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(en) UK, Resistance issue 62 - Going Underground

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 23 Jul 2004 17:57:33 +0200 (CEST)


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IT MIGHT APPEAR on the surface that the
bosses and the government are getting
away with attacking us on a number of
fronts. However, appearances can be
deceptive.
Increased casualisation of work
means that 14% of us are temporary
employees – with much fewer rights and
no union representation. UK workers work
the longest hours in Europe, and we get
the least number of days off. And it seems
that there is no fight back. According to
the Office for National Statistics, the
number of strikes fell last year to an alltime
low, with workers striking for only
500,000 working days. The unions
themselves, once seen as bastions of
working class resistance, have shrunk to
cover only around 29% of the UK
workforce. However, looking at the unions
to gauge the level of resistance is a
mistake. Most workers now recognise that
the unions are more interested in
compromise and cozying up to politicians
than in organizing serious resistance.
So, where is the resistance?
Resistance is all around us, but is less
organised and more atomised than it once
was. It is less immediately visible as
political resistance, but not all political
action waves a banner and marches
around.
It is not as if there is workplace peace.
A poll by HR Gateway showed that twothirds
of workers don’t trust their
immediate superiors, while 80% distrust
their directors. Last month, the Economist
warned UK bosses that they were
operating in the worst climate in Europe
for theft (what they euphemistically call
“shrinkage”). Britain has the honour of
having the highest rate of shoplifting in
Europe, and it is heartening to know that
“shrinkage is increasing alarmingly in
some countries and is generally on the
rise” throughout the continent.
Despite the fall in activity within the
official union, resistance carries on at the
workplace in all sorts of ways. UK workers
manage to take back £1.2bn a year from
their employers though theft.
Interestingly, employee theft also shows
a pattern of targeting larger capitalists:
19% of firms with fewer than 15
employees have experienced staff fraud,
with the figure being more than doubled
(48%) for businesses with over 36 staff.
This desire to take back what the bosses
have stolen from us was highlighted in a
survey by Leicester University, which
showed that 70% of the 2,000 people
questioned admitted they would steal
from their employer if they felt that could
get away with it.
Another way of resisting is to take back
the time that has been stolen from us.
With the increase in workload and hours,
people are more likely to suffer physical
and mental illness. The only recourse is
to take time off. Despite guilt-tripping
work cultures, where people are expected
to put work above all else, people are
holding on to the power to protect their
own basic health. The bosses realize that
“absenteeism” is costing them billions,
but instead of doing anything about the source of
the problem, companies like Tescos are now
trying to force people to work when ill.
The real figures for all these acts of
resistance are likely to be much higher,
as most of it goes unnoticed.
How many use company phones to
speak to their families, use the
internet while at work or knock off early
when the boss is out for the day?
Bosses want to pay us as little as
possible for the most amount of work,
whereas we want to work the least
amount possible for the most amount of
money. To live we must sell our bodies and
minds in return for a wage, which we then
have to give back by buying a small
proportion of what we produced. In
asserting our dignity as human beings, it
is natural that we resist this exploitation.
Any act which tries to reduce the
control capitalism has over our lives–
whether at work or in the shops – is an
act of resistance. A world where work and
life blend together, where human needs
are met and exploitation ends is possible
– we glimpse it in every act of resistance.
The task before us is to link up with each
other, and make our resistance as
organised as possible – see inside for the
latest news of strikes.



