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(en) Britain, resistance issue 68 - Dec 2004

From <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>, E@ainfos.ca,W@ainfos.ca (nastyned@email.com)
Date Thu, 25 Nov 2004 17:30:01 +0100 (CET)


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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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AGE OLD FIGHT
Last month the government presented its report on what has become known as “the
pensions crisis”. The report was widely touted as being a balanced look at what
is wrong with the pensions system and how it should be “fixed”, despite the
report’s author, Adair Turner, being the ex-head of the bosses union -
the CBI. The report was the latest in a steady campaign intended to
soften us up to accept attacks on our wages through increases in
mandatory payments. We can hardly open the paper or watch the news these
days without more pundits telling us to get ready to tighten our belts.
Are they right? Is the only viable option a cut in living standards?
They are at least right about one thing: all societies have a duty to
support those who can’t work- whether they be too old, too young or too
ill. Unfortunately, we are also forced to support another set of people
who live off our labour - the boss class and all their servants. This is
as true in pensions as in any other sphere of life. A recent TUC
investigation found that although average contributions from bosses into
schemes for workers was only 6%, the amount they paid into schemes for
Directors averaged at 20%! Only 44% of FTSE 100 companies have final
salary schemes for staff, but this leaps to 76% for directors. BT chief
executive John Condon, who closed his company final salary scheme to new
employees, has added two and a half years to his own pension, netting
him £146,000 per year plus a lump sum of £439,000.
We are told there are only four options:

• Accept pensioner poverty (i.e. workers end up poor)
• Raise retirement age (i.e. workers get made to work longer)
• Increase national insurance (i.e. workers all get less pay)
• Force us to take out private pensions (i.e workers all get less pay)

We at resistance prefer a fifth option: that those who should pay are
the very same people who live off our work: the bosses. There is easily
enough wealth in society to keep everyone comfortable if it was
distributed on the basis of need. For example, company tax avoidance
alone costs an estimated £80 billion a year and this is before we even
talk about higher taxes for the rich. This whole “crisis” has its roots
in capitalist greed – from companies stopping contributions during
state-encouraged “pensions holidays” in the 80s, through to the state
overlooking bosses plundering their workers’ pension funds to prop up
share values. Since the Tories removed the link between pensions and
average earnings, successive governments have tried to make the state
pension system so unworkable that we’d all be forced into private
pension schemes- it’s currently worth only 15% of average wages. This
has happened over the same period that productivity per worker has
doubled, and company profits have soared.
There has been some resistance to moves to attack private pensions –
workers at two plants owned by steel company Caparo threatened strikes
and an overtime ban in June to protect their pension scheme, and a poll
of Amicus members showed overwhelming support for strike action to save
their pensions. The only people putting up any sort of real fight over
state pensions at the minute are the pensioners themselves. Pensioners
deserve respect and a decent standard of life. They can’t fight alone,
as fighting alone they will eventually lose. This affects all workers –
we all get old and we all need to eat. The bosses and their media will
continue to try and convince us to roll over and accept this. We must
ignore them, stick together and fight as one.

---

ANARCHISTS ORGANISING

A new anarchist group has been formed in Sheffield. Anyone interested
in reigniting the anarchist presence in the steel city should send an
Email to: sheffield_anarchists@yahoo.com
<mailto:sheffield_anarchists@yahoo.com>
Also a class struggle anarchist/libertarian communist group is forming
in Romford and the surrounding area.
Anyone interested in getting involved should Email:
romfordanarchists@hotmail.com <mailto:romfordanarchists@hotmail.com> or
phone 07774 641 587 and leave a message.

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ON THE FRONTLINE

We’re going to start on different note this month and take a look at a
few disputes overseas that really do bring home what being On the
Frontline means.

