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(en) UK, Class war buletin - London Calling, May - June 10 & All That

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 11 Jun 2004 10:11:51 +0200 (CEST)


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The forthcoming elections should prove interesting! The SWP's
new front, the Respect Unity Coalition (RUC) have thus far done
a pitiful job in garnering support, whilst other Trots are intent on
continuing to support the vile Labour Party. Once again people
are being called on to support the "good" parties to prevent the
BNP doing well by some, whilst others demand that the electoral
farce by turned into a referendum on Blair.
Two issues are particularly interesting in these particular
elections. The more obvious one is how well the BNP fare. There
has been some media slagging of the BNP, most recently in the
News of the World - which revealed that the BNP are a party of
vicious racists and fascists! We were shocked! Should the BNP
do well on June 10, we feel that they will prove entertaining in
office: their successful candidates in local authority elections have
shown the inept standard of the people they have available for
election. To have them strut their stuff on a wider stage - the
European Parliament - may give them the stage they've desired
for so long, but we suspect that it will also prove a problem for
them. The attraction of a party tied to "respectable" politics for
the BNP's traditional recruits is limited. It's possible that a
successful election for the likes of Nick Griffin will prove a boon
for the NF who may gain some of the disaffected BNPers. On the
other hand, a poor showing for Britain's foremost fascist party
may lead to Griffin's early exit from the BNP leadership and a
return to street politics as the Old Guard go back to what they
know best. In this situation, the best thing anti-fascists can do is
to gain intelligence on the various BNP candidates and their
supporters. If the chance for a full and frank discussion comes up
whilst the BNP are on the hustings, so much the better!

The other potentially topic of especial interest in these elections is
the performance of the SWP's Respect: the Unity Coalition
(RUC). An unholy alliance between the SWP, Galloway and the
Communists, it's come out of the Stop the War Coalition, and is
notorious for supporting the less likeable Muslims - the Muslim
Association of Britain and so forth. In the Birmingham local
elections, the RUC want their supporters to vote for the People's
Justice Party, a bizarre lot who want to see an independent
Muslim Kashmir.

Though the SWP and their grubby allies hoped to raise a million
pounds with which to finance their electoral venture, it appears
that they were not successful - for which small mercy we should,
perhaps be grateful. In standing for London mayor alone, they
had to raise 20,000, of which they'll be lucky to see a penny
again.

The RUC's policies appear mostly non-existent, made up on the
hoof by their candidates. Galloway's stance on abortion and the
death penalty sits ill with the views the SWP have long expressed:
and in their grubby alliance the SWP seem to have abandoned
principles they have previously described as shibboleths,such as
women's rights. For anarchists this is amusing. It proves once
more what we've repeatedly said about the SWP and their
unprincipled opportunism.

Yet this has a darker and less hilarious side. The SWP with
Galloway and the rest of the RUC are doing not only themselves
damage, but also inflicting it on the rest of the British left, who in
many people's minds are tainted by association. The SWP's
failure on June 10 will hopefully be the first part of anannus
horibilis for them, with a dismal Marxism and costly failure at the
European Social Forum to follow. What causes us concern,
though, is that the anarchist movement in the UK may pay too.

REVIEWS

This month we look at a selection of recent books published by
AK Press.

2/15: The Day The World Said No To War Barbara Sauermann
(Editor), AK Press. 18.99 February 15 last year saw protests
across the world against the incipient war on Iraq. In scores of
countries, and hundreds of cities, millions of people took to the
streets to voice their opposition. This book contains photographs
from that day, of symbolic naked demonstrations, of a-b marches,
artwork, graffiti and so on. If that's your cup of tea, then this is
the book for you. Although this is an interesting idea, and perhaps
the concept's not too bad, it's not really my can of lager. It does
show that opposition to the war was truly global, something that's
often mentioned but equally often forgotten as few people have
seen pictures from the demonstrations in Bombay, Cape Town,
Antarctica's Ross Island and Seoul. Worth a look, if you see it,
but not - I'd suggest - something you'd want to buy; certainly not
at nineteen quid!!! 1/5

