Fascism, the state, and the Battle of Cable Street, 1936.

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Background:

The ruling class openly flirted with fascism from the start; with the class system under threat on all sides, it’s easy to see how attractive the idea of obedient, conservative-minded workers marching about in uniforms was to the bosses. In 1920’s Italy, after two years of wildcat strikes, land and factory occupations by socialist and anarchist workers, landowners and industrialists funded Mussolini to recruit a scab army of Blackshirts to evict the workers and break up union meetings. They were supplied with arms and vehicles, the army supported them with training and logistics, and firearms permits were selectively granted to right-wingers. The state relied on the fascists for strike-breaking until they got out of control, then rolled over and asked them to form a government. When the official unions eventually organised armed resistance it was too little, too late.

Fascist tactics have changed little over the years. They set about to discourage and confound working class organisation through violent intimidation. Meetings were disrupted, premises and individuals targeted for attack. As they grew in numbers and resources, beatings gave way to assassinations, arson and kidnapping. The left politicians made the fatal mistake of relying on the law to protect their rights, to no avail. The courts gave the Blackshirts preferential treatment so that the violent clashes they provoked resulted in the imprisonment of antifascists. In a routine that will be familiar to present day antifascists, the police usually turned on whichever group appeared numerically smaller on the day.

Some of the stiffest resistance came from the anarchist groups and the syndicalist U.S.I. union, and they would bear the brunt of the violence. In the summer of 1921, these militants formed antifascist fighting squads ‘Arditi del Popolo’, organised along paramilitary lines. Each unit had autonomy and operated according to the political composition of its locality. Alongside anarchists and union organisers they attracted First World War veterans, republicans and members of the official Socialist and Communist parties. Rivalry between these two parties prevented them from offering support however, neither having any use for an organisation beyond its control. In August the Socialist Party signed a non-aggression pact with the fascists, requiring its members to withdraw, and P.C.I. activists were pulled away to do their own thing. The  ‘Pact of Pacification’ amounted to class collaboration between industrialists and Socialist functionaries claiming to represent the working class. It conferred an air of legitimacy on the fascists, allowing them a foothold in areas where they could otherwise not have operated. The Arditi understood as clearly as the bosses that both fascism and antifascism are outside the law. After twenty-plus fascists were killed at Sarzana, their commander lamented that the Blackshirts had got used to confronting people who ran away or offered feeble resistance, and had never actually learned to fight.

The following year, the Socialists called a legal general strike, which the fascists were largely able to circumvent with scab labour. In August 1922, three hundred and fifty Arditi successfully defended the city of Parma against twenty thousand Blackshirts who laid siege to it for six days after the police abandoned their posts. Putting their differences aside, workers built barricades, dug trenches and prepared to fight for every street with petrol bombs and axes. Eventually the fascists, who were still unprepared to take casualties, drifted away in disarray. Alarmed by such a display of working class autonomy and unity, the army occupied the town and took down all the barricades. In October Mussolini marched on Rome with a slightly larger force and the politicians capitulated. The Socialist leader Turati appealed to the King to uphold the constitution, but due to persistent lobbying by the General Federation of Industry and the Banking Association, he handed power to Mussolini, who at that time had only 35 out of about 600 deputies in Parliament. The fascists still didn’t have it all their own way, especially in the industrial North, but over years, the antifascist movement succumbed to assassination, imprisonment and exile.

“The Italian Socialists, blind as ever, continued to cling to legality and the Constitution. In December, 1923, the Federation of Labour sent Mussolini a report of the atrocities committed by fascist bands and asked him to break with his own troops. (Reference: Buozzi and Nitti, Fascisme et Syndicalisme, 1930) The Socialist Party took the electoral campaign of April, 1924, very seriously; Turati even had a debate at Turin with a fascist in a hall where Black Shirts guarded the entrance. And when, after Matteotti’s assassination, a wave of revolt swept over the peninsula, the socialists did not know how to exploit it. ‘At the unique moment,’ Nenni writes, ‘for calling the workers into the streets for insurrection, the tactic prevailed of a legal struggle on the judicial and parliamentary plane.’ As a gesture of protest, the opposition was satisfied not to appear in parliament, and, like the ancient plebeians, they retired to the Aventine. ‘What are our opponents doing?’ Mussolini mocked in the chamber. ‘Are they calling general strikes, or even partial strikes? Are they trying to provoke revolts in the army? Nothing of the sort. They restrict themselves to press campaigns.’ (Speech, July 1924) The Socialists launched the triple slogan: Resignation of the Government, dissolution of the militia, new elections. They continued to display confidence in the King, whom they begged to break with Mussolini; they published, for his enlightenment, petition after petition. But the King disappointed them a second time.”

– Daniel Guerin: ‘Fascism and Big Business’

Inspired by Mussolini, a Conservative Party faction known as ’British Fascisti’ along with the National Citizen’s Union (formerly the Middle Class Union) prepared for organised mass scabbing in the event of a general strike.  This led to the formation of the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies (O.M.S.), described by the Daily Mail as “defence against the reds” and announced on the letters page of the Times by the Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks. The O.M.S. claimed to be non-political and had the backing of the government, who were initially uncomfortable with B.F. involvement; nevertheless many individual fascists joined and occupied prominent positions. The ‘British Fascists Ltd’ as they had become in 1924, were asked to change their name and generally tone it down a bit, they refused, though a small split complied. As the general strike approached, however, fascists swarmed into both the O.M.S. and the special constabulary.

Churchill spelt out the establishment’s position:

“Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honour and stability of civilised society. She has provided the necessary antidote to the Russian poison. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism.”

– Winston Churchill: speaking in Rome Jan. 20, 1927.

Quoted in: Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II and the End of Civilization. by Nicholson Baker 2008.

No one came out of the General Strike looking good; the Labour Party and T.U.C. had betrayed the miners, all the politicians had displayed cowardice and the far right became confirmed in its self-appointed role of defending whatever-it-was against an imagined Jewish-Communist conspiracy. The fascists’ anti-union position brought them into immediate and violent confrontation with the left; they also hoped to recruit the unemployed, as Mussolini had done, in direct competition with the National Unemployed Workers Movement.

Socialists, communists and anarchists lost no time in organising against them. They were hampered by the reluctance of the party leaders to work together as they competed for the allegiance of the working class. The most militant workers’ association, the Communist Party, was of course directed from Moscow, and faithfully followed the meanderings of the Comintern, unhelpfully labelling anyone who declined its control as ‘social fascists’. This policy had disastrous consequences in Germany, where the party focussed on its rivalry with the Social Democrats, leaving the way open for the Nazis, whom it refused to regard as a threat. The Labour Party sought electoral respectability, rendering it useless in what would become a street-level battle for control of territory. The original ‘Independent Labour Party’, distinguished by its opposition to WW1, and its more militant antifascism, remained affiliated to the parliamentary Labour Party until 1931.

Nevertheless more or less informal coalitions appeared at local level, driven by events. The uneven treatment of the two sides by the law is quite revealing; antifascists were typically charged with riot and sentenced to hard labour, whereas four fascists who hijacked a newspaper van at gunpoint were bound over for a year. The latter stunt was pulled by a splinter group, the National Fascisti who were more explicitly violent and racist than the B.F. and included the fanatical anti-Semite Arnold Leese and William ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ Joyce.

Of course Leese was just a paranoid obsessive, wherever did he get it from?

“The part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews … is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from Jewish leaders … The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in (Hungary and Germany, especially Bavaria).

Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. The fact that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship are excepted by the Bolsheviks from their universal hostility has tended more and more to associate the Jewish race in Russia with the villainies which are now being perpetrated”.

– Winston Churchill: Illustrated Sunday Herald 8th February 1920.

In 1931 fascism became the latest vehicle for the ambitions of Oswald Mosley, an opportunist Parliamentarian who had enjoyed electoral success as Conservative, Labour and independent candidate before travelling to Italy and meeting Mussolini. The B.F. had appealed mainly to the establishment, landed gentry and the right of the Tory party, and its ideology was confused even by fascist standards. One of its policies was to reduce unemployment by cutting taxes to the rich so they could hire more servants! With his roots firmly in the aristocracy, a military career behind him, and having like Mussolini wandered the political spectrum, Mosley set about concocting a platform populist enough to rival the Communist Party; based on nationalism, anti-Semitism, Keynesian socialism, economic protectionism and defence of the empire. Mosley’s target was not the workers as such, but aspiring middle classes, self-employed, managerial grades, farmers, market traders and so on, basically anyone who had a stake in preserving the status quo, but didn’t have the ear of the political establishment.

His last venture into electoral politics, the New Party, performed dismally in the 1931 general election, henceforth he embraced the fascist principle of taking power by force. In Germany the Nazi party was gaining ground by such means, and emboldened by the ambivalence of the state, the movement became increasingly violent. The New Party and other assorted groups were combined into the British Union of Fascists; they followed the continental fascists’ fetish for physical culture and paramilitary drilling, and adopted a uniform based on a black fencing shirt.

The German situation was like a slow-motion replay of the Italian one; since the Kaiser had been overthrown in the Spartacist uprising of 1918/19 the German bourgeoisie had been forced to compromise with the working class to prevent a Bolshevik style revolution, and they hated it. The balance of power was held by the Social Democratic Party (S.P.D.) with its gradualist, inevitablist conception of socialism. The most powerful labour movement in the world was integrated into the capitalist state; the Communists referred to this as ‘social fascism’ whereas the Nazis regarded any combination of workers as Marxist, and therefore part of a Jewish conspiracy.

“After Hitler had been released from Landsberg the National Socialist Party was refounded early in 1925. Once more he addressed his followers in the Biirgerbrau cellar: “To make a struggle intelligible to the broad masses, it must always be carried on against two things: against a person and a cause. Against whom did England fight? Against the German Emperor as a person, and against militarism as a cause. Against whom do the Jews fight with their Marxist power? Against the bourgeoisie as a person, and against capitalism as its cause. Against whom, therefore, must our movement fight? Against the Jew as a person, and against Marxism as its cause…” He considered it necessary for psychological reasons to have only one enemy, the Jews; his opinion had not changed.”

 – Francis L. Carsten: ‘The Rise of Fascism’.

He could have been paraphrasing Churchill from five years earlier. Because the Nazis had no constituency among the workers (never more than five percent of votes in the workplace committees) the Communists and Social Democrats ignored them, preferring to squabble amongst themselves. They remained a tiny, anti-union terrorist and propaganda group, sustained financially by the industrialists and landowners.

“If the enemy had known how weak we were, it would probably have reduced us to jelly. It would have crushed in blood the very beginning of our work.”

– J. Goebbels, 1934.

