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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation (AF) Hereford, The Black Apple Press #2

Date Tue, 30 Jan 2007 15:39:21 +0200


For working class self-organisation and social revolution. Produced in Hereford, by the Anarchist Federation. NO2, November 2006
Fresh fruit, rotten wages --- The re-opening of the inquiry into whether soft fruit company S&A Produce would be given permission to build a `village' for its workers has been dismissed by Whitehall officials.
As the Black Apple Press reported in our last issue, S&A currently provide disgrace-ful living quarters: "Six to 10 people sharing caravans with poor standards of safety and hygiene, with problems of electricity and water supplies."
But let's not forget other conditions endured by workers at the farm: charges for basic health care, 14 hour shifts with only one 30 minute break per day, working 6-7 days a week, serious mistreatment of employees including examples of workers needing urgent medical care yet being denied it. This from a company who in 2004 reported an almost £2m annual profit!
If S&A are not able to provide safe, hy-
gienic and suitable accommodation for its
workers then they should be looking at lodg-
ing in other areas or should stop employing
so many people dependent on temporary ac-
commodation until they have the facilities to
support them.
See `Downing tools', page three.
-----------------------------------------------------

The road to nowhere

Sidekicks for big business, Herefordshire
Council, are destroying this county, a fact
evident over recent months with their agree-
ment of damaging projects like the National
Grid gas pipeline and the Rotherwas Access
Road.
The council initiated Rotherwas Access
Road (RAR) project is one that they have
pursued at all costs and against the advice
of many consultants.
In 1992 the RAR was turned down by gov-
ernment because of the detriment to the
environment; the road will cut across
Dinedor Hill, an Area of Great Landscape
Value. Subsequently, it was turned down for
funding from the Department of Transport
three times in the past five years for being
poor value for money.
Undeterred, Herefordshire Council gave
themselves planning permission in Febru-
ary 2003 and have recently been granted
£9.5 million from the regional government
fund, Advantage West Midlands. Still look-
ing to find the remaining £11.5m for the pro-
posed £20m road, the council will be selling
off greenbelt land for housing to help pay
the costs despite the advice of their own
staff; The Unitary Development Plan inspec-
tor has recommended against this housing
development citing its environmentally dam-
aging effects. Masters of destruction,
Herefordshire Council are carrying on re-
gardless.
The council have continually insisted that
it will ease traffic in the city, a claim that has
gained a lot of support amongst the county's
motorists. But yet again, their own commis-
sioned traffic study found that building the
RAR will lead to a 22% induced traffic growth
by 2022 compared to 14% growth under the
`do nothing' alternative. The road is an ef-
fective dead end leading from the A49
(south) into the Rotherwas industrial estate
and is in such a poor position that many
workers at the industrial estate won't find it
useful.
In August this year council leader Roger
Phillips publicly said that they owed a great
debt to the businesses of Rotherwas, but did
not comment on where that debt had come
from (back-handers from businesses, per-
haps?).
It is glaringly obvious to see that, far from
benefiting the average driver, this road is
being built solely for the bosses at
Rotherwas and no one else. And when their
profits increase you can be sure that the
workers will see none of it.
Between Herefordshire Council and the
bosses at Rotherwas they are set to be re-
sponsible for the most environmentally dam-
aging project in Hereford for decades... and
all for money. We must stop them.
Much of the information for this article has been
taken from the Rotherwas Cul-de-Sac campaign
website: www.rotherwas-cul-de-sac.org.uk
--------------------------------------------------------

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
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
Federations.
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,
BM ANARFED,
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.

-------------------------------------
Young politicians, same as the old politicians