Controlled Flight Into Terrain. Stealworks Anthology 3.0
John Yates, AK Press. 7.00
For many years - since at least the early '90s - John Yates has
been producing artwork. Who can forget the Officer Friendly? or
the Democracy - We Deliver t-shirts? This new collection is more
of the same. Though his early efforts were original,
thought-provoking and punchy, his recent work appears more
tired and repetitive than anything else. John Yates is a gifted artist
- perhaps it's time, having made his mark in one style of political
art, that he try something different. One for aficionados only,
really. 2/5

What is Anarchism?
Alexander Berkman, AK Press. 10.00
As the blurb notes on the back of the book, this book combines
the texts of two of Berkman's best-known works, What is
Communist Anarchism? and the ABC of Anarchism. In it
Berkman lays out his vision of anarchism, one surely influenced
by his long association with that other gifted anarchist Emma
Goldman. For those who have not yet encountered Berkman's
work, this is an essential anarchist text. Those who are already
familiar with Berkman's work may wish to get this to replace their
old, well-thumbed copies. 4/5

Guy Debord: Complete Cinematic Works
Ken Knabb (Editor), AK Press. 22.00
This book is very interesting but mainly for people already
well-versed in Guy Debord. It contains the scripts of his films,
from Howls for Sade (1952) to Ingirum imus nocte et
consumimur igni (1978). The uninitiated won't, frankly, gain too
much from this book: although I'd previously read Society of the
Spectacle I don't think I got as much from this book as those
fascinated by Debord should. The price alone will, I expect,
dissuade all but the most ardent admirer of the famous
Situationist from purchasing it. 4/5

DIARY DATES
Every Thursday Picket of McDonald's at Leicester Square, from
5.30pm - 8pm.
Details from www.mcspotlight.org

JUNE

05 NUM National rally, Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield.
06 London Class War Meeting
12 Norwich's first annual anarchist bookfair- 07941 657485.
www.twotins.tripod.com
12 International Day of Action- in Solidarity with Jeff "Free"
Luers.
imprisoned for 4 years of a 22year+ sentence for burning three
Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene,
Jeff has continued to be active in prison and fight back with his
words and inspiration.
www.freefreenow.org
13 1100 London Socialist Film Co-op.
Wobblies (Bird & Shaffer, USA, 1979, 89 minutes)
The classic portrayal of the IWW campaign in the USA between
1905 and 1918.
Now this really is class war! Followed by a discussion led by (of
all people!) Tony Benn. At the Renoir Cinema, Brunswick
Square, London WC1 (tube Russell Square)
Admission 6/4.
19 Manchester Radical Bookfair. At Bridge Mill 5, 22a Beswick
Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 7HR. More details from
www.radicalbookfair.org.uk. A Class War stall is booked.

JULY

1-4 Green Anarchy in the UK- Gathering of the tribes "We have
called this gathering to give green anarchists in the UK and
elsewhere a great opportunity to get together and share thoughts
and ideas about how to fight the megamachine, that is
civilization, and learn primitive skills."
Bilston Glen Anti-Bypass Protest Site, near Edinburgh
07747606558
www.bilstonglen-abs.org.uk

MAYDAY IN DUBLIN
OUR CORRESPONDENT REPORTS
This year's quiet Mayday in London meant that many activists
went to Dublin for the demonstrations against the EU conference
and jamboree there. One of our members who went describes the
day for us:

Mayday in Dublin was beautiful and sunny. As I wandered down
to the centre of Dublin I wondered what the day would hold in
store. There were fuck loads of filth everywhere, and the scene
was reminiscent of what I'd heard about Prague - the Garda were
dotted around in groups of three-five, looking very shifty and
guarding everything in sight. Expectation soon turned to dismay
as word reached me that one anarchist from Britain had been
detained by the filth outside the Four Courts. It later turned out
that he'd been detained by the Garda under the Misuse of Drugs
Act, and to have his identity checked, and was effectively arrested
and held for an hour. When I caught up with him, we strolled
down O'Connell Street chatting and observing the cops.

The first of two protests I went on was a tour of south Dublin,
from St Stephen's Green (the most overgrown I've ever seen!) via
the Ministry of Justice, a squat and an occupation of a privatised
park. This gave us the idea to reclaim one of the private squares
in London, of which there are many around Victoria and Sloane
Square.

The main event - the reason many anarchists had congregated in
Dublin - started fairly late in the day. O'Connell Street was closed
to traffic as several thousand anarchists and other troublemakers
gathered to march on Phoenix Park, where the EU leaders were
having a banquet. Numbers were considerably higher than at the
earlier demonstration.