ON THE FRONTLINE


RIGHT, LET’S START with the biggy: the
threat of first national rail strike for over
a decade has made the management drop
plans to dismantle the workers final salary
pension scheme (something which is
going to cause a lot more trouble for the
state over the next few years). Staff from
London Underground who are involved in
their own struggle for a four day week are
going ahead with their strike, meaning
millions of workers will take a Tuesday
afternoon off work in order to be able to
get home.
Ambulance staff in the north-east are
taking industrial action over plans to stop
paying them for periods when they’re “on
call” but not actually out in the ambulance
– that covers things like scheduled breaks
and dinner hours – all times when the
workers are not allowed to leave the
ambulance station – maybe the same
should apply to the penny-pinching
executives of the health trusts on their
heavy one-half day a week for 100 grand
schedules?
Looks like a repeat of previous
summers of conflict on the airways is on
the cards after 1000 check-in staff and
baggage handlers at 17 airports voted to
strike over a crap 2.5% pay offer – which
was immediately rejected in favour of
“imminent” strike action – let’s hope
they’ve learnt the lesson of the attempted
stitch-ups by the unions during last year’s
mass wildcat at Heathrow and decide to
go it alone this time.
A victory for race-stall handlers (the
people who operate and maintain the
stalls at race-tracks) who fought off plans
to cut their allowances and expenses and
actually turned it into a 2.5% wage raise
instead after carrying out industrial action
for over a month threatening racemeetings
all over the country.
More trouble for the Labour Party as a
second large union disaffiliates from the
Party – the Fire Brigades Union has now
followed the lead recently set by the RMT
and taken their funding elsewhere –
various leftist groups are undoubtedly
already rubbing their hands in glee at the
thought of bureaucratically getting their
grubby hands on some proper working
class loot.
A series of marches highlighting the
UK’s pensions crisis took place on the 19th
June – London saw about 10,000 people
marching – this issue is not going to
disappear with companies seeking to slash
final salary or “defined benefit schemes”
that pay out two-thirds of final salaries at
retirement and is one to keep an eye on –
a lot of potential and a lot of very angry
people.


DIVIDE AND RULE: DON'T BE FOOLED!

THIS JUNE’S ELECTION results
have been more than a little
disappointing for the likes of
Nick Griffin and the British
National Party. Despite people’s
disillusionment with the
traditional parties and the huge
investment in glossy leaflets, they gained
no more than one councillor in the
Bradford area and no seats at all in the
European elections. So why dedicate so
much time to fighting a failed bunch of
politicians?
Fundamentally because the BNP and
their mates in the National Front, White
Nationalist Party and other neo-nazi sects
aren’t just about the crap policies, lies and
bullshit that distinguish most other
politicians. Whilst they offer up the same
solution – “vote for me I’ll sort it out”–
what they attempt to instill in people is a
sense of identity, an identity based not
around our interests or place in society,
but on the colour of our skin, our ethnic
group and where we were born.
In Bradford, they have managed to sell
this identity to both the working and
middle classes. Those living in smashed
communities, working in shit jobs or
struggling on benefits, are resentful of
what they perceive to be one-sided ‘multiculturalism
and those in the leafy suburbs
are victims of a general media-induced
fear of immigrants. Not only do the BNP
provide something to be proud of, they
also provide someone to blame as well for
just about any problem people have. This
may explain why both Bradford’s
estates and well-off places like
Howarth now have BNP councillors.
The system only survives by constantly presenting
new scapegoats to blame and new
politicians to “sort things out”, and the
BNP aren’t the only bastards who thrive
as a result. The divisions and hostility that
exist between ethnic groups in Bradford,
Burnley, Halifax and countless other
places across the country and the world
aren’t accidental, or “natural”. They’re
sustained and exploited by “community
leaders”, religious hierarchies and of
course politicians of every creed and
nationality.
What’s more, in a society dominated
by unnecessary misery and exploitation,
someone’s got to be responsible, and if we
weren’t so busy hating each other, like our
leaders and “representatives” tell us towe’d
hate them instead.
Groups like the BNP swell in number,
as they have in Bradford, when people
grow tired of the shite of conventional
politics. They manage to divert the anger
in our workplaces and communities away
from the struggle for a free society for all.
The ruling class would far rather we torch
each other’s houses, than their jobcentres,
prisons and council chambers – and much
prefer that we vote for fascists than run
the world ourselves…

