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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation (AF) bulletin - resistance Issue #83 - April 2006

Date Mon, 17 Apr 2006 20:40:20 +0300


FIGHTING FOR THEIR FUTURE
On the 16th January 2006, The French Prime Minister Villepin
announced the creation of a new work contract, the Contrat Première
Embauche (CPE). This contract allows an employer to sack someone
without giving a reason during the first 24 months of employment,
installing a difference in the rights of those workers under 26 and
others. The CPE also allows an employer to break a contract and to
propose an identical contract to the same person, which would
increase the temporary nature of employment. This increases the
difficulty for young people to find housing and to put in place a new
competition between workers with old-style contracts, who are often
better protected, and those on the CPE. The contract is an attempt to
spread the precarity of work and to incorporate it into employment
legislation, without doing anything about the problems of young
people. It follows recent government measures like the lowering of
the age of apprenticeship, and the Contrat Nouvelle Embauche (CNE)
which institutes a period of 2 years before a steady employment.
Already this contract is stopping people striking, taking sick or
maternity leave.

Anti-CPE feelings led to a national day of demonstrations on 7th
February and strikes in workplaces and colleges. The government had
the CPE adopted by parliamentary majority on the 10th February. The
demonstrations continued and universities were occupied. On the 7th
march, a new day of action mobilised just under a million people. The
9th March, Parliament definitively approved the CPE. Strikes
multiplied in education, in support of the students, and the unrest
spread to the high schools with occupations across the country. On
16th March, there was a new national student mobilisation, this time
with a strong involvement of high school students. Incidents broke
out in response to the government's failure to revise its position,
or against the extreme right wing commandos which attempted
to "liberate the universities from the leftists" with arms. The 18th
March, more than one million marched throughout France, sixty
faculties were occupied or closed. As we go to press all the union
and student bodies have called a new day of action on 28th March. In
the meantime, the student strike coordinations and the high school
and university organisations have called for a general strike and the
blockade of the high schools and universities.

This movement carries on from a general discontent throughout France.
On 4th October 2005, strikes and demonstrations took place against
casualisation and for the maintenance of public services.A few weeks
later, the young people of the suburbs confronted the authorities in
the streets. And now it's the students who are drawing in workers.
Demands have grown: the demos and mass student meetings are now
making the link between casualisation in general where the effects of
repression have affected the young people of the banlieues in 2005.
The students are very protective of their independence. They are
suspicious of political and union organisations and have created
their own national coordination. They are right - the movement of
protest against the CPE is very much controlled through the unions by
politicians of the left and extreme left. The objective of these
union representatives of the left parties is to steer public opinion
(68% opposed to the CPE!) against the government, in the run up to
the 2007 elections. A hardening of the movement is supported by a
section of public opinion. First by the students who have been in
struggle for five weeks and then by a growing number of people who do
not understand the refusal of Villepin to withdraw the project. The
government refuses to back down and now a social war has been
engaged. Victory is necessary against the CPE, but also because if it
is not won, a new period of deep discouragement will once again take
hold.

As always in struggles which last more than a few days, collective
consciousness ripens quickly; political contradictions appear, the
apprenticeship of direct democracy, collective and self-organised
practices, the assertion of autonomy, debates on the profiteers and
the victims of short-term work flourish. A new generation is in the
course of politicising itself .

For the moment, anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists are present, as
far as they are capable, in this vast movement. They push for and
participate in the creation of and communication between mass
meetings, in the self-organisation and independence of struggles, to
raise awareness of an unlimited general strike and to participate in
the demonstrations with their own ideas: general strike against
capitalism which exploits and the State which spies and represses,
and self-organisation of the means of production, of distribution and
education! Daniel (militant of the Federation Anarchiste, France and
Belgium)

Belarusian brutality

Opposition protesters in Belarus are facing massive state repression
and brutality after allegations that last month's presidential
elections had been rigged. Protesters had been camping out in the
capital city, Minsk, for a week at the end of March when their camp
was violently broken up by riot police.

As we go to press, demonstrations of thousands of people, including
many anarchists, against the vicious and violent reaction from the
state have since become a regular occurrence. What we publish below
are two unedited reports from protesters themselves.

"Minsk, Belarus. All 460 participants of the October Square tent camp
were arrested on the night of March 24th. Before that, in Minsk alone
500 more activists were detained, both during the presidential
election campaign and during the protests on the October Square on
March 19th-23rd. Overall in Belarus, the number of arrests reaches
several thousand. "The population of the country is under an
information blockade: the state media don't cover what's going on, or
seriously misrepresent it, resorting even to outright and obvious
lies.