So the delicate flower of fascism was nurtured and held in reserve until the start of the depression. The slump threatened to impoverish the German middle class, who resented the position of the industrial proletariat with its powerful embedded unions and negotiated guarantees; in September 1930 the National Socialists polled six million votes. Fearing revolution, the capitalists lavished money on them; by 1932 they were up to twelve million. Hitler courted the middle classes, making them all manner of unrealistic promises to break up big business and support individual enterprise, in fact the reverse happened, the Nazi government would fiercely concentrate capital into a military-industrial oligarchy.

During this period the U.S.S.R.’s own re-armament programme was heavily dependant on the goodwill of the German industrialists, who felt threatened by the pacifism of the S.P.D. The 1922 Rapallo Treaty, in which both parties waived reparations from the Great War, permitted Germany to test its military hardware in Russia as it was prohibited from doing at home by the Treaty of Versailles; this allowed both countries to benefit from the latest technology. Stalin paid for arms in hard currency, funded by wheat exports from the collective farms at the price of mass starvation, the German Communist Party must have seemed a small sacrifice. In 1931, the Comintern instructed the K.P.D. against its wishes, to vote with the Hitlerists in a referendum to unseat the Social Democrats in Prussia. Turnout was pitiful and the proposition was defeated, but this combination of complacency and sheer idiocy left the door wide open. At the 12th Plenum of the Comintern, Osip Piatnitsky  boasted that the blind obedience of the German Party was second only to the Russian one.* Nazism took hold in the universities, where the students found themselves stranded with little hope of reward for their academic achievements. As unemployment rose to six million over the next two years, the paramilitary S.A. ‘storm troopers’ provided food and shelter in their barracks and recruited a private army of three hundred thousand. The German working class was ready to fight, but its leadership capitulated again and again, preferring to ridicule the barbarians.

*’The Communist International 1919-1943 documents selected and edited by Jane Degras Volume III 1929-1943’
The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Hitler came to power in the spring of 1933, and the Rapallo accord held until January 1934, when Germany signed a non-aggression pact with Poland. The Comintern abruptly changed tack and decided it would work with the other antifascist parties after all, however in Britain the C.P.s street fighting image did not appeal to those with political ambitions and the united front failed to get off the ground. In fact the antifascist front was originally Trotsky’s idea and had only the year before led to mass expulsions of ‘counter-revolutionaries’ from the party for advocating it. Three years later, at the next congress of the K.P.D. (in exile, naturally) the blame would be laid squarely at the door of the German leadership; two absent members Neumann and Remmele were especially singled out by the Comintern delegate Palmiro Togliatti for “underestimating fascism, and their failure to make a real effort for a united front with the Social Democrats.”*

*(ibid)

Harold Harmsworth, the proprietor of the Daily Mail and briefly the Mirror, a personal friend of Mussolini and Hitler, made his papers a mouthpiece for the B.U.F. along with General Franco and Nazi Germany. This probably accounted for the fact that a quarter of the Blackshirts were women, the majority of the Mail’s readership have always been female. The erstwhile King Edward VIII was likewise a friend and admirer of Hitler who would have had Britain on the other side in the coming world war.

“I should like to express the appreciation of countless Germans, who regard me as their spokesman, for the wise and beneficial public support which you have given to a policy that we all hope will contribute to the enduring pacification of Europe.”

– Adolf Hitler to Harold Harmsworth, 7th December 1933.

“At this next vital election Britain’s survival as a great power will depend on the existence of a well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed” …

– Harold Harmsworth: ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’,
Daily Mail 15th January 1934.

“Young men may join the British Union of Fascists by writing to the Headquarters, King’s Road, Chelsea, London, S.W.”

– Harold Harmsworth, writing as ‘Viscount Rothermere’: ‘Give the Blackshirts a helping hand’, Daily Mirror 22nd January 1934.

“… the Blackshirts, like the Daily Mail, appeal to people unaccustomed to thinking. The average Daily Mail reader is a potential Blackshirt ready made. When Lord Rothermere tells his clientele to go and join the Fascists some of them pretty certainly will.”

– “A Spectator’s Notebook”: The Spectator, 19 January 1934.

“My Dear Führer, I have watched with understanding and interest the progress of your great and superhuman work in regenerating your country.”

– Harold Harmsworth, to Adolf Hitler, 27th June 1939.

“Despite her flaws, the only responsible vote in France next Sunday is one for Marine Le Pen.”

Richard Waghorne: Daily Mail Online, 20th April 2012.

“The German slogan ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ is somewhat tainted by its connection with Nazi concentration camps, but its essential message, ‘work sets you free’ still has something serious to commend it.

  -Dominique Jackson: Daily Mail Online, 13th August 2012.

No change there, then. The Express also advocated appeasement until the last minute, and Edward was such an embarrassment they had to make him governor of the Bahamas to get him out of the way.

Because physical superiority was central to fascist ideology, the only effective means to halt their progress was to beat them at their own game, so physical resistance developed out of necessity, a plethora of antifascist associations were formed for this purpose, some with their own uniforms. Left and union events were invaded and had to be stewarded, Jewish interests and individual Jews were subject to assault, so they either joined existing groups or organised independently. Up and down the country, political meetings were turning into pitched battles. With working class communities under attack, everything the B.U.F. did became fair game so violence accompanied them wherever they went. In 1933 16 year old Ubby Cowan went along with a group of friends to oppose a meeting addressed by William Joyce:

“I heard Joyce speaking and it was too much to bear. So I charged the stage and threw him off the platform.

When I realised that this was going on week after week in Stepney, and I remember grabbing Joyce and just saying to him, get out of it, you lying bastard. I sent him flying,

Partly because of the disinterest shown by other political parties in what was happening to Jewish people in the East end, I joined the Communists.”

– Ubby Cowan, antifascist, to Islington Tribune 29th September 2011

What was glaringly obvious to working class Jews may have escaped their wealthier fellows however.

“On New Year’s Day 1934 was formed the January Club, whose object is to form a solid Blackshirt front. The chairman Sir John Squire, editor of the London Mercury said that it was not a fascist organisation but admitted that ‘the members who belonged to all political parties were for the most part in sympathy with the fascist movement’.“

– The Times, 22 March, 1934

According to Ted Grant,* Members of the January Club included Ralph D Blumenfeld, founder of the Anti-Socialist Union, former editor of the Daily Mail and Daily Express, and the prominent Zionist Major Harry Nathan, Liberal MP for Bethnal Green North East.

*’The Menace of Fascism. What it is and how to fight it.’ By Ted Grant: June 1948. The January club’s published records contradict this. It could be that the B.U.F. subsequently expunged the names of Jewish members, or maybe Grant was trying to make a point. Either explanation is plausible; truth is the first casualty of war. Please get in touch if you can shed any light on this.

Either way, British capitalists were busy re-arming Nazi Germany; in March 1934 the merchant banker and Chairman of Vickers, General Sir Herbert Lawrence, refused to deny it:

“I cannot give you an assurance in definite terms, but I can tell you that nothing is being done without complete sanction and approval of our own government.”

– Herbert Lawrence, Quoted by Henry Owen in ‘War is Terribly Profitable’

In Gateshead the fascists attacked the I.L.P. May Day rally outside the labour exchange and were seen off by the unemployed workers. This incident prompted the formation of the ‘Greyshirts’ Anti Fascist League, which effectively shut down fascist activity in the area. In June, Mosley addressed a triumphalist rally at Olympia and the fascist stewards ran amok, beating protesters and anyone who got in their way while the police turned a blind eye, then as antifascists scuffled with the Blackshirts outside the venue some were arrested; Stepney communist Marks ‘Barney’ Becow received the first of several terms of hard labour.

In the days and weeks after Olympia, B.U.F. meetings were attacked and disrupted in London, Leicester, Glasgow, Plymouth and Brighton. By the end of 1934 the continual violence had deprived the B.U.F. of any semblance of respectability and most of its middle class membership; Rothermere ceased his public support for the group, complaining bitterly to Hitler that his hand had been forced by Jewish businesses threatening to take their advertising elsewhere.

On the 4th of October 1935 Mussolini sent his armed forces into Ethiopia and fired the opening shots in the conflict that would shortly tear up three continents. He also had his eye on the strategic Balearic Islands while Hitler coveted the ores and mineral deposits in the Iberian Peninsula and Western Sahara. Spain and Portugal had long ago lost their political and economic independence and were no longer counted amongst the great European powers; a circle of vultures looked down, waiting to deploy their natural resources in the next imperialist kick-off. Events in Spain were going to have a transformative effect on the antifascist movement and European history.

“Before embarking on the Ethiopian venture, Mussolini analysed the composition of the British population in terms of age, noting that it included 24 million women against 22 million men. Some 12 million male citizens were over the age of 50, the limit for men liable for military service in wartime. Outcome: the static masses outweigh the dynamic masses of young people. The quiet life, compromise, peace. He told me of an episode which is not without piquancy: in order to press on with his reading of a detective story Baldwin simply could not be bothered for one whole Sunday with the envelope containing the instructions concerning the Laval-Hoare Plan. The delay was enough to fuel the controversy in France and to lead to the foundering of the plan.”

 – Gian Galeazzo Ciano: ‘Diaries 1937–1943’ 3rd September 1937.

Ciano was Italy’s foreign minister during the Spanish Civil war, explaining that the Italians had no fear of British interference with their blatant piracy in the Mediterranean. The Laval-Hoare Plan to carve up Abyssinia, provoked public outcry in Britain and France.

In London, Douglas Jerrold, editor of the far-right Catholic ‘English Review’, member of Mosley’s January Club and the pro-Nazi Anglo-German Fellowship, was approached by Luis Boli­n, London correspondent of the Spanish monarchist ABC newspaper. Bolin wanted to transport General Franco in secret from the Canary Islands to Morocco, where he would launch a military coup; Jerrold in turn hired British secret agent Major Hugh Pollard. On the 11th July their chartered De Havilland Dragon Rapide aircraft took off from Croydon aerodrome piloted by Cecil Bebb, who may or may not have been a spook as well, with Pollard as navigator. Pollard’s daughter Diana, and another woman, Dorothy Watson, went along to make the trip look a little less suspicious. International flights were uncommon at the time and were closely monitored by Special Branch. Pollard was a senior figure in the intelligence community, who had worked for the British in Ireland, Mexico, and Morocco. It’s inconceivable that his bosses didn’t know about and approve the project. Boli­n became Franco’s press officer and chief censor, and Pollard the chief of the MI6 station in Madrid, Bebb received an assortment of medals from Franco. Jerrold was a tireless propagandist for the nationalists during the Civil War, and later also worked for MI6.

Having failed to intimidate the left in the regions, the B.U.F turned its attention to provoking the Jewish community in East London. The fascists had a considerable following in Bethnal Green from which anti-Semitic incursions would take place; the area became a daily battleground.

