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(en) New Labour - Working Class Resistance #6 (Ireland)

From Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
Date Wed, 21 Jul 2004 16:02:09 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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The proposed introduction of the new Anti-Social
Behaviour Orders (Asbos) in the North follows a long
list of repressive laws introduced by this ‘Tory’
Government. Anti-terrorism legislation, more
draconian and extensive than the PTA and SPA which
were to have been removed from the statute books as a
result of the north’s ‘peace process’, is to be
followed by the introduction of I.D. cards for what
the government obviously regard as a suspect civilian
population across the ‘UK’. Meanwhile the state is
free to engage in international acts of terrorism
directly, from Serbia, Afghanistan to Iraq, or
indirectly through their support for repressive
regimes though-out the world.

Under the proposed Asbos legislation, local
authorities, in co-operation with the police, have the
power to restrict individuals or a group over the age
of 10 from entering a geographical area or shop. They
can also include bans on specific acts such as
travelling in a car. The people given this power are
of course associated with organisations, parties and
institutions which have long histories of brutalising
and alienating working-class youth. The chaining
until quite recent times of swings in children’s
parks, the banning of pop groups from playing council
owned venues in several constituencies, notably ELO
being banned from playing in Ballymena in the late
eighties spring to mind as glaring indications of the
dangers in giving even greater power to control and
oppress working-class young people. And all this is
often compounded by small-minded conservatism,
sectarian and communal attitudes to politics.
Kids can be named and shamed and breaches of these
‘civil’ orders are punishable by up to 5 years in
prison. Since its introduction in England and Wales,
many towns and cities have witnessed martial law for
children under 16! So expect to be arrested after
dark for walking home from the cinema, talking to
friends on the streets or just looking ‘suspicious’.
Fly-posting is also being proposed for inclusion.
This piece of legislation criminalises and demonises
working class youth. Spellar claims to have carried
out a public consultation process in January. Have
you been consulted? Didn’t think so.

The main political parties, excluding the UUP who
fully support Asbos, have expressed some ‘concerns’.
We have to take these ‘concerns’ with a pinch of salt
and we can’t rely on ‘our’ politicians. All the
parties in the last Stormont Executive, Sinn Fein,
UUP, SDLP, etc., have been involved in implementing
neo-liberal economic policies – from top up fees to
PPP/PFI’s, cutbacks, from rates hikes to giving the
green light to water charges. ALL the main political
parties have been involved in implementing policies
which in the comfortable position of ’powerlessness’
(given the re-imposition of direct rule) many are
again happy to oppose in the quest for your vote.
Asbos or other quick-fix, short term ‘solutions’ to
anti-social behaviour are not solutions. Nor are
physical attacks carried out by elitist armed groups
who also think they know what’s best. As Anarchists
we don’t think we have all the answers but we do feel
that the majority of crime is a result of poverty,
inequality in wealth, social exclusion, unemployment,
lack of services for young people and the endemic
culture of consumerism. In the meantime, we believe
that working class communities – not armed groups,
vigilantes or the police - should work together to
overcome these problems. In the long-term tackling
anti-social crime demands the eradication of the
system which creates the conditions of crime. There
are things we can do now; social pressure, community
patrols and non-co-operation and boycott of those
individuals involved in anti-social crime can bring
real dividends. Dealing with our problems ourselves,
using our imaginations and beginning a process of
taking back our communities can also set us on the
road to control of our lives.


>From the pages of Working Class Resistance #6,
bulletin of the anarchist group Organise!.

To distribute in your area, contact Organise! at:



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