Struggles for autonomy in Kurdistan: New book from Corporate Watch

Cover

Kurdistan is currently divided between four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. In each of the parts of Kurdistan, Kurdish identities and cultures have been repressed for generations. This book, by Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson, gathers together first-hand accounts of the struggles for a new society taking place in Bakur and Rojava – the parts of Kurdistan within the borders of Turkey and Syria.

The setting up of local assemblies and co-operatives, as well as radical women’s and ecological movements, are rapidly gathering momentum in Kurdistan. The book gives a simple introduction to democratic confederalism, the idea that has inspired many of those involved in these movements.

The book also compiles accounts from Kurdish people who are oppressed by the state of Turkey and profiles some of the companies that are complicit in their repression. The interviews give suggestions of how people outside of Kurdistan can act in solidarity.

Buy the book or download it for free here.

Who are the C.C.G. kidding, is it you?

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You should have been there on Wednesday at the Dorset open C.C.G. meeting; no, really, you should have. With protestors from all over the county we had just enough to fill the available seating and an overflow room but the long awaited angry pitchfork-wielding mob is still holding out on us. The whole rigmarole resulted from an off the cuff remark at an earlier open meeting last summer when one of our number asked to see the costing. The following day it was announced the decision was to be deferred until now. Evidently they hadn’t bothered to do the costing, since the decision had already been taken and they think we’re a bunch of fucking yokels. They’ve since spent £2.9 million on a ‘review’.

The suits staged a piece of choreographed P.R. bullshit, commencing with a presentation involving some silly diagrams projected on a side wall that fewer than half of us could see, accompanied by 30 minutes (it seemed longer) of that meaningless management drivel they all spout – what the actual fuck is a “pivotal provider”? We were subjected to a patronising lecture about how they were going to encourage us all to give up smoking and take more exercise, as if all our health conditions were our own fault. There’s going to be an ‘engagement road show’ (like Radio One?)

Hidden amongst the overarching visions, stakeholder engagements and enabling workstreams were a few gems. They face challenges in recruiting staff – why do you think that is? Having pissed off every other health worker the government is currently at war with its future consultants and that isn’t going to end well.

The threat to children’s services we have been staving off for so long remains, there is a recommendation to amalgamate these facilities with Yeovil hospital, which as a heckler pointed out, is in Somerset! Yeovil are not keen.

There is talk of care in the community or the home. The meaning of this will be familiar to anyone with experience of personal care. The council, or in this case the health service, pays a provider through the nose for half-hour care slots by agency staff on poverty wages. The half hour includes travel time so you only get twenty minutes, about ten of which are spent filling in paperwork.

Incredibly, the review has determined that aggregate travel times from Bournemouth to Poole, and vice-versa, are equivalent. This was challenged from the floor and we were dismissively told some folk had gone out with GPS and things.

The yokels were not impressed. It was pointed out that Poole hospital is a ten minute walk from the railway station whereas R.B.H. is a 40 minute bus ride from the Bournemouth one – when the bus actually shows up. R.B.H. sits in a traffic bottleneck that is virtually impassable for a couple of hours a day. Six streams of traffic converge on a single-lane roundabout then the eastbound traffic goes over a bridge that “was built for a horse and cart”. Even with a blue light on, the ambulance has to queue for traffic lights like everyone else, because there simply isn’t any room to make way. We recall a flooding incident that backed the whole thing up for an hour and a half.

I’ll spell it out for them: if I had an accident at Bournemouth rail station I would go to Poole hospital. The material accompanying the presentation even more extravagantly claimed that:

“… access to primary care and community services … would be possible by car within 8 minutes for 90% of the population … with just 25 [as opposed to 135 at present] well placed primary care locations”.

That’s pure fantasy. Tell you what, I defy any of them to drive into R.B.H. from Cooper Dean roundabout, park their car, and walk to hospital reception in 8 minutes.

