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(en) UK, LONDON CALLING June 2003, Class War* monthly - Our (May) Day Will Come! Report & Reflections

From Harry Roberts <classwaruk@hotmail.com>
Date Thu, 24 Jul 2003 09:53:55 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

The London CW picket of Wilkinson's, Stratford, got our May
Day off to a good start. Well attended, and well policed, we
received a positive reception from shoppers. This was but one
of a series of pickets we'll be holding to highlight Wilkinson's
use of prison slave labour. Once we arrived in the West End,
however, it was clear that the main event of the day was not
going to go as smoothly as we'd hoped. From the first it was
clear that the police had the upper hand: the rapid encircling of
demonstrators at the assembly point outside Lockheed Martin
showed what to expect from the cops. What was particularly
perturbing with this inauspicious start was that many
experienced activists were trapped behind enemy lines!

When things did get underway it was clear that numbers were
well down on last year. Many people I spoke to thought they
were seeing one part of a much larger demonstration. I didn't
have the heart to put them right! Whilst May Day did cause a
huge disruption of trade throughout the West End, much of
that was due to shops being boarded up in fear of violence.
The stroll round the West End did cause some surprise, but
outside the immediate vicinity of the demonstration life
proceeded as normal.

The confusion caused by the disruption of the assembly point
caused events throughout the day to go awry. The 'green '
route appears to have been the only one to appear. This,
combined with the low turnout, combined to leave the police
retaining the upper hand throughout the day. We got to the
day's destination - Shell's HQ on the Strand - earlier that the 4
o'clock convergence hour, and by four few people were left in
the Strand.

Though many people had headed off down Whitehall, the day
was effectively lost by the time the last stragglers had left the
Strand for a pint or five. Though people hung around Trafalgar
for ages - some forced to - it was plain the police had initiative
on their side. The police presence was sufficient to prevent
any trouble being worth the effort, and there was little talk in
the pubs later of success.

There are some several reasons for the disappointing events
of this year's May Day. The publicity was tardy. May Day fell
- again - on a weekday, with all the associated problems for
turnout. Many people have already filled their year's quota of
demonstrations. Past May Days have shown what sort of
policing to expect. Maybe some people were put off attending
because they didn't want to get nicked for stuff they'd done
before. But another possibility is boredom…

This brief summary of the events of this year's May Day may
sound pessimistic: it isn't supposed to. Rather, it is time to
re-evaluate May Day strategically and tactically. We cannot
go on without reflecting on what went wrong on the day, as
well as what went right. Essentially, it's time to ask ourselves
what we want from May Day. Is it a day to trash a
McDonald's? A day to have a ruck with the filth? A day to
bring the West End to a halt? If it is, then we're failing

As long as we keep going back to the West End every year,
we're making a strategic mistake: we divide ourselves from
the very communities we wish to influence. Tactically it
makes no sense. If we're looking for a rerun of June 18, we're
looking in the wrong place. Each year May Day has a different
theme, with a different idea of how to get the better of the
cops. Each year the police manage to disrupt these plans. At
the end of the day what has May Day become but a great
training day for the Met and City filth? The last four May Days
have been positive and vibrant events, but that avenue of
opportunity has run its course. It is now time to stop making a
fetish of holding May Day in the West End and to act more

By focusing exclusively on the West End and the targets
there, the targets on our own doorsteps are neglected.
Hackney, Lambeth, Camden, Islington and Haringey Councils
all affect the everyday lives of working-class Londoners more
than Lockheed Martin. The bread-and-butter issues which
most people lose sleep over are not represented in the West
End but in the town halls of London. To regain the initiative on
May Day, and to reconnect with our communities, we feel that
it is vital that the anarchist movement look away from the
glittering spires of the West End. If we carry on in the same
vein we are going to continue alienating the anarchist
movement from the very people we hope to influence.

Next year May Day is on a Saturday. We feel that if May Day
'04 is to be the success we want it to be, then we must start
looking honestly at what happened this year and drawing
lessons from it. In the run-up to next year's events, we'd like to
encourage people to get involved in organising it so that the
burden is not unfairly placed on a few people. We salute the
efforts made by this year's May Day Collective, and feel that
their work should have been crowned by greater success. That
it wasn't was due to factors outside their control. Only through
greater collaboration and solidarity between groups, both
formal and informal, can we hope to improve the planning for
next year's May Day.