Contact Bradford Anarchist Group at:
bradfordcalling@yahoo.com



ANARCHISTS AGAINST THE WALL
THE NEW “security perimeter” being built
by the Israeli government – several hundred
kilometres of walls, razor wire, electrified
fences and watch towers – will severely
hamper Palestinians’ already very
restricted freedom of movement, preventing
them from reaching their jobs or families
by an accident of geography.
Furthermore, the wall encircles all the
good land and water, conveniently grabbing
it for the Israeli side. In a country
already plagued by racial hatred, where
Palestinians and Israelis no longer speak
each other’s language, this wall will further
divide two peoples.
But there are still a few people who
can see through the racial and religious
lies and are prepared to fight together
against all systems of separation. Anarchists
Against Walls is one such group.
Formed a little over a year ago, it now
numbers a couple of hundred activists and
many more supporters, both Israeli and
Palestinian. Acting directly, by dismantling
checkpoints and tearing down sections
of the wall, they are noted for their
dedication. The shooting of one member
by the Israeli army provoked controversy.
This was the first time an Israeli civilian,
rather than a Palestinian, had been shot
by the army in a demonstration.
Here they are in their own words: “We
forced open the gate at Mas’Ha to open a
gap in the wall of hatred and to provide
with our actions a living, kicking alternative
to the apartheid policy of the Israeli
government. We regard the separation
wall not only as a huge disaster for the
Palestinian people, but also as a direct
threat for us and for anyone who desires
a peaceful and secure life. This is not a
security fence. This is a racist apartheid
fence that will cause bloodshed for all of
us for many years to come...”
“We try to live in our daily lives the
changes we are striving for. We work in a
spirit of full cooperation, without leaders.
We are realists and understand that the
abolition of the state system will not occur
tomorrow, but even today we can already
demand a way of life with ‘no rulers
and no ruled’ – ‘no masters and no
slaves’. Direct action is the democratic act
when democracy stops functioning. The
Berlin wall was not dismantled by rulers
and agreements, but by the citizens who
felled it with their own hands... Since we
can remember, we have been brainwashed
with hatred and fear of our Palestinian
neighbours. But these lies were exposed
and are clear for everyone who participates
in the action to see. We will continue
to struggle together – ... for justice
and equality for all.” For more info Email
Vegan_politics@yahoo.com


TO VOTE OR TO PARTICIPATE?

WHEN IT COMES to
elections, the standard
cry of the anarchist
movement is “Don’t
vote!” This was the
“line” of many anarchists
during last
months European and
local elections. But the
Anarchist Federation –
Hereford have been
calling for campaigns encouraging participation
in place of the anti-voting strategy.
A spokesperson for the AF – Hereford
said: “Obviously we’re not calling for participation
in those structures that government
has created for us, we are encouraging
people to set up their own community
and workplace action groups to fight
back against injustice.
“People should be involved in the everyday
issues that affect all of our lives,
and voting gets in the way of this. Certain
people end up thinking that politicians
can solve our problems for us. They
won’t.” She said.
AF – Hereford say that people should
tackle all the problems impacting on our
daily lives they effect. Government and
capitalism create them and it’s these institutions
that need to be removed. They
are a barrier to equality and freedom, they
say.
And what of the people that vote?
“We know that voting won’t change
anything so why waste time telling people
not to do something that won’t have
an effect! The people that choose to vote
will soon see it changes nothing. What’s
important is that we are encouraging everybody
to participate” she said.