We headed north from O'Connell Street, passing Parnell's statue
and heading past the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.
A police barricade at the north side of Parnell Square was
confusingly hastily removed as we approached! Talking to a
seasoned legal observer from London I tried (but failed!) to make
sense of what the cops were up to.

This soon turned from your normal two mile march into
something much longer - I think that the walk to Phoenix Park,
or that part of the Navan Road we eventually reached, was about
four or five miles. The march kept stopping and starting, and
wrongfooted the coppers almost the entire length of the
demonstration... Until we suddenly stopped.

A few words about the policing of the marching bit: we saw few
police on the route we were taking, but there were about 8,000
Garda (and 2,000 soldiers!) ita. There was evidence of cops
about, but it was not until too late that the full scale of their
mobilisation became apparent.

We stopped in the middle of nowhere. It was a part of Dublin few
tourists or locals can come to, with nothing to attract them, and
no shops to bring shoppers. A long, straight road, from which a
glance at the A-Z revealed no easy routes of retreat. With a friend
I went scouting, to see a line of police being formed ahead. On
the right was a park and playing field, on the left a housing estate
swarming with Garda. And the line ahead had not caught the
attention of the mass of demonstrators. I began to feel that the
Dublin Grassroots Network had not reckoned on the scale of the
police response to the demonstration. Passing my observations
on, I looked on as events progressed. The police line was
massively reinforced, and the number of anarchists prepared to
take on the police looked unlikely to succeed.

In a position where retreat if charged by the police was not an
option, I felt that the planner of the demonstration had perhaps
been casual in ensuring that those who'd taken part would remain
safe.

The Black Bloc - of Wombles, local anarchos and those of us
from Britain - moved forwards at last. It was a joy to see the
discipline with which they moved up to try to break the police
lines! For once, it looked like a proper block of people, not the
normal disorganised way we operate. A strange stand-off ensued,
then normal service was resumed and scuffles broke out across
the length of the line. At this point, the road and pavement were
about fifty feet across, and here and there I saw a journalist get in
between the anarchists and the Garda. They did not like that!
They liked it even less, when in the semi-twilight watercannon
began to play across the crowd. Quite a few journalists were
soaked, and many of them had their cameras with them!

The scuffling continued for quite a while. It was uncertain what
the police would do. From our vantage point it became
increasingly unclear what was happening at the front as the light
diminished. Deciding it was time to return to the centre of Dublin,
a friend and I tried to circle round the north side of the Navan
Road, through a mazy estate. We attracted the interest of a
helicopter which persisted in pursuing us for about forty minutes.
When finally it left us alone, we were little further on, still lost
within the labyrinthine lanes and cul-de-sacs we'd ventured into.

Suddenly we found our way out of the maze we'd been in, only to
see people running ahead of us. A glance behind showed us why:
there were riot cops chasing behind us. Running from them, we
scaled a couple of walls and made good our escape.

We returned to the Navan Road, quite some way from where the
scuffling had occurred. There were large numbers of police still
about, covering all the side-roads. Apart from a few
demonstrators making their way home, and the large numbers of
police in the shadows, the road was empty. It was a strange and
not altogether comfortable feeling.

After walking somewhat further, but still little closer to the centre
of Dublin, we reached a road with some traffic on it. Deciding to
get a cab, we returned to Parnell Square. Almost as soon as we
got out of the cab, we were surrounded by police - but strangely
we managed to evade further contact by going into a pub. My
companion swore that they had been after us, but I felt that it had
been such a half-hearted show that they really weren't after us.

I left him to get a bus back to his B&B and walked up to mine.
On the way I passed a squad of police by a bridge on the road to
Drumcondra. The police were out in force to capture anyone they
felt had been causing trouble.

I stopped briefly by a canal when I saw the cone of light from a
helicopter plainly around the Navan Road. Although I wondered
what was still going on there, I never found out. The
chop-chop-chop of helicopters reverberated through the night air
for some considerable time afterwards, reinforcing the impression
of a troubled city.

I went up to a pub before going back to my B&B. They had the
news on in there, showing scenes of the day's events. The battle
the Sky journalists were describing was in no way a proper battle -
more a bit of reasonable scuffling. The police had a static location
to defend, and we had had to try to break through their lines to
reach our objective. That was my thought, but when on the
Sunday I met some other anarchists I found out that others felt
that the token attempt to break through the police lines had had
to be made, not with any expectation of success but to do
something.

