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(en) Britain, Resistance bulletin #146 November 2012

Date Wed, 12 Dec 2012 17:38:59 +0200


Contents: ---- Hit The Deck: It’s Checky Watch! ---- Away-Day Blues, Booze and Bruises for EDL ---- The Westcountry Mutineer ---- No Justice, No Piece! ---- Cops Target Union Boss ---- Hey, Teacher, Make Those Bosses Groan! ---- Don’t Let ‘em Rot... ---- Piratical Hi-Jinks and Hi-Jacks in Dartmouth ---- Antep Textile Workers Resist Attacks ---- Mine, All Mine! South African Miners’ Victories ---- Quebec Students Chalk Up a Win ---- Good News from Unity Centre Glasgow ---- Yarl’s Wood Prisoners Resist ---- Write to a Prisoner! ---- Liked Resistance? Try Organise ---- Subscriptions ---- Anarchist Federation ---- National Contact ------- 1. Hit The Deck: It’s Checky Watch! ---- The increasingly extortionate cost of travelling via public transport was highlighted in September by an innovative online campaign kickstarted by an outraged Jarrow resident.

“Checky Watch” begun life as a Facebook page for travellers on the Tyne and Wear Metro to track the whereabouts and activities of ticket inspectors and has now attracted double the amount of followers that the official Metro Facebook page has managed. The Checky Watch community has thus far provided a daily rundown of which routes are most heavily targeted by ticket inspectors in an effort to enable those in dire financial straits to travel free of charge, as well as publishing photo evidence of the Metro’s recently employed undercover inspectors.

Metro fees are currently calculated according to how many “zones” a traveller passes through, an arbitrary and patently unfair method which does not take into account the distance a person has travelled and offers no reduction for students, O.A.P’s or the unemployed. Indeed, Nexus don’t even offer their own workers, themselves on the minimum wage, free or reduced transport on the very trains they maintain!

Checkies are employed by the Nexus group, themselves subcontracted to international industry giant DB Regio, a company with a proven track record of worker exploitation that is currently engaged in an ongoing dispute with Metro cleaners over pay, conditions and unfair dismissals.

On the 7th October, a small demonstration was held at Monument, Newcastle and Checky Watch, in conjunction with anarchist activists, distributed flyers highlighting the outrageous recent fare increase of 7% amidst a time of austerity unparalleled in the last 25 years. More actions and protests are planned in the near future.


2. Away-Day Blues, Booze and Bruises for EDL

The free-fall decline of everyone’s least favourite pissed-up, racist ‘patriots’ continued apace last month, as a trip to Walthamstow ended in bloody defeat, in fighting and mass arrests for the English defence League (EDL).

After a disastrous trip to Bristol back in July (less than 300 EDL were outnumbered by over 2,000 angry locals in what was supposed to be their biggest demo of the year), the EDL, in their wisdom, planned a day out in famously diverse and proud Walthamstow. The day went even worse for them than the Bristol debacle, with around 200 fascists being opposed by 4,000 locals and anti-fascists. After protestors occupied the route of the ‘march’, the EDL were diverted down side streets where local showered them with plant-pots and abuse from their windows! Meanwhile, a separate group of 400 anti-fascists occupied the EDL rally point, forcing EDL leader ex-BNP member Tommy Robinson to flee in a taxi (Tommy can be seen explaining his actions, blaming everyone bar himself, crying, moaning that his wife has left him, his friends hate him and he’s being taken to court for tax-avoidance in a rambling, yet hilarious 30 minute youtube video). Unable to deal with what was clearly a defeat and already steaming drunk by early afternoon, the rabble of racists turned on each other, seriously injuring one of their own stewards, Dave ‘Shrek’ Bolton who had to be rescued by police. With their minuscule demo in tatters, and with nowhere to go, the EDL were escorted back to Kings Cross station and sent on their way.

While they may seem like an Alcoholics-Anonymous day-trippers club, and attempt to pass themselves off as a single issue anti-sharia group, the EDL have consistently shown themselves up to be hardcode racists and fascists with links to the BNP, National Front and new ‘nazi-lite’ British Freedom Party. Wherever they have marched unopposed, anyone who doesn’t conform to their fascist image of ‘values’ have been the target of violence, from ethnic minorities, Sikhs mistaken for Muslims (really!), trade unionists and gay-pride marchers. One EDLer on facebook begged her mates to ‘kick fuck out of some pakis for me’ at the recent Walthamstow demo.

