APRIL 2013 RESISTANCE #150 is out. WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO FOOL? (The Labour Party), Food prices, Mayday, Belarus ABC info-tour report. Wildcat strikes worldwide, Thatcher death parties, Prisoner news, Bristol Anarchist Bookfair.
WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO FOOL?
15 years ago we launched Resistance after a year of New Labour. We have come a long way since then, and the Tories may seem worse than ever, but it’s worth remembering how we got here under the last Labour government.
We are ten years since the start of the first Iraq War, but Labour’s first major war of their time in power was in the former Yugoslavia, where they ordered the bombing of Serbian cities over repression being meted out by the military in the region of Kosovo. We argued against NATO’s warmongering in print and on the street before, but to no avail. Many more people have since suffered the consequences of Labour’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the Coalition launches a new wave of benefit attacks, let us cast an eye back to another snippet from Resistance issue 1, where we reported that Newcastle benefits agency had carried out a sustained months-long victimisation campaign against Incapacity Action member Chris Marshall. They confiscated his benefit book and paid him nothing for weeks on end. Chris, who was waiting for joint replacement surgery, was told by the SS to “get a job instead of sponging off the State” (yes, it really was still called Social Security in 1998!).
This is worth bearing in mind whilst the Labour opposition and its Trotskyist apologists bleat about how much they are against the unfairness of the Bedroom Tax and the other nasty welfare cuts that begin this month.
Massive NHS reforms also get underway this month, with almost the entire budget passing to the control of GPs and a National Commissioning Board, with immense pressure to buy as cheap as possible. But let’s not forget that when it was last in power Labour massively pushed forward the ‘purchaser-provider split’ in healthcare that was begun by the Tories in the 1990s. It is this that is allowing more for-profit companies into the NHS. Not only this, but Labour were responsible for the creation of Treatment Centres and outsourcing of NHS purchasing to the logistics company DHL. They also presided over further contracting out of cleaning and of GP out-of-hours services.
So the record of Labour in power is clear and anyone who thought they were better last time around, and has maybe forgotten what they got up to, would do well to examine the history books and not be fooled again.
Resistance is the regular bulletin of the Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk
Read more in Resistance bullletin, issue 150, April 2013.
Action from home continues all week, many demonstrations being planned for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April.
Week of Action call-out by Bristol AF: http://www.facebook.com/events/638806569470027/
Homebase has recently been exposed for exploiting people on workfare (unemployed people forced to work for no money) to cut the number of normal hours & overtime for its paid staff! All without offering any new people paid work.
We feel it is essential to stop the spread of these practices that negatively impact on all of us - working, unemployed, tax payers (workfare costs billions), and users of state services(where the billions should be being spent).
We call on people to participate in a week of actions starting with communications and complaints sent to them via post phone and online from now, and then protests and pickets at homebase stores next weekend - Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th (many homebase stores are busiest on sunday!).
Demo events announced publically so far:
Bristol (Saturday) https://www.facebook.com/events/349778525143853/
London; Wood Green (Saturday): https://www.facebook.com/events/508892175814572/
London; Haringey (Sunday): https://www.facebook.com/events/566930743328510/
Bath (Sunday): https://www.facebook.com/events/351144644991794/
Perhaps eager to claim a chocolate Easter egg bonus, Job Centre staff in Finsbury Park (London) this week congratulated each other for securing 21 workfare placements in a single Homebase store in Haringay. This is a store that is not advertising for workers: more evidence that workfare replaces paid work.
Homebase have responded to the spontaneous public reaction calling for them to quit the scheme by deleting tens of comments on its Facebook Page, then disabling comments, then promising a statement on Tuesday, then taking the page down, then resurrecting the page free of any mention of workfare, then taking the page down again. It’s clear our actions are having an impact.
Let’s keep going until everyone working in their stores is paid!
On Facebook (if they bring their page back again): facebook.com/homebase
By phone: 0845 077 8888 or 0845 601 6911
Or contact the company they are owned by: The Home Retail Group.
The following begins the editorial in the forthcoming issue of Organise! magazine issue no. 80 Summer 2013 which will be in print very soon.
Margaret Thatcher politely died just in time for us to commemorate her life appropriately, in the 80th issue of Organise! We will speak ill of the dead, and go to press in the hope that the celebrations that began on Monday 8th carry on, showing the extent of contempt for Thatcher throughout the British working class.