“An informal anti-fascist bloc had developed in the East End. It spanned the political spectrum from left to centre and included Jewish anti-fascist bodies. On the left of the bloc stood the CP the YCL, the ILP, the NUWM, various trade union bodies, and the Labour League of Youth. The LLY continued to organise with the YCL despite the disapproval of its parent body. At its Manchester conference in April 1936 it agreed that ‘the possibilities of war and Fascism looming ahead of the workers demand a united front of all working-class youth organisations.’”

– Dave Hann, antifascist: ‘Physical Resistance. A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism.’

On the 4th of October 1936 the East End rose as one to stop Mosley’s Blackshirts marching from the City of London to Bethnal Green. The extraordinary cohesion, in particular the solidarity between the Jewish and Irish communities, that made this possible had been forged during the Great Unrest that preceded the First World War, when striking dockers and tailors had supported each other’s families. The Ex-Servicemen’s Anti-Fascist Association already had police permission to hold a march and meeting that day, but the cops insisted they make way for the fascists. Both the official Labour Party and the Board of Deputies of British Jews opposed the counter-mobilisation. The Communist Party initially opposed it then jumped on the bandwagon when it became clear its members were going to do it anyway, the instrument of’ Stalin’s foreign policy being powerless without its rank and file, who had a taste for self-organisation and wanted to bring the revolution home.

“This attitude clearly reflected what I already knew was the London District Party leadership’s position on Mosley. I was furious. I could hardly believe what I was reading. I had been fighting their ideas for years. Here was the confrontation and I could not withdraw. On the contrary, I knew that if the DPC line was carried, a heavy blow would fall on the workers of East London and workers everywhere. It would also be the end of me. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting these pernicious tactics. …

… We in the CP were supposed to tell people to go to Trafalgar Square and come back in the evening to protest after Mosley had marched. The pressure from the people of Stepney who went ahead with their own efforts to oppose Mosley left no doubt in our minds that the CP would be finished in Stepney if this was allowed to go through as planned by our London leaders.”

– Joe Jacobs, antifascist: ‘Out of the Ghetto’ London 1978.

In the East End, materials were being collected for barricades and missiles, runners and spotters were recruited and fifteen first aid posts set up. Seventy years before the Internet and text messages, with few telephones and no television, the whole thing was organised in less than a week. The planned route along Whitechapel road was blocked on the day by a vast crowd, the only alternative, as antifascists had anticipated, was via Cable Street.

“Now because we’d suspected that the police might try to use this route as a secondary means of getting Mosley to his destination, we went round there the week beforehand to see what was cooking. We found a very convenient builder’s yard on the corner of Christian Street and, on several evenings leading up to October 4, the dockers came along and dumped little parcels there. It was agreed beforehand that the dockers would be responsible for preparing barricades in Cable Street should they be required. We sent a team with the dockers so that it was all organised.”

– Ubby Cowan, quoted by Dave Hann (op. cit.)

Most of the fighting was not with fascists, but with the police, who had orders to drive the B.U.F.’s paramilitary columns through at any cost. It was nothing more or less than a demonstration of state power in the face of the organised working class, it failed.

“The pavements were packed, the whole street – Aldgate High Street – was packed solid. Crowds were everywhere as far as we could see. It was impossible to make any progress. Parked in the middle of the street, towering over the crowds was a line of tramcars – marooned and empty. They could not have moved, even if anyone had wanted to move them.

The rumour went that the first tram in the line had been deliberately driven to the point by an anti-fascist tram driver, placed there to form a barricade against the fascists … My comrades and I never had a chance to get within a mile of Cable Street on that afternoon. In between us and Cable Street was a solid mass of people. Estimates afterwards said there was anything up to half a million people out on the streets of the East End that day. But no one could possibly have counted them … we gathered that the first protesters had been up early in the day and had been preparing a reception for both the police and the fascists long before either had arrived.

The fascists were assembling by the Royal Mint and police started to make baton charges, both foot and mounted, to try to clear a way for them to escort a march. They did not succeed. A barricade started to go up. A lorry was overturned, furniture was piled up, paving stones and a builder’s yard helped to complete the barrier. The police managed to clear the first, but found a second behind it and then a third. Marbles were thrown under the hooves of the police horses; volleys of bricks met every baton charge.”

– Reg Weston, antifascist, London, North Africa and Italy: from Libcom.

The following excerpts are from accounts quoted by Dave Hann in ‘Physical Resistance. A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism’ .

“One of my jobs, because I had a motorbike, was to go around the periphery of the crowd and report what was happening to the committee. … We had one doctor who was member of the Communist Party, Doctor Faulkner, who dressed up smart and went to where the Blackshirts were assembling at the Minories. The Minories was the main thoroughfare between Aldgate and the City and the fascists were all lined up there, about three thousand of them. He infiltrated them and said he was there to help out, but in fact he slipped away and passed information on their plans to the committee … Well, Doctor Faulkner very sensibly managed to get word to headquarters of what the fascists were up to and I was immediately told to go around and tell people to go down to Cable Street, not everyone, but enough to help the people already down there.”

– Lou Kenton, antifascist: London and Spain. (op. cit.)

“When the police started to move towards Cable Street, one runner ran ahead to warn them while another came to tell us. When we heard what was happening, we made a dash for cable Street and, when we got nearer, we could hear the sound of shouting and smashing and Lemonade bottles exploding. The barricades were up. They were quite high and the police were trying to climb over them but couldn’t, because people on the roofs were throwing bricks and water and goodness knows what else at them. We all started throwing whatever rubbish we could find and after about three-quarters of an hour someone on the roof shouted “They’re leaving.” We said “Who’s leaving?” and they said “The coppers.” So we climbed up the back of the barricade and the street ahead of us was littered with broken bottles and stones and all the rest of it but we could just see the back of the police horses as they were turning the corner.”

– Ubby Cowan. (ibid)

“Barrow boys used their barrows to block the way. People were even throwing piddle pots out the windows. The main thing I can remember because I was only nine at the time, was all the people fighting with the police. Because, of course, the police came in first and tried to clear the way for the Blackshirts. I can remember my grandfather fighting the police and I was very frightened because I thought he would get arrested because being black he would stand out.”

– Betty Davis, antifascist. (ibid)

The police were forced to withdraw and re-route the Blackshirts along the embankment. With red flags flying the antifascists marched to Bethnal Green instead of Moseley and his reception committee fled before them. The following day he flew to Berlin to get married at Dr Goebbels’ house, returning a week later to Liverpool and another hail of bricks from the locals.

“Mosley was finished in the East End after Cable Street. You could see the change in the ordinary people going about their day-to-day business. People were no longer scared of the Blackshirts. They were still wary of course, but they weren’t terrified anymore. Fear had allowed fascism to grow in the East End but once everyone had seen the Blackshirts beaten and humiliated, the fear disappeared. It was still dangerous to be a Jew on your own in some areas, but there was no longer this awful fear of what the future might bring.”

– Lou Kenton. (ibid)

The battle of Cable Street sent ripples across Europe and down the years; it demonstrated that ordinary people could organise themselves in defiance of their political leaders and take on the state. The Public Order Act became law in January 1937, banning political uniforms and establishing the police power to enter public meetings and ban demonstrations. Many on the left were in favour; however the new legislation would be used more often against antifascists than the far right. Mussolini cut off his funding to the B.U.F. forcing Mosley to go cap in hand to Hitler; his anti-Semitism became ever more rabid as Gestapo agents delivered regular payments from Goebbels.

“One week after 4 October, 5,000 anti-fascists celebrated with their own march, which gathered more and more numbers as it wound its way from Tower Hill to Victoria Park. With police attention, as ever, directed towards the anti-fascists, the Mile End Pogrom took place. A hundred youths ran the length of the road assaulting individual Jews and smashing the windows of Jewish owned businesses. A car was set alight. A man and a seven-year old girl were thrown through a shop window.”

– Dave Hann: (ibid)

The Communist Party was briefly kicked off the fence; a short-lived anti-fascist alliance was formed with the Independent Labour Party, the National Unemployed Workers Movement and the left of the Labour Party, the latter subsequently caved in when threatened with expulsion. The C.P. drifted away from opposing fascism at home in favour of aiding the republican government in Spain, but notwithstanding the valour of the International Brigades volunteers, Stalin had long since given up the idea of world revolution and would eventually hand victory to Franco for the sake of the internal security of the U.S.S.R.

On the 80th  anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street; consisting of excerpts from the chapter ‘Fascism and antifascism’ from a work in progress: ‘The Authority of the Boot-maker’ by Mal Content.

Does Anarchist Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan, Bashur, exist? – Zaher Baher.

Does Anarchist Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan, Bashur, exist?

By: Zaher Baher, June 2016

I was frequently asked this question in the meetings or interviews. I have always been frank and honest in my reply. I said there are not even an active anarchist group existing there let alone an anarchist movement. I would then be asked the second question ‘why’?

While there have been authority/state committed brutal suppression and repressions, also there was anarchism as a natural rebellious force of human being, so it is illogical to say there was no individual anarchists or no groups existed. There is no doubt that there was always resistance against the state/authority. People considered authority/power as evil forces. People have never seen any common interests with the states/authorities or any benefit from them. In addition, in the history of Iraq and the Middle East under Abbasid Caliphate or before, there were a few rebellion movements: Zoroastrianism, Mazdeism, Babakism and revolutionary movements like Zanj revolts, Kharijites, Karmatians and many more. Although this movement did not label themselves anarchist or communist but in view of many people they were a kind of communitarian, anarchist movements.

If we look into the history of Iraqi Kurdistan, Bashur, after the First World War we can see many reasons of the lack for anarchism and anarchist movement. In my opinion the main factors are the following:

  • Bashur was a part of Iraqi state, being dependent on the Soviet Union. The Iraqi regime since 1958 until 2003 was in Soviet bloc with the exception for a few years during 1960s.

Only the books, magazines and writings about Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, the entire communist and leftists’ movements in the world and religions were available in Arabic. All those books and writings were published either in Damascus, Beirut or in Moscow. The Syrian Communist Party under its leader Khalid Bakdash has played a big role in translating some of the books and publishing them. In addition, the Syrian’s regime was also in the Soviet Union bloc at least since Hafez Assad come to power.

In regards to the anarchism and anarchist movements in the world, they were described and introduced to us in a much distorted way. All publications about anarchism were written or translated to Arabic by the leftist communists and Russian agents, so they presented anarchism as anti-revolutionary and anti-humanist. They were the only available source showing anarchism as the opposite of what it really is. Anarchism was presented in a repulsive way, showing only it’s anti-state and anti-authoritarian aspect. We were told anarchists are rejecting power/state and leave the society in absolute chaos and disorder. No administration, no law and order, no protection – as a result of that the society would be in danger. These publications explained and described anarchism in the view of Bolsheviks and communists; they wanted to make the idea unpleasant and uninviting.