3. The Westcountry Mutineer

Several articles in this month’s issue of Resistance are taken from the Westcountry Mutineer, a new, independent class-struggle anarchist bulletin from south-west England. Here is what the editors say about the paper:
"The Westcountry Mutineer is the southwest’s premier radical scandal-rag – sniffing out all the news the Murdochs, the cops and the bosses don’t want you to read! Compiled in a monthly nourishing meal of wholesome newsbites, we feed our readers hearty helpings of news, views, radical history and theory – not to mention the odd vicious swipe at those in power!"
Find the Westcountry Mutineer at: network23.org/thewestcountrymutineer

4. No Justice, No Piece!

Activists across the South-west picketed Dominoes stores in early September to show solidarity with striking Pizza delivery workers in Australia. Pickets from Bristol to the South Coast were well received by the public, who were shocked to learn that greedy Dominoes bosses are slashing pay for Auzzie delivery drivers by 19%, which adds up to a lot of lost dough, all with the support of their boss-friendly union. In disgust, the workers set up their own union, affiliated to the anarchist International Workers Association and have since been striking, taking direct action and calling for solidarity actions all over the world. Bristol Dominoes workers, initially concerned about the demo, soon became more supportive when they learned that it was all to support their antipodean mates. Management on the other hand, flew of the handle, angrily berating protesters and even calling national Dominoes offices to seek advice and bringing an angry regional manager to the Bristol demo (brilliant news, as now the high-ups in Dominoes know what people think of their thin-crust pay and conditions). Meanwhile, solidarity protests cropped up in other parts of the UK, as well as France, Germany, home of the pizza Italy and home of the bastardised pizza America. With every solidarity action reported to be boosting the morale of the Auzzie drivers, it can only be a matter of time before the Dominoes bosses get stuffed and the workers get a fair slice of the pizza-pie. Messages of solidarity and info about how to get stuck in can be left at:
www.facebook.com/GeneralTransport WorkersAssociation

5. Cops Target Union Boss

Worrying news has filtered through from London about a recent RMT tube strike which saw a new level of police harassment. The well supported strike, on September 10th was held by railway support staff demanding the London Living wage (a whopping £8.30 an hour). Shortly after a picket line was set up at Kings Cross, Old Bill arrived, trying to bully strikers into abandoning the protest. At this point, Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT stepped in to try and inform the workers of their rights. After being told it was ‘none of his business’ (a strange comment to make to an officer of the workers’ own union), the cops nicked Steve for ‘breach of the peace’. Their true motive became clear when they told the strikers that Steve would be released as soon as they disbanded the picket – something they refused to do, maintaining a large and vibrant picket throughout the day. Steve was unsurprisingly released without charge after a six hour wait in the cells. But this disgusting use of police power goes further than a few arrogant coppers flexing their muscles. Especially in times when an unpopular government is trying to force poverty-creating policies on most of us, while allowing their mates in big business to get richer, the police serve as little more than the strong arm of the state. The government knows that it cannot rely on popularity to protect it, so it gives increasing carte-blanche to the cops to deal with dissent with increasing violence and repression. This is why murders like PC Harwood, who killed Ian Tomlinson, get off scot-free, no cop will be punished for the disgusting cover-ups and abuses of power over Hillsborough and no-one ever gets held accountable for the dozens of annual deaths in police custody. The police are the useful idiots of the state, and in return for nicking, beating and occasionally killing their political enemies, the government makes sure that cops, no matter what they have done, will never face the same ‘justice’ as the rest of us.

