Public statement from IFA Congress Saint-Imier 2012, 9-12th August to other exploited and oppressed people of the World.
The St. Imier meeting has enabled a lot of groups and militants that are members and non-members of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA) to meet each other. IFA would like to sum up the events of the last few days.
One hundred and forty years ago in this town an international movement of ‘anti-authoritarians’ was founded. It played a major part in the creation of an organised movement of anarchists. They worked then for profound social transformation, and in this manner we have participated, as IFA, in the international meeting in St-Imier. What we have to offer is the best sort of society that humanity is capable of achieving. We want to create a world in which there is complete economic equality, by which we mean that there should be no personal property but that we produce and own everything communally, with no need for money.
But as well as economic equality, there would be maximum personal freedom. This means that we live as we want and no one can make us do anything we don’t want to do, or prevent us from doing what we want to do unless this limits the freedom of others. So, there would be no hierarchy or oppression of any kind. There would be no need for a state or police because we would not need controlling or coercing. There would be no need for wars or global conflict because we would have no political enemies and no desire or need to seize any resources from anyone else. This is what we call Anarchism.
Anarchists reject the idea that it is human nature that one personal exploits another and that we are unequal. It is the case that rulers and states throughout history have maintained this system. This lie justifies Capitalism as a ‘natural’ system. We hear that there is a ‘crisis’ of Capitalism, but Capitalism is crisis. It is a recent system in historical terms and has already brought humanity to its knees many times before producing the current situation. But people all over the World are seeing through this lie and are resisting states and capitalism as never before and seek to coordinate their efforts across national boundaries. This makes an anarchist society more possible than ever.
But Anarchism is not utopianism. Obviously, for such a society to work, many things must first change, and our task now is to help bring about these vast transformations and provide an analysis that is useful to them. The working class, by which we mean all exploited and impoverished people, ourselves amongst them, has to operate as a mass movement. Crucially, it must not entrust the struggle to new leaders with old ideas, but by determining its own path.
Today, social movements are practising new ways of organising which draw heavily on anarchism, for example taking action directly against obstacles to their progress and experimenting with non-hierarchical organisational forms. They include student movements, action against destruction of the natural world and common resources, anti-militarist struggles, those against G8 summits and capitalism in general, and most recently the fight against austerity which unites the international working class. Movements such as Occupy and the Indignados and similar movements of self-organisation against the banking system have shown the importance of using direct action to reclaim public space. The uprisings of oppressed indigenous peoples in recent decades, such as the Zapatistas, have inspired the new social movements and have influenced anarchism itself. Such new movements create large assemblies to make decisions together without leaders. They practice horizontal decision-making. They link-up federally, as organisations of equal status without decision-making bodies at their centre.
But these attempts often fall short of what is possible because meaningful social change requires also that we change as individuals. We seek to be free and equal as individuals, but there must also be voluntary, personal responsibility and self-organisation. The working class itself contains divisions and oppressions and hierarchies which do not disappear just because we want to have no rulers and want to be equal. As members of the working class we therefore struggle internally against our own racism, sexism and patriarchal attitudes and practices. Equally we fight the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm, or that clearly defined categories ‘male’ and ‘female’ are ‘normal’. We must identify and oppose discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of age or ability. Until internalised inequalities and deference towards hierarchy are identified and abolished we cannot be free, and so we identify and oppose them in social movements and workers organisations as well as in society in general.
Finally, to create this free and equal society, the working class itself must bring down rulers and capital. We call this a ‘social revolution’. Anarchists try to build confidence within the working class in our ability to be successful as quickly and with the least violence possible. We do this through joining with other workers to win small victories. We do this best through direct action not through reforms and negotiation with bosses. Direct action means not waiting but taking what should belong to all of us. We need to support each other’s struggles through mutual aid. This means practical solidarity in times of hardship. As well as helping us on a day-to-day basis, this demonstrates to people what we are about. So we practice anarchy now as far as we can in how we organise and how we struggle to prove that an anarchist society is possible.
We salute those comrades from the past, their work and the personal sacrifices they made for human emancipation. We continue their work, and critically develop their ideas and apply them to our situation. They would in turn salute the global working class at this point in its history, as it strives for real freedom and equality.