Meanwhile there were
the usual low turnouts
in the elections for local
councils, London
Mayor, and London
Assembly. People could
not identify with the
world of bankers,
bureaucrats and
bosses.
Where people did
vote, Labour received a hammering for
their policies on the war, on public
services and a whole range of other issues.
As for the so-called left alternatives they
also did badly.
What these results show is, both here
and throughout Europe, is an increasing
dislike and active distrust of parliament
and politicians. This has to be translated
into real activity at the grassroots, both
in the neighbourhoods and in the
workplace. We should not hide the fact
that the votes for the fascists and other
candidates of the right like UKIP showed
growing trends towards xenophobia and
flag-waving nationalism.
This is in part due to the collapse of
the welfare state and the social
democratic and Labour parties turning
away from any identification with working
class needs at all. This has created a
vacuum that the fascists and xenophobic
parties are keen to fill. But this vacuum
cannot be filled by any phoney left
alternative at elections. A real movement
has to emerge, whose main weapons are
direct action, outside and against
parliament, that can develop a real
alternative to the vanishing welfare state,
and gives working class people back their
confidence.


NO COMMENT REPRINTED

NO COMMENT: the defendant’s guide to
arrest has just been republished. This
handy little guide to what to do if you are
arrested has just come out in a third edition
of 10,000 copies. It has been updated
and reprinted by former members of the
Anarchist Black Cross in conjunction with
the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group.
It was funded by proceeds of a damages
award from the Metropolitan police, who
were sued for false arrest and imprisonment
and breach of human rights. We are
sure that they will be pleased to know that
their funds are being invested in a public
information campaign as vital and deserving
as this.
You can get a copy by sending a second
class stamped SAE to: No Comment,
c/o BM Automatic, London, WC1N 3XX or
you can download copies from
www.ldmg.org.uk


TIME BOMB

Storm the Bastille!
THE FORTRESS OF the Bastille was one
of the symbols of the old regime in France
in 1789. Looming over the populous
quarter of the Faubourg Saint Antoine in
Paris, there were suspicions that it would
be used by the King to crush the uprising
of the people of Paris. The crowds armed
themselves and started building
barricades in the neighbourhood. At 7am
on July 14th, seven to eight thousand
people swarmed over the defences of the
Hotel des Invalides, whose garrison
already had a “seditious spirit”. Artillery
and 32,000 muskets were seized by the
crowd. 200,000 people gathered in the
streets of Paris. The middle class wanted
the fortress surrendered to their militia,
who would then guard it jointly with the
royalist troops. The crowd foiled this.
They advanced, crying out: “We want the
Bastille!” A rumour had circulated that the
fortress’s cannon had been aimed at the
street of St. Antoine in what appeared to
be a threat to the people of Paris. People
gathered around the Bastille to demand
that the cannon be redirected. A deputy
met with de Launay, who assured him that
the cannon were aimed as they always had
been. Dissatisfied with this report, some
members of the crowd began to take more
direct and violent action. Ten men
managed to scale the walls and lower the
first drawbridge. They then set to work
on the second drawbridge when the
soldiers opened fire. For four hours the
crowd tried to lower the second bridge and
storm the fortress and for four hours their
assaults were turned back with musket
fire. 98 people in the crowd were killed
and many injured. Finally the defenders
urged de Launay to surrender. But instead
of surrendering, de Launay threatened to
blow up the fortress. Before he could
realize his plan, the soldiers surrendered
on condition that no harm would come to
them. The militia of the middle class could
not control the crowd, enraged by the
large number of dead, and several soldiers
were killed. De Launay had his throat cut
and his head was carried around the
streets of Paris. Two days after the Bastille
was taken the National Assembly ordered
that it be razed. No stone was left
standing.
A symbol of despotism had been
spectacularly destroyed. All revolutions
have destroyed symbols of power – coming
up, the Houses of Parliament?



Issue 62 of Organise! the magazine of
the Anarchist Federation is out now.
Available online or £2 for a hard copy
from the address on the back page.