Herefordshire's young people have been urged
to "shout up" rather than "shut up" in an event to
establish the big issues that they want to be tack-
led in the county.
Herefordshire Youth Council called on young
people to attend the event, in late October at the
Sixth Form College, to give them an `opportunity'
to have their say and change their county.
"We're going to have a mass debate at the
people's cafe at the college," said council chair-
person, Clare Evans, 17, "where young people will
have their voices heard, and a video diary room.
"After the event the Youth Council will take what
the young people say and put it forward to show
decision-makers what young people in
Herefordshire really want in their county." Going
through a group of middle-men to get through to
more middle-men who try to influence yet more...
and they call that having a `voice'. Voices `heard'
perhaps, but then just as easily ignored.
Herefordshire Youth Council was set up in March
2006 with the help of the county council's Youth
Service and now has a total of 23 members, "to
represent young people's opinions and views".
Sounds just like parliament.
"We also aim to work alongside decision mak-
ers," claims the youth council website. The cre-
ation of a young people's ruling class? "We want
to hear from you... so contact us via the website
or get in contact with your local representatives;"
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. "You
can read our election manifestos..."
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
It's very obvious that the Youth Council show a
lack of political understanding, perhaps not the
fault of the young people themselves but of
Herefordshire Youth Services for simply replicat-
ing the un-democratic structures of parliament with
no analysis.
Herefordshire Youth Services and the Youth
Council are not fooling anyone but them
selves. Young people don't have a voice,
but the way in which they talk around this subject
would make you think that adults do. They don't.
Swapping adults for teenagers doesn't give young
people a voice.
What they clearly don't understand at all is that
exclusion from decision making is not an age is-
sue, it's a class issue. The vast majority of people
in this country, and the world, are denied a voice
and an input into the political system. It is domi-
nated by self-interested, careerist politicians and
other members of the ruling class, whose only in-
terest is to keep power in the hand of the minority.
These structures cannot be reformed, they must
simply be removed by a revolutionary event.
Swapping MPs and councillors for younger, more
`ordinary' people using the same system still main-
tains political and social inequality.
The Herefordshire Youth Council can `shout up'
all they like, and stand in the streets doing ques-
tionnaires with young people, or give away free
food and iPods, but they will never give young
people any meaningful effect on local, regional or
national government so long as they operate as a
group of representatives.
----------------------------------------------------
Union's lowly rally as 75 jobs to go
More than 75 jobs are to go
across Herefordshire's Hospital
Trust. So what do the worker's
union Unison do? Call a non-ef-
fectual rally at a non-effectual
location.
The rally, on Saturday 7th Oc-
tober at the Shirehall, was called
by Unison in response to Here-
ford Hospital Trust's attempts to
achieve Foundation status for
the County Hospital and other
NHS facilities, a move which will
privatise the Herefordshire
health services. This is part of a
wider move by the Labour gov-
ernment to privatise anything
that breaths, also including
schools, as part of their `Acad-
emies' project.
Officials from Unison's ineffec-
tive branch in Herefordshire ad-
mitted to being disappointed at
their own efforts. No publicity
had been given to the demon-
stration of only a handful of
members and officials.
Jobs aren't saved and
privatisation on a national scale
isn't halted by fatalistic rallies,
and if Unison and other unions
are allowed to control this
struggle, we will end in almost
certain defeat. A look back to the
recent pensions strikes will serve
as a reminder: local Unison reps
at a rally in Hereford had prom-
ised further industrial action and
vowed to keep the fight going
until they were victorious. Not
long after, the unions cut a deal
with the government, screwing
the workers and their struggle.
Unison won't win, but the self-
organisation and mass, direct
action of workers and patients
groups can.
-----------------------------------------

No more prisons!

Herefordshire police stations will contribute an
initial twelve cells to the total of 500 requested by
Home Secretary, John Reid, reported the Here-
ford Journal (11th October 2006) in response to
overcrowding in Britain's prisons.
Reid had recently announced the UK's prisons
are now full and more space is needed to incar-
cerate the people convicted of criminal activities.
So instead of realising that now might be the time
to start discussing preventions, rather than cures,
the Home Secretary, and the complicit police force
in Herefordshire, continue to lock people up.
Well, perhaps we can be a bit more intelligent
then the government and think for ourselves: what
motivates a criminal? And now there's no space
left, how can we really change society enough to
stop crime occurring at all? The solution: a social
revolution.
Muggings, violent robberies, burglaries, interna-
tional drug rackets, and many more of their type;
All of these crimes are based on acquiring goods
for money making, typically by poor people be-
cause they don't have the means to get what they
need legally, whether this be money for bills or
money for drug addictions. Yet, if money was abol-
ished, and things were exchanged freely, the
majority of crime would cease to happen; there
would be no need to steal car radios or mug people
for iPods because these items would be worth-
less.
So what about crimes not motivated by money?
Cold blooded murders and rapes etc.? The reac-
tion to these crimes, `these people are sick in the
head', is often true and the discipline and isola-
tion of prison doesn't help. People like this need
serious medical help, not to be locked up and ig-
nored.
So would West Mercia Police and the British
State listen if we suggested overthrowing Capi-
talism and abolishing money as a solution for
crime? Of course not, they'd never swap their life
of luxury for the good of the world. Never.
------------------------------------------------------

