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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation (AF) Hereford have just produced a new local bulletin: The Black Apple Press #1

Date Sun, 06 Aug 2006 21:38:07 +0300

For working class self-organisation and social revolution. Produced in Hereford,
by the Anarchist Federation. Issue No.1, August 2006.
> Shafted & Abused
It is estimated that between 4,000 - 6,000 migrant workers, mainly from east Europe,
come to Herefordshire every year to work for S&A Produce, at their sites in Marden
and Brierley. Many of these workers are university students in their home countries
and come to the UK for the summer months to help with the harvest of strawberries that
supply 1/3 of shops in the UK, including Tesco and Sainsburys.
S&A's strawberries were recently chosen for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations
at Buckingham Palace. And just as the Monarchy has been responsible for the violence
and exploitation against many foreign peoples throughout the British Empire, so S&A
are responsible for the abuse and sickening conditions of its European workers.
This year the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) has collected
evidence from the workers themselves of
the conditions they face, including:
- Workers employed for shifts of up to 14
hours a day, with less than 30 minutes
break per day;
- Charges for accessing basic health
services, for example, a £50 fee for `hospital
- Charge of £300, paid by each worker, to
work at Brook Farm;
- Frequent breaches of their contracts, for
example, normal work is 6 or 7 days a week,
even though their contracts say they should
normally work 5 days;
- 6 to 10 people sharing caravans with poor
standards of safety and hygiene, with
problems of electricity and water supplies;
- Serious mistreatment of workers including
examples of workers needing urgent
medical care yet being denied it or told they
will be charged a fee.
But this is nothing new. During mid-August
2005, more than 400 east European
strawberry pickers went on unofficial strike
and blocked roads at the Brierley farm in
protest over their conditions. They had told
the Hereford Times that S&A Produce were
unwilling to listen to their concerns or take
them seriously. Lilja*, a 20-year-old Russian
worker, told the paper that colleagues were
working 12-hour days, seven days a week.
She said the average weekly wage was
£100 and that S&A Produce deducted more
than £30 from this wage packet to pay for
renting a caravan, which was shared with
five other workers.
Another striker, Mikolej*, aged 20 from
Belarus, summed up the pickers' thoughts:
"What we are told in our home countries is
very different from the reality here."
Back in 2004, InSITE e-magazine,
interviewed Volodja*, a 21-year old
Ukrainian who came to the UK to work at
S&A Produce farms in Kent and
Herefordshire. Like Lilja and Mikolej, he
described how he worked an average
twelve-hour day, six days a week, picking
strawberries inside the polythene covered
tunnels during the summer heat. Volodja did
not receive over-time pay or sick pay and
only received wages based on how many
boxes he filled - not like the hourly wage
workers usually receive in the UK. There
were times, he said, that fruit pickers were
only earning around £25 a week.
This is exploitation of the highest
order, and despite all the
evidence, the farm's directors
claim it is all lies. S&A Produce
are now better known for their
abuse and mistreatment of their
workers than they are for their
strawberries. The appalling
conditions that they work under
must end and S&A's profits
must be hit hard.
Nothing is ever achieved by the
submission of the workers and
this is a case in point. If we are
to see any meaningful
improvement in this situation it
will only come about by the self-
organisation of the workers
themselves. Only with their
collective action and by our
solidarity will anything by
Whilst the T&G are busy
negotiating with Tesco and
Sainsburys to find a way out, the
workers must take their own
action. British natives will need
no reminding that at the decisive
moment the unions will sell-out
the workers; a case of one step
forward, two steps back.
T esco and Sainsburys are
both fully aware of the
conditions of these workers, but
continue to buy their
strawberries from S&A Produce.
Because of this we are calling
for a boycott of these
supermarkets. Where possible,
buy other locally grown
strawberries from on farms not
owned by S&A. Better still, visit
a `pick your own'.
*Names have been changed.
For working class
self-organisation and
social revolution
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 move-
ment and are affiliated to the
International of Anarchist
The Anarchist Federation has
members across Britain and
Ireland fighting for the kind of
world outlined above.
If you're interesting in joining
contact us at:
Anarchist Federation,
London, WC1N 3XX.
Email: info@afed.org.uk
Also visit: www.afed.org.uk
and www.iaf-ifa.org
Against ID cards
The Anarchist Federation is
involved in the fight against ID
cards and the National Identity
Register. The case against ID
cards can be read in our newly
revised pamphlet `Defending
Anonymity. Copies are
available free from the address
above or from our website.
Six hundred new jobs? Woopydoo!
"Hereford is being transformed into a top class
haven for shoppers... and almost 600 new jobs
being created in the process," shouted the Here-
ford Journal, at the end of July. Woopydoo! Six
hundred new jobs working in shops, what did we
do to deserve this pleasure?!