6. Hey, teacher, make those bosses groan!

Teachers across the South-West will this month be joining colleagues across the country, starting an indefinite campaign of industrial action against excessive stress and workload. The action, designed not to affect pupils, will involve teachers refusing excessive observations (in some schools in the West, teachers face daily observations), refusing to hand in their planning to be marked by senior leaders (yes, this happens) and dozens of similar boycotts. The average teachers day begins at 7.45am, and ends around 6pm, and the long holidays mostly get consumed with marking and planning. This is something teachers have been willing to put up with for years, but with head teachers increasingly treating staff like naughty children by upping already heavy levels of observation and scrutiny as well as expecting a rain-forest depleting level of paperwork on a daily basis, teachers felt action was the only option. The teachers decision to fight back has been made easier by education secretary Michael ‘Pob’ Gove claiming that teachers frequently leave at 3pm and should have their pay docked for doing so – a sick joke for anyone who knows how deep into the evening an average teachers work runs. Clamouring to one-up his partner in crime, OFSTED boss and well known bastard Sir Michael Wilshaw recently opened a speech to school leaders with the line “If anyone says to you that ‘staff morale is at an all-time low’ you will know you are doing something right.”. Wow! With bosses like these, who can blame the teachers for kicking back?

7. Don’t let ‘em rot...

North Swindon residents have been left angry at the council decision to push ahead with the building of nearly 1,700 new homes on green-field land. Despite widespread opposition and concerns that the new Tadpole Farm development, will bulldoze yet more of Swindon’s garden and create a serious flooding hazard, Crest Nicholson (who have a long history of building on flood plains, and recently tried to concrete over 150 well used allotments in bath) and an assortment of local Tory Councillors have pushed the project through. The decision comes despite the new South-Swindon Wichelstowe development laying more or less empty, with no signs of filling up fast. Add this to the fact that, as of the last count, there were 2,518 empty residential properties falling into disrepair around Swindon (with a further 5000 throughout Wiltshire), and the case for new builds starts to fall apart. Local politicians and construction companies will always play the ‘creating new jobs’ card when defending new developments, but this argument has never added up, the real reason is profit. With regulations on the quality of new builds at an all-time low, planning regulations governing green land more meaningless than ever and provisions for building ‘affordable’ and social housing practically non-existent, new builds represent a licence for construction companies to print money, while foisting quickly and poorly constructed, over-expensive housing on the rest of us. If local councillors and housing companies really cared about Swindon, and job creation, they would be far more willing to invest in sprucing up the towns empties and providing them as social or affordable housing to ease what is already an overflowing council-house waiting list of over 13,000. The development at Tadpole farm has nothing to do with helping us out or creating jobs and affordable housing and more to do with big-business finding more ways to rake in massive profits at the rest of our expense, all with the eager help of their Tory lackeys

8. Piratical Hi-Jinks and Hi-jacks in Dartmouth

The West country has a long and proud history of smuggling, brigandry and piracy, so, although not at all political we thought we’d take the time to salute Dartmouth resident Alison Whelan for upholding these fine traditions. After a weekend long bender, including copious amount of lambrini and hallucinogenic deadly nightshade, Alison decided to re-ignite the dormant tradition of South-Western piracy. Commandeering a 45ft vessel, Captain Whelan steered out of the harbour, smashing into dozens of boats, including a £70,000 luxury yacht, all the while screaming ‘I’m Jack Sparrow’. Police on the scene described the harbour as ‘like a giant pinball machine’ as Alison attempted to make it to the high seas. As authorities approached, Whelan was heard taunting police by saying “what are you going to do now?” and “I believe this is out of your jurisdiction”. She was wrong. Later, when being interviewed, Whelan’s first words to police were ‘I would have made it St Tropez if you hadn’t stopped me’! The unrepentant pirate is now doing a short stretch behind bars, and, while her water-borne protest can in no way be counted as progressive, or even a protest, we would still like to take off our tri-corner hats in salute to a woman who has reminded us that the West’s tradition of drunken, criminal piracy is not quite dead.

9. Antep Textile Workers Resist Attacks

Textile workers in the Turkish region of Antep recently came out on strike protesting inhumane working conditions, cuts to benefits and bonuses from management and a decrease in wages. In terms of sheer numbers and mass participation alone the strike begun impressively, with even the most reactionary news outlets estimating that anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 workers were involved, with the action spreading spontaneously as neighbouring factories and other workplaces took direct action in solidarity with the strike. In recent years the Turkish government has made efforts to position itself as a possible regional economic superpower, hoping to ape the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies in a region that bridges the supposed geographical and cultural divide between Europe and North Africa. Naturally, such a policy requires on a total surrender to the whims of capitalists, corporations and bosses. Similarly, one of the sparks that ignited the strike was the cowardly conduct of the mainstream trades unions, who performed their familiar routine of mediating a dispute between the working class and capital by accepting a zero percent pay increase. The workers therefore refused from the outset to yield their collective power to corrupt representatives and instead forged ahead with directly democratic alternatives. The strike was concluded eleven days later, with the workers having gained a guarantee of improved working conditions, pay rises of between 10-20 % and entitlements to 10 day holiday bonuses throughout the year. Crucially, they were also able to combat an attempt during the strike by bosses to force financially desperate strikers to sign a document renouncing the strike itself.