National anti-ID meeting

The Nottingham group of the
Defy-ID network will be hosting
a national meeting to discuss op-
position to ID cards and the Na-
tional Identity Register.
The meeting, happening in
November, will provide informa-
tion about opposing ID, a chance
to share resources and ideas
and also to meet and discuss
with other anti-ID campaigners.
It is open to all, but is particularly
intended for those who are al-
ready active or looking to get in-
volved with the struggle against
ID cards (see Nottingham Defy-
ID bulletins for more information,
available from their website).
The meeting will take place on
Saturday, 25th November 2006
at The Sumac Centre,
Nottingham, starting at 11am.
For full details of the day, as
well as posters and flyers to ad-
vertise the event, visit:
www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk/
gathering
----------------------------------------

"I'v""e read that somewhere before"

We publish an extract from a
Rebel Bull article(January
2003) on the redundancies
made by cider giants Bulmers.
Rebel Bull was the bulletin of
the Herefordshire Anarchist
Group, now defunct, providing
bold comment on local issues.

"Meanwhile, speaking on
local radio, MP for Hereford
Paul Keetch expressed his
"sincere concern" by informing
the ""public he would be working
with the bosses to help restore
the company's profits. Never
mind about the 200 workers
who will now be laid off. Never
mind that they have families to
support and bills to pay while
looking for new work in the
already jobless Hereford. He
didn't seem to care about them
one"" bit, but then again that's a
typical politician for you -
always siding with the boss!"
--------------------------------------------

Radical film in Hereford
Guerilla Cinema are a local
group frustrated with modern
med""ia and its political spin, lies
and half truths. They organise
screenings of contemporary
counter-cultural films.
The group will be showing `Con-
tempt of conscience' about the
Peace Tax Seven, and `The only
clown in the village' on Thursday
9th Nov, 8pm at the Riverside
Community Learning Centre,
Bartonsham. Admission is free.
guerillacinema@hotmail.co.uk
-----------------------------------------------

Downing tools

In this two-part feature on in-
dustrial action, the Black Apple
Press looks at some of the ways
workers have stood up for them-
selves against the boss.

Selective strikes
Rather than an all-out strike,
rapid and random stoppages can
be highly effective.
Unpredictability is a great
weapon in the hands of the work-
ers. In the US, Pennsylvania
teachers used the Selective
Strike to great effect in 1991,
when they went out on strike on
Monday and Tuesday, reported
for work on Wednesday, struck
again on Thursday etc. This on-
off tactic is effective in prevent-
ing the bosses hiring scabs to
replace strikers.

The sit-down strike
Timed and executed right, a
strike can be won in minutes.
Such strikes are `sitdowns' when
everyone just stops work and sits
tight, or `mass grievances' when
everybody leaves work to go to
the boss's office to discuss some
matter of importance. This can
have many advantages over a
conventional strike.
Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW) theatre extras, facing a
50% pay cut, waited for the right
time to strike. The play had 150
extras dressed as Roman sol-
diers to carry the Queen on and
off the stage. When the cue for
the Queen's entrance came, the
extras surrounded the Queen
and refused to budge until the
pay was not only restored, but
tripled.

The go-slow
Workers with demands that
the bosses are unwilling to meet
can collectively decide to start
a go-slow. By deliberately
slowing the rate of work all
together, the bosses' targets are
hit without workers losing
wages. If everyone sticks
together in solidarity
victimisation of individuals can
also be prevented. At the turn
of the 20th century, a gang of
section men working on a
railway in Indiana were notified
of a cut in their wages. The
workers immediately took their
shovels to the blacksmith shop
and cut two inches from the
scoops. Returning to work they
told the boss "short pay, short
shovels."

The sick-in
The sick-in is a good way to
strike without actually striking.
The idea is to cripple your work-
place by having all or most of the
workers call in sick on the same
day or days. Unlike the formal
walkout, it can be used effec-
tively by single departments and
work areas, and can often be
successfully used even without
a formal union organisation.
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