The world we now live in is more dangerous, corrupt, unequal, oppressive and impoverished because of her particular legacy. From the start of her leadership in 1979, she turned up the heat internationally to put Britain ‘back on the map’. She built up its military capability in the 1980s and established Britain’s place in the Cold War, so that a generation grew up in fear of a nuclear conflict with the USSR. In 1982, by ‘defending’ the Falklands with immense firepower (which included the notorious sinking of the Belgrano), she heralded in an era in which Britain has gone to war at the drop of a hat. She supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa, was best pals with the Chilean dictator general Pinochet and was hated not least in Northern Ireland, where working class people were brutalised and murdered under the divide-and-conquer approach to domestic dissent. Her racist policies supported the rise of the far-right in Britain, and black and white youth were forced to fight the police in the riots of 1980 onwards (especially 1981): an explosion of anger at what inner-city life had become. She passed the first anti-gay legislation for 100 years, known as ‘Clause 28’. In economic and industrial terms, key focal points of working class militancy were attacked in ways that were openly divisive and smashed much confidence in our class. The Miners, who struck in 1984-5, were tragically defeated, as were the Wapping print-workers in 1986 (Murdoch, please die soon as well).
These battles were not, of course, lost without a fight and hugely important acts of bravery and inspiring solidarity. But the only major working class victory in the Thatcher period was the struggle against the Poll Tax. This ideological class-based attack took place in the context of the dismantling and destroying things traditionally understood as social property: the major industries, public services, jobs and welfare. The abolition of the Poll Tax was announced in 1991. The power of opposition to the tax in Scotland since 1987 had quickly spread to England and Wales by amazing feats of working class solidarity, organisation and a willingness to take to the streets and fight. The Poll Tax riot of 1990 and smaller, but very serious, local disturbances were not organised by anarchists, as the state, the press and some left parties claimed (as though we could pull that off!), but neither did they come out of nowhere. In fact, for a time, it seemed that the working class could win.
This is not to suggest that things were great before Thatcher; ‘old’ Labour was an example of how not to share out common resources. And afterwards, ‘New’ Labour set about completing her legacy with their Thatcherite-Labourism, paving the way for the current cabinet’s unrelenting attacks on our class. As anarchists we clearly understand, and all this demonstrates, there is no hope except in a class-based revolutionary solution. But whilst all politicians are the enemy of the working class, some do more damage to us than others, and rightly we rejoice in the demise of those we have most to despise.
If it seems strange to some people that others would happily dance on the grave of a long-senile old lady, it’s because we are still her victims, after all this time. And though her death doesn’t alter the challenges we face, even small boosts in our confidence at this point in the class struggle are vital. If there is some sense of closure about the past as a result of giving her a raucous and disrespectful send off, we have to shake off the hangover and use these couple of weeks as an opportunity to talk to our workmates, friends, family, everybody about new beginnings and new possibilities. But first, let’s Party!
Read the full editorial of Organise! #80: http://www.afed.org.uk/publications/organise-magazine/364-issue-80-summer-2013.html
... Everywhere. Check out AF local blogs on our home page for local details - many many many parties today. Then London again on Saturday (according to long-time plan).
Neither mourning nor celebrating:
time for social struggles to become autonomous!
When an illness becomes serious, when medical attention becomes a vehicle
for myopic, politically motivated decisions and when a patient becomes
drunk with power, it can only end this way. The strongman has died, and
in so doing, he has initiated a substantial shift in the Venezuelan
What used to be the regime’s greatest strength has suddenly turned into
its defining weakness: it was all Chávez, and, without him, the only
solution is to fabricate an absolute commitment to his memory and his
plans for succession. The government’s true fragility can now be seen, a
government which tried to demonstrate its “popular, socialist” character
via a grotesque personality cult, a practice that has now been reduced to
the empty invocation of spirits. The deceased himself is to blame for this
outcome as the secrecy around his illness was propelled by the same
motivations as the extreme centralisation of power around him, while the
lack of ideological coherence amongst his followers has left them
scrapping for crumbs. The high-level “rojo-rojito” [chavista red]
bureaucrats and the upper echelons of the military are best placed to
benefit, as they negotiate impunity for their various misdemeanours and
For the right-wing and social democratic opposition, the new situation
finds them unable to overcome their losses of the presidential elections
of October 7 and the regionals of December 16, offering a “yuppy
populism” which promises voters that they will maintain and fine-tune the
clientelist tools of governmental power which were so useful to Chavez.
This accommodation assumes the belief that a fortuitous metastasis has
brought them within reach of the power that their greed, mistakes,
laziness and incompetence had kept them away from, power they will wield
with similar stupidity and greed as the Chavista bolibourgeoisie.
The backdrop to this load of petty opportunism – from both the Gran Polo
Patriótico [the Chavista coalition] and the Mesa de Unidad Democrática
[the opposition coalition] – is Venezuela, a country that faces its own
problems: out of control inflation, rising unemployment and precarious
jobs, the devaluation of the currency, shocking personal insecurity,
crises in electricity and water provision, education and health systems in
decline, a housing shortage, obsolete – or incomplete – public works, a
demagogic approach which pays attention to only the most extreme
scarcities experienced by the most desperate people... a whole host of
other problems which are equally disastrous.
