Organise! magazine Issue 83 Winter 2014
The latest issue of the AF’s magazine is out. THEIR AUSTERITY, THEIR WARS, THEIR REPRESSION … OUR RESISTANCE. Chinese workers’ struggles, Arab Summer, Morocco & Eqypt, new Caribbean Anarchist Federation, Slovenian anarchist interview & Balkan bookfair report, Iceland, French 19th C. silk workers revolt, Frans Maserreel anarchist artist. Click Read more below for the full contents, free PDF download, online editorial & sample article & for ordering of print copies. See also AF Pamphlets/Booklets.
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FULL CONTENTS Organise! magazine Issue 83 winter 2014:
- Editorial – War, war, war, and the only real solution. Read in full below.
- Chinese Workers Shake the World
- The Arab Spring – could it turn into the Arab Summer?
- Morocco unbound
- Statement of the Eqyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement
- Slovenia: Uprising in Europe – what happens next?
- Over the Walls of Nationalism and Wars – statement of the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, Mostar, Bosnia
- The Phoenix of Anarchism – renewed anarchist organisation in Iceland
- Caribbean Anarchist Federation – new beginnings in Cuba and Dominican Republic
- The French Silk Workers’ Revolt of 1834
- Frans Masereel – anarchist artist
Organise! magazine, issue 83, Winter 2014.
War, War, War …and the only real solution
It’s extremely rarely that we anarchists would agree with the Pope but this recent pronouncement is accurate enough: “We are discarding an entire generation to maintain an economic system that can’t hold up any more, a system that to survive, must make war, as all great empires have done. But as a third world war can’t be waged, they make regional wars…they produce and sell weapons, and with this, the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies, the great world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, are resolved…”
Since the ending of the Cold War the United States as Great Power No 1 has sought for new enemies in its quest to maintain world dominance, gain control of important resources and maintain its arms economy. It found these enemies in the form of Saddam, Al Qaida, Gadhafi, the Taliban and now the Islamic State. This has resulted in a piecemeal and regionalised new World War, spreading to new areas all the time. Not only are the US and its allies engaged in wars in the Middle East-Syria and Iraq, it continues to support its Israeli ally in its murderous campaign against the Palestinian people. More and more Western powers, including France, Holland, Australia and Britain, are being drawn into the conflict. Meanwhile its Arab allies conduct air raids in Libya whilst US special forces have intervened there and in Somalia. War continues to rage in Nigeria. The US-backed regime in Afghanistan appears increasingly unstable, while the US continues to intervene in Pakistan through its drone attacks on Islamists and of course its special forces intervention to kill Osama Bin Laden.
Meanwhile the US’s old enemy Russia, concerned with maintaining its influence in the region and fearing covert US encirclement on its Western flanks, is itself engaging in war in the Ukraine and continues to support its Syrian ally.
Another old enemy of the US, China, is meanwhile increasing its economic influence throughout the world. It is becoming territorially more assertive in the South China Seas, clashing with local powers like the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and South Korea. Its neighbour North Korea remains a potential belligerent threat in the region. Its relationship with the USA, which is in heavy financial debt to China, remains ambiguous, moving between denunciation and promises of cooperation.
War on the Working Class
At the same time the war on the working class throughout the world continues apace with no sign of an end to cuts in services, attacks on pensions and austerity package after austerity package. At the same time State powers are being increased at an accelerating pace, and everywhere from the USA to Spain and France civil liberties are under threat. Capitalism and the State know that increasing discontent can lead to unrest, riots and even insurrection, which is why the strong State is increasingly to be seen.
Indeed, the promise of the Arab Spring remains to be fulfilled and could burst forth once more in North Africa and the Middle East. The discontent in Europe from Greece to Spain still remains as it does in the USA with the recent Ferguson events being a sign of things to come. In China, workers have unleashed a wave of strikes and have won many victories against the bosses.
