2nd April 2015 What’s On

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http://www.manchesterfilmcoop.uk/2015/04/8-april-sell-off/

Friday 17th and Saturday 18th April

https://www.facebook.com/events/399006860255333/

Thursday 30th April

https://www.facebook.com/events/732738423441495

Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/671081986320086

Any what’s ons?

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Los viejos roqueros nunca muerden

No todo medio está justificado en función de los fines. Hitler no hizo bien al asesinar a varios millones de hombres, y al experimentar con miles de sus hijos, bajo el proyecto idealista de forjar una Humanidad Superior, una Raza Excelente… Chávez no hace bien al enviar “misiones pedagógicas” a las comunidades, a los distritos, a los territorios indígenas, siempre para la forja de un Hombre Nuevo, ideal que únicamente se consigue marginando, acosando y persiguiendo a aquellos Hombres Viejos insurrectos que no pueden subsistir en el horizonte de su “Revolución Bolivariana”, proyecto “moderno” a fin de cuentas, homogeneizador, pensable sólo en el horizonte de un Estado Centralizado y de unas consignas ideológicas altericidas. Y no hace bien Marcos, no hace bien la dirigencia del EZLN, al colocar la bandera mejicana por encima de todas las otras banderas –“banderas anarquistas y de la autogestión”, “banderas de la hoz y del martillo”, “banderas de los pueblos indios”, “banderas de las organizaciones de izquierdas”, “banderas de las ONGs”, “banderas de las familias”,… enumeraba en su mitin oaxaqueño del 2006. Suspiraba por un “sujeto colectivo” idealizado, un sujeto nacional.

Hablamos de “miserias” de la dirigencia zapatista porque es a todas luces abochornante colocar juntas, por un lado, las banderas oenegistas, sobre cuya vileza sobran los testimonios; las banderas de las “organizaciones de izquierdas”, que en muchos países del denominado Mundo Desarrollado están en el poder y gobiernan de hecho, reforzando por vías inteligentes, astutas, los intereses del Capital y de las Burguesías Hegemónicas; las “banderas de las familias”, que reconocemos de pesadilla todos aquellos que cometimos alguna vez la insensatez de apostar por el Número Dos (El y Ella bajo el techo de un mismo presidio conyugal) y hasta por el Número Tres (El, Ella y la víctima de los Dos); y, por otro, las banderas “de los pueblos indios”, las banderas “de la hoz y del martillo”, las banderas “anarquistas y de la autogestión”…
Más que al entendimiento, apelamos al “olfato”…

Los viejos roqueros cantaron bien en el pasado, e incluso se les pudo considerar “corrosivos”, mordaces. Cuando vuelven, hechos unos vejestorios elegantes, trafican con la nostalgia. Pero no muerden. En realidad, se han dejado sobornar por la “industria cultural”. Pueden gustar a unos cuantos ancianos que los amaron cuando todavía no eran ancianos y a demasiados jóvenes imbecilizados por los medios; pero sólo eso. No muerden. Y mienten.

Este es el caso del zapatismo institucional de nuestros días, que nada tiene ya que ver con aquel otro zapatismo insurgente de los 90. Por eso pudo hablar así de mal, tan desafortunadamente, Marcos en el zócalo de Oaxaca, apelando en primer lugar a la Patria, a la Nación y mezclando luego todos los “descontentos reales” (bandera indígena, bandera anarquista, quizá también bandera de la hoz y del martillo) con todos los “pseudo-descontentos” que se emboscan en el teatro de la disconformidad, resolviéndolo, cuando dejan caer el disfraz, en un demofascista reformismo del Capital y del Estado (banderas de las ONGs, banderas de las organizaciones de izquierdas, banderas de las familias).

Sólo hemos pretendido, con este escrito, aportar una percepción crítica al mitin del subcomandante Marcos en el zócalo de Oaxaca. Nosotros estábamos allí, acompañando y grabando al Sub, discutiendo también con él en la última noche. Y son nuestras las grabaciones, que, revisadas hoy a la luz de otros materiales, de otras experiencias y de otras noticias, nos han servido para derribar un ídolo.

