Forget the UN! Meet the Self-Determining Refugees in Kurdistan

Foundation of the Shengal Founding Council | Photo: Alan Roj

Foundation of the Shengal Founding Council | Photo: Alan Roj

Written by  Dilar Dirik on Kurdish Question.

Without getting into the dehumanizing, brutal debates that dominate the so-called refugee crisis, let’s explore a different refugee story. One of autonomy, agency, self-determination and empowerment. Three refugee camps in Kurdistan illustrate this radical alternative to the status quo.

Our journey begins in Makhmour, a 40-minute ride south of the Iraqi-Kurdish capital Erbil City. Even today, this refugee camp’s inhabitants call its existence “a miracle.” It was created in the 1990s after the Turkish army destroyed Kurdish villages, forcibly displacing 100,000 people escaping massacre and forced assimilation. Far from the U.S.-cheerleading system in Erbil, decorated with billboards of Turkish companies, you feel an entirely different atmosphere upon entering Makhmour camp which is guarded by PKK guerrillas: a communal life.

Due to the explicitly political nature of the camp, which openly supports the PKK, the camp was displaced several times and repeatedly criminalized, invaded, and partly destroyed over the years by the Turkish and Iraqi states, as well as the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which governs Erbil. The U.N. never adequately supported the camp beyond basic needs, due to its politics.

Many children were killed by scorpions during the early days in this desert-like, hostile piece of land. Over time, despite all the attacks, the people established a principled autonomous system and turned it into a fertile green settlement. Every neighborhood here forms a commune, each having an autonomous women’s commune. The education system, including the syllabus, and health services, the economy, etc., are self-determined and independent from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. The entire infrastructure was built collectively. “Everyone placed a brick on every house here,” the story of Makhmour goes.

The Ishtar women’s council was created in 2003 in order to represent women’s will and needs. The women’s academy Martyr Jiyan (named after a camp woman killed by the KDP in an uprising) gives lessons in literacy, self-defense (philosophical and armed), world, regional, and women’s history, democratic confederalism, ecology, and more.

“To know is to become aware,” explains Aryen, who teaches at the academy. “There was a time in Mesopotamia where society was organized by women. That time was far more ethical and egalitarian than today’s age. We want to resist by reviving the values that were taken away from us as women by raising women with strength and ethical-political consciousness.”

Whoever witnessed the invisibility of ordinary women in ultra-patriarchal Erbil encounters a very different type of woman here: self-confident, assertive, and happy – a striking indicator of how systemic environments impact women’s lives. Though the camp is supposedly under U.N. protection, only the PKK was here to evacuate and defend the people, when ISIS attacked last year. All adults in the camp know how to handle a gun and take turns holding guard at night.

Our next stop takes us to the Sinjar (Shengal) mountains, the stage of the latest massacre on the Yazidi Kurds.

“This is definitely the last massacre on the Yazidis,” the people here say. “If we get distributed into the diaspora, this will be our end anyway. We will cease to exist as a community. That is why the only way to survive is to organize.”

What many people who fail to understand the sociological factors of displacement don’t realize is that attachment to a certain geography is an existential element for many communities. Displacement often means the irreversible erasure of history.

“Due to betrayal and lack of organization, we became victims,” explains a member of the Shengal Founding Council, established in January 2015, based on Abdullah Öcalan’s democratic autonomy system. “Now we know that if we do not look after ourselves, nobody will.”

Approximately 40,000 people live in tents on the mountain now. “We started by walking from tent to tent to meet people’s basic needs. Slowly, we began building self-organization through committees for services, culture, health, education, economy, etc. to sort out daily life issues, but also long-term goals. Women and youth organize autonomously. Very quickly, we became a thorn in the eye of the KDP, which withdrew when the massacre began,” he added. While blocking roads for others, the KDP distributes international aid from abroad in its own name here.

Our final stop is the Newroz camp which was created in Dêrîk (al-Malikiyah) in August 2014 after more than 10,000 Yazidis escaped by crossing the fading Iraqi-Syrian border through the “humanitarian corridor” from Shengal to Rojava, fought by the YPG/YPJ of Rojava and PKK guerrillas. During my first visit to the camp in December 2014, the full embargo on Rojava imposed by Turkey and the KDP, the latter controlling the border-crossing on the Iraqi side, prevented any humanitarian aid, including food and blankets, and even books from crossing. Due to political pressure, especially after the resistance of Kobane, some international organizations provide limited aid now, but the embargo continues. The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, attempted to recreate the camp according to its universal concept, neglecting the fact that there was already a self-determining system in practice. Encountering the camp assembly’s resistance, the UNHCR was forced to respect their demands and now provides material needs, which the people coordinate themselves.

International institutions supposedly in charge have often left these people to die, starve, and suffer, by giving in to state policies. Meanwhile, the refugees, who have had everything taken away from them, create a life in dignity and power.

In September, the photo of the small child Alan Kurdî from Kobane stranded on a beach after drowning in the sea, managed to touch the silent conscience of humanity. My friend and Kurdish activist Mehmet Aksoy wrote:

“Sometimes the fate of a child is written a 100 years before they are born. We are not talking of a divine fate, we are talking of historical forces, politics, power, hegemony, economic exploitation and colonialism.”

What makes bodies like Alan Kurdî’s so cruelly disposable is this order which values state-borders more than human beings.

In a world dictated by nation-states, what can we expect from a system like the U.N. that only respects the agency of states, which cause today’s massacres, genocides, ethnic cleansings, mass displacements, poverty, war and destruction to begin with, because it necessitates them by definition, especially considering that the core of it is made up of the top arms-selling states?

Rendering displaced people as dependent, apolitical non-agents, while leading a chauvinism discourse in host countries which established themselves through imperialism, racism, colonization, theft, exploitation, war, murder, and rape, is a strategy of the international order to maintain the racist status quo. Makhmour, Dêrîk, and Shengal, however, having been empowered by the PKK ideology, which rejects the nation-state system, tell another story.

Sabriye, a mother from Makhmour explains: “They fear us, because we stand on our feet. We did not trust anyone to save us, we took our fate into our own hands and created our own self-defense and social system. We made life sweeter by organizing ourselves.”

More than charity, refugees need comrades that help fight displacement causes (like foreign invasions and arms trade) and support the concerned people’s autonomy. Last month, Abdallah Kurdî, Alan’s father, called for the political recognition of the Rojava administration: “I am grateful for your sympathy for my fate. This has given me the feeling that I am not alone. But an essential step in ending this tragedy and avoiding its recurrence, is support for our self-organization.”

The world cried for Alan’s father, will it support his politics as well?

Original Source: www.telesurtv.net

YPG: WE HAVE NO CONNECTION TO ANKARA BOMBING, TURKEY IS PREPARING GROUND TO ATTACK ROJAVA

ypglogoFrom Kurdish Question 18th February 2016

The General Command of the People’s Defence Units (YPG) has released a statement in response to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu who blamed the YPG for yesterday’s attack in the heart of Turkish capital Ankara which left 28 people dead and 64 others wounded.