10. Mine, All Mine! South African Miners’ Victories

Over the last couple of months, the news has been full of bloody stories from the mining communities of South Africa. We first of all heard of the tragic deaths of over 30 striking miners at the hands of the cops, whose government bosses then tried to use apartheid era laws to place legal blame for the deaths on the miners themselves. After that, the focus soon shifted to stories of ‘extremism’ from striking workers, threatening both bosses and scab workers (like there’s ever something wrong with threatening either form of vermin) and holding the South African economy to ransom. Then the news went dead. What most people in this country will not know is that after all the death and suffering, the miners won a massive victory, securing the 22% pay increase they had been striking for. In what seems to be corporate news policy, they are willing to show us stories of workers getting bravely beaten or being ‘unreasonable’ and violent themselves, but find it impossible to tell the public when ordinary working people organise themselves and win – which of course sets a bad example. The good news from Africa does not stop at the miners’ victory. Following their example, protests and strikes have erupted across South Africa, with everyone from teachers to gold miners taking action to better the living conditions of their families and communities. What started as a localised strike has become a general one, and is now taking the shape of a widespread insurrection. Since apartheid ended, wealth in South Africa has still been controlled by the same elite, now with a smattering of black faces, and the workers, overwhelmingly black, still find themselves in dire, and often increasing poverty. The victory of the miners, though won at a bloody cost has sent shockwaves through the South African working class, which is flexing its muscles and gearing up for a fight which could see some of the great wealth of their country ripped away from the wealthy few and taken for those who work, sweat and die to create it.

11. Quebec Students Chalk Up A Win

In a striking example of how things should be done, students in Quebec have just won a massive victory against the government. Similar to the UK, Canadian politicians were attempting to introduce fee hikes, which Canadian students correctly viewed as an attack on their basic right to an affordable education. Although the Canadian fee hikes were only around 6%, and the original university admission fee, far lower than in the UK, Canadian students took to the streets in their hundreds of thousands, and after over a year of strikes, sit-ins, blockades, protests, directs actions and frequent confrontations with the Mounties, won. Authorities quickly realised the students determination – arresting over 3,000 and banning unauthorised marches – a ban which the students, organising themselves through open democratic meetings, wholeheartedly ignored! The strike soon spread beyond the students, with teachers, lecturers and other workers joining strike and protests actions in what soon became a widespread movement against an unpopular conservative government. A spokesperson for CLASSE, the student organising body stated that the victory was won ‘because we organized a strike movement whose support was popular and broad, which allowed people of all ages and walks of life to express their grievances about our political and economic struggle, and which helped defeat the government’. In an era of increasing austerity, we in Britain could learn a valuable lesson from the students of Quebec, who refused to give up once an unpopular policy became law and united a broad and militant movement which took on and finally defeated the might of the Canadian state.

12. Good News from Unity Centre Glasgow


Some good news from Unity Centre Glasgow, offering friendly, practical solidarity and mutual aid to all asylum seekers, refugees and sans papiers.

Christine is still in the UK!

Christine who was dragged naked and screaming from Yarlswood by six guards on Monday evening was not removed from the UK and is back in Yarlswood detention centre.
Her treatment by the guards that evening resulted in over a hundred other women prisoners staging a protest in the canteen of detention centre.
Christine has been in detention since she was arrested in Glasgow by the Border Agency in April this year. Her first removal flight was stopped by the intervention by her MP.
Christine has a harrowing case which is based on repeated sexual abuse from members of her family going back for more than ten years, as well as the murder of her father and related death threats to her. Christine believes she is in real danger of being found and killed by her brothers if she is returned to Uganda.
She got help to escape to the UK where she applied for asylum and spent a long time homeless before being taken into detention in April 2012. Christine is in very bad health, is seriously depressed and was put on suicide watch in Yarls Wood. She is terrified of being returned to Uganda where she suffered for so long.
Christine’s story is one shared by so many of the women in Yarls Wood who fall through the cracks of an asylum system that does not recognise the repeated abuse and rape of women in the family and the support of societies for that abuse, as good enough grounds for asylum. Christine had previously made the plea “It seems that I have no rights for my life, no right to recover from this torture knowing that I have been through a lot. And I have been denied the natural justice that I deserve.”

