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F R E E D O M P R E S S I N T E R N A T I O N A L Volume 1 Number 11 --------------------------------- If 'recycling' any of this material please include the following:

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1/ NETNEWS FROM ANGEL ALLEY The main thing we want to say here in this edition if FPI is that we have now set up a parallel discussion list for this list. More details will follow but you can subscribe as of now by sending a message to:

majordomo@tao.ca subscribe fpi-d

The next issue of FPI (in about a fortnight) will concentrate on Israel. See you there is not before.



For over 5 years the people of Algeria have been suffering a nameless terror. With censorship and manipulation it is hard to get information.. We did the following interview in order to get a picture of what is happening. The initials AL are those of an Algerian who has been a militant in the French trade union movement for some time and who has kept up relations with Algeria which he visits regularly. Politically unaligned, anti-capitalist and atheist, AL is not an anarchist.

ML What overall analysis would you give of the conflict in Algeria?

AL In 86/ 87 in discussions I had with some militants I got the idea that if this all came out in the open the result would be a huge and widespread 'settling of accounts'. So much hatred has built up, so many people have been rejected, despised, crushed and the level of depolitisisation of the people is such that people have become incapable of acting in a rational manner. This depolitisisation leads them to commit acts of revenge rather than collective action. That's how things are at the moment. Unfortunately there are perhaps some ten years of account settling to come...

ML Do the Islamic groups still enjoy the support of the people?

AL They enjoy an understanding, not support. Support would indicate a significant change in the attitude of a section of the population and therefore a strong force in their favour. But there is state repression which strikes hard at innocent families of Islamic militants who have no rights of redress. This is why they enjoy an understanding. An absence of credible information and censure reinforce this feeling. For five years people have been going underground because of their Islamic sympathies or because of the personal repression they have suffered. Others sign up for the army or the police simply to get a job. When talking about the conflict in Algeria I never speak of civil war which means that one section of society is pited against another. This is not the case. What we are witnessing is a war between political cliques in order to gain the upper hand over people in general.

ML. You are very critical of one section of the democratic opposition, in particular the RCD which supports the position of eradicating the Islamics.

AL In the mouths of those in Algeria who call themselves democrats this term has no meaning. What kind of democrat tries to justify assasination and torture? An attempt to legitimate a military dictatorship against a religious totalitarianism cannot be a solution. What is necessary is a definition of some basic rights which are guaranteed. If the powers that be use torture why shouldn't the Islamics do the same? In Algeria those in power want to stay there and they have stacked up on their side all the means to achieve these ends. One of those means is terror. It was the state that began the spiral by embarking on a policy of mass arrest of Islamics - often sympathisers who got caught up in the net. The opposition democrats deserve the title in words only not in deeds: they have never opposed these practices. --------------------------------- Fact File ALGERIA

Pop. 27.3m Pop per Km sq. 12 Human Development index. 73 Av inflation. 1989-94 26.1% Main Export Destination. US (16.4%) Foreigh Debt (% of GDP) 74.3 Cost of Living Dec 1995 54 (New York=100) --------------------------------------- ML Many Algeria specialists - in the universities and in the press - suspect that those in power are directly responsible for some of the massacres and assasinations. What is your opinion?

AL Those in power have been involved in all this shit for about 30 years. Today it is all too easy to incriminate the Islamics. They also seek to impose themselves by violent means and have no hesitation in slaughtering civilians in order to 'punish' them. But in some cases, where there is no proof but rather political intuition, I think we can see the hand of the establishment at work. For a while the press used to give the names of those assasinated for political reasons. Many of them were militants who I knew personally; not democrats allied to those in power but, on the contrary, those who had opposed this structure for a long time; people involved in the FFS or the far left. Many random killings (in cafes or markets for example) took place in areas infiltrated by Islamics. It's the same story when it comes to what is known as 'the triangle of death' accounting for almost all the civilian massacres reported in the Algerian press. What is more, this area is flat in geographic terms and as such does not lend itself to guerilla activity but is an area where the military are deployed in force.

ML Tell us something of the self-defence militias set up by the military.

AL By setting up the militias the army hoped to push the people into their camp by co-option and hoping that they would attract the attention of the Islamics. With regard to some more recent massacres this has proved a success and with the militias having drawn the fire the army has been left with a free hand to protect vital economic installations - not the schools of course. Also these militias were set up in a legal vacuum with no formal control. The army holds the purse strings and can do away with them when convenient in the same way that they set them up ie at their own whim. These militias have taken Algeria back to a tribal stage of development. Every village, every region tends to be organised around its tribal chief who rules the roost surrounded by his family. Thus these militias represent a danger as they reinforce a logic of armed struggle where reason and debate have no place.