YPG General Command said they have no links to the attack, remarking that Davutoğlu put forward this accusation to pave the way for an offensive on Rojava and Syria. The General Command stressed that YPG hasn’t engaged in any kind of military activity against the Turkish state so far in spite of all its attacks and provocations.

We hereby publish the full text of the related statement by YPG General Command;

“As is known to our people and the public opinion, the Rojava revolution has entered its 4th year. As the YPG forces, we are protecting our people in Rojava region from the very first day on. Under challenging conditions, we are protecting our people from barbaric gangs such as ISIS and Al-Nusra. Countless states and media outlets have repeatedly reported about the support Turkey has been providing to these terrorist groups. Apart from the terrorist groups attacking us, we as YPG have engaged in no military activity against the neighboring states or other forces. Despite all its provocations and attacks on Rojava border, we have acted with historic responsibility and never retailated Turkey. During the past 4 years, Rojava is the safest area of Turkey-Syria border, and there has been no military action conducted by our side during this period. This truth is best known to the Turkish military and AKP government. They are deliberately distorting the truths and holding us responsible for the explosion in Ankara.

We would like to reiterate our message to the peoples of Turkey and the world; We have no links to this incident. It is not specific to this case alone, as we have never been involved in an attack against Turkey. The Turkish state cannot possibly prove our engagement in any kind of attack on their side because we were never involved in such an action. Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s remarks “Ankara attack was conducted by YPG” is a lie and far from the truth. With this statement, Davutoğlu wants to pave the way for an offensive on Syria and Rojava, and to cover up their relations with the ISIS which is known to the whole world by now.

As the People’s Defence Units-YPG, we state once again that we have no links to the explosion in Ankara, and we call upon all neighboring states and forces to respect the Rojava revolution and will of peoples.” Source ANF.

KQ adds: The Democratic Union Party (PYD), to whom the YPG is affiliated, said it “completely refuted” the claims of its involvement.

Saleh Muslim, co-chair of PYD, also denied claims the YPG was firing into Turkey. “They don’t consider Turkey as an enemy,” he told Reuters news agency.

BREAK THE SILENCE! STOP TURKEY’S WAR ON THE KURDS! NATIONAL DEMO 6TH OF MARCH LONDON.

breakthesilenceTurkey has launched a war on the 25 million Kurds of south east Turkey ever since the mainly Kurdish political party, the HDP twice won over 12% of the vote in the elections of 2015 and in Syria the Kurdish PYD has led a movement creating a popular progressive democracy in the Rojava region.

Rather than accept that sooner rather than later the rights and aspirations of the Kurdish people to autonomy must be met, in Turkey and beyond, the Turkish state has imposed curfews on towns and cities across the region, with tanks on the streets and snipers on the roofs, and nearly 200 people have been murdered by Turkish forces. An all out policy of annihilation is being pursued by Erdogan and the Turkish state.

Yet while Turkey is a key NATO ally of the UK and USA and desperate to get into the EU, the UK and international media have said and done nothing to stop this brutality.

The Kurdish movement in the UK have been protesting about their treatment by Turkey since 100,000 Kurds came to this country in the 1980s and 1990s, as refugees from the Turkish war against the Kurds when hundreds of villages were destroyed, 30,000 Kurds killed and 3 million made refugees.

But now for the first time, in the face of the Turkish state restarting the war against the Kurds, it has been decided to call a national demonstration under the slogan ‘Break The Silence’, as this brutal attack is unreported in the UK press, and Stop Turkeys War on the Kurds, as we will be demanding the UK govt puts pressure on Turkey to stop these attacks and return to the negotiations for a peaceful settlement with the Kurdish Movement began with the PKK, the Kurdish liberation movement.

Lastly we call for the UK govt to decriminalise the Kurdish Liberation Movement, even though the PKK represents the vast majority of Kurds in Turkey and in the UK, is illegal in the UK, which creates serious barriers and difficulties in the search for a peaceful, political settlement.

PLEASE JOIN US IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE KURDS ON THE 6th MARCH. FOR UPDATES SEE THE FB EVENT PAGE:

Called by Kurdish National Congress [ KNK] UK, Peace in Kurdistan and London, Kurdish Solidarity.

MPs Are Scared. So they Should Be!

From Trade Onion Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The recent report into violence and aggression shown towards MPs reveals an astonishing lack of awareness amongst our elected representatives when it comes to the effects of their policies. Whingeing about violence they receive at the hands of their constituents while they make laws which increase the likelihood of people suffering poverty, eviction and inequality. Many people will be shocked to see the level of anger and hatred shown towards people who are supposedly there to help us all and represent our interests. One MP has written a comparison between how people treat their MPs and their GPs. Of course there’s a major difference between doctors and politicians: doctors try to make you better and politicians always end up making things worse.

There are two issues that this report brings to light which have been overlooked. The first is the frustration many people feel when they discover that discussing things with their MP might not actually get them anywhere. That sense of powerlessness when the bureaucratic reality of life in a liberal democracy hits home can make your blood boil. This is linked to the second issue which is the structural violence of the capitalist system that can only function with willing bureaucrats ready to wring their hands of responsibility.

The power of the piece of paper telling an MP that nothing can be done in a situation because the law has been followed correctly is the most horrendous power we allow. It’s the power that props up every form of legalised abuse. It excuses a million crimes against the citizenry in the name of order and it unleashes violence against us daily. It is our civic duty to consider how that violence works and then vow to suppress it.

The rule of law is backed up with force, or violence. If the law says something is so then to oppose it means you are inviting violence against you in the form of the police, courts, incarceration etc. The very fact that inequality is backed up by law means that inequality is in itself a violent act. The boss that lawfully pays you less than your value is backed up with the full force of the law. The homeless, users of food banks, people needing benefits to survive, the list goes on – these are all victims of a violent system that protects the richest people at the expense of everyone else. It’s a morality that allows the richest to set the wages of everyone and then enforces that inequality and poverty. Rise up against it and you will be criticised for being violent, a thug, mindless and, shock horror, of not respecting law and order. It isn’t order at all. It’s a chaos that’s trikes fear in millions of people every day.

The message from MPs is clear: we make the laws for capitalism to function and you must obey. They ensure that this structural violence exists, in the interest of the rich. They keep this brutal system of capitalism going. They mix with, and enjoy the financial attention of the ruling class. Without them this chaos could be ended today and replaced with order. Not law and order but a harmony where people do not have to suffer the deleterious effects of capitalism and where power can rest with us all as equals.

Instead, we have the sight of these people who inflict aggression on our society pleading for help and protection from the dangerous population. What the reports really show us is that people fully understand the system and are mightily pissed off with it. That people are willing to abuse their MP on twitter or even go to their surgery and be aggressive in person is clearly linked to the hopelessness people see in this system. Democracy was supposed to give us a voice but instead it continues to give voice to the rich, giving them all the protection they need to enjoy life at our expense.

This system isn’t going to change via twitter or people lashing out on their own at their MP’s office. It’s going to change only when we all start to see it for what it is: a protection racket for the rich. It’s becoming increasingly clear that appealing to an MP for help is pointless anyway. It’s as pointless as voting for them in the first place. They’re not there for us and they have a thousand pieces of legislation ready to tell us why they can’t help. They’re better ignored and the system fought instead.

