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(en) Britain, Anarchist journal, Class War #90 II. (2/4)

Date Tue, 22 Aug 2006 09:09:00 +0300


Did You Know? ---- That the minimum wage for a British army soldier
serving in Iraq is ?13,866.35 per year, or just ?265 a week. Compare
that to the salary "earned" by the man who sent them to war - Tony
Blair receives ?183,932 per year, a little over ?503 pounds per day.
Banging About Burma --- A Viewpoint from our South East Asian Correspondent
There's not a lot of column inches written about Burma, very few
demonstrations, certainly no one on the left gets the slightest bit
bothered. Yet the sufferings of the many subject peoples of Burma
and the Burmese people themselves eclipse anything suffered by
more fashionable causes -such as the Palestinians or the Tibetans.

Burma was born out of the Second World War. General Aung Sang
formed the Burmese Liberation Army to fight against British
colonialism and allied himself with the Japanese. By 1944 however
he became disillusioned with the Axis cause and his army became
the anti-fascist front and allied itself with British forces and taking
part in the liberation of Rangoon. However in the post war period he
was assassinated by pro-fascists just before independence.

After independence in 1948 Burma pursued a democratic path but
this was rudely disturbed by a military coup in 1962 by a group of
generals styling themselves 'the Burmese Socialist party' thereby
gaining the support of the Soviet Union and western communist
parties. Over the next 16 years a combination of corruption and
incompetence turned South East Asia's richest country into one of
it's poorest. The military dictatorship was absolute, all opposition
banned and ethnic minorities persecuted leading to several groups -
the Shan, Karen and Mon peoples being in armed rebellion. These
people are still subject to torture, imprisonment, murder, dislocation,
rape and forced labour, hundreds of thousands have been murdered
since 1962.

In 1988 the socialist party's leader died and there were free elections,
which were massively taken by Aung Sang's daughter Aung Sang
Kyu. However the military took power again and Aung Sang Kyu
was imprisoned.

The army renamed Burma 'Myanmar' which is viewed by
non-Burmese in Burma as Palestinians might regard the occupied
territories as being named 'Greater Israel'. Burma continues to wage
war against its minorities with impunity. It is protected from the
United Nations wrath by an alliance of world human rights
arch-villains such as Zimbabwe, Syria and China. The generals are
kept economically fed through deals with China (who needs access
to the Indian Ocean) and Thailand, who though nominally a US
client has been ruled on the whim of Tycoon-Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinwatra who made vast personal deals with the Burmese
regime.

Here in Thailand all we can do is help Burmese refugees escape to
Malaysia as they are not safe here - the Thai government will deport
any Burmese back to Burma. Until progressives in the west are
prepared to give the same time to these oppressed people as they do
to the Palestinians and did for the South African majority, world
opinion is unlikely to be influenced. Unfortunately since this offers
little opportunity for Trots and Islington bon-vivants to attack their
great Satan (the United States) this seems unlikely at the moment.

What we can do? Thailand is vulnerable to Western pressure due to
its reliance on tourism. Forcing Thailand to start putting sanctions
on the Burmese Junta and allowing progressive forces to organize in
Bangkok would be the first step. You might also want to look at the
Burma Campaign UK at http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/.

Tied Up?
The last few months have seen serious political tension in Thailand,
where Prime Minister Thaksin faced repeated accusations of
corruption. Considering he owns most of Thailand, many Thais are
now coming over to the view that he should not be running it as
well!
As recently as 1992 the Thai military interfered in anti-government
demonstrations, killing over 50 demonstrators. Given this the
rumours of a military coup in the country, during both February and
March, were taken seriously despite the size of Thaksin's
parliamentary majority, and his calling of a general election, held on
April 2nd.
All is surely well though in Thailand - as The Nation newspaper
reported in early March that the Royal Thai Police was receiving riot
training in Bangkok - from the Public Order Branch of the
Metropolitan Police. Having caused a fair few riots in their time,
who could do the job better than the Met?

