IFA anti-Election - European Elections
The European elections are taking place in the context of increasing austerity. Every day we are subjected to the effects of the crisis brought about by global capitalist transformation. Governments, states and supranational structures, such as the European Community, deny rights and attack living conditions, acquired in years of struggle, in order to prop up capitalism and ensure that the corporations and banks do not pay the price for the situation they themselves created. Some of the problems we face include:
- Unemployment, related in particular to privatisation and outsourcing.
- The privatization of basic social services, with the consequence of an offer guaranteed only to those few who can afford it, and a low quality of services.
- Social atomization, in which everyone is forced to be responsible, creating competition between individuals in the daily struggle for existence.
- Jobs and other aspects of life are becoming more and more precarious; rights are denied daily.
- The consequence of this social model is the comeback of the patriarchal family, which imposes a subordinate role in society on women.
- Immigration is used as a pool of workers to exploit and enslave for the benefit of the bosses.
- Ruthless methods of production that cause devastation to both our lives and the environment.
- A society based on debt, in which the conditions of our existence are owned by the banks.
- Bureaucratization of society that guarantees the continuity of the political institutions and economic interests of the rich at the expense of the working class.
It is in this context that we are being asked to participate in the charade that calls itself a democracy. The only choices presented to us are ones that will continue the policies that benefit corporations, financial institutions and politicians. One of the main debates is about the role of the European Union itself. Some look to it as a way to resolve the crisis and maintain unity amongst people. Others argue that we need to retreat into our own borders in order to take back control of our own economies and political institutions. However, neither solutions will do anything more than reinforce the power of those who oppress us.
The European Union
The European Union has meant another layer of power over populations. Its main purpose is to serve the needs of corporations and financial institutions and is therefore an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class. The majority of the laws that people are now subjected to come from the European Parliament rather than the individual states. The EU does not need to respect local conditions and instead imposes their own vision for Europe based on the needs of capital. The vast majority of regulations have been to enhance the power of capital over the people. Very few policies have been directed at improving the social conditions of European populations. We have seen the way in which the EU has presided over the attack on the Greek people and the raid of western capital on the assets of Eastern Europe. Any attempt by people to resist the encroachment of this superstate has been firmly resisted by individual states. For example, the state may refuse to allow people to vote on whether or not they want to remain within the EU or, if they do let them vote, the rig it so that the country remains in the EU. This was the case in Ireland, France and the Netherlands. In addition, the EU has created fortress Europe, closing its borders to the rest of the world, as well as trying to be one of the many self-appointed world policemen.
Withdrawal from the EU?
Given the way the problems created for us by the European Union, you might think the answer is to withdraw from this Union. However, the idea that the working class would be better off outside the EU, ruled by their own State, is a dangerous illusion. It is especially dangerous because of the fact that this is the position of the far right parties who are not remotely interested in resisting state power. Instead, their aim would be to install an even more authoritarian regime with even more repression.
Firstly, capitalism is global. The power of international corporations and banks, the major cause of the problems facing us, will not disappear if a country withdraws from the EU. The global processes which are at work, the movement of production and money across borders, motivated by the search for profits will continue. International institutions such as the IMF and World Bank will still have the power to impose austerity and policies that are against the interests of local populations. Human needs will take second place; it doesn't matter whether the country is within or outside the EU.
Secondly, the retreat behind national borders, a move driven by the xenophobic ideology of the far-right, will have serious consequences for the spirit of co-operation and solidarity between the working class of Europe. Ordinary people have a history of supporting each other regardless of national origin. This tradition will be undermined as people put what appears to be their self-interest over mutual aid. It may not lead to actual war, but it has already led to a mentality of competition and conflict that will only further undermine the effectiveness that comes from a united European working class. A divided working class will benefit those who have caused the problems we are facing in the first place, such as austerity and repressive measures.
Many who support withdrawal from the EU seem to think that we can return to some kind of Golden Age of prosperity. However, this is another illusion; this Golden Age never existed. They forget that their own state has never been their friend; it has always been the instrument of imposing the interests of a small minority on the majority. All states operate by taking power from the people. It doesn't matter if the State is a few miles or thousands of miles away; it will still be out of our control, operating in its own interests.