One positive thing to come out of this report though is that we can record how fearful they are of us. It should please us when our tormentors act like frightened little puppies. Our message to MPs should be clear: you are right to be afraid. We should take that fear and make it spread all the way to the top. On March 5th David Cameron has a chance to feel it as Class War march on one of his properties. Whilst his government is destroying housing for the poorest in society he’s creaming it as a landlord. Such things don’t go unnoticed and they will be acted on!

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University of Southampton tries to obstruct talk.

This message is from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

I am sorry to have to inform you that the University of Southampton is engaged in what can only be construed as a dishonest and deeply cynical attempt to silence pro-Palestinian voices on campus. Despite having been given well over a month’s notice of Mike Cushman’s talk, due to take place on Tuesday, (at the Highfield Campus in building 46, room 2005 at 6.30pm) by Students for Palestine, the legal department has failed to grant permission for this talk and has today informed the student group that they will send them an e-mail with a final decision on Monday.

They have already succeeded in minimising the amount of time and effort that could be put into publicising the talk as the student group delayed announcing it for a long time in anticipation of being granted formal permission. They will of course be aware that by providing the group with a “final decision” a single day before the scheduled date of the talk they can successfully minimise the number of people attending and/or the amount of time available to appeal against any decision against. This is a deeply sad and disappointing state of affairs and the student group is considering what steps it can take to prevent this from reoccurring. If the university is allowed to “get away” with doing this on whim they will have effectively succeeded in implementing a de-facto censorship of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices on campus.

As regards the talk all that I can say as of the time of writing is that it is still due to go ahead on Tuesday evening. However, if you are planning
to attend the talk do please check your e-mail* on Monday evening for what I hope will be a final confirmation that the talk is going ahead.

*We’ll post it up here: W.S.

My sincere apologies for this sad and shameful state of affairs.

Kind regards,

Adam Waterhouse, Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

e-mail

Website

Blog

Rat-infested Wetherspoons closed.

By our restaurant correspondent, Roland Butter.the Albany Palace in Trowbridge

Wetherspoons’ pub the Albany Palace in Trowbridge was closed for half an hour last night after a diner complained that a rat ran up his trouser leg and stole one of his chips. – From Western Daily Press

Reece Coombs, from Trowbridge, was out with his partner Lucy Wrenn. “It felt like somebody had kicked me, then a rat ran up my leg and took the chip out of my hand and bolted,” staff immediately cleared the pub, without telling other customers why they were getting kicked out mid-meal. Ms Wrenn said: “All we got was a refund, which was going to be a part-refund for the food we were waiting on, until I saw about the rushed drinks and incomplete, potentially contaminated starter we had,”.

It’s believed the rat had escaped from the kitchen.

Is Wetherspoons going down the crapper at long last? The group’s shares fell 9% they claim as a result of the meagre increase in the minimum wage. Multi-millionaire boss Tim Martin, a big fan of the zero-hours contract has always whinged at the prospect of his staff making a living. He hates our class with a vengeance and would ideally like you to pay VAT on food as well so he can compete with the supermarkets. If you encourage the bastard he’ll end up owning everything then he can squeeze your wages and ram up the prices at the same time.

If you’re planning on taking someone special out for Valentine’s, best steer clear of the ‘spoons or you won’t get laid.

JUSTICE FOR KEVAN THAKRAR: Blatant and despicable miscarriage of justice. Thursday 18 February 12.30pm – 2.30pm

JOIN THE PROTEST Thursday 18 February 12.30pm – 2.30pm HM Prison Service Headquarters Clive House, 70 Petty France LONDON SW1H 9EX

Nearest Station: St James’s Park underground station, a 5 minute walk. Buses: Any buses stopping at New Scotland Yard then continue along Victoria Street then turn left on to Caxton Street then turn right on to Palmer Street, continue until you will reach Petty France.

Kevan Thakrar Urgently Needs Your Support!

kevKevan Thakrar was found not guilty of attacking three prison officers and vindicated by evidence that showed he acted in self-defence after months of racial, physical and psychological abuse. Any court ruling that goes against prison officers is VERY unusual. Kevan continues to be held in isolation in the prison services ‘Close Supervision Centres’ more than six years later, no doubt as retribution for his court victory.

Organised by Justice for Kevan Thakrar. (Full details about Kevan’s wrongful conviction and fight for a new trial and letter from Kevan) facebook page

WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you can’t make it to London for the protest please try to find the time to write to your own MP or Kevan’s (Ian Stewart MP). When writing to one of those cunts the address to use is: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or you can contact them on-line www.writetothem.com

Sign the petition for Kev: We don’t believe in petitions either but this hapless comrade was deliberately framed and buried alive by the state and the best we can achieve at the moment is not allow him to be forgotten or allow them to hide their crimes against him. You can also write to him: Kevan Thakrar A4907AE HMP Wakefield Love Lane Wakefield WF2 9AG or e mail from here

Close Supervision Centres – Torture Units in the UK. New Pamphlet from Bristol ABC. April 2012

Close Supervision Centres in the UK #2 – A Brief Follow Up

The Corbyn delusion and the double-edged sword of truth – Mal Content.

“I can’t be cool … I read one too many books”

– The Clash: ‘Deny’

As an anarchist I regard the ascension of Jeremy Corbyn to the Leadership of the Opposition as a huge backward step. We were finally getting the message across that the political caste can do nothing for us, being in thrall to some distant, unaccountable people, and arbitrary market forces that no one understands, especially those who are paid fabulous sums to predict their outcome. Social inequality has reached Pharonic proportions, with 62 individuals wielding more purchasing power than the poorest three and a half billion. Through all the crises of the past five years, their wealth increased by 44%, while everyone else’s fell by a similar amount. The richest 1% is now worth as much as the rest of us put together. No state redistribution scheme is going to make a dent in this mountain of fictitious capital, and there’s simply nothing big enough to invest more than a tiny fraction of it in. In so far as it exists at all, except as a measure of the theoretical status of the socially useless, such wealth resides in tax havens, far from the workers whose needs and abilities it represents. The plutocrats amuse themselves with football clubs, islands and vast swathes of London, and use their newspapers and TV stations to install their lackeys in the institutions their class devised over centuries to keep it in power forever.

mugs

Our people still don’t know what they want, much less how to get it, on a recent TUC outing it struck me what a confused mess the left has become with all its different agendas. “Fight for every job”, one placard says; “a million green jobs now!” screams another; “NHS not Trident”, “stop tax dodging”, “positive banking!” – really? The GMB supports fracking, Unite sits on the fence over Trident. We aren’t helping much with slogans like “demand the impossible”; demand the bleeding obvious more like. With the Labour Party at last consigned to the dustbin of history, the mirage of political representation would evaporate revealing naked class struggle. The last thing we needed was someone breathing life into this anachronism and giving people false hope; it would be a tragedy if the young and angry spent the next five years campaigning for a Labour government when they could be kicking off, wildcatting and occupying the means of production. Like you, I’ve groaned at the false dichotomy of state-managed socialism versus state-guaranteed capitalism, shuddered at the grim spectre of Old Labour. It burns my arse that I’m sat here writing about party politics, just months after the Syriza fiasco exposed its futility.

messiahAs a matter of fact, back in July when the Messiah showed up at Tolpuddle to fill the gap left by Our Tone, I harboured a vain notion that I might have a quiet word with him at some point. He’s a nice geezer who works hard for his constituents. Having respect for his sincerity I would say: “For the sake of our class! Please don’t stand!” In the event, he floated in and out again, smiling beatifically, surrounded by swarms of entranced acolytes in their J.C. T shirts. After slogging away for decades to no good purpose, he’s having his fifteen minutes and loving it – well who can blame him? Had I waded through the selfie apocalypse to express such dissonance, I would have been denounced as a heretic and belaboured with copies of the Morning Star. Anyway, by then I was occupied with fucking off a pro-Israel group.

