At the Sofia meeting of the International of Anarchist Federations a statement was written in solidarity with the Belarus activists. French and Russian translations can be found here on the Autonomous Action website: http://avtonom.org/node/14318
Solidarity with Belarus activists
The International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA) was gathered in a meeting in Sofia, 30-31 October 2010, while the ongoing repressive, dictatorial government of Belarus remains opposed to all social and political activity that is organised without institutional and hierarchical control.
The International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA):
· Condemns all forms of repression against activists and the grassroots movement regardless of whether they are anarchists or not.
· Expresses its solidarity with persecuted anarchist comrades and all victims of the regime.
· Calls for the mobilisation and commitment of all to raise awareness about the complete negation of freedom in Belarus, for the liberation of all political prisoners and for an end to the dictatorship in Minsk.
Prison letters - Appeal for you to support the arrested with New Year postcards
After the attack on the Russian embassy on 30th August 2010 Belarusian
anarchists, social activists and ecologists were repressed. During this
autumn there was a chain of searches and interrogations in Minsk, Gomel,
Grodno, Soligorsk, Brest, Bobrujsk and Novopolotsk. All in all about 50
people were interrogated. At the moment our friends Nikolaj Dedok,
Aleksandr Frantskevich, Maxim Vetkin and Igor Olinevich are under
arrest. They can face up to 6 years of imprisonment.
We call all people concerned to support the arrestees and send them
You can write letters and cards to:
Dedok Nikolaj Aleksandovich
22a Sovetskaja str.
2-46 Volodarskogo str.
Vetkin Maxim Ivanivich
2 Volodarskogo str.
Olinevich Igor Vladimirovich
p/o box 8
Central Post Office
Since the beginning of September 2010 social activists in Belarus have been faced with unprecedented pressure. After the arson attempt on the Russian Embassy on the night of August 31, 2010 and with the start of the presidential campaign, around hundred of social activists from different cities (Grodno, Brest, Gomiel, Minsk and Soligorsk) have experienced 'talks', interrogations by the KGB, house-raids and arrest. Some of them are still detained. Taking advantage of the possibility to arrest for three days without filling accusation, the authorities re-arrest activists every three days as suspects on other cases. All together 13 people have spent already 153 days under unlawful arrest. During the interrogations the activists are beaten, threatened to be expeled from the places of study, being subjected to psychological pressure and are not allowed meeting with relatives.
Only a month after the arrest, on October 1, the accusation against Mikalaj Dziadok was made up: the participation in the action near the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense (Article 339 Part 2 — hooliganism, up to 6 years of imprisonment). September 20 Aliaksandar Frantskievich was charged with the perpetration of the attack on the police station in Soligorsk.
All those repressed are activists and participants of the social, ecological, anti-authoritarian, antifascist and humanitarian initiatives. We call to everybody who cares about the fate of the arrested anarchists, anti-authoritarians and social activists to organize on October 14-20 solidarity actions near Belarusian Embassies and representative offices around the world. Only by means of global solidarity we can get our comrades out of prison.
Please help us to spread this call-out as widely as possible. You can send information about solidarity actions to minsksolidarity[at]riseup.net
The chronicle of the events - http://belarus.indymedia.org/blog/minsksolidarity
Photo of ABC solidarity demo in Berlin
This article comes from The Fargate Speaker, one of the many local AFed blogs that you can see there in the blogroll on the right.
Mark is a third year Biology student studying at Sheffield University and a member of the Anarchist Federation. He is one among many students currently occupying the Hicks Building on Sheffield University campus. The views expressed in the interview should be considered his alone and not that of the occupation’s general assembly.
- Why are you occupying the Hicks building today?
We are occupying for a variety of reasons but generally around the common purpose of being against the cuts in this university, to other universities and to education in general. Particularly we want to demonstrate against the proposed rise in tuition fees and the ongoing privatisation of higher education. However, we are also tying our actions to a wider struggle against austerity measures and cuts. So our occupation is about more than just education cuts but this is currently our primary focus.
- What has been the reaction of University security/the police so far?
They haven’t taken any action to stop us occupying yet but they have told us after 6pm that everyone who is leaving won’t be able to return. This will presumably be until tomorrow morning. It might open up again after 8am. We haven’t had any major trouble so far but police have been inside to observe what was going on. It should be stated thought that we have no intention of damaging university property. This is a peaceful occupation.
- Why should the occupation be supported?
Because the tactic of occupation, as opposed to lobbying or simply asking political representatives to make changes for us, is a tactic that has been historically successful. Clegg and his broken promise to scrap tuition fees is just one example, among many, that politicians cannot be trusted to make decisions for us. Direct action puts a lot more pressure on university management and by extension government ministers to act.Aside from the past success of these kinds of tactics what we are fighting for is essentially access to education for everybody regardless of income. We also recognise that there is a much wider struggle beyond simply what is happening to education right now. We need to extend these tactics into all of these areas where we are currently under attack. This is a fight that all of us should be taking on and working in solidarity with each other.