While they rejected anarchism and attacked it, there was not a single anarchist book or magazine available, not even an article in order for the people to read them before reading the hateful propaganda against anarchism. “The Poverty of Philosophy” by Karl Marx was available, but not the original Proudhon’s work, “Philosophy of Poverty” which Marx criticized.Many writings and propaganda against anarchism existed this way – without access to the ideas they fought.

In such environment, there was no possibility to learn about anarchism or anarchist movement. Consequently people were deprived from the basic knowledge of anarchism.

  • There were many political parties and people were very loyal to them

Towards the end of 1930s, Iraq and Kurdistan became the fertilized land that brought about many political parties: nationalist, patriotic, religious, liberal and communist. There was a fierce competition among them, struggling for power. They were using deception, propaganda and manipulation to bring people under their influence. Their best members and supporters were absolutely loyal to their parties and their leaders. The dependence of party members on their leaders was absolute. They were ideological fundamentalists. Killing political adversaries – members or supporters of an opposing party – was a legitimate method of ideological dispute. The war all fought against one another, during 1960s, 1980s and 1990s that we have seen is the best example. The loyalty of the party’s members became so serious, they never thought for a second of the integrity of the party polices and its leaders.

In an atmosphere like that, it is hard for new belief and thought to develop. The vast majority of people were divided over the political parties and became very tiny cogs in a very big machine of the political parties, so the parties could manipulate and to use them according to their need. They advised them to vote or not vote, to do this, not to do that, to fight one side, to be in peace with other side. In this situation the members and supporters of them become slaves of the party, they were unable to think, to analyze the situation nor to decide on their own.

Anarchism is founded on the individual’s right to free thinking and to make one’s own decisions, continuous in development and change. Blind loyalty to the power, hierarchy and state makes anarchism impossible to emerge.

  • Wars, killing and displacing people in Iraq and Kurdistan

Iraq and Kurdistan have not seen peace for over half of century. Iraq has gone through three major wars between 1980 and 2003: Iraq-Iran war, The Gulf War of 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. All these wars have intensely affected Kurdistan and its people directly or indirectly. This is in addition to the civil war, between Kurdish movement and Iraqi government that launched on 11/09/1961. This war went on and off until March 1991 when the uprising happened in Kurdistan. And from October 1992 to 1997/98 there was fighting among the fraction of Kurdish political parties themselves.

This war brought disaster to Kurdish people from both sides: the Kurdish movement and the central government of Iraq. It killed many innocent people, displaced thousands, maimed many more, destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages. The campaign of Anfal launched by Saddam Hussein between 22/02/1988 to 06/09/1988 resulted in the disappearance over 182,000 Kurdish people and over 5,000 people killed by chemical weapons.

Kurdish people in Iraq experienced the most horrible disasters of war. The suffering and trauma stay in the memory of mine and my father’s generation and cannot be forgotten.

Those of us who grew up in times of wars know how terrible the situation was. The only winners in the wars are the warlords, war traders, the big companies that make weapons and the other equipments of war and most of the time the states too. The outcome of wars to the rest of us is poverty, high prices of the daily necessity, unemployment, homelessness, and displacement, separation, forcing to move out of our lands, and becoming refugees in foreign lands. War can bring more disasters. Where there is war, there is everything except peace, unity and happiness. No doubt in the situation like that, we can only have time to think about our security, safety and running after our daily needs. This is not the moment to develop new ideas, like anarchism; in fact, hard times create more feeling of nationalism, racism and more hatred among people.

In a place where there is war, anarchism is hard to emerge – let alone to gain shape as movement. In a place where there is war, there will be growing number of state lackeys, traitors, betraying its own people. The war also quells dialog between people and restricts their freedom. Because of that not only does anarchism not develop, in fact if there is any anarchists, the war drives them to underground.

  • Kurdish society and its cultural dependence

Kurdish society in Iraq is rooted in a tradition, being a mixture of the religious and tribal hierarchy. These two elements are the base of the society and its culture. It reflects and preserves the economic structure.

We can see it in every cell of the society. Starting from the family, through nursery, school, university, company, factory, other places of work, administrations, the civil service, and the military to the very top of the society which is parliament and the leaders – all of it is based on hierarchy. In hierarchical organizations or hierarchical society, dependency is very strong. This dependency shapes the thought and mind of everyone. It is very difficult to break centralist approach, created by ever-present hierarchy. Reorganizing the society in horizontal way again is difficult; it needs educational, social, cultural and economic revolution.

In the hierarchical society with the help of its culture, culture of dependency, youngsters have to respect and obey the elders; the workers have to listen to the bosses, students to their teachers. In short the people in the bottom have to look to the top to get advice and order. This also applied to members of political parties, they had to listen to the leaders and carry out whatever they were told to do. Individuals are not independent, as they are supposed to be; they are not confident, they do not have enough trust and faith in themselves. This means everybody, every social group is restricted in thinking and making decisions. They have to obey and be loyal to their superiors and they lose their freedom of individual expression.

This is the cultural climate of Iraqi Kurdistan– Bashur, climate of many powerful tribes, many strong political parties, powerful religious faith and often “honour killings” of women. In such atmosphere individuals do not think, make decisions and sort their own problems out. They rather let others think for them, decide for them and resolve their problems whether they like it or not.

In a climate like this, while the individuals are not free, their thought and mind have been corrupted as well. Therefore, it is difficult for a new idea or thought to arrive, even harder to develop it any further.

Zaher Baher.com

False Dilemmas: A Critical Guide to the Euro Zone Crisis – from Corporate watch.

“This guide argues for opposition to the EU that is not based on discrimination or prejudice, to reclaim the space that has so far been dominated by far right movements. The crisis has cast aside any pretence of democracy; the kind of changes instituted are only possible with broad, general use of force, violence and appeals to nationalism and xenophobia. The guide documents the far reaching impacts of austerity politics and presents the main social, economic and political arguments to counter it.”

false-dilemmas

“The main conclusions to draw from this guide are that regardless of whether the country is under a Memorandum programme or not, certain rules are now imposed throughout the EU which preclude any alternative, independent economic policy that deviates even slightly from the neoliberal straitjacket.

The EU has revealed its true colours: an authoritarian, opaque, unaccountable set of institutions, governed by private lobby groups and unaccountable bureaucrats. It has spawned a racist and sexist resurgence, while drastically degrading democratic procedures, all of which have been made possible only through broad, general use of force. Debt has been used as an instrument of collective repression and as a lever to pass through extremely socially and environmentally harmful policies. To get some idea of the massive imbalance of power, we need only note that no one has been held accountable for failing banks or their debts, which were taken onto the public books, and are being paid for through the ruthless deterioration of our everyday lives.”

Download, read online or buy the book here.

STOP THE MASSACRE IN SUR! Message from the People’s Democratic Party – HDP

HDP

01 March 2016

Across 58 separate curfews imposed in several neighborhoods of the 21 districts of 7 Kurdish provinces, 290 citizens have so far lost their lives. The curfew and blockade in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, declared by Diyarbakır Governorship with absolutely no legal and constitutional basis on 2 December 2015, enters its 91st day today. Twenty-four local citizens have lost their lives during this curfew. The number of losses includes only those who could be identified.

For centuries, Sur district has been the cultural, social, economic and historical heart of Diyarbakır. The curfew imposed in the district amounts to a military blockade, and is in clear violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms and state responsibilities stipulated in the Constitution, such as the right to life, right to health, right to education and right to travel. The economic, social and cultural life in Sur has come to a halt, with no electricity and water at homes and no basic services such as pharmacies and bakeries in the streets. Under these grave circumstances—and all under the gaze of the world—children, women and the elderly are losing their lives one by one. Even iconic and sacred public places, considered to be humanity’s common cultural and religious heritage, are brought to ruins during the curfew jointly enforced by military, police and paramilitary forces. Tanks and heavy artillery have damaged Diyarbakir’s city walls, officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five-hundred-year old Kurşunlu Mosque, historic Hasırlı Mosque, 1700 year-old Saint Mary Church, historic Surp Giragos Church and Protestant churches are among the historical places that were destroyed and rendered unusable by curfew enforcement.

One hundred and seventy-eight bodies have so far been collected from the “Savage Basements” in the Cizre district of Sirnak. Yet, the family members who were asked to identify the deceased report that the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Furthermore, bodies have been intentionally transported to various other cities in Turkey for autopsy procedures, which in turn have aggravated the suffering of the family members. We have no other choice but to prevent the occurrence of yet another similar atrocity in Sur. The curfew in Sur has to be immediately lifted. This is the only way to prevent the recurrence of the Cizre Massacre, which, with its all cruelty, happened right in front of the world’s indifferent eyes. The military blockade must be lifted so that people whose lives are in danger can be safely evacuated. All that is happening in Sur at the moment, and all that will happen in the coming days, is a matter of humanity and human dignity. International public and political actors are necessarily implicated in the sustainability of the stability of Turkey and the region. In the face of recently unfolding events in Turkey, it has become an urgent need to have a clear stance along the axes of freedom, peace and democracy. We call upon all national and international democratic institutions and platforms to express a solid reaction against the current political and humanitarian crisis in Sur and act in solidarity with the people of Sur.

Figen YÜKSEKDAĞ and Selahattin DEMİRTAŞ, Co-chairs of Peoples’ Democratic Party

Contact: international@hdp.org.tr Web: www.hdp.org.tr
Address: Barbaros Mah. Tahran Cad. Büklüm Sok. No: 117 06680 Çankaya, Ankara – Turkey
Phone: +90 312 427 17 80 Fax: +90 312 4288957

*ENDS*

Download as pdf

Slum landlords, how they voted.

piggyBelow is a list of landlord M.P.s who voted against the amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill to ensure houses are “fit for human habitation”, whom according to the register of members’ financial interests as of December 2015, had also recorded under Section 6(ii) “Income derived from property: over £10,000 in a calendar year”. That’s on top of nearly 70 grand they get for doing stuff like this. Nearly a third of members and 39% of the tories belong to this clique; those who derive less than 10,000 p.a. are not declared.

You can still be evicted for reporting a leaking roof – and politicians are still taking the piss.