Unlucky for Some!
If you think we have a useless bunch of fucking idiots in our royal
family, thank your lucky stars you are not Malaysian. That poor
country has no less than 13 royal families!
Whether any of the thirteen families has produced a dipstick quite as
useless as Prince Edward, as stupid as Prince Harry, as bigoted as
Prince Phillip or as forlorn as Prince Charles is however pretty hard
to imagine!

Mack the Knife
"We think that there is a claim in civil law and we want to make sure
that the money goes back to the people - miners and their widows -
to whom it properly belongs. We're talking here about some of the
most vulnerable members of our society. What's happened to them
is diabolical."

Labour peer Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, President of Action
Group for Miners. He was discussing the scandal whereby miners
who have received compensation for health problems as a result of
their profession, see some of that money siphoned off in legal fees.
For all its fighting talk though Mackenzie's "Action Group" is a
business like any other, earning a fee for each case referred to
solicitors.
Few however are better placed than Lord Mackenzie to spot any
diabolical treatment of miners. As plain old Sergeant Brian
Mackenzie, he led police support units in Easington and Tow Law in
Durham during the miners strike. Durham saw some of the most
bitter violence in the strike, and Mackenzie, in his autobiography
condemned pickets as "bullies who used mob violence". There are
certainly no bullying pickets in Durham today - thanks to the
combined efforts of the police and Margaret Thatcher, Durham has
no coalfields at all.
With friends like Lord Mackenzie, mining communities do not need
enemies!

The Battle of Broadway Market
The following article is taken from the Broadway Market campaign
website
http://34broadwaymarket.omweb.org

Most people in Hackney have heard about the protests going on in
Broadway Market over the last three months. Since November
members of the local community have been occupying Francesca's
Cafe and held many protests and public meetings and generated
nationwide interest in the campaign.

The focus has been on two longstanding businesses which have
been at the mercy of property developers looking to cash in on the
gentrification of Broadway Market - Tony Platia was evicted from
the cafe he has run for 31 years and Lowell 'Spirit' Grant has been
threatened with the same treatment. Tony & Spirit are popular local
figures who ran shops used by local working people who can't afford
to use the new boutiques and upmarket cafes that have sprung up in
Broadway Market. Their situation is the consequence of Hackney
Council's pro-big business policies - over the last decade the council
has been selling off its commercial properties to rich investors at
knock down prices often leaving long term leaseholders in the lurch.
The effects of this can also be seen across South Hackney as former
public buildings suddenly become yuppie flats.

PROTECT BROADWAY MARKET FROM CORRUPT
DEVELOPERS!
WE WANT OUR CAFE NOT YUPPIE FLATS!

WHAT HAPPENED TO 34 BROADWAY MARKET?


Everyone in the area knew Tony Platia, who had run Franscesca's
Caf?from these premises for 30 years. Tony was evicted on 1st July
2005 and had his livelihood destroyed. Tony was part of the local
community and on three previous occasions local people rallied
round to help prevent his eviction by bailiffs but in July, 10 bailiffs
and 50 police turned up to throw him out.

Tony was evicted by Dr Roger Wratten, a property developer who
also owns numbers 2, (previously the site of Little Georgia) 4, 6, 30
& 32 (the former Market House Pub) in Broadway Market and the
land to the rear of numbers 26 - 36, along with many other local
sites.
These include the cleared warehouses at the junction of
Queensbridge & Whiston Roads, where he has now begun work on
building 132 residential units.



Tony is not alone - this has happened time and time again in
Broadway Market - 'Spirit', the proprietor of the shop at number 71
also attempted to buy his property in 2001 but he was also ignored,
his property sold for less than he was offering to pay and he is now
also facing eviction by developers. Similar things are also going on in
Dalston Lane.

Hackney's sell-off of commercial properties was a travesty. The
Estate agents appointed by the Council sold ?225 million worth of
properties for just ?70 million (depriving the people of Hackney of
?150m) and the majority of these went to wealthy off-shore
developer cartels who made an absolute killing at the expense of the
people of Hackney.


WHY OCCUPY THE BUILDING?