There were many references to financial sustainability and overspending. We are told the N.H.S. has a huge funding gap, now we all know why this is, and it’s got nothing to do with obesity or the ageing population. Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) allow moneylenders to ‘own’ things other people require to live – such as roads, hospitals and schools – which, like everything else, are simply the products of our labour and ingenuity. With up-front privatisation thoroughly discredited, successive governments have handed the infrastructure over to cash-rich corporations who expect us to lease it back from them over decades at a huge premium. The advantage to the politician is that the transfer of public assets to the private sector is temporarily invisible, as is the magnitude of the debt. So it’s a sort of payday loan, by the time the payments become crippling the politician is long gone, having moved on and with luck, landed a job with one of these glorified pawnbrokers. When the state was forced to bail out the financial institutions after the crash it found itself paying for public assets it no longer owned. Servicing these loans is now given priority over providing services; vampire-like, they are sucking the life out of the N.H.S. The agenda of the government is to shut down and amalgamate as many non-P.F.I. hospitals as possible, nevertheless, the U.K. still spends a smaller portion of its G.D.P. on healthcare than Germany, France or the U.S.A.

Capitalists have a problem; every so often they run out of things to steal. A couple of hundred years ago they stole our land and forced us into waged labour. Every day bosses, bankers and landlords rob us of the fruits of that labour, leaving us only the barest means of subsistence. But as technology makes things easier and simpler to produce, labour gets less and less profitable, or even necessary. Even with us all consuming flat out, there isn’t much to do and most of us are simply an inconvenience to them, especially when we’re too sick, old or young to be adding value to their capital. All that’s left to pillage are things like education and healthcare, which are not commodities but social duties. How can any social grouping possibly “overspend” on the health and wellbeing of the very people who create its wealth?

Following some unconvincing questions from the panel, and a vigorous rebuttal from the floor, a farcical voting ritual unanimously endorsed their decision to concentrate A & E in Bournemouth and reduce Poole to a basic outpatients. This will do for the kid with the saucepan on his head and the rugby player with the singed arsehole, but nothing life-threatening. Here’s a consultant’s view We are told Dorchester is safe, and frankly we don’t believe a word. In 2014, a patients’ survey declared D.C.H. Emergency department as the best in the country. It would have looked a bit odd if they’d tried to shut it then so they went for the path lab instead, then when that was foiled decided to sneak up on it by squeezing out paediatrics and maternity.

A note to newspaper and T.V. editors: we are not “concerned”, we know what they are up to and we are fucking livid.

We hope for a larger and rowdier protest at the next one, bring your mates, and a pitchfork.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/30/accident-emergency-overhaul-shelved-warning-political-backlash

How PFI is crippling the NHS

http://www.nhsforsale.info/privatisation-list/surgery/the-great-pfi-swindle.html

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/caroline-molloy/peterborough-hospital-nhs-and-britains-privatisation-racket

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/anna-marriott/world-bank-pfi-hospital-and-destruction-of-nations-healthcare-system

If you want to live, come to Dorchester on the 18th May!

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There will be a demonstration outside the meeting of the Clinical Commissioning Group on Wednesday against the further degrading of healthcare services in Dorset. Come to Vespasian House DT1 1TG at 1p.m. Bring banners and noise-making equipment.

The long-running conspiracy to shut down Dorset County Hospital enters a new phase this week. Not only is its A & E and maternity department threatened, but those of Poole Hospital also.

Each of these schemes has met with ferocious hostility, followed by sham public consultations, congregations of worthies and posturing by local politicians, especially the odious Oliver Letwin who has more faces than a town hall clock. Wessex Solidarity has known for some time that the decision was taken long ago behind closed doors and these shenanigans are purely to defuse the situation until the publicity dies down. Make no mistake about it, we are going to be left with one emergency department for the entire county, and it will serve the wealthy conurbation around Bournemouth.

The people of West Dorset, already shafted over public transport, and virtually isolated, will simply not have emergency or paediatric healthcare services within reach.

If this is allowed to proceed, people are going to die, some of you reading this, your elderly, your children are going to die, for the greedy parasites who are carving up the N.H.S. we built, merely to line their own pockets. The time for politeness has passed.

NOW GET ON THE STREETS!

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Residents in West Dorset are suffering from cuts to their bus services that make it hard enough to get to Dorchester let alone Poole or Bournemouth, there is no longer an evening service and some villages have only two buses a day.