We’ll start with the joint boss and state massacre of 14 strikers
(including two children aged two and five) in the Philippines. 5,000
sugar industry workers have been on strike for two weeks after hundreds
of them were illegally sacked. At a meeting of the strikers and
supporters in Hacienda Luisita on November 16 police and army units
indiscriminately fired countless canisters of teargas and live rounds
into the crowd – resulting in 14 deaths and hundreds of injuries from
gunshot wounds and suffocation – there is even a report of a victim
being strangled after being shot and his dead body hanged on the
factory’s gate. Worryingly, hundreds are also missing – probably injured
but afraid to get treatment in case of further attacks.
In a similar vein, a worker has been assassinated in El Salvador in
punishment for starting a new project documenting violations of the
rights of Central American port workers and drivers - Gilberto Soto was
shot by two “unknown” gunmen in Usulutan after receiving warnings to
cease his work.
In China a striker has been sentenced to three years jail for simply
taking part in a strike – in a clear warning to others taking part in
the escalating industrial unrest spreading through the country.
This is how the state reacts when it’s interests are challenged, in the
Phillipines and here – a quick look at our own history shows us that the
veneer of democracy is paper thin – make no mistake, the British bosses
are no strangers to these tactics – in fact they taught them to the rest
of the world.
Back here, workers at Boddingtons brewery in Manchester have been on
strike, and plan to step up their action over the coming weeks in
protest at the action of the Interbrew bosses in closing breweries and
cutting jobs and conditions.
Drivers at Lynx Parcel Delivery have also been out this month, and have
two more 48-hour stoppages planned for the next few weeks in a dispute
over pay levels.
The strikers are in a particularly good position with Christmas coming
up, and the highly centralised internal structure of the company being
wide open to blockages – not to mention the company possibly being taken
to court for illegally trying to bring in scabs via recruitment agencies.

---

WHAT DO ANARCHISTS THING ABOUT WORK?

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Some of the poorest people in our
society are those who do not work and have to survive on benefits.
But there are also millions who do work who have to survive on poverty
wages. They tend to be the weakest and most disadvantaged who struggle
along on the minimum wage, or less. In order to survive the only
solution is massive amounts of overtime.
Millions of others do manage to live “reasonable” lives on the money
they earn. But you can bet your boss is not doing you any favours.
They only employ people so long as they can make more money from
exploiting their workforce. When you become too expensive, in other
words if your boss’s profits start to wobble, you are shown the door.
And, no doubt, there is a queue of poorer people lining up to work for
peanuts.
And what about the experience of work? It is a mixture of boredom,
stress, irritation and of being bullied. As soon as you enter the
workplace, freedom, and independence are left behind at the doorstep.
Work is the place where countless little Shitlers push you around and in
turn are pushed around themselves. Despite all of this, many workers are
so conditioned and brainwashed that they need work. Work becomes the
point of their empty lives.
Freeing ourselves from work is a vital step to a better world. Organise
in the workplace against exploitation and bullying. Take tomorrow off
and have some fun! Remember there are plenty of rich people who are rich
because of your stress, who will not be working today, or indeed any day.

---

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Venezuelan anarchists
Venezuelan anarchists opened a Libertarian Social Studies Centre and
social library on November 14. They are extending the print run and
distribution of their bi-monthly newspaper “El Libertario”, increasing
the production and diffusion of audio-visual and printed libertarian
material and organizing various events linked to ”the promotion of the
anarchist ideal.” They desperately need finances to keep funding their
activity.
“This is why we are making an urgent appeal for financial solidarity.
The contributions of any amount that are received over the next few
days, weeks and months will be essential for the project to get off the
ground and establish itself.” You can donate by Emailing:
centrosociallibertario@yahoo.com <mailto:centrosociallibertario@yahoo.com>
Website: www.centrosocial.contrapoder.org.ve
<http://www.centrosocial.contrapoder.org.ve>
Postal address: Fundacion Centro de Estudios Sociales Libertarios, Apartado
Postal Nº 49110, Caracas, Venezuela.

Support action in East Asia!
“We are happy to announce that as of August 20, 2004, Gaizao.org –
Radical Voice of East Asia – is serving the international community with
news, forums and issue-specific information aimed at unifying East Asian
activists and fostering solidarity with anarchists, anti-imperialists,
and anti-authoritarian collectives and organizations world-wide.
The site hosts a forum and a news service in English, Mandarin,
Cantonese, and Japanese; along with a library, and an action calendar
for the entire region.
Email: caillech@gaizao.org <mailto:caillech@gaizao.org>
Website: www.gaizao.org <http://www.gaizao.org>

Anarchists organise in Greece
A new “Federation of Anarchists of Western Greece” (OADE) has been
formed. Website: http://homepages.pathfinder.gr/anarchywest
If you want a contact with OADE or any other information about it in
English, there is the address PO BOX 2120, Lygon Street North, East
Brunswick, Victoria 3057, Australia
Emails:
outetheos@yahoo.com.au <mailto:outetheos@yahoo.com.au>
anthropia@hotmail.com <mailto:anthropia@hotmail.com>

