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(en) Britain, Resistance #78, October 2005 - MISSISSIPPI DROWNING, BUILDING WORKERS ORGANISE, and more

Date Tue, 04 Oct 2005 13:14:31 +0200


THERE IS NO doubt that, despite American protests, global warming
has made the hurricane season worse. But now is the not the time to
tackle those issues. The hurricanes have come and have gone and
they have left the poor, working people in a disastrous situation. But it
has not been inevitable! Back in 2001 the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) recognised that a hurricane was the
third most likely cause of disaster to hit the USA. Money needed to
finish levee building, $20-$40m of it, was redirected to Bush's
favourite cause-WAR!. To all intents and purposes New Orleans,
sitting below sea level, was a disaster waiting to happen.

The State's Response

We would have thought that a huge country with such an enormous
amount of money, like the USA, would have had a state plan to deal
with such a crisis. They sent men to the moon didn't they? So what
really happened? The media would have us believe that gun toting
vigilantes took to the streets looting everything they could get their
hands on. That, without the law and order structure supported by the
police and National Guard, chaos was the order of the day. Whilst no
doubt some people behaved badly, the truth is that those who did
behave the worst were the New Orleans and New York Police
Departments and the National Guard.

Police fire over heads of survivors seeking shelter

Two paramedics Larry Bradshaw and Lorie Beth Slonsky tell how two
hundred people "walked to the police command centre at Harrah's on
Canal Street and were told...that we were on our own and that they
had no water to give us. ..We held a mass meeting to decide a course
of action." When the group became an embarrassment to the police by
their presence the commander told them buses were waiting to take
them out of town. As they approached the supposed pick-up point the
sheriffs shot over their heads to disperse them.

Organisers murdered

Others tell of the murder of three young black men who tried to take
over a hotel to set up a clinic for the young, old and sick away from the
hell of the convention centre. And more tell of how people who waded
neck deep in toxic water floating their grandmother in a fridge were
turned away from the bridge to safety by police carrying guns.

Shoot to kill Curfew

The police imposed a shoot to kill curfew after 8.00 at night. One
witness saw a desperate man trying to find his family at a community
computer centre only to have to leave at 7.30 to get home before the
curfew come in at 8.

Dump The Red Cross

The Red Cross has a history of mis-spending money. After the
bombing of the Twin Towers in New York it received $564m of which
only $154m was given to victims families. The rest was kept to fight
the war on terror. In the same way the Red Cross is behaving badly
now. Survivors in New Orleans ask for money not to be sent to the
Red Cross.

Get shot of the poor

Evacuations had two purposes. Parts of the land are drowned, toxic
and dangerous. Some areas are not safe to stay in and people need to
be safe. But, other parts, though damaged, are still good enough to be
rebuilt and lived in. The authorities are making little distinction
between the two. They want to clear the whole area so that rebuilding
will get rid of the poor and the black and make a city for the rich only.
The Wall Street Journal, America's main financial paper stated, "The
new city must be something very different with better services and
fewer poor people." Where are the poor going to go? They sure as hell
aren't going to disappear over night. But they won't be welcome back
either!

Already big construction and weapons businesses like Kellogg, Brown
and Root has a $500m contract to rebuild naval bases. In exchange for
the contract it donated a measly $1m to the disaster relief fund. Seems
a good exchange!

The People's Response

Working people in New Orleans and other hard hit areas are
organising themselves. A media centre has been opened in Algiers,
one of the drier areas of the city. It has free bikes, food, showers and
play facilities for kids. There is a community-run organisation offering
mutual aid to all. They have doctors, lawyers, paramedics and
"volunteers of all creeds and stripes" and are working more effectively
than the organisations tied up with red tape.

The sick, the poor and those who chose to remain in the affected areas
need dry clothes, food water and medical supplies. These were
available in the shops and pharmacies around the city.

