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(en) Britain, Direct Action #35 - LETTERS:

Date Mon, 29 Aug 2005 07:09:07 +0300

Ask Auntie Ana
DA’s very own agony aunt – guaranteed to help with all
those tricky bouts of activist angst and anarchist anxiety
Dear Auntie Ana
I am very new to anarchism and I have just been to my first
anarchist bookfair. I spent loads on books and pamphlets – but I
really need a recommended reading list – can you help?
Earnest Very, Lancaster
Dear Earnest,
Bless! This takes me right back to the days when I thought I could
be an Airfix anarchist (find the assembly plans and join the right dots
etc.) My advice is very simple, dear. Stop reading the books, get out
and meet some nice anarchists who are active in the workplace and
local community and next time you stop by at the bookfair, just buy
a T shirt (if you must).

Dear Auntie Ana

I keep hearing Voices in my head. These Voices seem to hail from
THE NORTH and tell me it is my destiny to form an organisation to
show those who push anarchism from its true path the error of their
ways. They also tell me that I could become the new FATHER of
Anarchism in the NORTH. How can I gather more people around

Worried Blue Eyes,
T'Frozen North

Dear Worried,

Look mate, anarchists in the north don't need a father, least of all
one with a random use of capital letter problem; we're happy to be
free-thinking BASTARDS. I'll make it as clear as I can - being a
rampant individualist doesn't make you and your Voices anarchists. I
prescribe a good dose of political principle followed by a firm kick up
the arse - and that is one for each and every Voice, by the way.

Dear Auntie Ana,

The other week I went to a meeting and met this bloke who seemed
to know a lot of anarchist theory – I’ve been active in a local
group for ages and I’ve never heard of some of the stuff he
quoted at me. It’s left me feeling a bit uneducated – I
couldn’t even understand this magazine he sold me. Should I
start at the beginning again then? The whole thing is making my
head spin.

Connie Fused, Keighley

Dear Connie,

It sounds as though you have had your first run-in with what we
in the movement call the ‘Beardy Blokes’. I’m not
surprised your head is spinning after trying to read some of the
quasi-intellectual bilge they peddle as ‘authentic’
anarchism. If do manage to pick your way through the strangled
phraseology and the spurious quotations and name-dropping you
will see that they use these wretched rags to rubbish each other and
anyone else who doesn’t agree with them. (He didn’t
mention anything to do with any Voices, did he?) You don’t
need to be able to drop Kropotski or Chominsky into your
conversation to be an anarchist. Cheer up – you know it makes

Dear Auntie Ana,

I am writing about my financial situation which is dire. I can’t
even afford to buy my comrades a post-meeting drink down the pub.
Can you find me a sponsor or donate something to ease my

A. Nonymous, Wythenshawe

Tony, you’re fooling no-one. Get your hand in your pocket
and get a round in you tight get.

Radical Webcasting

Dear DA,

I’m involved in an innovative ‘webcasting’ project
which might interest DA readers and contributors.
Basically, the idea is to create a series of online radio-style features
focusing on issues like anti-globalisation/anti-capitalism, anarchy,
prison and criminal justice reform, employment and workplace
issues (e.g. ‘casualisation’, declining health and safety
standards), drugs policy reform (e.g. cannabis legalisation), social
and economic ‘alternatives’ (e.g. LETS)…no doubt
potential contributors could come up with plenty of worthy topics!

Contributing individuals, groups, organisations would record their
own specific broadcasts in MP3 format using simple, straightforward
equipment (computer, mics, MP3 recording device, etc). The nature
and style of the ‘broadcasts’ would be largely up to the
contributors – as simple or complex as they wish. These would
then be collated and posted on the host web site (from where they
could be downloaded to listeners’ PCs and even transferred to a
portable MP3 device), probably on a monthly basis. A kind of
regular, audio magazine, if you will.