IFA has dealt with many themes over the last 5 days and in particular:
- The economic crisis and social struggle
- International solidarity
- Anti-nuclear and alternative energies
On this basis, the IFA has reinvigorated its own activities and invite all exploited people to struggle for transformation of society, for anarchism.
The International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA), 12th August 2012.
Öffentliche Stellungnahme des IFA-Kongresses in St. Imier vom 9. bis zum 12. August 2012 - German version
Declaración pública de la IFA el Congreso de Saint-Imier 2012, del 9 al 12 de agosto a otras personas explotadas y oprimidas del mundo.
See also: Regional press videos of the St. Imier events and a scanned newpaper article (in French):
Positive local press (reporting on summing up of gathering and also about Japanese contingent): http://www.afed.org.uk/pdfs/st_imier_anarchist_event_local_press_13_August_2012.pdf
Informacion sobre la lucha de los mineros y la violencias policiales.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE STRUGGLE OF THE MINERS AND THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE
Translation from Spanish by the Anarchist Federation (Britain), July 2012
The social & employment situation in Spain has got worse. The situation of the miners is yet another attack on the working class and people in general. The governments' cuts are affecting many parts of society but always aimed at the working class and the most disadvantaged people: the unemployed, the young, pensioners, the disabled, public sector workers, etc. They want to take everything from us, but there is not even a single measure that would cost capitalists or the rich.
The mobilization of the miners is something very big, they've walked to the capital of the State from different mining towns across the country: Asturias, León, and Aragón. They walked for 15 days from town to town, city to city and in all places they received massive support from locals. They lived through highly emotional experiences because of the solidarity demonstrated in each of the regions.
In Asturias and León there are strong confrontations between the police and Civil Guards and the miners. The miners receive strong support from their communities, for example in Pola de Lena. There are constant blockades of roads and highways. The police & Civil Guards shoot rubber bullets and the miners respond with home-made rockets, sometimes weighted with golf balls. In some towns there has been face-to-face fighting.
Recently the miners' column entered the capital Madrid, it was very emotive and surprising in the amount of support and welcome from the citizens who shouted "Madrid obrero está con los mineros" (Madrid workers are with the miners). Thousands of people arched with them to the centre of the city, where some representatives expressed their gratitude and called for all workers in the country to rise against the government, which only defends the interests of the capitalists. The rally lasted until 4AM. At dawn, preparations were already being made for a new demonstration along the streets of the city.
500 coaches ("autobus") arrived from all the mining towns and once again the people of Madrid were with them. The demonstration marched to the Ministry of Industry to demand a meeting with the Minister, but they refused to talk. They are forcing a situation that could at any moment explode, since they refuse to listen to the voices of the people who shout in the street. And then they say that we are violent.
In that morning's demonstration, there were some confrontations with the police. Some people were wounded and some people were arrested. In the afternoon there was another large demonstration in the streets of Madrid. This ended in confrontations in the city centre, with some 50 or 60 people wounded and unknown numbers arrests.
Despite all this, the Ministry still will not negotiate and on top of that, the government has announced stronger austerity measures against everyone. Not a single word has been said about taxing the immense fortunes of the rich, or that making the bankers pay for the crisis they caused, or cutting the many privileges of the Catholic Church.
It could not be more clear whom the government serves and what they want from the working class. It could not be more clear, the need to organise our lives in a different way. It could not be more clear the need for a Social Revolution that gives us control of our own lives. Let's organise to fight against the State and the capitalists.
¡Viva la Anarquía!
Grupo Anarquista Tierra, Madrid. Secretariado IFA (Secretariat of the International of Anarchist Federations, http://i-f-a.org ).
Her Majesty’s Pleasure*? Stuff that!
A noise demo to show solidarity with prisoners at HMP Brixton, because frankly we don’t feel like celebrating 60 years of having a queen, especially a queen who takes pleasure from imprisoning our mates, comrades, and other fellow human beings. What kind of a sick mind takes pleasure from locking people up in prison? Prisons destroy people. They destroy families, friendships, and communities too. Putting somebody in prison is an act of violence which contributes nothing real or positive and only brutalises those who are already struggling.
We don’t believe that prison is the answer to any question we have ever asked.