No, a nosotros Marcos ya no nos convence. Marcos ya no nos engaña. Nos convencen y nos arraigan en la verdad las llamadas bases zapatistas, los campesinos indígenas que suscribieron el proyecto zapatista en la medida en la que lo sintieron asimismo como un respaldo y casi como un abrazo; nos convencen y nos arraigan en la verdad los ex-zapatistas que al final, observando su situación “real”, se pasaron al Mal Gobierno, conscientes de que vendían su alma al Diablo porque Dios o bien no era tan bueno o bien les servía de muy poco. Nos convencen los zapatistas “de raíz” que están empezando a mirar con ojos inclementes las estrategias mercantiles del liderazgo zapatista (rentabilización del turismo revolucionario, implicación en la sórdida industria contemporánea de la solidaridad) y el show, casi norteamericano, de sus mítines, charlas y comparecencias públicas (asunción de la racionalidad política clásica, a pesar de sus afeites vanguardistas, y, lo que es peor, admisión tácita de que se puede mentir, se debe mentir, cabe fingir, si con ello se ayuda a la Causa, llamada ahora “Otra Campaña”, terriblemente parecida, por cierto, y en lo profundo, a cualquier otra campaña, a todas las campañas “políticas” conocidas y por conocer).

Prefiero un Enemigo trasparente, rotundo, inequívoco, a un Amigo viscoso que me habla de Patrias, ONGs, Organizaciones de Izquierdas y Familias.

Pedro García Olivo

Flashback: 31 March 1990 – the Poll Tax Riot

Exactly 25 years ago today, the biggest and most famous of all poll tax riots occurred in London. On a mild, sunny afternoon 200,000 people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square to protest against the iniquitous tax.

A large group of protesters were penned in when police blocked the top and bottom of Whitehall. After several heavy-handed arrests, a series of scuffles broke out as people tried to break through police lines and march to Trafalgar Square.

Serious rioting began when mounted police attacked crowds in Trafalgar Square. Police vans came under attack after they were driven at demonstrators to disperse them. Builder’s cabins in the square were set on fire, as were parts of the South African Embassy nearby.

Fighting spilled out into the busy streets of the West End and continued into the night. Numerous shops, car showrooms and expensive restaurants and clubs – including Stringfellows – were attacked. Hundreds were reported injured, including many police officers, and 339 demonstrators were arrested.

In context:  The community charge – or poll tax as it became known – was the flagship policy of the Thatcher government. Everyone was liable to pay, regardless of income.  One of its instigators, environment minister Nicholas Ridley, bragged that a dustman would pay the same as a duke.

The tax was widely unpopular, especially when tax rates set by local councils were much higher than initially predicted.  By the end of 1989 there were 1000 Anti-Poll Tax Unions throughout Britain. The APTUs encouraged non-payment, and organised protests and resistance to bailiffs.

As councils held meetings to set their poll tax rates in spring 1990, a series of demonstrations turned into riots. These occurred in London boroughs such as Lambeth and Hackney and in other towns and cities as well. This set the mood for the national march.

What happened next: The riot was widely condemned not only by the Tories but also by Labour and even by the far left Militant Tendency who’d organised the march.

As well as those detained on the day, more than 100 were arrested afterwards due to video and photographic evidence. The Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign offered unconditional support and video footage it acquired from the police helped get people off trumped up charges.

The popular press had a field day and published “wanted” photos of the protesters. One iconic image showed a masked woman confronting a riot cop. In May the Daily Mail revealed the identity of “Britain’s most wanted poll tax rioter” as 21-year-old Lorraine Vivian after her mother recognised her. She was imprisoned for one year.

During 1990 the poll tax grew in unpopularity and more and more people said “can’t pay, won’t pay”. Margaret Thatcher resigned in November 1990 and her successor John Major announced its replacement by the council tax, which took some account of ability to pay.

An interesting footnote is the link between the anti-poll tax movement and animal rights, which was going through a militant phase of its own.  Police said 37 of those arrested “had some form of links” with AR, including one person who was found in possession of incendiary devices after his home was raided.

In March 1991 a rally to mark the anniversary of the riot went ahead as a ”victory parade” instead of a protest. Although rioting in London had received the most attention, it was widespread resistance and non-payment that defeated the state

(White) Pride comes before a fall…

The dregs of Britain’s neo-Nazi scene imposed themselves on Manchester today for their annual ‘Worldwide White Pride’ day. For the last two years the march has been held in Swansea and previously saw neo-Nazi Darren Clifft jailed after he hung an effigy of a golliwog whilst dressed as a KKK member.