One way that the ruling class will attempt to divert attention from internal discontent over the worsening economic situation is through the manufacture of an external enemy and this is already being built with its wars in the Middle East. In the same way, the “War on Terror” is being used to justify attacks on civil liberties in Europe and North America.
Reforming this rotten, brutal and violent system is not possible. The collapse of the social democratic parties- Labour and their fellows throughout the world- as a supposed solution for the working class opens the way to the construction of a real social alternative. Whether it be Dongguan, Slovenia, Ferguson, Madrid, Athens or even London, uprisings are breaking out or could break out anywhere in the coming years. The only long term solution is a thoroughgoing social revolution around the world that will topple this foul system and create a new just and equal society.
Slovenia – uprising in Europe – what happened next?
GOTOVI SO! They are all finished!
In November 2012 people in Slovenia (an ex-Yugoslavian country bordering Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary, EU member since 2004 and in Schengen area since 2007) rose up in a massive and widespread decentralised revolt that marked an intense and largely self-organised resistance to the economic crisis and cronyism. The uprisings started in the industrial city of Maribor against the corrupt mayor and city council, initially sparked by their introduction of a punitive traffic camera system which clocked up 5000 traffic tickets in its first 36 hours, with minimum fines a third of the average worker’s monthly salary for going even slightly above the speed limit. They were in reality born out of more than 20 years of transition politics from the break-up of Yugoslavia with capital accumulations and privatisations that had further increased inequality and powerlessness. Protestors readily torched the new cameras, which were such a visible and real act of municipal corruption during a time of austerity measures and privatisations, and then took to the streets.
The local anti-corruption protests, which had already grown in numbers to tens of thousands by early December 2012, quickly spread from Maribor to other cities, towns and villages throughout the country. During the uprising, state and municipal responses to the protests were harsh, with the use of riot police, and their attacks on demonstrations even included tear-gassing from the air by helicopter. The protests carried on until March 2013. Following the uprisings, the mayor of Maribor, Franc Kangler, the leader of the right-wing government, Janez Janša, and the leader of the opposition, Zoran Janković, were all officially accused by a Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.
A strong feature of the uprisings was the response of anarchists who included the Federation of Anarchist Organising, a sister organisation of the AF in the International of Anarchist Federations. AF members later participated in the 2013 Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, held in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, and were most inspired by the activities of the anti-capitalist bloc that had been formed to bring together libertarian efforts during and following the uprisings. Organise! asked a member of FAO about developments since the uprisings.
When and how did the uprising end? Were there political concessions/changes?
This is hard to say. For sure, the window of opportunity closed after first three weeks. By this we mean the time when the impossible is possible, when the protests and riots were uncontrollable because they were simultaneously happening in many cities around the country and there were protests in small towns and villages that never saw them before. When the protests became more centralised they were more predictable, less dangerous for the system and therefore started to lose strength even though there were more and more people on the streets. For many it ended in the beginning of 2013 when the right-wing government fell. The anti-capitalist bloc that included many anarchists finished with the uprising in April 2013, after a protest during which an abandoned suburban community cinema was occupied for a few hours. Some structures like neighbourhood assemblies in Maribor have survived until today.
Did police/state repression continue after the end? Was there a support campaign?
Repression hits hardest at the end, when there are no more people on the streets. Hundreds of people were arrested, some already in jail sentenced, some still waiting for the trial. We try to keep in contact with everyone and there are several groups involved with the support campaign for them, demanding the release for all political prisoners and an immediate end of all legal processes around the uprising.
Can you name the organisations and groups involved in the uprising? Which organisations or groups still exist after the uprising? What are they doing now? Do they have continued discussion with FAO?
The uprising was egalitarian, decentralised and spontaneous in the sense there were no political parties or unions involved in it, and not even (mostly) any NGOs. People formed connections on the streets and new groups were emerging every day. Some are still active, others not. We tried to take the opportunity to make connections with as many as possible to find ways to co-operate to this day. The anti-capitalist bloc is one such structure that has survived and has still organises. Some who were not as progressive turned their energy into political party organising (like Syriza in Greece). That is unfortunate of course, but also
expected that people find it easier to trust their faith in the hands of (new) politicians, who will eventually disappoint them again, than in self-organising.