The Anarchist Alternative
Anarchists reject both the options presented to us: supporting the EU by voting in the European Elections or campaigning for withdrawal. This is because of our basic critique of what the State represents. The European Union, like all states big or small, is based on the giving up of power to a minority who use this power in the interests of the corporate and financial elite. In addition, the internationalism that the EU represents is the unity of this elite against the European working class. We propose both an alternative method of organising society as well as an alternative internationalism that extends to the whole planet.
Anarchists oppose the top-down approach adopted by the State and leftist parties. We need to promote non-hierarchical forms of organisation and methods of organising. The future organisation of society that we envision will be one of that is bottom-up based on groups which federate with each other and co-ordinate on an international level, independent of any current statist structure whether national or at a European level. This will include all areas of economic and social life such as the production, distribution and consumption of goods and the provision of services such as health and education. We need to take control of our own education such that it helps to promote our emancipation from authoritarian ideologies such as religion, nationalism, and cult of the leader.
In order to achieve this aim of complete political, economic, social and cultural transformation we need to build on and strengthen the international networks and co-ordinations that we already have. We need to take concrete action where we live and work but which contributes to a global strategy. Devising such a strategy to fight successfully against the global forces of oppression and exploitation is not an easy task. However, it is a necessity and there are a number of steps we can take. These steps can be taken by all of those who want to create a new society, no matter country they live in. We are all facing similar attacks so we can have a common strategy which can be adapted to local conditions.
- We have to fight back against borders working as human filter but let capital move across. Our proposal is to abolish all borders within countries and between countries which are limiting free movement of people.
- United fight against the banks by a universal refusal to pay debts.
- Civil disobedience against all repressive laws which take away our human rights.
- Strengthen and extend the current struggles against the increasing precariousness of living and working conditions.
- Resist all attempts to divide us according to race, sex or age.
- Co-ordinate struggles that are against common employers across borders.
- Resist privatisation of public services
- Promote alternative networks of production and distribution
- Extend international solidarity for those being criminalised as a result of social struggles.
The fight against austerity and the solutions proposed by politicians, both pro and anti-EU, will not work and, if anything, will make matters worse. They want us to validate their actions by putting an X on a piece of paper, thus giving them the power to act on our behalf. However, we know that they will not represent us and will continue to support the rich and the powerful economic institutions of capitalism that are making our lives a misery. The only way that we can resist the attacks as well as begin to gain control of our lives and our society is to build movements and network that defy borders which we control independent of the politicians and institutions of the state.
International of Anarchist Federations, April 2014
Organising for AFem2014, the anarcha-feminist conference which will take place 19th October 2014 the day after the London Anarchist Bookfair, continues. Venue to be announced very soon.
Find AFem2014 online at
We are pleased to have contact with Unity (Israeli - Palestinian Federation of Anarchists) who announce that "Unity" is an anarchist-communist organization active in Israel-Palestine who have recently experienced a growth in membership.
The website is currently mainly in Hebrew but we are told that as soon as articles and information in English are added they will send an updated link as well as an English description of the organization. There is now one article in English on the situation in Ukraine which can be reached by clicking the English tab after going to the home page.
In February/March this year, the AF and Anarchist Black Cross groups organised an infotour with the Belarussian ABC and our Belarusian contacts in the International of Anarchist Federations. The tour was to build solidarity with anarchists imprisoned by the regime. http://www.afed.org.uk/news-and-events/334-belarus-abc-infotour-2013-initial-uk-dates-in-february-a-march.html
We are very happy to announce that Aliaksandar Frantskievich has just been released from prison.
Aliaksandr Frantskevich, who served his term in No. 22 Ivatsevichy correctional colony, was released early in the morning of 3rd September. His mother and activists from the opposition organisation met him outside the prison. He will go to Navapolatsk to register with the police.