Onwards and upwards for 2004!

Mayday Across the World

BERLIN: At the end of a 4000-strong protest in Prenzlauer
Berg, violence "erupted". A group of 200 anarchists took on
7500 cops. They pelted the filth with rocks, bottles and
fireworks for three hours, fighting behind burning barricades
and beside smashed up shops, losing 97 to arrest. 27 cops
were injured, as well as an unknown number of rioters and
bystanders. The German capital has been a venue for Mayday
revels since 1987. Spiky Rating: 5
BERNE: Swiss police used water cannon to prevent 300
demonstrators from entering a state-owned arms company.
SR: 3
ZURICH: 7,000 people marched peacefully. SR: :-(
MOSCOW: Pro-Putin parties and trade unions eclipsed
Communist supporters, with a 25,000-strong march. The
peaceful, flower-waving crowd cheerfully marched down
Moscow's main thoroughfare, joined by the Moscow mayor,
Yuri Luzhkov, and Mikhail Gorbachev. SR: :-(
SEOUL: 20,000 attended a rally demanding a shorter working
week, better conditions and job security. SR: 1
MANILA: 10,000 marched, demanding better working
conditions. Some wore masks, symbolizing the harmful effects
of globalization on local industries. SR: 1

You're supposed to fry them!
Tokers at Hungary's first cannabis march and festival were
forced to take an early bath after anti-drugs campaigners
pelted them with eggs and tomatoes. Although cops kept the
two sides apart, the way the "antis" hissed and booed,
together with their incessant rain of veg, brought the do to an
end an hour early.

Shenanigans in US
American Postal Service Inspector General Karla Corcoran
has come under fire from a watchdog group and 2 senators. It
seems that she authorised a variety of "team-building"
activities which would get most people the sack. Among the
concerns raised about the bizarre and unusual practices she
had staff participate in were building gingerbread houses,
dressing up like YMCA band, the Village People, and
performing strip-teases at work. Additionally, they criticised
her "rampant waste, cronyism, questionable management and
personnel practices".

Come in SO595, your time is up!
You really could not make it up. The Met have just announced
they're going to launch a range of cop "action men". They're
kicking off, appropriately, with a riot cop. According to the
BBC, "the male action figure is equipped with telescopic
truncheon, riot shield and handcuffs", and can be dressed up in
a flak jacket, boots, helmet and gauntlets. It also has its own
number (SO595). This feisty filth will be joined by a female
sergeant, cop van, helicopter & air observer. For some reason
the Met seem to think this is a good idea. If they want to
portray themselves as vicious thugs, who are we to differ?

Unlikely Heroes
For many years there have been rumours that, in the US,
librarians keep tabs on what people are looking at. Rumour no
longer! The US "Patriot" Act forces librarians to give the FBI
the reading, research and internet records of any & all library
users. Librarians are even prohibited from telling you your
records have been seized by the Feds!! This is no idle threat:
librarians across the United States are reporting FBI agents
making many hundreds of record requests. However, librarians
are not taking this lying down. From issuing warnings and
spreading news of the new law, many librarians are turning to
direct action! The most used piece of equipment in many
libraries now is the humble shredder, which many librarians
are now using routinely to foil the evil machinations of the
Bush despotism.

Sports News
News reaches us of a recent football match between the
fascist British Ulster Alliance and Eastway Rangers FC, a 6
Counties loyalist outfit. The game ended Eastway Rangers 6
BUA Mainlanders 2, in this memorial match for John Gregg
and Robert Carson. The BUA had the grace to say Eastway
were the better side. One BUA player sadly had received a
broken ankle, and was hospitalised. The rest of the team
retired in solidarity.

London Calling
Over the next month, we're going to be revamping London
Calling. We're going to see if people want to get it via email,
and London Calling will also carry more reviews and
international news. You will have seen our international
Mayday notes above: our team of newshounds are on the
look-out for similar stories for the July edition. If you have any
information, news or diary dates for London Calling, please
email us at classwaruk@hotmail.com, or send the info to
London Calling at the London PO Box.

War news
Throughout the war on Iraq there've been strange goings-on.
Now the dust is beginning to settle, it's interesting to see what
the peace has revealed. Taking two points here - the archives
and Jessica Lynch - shows a bit of a dichotomy between what
we're told and encouraged to believe, and the truth.

