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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation Resistance #145, October 2012
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 10:54:04 +0200
Contents ---- A Future that is NO FUTURE! - The TUC rally on 20th Oct ---- Disabled People
Fight Back – Pickets in Manchester against ATOS tests ---- Fight for Sites: Mass Action –
following Dale Farm eviction last year ---- Friern Barnet Library Users Resist Closure –
London library saves -- Anti-nuclear Activists Interrupt Arms Giants Seminar -- On the
Front Line – workplace resistance round up --- London Metropolitan University – opposing
UK Borders Agency ---- The Labour Party: “It’s good to be rich” - says the people's party
---- Police Kettle Brighton Queers Against the Cuts ---- Sparks Actions Continue – rank
and file electricians dispute ---- Jailed Kazakhstan Workers’ Appeals Rejected ---- Write
to a Prisoner! ---- A Future that is NO FUTURE! ---- On the morning of October 20th yet
another TUC (Trades Union Council) sponsored march and rally will set off from Embankment,
Once again traipsing the tried and tested route towards Hyde Park, the event has been
dubbed “A Future That Works”. The TUC are telling us that another well supported march
will stop the government in its tracks, frighten them into halting their austerity
programmes, their cuts to services and their attacks on pensions and working conditions.
Did the huge demonstration supported by as many as a million people in February 2003 stop
the Labour government continuing its war against Iraq?
Did the large “March for the Alternative”- called by the TUC on 26th March last year and
supported by 250,000 people - make this government change its policies?
No. If anything, these A to B marches demonstrate that the number of people on the streets
is irrelevant to those in power.
The TUC tell us about a Future That Works. But the “future” that they envisage is more of
the same, a mythical Golden Age that never really existed, where there was prosperity and
equality under a benign welfare state. They blame the bankers for the present situation we
are in, conveniently letting the whole capitalist system off the hook. They say: “The
existing banks aren’t lending to growing businesses. We need new banks interested in jobs
and the needs of the economy. A national industrial bank can fund big projects, while
every region could have its own local bank.”
How would “new banks” be any different from the old ones? Banks are there to make profit.
Their nature cannot somehow be changed.
The TUC talk about “the gap between the super-rich and everyone else”. They ignore the
existence of a working class, and they ignore the existence of a ruling class, focussing
only on some elements within that ruling class, the “bad” elements. Once upon a time the
TUC actually used the rhetoric of talking about the working class, but now even that phony
rhetoric has gone. The British trade union bureaucracy now appear perfectly happy with a
class system, one in which some people become wealthy while most of us struggle.
According to the TUC: “We need policies to put right what has gone wrong and gives us an
economy that works for ordinary British families”. What are these “ordinary British
families”? The TUC knows the audience it is aiming its propaganda at. It knows that people
are in different social situations and yet it is reduced to denying the diversity of life
in Britain, with many people not living in the situation of an “ordinary British family”.
Ethnic background and sexual orientation are completely ignored. They focus on Britain as
if the problems that “ordinary” people face happen in Britain only as if the economic
crisis that is biting into everyday life was not experienced by people elsewhere in the
world, be it Greece or Spain, Latin America or South Africa.
The TUC cites the US example of successful government intervention in the economy where
“US unemployment has gone down, while it has continued to go up in the UK”. Apart from the
fact that this may well be only temporary and that the long term trend in the USA will be
towards further unemployment, it fails to mention that this was bought at the cost of
wages being frozen whilst inflation grew sharply and that the fall in the unemployment
rate was because many had actually given up looking for an illusory job!
The TUC talks now about a Winter of Discontent and of a possible general strike. It talks
and it talks and it talks. This rhetoric - and rhetoric is all it is - is only there to
head off demands from workers for real action. In fact it will do NOTHING. More
“lunch-time strikes” anyone?
It is up to us to take the fight against austerity and the cuts into our own hands. We
need action that is controlled by us, direct action and not action mediated by
bureaucrats. In this issue of Resistance we cite the example of Barnet where new and
exciting ways of countering the cuts are emerging, where people from different movements
are forming the beginnings of new alliances. We also cite the example of the rank and file
electricians who are ignoring the union bureaucrats and relying on mass action.
Unite the struggles - create links between workers fighting against cuts in pay and
conditions and pensions, students in schools, colleges and universities fighting against
the austerity measures, pensioners, and the unemployed.
Attacking the bankers is only part of the solution; the whole of the present system is
unjust and rotten. It cannot be reformed. There is no such thing as a “nice” capitalism.
It must be replaced with a new society based on equality and social justice, a society
based on mass decision-making and mass participation, without exploitation, hierarchy,
injustice and war.