Anarchists believe that what we need should be there for us to have.
The survivors acted in an anarchistic way and took what they needed.
The police, protecting the owners and bosses, reacted violently. They
shot and beat up those who took what they needed, in other words
looters.

Common Ground

While the state continues to let people down we are encouraged to see
the way working people in affected areas are supporting each other
through imaginative and creative ways. If you want more info check
out the common Ground website.

Support their work and that of other self-managed groups in New
Orleans. by contacting them at www.commongroundrelief.org. with
links to other groups available from there.

Where is the President when you need him most?

Sun Aug 28th Bush on holiday in Crawford Texas. Day before the
hurricane hit
Mon Aug 29th Bush acting as salesmen for drug companies in
California and Arizona Katrina Arrives levees break
Tues Aug 30th Bush playing guitar for a photo shoot in San Diego
The city is drowning
Wed Aug 31st Bush finally arrived to view the death and destruction -
by plane, thousands of feet in the air!

BUILDING WORKERS ORGANISE

A NEW CONSTRUCTION workers rank and file coalition has been
formed to oppose new contracts imposed by the bosses with the
connivance of full-time union officials. They want help distributing
leaflets around building sites.

Laing O'Rourke

Major construction firm, Laing O'Rourke imposed a new Contract of
Employment on all its site workers. This means large pay cuts for
many and an employers 'discretionary bonus'. These attacks were fully
supported by the full-time officials of the three major building industry
unions - UCATT, TGWU and GMB. This ensured that where
resistance did occur it was fragmented and unsuccessful.

No bosses stooges wanted

Hot on their heels, other employers are now following suit. It's not too
late for workers to begin real, organised resistance to these attacks, as
long as it occurs at a grassroots level independent of the management
stooges who run the builders' unions. A meeting took place on 14th
June in London to coordinate the fightback. This led to considerable
interest from individual workers as well as the national Rank and File
Building Worker Group and union branches such as the GMB SOLO
branch and Northampton UCATT.

Spreading Resistance

This new Rank and File coalition aims to spread resistance to the new
contracts nationally whilst also fighting for improvements in wages,
working hours, sick pay, pensions and the constant deaths and injuries
caused by so-called 'site accidents'. To escape victimisation, they need
support from other sympathisers to hand out newsletters and bulletins
on their local building sites.

This type of grassroots initiative needs to be both supported and
repeated in other industries. Get in touch and get involved.
Building Worker Group: 07767 615 354

Gate Gourmet Solidarity in Manchester & Liverpool

ANARCHISTS AND OTHER activists have organised pickets outside
the Blue Arrow offices in Manchester and Liverpool. The Liverpool
actions twice managed to shut the Blue Arrow offices, despite the
police trying (and failing) to use local by-laws against 'touting for
trade' to move the pickets on the first time . Both pickets received
considerable support from passers by. Like scabs the world over, Blue
Arrow staff and managers prefer to slip in and out by the back door
than face up to what they are doing.

Shame on them!

For info of more pickets, contact:
manchester@af-north.org
or liverpool@af-north.org.

Stuff Your Boss

ANARCHISTS IN THE North West, from Liverpool, Preston and
Manchester have met to form a campaign against the way employers
are using casual labour and denying workers even basic employment
rights. A web site is being set up, information can be obtained by
contacting the Solidarity Federation: PO Box 469, Preston PR1 8XF
117 Days on Strike

CNT, THE SPANISH anarchist trade union reports that after 117
days on strike, workers at Aussa in Seville have won their strike. The
bosses had tried to sack the workers, but due to their amazing
solidarity, not only did they get their jobs back, they also had working
conditions improved.

SOLIDARITY- THE KEY TO BEATING ID

WITH THE NATIONAL identity database and card bill poised to
have its new 3rd reading in October, the Home Office has been trying
to pour cold water on anti-ID campaigning by the launch of an 'ID
Road Show' that apparently started in Manchester Airport in
mid-September and might be coming to a place near you! That should
provide some fun and games for Defy-ID who have been at the
forefront of libertarian activities against the scheme. But how prepared
are we to fight ID if it comes in? A popular campaign of outright
refusal will surely be needed.