A recent attempt to flog off the pathology service at the hospital was foiled after a public outcry.

West Dorset’s M.P. Oliver Letwin is the author of ‘Privatising the World’ and Britain’s biggest enterprise; his blueprint for selling the NHS.

Victory for Dorset Health Campaign! Community rejects pathology privatisation.

Roll of dishonour, M.P.s with their hands in the N.H.S. till.

The fight is on to save Dorset County Hospital’s children’s ward; updated.

A good start – Kingfisher rising!

Kingfisher mothers picnic picket in Dorchester.

Dorset rejects bureaucrats’ plan to risk children’s lives.

An interview with the DTK. Corporate Watch.

Workers at a honey cooperative near Wan (Van in Turkish). The Co-op was set up with the help of the Democratic Society Congress economic commission.

Workers at a honey cooperative near Wan (Van in Turkish). The Co-op was set up with the help of the Democratic Society Congress economic commission.

Democratic autonomy is a movement which aims to establish a network of grassroots assemblies in Bakur (the Kurmanji Kurdish word for the area of Kurdistan within the borders of Turkey). Corporate Watch carried out interviews with several of the organisations involved in the process of democratic autonomy in June and July 2015.

The democratic autonomy movement in North Kurdistan is part of the wider movements for ‘democratic confederalism’ in Kurdistan. In the writing of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), ‘democratic autonomy’ is achieved when people begin to organise themselves through grassroots assemblies or communes. Following on from this, the term ‘democratic confederalism’ is used to describe networks of these local assemblies joining together in a confederation.

The most well known example of the application of the ideas of democratic confederalism is in Rojava, the autonomous largely Kurdish region in the North of Syria. However, people across the border in Bakur have been putting the ideas of democratic confederalism into practice since long before the Arab Spring. In around 2005 the PKK had created the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation aimed at uniting Kurdish people living within all four parts of Kurdistan and the diaspora and achieving democratic confederalism throughout Kurdistan.

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), set up in Bakur in 2007, acts as an umbrella organisation, and aims to establish democratic confederalism in Bakur. It meets every three months and is made up of representatives of different ethnic groups and political parties as well as representatives of local assemblies. It operates as a parliament, and attempts to create a new society under the weight of repression from the existing one. Since the establishment of the DTK, local assemblies have been set up all over Bakur. The DTK has also set up regional commissions to deal with issues such as ecology, economy, education, language, religion, culture, science, diplomacy, women and young people.

We interviewed Hilmi Aydoğdu and Hasan Hüseyin, both directors of the DTK in July 2015. Read the full interview.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

in view of the incessant accusations of anti-Semitism that have been flying around it seems necessary to try to explain what must seem like a confusing phenomena to many. In broad outline the situation can be understood as follows:

1) Israeli leaders have always sought to conflate Israel with Jewish identity. For example, Eli Groner, US-born Director General of the Prime Minister’s office has described Benjamin Netanyahu as “the leader of the Jewish world.” Countless other examples could be given. Some people believe such statements and on that basis develop hatred towards Jewish people generally believing that they are all like Benjamin Netanyahu and support the oppression of the Palestinians. Such attitudes can reasonably be described as “anti-Semitic” and must of course be condemned. However, it is a different form of anti-Semitism from the historical anti-Semitism of the 1930s in that it is based upon their assumed support for Israeli oppression and not hatred for Jewish people simply because they are Jewish.

2) Israeli leaders and pro-Israel lobby groups and media commentators are well-aware of the defamatory potential of accusations of anti-Semitism. Wishing to discredit them they regularly accuse all Palestinian rights groups and activists of anti-Semitism simply on the basis of their opposition to the actions of the state of Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians.

3) Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party this defamation campaign has gone into hyper-drive. Accusations of anti-Semitism have been chosen by the right as the weapon of choice to use against Jeremy Corbyn and many people who should know better have been taken in by this including Owen Jones and John McDonnell. Many newspaper columnists and MPs have jumped on the bandwagon.

4) Palestinian rights activists have always sought to differentiate clearly between Israel and Jewish people and opposition to Israeli policies and anti-Semitism. We have a moral responsibility to try to ensure that legitimate criticism of Israel does not fuel hatred towards Jewish people and we have a right to defend our campaign for peace, equality and justice from unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism.