Dr Wratten now wants to demolish 34 Broadway Market to make
way for the development of flats. As there are serious questions
about his acquisition of the premises, and his planning permission
we have decided to stop the demolition by occupying the building.
The campaign demands a full investigation into the corrupt property
sales in Hackney, including those in Broadway Market.

Also, the campaign wants to have Tony's Caf?back. While many
locals are pleased to see the street become more active, they also
recognise that many of the new shops and initiatives are not for them
but for wealthy newcomers to an area that has suddenly become
trendy and desirable. Tony's was a place frequented by a broad
cross-section of the community.

What has happened in Broadway Market is part of a general attack
on local people in this area. Many are sick of being treated like 2nd
class citizens, having their local amenities closed (Haggerston Pool),
their estates run down or privatised, their schools demolished and
handed over to big business (Laburnum School), and publicly-owned
property handed to developers for a pittance.
Hackney Council seem to be interested only in the interests of the
well-off and big business.

Most people in Hackney feel pretty disillusioned by mainstream
politics. The dismal turnouts at elections show how far removed the
major parties are from the reality of people's lives.

What has happened in Broadway Market over the last three months
has re-awakened many people's interest in local issues. This is
because events have been led entirely by residents who have had
enough of the empty promises coming from Hackney Town Hall
and taken matters into their own hands.

What has been achieved has demonstrated the power of independent
action. The Occupation of Tony's Caf?captured the imagination of
the press and has been reported in most newspapers in the UK as
well as in many other countries.

The astonishing re-building of the cafe on Boxing Day after the
developer evicted protesters and tore it apart demonstrated the power
of collective action. This defiant act strengthened the resolve of
those involved and made them more confident.

Broadway Market Gentrification - Hackney Says No!
Class War recently spoke to Arthur Shuter, one of the campaigners
in the Broadway Market area, and a candidate for the
anti-gentrification Hackney Independent in the May 2006 council
elections.

Class War: How did you get involved in the campaign?

Arthur Shuter: I was acting for Tony, Spirit and others, mainly in
Broadway Market, and began raising questions with Hackney
Council about how people were being treated. When the answers
were unsatisfactory I made a formal complaint to Hackney Audit &
Anti-Fraud and to the Met. I attended court when Tony and Spirit
were facing eviction and it just snowballed from there.

CW: What has been happening lately with the campaign?

AS: See the website http://34broadwaymarket.omweb.org for latest
updates. Also, there is regular leafleting in Broadway Market itself.

CW: Are local working class people involved?

AS: The most surprising thing about the whole campaign is that a
complete cross-section of the community have been supporting us
from the very beginning. Local working classes were very onside but
showed only limited inclination to get actively involved. Some of the
major support - and donations - have come from the middle and
upper middle classes who use the Saturday market.

CW: What outcome would everyone want especially concerning
Hackney council?

AS: The Scrutiny Committee reported their findings on 20th March
and have recommended that 14 units in Dalston Lane (sold at
auction for a pittance in 2002 to an offshore developer) be taken
back by CPO and that the Council should retain the option to
repurchase 34 and 71 Broadway Market. Talks are underway now
regarding 34.

CW: I went to the meeting at the Church Hall in Hackney when
Deputy Mayor Jessica Crowe got a real pasting, what do you think
Hackney Council's next move will be?

AS: See above!

CW: Some of the other campaigns starting in the area are around the
theatre in Dalston and Spirit's campaign. Is this going to get bigger?

AS: Absolutely. There are plans to keep things going although we
have to be aware of Court actions.

CW: What have the boys in blue's attitude been like towards the
campaign?

AS: Hackney Police do not want to know. The Yard had to draft in
70 old bill from Croydon to evict the occupiers of Tony's cafe on
23rd February. The locals are keen not to get involved in the
Dalston Theatre eviction which is going no where at present.

CW: Has there been any interest from political groups?