Defy-ID groups around the country have mostly been hitting the right
message, but recently some individuals have suggested supporting left
of Labour campaigns like NO2ID. Anarchists have real problems with
this. NO2ID are asking you to 'write to your MP', and are putting their
energy into lobbying the Labour Party conference. They have even set
up a 'pledge' where they ask you to pay into a fighting fund for others
can act - so you don't have to!

Lobbying of political parties and this kind of centrally organised
fighting fund is typical of the socialist left who don't believe people can
be self- empowered to fight. And who are the official refuseniks that
will benefit from the pledge money, should it be raised? You guessed
it, the same leftie organisers who are always going on about workers
power but deep down think we are too stupid to fight our own
struggles.

In addition we are hearing far too much of the 'won't stop fraud, won't
stop crime' arguments against ID which just add to the fears we are
currently living under. Instead of creating solidarity they actually
reinforce the opposite, making us feel we need the state to protect us
from others. It is especially sickening to hear 'won't stop benefit fraud'
repeated again and again by the likes of Liberty and NO2ID - implying
that surviving by working and claiming dole or living in the grey/black
economy is something that we should worry about.

Let's not forget what ID was really about before the 'war on terror' and
other bogus political messages took over before the general election.
ID was about 'entitlement' to public services. The rich will be able to
pay for their anonymity in society as they will not need to use services
that the rest of us will have to access with our national ID. So
underneath it all, ID is a big class issue.

Defending Anonymity, an AF Pamphlet on ID is on
http://www.af-north.org/anon.pdf (and in various formats via
www.afed.org.uk).

Contact:
Defy-ID, http://www.defy-id.org.uk/
Ideas for action, www.defy-id.org.uk/ideas_for_action.htm
Discussion forum, www.libcom.org/forums

DISSENT

DISSENT HAD THEIR post-G8 get together in August. The purpose
of the gathering was to discuss the failures and successes of the
mobilisation.

The dissection naturally led to a huge big pat on the back for us all.
Fair enough. Dissent did mobilise thousands of people and organise a
large space where our ideas for a future society were realised briefly,
but the actual event, like the gathering reflected the inertia of summit
hoppers to see forward to what could actually be achieved. What is
Dissent? What does it represent? It was difficult for people to solidify
an answer to those questions. Language is a scary thing for some
people and there was a fear of "restricting ourselves with labels". The
idea of Dissent focusing its attention where it matters, namely on the
day-today struggle for working people was an idea accepted but
forgotten in place of spectacles like DSEI.

The Anarchist Federation believes that moving out of the lifestyle
ghetto and into our communities is how we can build alternatives.
Dissent is meeting again in October and the point of community
action will be raised again.

24th ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR

Saturday 22nd October 2005
at
The Resource Centre,
365 Holloway Road, London N7.
10 till 6.

More details from Anarchist Bookfair website

THE VERY FIRST Anarchist Bookfair was in 1983. It's happened
every year since, getting bigger and better each time. This coming one
is the 24th Anarchist Bookfair and it is the largest and most important
regular gathering of Anarchists in the world. It reflects the full range of
Anarchist groups, publishers and activity. Alongside the day length
Bookfair, where you can get the latest books, pamphlets, magazines
and all the other stuff, there are continual meetings and discussions on
all aspects of anarchist activity. These are open to all. Through the day
there is a professionally run creche and hot food.

The venue is on the Holloway Road in North London. It's just a
couple of hundred metres from the Holloway Road tube station and is
a convenient location. The Bookfair has moved because they needed a
bigger space.

The Anarchist Federation will be there, so if you want to meet us, this
is an excellent opportunity.

Who produced this?
THIS issue of Resistance has been edited and produced by members
of Manchester Anarchist Federation.
Email: manchester@af-north.org
Website: www.af-north.org

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