Whether Naz Shah’s tweet was or wasn’t appropriate is a matter of debate but there is no rational reason for describing it as anti-Semitic because it said nothing whatsoever about Jews. I personally agree with the views that Tony Greenstein, a founding member of PSC who is of Jewish descent himself, has expressed on this matter:

“Naz Shah has confessed to her comments being anti-Semitic.  Isn’t that enough proof?  No.  The defendants in the Stalin purge trials also confessed to being Trotsky’s agents and more.  It is perfectly possible to create a psychological atmosphere such that people will confess to all manner of things, even though they are not guilty.  Police interrogators have, throughout the years, been quite skilled in obtaining false confessions without the need to beat people up or torture them.

So let me say it here – there is *nothing* anti-Semitic in what Naz Shah has said.  She made what was quite a flippant humorous joke in the midst of something that was anything but funny – the merciless use of American planes, white phosphorous and the most modern missiles and rocket technology against a people who had nothing except pea crackers to fire back with (the ‘rockets’ that Israel used as a pretext for the bombardment and invasion).   Let us not forget that 2,200 people were murdered in Gaza including 551 ‘terrorist’ children.” See his full article here

The accusations of anti-Semitism against Ken Livingstone appear to be equally without foundation. You can read a full transcript of his comments here.

For a comprehensive analysis of this phenomena I would recommend this talk by Dr Norman Finkelstein

It is noteworthy that at the same time as these inflammatory accusations are getting massive media attention Israel’s on-going human-rights violations against the Palestinians are being studiously ignored. In addition to the planned demolition of two Bedouin Palestinian villages and the countless other human rights abuses taking place, threats are being made against Palestinian rights activists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An especially alarming statement came from Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence. The term alludes to “targeted assassinations” which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of Palestinian armed groups.

You can read a full report of this published by Amnesty International here

Please sign and share this petition calling upon the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN High Commissioner to speak out strongly against this:

Kind regards, Adam Waterhouse Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

e-mail

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Independent radio station in Rojava set on fire, executive director threatened with death.

Received by e mail – W.S.

Press release: Independent radio station in Rojava, Syria, set on fire, executive director threatened with death if broadcasting did not stop

Amudah, 27 April 2016 – ARTA FM’s headquarters in Amudah, north-east Syria, was set on fire last night, and its executive director was threatened with death at gun point if the independent community radio station did not stop broadcasting.(1)

Around 11pm last night (26 April), five masked men and armed with guns turned up at ARTA’s headquarters in Amudah as the last staff members were leaving. Another group of armed men were waiting outside the home of ARTA FM’s Executive Director, a popular musician known as Sefqan. They pointed their guns to his head and that of his driver and threatened to kill them if they did not comply. They then led him to the Amudah Cemetery and said they would “take away his soul” if ARTA FM did not stop. “We’re fighting a war and you’re talking about bullshit,” they said.

Last week heavy fighting broke out in the nearby city of Qamishli between the local Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, and the local People’s Protection Units (YPG), on the one hand, and Syrian regime forces and militias, on the other. Dozens from both sides were killed and injured before a truce was agreed. ARTA FM covered the fighting extensively and became one of the main reliable sources of information for the local population.(2)

Sefqan was then led back from the cemetery to ARTA’s HQ, where he and two guards were handcuffed downstairs, while the armed men went upstairs, ransacked the offices and set the building on fire. They reportedly took some of the radio’s laptops with them. As they left, the armed men threatened Safqan that they “will kill you if you ever switch on that radio again.” Fire fighters and the Asayish (the local security forces) arrived about half an hour later and took Sefqan and the guard away for investigation.

ARTA has demanded that the Self Administration authorities open a serious, independent investigation into the incident, pointing out the following facts:

– Amudah is surrounded by a trench and is full of Asayish checkpoints, making it near-impossible for outsiders to enter the city. Only armed units under the Self Administration authority can move around freely.

– The ARTA building is next door to the Self Administration’s Guest House in Amudah, and other important which is constantly guarded by the Asayish.