ML What did those in power hope to achieve by freeing Abassi Madani and other leaders of the FIS?

AL This is no attempt to end the violence. Up until now the FIS has not renounced armed struggle. Today Madani is ready to give this undertaking. This suits those in power who can thus isolate the more radical elements. In turn the FIS hopes to regain its lost audience. This is why Madani is making promises. The FIS is in a position to set itself up again quickly with new leaders. To an extent they have already done this.

ML Do you feel the following compromise is a possibility: the military continue to control the state apparatus and revenue from oil and gas while allowing the rampant Islamisation of society?

AL But Islamisation isn't just the FIS! Islam as a state religion wasn't invented by the FIS. This total control has weighed on the people for 30 years. Then it was decided that they'd had enough and they blew the lid. Now the military seek to put themselves in the saddle by putting themselves forward as 'saviours'. Now if others want to come and give them a hand whilst leaving power intact in their hands they will be only too happy. For 30 years power has proved its willingness to integrate by imposing rules from above: the one party state, no opposition movements, state religion with, like the Islamics, its own interpretation of the sharia. Let's not forget that they imposed the Family Code in 1984 when the FIS didn't exist. When it suits them the military are very happy with the radical Islamisation of society.

ML What of social struggles in Algeria?

AL The horror of this war has impeded mobilizing against privatisations. Those in power thus have a free hand to impose IMF diktats and throw thousands of workers onto the streets on a daily basis. Because of the situation on the ground the social movement has been muzzled by power. The only union of significance, the UGTA, has been linked to the state apparatus for 30 years. Officially the UGTA was made independent in 1989/90 but its leaders have remained with the FLN. Over the last 5 years spontaneous and sporadic struggles have occured in many sectors: education, transport, health. But there has been no co-ordination of all this.

ML For you this is the most important social question isn't it?

AL That's right, yes, today, in this area, there is total confusion. Power manages and it accumulates weath. It has no programme or perspective and simply seeks to avoid the day of judgement. On the other side the democratic movements are unconcerned with social questions. They seem happy to make some demands regarding protection of civil rights. However, it is necessary to finish with economic exploitation and arbitrary rule. It's the same problem with the Islamics. During the local election campaigns in 1990 I raised the matter at a meeting with Mandani. I spoke of the housing crisis. What would the FIS do in this sphere if they controlled the councils and wilayas? His only reply was in arabic: 'only God knows'. In their speeches the democratic opposition, the Islamics and those in power want these social questions relegated to second position. They are all in agreement there.

3/ How a Hunter-gatherer from the Hadzabe Peoples met Contempt and Prejudice in Europe

Mahiya is the first spokesman for the Hadzabe (singular : Hadza) to visit Germany. The Hadzabe, one of the last two aboriginal peoples in East Africa, want to continue to live as free hunter-gatherers, as they have done for a hundred thousand years, without schools, churches, hospitals and government pressure.

However, in Germany this demand from Mahiya was repeatedly met with fear, prejudice, and incomprehension. Before his journey to Europe Mahiya was confirmed as speaker for the Hadzabe by each of the available Hadzabe elders. The Hadzabe have no hierarchy, no leaders. Even before his departure from Tanzania Mahiya's journey was beset with great difficulties.

As a traditional hunter, he does not fit into the modern systems of administration and law. These systems do not tolerate the existence of aboriginal hunters and gatherers. Mahiya's motive in coming to Europe was precisely to protest against their situation, against the oppression which is driving his peoples to the edge of extinction. Mahiya's passport was received only after weeks of considerable effort and expense. To get the passport a pre-paid airplane ticket had to be shown. This was not available in Tanzania to some-one without a valid passport. Only in Kenya could a ticket be obtained and then only from one airline company. A German visa was the next hurdle. Although four invitations were presented - from the United Nations Working Group for Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, from the London School of Economics, from the University of Tu"bingen, and from the Friends of Peoples Close to Nature, - Mr. Gruber in the German Embassy in Dar es Salaam insisted on Mahiya's presence. He demanded bona-fides, and that the illiterate Mahiya be brought from the bush to his office. In the time remaining for the flight this was impossible. A car was sent from Hamburg to Frankfurt to collect Mahiya at the airport. He did not arrive on the scheduled flight. His appearance at the opening of an exhibition in Tu"bingen on the Hadzabe appeared unlikely. Two days later however he arrived on another flight.