The traditional manufacturing industries are dy-
ing out in Britain, and replacing them are public
service jobs in places like shops and superstores,
call centres and office buildings. Once the princi-
pal trading centre in this great agricultural county,
Hereford has now been transformed in to yet an-
other `clone town', where all the shops are the
same as the next city, all selling the same things.
And in every shop are the same have-a-nice-day
workers with their mile-wide grins, always mak-
ing sure the customer is happy. In this society,
the customer is King. But if there was ever an in-
dustry to send your GCSEs and A-Levels down
the drain and put you in a permanent state of bore-
dom to boot, well, it's the service industry.
But stop there! Whilst the jobs in the service in-
dustry may be some of the dullest and most un-
satisfying there are, we are certainly in no posi-
tion to defend the manufacturing industries as en-
joyable and rewarding work. Workers in this in-
dustry are still exploited, and frequently have much
more dangerous conditions than those of the shop
or office. It is, however, socially useful work: the
jobs of the farmer and the founder (etc.) are
needed and actually serve a purpose for society.
The jobs of the checkout and call centre workers
do not. So when Cynthia Spaull, Hereford City
Manager says that "Asda will create a lot of part-
time jobs and that is exactly what this city needs,"
we have to disagree.
In fact, part-time work is exactly not what this city,
or any other, needs. Because unless you're do-
ing it for a bit of pocket money, the part-time worker
will have to have a minimum of two jobs just to
keep their heads above water. For the unemployed
people desperately looking for work, a part-time
job may give some relief and provide a steady in-
come, but 20 hours a week isn't enough. What
unemployed people need are full-time jobs.
But full-time work isn't what we're calling for ei-
ther. All work in our present day capitalist society
is based on the exploitation of the workers for the
benefit of the bosses. And when we say all work,
we mean it: full-time or part-time, permanent or
temporary, service or manufacturing industry, day
or night work. Businesses are run to make money
for the owners and shareholders, not to throw
some poor, penniless workers a lifeline. And the
way to make money is to keep the costs low and
by squeezing the most from the resources. So in
everyday terms that means keeping wages low
and making the staff work as hard as you can
make them. Instead of all of this, anarchists would
like to see a world where the need to work (be-
cause of the constant threat of poverty) is ended.
And we'd like to see money abolished too. Instead
we would put our labour to better use, only work-
ing on things that were important and socially use-
ful, and living by the motto `from each according
to his ability, to each according to his needs'.
Demonstrators' persecution at the hands of West Mercia Police
Thirteen animal rights activists have been arrested
for allegedly being part of a campaign against
Sequani, an animal testing laboratory in Ledbury.
The activists were arrested under the Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) for
shouting slogans, holding banners and handing
out leaflets, part of a decades-old campaign
against animal testing; hardly a threat to society.
The only violent incident occurred, however, when
male security guards threw female protestors into
oncoming traffic.
The peaceful protesters, none of whom had com-
mitted a crime, had their doors kicked in by police
who took books, computers, miscellaneous
household items, phones, bank statements and
more. They were arrested, questioned on their
political views and accused of `conspiracy'. In ad-
dition, the National Extremism Tactical Coordina-
tion Unit (NECTU) publicly accused protestors of
being `extremists'.
Despite the extreme police action not one person
has been charged - astonishing as legally the
police need "evidence" in order to persuade a
magistrate to give them warrants. It would appear
that the police arrested people under very dubi-
ous circumstances and may well have behaved
West Mercia police have continually tried to crack
down on all animal rights protests in the area,
whilst virtually ignoring crimes against animals and
protesters. They have failed miserably to enforce
the Hunting Act 2004. Crimes concerning the
gross abuse of dogs go unsolved and
Herefordshire's badger baiters can enjoy their per-
verted activities unchallenged. This hypocritical
policy of West Mercia police to crush dissent must
be resisted every step of the way.
In the past, countless people have died, faced tor-
ture and imprisonment so that we could have the
legal right to protest. All these supposed `animal
rights extremists' want is to exercise this right and
to stand with banners by the side of the road, dem-
onstrating against the horrors of vivisection with-
out the threat of prosecution.
See www.vivisection.info/netcu_watch for more
Past the chain stores, then turn right towards the Wrong Solution
H erefordshire Council will try to build a
Rotherwas Access Road under its own steam
after spiralling costs lead central government to
refuse funding for a third time. It is questionable
why the council is so determined to continue with
a scheme of doubtful benefit to local people. The
local Chamber of Commerce has claimed that the
road will "benefit the local economy as it would
allow businesses to expand and attract busi-
nesses to the estate". This is of course exactly
what we want - more big business moving in and
turning Hereford into yet another clone town!
