Here is the text of the afternoon session of the joint Anarchist Communist Federation/Subversion discussion meeting at Sheffield Red and Black Centre on 7/6/97, presented by Claire and Mike (ACF Nottingham).
We’re used to changes in welfare benefits happening so slowly and quietly you’d hardly notice them. So unless you’re getting benefit yourself, you might be forgiven for not even knowing that unemployment benefit and income support were put together as the Job Seekers Allowance in October 1996. Then there was Project Work, a Conservative experiment being tried out in 30 towns from last April onwards, continuing under the Labour government up to the present day.
This is an electronic mail message sent to the Anarchist Commuinist Federation, containing some interesting views concerning the EU and work,including Euromarch. They are interested in discussion with as many groups as possible.
Introduction to the religion discussion at ACF conference, Glasgow, August 1996.
Note – this intro quotes freely from Bakunin’s God and the State in places, which is why the language is sometimes a bit old-fashioned. BAKUNIN, GOD AND THE STATE
One of the linchpins of traditional anarchist thought is an opposition to religion, which finds its basis in materialism. By this we mean that our material existence as humans is solely due to our development from animals.
With an introduction by the AF, we reproduce two important texts on libertarian organisation from the 1970’s & 80’s, The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman and a reply to it The Tyranny of Tyranny by Cathy Levine. The two texts were previously published together as Untying the Knot: Feminism, Anarchism and Organisation (Rebel Press, 1984) and we have kept this title. Those who may tend more towards anti-organisational currents in anarchism but also those who may unwittingly verge towards centralised structures in a desire to become more organised, will find much to think about in these two texts.
“BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS” is a slogan that’s become very familiar in the past few months. Energy sector workers across the country have staged wildcat strikes and demonstrations to protest at the fact that workers have been brought in from outside the UK while local people go jobless. Now the protests are spreading to the construction industry. The union Unite is planning pickets and unofficial action at construction sites where foreign workers are employed, and the Olympic site in East London is being highlighted as a high-profile potential target for the campaign.
Scottish Unite official Bobby Buirds’ comments that the current strike are “not against foreign workers, it’s against foreign companies discriminating against British labour” confirms that the strike is against bosses, not fellow (foreign) workers. The foreign workers are just doing what any of us would do if we were desperate for work, but the media have turned this into some “foreigners go home” trip again. Foreign workers regularly suffer appalling living and working conditions, along with low wages and little in the way of representation. Given that the contract was awarded to the lowest-bidding tender, it is likely that these are the same conditions being faced by the Italian workers on Humberside.
I work for a contracted company in charge of the maintenance of a oil refinery in south Wales. The start of the strike occurred due to an Italian company being contracted to increase refinery capacity at the Lindsey refinery. The strikes quickly spread across the rest of the refineries sporting the slogan “British Jobs for British workers”.
Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza strip has elicited widespread revulsion, and has led to protests across Britain and the world. It is clear that the Israeli state has committed atrocities which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to. Its savage bombing of one of the most densely populated places on earth has resulted in over a thousand deaths. Nowhere is safe – Mosques, schools and UN sites have been attacked by the IDF. Even by the “civilised” standards of warfare between nation-states, which allow for a reasonable degree of “collateral damage”, several incidents stand out for their brutality.