Working in Universities, Living With the Axe
[Also print out joint AF/Solfed student and workers bulletin given out on the demo that included this article]
For workers in universities cuts are nothing new. For years retiring academics have been replaced by cheap contract teachers, or by no one at all. Cleaners, porters and administrators have been 'rationalised' and their contracts attacked. Except for a minority of academic superstars and, of course, an increasingly bloated management, everyone in the sector is now doing more work for less money. University workers have lived with the axe for a long time now – many of us have never known anything else. The coming 40% cut and Browne's 'reforms' are the brutal climax of a process that's far from new.
The process began in the 1980s with years of chronic underfunding, made worse in 1992 when former polytechnics converted to universities and were brought into the same, inadequate, funding model. In 1997, the Dearing report, commissioned by Tories and implemented by Labour (sound familiar?), first introduced student fees (the student grant was already long gone and the Student Loans Company already up and running ready to take over the (mis)administration of fees). In 2004 fees went up as the cap was raised. Now, with variable fees and the almost complete removal of government funding for teaching yet another crucial step is about to be taken.
These attacks are not 'Tory cuts', they are part of a consistent policy going back decades through different governments. The Browne report builds on Labour's 2009 Higher Ambitions strategy which all rests on years of 'reforms' and cuts. This is not about saving money. It is about who should benefit from university education and how.
Browne makes it clear that students choosing between courses and universities should be forced to make an economic choice – how much money will I make out of this degree? The massive debts that students will be forced to take on ensure this. What this means, of course, is that it is employers who decide what matters in a degree – not students and certainly not staff. Indeed, Labour made this very clear suggesting that businesses should 'have a crucial role in the funding and design of programmes' and 'universities should become more flexible in providing for business demand.' To make this possible, universities should compete for funding 'with the winners being those universities who can best respond to these evolving economic changes'. Higher education is to become an appendage of business, with universities competing for scraps and students bending over backwards to meet employers demands. Business is to use the university system to dump its training costs onto first the government and then, through the loans system, onto its own workers.
This is, yet another, massive transfer of wealth from ordinary workers to businesses and corporations. University workers will have their pay and conditions slashed, students will sit in bigger, more expensive, 'business aware' classes simply for the chance to keep their head down for thirty years to pay off crushing debts, while bosses and the city make out, once again, like the bandits that they are.
However, all this can be resisted. The plan in 2004 was for variable fees, which was defeated by the lecturers' strike of 2006 – the new money went to increased salaries rather than into cut price, 'business friendly' courses. This time, with the axe swinging harder than it ever has before, it will take much more than that, but it can be done. To get what they want, national pay agreements must be broken up and a new casualised, flexible workforce created. The mass redundancies and course closures are all part of making this possible. Coordinated action between workers and students to make business as usual in the university impossible is what is needed. Strikes and occupations as we have seen in Sussex, Nottingham Trent and elsewhere are needed, but on a grander scale. This is a difficult fight, but it can be won.
This was one article in the anarchist bulletin handed out on the Demo-lition 2010 demonstration of student and education workers on the 10th November.
Yesterday (10/11/2010) saw one of the largest and most vibrant protests in London in recent history. Over 50,000 education workers and students took to the capital not only to protest against the rise in tuition fees but reforms in education in general and to protest for a fairer, free higher education system. The Anarchist Federation was among them forming a "radical workers' and students' bloc" which, along with London Solidarity Federation, argued that capitalism is the cause of this crisis, that the Left and the union leaders cannot be trusted to fight our battles (a point NUS president Aaaron Porter later so aptly demonstrated) and that we need united, grassroots direct action as part of a sustained fightback.
Contrary to the corporate media commentaries, a significant portion of the march also involved itself in the property destruction and occupation at Millbank tower, home to the Conservative Party HQ. Direct action was not limited to this either, with the London School of Economics going into occupation shortly after the end of the protest, a sit-down protest in Parliament Square and some limited property destruction at Liberal Democrat HQ. Students and education workers have not only demonstrated their anger at the wave of attacks in store for a whole generation of young people, but their lack of faith in parliamentary democracy and the need to take the struggle into their own hands.
Nottingham City NHS and the cuts – a healthworker speaks out
Source: Notts Black Arrow - Nottingham & Nottinghamshire AF group's blog
The below is something a member of Nottingham AF wrote for the Notts SOS blog giving an outline of what is happening locally within his workplace, the local NHS community healthcare services.
A Nottingham NHS worker speaks frankly about his, his workmates’, and his family and friends’ situations under the continuing threat of cuts that will no doubt be familiar to many others, and urges everyone to get involved with Notts SOS.
I work in one of the support services within the Nottingham NHS Citihealth organisation. We provide community health services to the Nottingham area. We have heard the current government promise to ring fence frontline health spending, however the reality on the ground is somewhat different.
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