As soon as the fighting was over the looting began. Both in
Basra and Baghdad teams of Iraqis carried off anything they
could lay their hands on. And good luck to them! The curious
thing was finding Class War in strange company. Donald
Rumsfeld and Geoff Hoon are not known for their positive
stance on free shopping, yet both condoned the looting. All
manner of useful and not so useful things were taken: three
men were seen in Basra pushing a grand piano down the road!
Buildings in Baghdad were pillaged and set on fire. And where
were the forces of law and order during this shopping frenzy?
Sat back, encouraging the looting! Whilst the looting of the
National Museum has grabbed most of the headlines, the
looting of the archives has not received the same attention.

Consider: in Afghanistan, every computer and video tape
discovered was trumpeted as the likely panacea to all the US
& UK intelligence problems. All carefully taken away and
investigated. All nice and above board. In Iraq, by contrast, the
cities were thrown open and pillaged, not by the invading
forces, but by their own populations. No attempt was made to
secure any ministry (except oil).

Now, after the buildings were just smoking and it was safe to
enter them, all sorts of goodies started turning up for anyone
bothering to look about. So much turned up, in fact, that two
journalists were able to find the same document on the same
day that linked Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. They even
scraped off the same tippex - separately! (See Sunday
Telegraph, Toronto Star, 27 April.) And both claimed a world
exclusive… Similarly, there have been plentiful finds of
material to tar Galloway, and by implication the anti-war
movement. But nothing about weapons of mass destruction.
Nothing about where Saddam Hussein (or his corpse) is. And
now, about seven weeks after the fall of Iraq, the US is
scaling down the teams looking so hard for the wmd's. The
looters have already been blamed by senior members of the
Bush administration for nicking all the documents about the
weapons. Handy people, looters!

JESSICA LYNCH may be out of the headlines at the moment,
but it's likely not long till she reappears. The story of her
capture and dramatic rescue was instantly tipped as the next
'Black Hawk Down'. As the Toronto Star noted, "All
Hollywood could ever hope to have in a movie was there in
this extraordinary feat of rescue - except, perhaps, the truth".

For example, two days before the "rescue", Iraqi troops had
scarpered. Hospital staff then tried to return her to the US
forces, just over half a mile away. But when the ambulance got
near the US lines, it was fired on! Later, a waiter who worked
nearby was approached by US Special Forces and asked if any
Iraqi soldiers were still in the area. "The soldiers were very
nervous", he reported.

The night of the raid, all the hospital staff expected the
Americans. "Everyone expected the Americans to come that
day because the city had fallen", said Dr Anmar Uday, "But
we didn't expect them to blast through the doors like a
Hollywood movie." But even more like a movie was the way
the Americans had brought along two cameramen and a still

The Toronto Star interviews with the hospital staff make it
clear that there was no ill-treatment of Lynch while she was in
Iraqi hands. Had there been such ill-treatment, one would
expect that the doctors would have been arrested! Instead, a
couple of days after her, er, recovery by the US, an American
military doctor came to the hospital to thank them for their
superb surgery on the wounded GI. What really troubles the
medics in Nasiriya are the allegations that Lynch was abused
while in their care. One of the nurses who took care of her was
taken aback by suggestions that Lynch had been subjected to
inappropriate treatment: "This is a lie. But why ask me? Why
don't you ask Jessica what kind of treatment she received?"
We can't. Jessica Lynch may or may not be suffering from
amnesia: the US military has issued a press statement saying
she cannot remember what happened to her in captivity, but
dismissing claims of amnesia. It seems that if a memory is not
laid down, one can't remember but isn't suffering from
amnesia. It seems somewhat similar to alcohol blackouts.

But Lynch won't be talking. Despite the reports of Iraqi
doctors and nurses that she was very friendly to them, and
they to her, the US military wants her to keep quiet. Lt-Col
Ryan Yantis: "Until such time as she wants to talk - and that's
going to be no time soon, and it may be never at all - the press
is simply going to have to wait."