Disabled People Fight Back
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) mounted pickets in Manchester in late August, outside
the Atos reporting centre. They were called to coincide with the Paralympics,
hypocritically sponsored by Atos. Every week 32 people die after being forced back into
work because they have failed tests by Atos for incapacity benefit.
Other demonstrations took place in Sheffield, Newcastle and other cities across the
country. Workers and pensioners joined the actions.
In London, 500 people picketed the city centre HQ of the privately owned, government
contracted company. This action was joined by striking Remploy strikers and people from
Occupy London. They then blockaded and occupied the Department of Work and Pensions, &
were attacked without any provocation. Police used heavy handed tactics and pushed the
crowd without any concern for the disabled wheelchair users lined up in front of the door,
despite being repeated warned that less ably bodied people were being placed at risk.
Their actions resulted in one of the protesters having his shoulder broken. Another
wheelchair user’s chair was broken in this unprovoked use of force by the police. The
police made several attempts to unbalance protestors at the front of the crowd and broke
one man’s glasses.
One of the peaceful protesters inside, who was there to support activists occupying the
foyer of the DWP building, heard what was happening and attempted to alert police to the
fact there were wheelchair users being crushed in the line and in danger of being hurt. As
a result he was arrested. Legal observers who attended the event will have witnessed this
incident. At the end of the protest those occupying the DWP foyer left voluntarily and the
demonstration ended peacefully and without further incident.
DPAC: Disabled People Against Cuts: http://www.dpac.uk.net/
Statement from DPAC:
Fight for Sites: Mass Action
Join us on the anniversary of the Dale Farm eviction to fight for sites!
One Year Ago, at dawn on 19 October 2011, hundreds of riot police and bailiffs stormed the
Dale Farm Traveller community in Essex to carry out one of the largest and most brutal
evictions in the UK.
This October, we target the Department for Communities & Local Government to fight for an
end to evictions and the right to a home.
One year on, Dale Farm has been transformed into a virtual bombsite, filled with stagnant
water, raw sewage and toxic waste. 83 homeless families are living on the roadside with no
electricity, running water or sanitation.
As one mother put it, ‘Why would we be living here if we had somewhere else to go?’
Dale Farm is just one example of a cycle of forced evictions that Travellers and Gypsies
across the UK face every day. Underlying these evictions is a severe deficit of authorised
transit and permanent sites for Gypsies and Travellers. The travelling way of life has
been effectively criminalised by legislation making it illegal to travel and impossible to
In 2011, an estimated 17% of Gypsy and Traveller families were forced to live on
‘unauthorised’ illegal sites, either because they have been denied planning permission for
land they own or there are not enough council-run sites to house them. They face
harassment, evictions and homelessness. An undocumented number of Gypsies and Travellers
have been forced into ‘bricks and mortar’ against their will due to the shortage of sites.
Eric Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government funded the Dale Farm
eviction to the tune of £1.2 million. They are also leading the wholesale attack on Gypsy
and Traveller rights, abolishing local government targets for the provision of sites and
strengthening powers to evict through the Localism Act.
It’s time to fight back.
Join us for a mass action at 1pm, 19 October 2012, Victoria Station, London, in
solidarity with the Dale Farm families and countless other travelling communities facing
eviction, to fight for sites.
Dale Farm Solidarity, London
Friern Barnet Library Users Resist Closure
Barnet is not well known for its radicalism – not since a group of 17th century Diggers
set up a colony there along the lines of Gerrard Winstanley’s better known Surrey
settlement. But now there are stirrings, thanks to the efforts of some feisty, imaginative
local anti-cuts campaigners and a group of equally imaginative anarchist squatters
originally based in Camden.
In April 2012 the notoriously right-wing Barnet Council announced the closure of Friern
Barnet library, giving only 24 hours notice. The reaction was instantaneous. The library
was occupied by library users and local people. They had to leave as the library was
forcibly closed down, but straight away a series of ‘pop-up’ libraries began on land next
to the library building, lending out books as Friern Barnet People’s Library. These events
also became hubs for anti-cuts campaigning in general, with local cafes and shopkeepers
providing free food and other help.
Then in early September a group of squatters gained entry to the library and made
immediate contact with the Save Friern Barnet Library campaign. A common understanding and
approach was speedily worked out and now the library is open for business six days a week,
run by locals and activists and a range of other cultural activities are also under way.
It has proved an eye-opener for both the squatters, in terms of the overwhelming level of
local commitment to the library, and for local campaigners, confirming yet again how
effective direct action can be.
The ultimate aim is not to set up a ‘Big Society’ volunteer library, but to force the
council to return to the people of Barnet what was theirs to start with – a full scale
library purpose-built to serve local people ‘in perpetuity’.