– The electricity was cut off in the neighbourhood during the ‘operation’, even though it had almost not been cut off in the last few days.

A statement by the Executive Council of the Self Administration in the Jazeera Canton condemned the attack and promised to open an investigation.

Siruan H. Hossein, ARTA FM’s founder and General Director, said: “We will not be intimidated by these cowardly acts and stop our work to strengthen free, independent media in the region. However, we also do not want to put our staff at risk. We demand that the Self Administration authorities immediately open a serious, independent investigation and punish those responsible for this crime. We also demand that serious measures are taken to protect media workers, civil society activists and civilians in general. That is what the People’s Protection Units are supposed to be there for.”

Notes for editors:

1. ARTA for Media and Development is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation registered in Germany. It was founded in February 2013 by a group of Syrian-Kurdish activists and media professionals based in and outside Syria.

ARTA FM, a project of ARTA for Media and Development, is an independent, multilingual community radio station broadcasting in the north-eastern parts of Syria. It is also available online (arta.fm) and on the NileSat satellite network. It started broadcasting in July 2013 from Amuda, where ARTA is now headquartered.

ARTA FM broadcasts daily 15 hours of live programmes and news in four languages: Kurdish, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian – the languages of the local communities inhabiting the northern parts of Syria, along the Turkish borders. It is listened to by wide sections of the population in the regions of Amuda, Qamishli, Malikiyya (Derik), Ras al-‘Ayn and ‘Ayn al-‘Arab (Kobani).

2, See these testimonies by listeners about ARTA FM’s coverage of the Qamishli fighting last week: https://www.facebook.com/artaradio/videos/609857142501295/

More thoughts on the EU referendum – Mal Content.

La cinquante-huitième de Mars.

EU bombMy last post on this subject stirred a lively discussion so I’ll try and answer some of the points raised by people who generally express agreement with anarchist principles. Most activists are maintaining a dignified abstention from what they regard as an internal dispute within the British establishment, and none of the anarchist groups have agreed a policy as far as I can see. The arguments expressed in support of voting for the British state to remain in the EU verge on liberalism. As social revolutionaries we are presently fighting a rearguard action, some are confused and understandably torn between thwarting capitalist globalisation – a cause for which many comrades have lost their lives and liberty – and mitigating its short term effects on individuals.

This is not, as has been suggested, about opportunistically kicking the Cameron regime; the entire global bourgeoisie is in agreement on this issue*. They would like us to understand, without betraying their rising panic, that the British state’s membership of the EU is important to them. Of course, in every case we want the opposite of what they want: de-growth, de-alienation, an end to pointless commerce, futile toil, military activity, coercive power and capital accumulation. We must dismantle the political structures they rely on.

*”What about the tabloid press?” – They sell newspapers, and will continue to do so either way, it won’t make any difference to them and the next British P.M. will kiss Murdoch’s arse just like the last one. A few homegrown capitalists oppose it for opportunistic reasons, because they are insulated from it economically. Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin has cunningly engineered a captive domestic market that would probably stay loyal to him if he pissed on their shoes.

An out vote will wipe billions off their capital, which quantifies their power over the rest of us. It will seriously weaken the EU itself, destabilise the United Kingdom, and undermine the security of NATO. It will be a major blow to Western imperialism. Perhaps the most immediate benefit to our class, and the planet, is that it will balls up negotiations on the nightmarish TTIP treaty,* which, along with its Trans-Pacific counterpart would give a handful of unaccountable bourgeois oversight of local policy across the entire world. Working class militants, not only anarchists, are fighting these plans tooth and claw. The UK government’s own report on it, which they’ve been sitting on for three fucking years, predicts no benefit to the economy (See conclusions at the end).

*I recommend this article but the entire Z-Net site seems to have gone down this morning – coincidence? This is quite good, though I don’t share his faith in courts and parliaments, obviously.

Ask yourself: how many of us would hypothetically have to lay down our lives to do that amount of damage to our enemies? This is no time to hedge our bets, sometimes you have to gamble to win, especially when the status quo is intolerable. Cameron only called this referendum to staunch defections to UKIP and win the last election; and according to poll analyst Professor John Curtice it’s ”an awful lot closer than it was meant to be”. However uncomfortable the current climate might be, we’re not going to get another chance.