The exhibition at Tu"bingen documents the human life at Lake Eyasi over three and a half million years using skull fragments and artefacts of the Hadzabe. During the final preparation and the opening day, which he reached just in time, Mahiya put in strong words the demand that the exhibited artefacts, important for his peoples, be returned to them. From the old ones of his peoples he had learned that they were stolen from them. Mahiya stated that the culture of the Hadzabe, and in particular the mysterious epeme dance should be of no concern to others than the Hadzabe. Similarly, he said that it was not important that the Hadzabe should know much of the culture of other people, or of civilized society.

Eventually an agreement was reached to bring the whole exhibition to Hadzabeland, or to make some financial compensation. One part of the exhibition devoted to the German colonialists including a photo of gang leader Lettow von Vorbeck and a reference to the fact that the Hadzabe were once seen as sujects of the German Government was greeted by Mahiya with a disparaging smile. Mahiya then came to Lauenburg, where he was visited by Dr. Selmeci, a representative of the Society for Threatened Peoples in Go"ttingen. The visitor wished to speak with Mahiya as the basis for an article in the magazine "pogrom". Mahiya's previously expressed wish for a fee for this was rejected. Mahiya accused his visitor of being nothing other than a business man, and the visitor, angry, departed. An earlier article in the magazine, by the English anthropologist Woodburn had created difficulties for the Hadza. On a visit by Mahiya to England, Woodburn, hoping to please him, took him to a zoo, and showed him elephants and rhinoceroses. The ancestral lands of the Hadzabe, where once elephants and rhinos were numerous, have been stripped of their wild-life by trophy hunters. There are no rhinos left in the Hadzabeland. For Mahiya, the elephants and rhinos in an English zoo were evidence of theft. He demanded their immediate repatriation to his tribal land. Woodburn, a former big-game hunter, was speechless.

Mahiya had been invited to attend this year's session of the Working Group for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in Geneva. His attendance showed a deep gap between on the one hand the hundreds of established delegates of "indigenous" peoples and human rights organizations and on the other hand Mahiya, the only genuine illiterate hunter-gatherer present. Mahiya, whose words represent the feelings of a large part, if not the majority, of tribal peoples, was met by most of the delegates not only with a lack of understanding, but with contempt and open hatred. In particular the Pygmees and Bushmen (the Hadzabe belong in a wider sense to the Bushmen) already well manipulated by white dominated schools, churches and human rights organizations had evil and derogatory words for the uneducated and wild Mahiya. He countered that, although his people had also been made poor, they were at least still free and independent, thanks to their strict denial of western influence, and that the Hadzabe were still able to enjoy life with dignity.

Mahiya was also repeatedly critizised and attacked by NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) representatives. It was irresponsible, they said, not to send Hadza children to school. How should they feed themselves without education? One cannot turn back the wheel of history. The time of the hunters and gatherers is past. Mahiya told them that the Hadzabe have lived freely as hunters and gatherers since ancient times, and that they will continue to do so. He said that the Hadzabe were glad and ready to show how life with nature is still possible, without schools, churches, hospitals and the oppression of government.

Mahiya returned gladly to the land of his people, happy to leave a Europe which he found filled with people with pathological ideas, where there is no natural and unencumbered sexual behaviour, where there is no place left to hunt with bow and arrow, where old people are cast out, where there is often less room for children than for dogs, where almost every step is hindered by regulation, and where the purpose of life is to earn money.

September, 1997 Hartmut Heller, Friends of Peoples Close to Nature phone fax: +49-4153-4288

4/ ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR - Saturday 18th October Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1 (nearest tube: Holborn) ---------------------------------------------------- Anarchist Bookfair CABARET

live comedy product MARK THOMAS mystical troubadour and shamanic bard RORY MOTION MC MARK KELLY

doors open 8.30pm / show starts 9.00pm FOOD AND BAR TICKETS: f6.00 on tthe door f5.00 advance (for advance tickets f5 plus s.a.e. to Freedom Press) -------------------------------------------------

Once a year Conway Hall, one of London's most venerable institutions, gets taken over by this country's most enduring moral-panic-in-residence. The result? The Anarchist Bookfair

It's been a good year for anarchists. Direct action has set the agenda time and time again. In the UK successes have ranged from the public revelations in McLibel to the literal undermining of unwanted and unnecessary roads. Internationally, continued challenges to the rule of the world by money, from the ongoing Zapatista rebellion in the Mexican state of Chiapas, to the many provocative successes of computer hackers. Things are going on - and this is the place to find out about them.

ANARCHISM BACK ON THE AGENDA Its emphasis on individual responsibility and direct action has won new converts in the Green movement, and captured the imagination of the young. Anti-road protests, land occupations and anarchy on the internet have transformed the political landscape in Britain.

The idea of anarchism is quite simple-a belief in freedom from imposed authority. In opposition to government a society based on autonomy and self-organisation.