I was very disappointed by this. About twenty-five people were
arrested for the "violence" on Mayday, few (if any) of those
arrests were necessary. We had few assets on our side, of which
our mobility was probably the most important. By stopping of our
own accord and losing that mobility, it had been assured that the
police would be able to repel any attempt to reach Phoenix Park -
and also that any attempt to breach the police lines would only
end in failure.

The remainder of my time in Dublin I spent doing touristy things.
I'm not too happy about the way things were organised in Dublin.
I hope that the next time something goes off in Dublin, as it will
do with Bush's imminent visit, the Irish anarchists learn from the
lessons on Mayday, and the best of luck to them!

REMEMBERING THE PAST
ANNIVERSARIES FOR MAY
1: 1998: US: Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party cofounder,
dies at 62, California.
2: 1980: Pink Floyd's hit single "Another Brick in the Wall (Part
II)", with its chorus of kids chanting "We don't need no
education", is banned by the South African government.
3:1886: US: Police kill four & wound at least 200 as Chicago's
finest attack McCormick Reaper Works strikers.
4: 1886: US: Haymarket Square Bombing. A bomb kills seven
Chicago cops as they attack demonstrators at a rally protesting
police brutality yesterday at McCormick Reaper Works.
5: 1916: Ireland: John MacBride, Irish rebel, is executed.
6:1882: Irish republicans assassinate Lord Frederick Cavendish
(Irish Secretary) & Thomas Burke (Under-secretary) in Phoenix
Park, Dublin.
7:1954: Vietnam: Viet Minh forces defeat French at Dien Bien
Phu.
8:1967: US: A federal grand jury indicts heavyweight boxing
champion Muhammed Ali for refusing to be inducted into the
armed forces.
9: 1785: Joseph Bramah receives British patent for beer pump
handles.
10: 1922: US: In Chicago 200 labor leaders arrested for complicity
in murder of two policemen, bombing of factories.
11: 1812: England: Spencer Percival, Tory Prime Minister, is
assassinated in the lobby of the Commons by John Bellingham,
who is cheered by the crowds outside as he is led away.
12: 1984: England: Animal Rights demonstration held, London.
13: 1993: US: Eight African-American protesters are indicted in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, for participating in a demonstration at
the unveiling of a memorial for Chattanooga police.
14: 1080: Massacre of Bishop Walcher of Lorraine & his retinue.
15: 1872: Julia Ward Howe declares the first Mother's Day as an
anti-war holiday.
16: 2000: The Moonies buy United Press International (UPI)
news service.
17: 1940: Emma Goldman is buried in Waldheim Cemetery,
Chicago, close to the Haymarket martyrs.
18: 1979: US: Silkwood vs. Kerr-McGee case establishes
corporations are responsible for the people they irradiate. 19:
1897: Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.
20: 1970: Mao Tse-tung issues "People of the World, Unite and
Defeat the US Aggressors and All Their Running Dogs!"
21: 1979: Russia: Royal lickspittle Elton John is the first rock star
to perform in the USSR.
22: 1868: US: First train robbery in the world, in Indiana, when
the Reno Gang makes off with $98,000.
23: 1701: Captain William Kidd is hanged for piracy & murder.
24: 1968: France: In Nantes the events of 1968 reach a pinnacle.
For a week the city & surrounding area is controlled by workers
themselves.
25: 1978: US: The Unabomber's first bomb injures one at the
University of Illinois.
26: 1871: France: Paris Commune (Bloody Week). Battles at the
Bastille & Villette, the Communards are defeated this evening at
Belleville & Pre Lachaise.
27: 1977: The Sex Pistols release "God Save the Queen" in
Britain.
28: 1938: US: Three Seattle cops are convicted of manslaughter
for beating a black man to death in custody, but two are later
pardoned by the governor.
29: 1913: France: The audience at the opening of The Rites of
Spring, in Paris, riot due to the sensuality of the dance &
Stravinsky's disturbing music.
30: 1814: Mikhail Bakunin born.
31: 1578: The Catacombs of Rome are discovered by accident.

Compiled by the Class War historian
========================
Copied from infoshop.org


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