There is widespread confusion over the, European Convention on Human Rights adopted by the 47 states of the Council of Europe, which, despite using the same flag, is not related to the European Union and pre-dates it. The UK government is planning to do away with it anyway. Of more concern to libertarians is the European Arrest Warrant that allows governments to pursue dissidents across member states. It waives the convention in International extradition law that you cannot be extradited for an act that would be legal in the state you are being extradited from (called double criminality). Hidden among the list of heinous crimes this clause applies to is “participation” in a banned organisation. Since my last post the Spanish state has imprisoned two anarchist comrades for twelve years without a shred of evidence.

Some fear that a boost will be given to the far right, who will take it as a victory; fair comment, but they take everything as a victory anyway, and they were always going to be there. Was there ever a likelihood of the National Front campaigning for the EU? In Dover recently we were treated to the spectacle of Greek-Cypriot fascist and friend of Golden Dawn Paul ‘pitt’ Prodromou burning an EU flag with the words: “Stick it up your arse, we don’t want your foreigners” As a reflex comrades rushed to defend the institution, rather than just ridiculing the idiot. The EU cannot by any stretch be considered a buffer against fascism; xenophobic parties, including neo-Nazis are well represented at European and national level. In corporatist Europe ‘the left’ still means bureaucracy and top-down control for its own sake, and this contradiction gives the right something to get their teeth into. The Daily Express would be mostly blank without it. So is the EU in fact dragging the continent to the right?

Fear of the fash can be healthy, if it means you take care to steward public events, advertise wisely, monitor local fascist groups, ensuring you know where they meet and when, how many, how active, how mobile etc. But you’re doing that already, aren’t you? Clinging to the hope that if all else fails the state will step in is the triumph of optimism over a century of bitter experience. In 1920’s Italy, after two years of wildcat strikes, land and factory occupations, landowners and industrialists funded Mussolini to recruit a scab army of Blackshirts to evict the workers and break up union meetings. They obtained arms and vehicles, received training and logistics from the army and preferential treatment from police and courts. Firearms permits were selectively granted to right-wingers (like the brits did in Ireland). Left politicians invoked the constitution to protect their rights, but no-one was listening. When the official unions eventually organised armed resistance it was too little, too late. The same mistakes were repeated in Germany, Portugal and Spain. A world war, sixty million dead later and in London, Mosley was back in business with a police escort. There is no good or bad ruling class; there is one ruling class that operates differently over different terrain. Nobody is ever going to save anybody from anything out of moral sentiment.

“No government in the world fights fascism to destruction. When the bourgeois see power slipping out of their hands, they resort to fascism to hold onto their privileges.”

– Buenaventura Durruti

It has been suggested that workers settled here from the mainland may be removed; even the most rabid of UKIP spokesmen are not proposing this, it would wreck the economy instantly and remember there are far more British citizens over the channel than the other way round. Martin wouldn’t go for it either; he’s too fond of underpaying his staff. The British government is however, planning to remove all non-EU citizens earning below £35,000 p.a. leaving only the wealthiest.

The saintly Jeremy Corbyn having renounced his long-standing Bennism, the reason he’s struggling to make a socialist case for the EU is that there isn’t one. All his arguments are bourgeois; he speaks of the interests of “the people of this country” – which ones? If he actually believes workers’ rights are granted by politicians he needs to do a bit of reading. This is the kind of thing we’re up against in Poland and Hungary. Why is he pandering to this crap? Like everything to do with party politics, Corbyn’s conversion is dictated by internal power dynamics. He has chosen the parliamentary party over his social base, Momentum – bulked up by fractious Trots and tankies who aren’t allowed in the Labour party and are instinctively anti-EU – which declared neutrality so as not to embarrass the leader.