Corbyn was put up as a joke candidate by the Blairites, who no longer bother to hide their contempt for our class. He was to act as a foil for their argument that Labour had lost the election purely because they had failed to keep up with the Tories’ stampede to the right and were too soft on immigrants and the poor. New Labour had opened their leadership contest to supporters who paid a fee to register. This was mainly to reduce the influence of trade unionists, almost exclusively workers in the beleaguered public sector. This backfired spectacularly as thousands registered to vote for Corbyn. So they resorted to a range of dirty tricks, barred people from voting, even wheeled out the old war-criminal himself – big mistake; as Blair is the left’s most hated figure after Thatcher, perhaps even more so as he conned them into putting him in government. The result was that the 200/1 outsider polled three times as many votes as the next runner-up. Since His election, there have been a few unexpected developments, and some entirely predictable ones.

Kentucky fried MarxismFirst there was The Miracle Of The Trots. Every Marxist group that ever there was, SP, CP, SWP, TUSC, LU, AWL Counterfire – who all hate each other with a vengeance, abandoned their turf war to unite behind Corbyn. The factionalist Alliance for Workers’ Liberty even de-registered as a party so its members could join Labour.

As anticipated, the chattering classes have closed ranks, the corporate press and the state-corporatist BBC whine forlornly at the prospect of having to fight a battle they thought ended with the Miners’ Strike. The parliamentary Labour Party, an uninspiring gang of careerists and time-servers representing no one whatsoever, were oiked out of obscurity and are now on the radio every five minutes. A year ago it would have been inconceivable that anyone would ask Andy Burnham’s opinion on anything.

The message blaring from every speaker is that under the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism, a socialist agenda has no place in a national representative assembly, however many of its subjects may want it. This arrogance from the 24% seems to have galvanised the multitudes who want to wave two fingers at them into joining the Party, more have done so since His election than are in the tory party. Branch meetings are suddenly packed with people who have never belonged to a party in their lives. Who are these people and what do they hope to achieve? A crowd- sourced budget perhaps? I’m imagining the kind of people who follow Another Angry Voice and The Artist Taxi Driver. Green, anticapitalist, for free education and healthcare, open borders and public ownership, if not exactly workers’ control. I suspect most of them want to go a lot further than their leader would dare and don’t give a damn if he wears a poppy or kisses the queen’s ring. So they aren’t too fussed that Corbyn can’t carry a majority in the house, or win an election with all the tabloids and the Beeb against him. Anecdotally a few anarchists are joining in, no names no packdrill, that should give the Daily Mail something to froth about. The tories who were rumoured to have infiltrated Labour to vote for the unelectable Corbyn, are reduced to lamenting the lack of a serious (i.e. neoliberal) opposition being bad for democracy. So maybe the Labour party will become a campaigning network like 38 degrees, which doesn’t suffer from having to have a policy on everything. But why do we need another one?

reading1 (1)Those of us who read a bit were also quick to have a pop; we follow ideas not people. Corbyn’s ideas are neither new nor explicitly anticapitalist, and at the present stage of capitalist accumulation, impossible for any government to implement. Some of them are daft and obviously made on the hoof, his idea of building nuclear submarines without warheads smacks of Keynes’ digging holes and filling them in again. His Unite backers would prefer to while away their days building Trident, a mechanism for ending human history and making the planet uninhabitable, than be excluded from waged labour. As for back-door negotiations with deash, that would be a betrayal of the working class in both territories, and put Britain in the same sordid position as Turkey and Saudi Arabia – if it isn’t already.

defies-parodyIt’s a truism that politicians are out of touch with the people, having never done, been trained for, not had any ambition to do more than govern others. The media have long lamented the young’s lack of engagement with the Westminster circus. In reply they’ve thrown up only reactionary buffoons like Farage and hare-brained misogynist Russell Brand, whose boner melted before Milliband’s legendary charisma. Both are heavily reliant for their livelihood on the status quo. In the media-generated political mirage, the class that must work for wages is only allowed to construe economics in terms of jobs and money; they would have us believe that money has a value, is finite, and must be worked for. Corbyn cannot escape this mythology, so he chats about creating jobs, wealth and economic growth through investment as if these things were desirable. The trouble with Keynesianism, as Hitler and Mussolini knew only too well, is you have to have a war every so often to destroy surplus production. When Billy Bragg sang ‘Between the Wars’ thirty-odd years ago, Britain actually was – if you didn’t count Ireland, and the proxy wars going on in Palestine, Iran/Iraq, Timor etc in which British capital was invested. We are now in a continuous state of war and it will end when capitalism ends.

Capitalism rests on violence; it pervades every aspect of the culture. Children are taught to admire and simulate the taking of life as soon as they are able to grasp the concept of death. There are few computer games related to saving the planet, I tried a Google search and the latest entry was from 2011. On Radio 4’s Question Time recently a panel of liberals and worthies had a solemn debate on whether it was reasonable to lock away a fifteen year old for the rest of their life, for fantasising on the internet about killing strangers in a distant land. They agreed they didn’t have enough information to make that judgement and would leave it to others – a pretty sorry admission from would-be opinion formers. This was followed immediately by a discussion on whether it was irresponsible for a seventy-year old man to say he would never kill strangers in distant lands. The grown up common sense view is that not having a vessel under the sea, carrying more explosive than has ever been detonated, anywhere, would put us at risk – who, exactly is ‘us’?

Here’s the double-edged bit: unlike us Bookfair-goers, the braying toffs and media hacks are not just sneering at some fluffy old lefty and his 20th century politics; they are sneering at the needs and aspirations of our class. Those who aspire to bring their kids into a world that isn’t fitted with a self-destruct button, and is at least prepared to feed and house them. The young who see themselves as more than just creators of surplus-value, while the rich, breeding at our expense on their stolen land, see their own offspring as appropriators and accumulators of that value. The test of a socialist utopia will be whether you’re still getting up in the morning and taking crap off people you don’t respect. Within the drudgery of our lives we find that that the most significant things people do are done neither for reward nor to order but out of the instinct to altruism and goodwill. It’s just that we’ve all grown up in a society where greedy sociopaths rise to the top, are perceived to be successful and held up to be admired.