…Remembering the Past…

1 June: 1903: Fire at master's house at Eton College; two boys
lost their lives.
2 June: 1994: 25 intelligence agents killed in helicopter crash in
Mull of Kintyre; the dead are some of the top RUC Special
Branch and MI5 officers from the Six Counties.
3 June: 1844: Insurrection in Dominica.
4 June: 1913: Suffragette Emily Wilding Davidson trampled to
death by a horse at the Derby.
5 June: 1878: Birth of Mexican revolutionary Pancho
[Francisco] Villa.
6 June: 1780: Newly built Newgate prison destroyed during
Gordon riots.
7 June: 1896: Bomb thrown at religious procession in
Barcelona; several killed.
8 June: 1809: Death of Thomas Paine, revolutionary.
9 June: 1946: Ananda Mahidol, aka King Rama VIII of
Thailand, found dead in mysterious circumstances.
10 June: 1843: Disturbance at Carmathen by 'Rebecca and her
daughters'; toll gates in county destroyed.
11 June: 1903: King Alexander and Queen Draga of Serbia
assassinated at Belgrade.
12 June: 1963: Attempt made to assassinate Venezuelan
President Betancourt in Ciudad Bolívar; he immediately
orders the arrest of all communists and 'pro-Castro
13 June: 1876: Mikhail Bakunin, Russian anarchist, died.
14 June: 1928: Ernesto 'Che' Guevara born.
15 June: 1381: Wat Tyler, leader of Peasants' Revolt, killed at
16 June: 1904: Assassination of General Bobroikoff,
Governor-General of Finland.
17 June: 1966: Venezuelan guerrilla leader Fabricio Ojeda
captured at La Guiara, outside Caracas, by military
18 June: 1999: Thousands of anti-capitalist rioters trash the
City of London.
19 June: 1997: Mr Justice Bell gives his mixed verdict in the
McLibel trial; Dave Morris and Helen Steel fined £60,000
pounds for libel, but also finds against McDonald's for
'exploiting children', deceiving customers about the nutritional
qualities of their food', 'cruelty to animals' and 'paying low
20 June: 1923: Pancho Villa assassinated.
21 June: 1966: Venezuelan guerrilla leader Fabricio Ojeda
found hanged, suspiciously, in his cell.
22 June: 1830: Last man punished in pillory at Old Bailey; P J
Bossy, for perjury.
23 June: 1848: Rising of Red Republican party in Paris; 3 days'
fighting ensued; 10,000 people were killed.
24 June: 1917: Russian fleet in Black Sea mutinied at
25 June: 1870: Erskine Childers, Irish republican, born.
26 June: 1893: Surviving Haymarket anarchists pardoned.
27 June: 1880: Helen Keller, American socialist, born.
28 June: 1905: Mutiny of Russian sailors on the battleship
29 June: 1916: Sir Roger Casement, Irish revolutionary,
condemned to death for treason.
30 June: 1797: Naval mutiny at the Nore suppressed.

-Compiled by the Class War Historian-

Diary Dates

24 May: March for a United Ireland. Assemble 12 noon Tothill
St (St James Park, Westminster tubes), march to Red Lion
Square. Speakers include Sinn Fein rep, Ex-Hunger Striker,
John McDonnell MP. Organised by Wolfe Tone Society.

1 June: London Class War Meeting. For those not in France!
Contact London Group Secretary for details.

1-3 June: G8 Summit, Evian-les-Bains, France. Either sit at
home during this summit, or go to the south of France for fun
& games! Info: http://france.indymedia.org

11 June: Conflict gig. London Mean Fiddler, Charing Cross
Road (Tottenham Court Road tube). Films, stalls, etc. Tickets
£5 in advance from Astoria Box Office, Rhythm Records
Camden, Rough Trade W11, etc.

15 June: Camden Green Fair & Book Fest 2003. St James's
Gdns & surrounding closed streets, Cardington St, London
NW1. 12-7pm. Lots of fun things to see, buy and do, admission
free. Class War stall too!! Nearest tube: Euston.

20-22 June: EU Summit, Salonika, Greece. After the last
Greek EU summit, this one looks like another chance to see
the Greek rioters in action! http://thessaloniki.indymedia.org/

6-12 September: Disarm DSEi. Actions against Europe's
largest arms fair. Visit www.dsei.org

25 October: Anarchist Bookfair. New venue ULU, Malet St,
London, WC1. Visit

s t o p p r e ss
About 30 arrests on May Day. One person got 28 days for
spitting at a cop, pleaded guilty. Remember, don't plead guilty -
there's a fair chance of getting off silly charges like that!

* [Ed. Note: London Class War are members of the UK
anti authoritarian Clas War Federation]

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