Video of the release: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fut_TU9RKNI
For same video link and photos see Autonomous Action (Russia & ex-soviet union anarchist website): https://avtonom.org/en/news/political-prisoner-aliaksandr-frantskevich-released
This leaves five young men in jail for their convictions. They are inside for us; we are outside for them.
WE ARE WINNING
Assessment of actions in Taksim Square/Gezi Park, Istanbul, Turkey.
Article by Revolutionist Anarchist Action / Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF) in Meydan Newspaper. 12th June 2013
This is a revolt
This is a revolt
Urban Transformation Projects have long been threatening living spaces of Istanbul residents. First slum demolitions, and then 63 million square meters of forests to be pillaged for the third bridge, shopping malls built one after another, luxury hotels, and while the pedestrianization project continued, next was Gezi Park. Istanbul residents continued to resist all of these projects that threatened life. Until excavators came to Gezi Park and uprooted the trees. Until "a handful of marginals" that claimed the trees and their shadows and said "Do not uproot trees, do not build a shopping mall to Gezi Park". This demonstration was introduced as a "ecological and peaceful" action. Until the police did a early morning operation and smothered the park area with gas. The state must have "a lot" to profit since it's trying to bring this peaceful protest down as hard as it can. Police violence had been climbing up in the last few months and protesters were unexpectedly exposed to it. Deputies of opposition parties and artists came to Gezi Park to protest this and to support protesters, but they also had their share of state terror.
In the first day of demolition, state could not get what he wanted because of this scene. Protesters stayed in Gezi Park for the night. It's unknown if they were expecting an attack the next morning, but all protesters were thrown out of the park with the police raid in the morning. The police burned protesters' tents, blankets and belongings. The videos of protesters exposed to continuous gas bombs and violently taken in custody invoked rage in everyone who watched.
Of course this rage was not the rage for a single demonstration. This rage was accumulated. Accumulated for increasing police violence.
It was the attacks with gas bombs, batons and arms that created this rage. It was forbidden May 1st, Dilan, Şerzan, Metin Lokumcu, Aydin Erdem... What created this rage was more than two days. It was increasing oppression, restrictions, censorship, economic exploitation... What created this rage was the state exercising its power on the people recklessly, relentlessly and without questioning legitimacy.
The ones who ascribe the "People's Revolt" as post modern style of action, must see this clearly. The people spontaneously came to the streets because they felt the social, political and economic oppression heavily. The events are neither a deal in the last few days as the blind-deaf mainstream media says, nor are affected by "marginal" groups as the one in state power says.
It is time to raise the curtain before the eyes. This is a revolt. It is the reaction of people against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation. This is the end of legitimacy of the new state power that had gained the love of other states, international institutions and global corporations.
The Democracy of Marginalization, Othering and Neglect
It's very important that the revolt is happening at a time when the propaganda of state power is "Democratic Turkey". By this reaction to state terrorism, the people have pulled down the "democratic" respectability of the state.
People were on the streets in a setting where the freedom of the people were ignored, people were tortured and killed arbitrarily, all of the mainstream media turned into official state press, the state is preparing for war nearby and killing its own people with its own hands while doing it.
The revolt spread to other cities in the second day. The shared rage against state terrorism started to burn streets everywhere. The public were on the streets not because of main opposition party or some leaders words, but with own volition. To respond to all of this by standing against police violence and state terrorism. With this consciousness, they attacked the police, state buildings and temples of capitalist exploitation. The ones that did it were not "marginal groups". This was also a revolt against the othering behaviour of the state against the ones that did not obey its power, against "marginalizing politics" of the state. Moreover the government did not have anybody to settle or deal with. This revolt was a direct action.
The state neglected the revolt from the beginning. It was banned on television, the papers and other media. It was not only on Taksim. People flowed from Besiktas, Harbiye and other places of Istanbul/ The state had closed Gezi Park and Taksim Square with all law-enforcement officers in hand. The clashes continued all day. The public got more angry on each gas bomb, on each sound bomb and each custody. They resisted the police violence with determination. Nearly a million people that filled Taksim did not step back. To say we are here against the state's neglect.