There are more useful things we could be doing than kicking Corbyn right now, we need to get amongst the disciples a bit sharpish and steer the conversation away from fixing the economy, a hateful thing that exists to maintain the dominance of the few over the many. Our class could break it irrevocably in a heartbeat, but we must abandon the attitudes, and to some extent the desires that sustain it. We work to live, or else we are raw material to the industry that generates its profits from managing our inactivity. In work or out of it we are confined by procedures, forms, assessed and audited by folk who have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, as are they in turn. We are required to sacrifice our dignity and be pacified with toys and entertainments, endless consumption without satisfaction. It’s bizarre that so many corporate-constructed cultural artifacts are claimed as ‘working class culture’. Capitalism robs children of their childhood and robs adults of opportunities to grow up. The economy makes us sick and trades our ill-health. False hope and desperation are commodities, or no one would ever buy hair restorer. Loving Corbyn is a commodity, so is hating Him; their stocks will rise and fall, the market will care little, and when the party’s over, there’s going to be a fucking great hangover.

What can we salvage from all this? Probably no more or less than from the occupy movement; sitting round the fire listening to tosh about chemtrails and the Bilderberg group, every now and then someone would ask: “seriously, how do we get out of this fucking mess?” Well I’ve a few ideas, but you’re going to have to put yourself out … fancy a pint?

Credit Suisse Research Institute publications, on which the Oxfam report was based

The Global Wealth Databook 2015 pdf

The Global Wealth Report 2015 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.

Bristol Comrade sees off filth at airport.

Bristol Anarchist Chases Away Counter-Terror Police from RABBLE

Today at Stansted Airport, plainclothes police officers pulled aside a travelling anarchist (Tim from Bristol) and seemingly sought to coerce him into becoming an informant with a combination of intimidation, veiled threats, and offers of free alcohol. But when he started recording the officers on his mp3 player they quickly terminated the exchange and made a sharp exit.

He believes he was targeted by counter terror police because of his Anarchism, stating: “Anarchism is about ordinary people standing up to the rich and powerful – exactly what the police are there to prevent. These people claim to be protecting us, but they spend most of their time blacklisting trade unionists, spying on activists and harassing ethnic minorities.”

Here’s his full account of what happened today:

As I was leaving the EU e-passport gate about 1pm today, I was approached by a man who came out from behind the desk to the left. He was a similar height to me, with short light brown hair/beard, and a light northern English accent. He said “Hi Tim, I’d like to have a word with you. I think you know what this is about”. I got my phone out and called a friend as soon as he started speaking. I told him I had a phone call which I needed to take. A man who had approached in the mean-time from the right, wearing a grey suit-jacket, asked me to turn my phone off. I repeated that I had to take the call. When my friend picked up I asked them to call my solicitor.

The man in the grey suit identified himself as a police officer. The man who’d originally approached me asked me to go with him again. I asked “am I being detained?” and he said “it’s nothing like that”. I said that I’m busy and needed to get on. He said “so am I” and that it wouldn’t take long. He kept saying that he wants to talk somewhere else because it would be “in your interest” and I wouldn’t want to talk about it in public. I just repeated that I wanted to stay where we were.

I asked him what it was about to find out if I could leave, and he said that I’m “heading down a dark path” and repeated that we should talk in private and “I can buy you a drink”. At this point I’d had enough so I told him “if I don’t have to talk to you then I’m leaving” and started walking. He said “we’ll come with you”. I said “I’d rather not” but he walked by me anyway.

He asked another question about why I didn’t want to talk, to which I replied “I’m not obliged to answer that”. He was obviously not going to leave me alone even though I’d made it very clear I wanted him to go, so I visibly got out my mp3 player and set it to record. I held it up and asked “who are you, what’s your name?” (he had so far refused to identify himself). He said “You don’t need to record this”. When I didn’t stop he turned away from me without a word and walked off briskly, joined by another man dressed the same (short hair, dark grey jacket). I followed him, repeating the question several times but they ignored me. Eventually the man who said he’s a cop stood in my path and said “calm down fellas”, allowing the two others to walk away. I left the airport and called the solicitor Raj Chada of HJA immediately to let him know what happened.”

This isn’t the first time that British counter-terror police have fled when faced with being recorded either – see https://corporatewatch.org/videos/2014/activist-harrassed-counter-terrorism-command. This just goes to show that if you’re approached by the police to be an informant, standing up to them is the best response. They don’t like it when we record THEM and ask questions, or when we stick together instead of letting them intimidate us one by one. Police feed on our isolation, so it’s when we stand up to them publicly instead of keeping our heads down that they back off and leave us alone.

If you are approached to be an informant, there’s some great advice on the freebeagles website – http://www.freebeagles.org/articles/grass.html . As a quick summary we’d say:

  • Say nothing – you have nothing to gain by telling them anything, whether it seems important to you or not. Saying anything at all is a sign of weakness and makes you a target
  • We’re always safer together. Let friends and comrades know what happened and make it public as soon as possible. Your local defendant solidarity group may be able to help
  • Get in touch with a solicitor (see https://netpol.org/solicitors/ for a list of good ones in the UK)
  • Put THEM under the spotlight – it’s a proven fact that police hassle people less when they shout about it and talk to the media

For information on police harassment in general, the articles by Bristol Defendant Solidarity are also well worth a read, covering everything from the bare minimum you have to say, to what to do when faced with raids and arrests – https://bristolabc.wordpress.com/defendant-solidarity/police-harassment/

Ecological Destruction Report on Curfew Areas in Turkish-Kurdistan: Mesopotamian Ecology Movement

Public Statement, 29.12.2015:

After the AKP government overthrew the negotiating table with the Kurdish Freedom Movement in spring 2015 the increasing environment of violence affects more and more gravely the social life and causes deaths of a growing number of civilians, especially women and children. The Turkish government has imposed curfews and enforced total blockades against cities and neighbourhoods which have declarated their self-rulements in summer 2015 in the Kurdish Southeast of Turkey, i.e. in Turkish (North)-Kurdistan. This leads to systematic state violance on these communities and has brought vast destruction and loss of property and life.

As the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement we did a research and interviews in the affected areas, where the curfew has been declared, in order to report the ecological dimension of faced destruction.

Research method: A field work group was established by activists of the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, some NGOs and people with no organizational background. A total number of 85 interviewers from the greater region worked in several groups in different provinces. The research was carried out by posing questions, prepared as open-ended, to the people affected by the curfew and writing down immediately the answers to forms. In total 800 families were interviewed.

Research areas: In the province of Diyarbakır (Amed): districts of Sur and Bismil. In the province of Mardin (Mêrdîn): districts of Nusaybin and Dargeçit. In the province of Hakkari: districts of Yüksekova and Şemdinli. In the province of Şırnak (Şirnex): districts of Şırnak, Cizre, Silopi and Beytüsşebap. In the province of Van (Wan): district of Süphan, the neighborhoods of Yeni, Karşıyaka, Hacıbekir, Edremit.

Research Time: The research was carried out between October 24, 2015 and November 10, 2015.

Observed and stated fact-findings: In the districts imposed by curfews the buildings have usually fewer floors and often gardens in the backyard. An important part of the residents do truck farming and grow fruit trees. Furthermore the people live off by livestock husbandry in their gardens or in the basements. People’s lifestocks and gardens experienced a huge loss because of the curfews and conflicts. The also could not go to work on their near farmlands which led in the loss of harvesting agricultural products.