"People are intimidated everywhere. In universities, students are
directly warned about punishments for participation in protests.
After being absent from classes students have to prove that they
weren't at the square. All student participants are immediately
expelled, a curfew is introduced in dormitories. Students that were
barely noticed around the tent camp had to write explanations. Many
students were expelled without any official explanation.

"Workers of state enterprises are also under constant pressure. Minsk
is flooded by undercover cops who `react' to any `unsanctioned'
action, which last week included even carrying any food to or around
the October square.
"Production of sentences by courts is fully automated; many people
get charged with `minor hooliganism' even though the only ones who
acted disorderly on the square where undercover officers themselves."
"After the meeting a part of protesters began to move towards the
prison where arrested people are held. The idea of the rally was to
provide support for the arrested and to demand the possibility to
pass food and clothes to them. Some hours before the prison guards
were strengthened, snipers were placed on roofs.
"The way of the peaceful demonstration was met with lines of soldiers
in riot equipment. After people had stopped moving, explosions
(presumably gas or noise grenades) sounded at the forefront and
special troops went on the offensive. Some people fell, armoured
soldiers stepped on their bodies. Other demonstrators started to run:
they were being caught up, severely beaten and arrested. Two or three
persons were lying on the ground without consciousness. One of them
was in extremely grave condition and therefore thought to have been
killed. As it was known later, he is alive, but doctors of hospital
refuse to give any additional information."
"After beating and dispersal more than one hundred person were
arrested and loaded into armoured lorries. According to an
eyewitness, the police had never made such slaughter before."

The Belarusian Anarchist Federation are calling for international
solidarity. Please email the Belarusian Embassy (uk@belembassy.org)
to protest the brutal treatment of the protesters. Organise pickets
of embassies, consulates and airlines.
More information can be found at http://belarus.indymedia.org

On the frontline

The 28th March saw the largest single industrial action since the
general strike of 1926. Over a million public sector workers staged a
one day strike in anger at the government fiddling with the current
pension plans and attempts to impose a blanket `work till you're 65'
rule. The changes will directly affect two million workers. There is
a large potential for this to develop into a real challenge to the
government but only if it can escape from the official unions
control - currently Unison, the TGWU and the GMB have the issue
firmly under control and are damping down any enthusiasm for wider
more militant action, preferring instead to just vaguely thread
another 24 stoppage in the run up to the may local elections - they
don't want to embarrass their Labour Party co-workers on the `other'
side of the battle.

The situation is ripe right now for workers to set up and run their
own `defend the social wage' committees - the attack on pensions and
other hard won rights is not limited to public sector workers, it's
happening across the whole of society as more companies are jumping
on the bandwagon after being given the green light by the government -
this week alone BA , Harrods and Rentokil announced major changes to
their pension schemes that significantly damage the workers. These
people should be involved in this dispute - not hived off under the
control of the separate union bureaucracy - networks and contacts
need to be set up now, not when the unions want to put on a left-wing
pose to regain credibility. Lecturers were also out on one day strike
this month in their long running pay dispute. Thousands walked out
forcing the cancellation of lectures and seminars all over the UK.
Lecturers pay has dropped by 40% over the last 20 years. Over the
same period college managers pay has increased by a similar amount.

Job Centre staff are on the verge of a national strike as well
following massive cuts on staffing levels. Fifteen thousand jobs have
already been lost as part of a plan to lose over 30,000 in total.
Staff workload has increased massively leading to a level of service
that a select committee described as "truly appalling". Family
supermarket chain Asda were found guilty this month of attempting to
bribe workers not join a union. It was ordered to pay £850,000 to
around 400 workers.

Asylum seekers get tagged

All asylum seekers arriving in the UK who are not held in detention
centres are to be tagged, announced Labour's immigration minister,
Tony McNolty, last month.

The government hope that the scheme, which was piloted in Liverpool
and Croydon last December, will make it easier to deport failed
asylum seekers back to their countries of origin.

Refugees arriving into this country as a result of war, poverty and
environmental ruin already face treatment from the hands of the
British state of the same kind as a criminal. Those who seek asylum
are frequently sent to detention centres around the UK where they are
locked up and treated like prisoners. Asylum seekers who aren't
detained are now to be tagged allowing the state to keep a check on
their every movement. Tagging has now become a common method of
monitoring criminals who have actually been convicted of various
crimes and not just those who have fled war or famine in search of a
better life in a country like ours that is seen by many foreign
peoples as a haven of freedom and democracy. Indeed, Britain is a
signatory of the Declaration of Human Rights which states that all
citizens of the world should enjoy the freedom to move to and within
any country they choose. The UK has also signed up to the European
Convention on Human Rights. But in practice, governments operate in
very different ways. They say that all citizens of the world are
welcome in their countries and can seek shelter here in time of
crises yet do their very best to limit how many people can actually
get in to the country.