  1. Nigel Adams
  2. Stuart Andrew
  3. Victoria Atkins
  4. Jake Berry
  5. James Berry
  6. Bob Blackman
  7. Robert Buckland
  8. Alun Cairns
  9. David Cameron
  10. Douglas Carswell
  11. Alex Chalk
  12. James Cleverley
  13. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
  14. Therese Coffey
  15. Geoffrey Cox
  16. Mims Davies
  17. Philip Davies
  18. Richard Grosvenor-Plunkett-Ernle-Erle Drax
  19. James Duddridge
  20. Alan Duncan
  21. Philip Dunne
  22. Jane Ellison
  23. George Eustice
  24. Mike Freer
  25. Richard Fuller
  26. John Glen
  27. Robert Goodwill
  28. Chris Grayling
  29. Dominic Grieve
  30. Chris Heaton-Harris
  31. Peter Heaton-Jones
  32. George Hollingberry
  33. Kevin Hollinrake
  34. Philip Hollobone
  35. Nick Hurd
  36. Stewart Jackson
  37. Margot James
  38. Sajid Javid
  39. Joseph Johnson
  40. Danny Kinahan
  41. Simon Kirby (teller)
  42. Greg Knight
  43. Brandon Lewis
  44. Julian Lewis
  45. Craig Mackinlay
  46. Tania Mathias
  47. Karl McCartney
  48. Anne Marie Morris
  49. Sheryll Murray
  50. Robert Neill
  51. Sarah Newton (teller)
  52. Jesse Norman
  53. David Nuttall
  54. Neil Parish
  55. Owen Paterson
  56. Rebecca Pow
  57. Jeremy Quin
  58. Jacob Rees-Mogg
  59. Laurence Robertson
  60. Julian Smith
  61. Royston Smith
  62. Mark Spencer
  63. John Stevenson
  64. Desmond Swayne
  65. Derek Thomas
  66. Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  67. Andrew Turner
  68. Shailesh Vara
  69. Theresa Villiers
  70. Ben Wallace
  71. David Warburton
  72. Craig Whittaker
  73. John Whittingdale
  74. Nadhim Zahawi

The following landlords abstained, the Scots didn’t get a vote.

  1. Rushanara Ali
  2. John Baron
  3. Richard Benyon
  4. Ann Clwyd
  5. Glyn Davies
  6. George Eustice
  7. Liam Fox
  8. James Gray
  9. Richard Harrington
  10. James Heappy
  11. Norman Lamb
  12. Alasdair McDonnell
  13. Andrew Mitchell
  14. George Osborne
  15. Antionette Sandback
  16. Danny Simpson
  17. Edward Timpson
  18. Keith Vaz

Information from International Business Times.

KNK Statement – Turkish state and government launch all-out war against the Kurds.

After the coup against the 7 June 2015 elections, under the leadership of President Erdogan, the Turkish state launched a full-blown war against the Kurds.

The state, which has even deployed the navy in Kurdistan, is utilising all its traditional dirty tactics. For several weeks curfews have been imposed in many towns and cities across Kurdistan. These are still continuing in Cizre, Silopi and Sur. The curfews are also on and off in places like Nusybin, Dargecit, Lice and Varto. Until now, the Turkish state has killed a total of 260 civilians in these towns and cities. Most of these killings have been caused by artillery fire from tanks, rockets and sniper fire. Turkish state is attacking Kurdish elected officials by prosecuting them, relieving elected mayors of their duties and imprisoning journalists. Turkish military forces are targeting especially women and children. Recently three Kurdish women politicians have been killed by Turkish state forces in an extrajudicial killing in Şırnak’s Silopi district. Party of Democratic Regions (DBP) Parliamentary Assembly member Sêvê DEMIR, Silopi People’s Council Co-chair Pakize NAYIR and Free Women’s Congress (KJA) activist Fatma UYAR, were massacred by Turkish state forces in Silopi where curfew continues for 23 days

Mayors are being imprisoned

Since the latest elections, as many as 20 co-mayors from the DBP have been thrown in prison. Some have been relieved of their duties by the Interior Ministry. While these operations were continuing, the AKP announced new measures. From now on, a government appointed administrator will be brought in to replace the co-mayors who are relieved of their duties. Elected officials are being undermined by state appointed bureaucrats.

New laws against Members of Parliament

While the above mentioned measures are being put forward for the local councils, Turkish President Erdogan has once again shown his intolerance of any criticism against the government voiced by the HDP co-chairs Selahattin DEMIRTAS and Figen YUKSEKDAG, and he has called upon state prosecutors to begin legal proceedings against them. As soon as Erdogan said that, “these people must pay a price”, the judiciary and the legislature moved into action against the HDP co-chairs and other HDP MPs. It is becoming ever more clear that these measures are all part of the state’s masterplan.

The confession document of genocide

It was recently documented that the civilian massacre in Kurdistan is state approved. In a document belonging to the Turkish Ground Forces Command, a warning states, “the results of military personnel not using their weapons in fear of prosecution will be very dangerous” and an order to use weapons is made very clear. In the document, soldiers are given assurances that they will not face prosecution if they kill civilians.  The document that reveals the state’s instructions in recent civilian deaths has the signature of “Ground Forces Command, 172nd Armoured Brigade Command, 3rd Tank Battalion Command, Cizre/Sirnak”. The document carrying the serial number “84933840-3000-350-15” and titled “Personnel’s vigilance and deployment of firearms” is dated 30 July, 2015.

A hundred years ago it was the Armenians

The Turkish regime wants to re-enact the genocides it committed at the beginning of the 20th century against the Armenians (where 1.5 million civilian were massacred) and in Dersim, Agiri and Kocgiri (where hundred thousand Kurds were massacred). Just two days ago Mayor of Adana (AK- Party) Huseyin Sozlu declared in a public statement to Kurds in Turkey: “You will end up like Armenians“

Erdogan wants Hitler’s regime

Turkish President Erdogan clearly stated in front of TV cameras that he wanted a similar style of government to that of Hitler’s Germany. Erdogan described his favoured type of government like this: “We can see similar styles of government in Hitler’s Germany. You can find the same style in other parts of the world too.” This statement was widely reported in the global media. In contrast, this same Erdogan is employing Hitler’s tactics against the Kurdish people right now but for some reason this time the world remains silent.

Depopulation policy in Kurdistan

The people who are resisting against all the attacks are doing everything they can to remain in their homes. The Turkish Army is forcibly trying to make the people of Cizre, Silopi and Sur abandon their homes. These measures, reminiscent of Nazi tactics, are being deployed in these towns on a daily basis. The Turkish Army is threatening the people to leave their homes or risk being massacred.

Towns turned into concentration camps

In the Barbaros Neighbourhood of Cizre alone, as many as 7 thousand people were forcibly removed from their homes and moved to a sports hall in Yenisehir Neighbourhood where they were told to leave the town completely. The people who did not leave their homes are being surrounded by Turkish Army personnel who are firing heavy artillery into the neighbourhoods.

We call upon everyone to demand an immediate halt to the Turkish state’s massacres.

While the Turkish state is negotiating with the EU, it is massacring, torturing and imprisoning the Kurds in its own country. Why is the EU remaining silent when faced with these actions that flagrantly violate the EU’s values? In a blatant act of vengeance the Turkish state is attacking the Kurds who are in the frontline in the fight against the barbaric ISIS, so why are members of the anti-ISIS coalition remaining silent? We call upon the whole world to raise their voices against the Turkish state and Erdogan’s massacre of the Kurdish people.

Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), January 2016

Criminalizing Our People: Social Impacts of the PKK Ban by Dilar Dirik

The terror-listing of the PKK by Western states criminalizes ordinary Kurds. However, its hypocrisy also created a conscious, mobilized, activist community.

Last year, when Western mainstream media was confused about “PKK terrorists” fighting “Islamic State group terrorists,” this evoked a tired smile in the faces of ordinary Kurds who, aside from oppression at home, are stigmatized and criminalized throughout Europe.

Terror designations often demonize one side of a conflict, while immunizing the other. This especially applies to the Turkey-PKK conflict, with the second largest NATO-army on one side, and an armed national liberation movement on the other. But in this case, a terrorist designation also criminalizes an entire community of ordinary people, denying them fundamental rights.

The on and off listings of groups and states, such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, according to the day’s political situation, are examples of how blacklistings are political, not moral, regardless of their pretensions. In reality, listings strengthen state-sponsored violence by reinforcing the state’s monopoly on the use of force, ignoring the legitimacy of resistance and making no moral distinction between groups like ISIS and movements reacting to injustice.

Read full article on teleSUR English

The bitter harvest: Human trafficking, child abuse and union busting by British American Tobacco.

Further to the post below, here is the report on the slave-like conditions in North Carolina tobacco farms, published on behalf of the Farm Labour Organising Committee by Unite:

BATslaves

“Why do we ban cigarettes to minors, but somehow it’s perfectly OK to have 12-year-olds getting nicotine poisoning in the fields?”

Article: Why Are Children Working in American Tobacco Fields?

Clicktivism: Spam the fuckers!

FLOC Presents Alternative Shareholders Report at BAT Annual Meeting, Outlining Labour Abuses in North Carolina

British_american_tobacco_AGM

FLOC PRESENTS ALTERNATIVE SHAREHOLDERS REPORT AT BAT ANNUAL MEETING, OUTLINING LABOUR ABUSES IN NORTH CAROLINA

Arriving in the pouring rain, representatives of FLOC, IUF, Unite, and Rev. Singh of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, attended the British American Tobacco annual meeting on the 29th of April. Outside the BAT AGM were a group of young activists protesting BAT policies with regards to child labour and youth smoking. Pres. Velasquez met with them and reported the conditions of tobacco farm workers that FLOC is trying to change.

Full story.

AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

This is going viral on social media, we have no connection with the author but thought it was worth sharing.

AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

I have dined in your establishments many times but I write to inform you that I will never do so again and nor will any of my friends or family.

The reason for this is that my stepson has the misfortune to work in your Thomas Sheraton bar in Stockton and I am now aware of the basis upon which you operate and profit.

He is “employed” on a zero hours basis and earns barely enough to feed himself. Not long after joining your establishment he got into trouble with his rent due to the extremely low wages and was evicted from his home. I blame the basis of his employment with you for this. He now lives 2 miles away from your bar and is obliged to walk this distance to and from work as he does not earn enough to afford public transport. Yesterday my wife was obliged to buy him new shoes as he had worn holes in his existing ones. I think it is appalling that you do not provide your kitchen staff with appropriate footwear. If you feel that this communication is becoming a stream of negative comments then I urge you to read on as I have more to say. This 4 mile round trip trudge is sometimes made to attend a one hour shift. Unbelievable, a day’s work of just ONE HOUR. Furthermore, if he attends expecting a longer shift this is sometimes not the case as he is sent home if trade is slack. He, your employee takes all the risk, you the employer take none. You’ll note that I do not mention his name. This is for fear of reprisals. Before you scoff, let me tell you this: When he first joined you, after two months of working every single weekend he politely enquired if he might have a weekend off. He was given the weekend off but worked no other hours either. A genuine ZERO hours. This was clearly a reprisal and he has never asked for the weekend off again.

The only way he can survive on such grindingly low wages is by getting benefits top ups. In order to do this he must provide pay slips which you do not provide. He is obliged to download them and print them himself and given that he will never be able to afford a computer and printer so long as he works for you, he must go to the library. I put it to you that it takes him more effort to work for you for a pittance than it does me to fulfill a full time job.