Cameron is on his arse and a good kick would finish him off. It’s Labour doing what it always does, offering to rescue the ruling elite just when its own venality has rendered it inoperable. Labour belongs to the possiblist tradition that holds that capitalism will eventually abolish itself if we would only be patient, and use the institutions it has given us. It the meantime, it’s not so much “bigger cages, longer chains!” More like what Unison might call “a negotiated and phased reduction in chain length and cage size”, to keep us all in alienated wage labour. Valiant French workers are fighting the bosses and the state right now, whatever they win will be theirs, let no one claim any credit because they voted for something.

If imported goods and overseas holidays become more expensive and cross-border trade falls, all the better for the environment. Maybe folk will be slower to chuck away food that’s been air-freighted around the globe. Perhaps consumers and farmers would by-pass the supermarkets and deal direct, as they do in Greece. We should be moving towards localised production anyway, repairing equipment instead of replacing it, like we all did only a few years ago, and we didn’t expect to eat bloody strawberries at Christmas. Weak sterling stimulates manufacturing, if that’s your bag. Scots who favour independence could vote ‘out’, to force the issue, and if an independent Scottish state benefits economically from re-joining that could even out the North-South wealth gap.

Meanwhile in NATO’s other bulwark against whatever-it-was, Turkey, persecution of the migrants being rejected by the EU is underway. The deal struck between big-hearted Angele Merkel and the Turkish state declared this despicable fascist regime a safe destination while it was burning women and children to death in their houses at Cizre. The Turkish state does not abide by the Geneva Convention and is simply driving the refugees back into Syria, according to this Amnesty International press release. It’s got a worse human rights record than some of the countries the Western powers have invaded in recent times, and US air force bases.

On radio 4’s Today programme of the 4th April, the day the agreement took effect we heard that two boatloads of our fellow workers had already been deported from Greece in defiance of international law. Both the EU and Turkish governments are ultimately responsible for the plight of these people (as proxies of the United States) but no one is going to hold them to account for it. That’s the thing about international law; it’s an agreement between the rulers of nation-states, which are subject to change from time to time. They make it up to suit themselves, and decide how and if it gets enforced. The Syriza-coalition government’s Migration Spokesman rather despondently absolved his administration of any responsibility for the resulting chaos and misery by pointing out that the arrangement was between the EU and the Turkish government, nothing to do with him. He couldn’t help mentioning that the Greek economy is flat on its back thanks to the measures imposed on it by its creditors in its desperation to remain in the euro zone. He proceeded to bang on about ‘economic migrants’, with as much venom as any neoliberal.

The Greek state has itself suffered the most complete loss of sovereignty since its occupation by the Axis in WW2 and subsequently becoming the first battleground of the cold war under the Truman_Doctrine. NATO interference in Greek affairs led logically to the CIA-sponsored military coup of 1967 by a group of former Nazi collaborators. It is now entirely the plaything of global capital, but the Greek workers do not look to Brussels for salvation, but their own efforts.

In the last one I hinted that climate change will make borders redundant before we do, here’s the article if you want it. I for one would like to see free movement of peoples, not limited to an arbitrary geographical area where most of the population happens to be white, and certainly not subject to the whim of politicians. European economic and political union is essentially a white-supremacist project; Europeanism is as unpleasant as nationalism. Europe being simply one end of a much larger land mass has always defined itself by what it isn’t. Its history is of the conquest and exploitation of everything that wasn’t Europe, and its creation of the capitalist hegemony through primitive accumulation (the economist’s euphemism for armed robbery). Its present cultural identity is framed in terms of antagonism to the ‘other’, and the myths of civilisation and enlightenment that were and still are used to justify slaughter and brigandage. Small wonder that we are being implored to think of ‘security’ – the continued hegemony of European cultures across the globe, and that includes the United States, an entity spawned by European imperialism. Boris Johnson’s racial slur against Barack Obama misses by miles. If his Kenyan heritage causes him to ‘hate Britain’ (whatever that means) he would likely bear similar animosity towards the territories of Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal Spain and the Netherlands, whose governments also perpetrated genocide in Africa, and most other places.

Fear of change has never been part of anarchist thought. We speak of building the new world in the shell of the old; soon we will have to crack that shell, and it will require personal sacrifice.

“It is we, the workers, who built palaces and cities in Spain, America and elsewhere, we can build them anew, and better. We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth, there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a New World, here, in our hearts.”