So no worries here about accusing people of being Nazis when they might only be extremely right wing racists. No – these were proper Nazis. Any many of them were only too proud of it.

 

One ‘White Pride’ steward laughably claimed that they were not neo-Nazis, despite being surrounded by what was apparently an I-Spy collection of Nazi iconography – Celtic crosses – Check, SS death’s heads – Check, Blood and Honour flags – Check, Golden Dawn flags – Check… We could go on…

In other definitely non-Nazi news, Richard Edmonds, founding member of the BNP and international Holocaust denier, showed his face. He once shoved a glass into the face of a black man who dared to walk past him with a white girlfriend.

The famed Mancunian weather did its best to deter the fascists and the rain kept them in Wetherspoons (of course) for a while before they were allowed a brief outing heavily escorted by police.

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Depending on which report you believe there were possibly up to 100 fascists on the ‘White Pride’ march and they were pretty much what you’d expect – almost all old bald men, a small number of women, and a statistically higher than average number of facial tattoos. There were the 3 or 4 polish skinheads from NOP (National Rebirth of Poland) who are now ubiquitous at every far-right gathering.

There were at least two Nazis arrested – one tried to attack an Asian woman and another tried to attack a passing black man. This shows the dangerous nature of these fanatics and why they should never be allowed to gain an inch.

Polish fascists dressing up hard then getting nicked for attacking an Asian woman (via https://twitter.com/AlinaFriedman)

Luckily the Nazis got to experience some of the famed Mancunian hospitality – getting some slaps and ending up on the pavement after run-ins with anti-fascists.

Birkenhead bonehead Liam Pinkham who is not long out of prison for an assault on a man walking through Liverpool with his two children was separated from one of his shoes in the fray and then later arrested into the bargain.

Mr Plod assist Liam Pinkham

On a serious note, it is worrying that this demonstration managed to attract as many as it did and that it comes only a week after the National Action ‘White Man’s March’ in Newcastle. There seems to be a mini revival of proper Nazi loons as the far-right becomes ever more splintered. A fractured and divided far-right can’t be a bad thing, but it also means there are more little groupuscules to keep track of and they become more dangerous as they become more desperate and extreme.

We’ll let local AFN group ACA Manchester have the last word: “SHITE PRIDE DAY, Manchester. Final score Mancs 4 – 0 Fash”

NB: thanks to @rednessie for the title!

Hunt sabs acquitted after earning praise from judge

It’s uncommon for hunt saboteurs to receive justice in a court of law. They often find themselves in the dock on trumped up charges, with police and hunt witnesses prepared to lie to get convictions. And they seldom get an impartial hearing from the magistrate or judge who belongs to the same social class as the hunt.

Nice then to see four sabs found not-guilty of committing aggravated trespass after a two day trial at Redhill magistrates court earlier this week. A deer was chased and injured by the Surrey Union Hunt in October 2014 and instead of allowing the sabs – who had years of animal sanctuary experience – to help the animal, Surrey Police arrested them for failing to leave private land. They then left the deer with the hunt terrier men who shot it.

A leading vet who testified for the defence criticised the way terrier men dragged the poor animal around by a broken leg and said its injuries had been caused by a pack of hounds. From video footage the police clearly lied about what happened and in his summing up the district judge said the hunt and police had caused unnecessary suffering to the deer and if the sabs had been allowed to help, they would have reduced its suffering. He also praised the saboteurs saying: 

“All of you contribute immensely to society not only in your working lives but in your free time. [on the day] You deserve high praise for managing yourselves and your behaviour.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:

“Surrey police have a history of acting as private security for the Surrey Union Hunt…their bias led to the unnecessary suffering of an animal. Despite saboteurs informing the police that a crime had occurred, they allowed the hunt to take the deer’s body and dispose of it and arrested the saboteurs who were trying to minimise the animals suffering. We hope that the Surrey Union hunt will now be investigated for illegal hunting and that there will be an independent investigation into the actions of Surrey Police. Whilst we are pleased at the not-guilty verdict it is disgusting that this case ever came to trial.”

Disgusting but not surprising as the police invariably take the side of the hunt. In this case their lies were exposed and with the help of a good expert witness and an even-handed judge, the sabs won. But it’s a pyrrhic victory because a deer went through a great deal of suffering and possibly died unnecessarily at the hands of sadists who love tormenting and killing wild animals.