It was observed that the animals died because of shrapnel, bullets and widely used tear gas. Some dead animals were buried in the gardens after being limed by their owners. The gardens and animals remained neglected because some people had to leave their houses and others could not leave their houses.

In areas close to mountainous regions (particularly Şırnak, Şemdinli, Yüksekova, Dargeçit) in the pasture landscape is done livestock husbandry. The Turkish State declared these areas as special security zones and bombed them systematically. The people have been forced to leave their pasture areas without to take their animals. Some of the animals died due to the bombings. Especially beekeeping activities came to a stopping point. Numerous forest fires have broken out as a result of bombings which led also to the death of many animals in the forests (see report on forest fires published in October 2015:). The feeding of pigeons is known as a part of everyday life in Sur district of Diyarbakır. After the declaration of the curfew, many pigeons died because of shrapnels, tear gas and deliberately targeting by security forces. It was even seen that the security forces killed the ownerless pigeons by hand force.

In the areas affected by curfews in many locations and streets the clean water supply pipes were burst and also the clean water mixed with sewage. An electricity and water cut has experienced in all curfew areas. Usually the electricity has been cut by the companies in charge as a result of state pressure. Although the government forced local authorities to cut water for the curfew areas, the municipalities refused it. The people who had clean water shortage, were forced to use water from dwells which have been digged in their gardens many years ago and not been used for long time. In some curfew areas, many people said there are some changes in the taste of agricultural products and drinking water. It is indicated that the using of tear gas and munitions caused the change of taste in foods and drinking water in these areas. Many people stated that through consumption of food and water they or their children experienced vomit. It is observed that the febrile illness have been diagnosed widelyy with the children in Dargeçit, Nusaybin, Yüksekova and Cizre. Diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), shortness of breath above-average have been determined as a result of the conflicts and munitions.

The security forces do not allow the municipalities to collect garbage in the conflict areas so that in the streets so an unhealthy environment has occurred. It was observed that particularly children live under very difficult conditions with serious impacts. The children have developed the behaviors such as anxiety, fear, crying, insomnia etc. when they hear explosions, shootings and continuous announcements made by police’s vehicles. It was observed that some families tied their children in order to prevent them to go out of the house. The waste of munitions, which has been used during the conflict, was collected by children who played with them in the streets. It is indicated that the whole conflict will have grave effects on children’s health and psychology in the future.

As a result of repeated curfews and intensified state repression, in the most neighbourhoods a minority of the inhabitants has left temporarily their homes while in fewer neighborhoods the majority of the residents have left their neighborhoods during the curfews times. The latter is the case for Silvan and Sur.

All described repressive policies are in the responsibility of the Turkish government and cause serious damage on the ecosystem in and around the settlements. The state policy in the areas affected by the curfews have usurped the basic human right to life such a clean and habitable environment, having education and health care and the right to live in security and meet nutritional needs.

We request that the Turkish government and its sub-institutions must stop immediately the policy to declare curfews in areas where self-rulement has been declared. The Turkish government has to ensure also immediately that from now on in any action of Turkish security forces in Turkish-Kurdistan violence against civilians inherent rights to life must be prevented. Any destruction and damage to people resulted by the acting of Turkish security forces has to compensated comprehensively, including the long-term expected social and psychological impacts. In the consideration of destruction the impacts on the nature must be considered too. To prevent any similar social and ecological destruction, harm and suffering we demand an immediate two side cease fire which results in the start of new negotation between the two conflict sides, the Turkish government and the Kurdish Freedom Movement.

Contact: Diplomacy Committee of the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement E-mail
facebook (not English)

Greeks extradited to Italy for alleged mayday involvement

From a Greek friend in the UK.

I don’t know whether or not it has made any activist websites yet, but 5 Greek students are facing extradition to Italy (via a European Union warrant) where the Italian legal system hopes to imprison them for their participation in the 1st of May demo of 2015. After being arrested and then set free in Italy, Greek police bust into their houses this November. There is no evidence against them and the charges they face are pure bullshit (the translation is roughly one charge for “damages” and one for “extended resistance”- obviously referring to when they were snatched from the streets on the 2nd of May for no fucking reason). These offences carry sentences between 8-15 YEARS.

This issue should be of concern to everyone active in Europe as it represents repression on a variety of levels: 1. The students don’t have any evidence against them, so that is a huge issue in and of itself, 2. they are arrested for protesting, 3. the issue of extradition and the EU’s involvement adds a whole other dimension- if this passes, mass mobilizations like Genoa or like Paris recently will be much harder to organise. Imagine coming back from COP21 and getting snatched many months later while you are chilling with your family. This is next level criminalisation of protesting, ON A EUROPEAN LEVEL. This could set a very negative precedent and people need to be aware of this and be ready to organise.

After Fede, an Italian student studying at SOAS, was snatched in Frankfurt at the Blockupy demonstrations, solidarity actions were largely limited to people taking photo’s of themselves holding a cardboard sign reading “Free Fede”. The most antagonistic action was a 30 person demo outside the German embassy in London, whilst Fede was held in prison for months.

Obviously when lefty kids share solidarity selfies on social media, it raises awareness of the issue, slightly. But it’s had the effect of limiting solidarity to these simple, easy acts for a lot of people, instead of organising larger strategic actions, campaigns and so on. It also reinforces on a large, public scale, the idea that appealing to rulers could work, if only they were nice enough or saw enough sense to grant our wishes. But why should they? They know we’re weak, which is why they can snatch who they want, and profit from whatever they want to, protected by whichever racist or repressive policies they choose.

With solidarity actions for Kurdistan, Spanish anarchists, Greece, with individual cases that look to set dangerous precedents, and in general offensive struggles, we have the potential to build for much more. I think we need to use info from the organisations mapping capital like Corporate Watch, seeing who owns what, and how we can actually exert pressure on targets by reducing what matters to them, profit, rather than just trying to hurt their PR. An example would be how the German state own Deutche Bahn (now the biggest transport company in the world, and running London Overground, Arriva trains and buses, Cross-county rail and more) and DHL, the world’s largest logistics firm. Can we map the most strategic targets for social movements, or the most destructive infrastructures?

There are also huge similarities between anarchists and autonomous Marxists that can be worked on, and should be if we’re going to be able to spread our ideas effectively. It annoys a lot of anarchists (for good reason) that autonomists ignore anarchist lit and tradition when they ‘discover’ that parliamentary politics aren’t too useful, and that seizing the state isn’t the way to change society, but we need to work through our differences. This is especially important in getting beyond a to b demos, and showing how blocs can be done much better.

I don’t think we should be waiting until other groups or movements emerge and do the hard work of getting people working together, to then piggyback it and then get disappointed when things don’t go perfectly, or they get co-opted by liberals or statists. I also don’t think we should be waiting for widespread social unrest or spontaneous rioting to then try sustain the pressure. If there were ideas about how people could take control of their own lives before rioting, strategies, infrastructure to mass distribute information quickly, infrastructures set up to help counter the massive repression we saw in 2011, and help further politicise people that are facing repression (ie bigger than GBC and not just limited to ‘protests’).