Anti-nuclear Activists Interrupt Arms Giants Seminar
The “Introduction to Nuclear Defence” seminar, held in Beardmore Hotel Clydebank on 6th
and 7th September, invited “young delegates” for two days of seminars and presentations on
nuclear defence topics from “leading industry figures”. The programme, only open to UK
passport holders subject to stringent security checks, included a tour of Faslane naval
base where the entire British nuclear weapons submarine fleet is based.
Seven activists from Faslane Peace Camp entered the seminar room to interrupt the
proceedings and question the legitimacy of preparing a new generation of young people for
employment in the nuclear arms industry. They presented the delegates with large posters
with images of victims of Hiroshima suffering the effects of radiation burns as a result
of the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city in 1945 instantly killing 70,000
civilians. The peace activists read out first hand accounts from Hiroshima survivors in
unison before being ushered out by hotel security.
On the Front Line
Cleaners working for ISS on East Coast mainline and London Midland picketed King’s Cross
station in central London in early September after going on a 24 hour strike with a banner
reading “Wages not peanuts”.
Workers at IT company Capita suspended industrial action after bosses said they would back
down on pushing through job losses and offshoring.
Workers at Remploy went out on strike for five days in early September - in Chesterfield
for five days, in Springburn, Glasgow for four. They were then joined by workers striking
at factories in Scotland at Leven, Cowdenbeath and Clydebank. Remploy, which employs
disabled people, has closed 24 factories in the last month. In Chesterfield hundreds of
workers joined Remploy strikers on a march through the town. Remploy workers were among
those who joined a picket in Glasgow for George Osborne’s visit to the Scottish
Confederation of British Industry.
HM Revenue and Customs management announced plans to axe 8 onsite nurseries in Leicester,
Wolverhampton, East Kilbride, Cardiff, Nottingham, Leeds, Salford and Blackburn Revenue
and Customs offices. They gave 12 weeks notice with no explanation for their decision.
This has provoked widespread anger. Many parents will be unable to continue working
because of this. Parents and children mounted pickets on 14th September in Cardiff and
At least 30 workers went on strike on 12th September at the London offices of Amnesty
International, the first strike there in over 20 years. They took action because
management plan to “restructure” and save £2.5 million. Part of this saving would involve
So far management have refused to give in and further action is on the cards.
London Metropolitan University
Workers and students at London Metropolitan University called for actions on a
Britain-wide level against a decision by the administration to throw 3,000 international
students off courses. This followed a ruling by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA)
that London Met were not keeping proper records of international students. The students,
who paid fees for their courses, now have to look for alternative courses. If they don’t
get on courses, they risk being deported. The UKBA decision is part of the move by this
government to crack down on immigration. Over 300 workers and students demonstrated
outside the Home Office against this decision on 12th September. Supporters are encouraged
to sign the amnesty now petition - currently at over 7,500 signatures:
The Labour Party: “It’s good to be rich”
The TUC’s real agenda is not a successful attack on the austerity programme of this
government but to return Labour to power at the next election. As Labour leader Ed
Miliband said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph on 14th September, he will “not
pass moral judgement” on those who become filthy rich - this is not very different from
Peter Mandelson announcing that he was “intensely relaxed” about becoming “filthy rich”.
Miliband wants to “save capitalism from itself”. He wants the “creativity” of capitalism
to be harnessed and this broken, vicious system to become “more decent” and “humane”. In
his own words: “capitalism is the least worst system we’ve got”. Such statements are
evidence – as if more were really needed – that the Labour party are just as delusional
and profiteering as their political “opponents” in the Con-Dem coalition government.
Police Kettle Brighton Queers Against the Cuts
Members of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts have told how they were kettled and
persistently harassed by the police at Brighton Pride Parade on 25th August . London
Queers Against the Cuts, who were guests of the Brighton group, observed the events first
hand, testifying to the heavy handedness of the police: “There seemed to have been
trouble before the parade moved off – with our section mysteriously being moved to the
back of the parade.” said Richard Farnos, London QUAC Co-Convenor.
“But the real trouble began” said Richard “as the parade moved off when some latecomers
sought to join the group. Led by a belligerent steward (who at one point threatened to
have me thrown off the march for asking why people couldn’t join the parade), a group of
police on horseback and on foot cut in front us and began to kettle the group.”
A member of the London group moved forward to inform the organisers of the Parade about
what was going on. However, he largely found them unhelpful.
Richard Farnos observed “In a parallel discussion I had with another steward she
questioned whether something ‘so overtly political’ should be on the parade at all and
even suggested that somehow we would let fascists join our group on the march!”