In the morning of the second day, the police violence was even more intense and we had news of deaths and wounded people. The state terrorized without caring about either legitimacy, nor human rights, nor democracy. In a two day revolt, the state throwed away all the masks of ideals and values that it had been hiding behind. The state showed its real face to its people. The monopoly of violence terrorized not just in Istanbul, but in every place that had actions of solidarity with Istanbul. News of deaths, news of wounds and custodies increased.
Whole forty hours... After nearly forty hours of clashes the people got from Istiklal street to Taksim Square. The law enforcement officers escaped with all vehicles. Forty hours became forty years, the square became the world for us. The was the freedom of revolt. Our sorrow was our friends that were wounded and lost their lives.
Then Gezi Park, then Gumussuyu, then Besiktas... Then Sakarya, Kocaeli, Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Dersim... In this revolt that is still going on, the most important motivation that kept the spontaneity was sharing and solidarity. Voluntary health workers formed civil health centers for the protesters that were affected by the police violence. Organisations like law associations, bar, Human Rights Association supported protesters in custody or in similar conditions. Chambers like Turkish Mechanical Engineers Chamber Association turned their buildings to hospitals. People opened their homes, workplaces, gave support with food and drinks. People gave information to each other over social media, people created their own means despite of silenced media.
Everywhere and everyone became the revolt against state terrorism and police violence. Social solidarity have worked when the state left the lives alone and it is continuing to work.
Reservations of Revolt
The media that became "mute" at the beginning of revolt, now tries to give a meaning to the the revolt. Of course the meaning that their boss wants. They said it is individualist, it is reckless, it is post modern, it is urban and secular... They have affirmed the people that streamed the streets with these concepts. They likened it to the Velvet Revolution in Prague. They are trying to void a revolt against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation.
The sectors that were disturbed by the party in power and its government because of conflicting economic and political interests (many of which are upper and upper-middle class) started to go out on streets on the next days. These sectors that were supporters of the previous rulers of state were emphasizing anti-government protests rather than state terror and police violence. Care must be taken to avoid strong reformist demands of this sector to block this new struggle of the oppressed against state terrorism, police violence abd capitalist exploitation. These sectors may try to manipulate the struggle towards their own economic and political interests.
Parties in opposition may try to exit the scene with profit, as with all "springs". Their call for staying away from "marginal groups" while assessing the revolt, is the most clear evidence that they are talking with the language of power. As in revolts in other places, these parties that try to gain power using this revolt will try to stop the people who revolted spontaneously, without leaders and without parties.
Since these sectors are not the organizers of the movement, they cannot impose their social-economic characters to the public. So, they cannot direct the action. Besides, their insistent phrase "marginal groups" consists of the individuals that annoy them, but are also the real mobilizers of the revolt. Moreover, they are consciously blind to the fact that other oppressed people from different sectors are resisting not only in centers like Taksim and Besiktas but also in "surrounding" areas. Yes, the revolt has an ideology| but it is not an ideology that the media, parties in opposition and various economic focus groups try to homogenize and depoliticise. The ideology of the revolt is the consciousness of the individual that feels the increasing state terror and the individual action to struggle against it.
This revolt started against state terror, police violence and capitalist exploitation as we emphasized from the beginning. We hope that it will increase with general strikes and have more of the oppressed on the streets and with this hope we are growing the revolt. Our reservations against the revolt may be realized moving forward, the revolt may be diminished into a power struggle of opposing parties. But we are not oracles. Revolutionaries do not make hopeless predictions of the future and sit on the corner. We well know that revolts like this are mobilizing moments on the way to social revolution. Our anarchist struggle will continue to embrace the revolt with all passion.
- We are winning! Taksim Square reports from Revolutionist Anarchist Action (DAF) in Istanbul, Turkey - June 2013
- Anarchist Federation report from the 10 year Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, Ljubljana, Slovenia on 24-26 May 2013
- Joint statements, radio and video from the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 24-26 May 2013
- For anti-nationalist internationalism! - the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair - May 24th-26th 2013, Ljubljana – Slovenia
- German-speaking anarchists consolidate organisation as a Federation
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