The British government has also announced plans to bar low-skilled
workers from entering the UK. A new system, which comes into place
from mid 2007, means that immigrants from non-EU countries will have
to gain `points' based on work experience, qualifications and
language skills. Those who fail to pass this test will be denied
entry.

We can be in no doubt that it is not personal need that determines a
person movements across the globe, instead it is the interests of
capitalism that decide where a person can live. Those people who look
like they can't make profit for the boss will be tossed back on the
scrap heap and deported back home to their droughts, civil wars and
poverty.

BAE systems - merchants of death

BAE Systems weapons and armaments factory at Glascoed USK (Gwent,
Wales) have opened up a new Education Centre. The target? Primary
school children, who will, according to Steve Rowbotham (Managing
Director Land Systems) be provided with "a unique learning
opportunity to bring the subject of World War II to life".

The hypocrisy is obvious and really sickening! We have a producer of
weapons of mass destruction that maim and kill thousands of men,
women and children throughout the world for profit, having the
obscene gall to invite children to their death factory to show them a
war exhibition! Where we are informed they can play at trying on gas
masks and "learn about what life was like" e.g. all about rationing
etc.

We doubt if they will be told about how armament companies promote
war and mass murder by selling weapons to anyone who wants them
regardless of the consequences. We doubt primary school children will
be shown the carnage and the slaughter of war! Nor told that BAE
Systems for example supplied the armaments such as cluster bombs and
depleted uranium shells that were used in the illegal "blood for oil"
war on Iraq! Making lots of money for corporate capitalist killers
comes before the people of Iraq who are killed and ripped apart for
private profit. We wonder if Career Wales, Newport City Council
Advisory and Don Touhig MP (Minister for Defence and Veterans) who
fully support the Education Centre could get together with BAE
Systems to open up a similar facility in Iraq to teach children the
benefits of being victims of war? ("Shock and Awe" bombing works
wonders on local communities and will, no doubt, give them
an "educational experience"!)

Or maybe, part of the "war experience" for the pre-pubescent children
of Gwent would be to take them on a school holiday to Iraq? No doubt
Steve Rowbotham and Don Touhig could explain how a career as an
engineer at BAE Systems making weapons of mass destruction will "pull
out all the sops to challenge outdated perceptions of engineering
being all grim and grimy"?

Perhaps the Schools Challenge will design an emergency vehicle
project that will come up with an ambulance that has the capability
to hoover up children's body parts?

But, hey, why let the bloody gore of war get in the way of the
militarization of our young children's minds!

"Want 2C some cool" results of an engineering career with BAE
Systems. Parents and teachers log onto: www.robert-
fisk.com/iraqwarvictims or to find out more about BAE Systems
corporate crimes check out
http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=185 or
http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/arms/clusterv04052.htm or
http://www.caat.org.uk/press/recent.php?url=221205prs
Children should be told the truth instead of the spin of BAE
Systems "education" programme!

Bird flu scare

Bird flu is the latest in a line of global health scares. What's
happening, why and how should we react?

Bird flu (HNS1) started in poultry kept in insanitary conditions in
SE Asia. Close links with poultry have led to some people being
infected. Increasingly rapid environmental changes are a major factor
in the proliferation of diseases: HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, Ebola,
SARS, BSE and Lyme Disease, which are emerging and crossing more
easily to people due to human activities such as roadbuilding, the
mass movement of people to cities and increasing air travel.

Globalisation has spread intensified, industrial agriculture
worldwide. Global livestock has increased 38% since 1961 to 4 billion
animals (17 billion poultry, 2 billion pigs). Many of these animals
are kept in factory farms- animal concentration camps where they are
fed each other, and pumped full of drugs all solely to maximize
profits. Throw in the global transportation of animals and ever
increasing air travel, with the trade in wildlife and you have a
lethal cocktail.

Because people share many pathogens with animals, humans impact on
driving animal diseases in turn increasingly threatens public health.
Intrusions into the world's areas of high biodiversity (a large
variety of plant and animal species) such as rainforests disturbs
biological reservoirs and exposes people to new forms of infectious
diseases. There is no evidence of human infections from wild birds
which have been demonized in the interests of agribusiness.
Politicians in Russia and Iran have called for hunters to wipe out
incoming migratory birds, and some governments in Asia and the Middle
East have begun reviving plans to drain wetlands, using bird flu as a
convenient and false excuse for their money making schemes.

Solutions
Keeping forests and other ecosystems intact would be the best
protection for humanity against new diseases. Biodiversity dilutes
the pool of virus targets and hosts, reducing their impact on people,
and providing a form of global health insurance.