Hereford is already faced with the prospect of lo-
cal cafés closing due to competition form
Starbucks and Costa and a Caffé Nero on its way.
Waterstones has a virtual monopoly of book sales,
not to mention the almost complete Asda store,
complementing the city's seven other supermar-
kets. Is this really a trend we want to encourage?
Of course, as anyone in Herefordshire can tell you,
traffic is a problem. But is a new road really a so-
lution? If it does encourage new industry the roads
will quickly fill up with delivery trucks and we will
be back to square one! Rather than bumbling
around with quick fix schemes, wouldn't it be bet-
ter to try to strengthen local public transport? A
bus can carry around 30 people in the space to
two cars, and uses a lot less fuel. But at the mo-
ment we don't have nearly enough bus services,
and many of the existing ones are unreliable and
overpriced ­ unsurprising considering the bus com-
panies are run to make money.
The city needs better bus services, combined with
real cycle routes, as opposed to the pathetic bit of
paint they sometimes put on the sides of roads,
offering no protection whatsoever! This would be
a sensible way of reducing traffic, especially con-
sidering the increasing threat of global warming.
And of course, there is the question of how the
council will pay for new road. Perhaps they will
sell off more public buildings on the sly, as is fast
becoming their habit whenever they are strapped
for cash. Not that they will bother to ask us whether
we want our public property sold off.
We can moan about the antics of politicians
as much as we like, but the fact is these
problems will continue as long as the council con-
trols all decision making. We don't need better
leaders, we need no leaders at all! After all, it's a
poor man's democracy when we give power away
to a handful of councillors rather than making our
own decisions as a community.
The solution is to get together in our communities
and start neighbourhood assemblies ­ public, face-
to-face meetings in every neighbourhood, town
and village. Then ordinary people could make their
own decisions without politicians or representa-
tives - direct democracy!
The great thing about this idea is that we can start
doing it right now! There are already community
associations in many areas all over the county.
These could act as embryonic forms of direct de-
mocracy. Why not send word to your neighbours,
and hold an open meeting in your neighbourhood
tomorrow? If we are tired of complaining about
the council, we can organise to make them irrel-
evant, get rid of them altogether and take matters
into our own hands.
I've seen that somewhere before
We publish an abridged article
from Rebel Bull (November
2002). Rebel Bull was the
bulletin of the Herefordshire
Anarchist Group, now defunct,
providing bold comment on
local issues.
"A two mile access road from
the A49 (southbound) to the
Rotherwas industrial estate has
been proposed, costing up to a
ridiculous £20million; certainly
enough to drastically improve
public transport facilities in the
county. And will it ease the
traffic in and around Hereford?
No. The plans for the road
suggest that the only thing to
flow more easily will be
Capitalism: "An industrial
estate should have a decent
road and we do have to allow
industry to thrive," says Phil
Collins, whose company
recently took over Thorn
"The new road will also bring
hundreds of new homes with it,
meaning lots of extra vehicles
through the city. But what the
council have also failed to
recognise is that most vehicles
on our roads travel at rush
hours when people are going
to and from work and school,
within the city. These problems
need addressing desperately
and providing a new `access
road` for a business park won't
do much to change that."
ID scheme on the rocks
Senior Whitehall officials have
said the multi-billion pound
scheme for compulsory ID cards
and the National Identity Regis-
ter (NIR) could take years to in-
troduce and is likely to end in
failure. Officials responsible for
ID in the Home Office are pre-
paring for the project to be
'canned completely'.
We can rejoice that a damning
verdict from those closest to the
plan should help undermine
Labour's attempts to win support
for ID cards. But let's not get
complacent, as even if the na-
tional register was scrapped
completely, other developments
in passports are carrying on re-
gardless. The UK 'Identity and
Passport service' will still be
gathering more invasive biomet-
rics in the near future. They are
already taking facial dimentions
info from photos, and passports
are likely to be made compulsory
by the EU.
A cut-down NIR obtained from
passport or driving licence appli-
cations would still give the State
a considerable increase in power
that will enable them to stop and
check our details and track
people across borders. For mi-
grant workers, the need to carry
a passport would allow for fur-
ther check-ups and other
harrassment within the UK.
We need to keep up the pressure
and refuse identity cards and
database developments of any
kind. Whatever happens to the
scheme, we need to continue to
build up our anti-ID campaigning
and make sure the State realises
the level of hatred for ID!
Infopoint - "Freedom without socialism is privilege.
Socialism without freedom is tyranny
Anarchism aims to create a society
without hierarchical authority. That means
no divisions between rulers and ruled,
workers and bosses, leaders and
followers, order givers and order takers. It
means decisions are made directly by
those affected by them, not by authorities.