---

A WORKER AT EITHER END OF THE BAYONET

August marked the death toll of US troops reaching the 1,000 mark. In
the meantime many more have died. The number of deaths among British
troops has increased rapidly, especially after Poodle Blair decided to
help his ol’ buddy Bush by sending the Black Watch to the danger zone
around Fallujah. This is not to mention the number of Iraqi civilians
dead or injured estimated as 100,000 plus and rising.
Troops in the States and here in Britain join the Armed Forces mainly
because of lack of other employment where they live. The Black Watch,
who have sustained casualties recently in fairly high numbers, both dead
and maimed, are mostly recruited from areas of Scotland like Fife where
unemployment is high. Poverty and unemployment act as good recruiting
sergeants. Old-fashioned conscription is replaced by economic conscription.
There is anger among some troops, both US and British, at what they are
being made to do. This has to be turned into active resistance –
disobeying orders, refusing to go to the war zones. Disobedience and
mutiny in the armed forces has to be coupled with a broad anti-war
movement both here and throughout the world, an anti-war movement not
manipulated by political parties, whether they be social democratic,
Leninist or Islamist, a movement ready to use mass civil disobedience,
blockades of military bases and any other form of direct action and
general antimilitarist agitation.
In other countries anger and disgust at being involved in the war in
Iraq is growing and some countries have already withdrawn or are
withdrawing their troops. Hungary said it would pull its 300 troops out
of Iraq by March 2005. The Czech Republic said that its 100 police
officers would be withdrawn in February. Poland, with its 2,400
soldiers, will start reducing its presence next January and completely
withdraw by the end of 2005. Other countries’ soldiers are either
withdrawn or withdrawing: New Zealand: 60 troops returned home 15
September. Thailand: 423 troops returned home 9 September. Philippines:
51 withdrawn on 19 July Norway: 10 currently in Iraq, 140 withdrawn on
30 June Honduras: 370 withdrawn on 12 May. Dominican Republic: 302
withdrawn on 4 May. Spain: 1,300 withdrawn on 4 May. Singapore: 160
withdrawn on 4 April. Nicaragua: 115 withdrawn on 4 February.

The same must happen in Britain. It’s happening elsewhere, it CAN happen
here.


Meanwhile in Iraq
Iraqi railway workers have boycotted supplies intended for US troops and
forces belonging to the US-appointed Allawi government.
Employees of the National Iraqi Railways Company also declared that they
would agree to carry food supplies only to the Iraqi people, and
threatened a national strike if forced to do otherwise. The Allawi
government reacted by accusing the railway workers of carrying out civil
disobedience. Apparently killing 100,000 civilians is fine, but refusing
to help this slaughter is a crime!

---

NEW ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS

The latest issue of Organise!, the magazine of the Anarchist Federation
has now out. It has articles on: nanotechnology, the anarchist
movements in Argentina and Ireland, resistance in Iraq and more.
Available for £1.50 from the London AF address (see back page) or via
our website. A new edition of our pamphlet
Ecology and class – where there’s brass, there’s muck has just been
published. Available for £2.
The latest issue of Irish anarchist bulletin Working Class Resistance,
will be out shortly. Subscribe online by Emailing:
workingclassresistance-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
<mailto:workingclassresistance-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>

---

TIME BOMB

The Battle of Cable Street
The Battle of Cable Street took place on October 4 1936. The British
Union of Fascists led by Sir Oswald Mosley had been building support in
the East End of London and one of their main focuses was in drumming up
hatred against the local working class Jewish community. Mosley’s
blackshirted fascists had been conducting propaganda against the Jews in
the East End for several years and there had been a number of physical
attacks. In September Mosley called for a Blackshirt march through the
heart of the Jewish East End.
A lot of the national press (especially the Daily Mail) gave outright
support to the fascists. It had widespread sympathy in the upper
classes, including among the Royals. The Labour Party and the trade
unions paid lip-service to anti-fascism but they argued against any
physical confrontation with fascism. They called on people to rely on
the police to protect them from the fascists.
Many Jews, especially among the young, thought that the proper way to
fight the fascists was to physically stop them in the streets.
The thousands strong Blackshirt march was to begin in Royal Mint Street,
pass along through Gardiners Corner and on to four separate street
meetings. It never even got going! As many as a quarter of a million
people stopped it happening. Tramdrivers abandoned their vehicles in the
middle of the roads as blockades. The Jewish community, Irish and some
Somali dockers and members of different political groups built
barricades. Six thousand police, there to protect the fascists,
repeatedly baton-charged the barricades.
The Police Commissioner then proposed a diversion through the dock area
around Wapping, and along Cable Street. There was a battle fought
between the police and the defenders of the anti-fascist barricades
constructed of furniture, paving stones and a lorry. Pretending to
retreat, the crowd lured the police forwards, and took up positions
behind secondary barricades while from the upstairs tenements on either
side of the street other people threw bricks, stones, bottles, marbles
for horses’ hooves, and boiling water down on the bewildered police.
While the outnumbered fascists waited in vain for a path to be cleared
for them, the police faced chaos. At 5pm Mosley admitted defeat and
cancelled the march. The mass opposition to fascism had given the
Blackshirts a heavy blow.
For more on anti-fascism visit: www.antifa.org.uk <http://www.antifa.org.uk>