– Buenaventura Durruti

SHUT DOWN THE VERNE DETENTION CENTRE! DEMONSTRATION 7th May 2016

Saturday 7th May marks the National Day of Action Against Detention Centres across the UK. Come and demonstrate at one of the UK’s most isolated detention centres, The Verne, on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. Previously a prison, The Verne was reclassified as an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in September 2014, however it remains under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty’s Prison Service. Aside from the its isolated location, which prevents many detainees from receiving visits, an HM Inspectorate of Prisons report in March 2015 reported high levels of violence within The Verne as well as considerable difficulty for detainees in obtaining legal representation. The inspectors found that just 30 minutes of free legal advice was available and many detainees “struggled to obtain representation to fight their cases”. The report also highlighted “excessive stays”, finding that 40 of The Verne’s 580 inmates had been in detention for over a year and one had been held for over five years.

This barbaric treatment of people seeking to remain in the UK must stop.Join us in support of those detained, and to call for an end to detention: SHUT DOWN THE VERNE! SHUT DOWN DETENTION CENTRES!

DEMONSTRATION 7th May 2016- 12.45 pm- 1.45 pm outside the Verne (bring things to make noise) 2.15 pm in the town.

TRANSPORT TO THE VERNE on the day or contact bristolclosetheverne@riseup.net.

For more information about the Close the Verne Campaign see https://www.facebook.com/closetheverne/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook event

Resist the Mayor’s Cuts in Bristol!

From Bristol Solidarity Federation.

mayor3George Ferguson, the elected Mayor of Bristol, is directly responsible for cuts to services in this city – including services for children. He has halved the number of beds at the Bush, a residential centre for disabled children. [1] Even though the council voted to preserve funding – he pushed it through personally. This month the Hawkspring, a vital service that helps families affected by drug addiction, almost closed after having its funding from the council slashed. It only stayed open thanks to a charity stepping in to help at the last minute. [2] This is all while having plenty of money for other things – like massive pay-rises for council bosses [3], and £2.3 million a year on public relations and marketing. [4]

Maybe if this one man is responsible, protests should be directed at him as well as the council? We’ve protested in the streets and at council meetings – but the mayor owns a chain of bars and cafés in the city that have been mostly untouched. Last year campaigners against cuts to disabled kids’ services organised a protest outside his home and business – the Tobacco Factory. Bristol SolFed thinks this was a great idea – we’ve always found picketing and communications blockades [5] far more effective than normal protests. We have found a list of some more of the pies the mayor has got his finger in, which should help anyone who wants to take this kind of action. We hope you find it useful…

List: http://pastebin.com/YfTAJ2ra

[1] facebook page for the campaign against cutting The Bush – https://www.facebook.com/No-to-Cuts-to-the-Bush-Residential-Centre-for-Disabled-Children-605680162863622. Debate between the mayor and one of the parents – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q5sRRX2ebA
[2] background from a Labour campaigner – http://amandaramsay.co.uk/council-should-fund-hawkspring/
[3] http://thebristolian.net/2016/03/11/town-hall-fat-cats-attempt-wage-heist/
[4] http://thebristolian.net/2016/03/01/spin-watch/
[5] a “comms blockade” is where on a set day/time, lots of people call up a business at once, fill their facebook with complaints, etc

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

please note that we now have a new Facebook group – PSC Southampton – which can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/southamptonpsc/

The Facebook group gives us the opportunity to share pictures and news items which can’t be shared through the mailing list so please visit and Like this page if you would like to receive these up-dates on local activities.

Palestinian journalist Yara al-Wazir is the new admin of this page (along with myself). Yara writes for the web-site of the news channel Al Arabiya. If you are interested you can see her articles here:

https://english.alarabiya.net/authors/Yara-al-Wazir.html

Kind regards, Adam Waterhouse Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Red and black telly: THE END OF THE UK STEEL INDUSTRY – AN ANARCHIST VIEW

We’re still going to need steel after we’ve overthrown capitalism! No pay cuts, no pillaging the pension fund; the workers need to take the plant, now. Then we would have something to fight for, starting a wave of occupations and expropriations building to a social general strike and a long hot summer! – W.S.