Anarchists seek freedom for all. Everyone
should be free to determine their own
destinies, limited only be the equal
freedom of others. This freedom should
be a real, actual possibility, not an
abstract right.
Anarchists are opposed to patriarchy and
to racism. A free society will not exist
while women face fear, discrimination and
dependence on men. Neither will it exist
where people are judged because of the
colour of their skin. Discrimination treats
people as representatives of a
stereotyped group, rather than free,
unique individuals.
Anarchists are not opposed to
organisation. Anarchy is about
organisation. It is about voluntary co-
operation between equals. We are
opposed, however, to organisations
based on authority and hierarchy.
Anarchists believe in the necessity of
`direct democracy'. Rather than taking the
management of their own affairs away
from people and putting it in the hands of
others, anarchists favour organisations
which minimise authority, keeping power
in the hands of those who are affected by
any decisions reached. Instead of
electing politicians to rule us, we can
make our own decisions through face-to-
face neighbourhood and workplace
assemblies and voluntary confederations.
Anarchists seek the destruction of the
State. The State centralises decision
making power into the hands of a few,
giving them the power to use violence to
enforce their will. It separates society into
rulers and ruled, and robs us of the
freedom to control over their own lives.
We will not be free while the State exists.
Anarchists seek an end to private
property and state property. Of course,
we recognise everyone has a right to
personal possessions ­ we don't want to
make our toothbrushes common property!
Private property means the monopoly of
wealth, the right to prevent others using it,
whether you are using it or not. Property
creates an authoritarian relationship
between those who own the means of life,
and those who use them but do not own
them. We think that land should be
managed by those who occupy or
cultivate it. Houses should be managed
by those who live in them, without having
to grovel to landlords or local
governments. Workplaces should be
managed by those who work there, under
the guidance of the wider community. In
short, "property" should be controlled by
those who use it or are affected by its
use. No one should "own" (i.e. control)
land, housing and productive tools that
they are not personally using ­ whether
they are "private individuals" or
government officials.
Anarchists are socialists. But we are
libertarian socialists For us, socialism
means management of production by the
workers themselves, not owners, bosses
or government bureaucrats. Workplaces
should not be controlled by private
owners or by the state, but by those who
do the work and by those people that are
effected by the work. We should manage
our workplaces without bosses, through
workers councils - face-to-face meetings
of the whole workforce in every factory,
office or farm. These would collectively
make all "management" decisions on a
basis of one-worker-one-vote.
Anarchists take action in the here and
now. We don't vote; we organise! We
have as much freedom as we are willing
to take. Only by taking direct action to
change the world can a libertarian society
be achieved. Anarchists are busy
organising in their workplaces and
communities, spreading our ideas and
leading by example. We work to create
the facts of the future, today, planting
libertarian institutions like seeds within
our authoritarian society.
The Anarchist Federation (AF)
is "an organisation of class
struggle anarchists aiming to
abolish capitalism and all
oppression to create a free and
equal society. This is anarchist
They push for the self-
organisation of the working
class and social revolution as
"only the direct action of the
working class people can
defeat and ultimately overthrow
capitalism." To achieve this,
organisation is vital.
The AF is the leading anarchist
communist organisation in
these isles and is a member of
the International of Anarchist
Federations (IAF).
PO Box 1158
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE99 4XL
The Industrial Workers of the
World (IWW) is an international
revolutionary DIY union. From
the preamble to their
"The working class and
employing class have nothing
in common. There can be no
peace so long as hunger and
want are found among millions
of the working people and the
few, who make up the
employing class, have all the
good things in life.
Between these two classes a
struggle must go on until the
workers of the world organise
as a class, take production of
the means of production,
abolish the wage system and
live in harmony with the earth."
Libcom.org is a libertarian
communist website promoting
anarchist ideas in the British
Isles. They provide an
excellent source of information
and make the ideal starting
place for those web-inclined
people wanting to find out
Libcom also provide an up-to-
date directory of anarchist and
libertarian groups across the
British Isles.
For discussions on the ideas of
anarchism, visit their lively
forum pages.
AK Press
PO Box 12766
AK Press is a radical book
publisher based in Scotland
and California and have
published many books on
anarchism, from its ideas and
thought to studies of its
movements throughout the
world and much more.
Besides books, AK Press sell a
variety of audio and visual
material, clothing and
They have an online catalogue
where all their stock, on a wide
variety of subjects, can be
browsed and purchased.
AK Press can prove invaluable
to those searching for the real
meaning of anarchism.
The Black Apple, Issue No.1, August 2006. Published by
AF-IAF Hereford, c/o BM ANARFED, London, WC1N 3XX.
hereford@afed.cjb.net | www.afed.org.uk - www.iaf-ifa.org
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