---

INSIDE INFORMATION

Cassidy Wheeler Moved
US anarchist prisoner Cassidy Wheeler has been moved: You can write to
him at this address:
Cassidy Wheeler #14282456
E.O.C.I. 2500
Westgate
Pendleton
OR 97801 USA

Return to Sender: Prison Rule Harassment
Bristol Anarchist Black Cross bought and sent a book to Herman Wallace,
one of the Angola 3 and former Black Panther. The book was sent back.
There is no way they could have known before hand, but the rules specify
that the book:
1. Must be accompanied by a receipt.
2. Must be posted by the publisher or a bookshop
3. Cannot contain anything else.
Not only did they return the book, but they charged Herman the postage.
Since then they have sent another copy complying with their rules. This
goes to show the low level harassment that the rules impose of prisoners
and their ability to connect to the outside world. If you want to know
more about Herman see here: www.prisonactivist.org/angola/
<http://www.prisonactivist.org/angola/>

Firm that made Iraq’s Abu Ghraib wants to run UK prisons!
“The American prison company whose director set up Iraq’s infamous Abu
Ghraib jail for use by the US military is reportedly bidding to run a
number of prisons in Britain. The Utah-based Management and Training
Corporation (MTC) has set up a London headquarters and is in advanced
negotiations to operate at least one prison in Britain. It is also
planning bids to build and manage a number of other jails, including
the extension of Belmarsh in south-east London, Britain’s maximum
security prison, where terrorist suspects are being held without trial...”

Political Threats
In July 2004 it was announced that a series of new charges have been
laid against American eco-activist Billy Cottrell. The new charges all
relate to the alleged use of Molotov cocktails to burn some cars.
Because of these new charges the prosecution is now threatening Billy
with “life imprisonment without the possibility of parole” if convicted
on all the charges unless he starts cooperating with the authorities.
These new charges are a blatant attempt by the authorities to try and
blackmail Billy into cooperating with them. Even if Billy were guilty
(which he is not) the threat of “Life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole” far exceeds the seriousness of the crimes he is
accused of.
Please do everything you can to help. For more info on Billy please
contact: Free Billy Defence & Support Network, PO Box 3372, Anaheim, CA
92803-3372, USA. Email: freebillycottrell@yahoo.com
<mailto:freebillycottrell@yahoo.com> or visit the website
www.freebillycottrell.org <http://www.freebillycottrell.org> and see:
www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk/newsletter.html
<http://www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk/newsletter.html>

Info from Bristol Anarchist Black Cross prisoner support group:
www.geocities.com/bristol_abc <http://www.geocities.com/bristol_abc>

---

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.

Meeting at the Anarchist Bookfair (Nov 27, University of London, Mallet
Street Tel: 020 7242 8032 Email: mail@anarchistbookfair.org
<mailto:mail@anarchistbookfair.org> or Visit: www.anarchistbookfair.org
<http://www.anarchistbookfair.org>)
“The Anarchist International” Meeting Room 3C at 5-6.30pm. Speakers from
Eastern Europe, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. Hosted by the
Anarchist Federation.
DECEMBER: 12 – Projectile Preview, 7.30pm, Projectile is holding its
first public event at the Side Cinema, Newcastle. This will be a preview
of some of the films to be shown in February, a chance to socialise with
like-minded people and perhaps get involved in the Projectile collective.
Projectile will be a major event taking place in central Newcastle from
the 11 - 13 Feb 2005, featuring rare and radical films. The evenings
will have music and entertainment, the daytimes will have talks and
discussions between the films. For more info visit:
www.projectile.org.uk <http://www.projectile.org.uk>

14 – Manchester Anarchist Group meeting, Friends Meeting House. More
info from: anarchist_federation@yahoo.co.uk
<mailto:anarchist_federation@yahoo.co.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 <http://www.afed.org.uk>
Email: info@afed.org.uk <mailto:info@afed.org.uk>


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