Clearly your business model requires that the public purse subsidise your employee’s wages. This to my mind makes your firm and others like you one of the benefit scroungers we hear so much about these days.

Yours sincerely
STEVE THOMPSON

Leave a review on the Sheraton’s Farcebook page:

AUTUMN 2014 RESISTANCE #157 is out.

Paper of the Anarchist Federation. We don’t always get round to sharing but back issues can be had Here.

ANGRY WOMEN WIN, SPECIAL ISSUE: Ireland and Spain abortion struggles, Legal battles, Gender and Factory Resistance in China, Women & LGBTQIA in Ukraine, Free Women of Spain – Mujeres Libres 1930s. Sexual harassment at work, Transgender tipping point, Angry Women of Liverpool, Single mothers fight social cleansing in East London. 12 pages. Download RESISTANCE bulletin issue #157 Autumn 2014

Timeline of recent events in Israel/Palestine

Taken from the blog of Adam Waterhouse.

29th July 2013 – Start of the so-called Kerry Peace Talks

14th November 2013 – Palestinian team quit negotiations citing the fact that Israel was continuing settlement construction on land in the West Bank that was supposed to be designated for a Palestinian state.

30 December 2013 – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erehat said that Israel had shown through its actions that it wanted to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian state, and that the Palestinians would be seeking recognition through international bodies (this was on the basis of Palestine being up-graded to non-member observer status by the General Assembly a year previously on 29th November 2012). Israel insisted that the Palestinians should continue the peace talks, why? Purely as a cynical public relations exercise – because Israel needs ‘peace talks’ in the same way that a bank robber needs a balaclava – to try to prevent the world from recognising what they are doing – an analogy given by American Professor of history Juan Cole in this articles about this matter.

23rd April – Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government and to hold fresh elections. Netanyahu said that Abbas would have to chose between peace with Hamas and Peace with Israel – clearly a threat of violence. The EU and the US offered their support to the unity government. Netanyahu was furious and immediately withdrew Israel from the so-called peace negotiations.

15th May – During Nakba day celebrations Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Beitunia near to Ofer prison (a prison for political prisoners in the West Bank). Some of the boys were throwing stones but they were falling on the ground short of where the soldiers were. Two boys, one 16 and one 17, were killed, another was shot in the chest but survived, and eight others were shot in the arms or legs. The incident was caught by security camera, put on-line, and viewed by many Palestinians who were very angry and upset about it.

2nd June – The technocratic unity government of Fatah and Hamas was sworn in. Many of the key positions within it were given to academics who were part of neither party. Hamas were subordinate to Fatah and had agreed to accept the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

12th June – Three Israeli students were kidnapped. Benjamin Netanyahu announced “Hamas is responsible, Hamas will pay.” This was very much the same as the Bush administration’s attempt to try to lay blame on Saddam Hussein for 9/11 without the slightest shred of evidence – clearly a cynical attempt to find a pretext for launching an attack on Hamas. Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza said that they were not behind the kidnapping, calling Netanyahu’s allegations that Hamas masterminded the kidnappings “stupid.” This was later confirmed by the Israeli police themselves when on 25th July Israeli police spokesperson Chief Inspector Mickey Rosenfeld informed BBC journalist Jon Donnison that the two men detained for killing the three Israeli teens were acting on their own initiative. Jon Donnison reported this via Twitter but BBC didn’t run a story on it.

13th June – The very next morning the Israeli police knew that the three had been killed because one of them placed an emergency call, and there was an open recorded line as they were shot. The police soon found a burned-out Hyundai which contained a pair of tefillin (leather-bound texts that religious Jews strap on for prayer), DNA evidence that was quickly matched to the boys’ parents, and eight bullet holes. The same day Israel launched Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank and over the next ten days arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians, and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members previously released as part of a[during the Gilad Shalit] prisoner exchange in 2011 – rearresting without any ground at all the people it had agreed to release. This was clearly an attack on Hamas and not an attempt to locate the missing teens.

29th June – The Israeli air force carries out strikes on 12 targets in Gaza killing a member of Hamas.

30th June – Further Israeli air strikes take place in Gaza killing one person and injuring three. In response Hamas fired sixteen rockets into Israel which hit open areas in the Eshkol region harming no one. This was the first Hamas rocket fire into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012. [Although there were some rockets being fired into Israel over 2013 [about 5 per month] these were fired by other groups and the Israeli security establishment had themselves testified to the aggressive anti-rocket efforts made by the new police force that Hamas established specifically for that purpose.] The bodies of the three teens are found under rocks close to the West Bank city of Hebron. 1st July – At the funeral for the three killed Israeli teens Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements included vengeful language, speaking of the “horrific darkness of those who seek our destruction – despicable kidnappers of children, heinous murderers whose brothers rejoice at the spilling of innocent blood.” Even the Jewish Forward, an American pro-Israeli newspaper expressed sharp objections to Netanyahu’s comments calling them incitement to violence. During the day of the funeral there are violent protests in East Jerusalem in which Israelis were chanting ‘Death to Arabs.’ Palestinians were pulled from cars and beaten and a 17 year old Palestinian was abducted and murdered in what appeared to be a revenge attack.

8th July – Israel launches ‘Operation Protective Edge’ against Gaza claiming that they were doing so in response to Hamas rocket fire, which they had obviously provoked.

11th July – During a Press Conference at the Defence Ministry at Tel Aviv speaking only in Hebrew announced that he would never, ever, allow a Palestinian state in the West Bank and that Israel would maintain full military control of all of historic Palestine indefinitely and should never have withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.

On 17th July amid escalating, overwhelmingly one-sided violence Israel launched a ground invasion, claiming that it needed to destroy tunnels – tunnels that it had known about for years and which were used to Palestinians to bring food and other goods into the besieged Gaza strip. But for people following what is happening between Israel and Palestine, it was already quite clear that Benjamin Netanyahu’s real objective was to totally crush any possibility at all of Palestinian self-rule and self-determination. This is entirely consistent with the policy position of the political party to which he belongs, the Likud Party which has always emphasised Israel’s supposed right to occupy and control the whole of historic Palestine. In exactly the same way that he sought to scupper the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority by continuing to build Israeli-only settlement housing on stolen Palestinian land during the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ and presenting the Palestinians with increasingly unreasonable demands; he has now deliberately scuppered and destroyed the cease-fire agreement that was in place with Hamas since the end of Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and launched a massacre in Gaza which has already costs the lives of over 1,600 Palestinians and counting, as well as over 50 Israeli soldiers who are also, in a sense, victims of Benjamin Netanyahu’s crimes of mass-deception.

Report from the front line: Lifeways Dorset tear the arse out of care contract.

Lifeways Dorset will today, Tues 28th January, be dismissing what is expected to be the majority of their support workers for refusing to sign an agreement that would mean up to a 60% cut in take home pay with immediate effect. Lifeways is a private health care provider who won contracts for to provide care to people with a severe learning disability and challenging behaviour.

The staff were transferred with the clients when all of Dorset’s Homes for those with a learning disability and challenging behaviour shut. Most staff have worked with the clients for many years and thus have a positive trusting relationship with those supported and fully understand the complex needs and challenging behavior. Not only are the staff to lose up to £2 per hour from hourly rate, all enhancements for unsociable hours, their pensions reduced, sick pay removed, annual leave reduced all expected to be agreed to with the understanding the budget from the Dorset CCG and Local Authorities had been cut. With a backdrop of an overall profit of £12.6 million last year nationally.

How can a support worker with a family to support possibly agree to such severe cuts and thus have no option but the dismissal and implementation of the lower rate after their notice period? Many have already left to find employment that will not force them into poverty, those that remain are living in limbo and worse of all those positive relationships those supported had are being replaced by being supported by a stranger. How is Private health allowed to get away with this?

The Mental Decline Of Mickey ‘batshit’ Bayliss..

Reblogged from Portsmouth Anti-Fascists:

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It seems that the Pompey EDL organiser, Mickey Bayliss (from Bath) has finally lost his mind.

On Saturday Bayliss and his followers disgraced themselves in Portsmouth (See previous post). We think that in his own head he imagined the entire populace of  Portsmouth bowing down to him as he entered the city on a white horse, surrounded by a sunbeam and wearing a suit of armour, as columns of his loyal foot soldiers went door to door dragging Muslims out of their homes.

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Tolpuddle 2013 Radical Workers’ Bloc: the weekend in pictures.

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You could say we got lucky with the weather – up to a point, the heat was actually quite challenging at times and the free showers were as welcome as the overpriced beer. Our stall attracted plenty of interest; we shifted a mountain of literature and took enough in donations to cover our expenses plus making a few quid for Freedom Books; our magnificent banner was supplied free of charge by our comrades at Sabcat Printing, the Anarchist workers’ T-shirt co-op.

The stall was operated by comrades from Brighton, Bristol and Solent SolFedCNT-AIT Caen and Wessex Solidarity; Sunday’s Bloc was about double the size of last year’s, our militants ranged in age from 16 to a 96 year old Spanish Civil War veteran – a proper antifascist! It was good to welcome new faces from Cymru and Reading IWW, with community singing led by Bristol AFed. Shout out also to Bath Anarchists (B.A.R.F) – and anyone else we may have missed – give us a shout and we’ll link to your site.

Everyone we spoke to felt the mood was more militant than previous years; the Labour ‘got to be in it to win it’ line was challenged at every turn, the appetite for direct action is growing. What is the Tolpuddle story but an example of working class self-organisation crushed by the state? The Martyrs came together as equals; they didn’t form a trade union but a friendly society. You can fantasise about general strikes and armed insurrection all you want, the bourgeoisie will carry on chortling into their Dom Perignon; but get together and find practical solutions to the problems they cause you, outside of the structures they need you to rely on, and they will shit themselves.

We reiterate that we don’t come for a row, but to examine each others ideas and find ways of putting them to the test, so that we can give confidence to our class as a whole; the last thing the left needs now is a ‘tribal’. The 20th century is over; we must learn its lessons and evolve. We have the best opportunity for decades to give capitalism a kicking and if we fail, history will judge us harshly.

The above-referenced article on friendly societies is available by courtesy of the author, as an A5 pamphlet from one of our event stalls, or in our reference library, from where it can be downloaded for the princely sum of Fuck All.

Here’s the gallery, pictures still coming in, bear with us!

Statement from the Anti-Fascist Network on the Woolwich murder.

The Anti-Fascist Network deplores the murder of a young man in Woolwich yesterday and our condolences go out to his family and friends. We also deplore the use of this incident by the far right to stir up Islamophobia once again.