So just to summarise, I’m saying I think its time we:

  • Build communication links and a BROAD strategy between groups, networks and orgs in the extra-parliamentary left and anarchist circles.
  • Keep mapping capitalism, but with ambitious, strategic actions in mind.
  • Get the people, money and buildings needed to start working on a much bigger scale (ie can people being priced out of London homes be accommodated in large euro-style housing co-ops in office buildings?)
  • Focus on strategically tailored propaganda and anti-repression infrastructure for when shit kicks off for real.

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

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

I am pleased to be able to inform you of our first talk of the new year on “Higher Education under Occupation” which will be taking place at the University of Southampton on Tuesday 9th February, 6.30pm – room to be confirmed. The talk will be given by university lecturer Mike Cushman who has recently returned from a visit to Palestine with a cross European delegation of activists where they visited six Palestinian universities in order to better understand the impact of Israeli military occupation upon these universities. Mike will talk about what they learnt from this trip about the struggle of Palestinian Universities to provide a normal higher education to their students under conditions of military occupation and how the Israeli occupation undermines both teaching and research.

Mike is a member of the BRICUP organising committee. BRICUP is the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine which takes a leading role in promoting and explaining the case for academic boycott in the UK. He is also a convener of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. In his role as a university lecturer he lectures on problem structuring methods at the London School of Economics.

Cathryn, one of our most active branch members, will be running a half marathon in Bethlehem, Palestine on 1st April in order to raise money for the charity Amos Trust who support grass-roots project in Palestine as well as working with international peace activists to try to bring justice and peace to Palestine. She will be staying there from 29th March to 3rd April and will meet and talk with Palestinians and Israelis working with grass-roots conflict resolution and humanitarian projects.

More information about Amos Trust.

You can sponsor Cathryn through her Just Giving page. If you would prefer to sponsor her off-line please get in touch and we can arrange that.

Wishing you all a very happy 2016!

Adam Waterhouse

Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

e-mail

Website

Blog

Convoys to Calais.

By Swindon anarchists

swinaidcalIn the last few months, Swindon Anarchists have been teaming up with our mates over at People’s Assembly and Swindon Calais Solidarity to offer practical solidarity to the 7,000 refugees living in the camps of Calais. As well as helping to meet the day to day needs of the refugees, we have been doing what we can to build bridges of solidarity and practically support refugees in resisting the violence and racism of the French and English states, whether in the form of tear gas and truncheon happy riot cops, or the razor-wire topped border itself.

In early December, Swindon Anarchists organised 4 vehicles rammed with supplies and volunteers to embark on our second trip to Calais. After a brief stop at a warehouse on the outskirts of Calais to drop off clothes, tents and sleeping bags, we moved on to the camp itself.

Read article

D.J.s cancel gig at racist Cameo club.

Bournemouth's racist clubThe Playmaker Group’s D.J.s Seani B & DJ Ace were scheduled to appear at the Cameo on New Years Eve. In view of the club’s racist door policy they have decided to cancel their performance and make the following statement:

“As two black men who have active careers in a high profile arena, we believe we need to act upon our beliefs. It is impossible to ignore these seemingly growing number of cases which are seeing the backbone of the music we love – the audience, and in particular young black audiences – being denied the opportunity to enjoy it as other members of the audience.

With that in mind we do not feel we can put our name to an event at a venue where – had we have been audience members – we may not have been welcomed. Celebrating our culture with those who help to bring it to life is very important to us, particularly in clubland, and selective door policies based on race does nothing to enhance that culture. It is with this in mind that we have decided not to appear at Cameo in Bournemouth on New Years Eve 2015. We wish all club goers of all races a very Happy and safe New Years raving.”

Read the full post on their website.

Wessex Solidarity:

We deplore this malignancy in Bournemouth, which harks back to the days not so long ago when black artists appeared on stage but were not allowed through the front door. It doesn’t surprise us though. The obsessive, paranoid racism of yesteryear has been revived by an entertainments industry that has always smudged the line between neoliberal capitalism and organised crime. It survives only by sucking our class dry, and selects its clientele every night from a pool of willing victims to maximise the fiscal yield from every square foot, whilst our communities pick up the pieces and bear the burden of the attending social problems.

Capitalism can no more provide us with safe and rewarding entertainment than clean air and water. We must take our own spaces and make our own, working class fun, squat party anyone?

BBC news item

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

hund

For the second time this year, a couple of thousand Dorset residents jammed the county town of Dorchester to remind the Clinical Commissioning Group that we will not accept cuts to paediatric or maternity services in West Dorset under any circumstances. For some time now, the ordinary people of this county have been at war with those who would pillage the health service we built for ourselves, and leave us at the mercy of private corporations who see us as commodities.

dsOur campaign, started by a determined group of working class women whose only motive was defending their kids, has grown and spread beyond the county. We now have the support of thousands of Dorset residents plus Unite Community, Unison, Industrial Workers of the World, Dorset People’s Assembly, Dorset Eye, Dorset Socialists, Bristol SolFed, the local Zumba community, scaffolders, Daleks, anarchists, snowmen, footballing bears, local media and some politicians.

Oliver Letwin M.P.e_2139 author of ‘Privatising the world’  and Britain’s biggest enterprise, his plan for selling the NHS; – who once claimed that within five years of a Conservative election victory the NHS “will not exist anymore”  – is proper squirming now. He said:

“I am absolutely clear that the best interest of patients lies in maintaining paediatric in-patient services at Dorset County Hospital. I have had absolute confirmation that there is no money to be saved from moving them to Bournemouth or Poole, and the advantages of Dorchester in terms of access are huge.”

He will have to look elsewhere for his retirement fund then.

dalek

We’re relieved the Daleks are on our side but we still don’t trust Oliver Letwin.

Dorset Eye.

BBC News

Anti-State communities in Kurdistan. 14th December Bristol.

ASK2Caught between the expansionist ISIS and escalating oppression by the Turkish state is one of the largest and most interesting revolutionary struggles of our times. Rojava, comprising three regions of northern Syria, is home to 2 million people while across the border in Eastern Turkey an increasing number of villages and neighbourhoods are declaring themselves autonomous and committed to self defence. Within these areas is a social experiment that incorporates feminism, ecology, has survived four years of military assaults. For much of this time they have been the only successful opposition to ISIS.

At 6:30pm on Monday 14th of December in the Malcolm X Centre join us for an evening of info and films including a first hand account of the new anti-state communities and an update on British Kurdish prisoner Silan Ozcelik. facebook event

Save the Bush! Protest Tuesday December 15th 2015, Bristol.

On Tuesday 15th, Bristol City Council will be debating cuts to “The Bush”, a respite centre for autistic children. This is after being forced to talk about it by a petition from Bristol Unite Community branch, after the mayor refused to debate his decision to halve the number of beds available. We can win this if we keep up the pressure – there have been protests for two months running, including one at the Mayors place of business as well as at the last two council meetings. So we’ll be joining Unite Community on the 15th, please get your friends and contacts down too!

Full details will be announced on the campaign’s facebook page nearer the date, but the debate will start at 7pm in The Grace Room of the Gloucestershire County Club, BS7 9EJ. The meeting itself starts at 6pm and there will probably be a rally outside just before.