The QUAC groups were finally allowed to continue but the harassment continued. The
contingent was surrounded by police and people were prevented from joining.
“I saw people physically thrown back into the crowds,” Richard continued ”Indeed the
behaviour of the police was reckless and dangerous, at one point the horses were so close
to us that one licked my neck. We had older and disabled people with us and one stumble
and fall and we would have all been under the horses.”
“I have been a political activist since the eighties and have been on many a demo. The
police behaviour does not surprise me.” Richard concluded ”What is a new experience
however was the complete lack of support from the Pride organisers. Are they so enamoured
with the corporate pound that the plight of HIV+ people who will lose their benefits; or
young LGBT people who will become homeless has no interest to them? The day when Pride
stops being political is the point when Pride will become pointless!”
Sparks Actions Continue
Rank and file electricians are continuing to take action against employers, putting on
pickets and demonstrations at sites throughout Britain in August and September in Cardiff
(Royal Infirmary) Leeds ( at the Laing O’Rourke site), London, and Scotland, where a
picket took place at the Balfour Beatty offices. Balfour’s are denying that they are
blacklisting activists, to the scepticism of sparks.
A leading rank and file sparks activist has been told he can return to work after
accusations that his employers, Balfour Beatty were attempting to punish him for his role
in the seven-month BESNA dispute.
Stewart Hume was told by managers at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services that he was being
paid off, despite the company employing less skilled and less-well experienced
electricians over the same period.
Earlier the same week workers had threatened disruptive, unofficial action at construction
sites around the country if he was not allowed back to work.
The company has now informed him that he could return to work from Monday (10 September)
for four weeks.
Hume and other workers remain worried that he might not receive long-term work and are
prepared for more action.
Jailed Kazakhstan Workers’ Appeals Rejected
A court in Kazakhstan has rejected appeals by 12 oil workers against prison sentences
ranging from two to six years, imposed for their part in last year’s strikes.
One activist, Roza Tuletaeva, had her sentence cut from seven years to five – but her
family fear this is part of a campaign to force her to give evidence against political
oppositionists in an upcoming trial. Threats against Tuletaeva’s children by the KNB
security service have made her suicidal, they warn.
The appeals were heard, and almost all rejected, by the judge on 2 August. The prisoners
were not permitted to attend the hearing.
Lawyers appealed against the sentences on the grounds that the defendants had admitted
their part in last year’s protests; that they had no previous convictions; that in some
cases guilt had not been proved; and that most of the prisoners had underage children and
were in many cases the household breadwinner.
The appeal verdicts were another blow to the oil workers of Zhanaozen, the oil town where
on 16 December police fired on demonstrators demanding improved wages and conditions,
killing at least 16 and wounding at least 64.
Prisoners’ families and other oil workers who crowded the court room told journalists that
they were “shocked”. They angrily compared the appeal verdicts with those pronounced on
two former akims (mayors) of Zhanaozen, who have both been convicted of large-scale
corruption and handed two-year conditional sentences.
Human rights activists fear that the pressure on Tuletaeva by the security forces bodes
ill for the trial of political oppositionists Vladimir Kozlov, Serik Sapargali and
Akzhanat Aminov. They have been charged with “inciting social conflict”, because they
supported last year’s strikes by oil workers.
Tuletaeva’s daughter, Aliya, told opposition newspapers that her mother had telephoned her
from detention and said that KNB officers had threatened to “do something” to her children.
Aliya believes that Roza Tuletaeva was threatened by the same KNB officer who tortured her
in pre-trial detention. She also thinks that KNB officers forced her mother to sign a
declaration against the opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov, but that they are worried
she will renounce it in court.
Earlier this year Resistance reported on the involvement of Tony Blair and his chums in
supporting and gaining financial benefits from the Kazakhstan regime.
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:
For loads of news, information and links about prisons check the Campaign Against Prison
Slavery website at:
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
You can order or subscribe online at www.afed.org.uk, or get in touch with your local AF
group for a copy.
Organise! single issue (including postage and packing):
£3.50 UK/£4.00 EU /£4.50 rest of world
Annual subscription to Organise! (two issues, saving £1/year or 50p/issue):
£6 UK/£7 EU /£8 rest of world
Resistance subscription (10 issues per year, to cover postage and packing):
For UK addresses only:£8.00
Anywhere in Europe: £15.00
Rest of World: £20.00
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
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.
Email: info [at] afed.org.uk
London, WC1N 3XX,
International of Anarchist Federations:
Download RESISTANCE bulletin issue #145 October 2012 [PDF]:
The Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk
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