By calling a ‘terrorist alert’ the government has shamelessly sought political capital from what was clearly an isolated act of brutality by a couple of lone psychopaths claiming to be Muslims. There are maniacs in every community and grouping, not least the far right. The loss of a life in such horrific circumstances is always a tragedy for those involved, just as it was when fascists killed Altab Ali or when the police killed Blair Peach.

Meanwhile the Muslim community has conducted itself with dignity, and a huge number of individual Muslims have spontaneously taken to social media to disassociate themselves from any kind of sectarian violence.

Unlike the EDL, now virtually a spent force, who have chosen to use this man’s death to go on a recruiting drive and encourage attacks on minorities. The Internet is now buzzing with ‘patriots’, nationalists and fascists eager to exploit the situation – please don’t encourage them by carelessly repeating their drivel.

We will all need to be vigilant, and work with our communities against any rise in fascist activity.

We reproduce below a statement from the Muslim Council of Great Britain:

“This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly.

Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.We understand the victim is a serving member of the Armed Forces. Muslims have long served in this country’s Armed Forces, proudly and with honour.

This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable, and no cause justifies this murder. This action will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of the United Kingdom.

We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.”

– Muslim Council of Great Britain

Thatcher’s Funeral – From the Most Vulnerable of All

Reblogged from Diary of a Benefit Scrounger – Sue Marsh.
Welfare reform. Much needed shake up of a system out of control or cruel and ignorant attack of some of the most vulnerable people in society? Most have an opinion.

Many like me, were fighting the welfare reform bill way back in 2011. We know every last detail, every twist and turn, every sweeping change and every technical detail. Believe me, it’s cruel.

On the whole, I think the cruelty is in the details. Oh, not the headline grabbing Benefit Cap or Universal Credit. They’re largely PR stunts that won’t save any money at all. Universal Credit could have been rather clever if only ministers had understood the details. If only they’d really understood the people they were legislating for. Their lives, the difficulties they face, the traps in the system, the precarious fear of a life on the margins of society.

One of the most sickening details of all still grates with me almost daily. It was so cruel sounnecessary. It overturned decades of cross-party consensus and decency. It picked on a group so vulnerable it takes my breath away. And it stripped that group of basic rights despite ministers not actually understanding the policy at all. How cavalier can you be? How arrogant and out-of-touch?

It was called the “Youth Premium” It only related to children who were born so profoundly disabled that they would never work as adults. Forget your Work Capability Assessments and your Scroungers, these children would never take part in society like you or I. Many would never talk, self feed, walk, play, laugh, fall in love. But they could still lead independent lives. Because we were a society that believed they should have a right to if they chose to.

The Youth Premium treated these children as though they had paid National Insurance. For a cost of just 11 million pounds, on becoming adults, these children were treated as though they had “contributed” through work and because of that, they were entitled to contributory benefits, they did not have to be means tested.

Such a simple thing, but what did it mean in practise? What did it mean to the people behind the numbers? The lives being toyed with? It meant they were entitled to live independently if they chose to. They were entitled to benefits in their own name, not as a means tested part of their family. Often, such profoundly disabled children had considerable compensation to see them through lives damaged beyond recognition by accidents. This compensation was just that. Money for an expensive future of care, adaptations to homes, aids to independence. For a lifetime, this money would have to pay for support just to make their lives as manageable as society could achieve.

No more. Any money would be part of the means test. They would have to run down reserves of cash or savings before the state would step in. Compensation is not income. Nor should it be. From the passing of the welfare bill, any security or savings put aside by families terrified what life would hold once parents or siblings had passed, would have to slowly seep away, leaving insecurity and hunger a shadow away before these few profoundly disabled neighbours and daughters and brothers could rely on any help or support from the state.

Our elite cabinet talked of how “unfair” it would be if “these people” “inherited” money but were still entitled to support from our social security system. No, they would simply have a little security to underpin the often modest state income someone with profound disabilities might expect. And how many of us can rely on generous inheritances anyway? Is that real life? A likely scenario? Of course not.

You might be wondering why I bring all this up again today. The law passed (you can see me pointing out to Chris Grayling why he didn’t understand his own policy on Newsnight, here :

Well, it’s that 11 million pounds. £11 million. In Westminster terms it would barely pay for the DWP’s paperclips. It is a drop in the ocean of a welfare budget spanning 10s of billions. It only applied to a few thousand of the most disabled children in society (children just like Ivan Cameron, had he lived into adulthood.) But Lord Freud, failed investment banker and Minister for Welfare Reform, insisted that we could “no longer afford it” We could no longer afford to allow such profoundly disabled children lives of dignity and independence. No more security. No relief for worried families that they would be safe once they were gone. A cross-party consensus of decades, stripped away by ministers who didn’t even know what they were doing.

This week, William Hague assures us we can afford £10 million for a ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher. Opinion polls show the public don’t want it, commentators from left and right are mystified, yet 2,200 people have been invited to a decadent funeral for a divisive PM who lies at the heart of many of the problems facing our society today. When I scanned the invitees yesterday, it felt surreal. A mish-mash of variety club has-beens, world leaders she shunned and elite aristocrats who shunned her when alive.

10 million for a dead PM, nothing for those living with some of the greatest barriers to society any of us will ever face. I actually feel a bit sick writing it down.

But perhaps, this is the most fitting legacy of all for a PM who assured us “there is no such thing as society”

Perhaps as she burns or rots (we will all do one or the other) every profoundly disabled life lived in chains of dependence because today’s government didn’t understand the details will haunt her. Perhaps she will see images of each and every one playing like a movie to her soul, wherever it ends up.

I hope so. Those children needed that £11 million. She doesn’t.

Bristol Radical History Group at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Saturday 20th April, 2013

Bristol Radical History Group will be holding a series of talks at the Radical History Zone which will be based in the Hydra Bookshop.

Sat 20th Apr 12:00 pm British armed forces’ strikes and mutinies in 1918-19 British armed forces’ strikes and mutinies in 1918-19: a radical history project for the anniversary of World War I BRHG’s very own Roger Ball… Roger Ball More
Sat 20th Apr 1:00 pm Three Minutes to Midnight: The Women’s Anti-Nuclear Protest at Greenham Common Elaine Titcombe. History PhD Student, The University of the West of England, Bristol. In 1984 the doomsday clock reached three minutes to midnight…. Elaine Titcombe More
Sat 20th Apr 2:00 pm Poor Man’s Heaven: The Land of Cokaygne and Other Utopian Visions “We’ll eat all we please from ham and egg trees that grow by a lake full of beer? The landlord well take and tie to a stake and we won?t have to… Alex (Past Tense) More
Sat 20th Apr 3:00 pm Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Race, Class and Gender in the 60s U.S. This talk is based upon a series of books that… Roger Ball More
Sat 20th Apr 4:00 pm Running down Whitehall with a black flag Running down Whitehall with a black flag. Memories of anarchism in the 1960s Di Parkin was a revolutionary activist from the early 1960s to the… Di Parkin More
Sat 20th Apr 5:00 pm Libres: Songs of the Spanish Revolution Pilar Lopez’s performance about the Spanish Social Revolution of 1936 aims to draw inspiration from these amazing times, sharing the beauty and… Pilar Lopez More

Far right humiliated in Nottingham. From East Midlands Anti-fascists.

In spite of national call outs and attendances by the North West Infidels, Paul Pitt of the South East Alliance, Casuals United, the English National Resistance, Nottingham EDL and the EVF, barely a dozen people bothered turning up for Tony Curtis’ demo at Nottingham Uni yesterday. After plotting up at a nearby Toby carvery the pitiful crowd weren’t even allowed onto the campus and had to stand around in the road outside listening to Tone the Moan. Casuals United reckon they go where they want but as usual they meekly went exactly where the police wanted them. They didn’t get close to the event they were supposed to be protesting or speak to the general public so the whole thing was a waste of time.

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This is further proof that without the EDL these hangers on are nothing. It looks impressive to have alliances of about 10 different groups until you realise that each group has about 3 people in it and most of them are keyboard warriors. These big mouths spend more time designing elaborate logos and posting on Facebook than actually doing anything in the real world.

This is the second humiliation this week for Curtis who foolishly thought he could hold his own against “the left” on Indymedia. When his badly thought through arguments were torn to shreds he quickly surrendered, pretending he’d been banned, even though as one commenter pointed out, you can’t be banned from Indymedia. As one poster noted “typical fascist, making loads of noise but unable to back it up when effectively challenged”.

Part of Curtis’ whingeing was about being called a racist. Well here’s a tip – if you don’t want people to think you’re a racist it’s probably best not to give Nazis a hug. Curtis was recently pictured with his arm around Shane Calvert, leader of the NWI who are notorious for calling for the killing of “Pakis”, the gassing of Jews and murdering of immigrants. Calvert was recently in attendance at the neo-Nazi White Pride Worldwide event and regularly does demos alongside the National Front. Other NWI activists include Liam Pinkham, who likes to pose in jackboots giving a stiff-armed salute.

Paul Pitt, Shane Calvert and Tony Curtis yesterday

Paul Pitt, Shane Calvert and Tony Curtis yesterday

Shane Calvert

Shane Calvert

NWI member Liam Pinkham

NWI activist Liam Pinkham

East Midlands Anti-Fascists

Oppose the March for England

Oppose the March for England

From East Midlands Antifascists

If you only go to one anti-fascist mobilisation this year, stopping the March for England in Brighton should be it. The fascists have been salivating about this one for months, whipping themselves up into a far right frenzy about their right to impose their homophobic and racist abuse on the people of Brighton. They are out for revenge against the ‘reds’ who comprehensively humiliated their hate-fest last year and are pulling out all the stops to do it, even inviting the most openly Nazi groups, like the Friends of Golden Dawn.

hands-stand-together-poster-2013-copy

Anti-fascists from the East Midlands will be going down and we’d like to encourage you to join them.

Here’s the official callout from Stop MFE:

Last year thousands of people lined the streets of Brighton to drown out March for England’s message of hate. Let’s do it again. Racists and fascists have no place in our diverse city.

March for what?

March for England (MfE) is not an innocent celebration of traditional culture. March for England is a right wing, Islamophobic, racist and homophobic organisation that helped found the English Defence League (EDL) and is supported by EDL members. The fascist credentials of their annual outing to Brighton on Sunday 21st April has never been clearer. Neo-Nazis, Friends of Golden Dawn, supporters of the swastika waving Greek fascist party, have stated they will be attending March for England.

Islamophobia and English fascists

MfE and the EDL are just two of a growing number of English fascist groups that are violently lslamophobic. They state they are against so-called “Islamic extremists’ but this is the mantra of a growing anti-Muslim movement with European fascism that quickly turns into a wholesale assault on Muslim people, all migrants and any way of life that they think is not “English” enough.