Stopping factory farming and the transportation of livestock and
poultry, together with the trade and transportation of wildlife. All
of this will be achieved through concerted social action, but we can
also act to conserve our local green patches for the enjoyment of
ourselves and our children and as a real insurance policy. Where
possible we can also minimize or replace air travel and grow and buy
locally produced food to minimize air and road miles.

A letter to the Welsh Assembly

Make no mistake, the new £67 million Welsh Assembly (Senedd) is a
symbol of oppression and subjugation for the people of Wales. The
stupidity of voting Assembly Ministers into power is obvious when we
realize by doing so we reduce ourselves to mere spectators in the
political process.

Anarchists advocate and work for direct democracy as opposed to so
called representative (parliamentary) democracy. Direct democracy is
based on delegation not representation. The crucial difference is
that, with direct democracy, delegates are elected temporarily to
implement specific decisions previously made by an assembly of people
in the community and workplace.

Delegates (unlike career party politicians) can be immediately
recalled and dismissed from their mandate if they do not carry out
the specific function allotted to them.

Also, how can you have democracy when the question of who owns and
controls the means of production, distribution and wealth does not
come into the equation? Workers must meekly accept the tyrannical and
authoritarian structure of corporate capitalism. There is no
democracy in the workplace, period!

In direct democracy the oppressive system of exploitation through
wage slavery will be abolished with production (work) controlled and
I daresay redefined by federated communities on the basis of need not
greed in total empathy with the environment.

That the Senedd was opened by a member of an outdated,
unrepresentative aristocracy really is hilarious! An historic day for
Wales? Certainly but not one to celebrate by the working class.

Originally published as an open letter to the Welsh Assembly from the
Anarchist Federation (Wales) in the South Wales Argus.

Inside information

Turkish anti-militarist released!
Anarchist, gay, conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was released
March 9th, following the decision of the Military Criminal Court of
Cassation located in Ankara. Mehmet has been in Sivas military prison
since April 2005 and was sentenced to four years of imprisonment by
the local military court. After the decision of the upper court
calling for his release, he has taken to the local recruitment center
and later in the evening he has been relased from there.

Mehmet Tarhan's struggle is widely supported by anti-authoritarians,
anarchists, gays lesbians and anti-militarists in Turkey and
worldwide. Lots of campaigns has been organized in more than 15
countries including a day of international solidarity with Mehmet.

Support Tomasz Wilkoszewski!
Tomasz Wilkoszewski, anti-fascist prisoner from Poland will soon have
his parole board. His hearing should take place at some point of
April. Tomek spent already 10 years in prison out of his 15 years
sentence. Now his support campaign is growing bigger and bigger.
Recently there was a leak of information from prosecution office to
the media and in local newspaper printed an article about him, in
which prosecutor admits that there has been mistake in Tomeks case
and he shouldn't be that long in prison.

Please keep sending petitions and letters to authorities. Please
support him by sending the letter (in Polish with English translation
below) available at http://www.brightonabc.org.uk to the Polish
authorities responsible for his case...
Tomek would also love to get letters from people, to break the
isolation of prison. Letters and postcards are, as he put it, "his
only window on the world".He can understand some English, but finds
it difficult to write, so don't necessarily expect a reply...His
address is as follows:
Tomek Wilkoszewski, Zaklad Karny, ul. Orzechowa 5, 98-200 Sieradz,
Poland
Information from: http://www.brightonabc.org.uk

Subvert!

April
2nd - "Unauthorized" demo Naming the Dead -Mass Civil Disobedience
against the Occupation of Iraq, demand for reparations, prosecution
of those responsible for war crimes. On the 2nd anniversary of the
April 2004 siege of Fallujah. 12 noon, Parliament Square.
http://www.j-n-v.org
http://www.voicesuk.org or tel. 0845 458 2564

14th -16th - Radio 4A On Air Around Brighton on 101.4 (ish) FM.
http://www.radio4a.org.uk

28th - Workers Memorials Day. Protest outside Canada House besides
Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall East between 9am and 10am in support of
the European wide protest against Canada's promotion of asbestos.
Followed by main event with a March from behind the Tate Modern
Gallery on the South bank at Holland St assembling at 10.30am to
proceed out march at 11am to HSE HQ national offices at Rose Court,
Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 to protest against de-regulation of safety
laws, especially asbestos. We will then march to the Greater London
authority to hold a rally at 12.15pm at the south side of Tower
Bridge, SE1.

29th - Manchester Anarchist Bookfair 12 noon-5.00pm The Basement, 24
Lever Street (off Piccadilly Gardens) central Manchester
manchester@bookfair.org.uk http://www.bookfair.org.uk

Anarchist Federation,

BM Anarfed, London,

WC1N 3XX

Email: info@afed.org.uk

Also visit: http://www.afed.org.uk and http://www.iaf-ifa.org


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