To show these ideas in practice anarchists often create working examples. One of these combined self-organisation with direct action when 500 protesters occupied derelict land in Wandsworth. In a single day they cleared rubble and rubbish and created an anarchist village in a protest against homelessness, concentration of land ownership and dereliction and waste of urban sites. 'Pure Genius' was a series of timber structures, a geodesic dome and three Mongolian yurts, and a communal centre for 200 to eat together and discuss the running of the community. The cleared ground was planted with flowers and vegetables. They received massive public support, and provided inspiration to 2,500 visitors in a single day.

Anarchism can be seen in the Walter Segal Self-Build Trust. Segal, an anarchist architect, was dissatisfied with serving the wealthy. He demonstrated how his cheap, simple, timber- framed method could benefit ordinary people without land or money. His do-it-yourself approach has resulted in several small permanent communities: Netherspring in Sheffield, Lightmoor in Telford, Maasport in Holland and Brighton's Digger Community.

DIRECT ACTION Anarchist hostility to parliamentary politics surfaced during the general election. Freedom Press produced thousands of copies of Why I Won't Vote, a four-page anti- election leaflet. Demand was such that all copies were gone well before polling day. One of the cheekiest anarchist actions was the printing of a spoof newspaper, Evading Standards, with the headline 'General Election Cancelled - election collapses as new polls reveal massive public cynicism'. A similar attempt to distribute the paper was stopped when police swooped on the Piccadilly distribution point, seized 20,000 copies and arrested three people. The paper, closely modelled on London's Evening Standard, was secretly reprinted and distributed during the London rush hour.

Anarchist opposition to parliamentary politics is not a rejection of democracy. Rather that democracy should permeate all spheres of life, including the workplace, not the sham of an elected mayor.

VIDEO ACTIVISM. Anarchist emphasis on direct action has spawned a generation of video activists using camcorders in the social struggle. Video can prove what happened on demonstrations or picket lines. Video can prove police brutality does occur - the presence of a video camera can even prevent it.

Based in Oxford, Undercurrents Productions provides media support to grassroots organisations training groups to use camcorders effectively and to give interviews. It runs workshops on video for legal support, and advice on buying equipment. Over 500 people have been trained to use camcorders in their campaigns, and over 100 television stations have used material from the Undercurrents archive of footage by camcorder activists. Undercurrents Alternative News Service covers issues neglected by mainstream media - the 'news you don't see on the news'. Its raw, direct delivery was described as 'compelling' by the Independent. Each issue is watched by an estimated 40,000 people.

ANARCHY ON THE INTERNET Although suspicious of the impact of technology and its use as a means of social control, anarchists have embraced the internet. There are several anarchist home pages on the world wide web offering local information and direct links to other anarchist or related sites. Anarchist papers from all over the world are published in electronic format. Other internet titles include The Anarchist (Australia), Counter Information (UK) and Love and Rage (USA and Mexico), plus the daily multi-language international anarchist news service A-Infos produced by groups in five different countries. A second manifestation of anarchy on the internet is Spunk Press, run by an international collective since 1992. Its catalogue contains over 1,000 items: speeches, essays or lectures by prominent anarchists both historical (Bakunin and Emma Goldman) or contemporary (Noam Chomsky and Murray Bookchin), issues such as environmentalism and alternative education, archives of anarchists journals, selections of anarchist poetry, anarchist images, symbols and portraits of famous anarchists, addresses of groups and reviews of anarchist books. The selection of material for publication on the net is undertaken by volunteers in their spare time, often using borrowed equipment.

DIRECT ACTION The anarchist press with its dedicated supporters who write, pay for and often print the dozens of anarchist papers with names like Freedom, Black Flag, Class War, Direct Action and Organise!, remains the major way of spreading anarchist ideas. Organise! is one of the most interesting in its attempt to stimulate the idea of an anarchist culture as a focus for opposition to capitalism. By Pass is a regular 44-page listing of anarchist papers and underground 'zines. Squall and Schnews are breaking new ground with news of the rave and festival scenes alongside details of anti-road protests and guerrilla theatre. The printed word may rule supreme in Britain, but in Spain, Italy and France anarchist groups have their own radio stations. Radio Libertaire in Paris provides a heady mix of politics, alternative news and music reaching a daily audience of 140,000. The convergence of the main political parties and the discrediting of the state socialist left makes anarchism a natural home for those looking for a new world.


Anarchy List http://www.cwi.nl/cwi/people/Jack.Jansen/anarchy/anarchy.html

Spunk Press Home http://www.cwi.nl/cwi/people/Jack.Jansen/spunk/ Spunk-Home.html

Practical Anarchy Online http://www.wam.umd.edu/~ctmunson/pa-home.html

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