Brighton: anti-fascism begins at home

The current economic crisis and the demonisation of migrants has created the political climate for fascist ideas and organisations to grow. Groups such as the MfE, EDL and BNP groups scapegoat those most affected by war and economic hardship, they discriminate according to their ideas of race and nation, they spread fear and hate of those people they believe are different to them, they attempt to intimidate community groups. When the people of Brighton made their collective stand against Mfe and EDL, they helped turn the tide against new fascism in Britain. Since we took to the streets to show our opposition to the rise of a new fascism, the EDL have been halted in Bristol, Walthamstow and Norwich.

We’ll do it again. Fascism grows if we let it.

See you there.

For updates contact:

stopmfe@ymail.com

and follow:

https://twitter.com/stopmfe

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Prospects for Eastleigh by-election? – Ian Bone

Re-blogged from Left Unity February 4, 2013

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Bone-By Ian Bone

Former Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, currently Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, will be standing down after pleading guilty to perverting the cause of justice. Ian Bone looks at the possibilities for the right wing party UKIP in the forthcoming by-election.

The Eastleigh by-election will give UKIP the long awaited opportunity to win a parliamentary seat. The Tories and Lib Dems have been neck and neck for years with Labour nowhere. The Lib Dem vote will colllapse and give UKIP their opportunity – they have been working hard on the seat for months. Much will depend on whether Falange can resist the temptation to displace the UKIP candidate and stand himself.

Though parts of the constituency are villages like Hamble full of yachting types Eastleigh itself has had a solid working class base round its railway industries. My dad was for years chairman of the Labour Party in the adjoining Petersfield constituency and used to think a night drinking in one of Eastleigh’s working men’s clubs was Labour heaven compared to Petersfield.

I doubt those Old Labour stalwarts will vote Miliband this time. Indeed in the absence of any Left alternative I expect some…maybe many…will vote UKIP out of exasperation with everything else. Can we offer anything better?

Westcountr​y Mutineer #3 (December 2012)

Westcountry Mutineer

Yes, yes, we know, it’s a couple of weeks late!

Anyway, here’s your free copy.

Where you’ll find a festive mix of –

* Gaza Palava!
* Healthcare Selloffs!
* Going Postal!
* Don’t Work Smart, Work Fare!
* Striking A Nerve!
* Prisons!
* Anarchy!
* Pirates!

and obviously much, much more!

Merry winterval, winter celebration, snow pagent, cold-weather commodity swapping event or whatever other PC words for Xmas will piss off Daily Mail readers! – WCM editorial collective

If you’d like hard copies to distribute or sell for noble causes, the merry mutineers can be contacted Here.

Anti workfare protestors blockade and occupy Superdrug and British Heart Foundation

from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty:

Protestors blockaded and occupied both British Heart Foundation and Superdrug in Edinburgh today Saturday 8 December, in opposition to their participation in the government’s workfare schemes.

A huge banner declaring IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN blocked the entrance to the BHF furniture store in Leith’s Kirkgate centre as demonstrators occupied the shop. Impromptu speeches were given inside and out, explaining that although BHF had claimed to be “moving away” from workfare, they were still taking on new compulsory placements.

See full write up with pictures

Resistance bulletin issue 146 November 2012

Posted on Hastings Anarchists

cover of Resistance Bulletin 146 Nov 2012

NOVEMBER 2012 RESISTANCE is out. HIT THE DECK: IT’S CHECKY WATCH! (Newcastle Metro), EDL in Bristol, West Country newsletter, RMT police harassment, Dominos pizza. Teachers’ strike, Swindon housing,  Pirates ahoy in Dartmouth, Textile worker in Turkey, South African miners, Quebec students, Glasgow refugee centre, Prisoner support. and more.

Farewell to an old Class Warrior.

James May – A Political Obituary: by Paul Stott

“I worked politically with James for nearly twenty years – from 1992 until last year, when James was attempting to put together some form of autobiography. I want to cover some of the things James did in that time, the actions he was involved in and the beliefs he had. I do this not just to record James’ life, but because many of those issues remain important…” Read more

Life at the end of the welfare state, the true cost of benefits cuts and change highlighted in the following report.

New Economics Foundation:

After spending 18 months in some of London and Birmingham’s most deprived communities, our research – based on peer-led interviews and workshops – goes beyond figures to highlight the real human, social and economic costs of austerity:

“Even a delay in benefits for a week will send people over the edge”

“Debt advice demand has hugely increased. You wouldn’t believe the type of people the banks lent money to”

“People are on disability benefits for a reason…. it has a huge effect on their ability to stay well, to stay independent, to engage in their community”

“Our wages go on running the household – petrol, insurance, gas, tax, mortgage, all our money goes on that. At the end of all that there is nothing”

Please spread widely amongst your networks.

Everyday insecurity, life at the end of the welfare state – free download pdf

Roundup from 20th Oct TUC march.

Ed Miliband booed for promising cuts to TUC anti-cuts march – 20th October 2012

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPORv29TqKY?rel=0]

Solidarity Federation – October 20: The view from Oxford Circus

Radical workers’ bloc on the march.

IWW on the march

Johnny Void: Marching Is Not Enough – Boycott Workfare and DPAC Show the Way

Solidarity Federation at the London Anarchist Bookfair

The Solidarity Federation will be at the London Anarchist Bookfair again this year. It will be the first place you can get your hands on our new pamphlet ‘Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle’. Our other publications will also be available alongside books, posters and tshirts. This year the Solidarity Federation will be presenting the following talks:

Nobody Expects The Solidarity Federation! – Room 318, 11-12

Stuff Your Sexist Boss – Room 326, 2-3

Introduction to Anarcho-Syndicalism – Room 323, 4-5

Don’t Just Moan, Organise! An introduction to the Solidarity Federation Workplace Organiser Training Programme – Room 321, 5-6

Checky Watch, Class War & The Unions – From N.E. Anarchists.


Checky Watch, Class War & The Unions

“…The choice is clear; the trade unions and their members can continue to hide behind the ‘only doing me job’excuse; they can continue to proclaim that as trade unionists they are the working class and therefore can do whatever the fuck they want because nobody else matters, or they can start thinking about a wider definition of the class and the need for united action. Choose the first option and you may well find that Checky Watch is the least of your problems…”

An anarchist argument for left unity – By Mal Content.

“Are you the Judean Peoples’ Front?”

“ – Fuck off! We’re the People’s Front of Judea…” etc.

That sketch always gave me a proper belly laugh having been around Marxist groups in my youth which had a tendency to splinter into miniscule fragments before my eyes; but anarchists? – Surely not – oddly enough I had a very similar conversation with a group of delegates at a certain social centre last year …Read article

Part 1 of an occasional series provisionally titled: A possible strategy for social revolution.

David Hoffman ate our paper!

In 1886 a group of anarchists including Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson decided to produce a new monthly anarchist paper. Freedom began publication in October 1886 and continues to this day; In addition to Freedom, the group set up Freedom Press, which became the main publisher of anarchist literature in England

History of Freedom Press

Enter freelance photographer David Hoffman; in 2009 Freedom Press had published Beating the Fascists, which has of itself aroused much controversy in the anarchist anti-fascist movement. The book is illustrated with photographs supplied by the authors, it turned out these included pictures taken by Hoffman that were still under copyright. Hoffman threatened legal action and has received £4,000 for the use of the pictures; as a result the Freedom collective now faces ruin.

This hypocrite has made a living for years out of photographing activists and suing the police while enjoying the protection of anti-fascists; he now turns to the law to extract money from his erstwhile comrades.

Here’s Hoffman in publicity-seeking mode with a Class War ‘Wanker’ poster: Police remove David Cameron ‘wanker’ poster

You can e mail Hoffman using the contact form at the bottom of the page on his website let him know he is not welcome at our actions and will no longer receive our support.

Hoffman is a member of the London Photographers Branch of the NUJ: Contact the committee here.

If you’d like to help you can subscribe to Freedom, or buy a book maybe, even Beating the Fascists!

Now that we’re bust and what we’re going to do about it

How Do We Break Workfare? – Report from National Conference.

On Saturday 26 May, nearly fifty anti-workfare activists met up in Brighton for a national conference entitled ‘How do we break workfare?’; hosted by Brighton benefits campaign

Participants came from Liverpool, Norfolk, Oxford, Dorset, London, Surrey and Sussex as well as Brighton and Hove.  They represented welfare and anti-cuts campaigns, claimant organisations, political groups and trade unions, as well as many individuals opposed to workfare.

Here’s the full report from the B.B.C. website:

Mental health bulletin.

Solidarity callout from residents of Brighton and Hove – make a stand against racism and fascism: Oppose the March for England.

”We, as Brighton and Hove residents, are calling on all communities to oppose the spread of racist and fascist ideas under the banner of ‘March for England.’ Harangue, mock and disrupt the march. Line the route. Gather in groups along Queen’s Road, from Brighton station to the Clock tower at 11am. Together we will drown out their message of hate.”

Brighton Stop MFE on Sunday – really good article here:

Anti fascist Benefit gig in Bristol on Saturday:

Benefit gig in Liverpool on Saturday:

New Radical blogs from the Philipines.

Food Not Bombs  shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment. With over a billion people going hungry each day how can we spend another dollar on war?

Started in mid – 2011, Mindsetbreaker Press/Distro is maintained by a tiny number of people specifically working on publishing and circulating anarchist literature at the local level, besides existing projects and campaigns being carried out by members; such as infoshops, info events and other autonomous activities. We also want to reach local anarchist politics abroad and hope to build solidarity with people in other continents in whatever way possible. Mindsetbreaker Press and Distro operates in the local anarchist infoshop that almost run out of money to pay for rent.  We wanted to sell our journal abroad to keep our press and distro going, publish more local literature and raise some extra money to pay the rent of the infoshop, 3,000 peso a month.

We always need donations and financial support  to maintain our projects. If you are interested in getting our magazine via mail order this would be very helpful and appreciated.   Contact us

Gasera Journal is a compilation of anarchist writings covering insights about history, politics and anarchism in the Philippines, autonomous struggles, reconsidering black bloc in the local context and transnational community building  and more…

Gurgaon Workers News – news from India’s special exploitation zone:

yanam-violence is everywhere

Gurgaon in the industrial belt of Delhi is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone…  Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-waged classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young proletarianised post-graduates lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers up-rooted by the rural crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, China or Vietnam…  Read more:

If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon or even contribute to this project, please do so via: Gurgaon workers news

Contact us: gurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk

Support Kazakh Strikers!

Article – Solidarity Federation:

Protest against “Bloody Friday” in Kazakhstan

Petition form here:

Kazakhstan: Stop police violence against strikers – Labourstart.org

Or tell ’em what you think!

The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
33 Thurloe Square
London
SW7 2SD

Tel: +44 (0)207 590 34 90
Fax: +44 (0)207 584 84 81
Email: london@kazembassy.org.uk