counter information no.45. (Part 4 of 4)

i.m.mckay (cllv13@ccsun.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 8 May 1996 17:43:49 +0100


counter information no.45. (Part 4 of 4)
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The Struggle CONTINUES....

Mass strikes, huge demonstrations, workplace
occupations and widespread direct
actions set France ablaze with hope in
November and December.

The revolt was ignited by Government
plans for major cutbacks to social security,
benefits, health care, pensions and
the railways. This "Juppe plan" aims to adapt
French capitalism to the demands of
European monetary union (EMU). Rebellion
could spread as other countries seek their
EMU membership cards by spending
cuts. Belgian public sector workers
struck on 26 january

The French resistance started in early
October with student actions for more
funding for education and a 1 day public
sector strike against a pay freeze. Railway
workers went on all out strike on 24
november. 3 days later the strike spread to
Postal workers, the buses and metro,
teachers and powerworkers.

With virtually no public transport
Paris siezed up. Millions took to the streets all
over France, as 6 one day strikes
involved many industries. On 16 December 2
million marched in 160 different demos.

"The mass meetings were at the heart
of the movement. They alone had the
power to take decisions. This was
true everywhere and in all sectors on strike."
( quotes from anarchist weekly Le Monde Libertaire)

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Workers occupied power station
control rooms and set electricity prices at
cheap rates or sometimes free.
Strikers took over bus depots and postal sorting
offices. Strikers ensured that
benefit cheques still reached the unemployed and that
working class areas still had rubbish cleared.
"This self-organisation, this ability to
directly manage production purely to meet
social needs, should be emphasised".
Workers delegations went from industry to
industry to exchange experiences or call
for action.

In Rouen strikers from different
industries met daily in cross-sector mass
meetings. However this was not typical.
By painting on a militant face the CGT and
FO trade union leaders avoided a generalised
open challenge from the strikers.

Many emphasised how the strikes transformed
everyday life, creating a real
feeling of belonging to a class fighting
a struggle together - a struggle which was not
a chore but exhilirating, a festival.

Worried, the government made concessions
to the strongest strikers, while
refusing to abandon the Juppe reforms to
social security and health. Promises to
save threatened railway lines and preserve
public sector workers' pension rights,
plus the failiure of the movement to spread
significantly to the private sector and the
union leaders' eagerness to compromise, led
to a patchy return to work from 15
December. Strikes continued into january
in Marseilles and elsewhere.

More demos and possible strikes were
planned for February. "Nothing's ended,
everything's just starting..", predict
French Anarchists.

Le Monde Libertaire, 145 Rue Amelot,
75011 Paris. Solidarity with jailed
demonstrators: Soutien aux emprisones
au dos, Maison des chomeurs, 8 rue
Lehenardt, 34000 Montpelier, france.

In early November anti police riots
swept Laval, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Grenoble,
Dijon and 2 Paris suburbs in reaction
to racist police brutality in the government's
operation Vigipirate (ostensibly targetting
Islamic "terrorists").

An 'Internal' Affair ?

When the Chechen Republic in 1992 declared
independence, it threatened political secession
from Moscow rule & an example to other minorities.
However, the need of the Russian rulers to
crush the breakaway republic was asserted in
December 1994 to secure the route of a major
pipeline for oil from the Caspian sea through
Chechnya and eventually to Serbia. Chechen
independence had also undermined Russian 'reform'
by attracting money laundering from legal
& illegal sources.

In over a year of fighting more than 10,000
civilians have been killed & the Russian military
humiliated by heroic resistance in the mountain
villages and over 'hostage' sieges in
neighbouring Dagestan., Although Soldier's
Mothers Committees organised protests and sent
groups to Grozny to urge an end to war, and
miners in Vorkuta & Rostov demanded wages
instead of wasting money in Russia's "Vietnam" ,
many Russians are influenced by fascist
opinions which urge the use of napalm in the
Caucasus. KGB involvement is also suspected in
the recent bomb attack on the President of
Georgia, Shevedernaze who up to being injured, was
opposing Russian plans on the pipeline.

Apart from Islamic fundamentalists driven by
a desire to see the Chechen conflict as the
Satanic 'West' subjugating a Muslim state,
worldwide opposition to the atrocities carried out by
Russia in Chechnya has been muted. The view of
the European Community and U.S. leaders,
that Russia had 'carte blanche' to put down
the self-proclaimed independent state, as long as
they observed 'human rights' ! As for the Left,
the same double-standards of the Cold War
remain: if U.S.A. was suppressing Hawaii or
Puerto Rico (or Grenada over a decade ago) there
would be a groundswell of protest. For Russia
in Chechyna, for China in Tibet (and in the past
for Iraq, Turkey & Iran in Kurdistan), an echo
of the West's approach :it's an internal affair !