Neither the Surrey Union or Surrey Police will be investigated. The best that can be hoped for is the sabs take legal action but even that is unlikely given the difficulty of accessing legal aid following Tory cuts. Even with the so-called “ban on hunting” crimes like this are being committed against wildlife, and the brave people who try to stop them find themselves persecuted by those ruling class lackeys, the police. At least this time, though, the hunt scum and the filth lost!

A more detailed examination of the case:  http://morethanjustbadgers.net/2015/03/26/justice-is-done/

Species and Class

Leg_of_a_chained_elephantThe recent story about Ringling Bros. dropping their elephant act (post dated to 2018) had many mainstream animal rights organisations rejoicing at the ‘victory’. However, away from the celebrations, there seemed to be few questions asked about what was going to happen to the elephants next? When will other animal acts in the circus end? Or contemplation about how this fits into the broader context of animal liberation.

When we first look at the animal circus, we can identify a traditional reliance on class to promote the business model. We have been raised to feel awe inspired by the ‘great’ animals: tigers, lions, elephants, orca, and bears, have all subsequently appeared as a main attraction. These ‘powerful’ animals are held up as having the capacity to dominate others (usually through predation), whilst also possessing an enhanced ability to shape their environment. In the circus they appear to fall furthest when tamed (domesecrated) to perform the cheap tricks that also exemplify human superiority. This view of animals reflects a hierarchical perspective that tends to take precedence over examples of co-operation and organisation that can be considered equally remarkable.

The media stories about the elephants focussed on reaction from mainstream animal groups. Ingrid Newkirk talked about the years Peta had spent protesting against elephant use, but mainly overlooked the other animals imprisoned and forced to participate in demeaning acts. Peta have since claimed that Ringling bros. were forced to retire the elephants because of chronic illness, and are consequently manipulating the situation to demonstrate how responsive they are to public concern.

HSUS forgot their recent embarrassment regarding circus animals, and celebrated that people no longer believed bullhooks were for elephants. Conveniently overlooking the fact they never had to be for elephants at all.

The broader classification of animals into different groups has meant that many activists chase one issue after another. Essentially fighting fires when animal suffering is raised in the media, and as a consequence, rarely addressing the structural issue of animal exploitation and the Animal Industrial Complex. This approach objectifies progress in the language of short term ‘victories’, whilst often providing a vehicle for self-promotion that fails to reflect the philosophy of animal liberation. This is not to say there can’t be achievements along the way, where animals will suffer less because of pressure placed on exploiters. However, our progress is hindered by focussing on incremental changes made by industry, rather than clearly presenting the ideas and practices consistent with animal liberation.

In broader terms, it seems to make little sense to discriminate between elephants and camels, or between seals and orcas. So why do we protest in such a way that infers a priority to free different species? We can protest about certain forms of animal exploitation, but it only makes sense if we concurrently draw attention to the context of animal liberation. It is only from the anthropocentric perspective that animals are divided into groups to be consumed in a variety of ways. So it is this very anthropocentrism that needs to be challenged. Instead of celebrating these incremental changes sanctioned by animal exploiters, we need to draw attention to their assumed ‘right’ to use animals, otherwise the issue of animal exploitation is not addressed on a fundamental level. Their ability to separate exploited animals is essentially a divide and rule tactic that we ought to be more aware of, and one that we should clearly oppose rather than re-enforce tacitly or otherwise.

It is true that media generally offers little help when attempting to get this message across, especially where circuses and other animal exploiters contribute to the advertising revenue stream. However, a great deal of the way we communicate can take place at a grassroots level where we can decide for ourselves the message we want to put across. This allows us to be clear that change is reliant on understanding how the system of animal exploitation functions. So, in order to address that situation we need to make evident an inclusive approach to animal liberation, emphasising veganism as a core tenet that provides people with a framework for action.

Further reading:

From animals to anarchism’ by Kevin Watkinson and Donal O’Driscoll (2014).

‘Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance’ by Jason Hribal (2011).

‘Animal oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism and Global Conflict’ by David Nibert (2013).

‘Protest Inc. The Corporatization of Activism’ by Peter Dauvergne and Genevieve Lebaron (2014).