUTION CLASS WAR!


ESCALATE THE CLASS WAR

"we don't need the bosses, they need us. If we stick together,
we are strong enough to get what we want. Just think, they quietly paid up
didn't scrap the Poll Tax because everybody quietly paid up.
but because people stuck together and didn't pay. Now imagine
bigger. Imagine the working class as a whole sticking together.
Just think of the potential power we already have.
Used properly, we could sort out the bosses and all their
hangers-on, once, and for all."


DON'T GRASS ON YOUR CLASS!


The Labour Government and, in particular,
the Department for Works and Pensions are
still in full flow with their nationwide campaign
against what they call `benefit cheats`.
Not designed to bring to account the huge
corporations who sneakily commit real fraud
and refuse to pay tax on profits, this campaign
is aimed at the average Joe and Joanne you pass
in the street. It's aim is to catch those who claim
the State's pathetic benefits and who also are
left with no other option but to do a little cash
in hand work on the side to make up the money
to get by from week to week. Moreover, it's
aim is to get us to `grass up` fellow members of
our class to their `hotlines`. This is exactly the
same sort of spying campaign that was used by
the Hitler Youth under the Nazi regime and it
just shows how low New Labour will go in at-
tacking the working class.
What this campaign really aims to do, though,
is to create in-fighting within the working class
to have one person grassing up another `friend`
or `neighbour` who are in exactly the same
position. In reality all it does is ignores the fact
that the real enemies are those who uphold
capitalism and the Government who make
decisions we all have to live by.
There is a common misconception amongst
the working class that someone who is `falsely`
claiming benefits is somehow taking money
away from them. Yet this is not the case.
Whether your neighbour or aquantence is
claiming benefits or not, we will all still have to
pay taxes. And those taxes won't go to pay for
our `devious` neighbour, they will go towards
maintaining a system that is rotten to the core
and to pay for the privaliges of the rich. It goes
to a parasitical, waste of space and air `Royal`
family and the coffers of Bank of England
where the Labour government waste it on wars
in other countries in pursuit of more money
and for police forces that protect the rich and
powerful.
The people that commit this so called `benefit
fraud` are not evil criminals, they do so
simply because of need. We all know
someone who is doing or has done a little
work on the side and we all know this is because
they cannot afford to do it any other way.
Edited from an article published in Rebel Bull
- Hereford newssheet.

CUT IT UP!
You don't need to work for the Financial
Times to realise that credit card debt is getting
well out of hand. Ten years ago hardly anyone
had one. Now there are 91 million credit and
debit cards in the UK. Two fifths of our shop-
ping is now put on the plastic. The net result is
a large portion of the population with massive
credit card debt. Given the extortionate inter-
est rates charged this is seriously bad news for
us and the source of gleeful hand rubbing for
the high street bankers (what's that rhyming
slang for I wonder?) who are pocketing it.
We see it like this. Credit cards have been
introduced not to make our lives easier, but to
extract money from us. Credit card debt acts
like a mini mortgage - got to keep our noses to
the grindstone so as not to miss any payments.
We lived without them for years, and can start
doing so again. To help you on your way to
liberating yourself from plastic purgatory we
have our "Cut it up" campaign. The first step
in taking part is as easy as you make it. Get
your credit card and take a pair of scissors to it.
This may seem hard at first, but believe me,
the feeling of relief when its done is immense.
Worried about the debt you've accrued? The
most important thing is not to panic. There's
plenty of free advice you can get out there, and
things really might not be as bad as you think.
For starters, did you know the following?
* Credit Card debt is classified as "non-prior-
ity" debt. You can't be imprisoned for not pay-
ing non-priority debts and you are unlikely to
lose your home or your essential goods.
* It is an offence under The Administration of
Justice Act 1970 (amongst others) for some-
one in debt to be harassed by their creditor
such as a credit card company or an agent act-
ing on their behalf.
* Debts of under &5000 can only be heard at
the small claims court. So even if you do get
taken to court you can't be stung with solicitors
costs if you lose.
* Debt collectors are not the same as bailiffs.
Debt collectors cannot take any action against
you, apart from asking you to pay any money
owed.
* Regardless of what they say, YOU DON'T
HAVE TO LET BAILIFFS IN. They are not
allowed to force their way into your home un-
less you have let them in on a previous visit,
hence the importance of never, ever letting
them in.
We don't claim to be legal experts. We cer-
tainly don't claim to offer "impartial" advice
either - we despise bailiffs, bankers and other
creditors as much as anyone and support fair
means or foul to get the better of them! Some
decent, free, practical advice is available from
The National debt line on 0808 808 4000.
Their website is www.nationaldebtline.co.uk.
Alternatively, you could visit the Citizens Ad-
vice Bureau in St. Peters Square.


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