WHERE IS THE PROTEST ?

Leftist double-standards remain: Russia
invades Chechnya in December 1994 after 2 years
independence from Moscow rule and kills
over 10,000; the Russian military is humiliated, yet it
is left to Islamic fundamentalists to cry 'foul'.
Imagine if Hawaii or Puerto Rico was invaded by
the U.S. military, all for the reason of 'protecting'
a vital oilpipeline and stopping a Swiss-style
banking money-laundering system in Grozny.

The West's response was to urge respect for Human
Rights while giving the 'green light' to
restore Russian rule. Hostages taken by Chechen
rebels in neighbouring Dagestan had little fear
of their captors, only of the Russian military
determined to wipe out the rebels.Despite protests
by soldier's mothers in Russia & by unpaid miners
appalled at the waste, many Russians have
little respect for the 'human rights' of minorities
including the Chechens. With echoes of the
U.S. inVietnam, fascist policy to napalm Chechnya
receives alarming support.

Mexico: Zapatistas Construct Centres of Resistance

In Chiapas, the south-eastern state of Mexico, the
armed Zapatista revolt by mainly indigenous Indian
peasants continues, despite harassment and oppression
by the Mexican military with support from the US
Government.

It is now the practice of the Zapatista communities
to come together in democratic assemblies in order
to construct hope. Together they agree to leave behind
their "personal" lives, because they know that
hope lies in their collective organisation and
decision making, surrendering their "individuality", in order
to carry out decisions made.

In December, at the Collective farm of Oventic in
the highlands of Chiapas, about 100 unarmed indigenous
people, women, children and men, confronted 150 soldiers
of the 73rd Regiment of the Mexican Army. By showing
solidarity in collective, direct action and shouting
slogans such as "Soldiers get out!" and "People united
will never be defeated", they prevented them establishing
a military camp 500m from the community where a new
Aguascalientes (cultural centre) had been constructed.

Germany: The Free Workers Union started a boycott
campaign against the exploitation of campesinos
by big coffee fincas in Chiapas, including FINCA IRLANDA,
which sells 'biological' coffee which is
sold at inflated prices in health-food shops
around the world.

GET INVOLVED !

o Active Distro, BM Active, London WCIN 3XX
o AK Distribution, 22 Lutton Place, Edinburgh
o Anarchist Black Cross,c/o 121 Railton Rd.,
London SE24 (prisoner solidarity).
o Anarchist Communist Federation, 84b Whitechapel High St,London E1 7QX
o Anarchist Womens Newsletter, PO Box 51,
c/o Greenleaf,82 Colston St., Bristol
o Anarchists in London Fax 0171 326 0353 to contact Contraflow,
56a Infoshop, Anarchist Black Cross,
121 Centre, and Bad Attitude.
o Angry People, PO Box 108,St. Peters,NSW 2044 Australia.
o Bad Attitude, 121 Railton Road, London, SE24 Tel 0171-978 9057
o The Centre, c/o Peace & Justice, St.Johns,
Princes St., Edinburgh (mail only)
o Class War : PO Box 1021, Edinburgh EH8 9PW :
PO Box 772, Bristol BS99 1EL PO Box 4297,
Dublin 1, IRELAND :
o Contraflow, 56a Infoshop, 56 Crampton St.,
London SE17 (excellent news-sheet)
o DS4A, Box 8, 82 Colston St., Bristol (distro)
o Federation Anarchiste, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris,
France(insert),
oFrontline POB 102, Galway (insert) , Eire
*Industrial Workers of the World, 75 Humberstone Gate,
Leicester LE1 1WB
o Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London WC1 3XX.
o Kaos?, c/o J.Bals, Blekksoppgrenda 39, 1352 Kolsas, Norway.
o Kommunist Kranti, Majdoor Library, Autopin Jhuggi,
Faridabad-121001, India.
o London Greenpeace, 5 Caledonian Rd., London N1
o Norwich Solidarity Centre/Solidarity Fed.: PO Box 73,
Norwich NR3 1QD
o PO Box 51465, Raedene, 2124, Johannesburg,
South Africa.(anarcho distro)
o Sheffield Anarchist Group, PO Box 446, Sheffield S1 1NY
o 255 PdG Info Shop : M. Decortes, c/o Libreria Utopia,
via Moscova 52, 20121 Milano, Italy. Tel/fax
02-29003324.
o Tottenham Solidarity Network, c/o 72 West Green Rd.,
London N15
o Torpedo Milan Djuric,M. Velikog 12/10 11300 Smederevo,
Serbia-Yugoslavia

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