AS: Andrew Boff (Conservative!) has been a massive help. He is
also Secretary of Broadway Market Traders & Residents
Association. Other groups have been showing support. Labour are
steering clear of course. Three of the occupants of Tony's Cafe
(including myself) are standing as candidates for Hackney
Independent in Haggerston ward where the Tories have stood down
and asked all their supporters to vote HI.

CW: The dodgy dealings of Hackney's Labour Council were well
exposed in your newsletter - do you think getting this information
out helps the campaign?

AS: People are desperately waiting for updates and weekly
newsletters are now being produced.

CW: What contribution - apart from stacks of cash - can people
make?

AS: Cash is obviously important. But time and energy are equally
valuable. Just being in Broadway Market to help with giving out
leaflets, collection buckets and other various 'shows' which we try to
put on to keep the opposition on their toes is always a big help. HI
have leafleting and canvassing to get on with and are looking for
support on this.

Class War would like to leave the last words to caf?owner Tony
Platia, quoted earlier this year "It's all being killed, all the ordinary
people pushed out. They're taking from the poor and giving to the
rich. Look around you."

You can find out more about Hackney Independent by visiting
http://hackneyindependent.org/

Recycled Rubbish from the Mayor
When not sucking up to Chinese dictators or insulting Jewish
people, Ken Livingstone is officially Labour's Mayor of London.
Over twenty years ago he held the same position as head of old
Greater London Council. The GLC was famed for bombarding
Londoners with newspapers, leaflets and adverts telling people how
good a council they were. Clearly the GLC disagreed with the maxim
that actions speak louder than words!
As London Mayor, Ken Livingstone has continued this trend,
treating Londoners to a regular "free" newspaper, the Londoner,
shoved through their door each month proclaiming how great Ken
Livingstone, and the Greater London Authority is. This publication
is of course not free at all - it is paid for by all Londoners in their
council tax. That people might prefer to have the streets cleaned
more, or have extra buses on their roads, does not occur to "Red"
Ken or his cabal.
Many residents in east London are distinctly lukewarm about
London hosting the 2012 Olympics. How lucky east London has
been can be seen by the fact that Livingstone now sees the need to
produce a special local edition of his rag, imaginatively entitled East
Londoner. This manages to drag out a succession of celebrities (all
long divorced from east London) such as David Beckham and
Barbara Windsor to tell us how excited they are by the proposed
regeneration of the area. Not so excited of course that they wish to
live here again though!
Discussing the long overdue (and much delayed) East London tube
line, we are told by East Londoner, under a heading of "What's In It
For You" that "House prices are also likely to increase". That this is
portrayed as a good thing, in an area of chronic housing shortage, is
a typical Livingston insult. East London needs lots of things - Ken
Livingstone is not one of them.

Silly names
Each issue Class War brings you more evidence that if they appear
good for nothing, the ruling class do at least manage to give us a
laugh!

10. Lieutenant General Sir Reddy Watt. The General Officer
Commanding British Forces, Northern Ireland. No wonder the IRA
called a ceasefire - they were too busy laughing to shoot straight!

9. Lord Frederick Ponsonby of Shulbrede. Another reason to
demolish the House of Lords, prick by prick!

8. Sir Chips Keswick. Director of mining conglomerate De Beers, Sir
Chips is also a Director of Arsenal. Chips is apparently short for
Chippendale. What next, Billy the Fish on the board?

7. Caird Forbes-Cockell. A solicitor with experience in both London
and New York, Mr Forbes-Cockell must be the only person called
Caird in the entire world.

6. Bill Tyrwhitt-Drake. Well we had to have at least one member of
the Countryside Alliance on our list, and who better than this witless
board member!

5. Mrs Biddy Trouton. She was Joint Secretary of the Exmoor
Foxhounds, but now hunting has been banned we are sure this
Biddy is obeying the law, just as she would expect us to??

4. Richard Face. A former Labour Minister in New South Wales,
Dick got into serious trouble in 2004 for misusing his
entitlements?..

3. Randy Bender. As everyone hates estate agents, we can only
assume Randy's parents had a vision of what their son would be
become!