Anyway, we aim to initially get a number of ‘pilot
broadcasts’ together to help focus potential contributors on their
own ideas. So far, they conform to the following formats:
- ‘interview’: (e.g. a telephone interview with environmental
campaigner Mark ‘Mad Cow’ Purdey);
- ‘soapbox’: any individual can have his/her say on anything
at all;
- ‘magazine’: a regular review of issues, events, news, etc,
surrounding any of the suggested topics;
- ‘feature’: (e.g. Copenhagen’s famous Christiania
“free state”);
- ‘debate’: (conducted via the internet with Skype or AOL9

Anyway, if any DA readers or contributors are interested in getting
involved, I’d be delighted to hear from you at

Mark Pickard
labour friends of iraq

Dear Comrades,

In DA34, the Labour Friends of Iraq website is publicised. We are
told to ‘visit these web pages for more information and
suggestions for action’ and this website is under the statement,
with two others. This all appears under a letter which publicises the
‘plight’ of Nozad Ismail, an Iraqi ‘trade union’
leader, and promotes the ‘Labour Friends of Iraq’

When selling DA I could argue that the advert for a Labour Party
website was an editorial oversight. This is made harder in that the
letter is published with no reply contradicting the statements it

For the record: The ‘Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions’
(IFTU) is controlled by the Iraqi Communist Party, part of the
interim government responsible for murdering tens of thousands of
Iraqis. The IFTU has never opposed privatisation nor led any
workers struggles. It was appointed by the interim government as the
sole representative of the labour force as it does nothing but appeal
for international support from people like ‘Labour Friends of
Iraq’ and idiots in the British trade union bureaucracy.

It’s all very well for people here to condemn the ‘so-called
resistance’ but we are not seeing neighbours arrested, held
without due process, tortured and sexually abused. The politics of
many in the resistance are suspect but most of those defending their
communities from US/UK terror are not Baathists or
fundamentalists, but ordinary people backed into a wall. It is unwise
for anarchists to advocate armed struggle, but condemning or
dismissing the actions of a desperate people amounts to siding with
western state terrorists. I know the editors of DA would agree on this
but it is important to demonstrate to readers where they stand.

That the letter writer was passing on an appeal by the Labour
Friends of Iraq should have alerted you to this person’s political
agenda. A bit of digging would have revealed support for a leader in a
bosses’ union.
I have no problem with the letter being published but, given DA is an
anarcho-syndicalist publication, some correction to this person’s
statements would have been in order to avoid confusion among
readers as to the real politics of DA and the Solidarity Federation to
which DA is accountable.


Reply: Yes, it was an oversight, and we agree with the points you
have raised. Obviously, the Labour Friends of Iraq site is not on our
list of recommended viewing.

just books back in belfast

Dear Comrades,

Just Books was opened by the Belfast Anarchist Collective in 1978.
It was more than a bookshop, however, as it included a cafe and
print workshop and provided a focal point for the collective’s
many activities for sixteen years. The Just Books collective then
disappeared for a while but we hadn’t really gone away. In recent
years we have provided book stalls at various events and our third
catalogue is currently being compiled.

Just Books is now working toward a new centre in Belfast, aiming to
be up and running in July 2006 to mark the 70th anniversary of the
Spanish Revolution. For this we need some active solidarity. Again
we want to be more than a bookshop. We envisage a solidarity centre
providing accessible resources and information for workers in
struggle, including a multi-lingual resource library, bookshop,
meeting space, internet access and coffee shop. We’d also like a
print workshop and film projector. These are possibilities - we ask
for your support to achieve them.

At the minute you can help by:
- donating books to our multi-lingual resource library;
- buying a T-shirt (‘Solidarity is Strength’ cat - red ink/black
shirt or black on red) for £8 + £2 postage;
- buying ‘A Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism’, by
Máirtín Ó Catháin (£2.50 + 50p UK postage);
- attending or organising a fund raising event;
- if you are in Ireland, requesting Just Books stalls at your events;
- or sending us a donation.

Contact us at JustBooks@safemail. com; jst_books@yahoo.co.uk;
or P.O. Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ.
We need several thousand pounds - the more we raise the more
ambitious this project can be.
Jason, for the Just Books Collective

Journal of the anarchist Solidarity Federation

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