We want to show the people inside HMP Brixton that they are not alone, that they are not forgotten, that queen Liz and her government have not succeeding in hiding them away from us, that we support them and give a shit about them. That we think prison is a crime.
So, please join us on 5th June, part of the so-called “jubilee weekend” for a noisy and spirited demo at HMP Brixton. We’ll meet outside Brixton underground station at 3pm to walk up to the prison together. Please bring things to make noise with, your mates, and your righteous rage.
Organised by London ABC, who can be contacted
c/o Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX
or via our website at London Anarchist Black Cross | a prisoner support group
(* her majesty’s pleasure is the phrase used when someone is sentenced to prison, eg. you will serve 20 years at her majesty’s pleasure. Prisons in the UK are formally known as Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP).)
On the 11th of May Roberto Adinolfi, CEO of an Italian state controlled nuclear engineering company, was shot and wounded. A cell of the insurrectionist Informal Anarchist Federation have claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying that it was an act of vengeance for deaths and environmental damage caused by the nuclear industry. Previous acts claimed by Informal Anarchist Federation cells include sending a letter bomb to the Italian tax collection office, almost blinding a worker at the office1 and risking the lives of the postal and clerical workers who unwittingly carried the bomb.
Although it adopts the same initials as our affiliated Anarchist Federation in Italy, the Informal Anarchist Federation has no affiliation whatsoever with them or with us. It is an entirely separate entity, and we consider its adopting of the same initials as a pre-existing anarchist group to be, at best, confusing and ill-judged, and at worst malicious. Whether or not the Informal Anarchist Federation intended that their actions would be associated with the Italian Anarchist Federation and other members of the International of Anarchist Federations, these organisations have now been mentioned in press reports relating to the actions of the Informals, and so we now feel it necessary that we, the UK Anarchist Federation, make our position on their actions clear.
In our aims and principles, the Anarchist Federation states that “It is not possible to abolish Capitalism without a revolution, which will arise out of class conflict. The ruling class must be completely overthrown to achieve anarchist communism. Because the ruling class will not relinquish power without their use of armed force, this revolution will be a time of violence as well as liberation”. We are not a pacifist organisation and do not condemn insurrection itself or all insurrectionist tactics; however, as Anarchist Communists we strongly criticise individualist and vanguardist tactics that do not come out of a broad-based class struggle movement. We condemn actions that put workers in danger without their knowledge and consent, and we reject elitist statements, such as that made by the Informals, which consider the working class to be too ignorant and invested in Capitalism to be relevant to struggle.
Capitalism is, fundamentally, a social relationship; it can no more be harmed by small groups who are disconnected from the wider class struggle shooting individual bosses or sending bombs through the post than it can by passively marching from one place to another or consuming “ethical” commodities. Instead, the Anarchist Federation advocates organising with other working class people to take direct action for ourselves in order to both defend ourselves against attacks by capital and the state in our everyday lives and build a culture of resistance that can seriously challenge capitalism. As well as being tactically more effective than isolated acts of violence, organising in this way allows us a glimpse of a better world, free of exploitation, alienation and oppression. By acting collectively and making ourselves accountable to others, we prepare ourselves for a world where our whole lives are really under our own control.
The statement by the Informal Anarchist Federation can be found here
1 Correction: This statement makes reference to a worker at the tax office being injured, Although in other attacks workers have been injured, in this case the person who was injured was a leading official and the intended target of the attack. While the AF does not endorse the use of letter bombs in any way due to their indiscriminate nature, the original wording was misleading.
On 1st May, as part of International Worker’s Day, Staines Anarchists embarked on an anti-workfare tour in Egham and Staines. Tesco, WHSmith, the Jobcentre and McDonald’s were all picketed for the part they play in the workfare schemes.
Several hundred leaflets detailing the nature of workfare were distributed and for the most part locals were interested to hear about what workfare involves and what it means for workers.
Many locals were surprised to hear that this kind of scheme, that often allows businesses free labour, takes place. One person commented, “Forced, unpaid work?! Sounds like slavery to me”.
But Mayday for Staines Anarchists wasn’t all work(fare) and no play. In the evening the group met up with other local activists for a Mayday celebration.
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