These issues are not the central concern of the two gangs in competition
for Miraflores [the President palace/seat] and the oil booty. Our
collective response must be to not relent to their blackmail: support at
the ballot box in exchange for ‘solutions’ that either never materialise
or are ludicrously inadequate. Now is the time to overpower the rotten
powers that be and build – from below – a real democracy of equality,
social justice and freedom. We must unleash the generalised anger caused
by our suffering, and convert it into autonomous social struggles,
self-managed and extensive. We must spell out for the politicians in
power that we don’t need them, neither as intermediaries nor as gracious
givers of what we ourselves can construct – united and from the base –
without any need for “clean hands” or “red berets”.
EL LIBERTARIO Editorial Collective
El Libertario: Periódico de los movimientos sociales autónomos y antiautoritarios de Venezuela- periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com
The FdA (Föderation Deutschsprachiger AnarchistInnen), like AF, are a member organisation of the International of Anarchist Federations. They have produced this new statement about their organisational development. We wish them all the best and look forward to continued cooperation.
From forum to federation – the Federation of German speaking Anarchists (FdA)
At our last meeting in Witten, we decided to rename ourselves into the Federation of German speaking Anarchists in order to reflect the upswing in our structures.
Even though it is still a long way for us to be present in all of the German speaking region, we still wanted to dare this step and proclaim the Federation of German speaking Anarchists. We lay great stress on the fact that we, of course, don’t see us as the “federation of all anarchists” and therefore don’t presume to be the sole legitimate representation of anarchists. Nevertheless, anarchists from all currents are welcome to join us, as long as they concur with our principles.
“German speaking” means in this context the geographical language area, especially Germany, Austria and the Northern part of Switzerland. As anarchists we want to overcome nations and state borders, a fact that we want to stress by widening the scope of the organization to this language area. Language as a criterium doesn’t have an identitary meaning for us, it’s simply the most reasonable thing regarding the daily practice – not everyone of us has the knowledge of other languages and translating all relevant information would overextend our possiblities (for now at least). Nonetheless, we have good contacts to federations and groups in other regions.
There were several reasons for this step from forum to federation: one the one hand, after a phase of stagnation in the work of FdA over the last years there is a fresh breeze and a lot of interest in supraregional networking. On the other, a lot of anarchist groups have been newly founded over the last three years. General interest in anarchist ideas has risen noticeably too. Many groups from the Southwest of Germany have joined FdA in the last year, for example, as the first regional federation, the Anarchist Network Southwest*. Furthermore, we are present with groups in many other regions of the German speaking area, but also with a
printers’ collective in Zurich, Switzerland. At the moment, large efforts are made to form a common organization of groups in the Rhine-Ruhr region, that is closely linked to FdA. For over two years, our monthly newspaper, the Gaidao, has been published as an online document, and since January also in a printed version.
We consider it important to create structures that are free of domination, to experiment with them, to gain new experiences and to consolidate those structures by doing so. We want to use our common resources in a better way, to learn from each other, to organize and practice solidarity. Together, we want to look at the bigger picture, be active supraregionally and globally. For a common international organization FdA is part of the IFA, the International of Anarchist Federations. IFA offers us the opportunity of an exchange of ideas with anarchists from around the globe and to be able to help each other in our local struggles.
Unlike other regions, like the Iberian peninsula, the French speaking region or the British Isles, we cannot resort to an organization that is functioning for decades, but need to develop a lot by ourselves. But we can see that also as a chance. We can learn from the experiences of other federations. This process is a neverending one, as it calls for a constant query and improvement of our own structures, our practices, our way of life. Of course, by proclaiming the Anarchist Federation we haven’t achieved our goal yet. Especially now, that we can see a rise in social struggles in other countries, as the capitalist crisis widens and countless people are left with nothing, as nationalism, racism, antisemitism and other inhuman ideologies are on the rise and there is a greater danger of facing fascist parties and organizations, it is important to organize ourselves against these impositions at a larger scale.
We won’t tire to fight against oppresion, exploitation and domination in order to overcome them as a whole.
With this in mind:
Live anarchy – organize anarchism!
Federation of German speaking Anarchists (FdA – IFA)
March 21, 2013
- Photos and video from Sussex university anti-privatisation demonstration
- Revolutionary call-out in advance of the World Social Forum in Tunis, 23-28th March 2013
- Call to uprising in Slovenia - anti-capitalist block (AKB) - Ljubjiana - 1st March 2013
- Belarus ABC Infotour 2013 begins in London - many more dates until 7th March
- Freedom bookshop reopens upstairs while repairs continue at Angel Alley, Whitechapel
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