2. Baroness Davina Darcy de Knayth. We doubt Davina had to pay to
get her seat in the House of Lords!

1. Chief Inspector Randy Otter, British Transport Police. We are
sure insults are water off an otter's back to this guy, but really, what
were his parents thinking!

Anti-Fascist Page

Different Faces, Same Shit

Way back in 2002 Class War pointed out the similarities between
BNP leader Nick Griffin and Islamic preacher Abu Hamza, of the
Supporters of Shariah organisation, better known for his time
preaching at (and outside!) Finsbury Park mosque.
For all the outraged votes Hamza's lunatic behaviour brought Griffin
and the BNP, the men actually agreed on far more than they
disagreed. On issues as diverse as trades unions, Jews, women,
socialists, schooling, homosexuality or the media they have far more
in common than not. Yet Class War was virtually alone in pointing
this out. People did not seem to notice that whilst the BNP picketed
Finsbury Park mosque in September 2002, that July Griffin had been
quite happy to share a platform with Hamza at Cambridge
University.
For some members of politically correct left-wing organisations,
even criticising Hamza meant Class War was taking part in a tabloid
witch hunt and siding with racists. Our response to that is simple -
by not criticising Hamza we would be aiding and abetting racists.
Officially the tolerance of the British state was eventually exhausted
by Abu Hamza, and he ended up on trial for incitement to murder.
It is equally likely that Hamza was prosecuted at the behest of the
Americans, or because Britain's spooks had tired of an "agreement",
known as the Covenant of Security, where Islamic fundamentalists
were allowed to live in London in return for them not carrying out
terrorist activities here.
Coincidentally (not) Hamza's trial occurred at the same time that
Nick Griffin was being tried for inciting racial hatred. Hamza, who
appeared even madder at his trial than usual, was jailed for seven
years. The more eloquent Griffin, against whom a much weaker
case existed, was cleared on some charges, but faces a retrial on
others.
All of a sudden it became fashionable to compare the two men.
"Two faces of Hate" announced the March issue of Searchlight,
whilst Respect's Tower Hamlets organiser wrote to the Islamic press
comparing the differing results in the respective trials. Here Respect
are playing their usual double game - appearing to condemn fascism
and fundamentalism, whilst at the same time encouraging Islamic
fundamentalism by saying to Muslims - you are being treated
differently. Did they expect Hamza to be found not guilty for fucks
sake?
The best recruiting sergeant British fascists like Nick Griffin have
had in recent years has been the behaviour of Islamo-fascists like
Abu Hamza (in the UK) and Osama Bin Laden abroad. They are
different sides of the same coin, and most be fought accordingly.
Just for the record, we reproduce part of our 2002 article below:

Nick Griffin
Abu Hamza
Is the leader of a group of bigots
Is the leader of a group of bigots
Lost an eye throwing bullets on a campfire at a fascist conference
Lost an eye fighting for the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan
Is believed to be completely crap at handicrafts
Is known to be completely crap at handicrafts
Is given lots of money by gullible followers so he does not have to
work for a living
Is given lots of money by gullible followers so he does not have to
work for a living
Wants to see an all white Britain with the persecution of those who
do not submit to the BNP leadership
Wants to see an Islamic Britain with the persecution of those who do
not submit to Sharia law
Believes homosexuality should be banned
Believes homosexuality should be banned
Has a conviction for inciting racial hatred
Ought to have a conviction for inciting racial hatred
Is opposed to white people having relationships with people form
other races
Is opposed to Muslims having relationships with people from other
religions
Believes the Holocaust did not happen
Believes another Holocaust should happen
Believes Muslim youths are terrorising Britain
Believes Muslim youths should be terrorising Britain