Khadija Still Here, Still Fighting!

Khadija Azergui who was being forcibly removed yesterday to Morocco managed to get her flight stopped after her lawyer successfully lodged an application for a judicial review. Khadijia, a student at Glasgow University who had claimed asylum to escape a forced marriage to a business acquantaince of her father, had been detained in August as a ‘Fast Track’ asylum case in August this year.
The UKBA refused to accept that she was facing a forced marriage and the threat of being killed by her father and brothers but she has managed ot get expert evidence about the treatment of women in Morocco which she submitted last week.
Khadijia is still here and still fighting!
The UNITY Centre
30 Ibrox Street
Glasgow
G51 1AQ
Tel: 0141 427 7992
www.unitycentreglasgow.org
info@unitycentreglasgow.org

13. Yarl’s Wood Prisoners Resist

On Wednesday 17 October, 200 women were “kettled” for eight hours in a corridor within the notorious Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire. Many women refused food whilst some were denied their medication. Five women were held “incommunicado”. Screws at the detention centre threatened women with further reprisals.
One of the woman locked-up said: “There has been intimidation and oppression directed towards us. Even today (18 Oct) we were all locked in with no free movement until 1.30pm. We had no access to the internet so women couldn’t get information to support their cases. This is especially terrible for those on the Fast Track system who have only two days to make an application or appeal. Some women have not been able to get the medication they need.

Women had gathered to demand a meeting with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) after Serco guards dragged a naked woman (Ms CN) from her room in an attempt to deport her. UKBA said they would only meet women if they came in one by one. Women refused to be picked off and the guards locked them in the corridor.
Earlier this month 120 women gathered to agree a set of demands to address the injustice they faced including: “no more Fast Track [where asylum decisions are made within days, leaving no time for evidence to be gathered]; full internet access; pay us at least the minimum wage for our work; no more copy & paste of case decisions – we need fair trial; no more charter flights.”

Verna Joseph, who led a hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood last year and was also kettled with 80 women in a corridor for over eight hours commented: “We stopped eating to protest at mothers being separated from children, women being held for months inside with no explanation or hearing and the abuse of women who have suffered rape and other torture. Our demands were similar those being made now – it is shocking that nothing has changed.”
This information is from the Black Women’s Rape Action Project who are in daily contact with women prisoners at Yarl’s Wood.
www.womenagainstrape.net/black-womens-rape-action-project

Write to a Prisoner!

We live in a time of unprecedented repression, when more people than ever from our class, and from our movement, are going to prison, and for longer. In spite of this, as always, there are still those who are prepared to fight back. It is vital that we show our support & solidarity to class struggle prisoners
Many prisoners’ addresses from around the world are listed on the websites of the Anarchist Black Cross groups.
For excellent advice on contacting prisoners download the free PDF leaflet by Leeds Anarchist Black Cross called ‘Writing to Prisoners’ from:
www.leedsabc.org
For loads of news, information and links about prisons check the Campaign Against Prison Slavery website at:
www.againstprisonslavery.org



Liked Resistance? Try Organise!

Organise! is the Anarchist Federation’s theoretical and historical magazine. It is published in order to develop anarchist communist ideas. It aims to give a clear anarchist viewpoint on contemporary issues, and initiate debates on areas not normally covered in agitational journals.
You can order or subscribe online at www.afed.org.uk, or get in touch with your local AF group for a copy.

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Anarchist Federation

The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of class struggle anarchists (based in Britain and Ireland, but with many contacts overseas) which aims 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 it’s destruction must be complete and world wide. We reject attempts to reform it such as working through parliament and national liberation movements (like the IRA) 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 movement and are affiliated to the International of Anarchist Federations.

National Contact

Email: info [at] afed.org.uk
Web: www.afed.org.uk

Write to:
BM ANARFED,
London, WC1N 3XX,
England, UK.

International of Anarchist Federations:
www.i-f-a.org/
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