INSIDE
INFORMATION

Indigenous activist needs support
INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTIST JOHN
Graham (http://www.grahamdefense.org)
is currently fighting against extradition
from Canada to the USA. In December of
2003 he was arrested in Vancouver, BC
by the Canadian government on an extradition
order from the FBI. The FBI is
framing him for the murder of Anna May
Aquash, another AIM activist who was
found, murdered, on the Pine Ridge Reservation
during the stand-off at Wounded
Knee in 1976. She was most likely executed
by the FBI during its Counter-Intelligence
Program - COINTELPRO.
John Graham has only until September
or October until his next extradition
hearing in Vancouver. This hearing is
likely to be only a formality that will result
in his extradition, conviction and life
imprisonment in Amerikkka.
He needs all the support that we can
organize for him - letters, demos, whatever
can be pulled together; ideally a day
of action in September.
A Canadian activist is currently trying
to organize a speaking tour about this in
the UK in mid-August/early September to
raise awareness about this case and the
ongoing genocide and indigenous resistance
in Canada.
Do you know any group or individuals
in your community who might be willing
to organize a speaking event of this
kind?
If you can help Email:
bryce@appropriate-economics.org
Still fighting in Russia
OLEG SEREBRENNIKOV IS one of two
anarchists who were brutally beaten by
fascists on the 23rd February at Izhevsk,
capital of the Udmurt Republic (Russia).
His crime was to have taken part in a
picket commemorating the 60th
anniversary of the deportation of the
Chechens and Ingushs by Stalin1.
Beaten about the head with an iron
bar, he is lucky to be alive, but he still
suffers from serious health problems and
has been hospitalised twice already. To
continue to receive treatment, he needs
financial aid.
Since he started being active in the
Votkinsk campaign2 in 2001, Oleg has
never spared his efforts for the anarchist
movement, and it would be shameful if
he is disabled because we cannot provide
him with the medical aid he needs. The
cheapest place in a hospital plus
medicines costs 100 roubles a day, about
80 euros a month. The Moscow Anarchist
Black Cross has collected 200 roubles, but
they have already been spent on
medicines and Oleg’s family is very poor.
Contact: Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow.
PO Box 13, 109028 Moscow, Russia.
1Stalin deported nearly all Chechens
and Ingushs from the Caucasus to
Kazakhstan in 1944., which resulted in
tens of thousands of dead.
2The Votkinsk campaign: Votkinsk is a
working class town, where following an
agreement between the Americans and
Putin, the authorities wanted to place a
factory for the treatment of old American
nuclear missiles (the US Congress opposed
this factory being placed in the Nevada
desert, judging it “too dangerous”).



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.

JUL JULY: : 3 – Boycott Caterkiller. Meet 12 noon at junction of North Road/Kensington
Gdns. They will be visiting several local shops that sell Caterkiller goods, asking shoppers
not to buy them and persuading the shops to stop selling them.
www.bigcampaign.org www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org/Boycott_Caterpillar.asp
4 – Peace Makers Ball! Part of the Independence FROM America Day! 4.30pm at
Lakenheath US nuclear airbase, Suffolk. Come to party, wear your ballgown, bring a
picnic! Tel: 01508 550446 www.motherearth.org/lakenheathaction
4 – Protest at Menwith Hill US spybase. Visit: www.caab.org
10 – Anarchist alternative to Marxism public meeting, 6pm, Conway Hall, Red
Lion Square, London, WC1.
16-18 – 3rd Anarchist Youth Network Summer Gathering. If you want to participate,
please let the AYN know. Tel: 07866 933 927.
19 - 25 – Disarm Farnborough Airshow. For more info contact: Disarm DSEi, BM
Box 3679, London, WC1N 3XX, Email: disarm@dsei.org Visit: www.dsei.org
22 – London AF/Freedom public meeting on casualisation. 7.30pm, Freedom bookshop
(in Angel Alley), 84b, Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX.
AUGUST UGUST UGUST: : 4 - 8 – Earth First! Summer Gathering for anyone interested in ecological or
social direct action. Tel: 08453 550 111, Visit: www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk



The Anarchist Federation ederation 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: info@afed.org.uk


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