Do you think public attitudes have changed about anarchism since the uprising?
This is always hard to tell. What we know is that during the uprising people were ready to talk to us. Our tactics, ideas, strategies and methods, slogans, banners etc. were widely adopted. So this certainly contributed to the building of a culture of resistance. Whether we managed to transfer this collective experience into the next phase of struggle can only be told in time.
What is the situation like now with respect to political corruption? Has there been any social-democratic response?
New elections brought to power new parties and faces. The official left invented them in order for things to stay the way they are. Even if it was not planned – let’s not spread conspiracy theories! – they are a logical result of a ruling class that is fighting for their privileges. They are promising the rule of law but of course those laws are laws that keep the privileged, privileged and the poor, poor.
What is the economic situation like in Slovenia now?
More and more unemployment, more people in precarious jobs, bad atmosphere, no hope for future, the division among poor and rich is growing… Although the uprising didn’t change that it’s important we learned what we could have done better in order to be prepared for the future.
Have there been any other (smaller) actions from people since the end of the uprising?
Several, there have been strikes, protests, direct actions, debates… the atmosphere is bubbling and people are fighting at the level of everyday life to make their lives better.
What are the most positive things to come out of the uprising? Any negative things?
It was the biggest adventure of our lives (so far). Nevertheless, we don’t fetishise it. Events of such magnitude made us humble in the sense that we know now even better that even such great upheaval is only one dot in a long struggle against capitalism and all forms of domination. We try to change fear, depression and disappointment into strength, our mistakes into lessons for the future and our victories into courage to reach further. The best thing that came out were new connections, new lessons and experiences, the feeling the change is possible and the taste of a revolutionary moment that gives you strength to carry on.
Will there be discussion of the uprisings at the Balkan bookfair (Sept 2014 in Bosnia)?
Comrades from FAO joined forces with the US anarchist collective Crimethinc as part of their ongoing investigation and speaking tour ‘After the Crest’. Comrades from Slovenia and US will therefore present a talk at the bookfair that addresses questions of lifecycle of movements aimed at sharing, among other things, experiences we got during our uprising in order for all of us to be better prepared when the next one comes along.
- Federacija za anarhistično organiziranje/Federation of Anarchist Organising (FAO): http://www.a-federacija.org/english/ (the site includes articles and many excellent photos and videos of the uprisings)
- Eighth Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, Mostar Bosnia, 5th-6th September 2014: http://bask2014.wordpress.com/
- Crimethinc: http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2013/09/09/after-the-crest-the-life-cycle-of-movements/
Exciting new development in the Balkans, announced in June 2014
Croatian anarchist group joins FAO
5 YEARS OF FAO & ANTI-NATIONALIST FEDERALISM
Federacija za anarhistično organiziranje (FAO) – member federation of IFA that unites autonomous anarchist groups in Slovenia - held its VI Congress from 20-22 June 2014 at which they celebrated 5 years of existence.
At the Congress the anarchist group from Croatia – MASA (Rijeka) – joined the federation which means that FAO is no longer a ‘Slovenian’ anarchist organisation but is building structures beyond national borders. We see this as a practical expression of anti-nationalism that is one of the key principles of anarchism.
The Congress analysed the activities of groups and federation in the last year and decided its aims and strategies for the future. It discussed criminalization of social movements, financing of autonomous structures, the role of anarchist organisations in the broader political space and social movements and international activities. A resolution on ‘Elections, parliamentarism and self-organisation’ was drafted and a ‘Commission against repression’ was established.
LONG LIVE ANTI-NATIONALIST INTERNATIONALISM!
- MASA (Rijeka) on affiliation to FAO: http://masari.noblogs.org/prikljucenje-masari-u-federaciju-za-anarhisticko-organiziranje/
- FAO: http://www.a-federacija.org/
Organise! magazine #83 Winter 2014. The Anarchist Federation http://www.afed.org.uk