Fascist Fools
On April 1st Class War published an April fool about a trades union
we had allegedly helped set up for Ladyboys in Thailand. We should
have known however that when it comes to political April fools that
we cannot hope to compete with Nick Griffin and the BNP!
Forgetting that April fools should be carried out before midday, the
afternoon of 1st April saw the claim appear on the BNP website that
Nick Griffin, his wife and fellow party members had survived an
assassination attempt, whilst meeting fellow "nationalists" in
Sweden. Griffin, who certainly seems to like a jolly, was in the
country to address a meeting of Swedish fascists the National
Democrats. Originally the BNP claimed that a pipe bomb had been
found on board a train on which the one-eyed king was travelling.
"Swedish communists" were apparently to blame for this heinous
attack.
Further analysis revealed that no bomb was found on any train,
merely that a suspicious device was found at a train station. Indeed,
it was not even a viable explosive. If Griffin's fantasy was devised to
get some mainstream media publicity for his international
wanderings, he was to be sorely disappointed. Even the slowest
journalist on Fleet Street can spot a joke on April 1st??

Upwardly Mobile
One of the BNPs highest flying members at the moment is Sadie
Graham. Formerly a Brighton Hunt Sab and anarchist, Sadie has
been climbing Nick Griffin's greasy pole so rapidly she is now the
BNP's Director of Group Development.
Curiously she has been able to do this with most BNP members
unaware of her political background. Even more curious was a piece
in the March issue of Searchlight, which could have been an
advertisement for the advancement of Sadie Graham.
We hope the money is good Sadie??

What Next for Andy Carmichael?
Having been a Conservative party activist, a double glazing
salesman, a fascist, a spook and a rent boy, former NF big cheese
Andy Carmichael is currently trying to find a publisher for his life
story. Here's a tip for you Andy - leave out the bits about double
glazing and someone might be interested!

Dr Johnson Turns In His Grave!
Other fascist chumps this issue are the individuals (or even
individual) who has treated canal users in north London to a series of
fascist leaflets, glued anywhere they may be seen. Sadly for all the
talk of defending England from external (and internal threats) these
patriots have made one major mistake.
If you are going to style yourselves as the English Defense
Association guys, why not spell the second word in your title as
defence, rather than using the American word defense?
Given the EDA cannot even defend the English language in their
own leaflets, it remains to be seen how they intend to "defend" a
country of some 40 million people!

Serious Times in Russia
The murder in November 2005 of Russian anti-fascist Timur
Kacharva in St Petersburg brought the issue of the far-right in
Russia back to international prominence.
Perhaps most hypocritical of all was the coverage in alleged
anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. Having spent most of their history
slagging off anarchists, even smearing them as fascists, Searchlight
cried crocodile tears for Timur, who was a well-known anarchist.
Hilariously, given the admitted links between Searchlight, the police
and the security services, Searchlight criticise one of the Russian
anti-fascist organisations Nashi (Ours) as a "state-sponsored
caricature of anti-fascism". Considering Nashi was set up by
President Putin, that is hardly rocket science, but given Searchlights
close relationship with the Labour party, they are hardly in a position
to condemn "state sponsored anti-fascism". As the saying goes - it
takes one to know one.

One of the organisations that is involved in fighting fascism in
Russia is Antifa. This report concerns some of their actions around
Russia's "day of national unity":

Last year "our" government invented a new "patriotic holiday" -
"The day of national unity" which should be celebrated on
November 4th. So, this Friday in some Russian cities there were nazi
demonstrations and, of course, counter actions.
In St. Petersburg nearly a thousand people took part in a nazi
demonstration. But it was attacked by a brave Antifa squad of 40 lads
with baseball bats. Nearly a dozen boneheads were kicked, but then
riot police finished the fight. On November 6th in St. Petersburg
there was an Antifa demonstration of nearly 700 people with
different political views: liberals, anarchists, communists and even
Trotskyites.
In Moscow the Nazi demonstration was unexpectedly big - 3,000
people strong from some seven Nazi parties. During the
demonstration there were a couple of small attempts at
counteractions by anarchists, communists and liberals. But in the
evening near "Chistie Prudi" subway station (just 10 minutes walk to
Lubyanskaya Square and the former KGB building) in a park, loved
by Moscow boneheads, there was a fight between Nazis and Antifa
with nearly 150 participants. As Antifa attacked suddenly, several
boneheads were kicked severely. The fight was interrupted by riot
police.
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