Mayor Ferguson makes a twat of himself:

Ferguson is mainly known for wearing red trousers.

Swindon solidarity with Calais.

image_1Our comrades of Swindon Anarchists have been involved in sending much-needed aid and solidarity to refugees stuck in Calais.

On the 24th of October, members of Swindon Anarchists, including SolFed members, took 3 vehicles crammed with supplies to the refugee camps of Calais. As numbers at the camp swelled to over 6,000, the group decided we had a responsibility to offer what solidarity we could to men, women and children forced into cramped, cold and unhygienic conditions just for seeking a life free of war, persecution, poverty and hunger. As well as hoping to improve material conditions in the camp, we reject the concept of national borders, embrace freedom of movement for all and support all those whose circumstances have forced them into conflict with the border regime, the political class and their stooges in uniform.

From the start of our campaign, we worked closely with Swindon People’s Assembly, who offered us invaluable support in raising funds and donations as well as organising a strong and well attended demonstration in Swindon town centre in support of refugees and migrants. We would also like to offer massive thanks to Swindon Pulse, who promoted our campaign, donated much needed supplies and acted as a drop off point for donations. We were also offered useful advice and practical support from Swindon-Calais Solidarity, who have been doing invaluable work in Calais for months. Read full report on SolFed dot org

If you can, a donation to cover their expenses would be really helpful! – Swindon chippenham aid to Calais

Racist club unmasked in Bournemouth: boycott cameo!

Bournemouth's racist club

We have reports that ‘cameo’ nightclub (map) in Bournemouth is operating a racist ‘colour bar’. Last night a group of black customers were turned away despite having paid in advance for a table booked two weeks previously. The party had all given their names with the booking but crucially the management didn’t know they were black. We call on comrades in the Bournemouth area to close this establishment down. Watch the video here:

BBC news item.

tripadvisor: tell ’em what you think!

Leonard Lionel responds to management’s response

The state’s sales pitch: Mal Content.

 

In order to survive the state must persuade each of its subjects, even the most downtrodden, that they have at least one enemy in common with the state.

piggate3

The enemy has ranged from Communists to drug barons, gang members, paedophiles and terrorists, latterly ‘Islamists’. The enemy will be fearsome, alien and ill-defined. Sometimes the state even claims to be waging war on an abstract noun: drugs, terror, knife crime etc.

Don’t be deceived; the state  always has far more in common with its own worst enemies than with any of us.

The most pious and liberal-minded government will be responsible for more killings, rapes and child suffering than the worst criminal you’ve ever heard of, it goes with the job.

Mal C x

Message from Riseup: The Rise of the Surveillance State.

Hello Beautiful Riseup Users:

Are we still needing funding for the coming year? Yes! We have gotten $35,000 in donations, which is amazing. Thanks all, and please donate to Riseup today, if you can.

Did you know the NSA (National Security Agency) has built a map of the entire world via the communication links of all email, chat, and financial transactions? This map tells a story to them about all of us. It knows who we know. It knows who our activist allies and relationships are.

And, as if that wasn’t crappy enough, the NSA is trying to undermine the security of the internet as a whole by putting in back-doors and weakening encryption standards so that they can spy better. They spend $250,000,000 USD per year on this. This makes the entire internet less secure, and makes it easier for people, governments, and corporations to exploit, scam, and spy on each other.

While the NSA claims they are targeting terrorism, they have been targeting foreign politicians and companies, with evidence that this is happening particularly in Brazil and Mexico. This is plain old espionage and corporate spying. Terrorism is merely the justification for astounding encroachments on our civil liberties.

Last, we have to assume this is all the tip of an iceberg. We have to assume there are other spy agencies across the globe doing similar spy work that we don’t know about (yet).

What can we do about this? We can fight it legally, we can provide support for leakers and journalists, and we can invest in infrastructure (like Riseup) that is building alternative tools for social movements.

Thanks, Love, and Rage,
The Riseup Birds

https://riseup.net/donate

Who exactly is the terrorist sympathiser here?

piggyCameron and his cronies are faithfully following the daesh script; of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t getting backhanders from the arms industry as well. Even their own ‘foreign affairs’ select committee recognise that bombing Syria would be a fucking stupid thing to do, for anyone with the slightest interest in peace or stability in the region, or public safety in the West.

#piggate #dontbombsyria #terroristsympathiser

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

Join the international week of solidarity with self-managed VIOME against the auction of the premises

vIOME_43

Foto: Andrés Lofiego

As a result of the legal battle waged against the workers of the occupied self-managed VIOME factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory. Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the factory in all eventualities, the auction process represents a threat and it requires mobilisation in order to be prevented. A first step is to block, through direct action, the first such auction that is programmed for November 26th. This is why we reach out to you, to ask for help and mobilisation to put pressure on the government to satisfy the long-standing demands of the VIOME workers for legalisation of their activity, by expropriating the factory and granting it to the VIOME workers’ cooperative, which will operate it in a horizontal and self-managed way, as it has been doing for 3 years now.

We appeal for an international week of solidarity, from November 17 to 24. Facebook.

We urge you to sign the below resolution by returning your details (name, collective, place) to protbiometal@gmail.com, or even better, hand it in to the nearest Greek embassy or consulate demanding that it is transferred to the Greek Ministry of Labour. We welcome any international acts of solidarity, especially ones that involve non-violent direct action towards Greek embassies worldwide.

We urge you to organise screenings of the below 30-minute documentary by D.Azzellini and O.Ressler, detailing the struggle of VIOME through interviews and participation in its assemblies (English subtitles included). Write to us if you want a good quality copy. You can send us announcements of your events, and/or photos to be uploaded to VIOME´s website, to protbiometal@gmail.com, thank you for your support,

The Assembly of Solidarity to the Struggle of VIOME for Self-management.

RESOLUTION:

After being abandoned by the employers, the Factory of VIOME has been operating for nearly 3 years under workers’ control, through self-management by the workers’ assembly. Today, it constitutes an internationally emblematic struggle, which demonstrates that the real response to the crisis that leaves millions in poverty and unemployment is workers’ emancipation and a productive reconstruction based on society´s initiative and creativity.

The workers of VIOME, through the production of natural cleaning products in the premises of the occupied Factory, have proposed a new mode of production that responds to the needs of society, against exploitative labour relations and the drive for endless accumulation of capital.

Unfortunately, despite the promises of a series of governments to legitimise this important example of workers’ self-management, the workers of VIOME are now facing legal procedures that could lead to the liquidation of the factory premises and could threaten the continuation of the factory’s production.

We, the undersigned collectives and individuals, support the struggle of the workers of VIOME for employment, dignity and freedom against the judicial system that blindly serves the interests of the powerful.

We stand by their side in their decision to defend their productive endeavour by any means possible.

We warn the Greek authorities and the powerful business interests that oppose the VIOME struggle that an attack on VIOME is an attack on us all.

We demand that the Greek government stops the auction of the VIOME premises and that it offers a definitive solution by expropriating the land and granting it to the workers, on the condition that the factory keep operating under workers’ control and horizontal decision making.

We state clearly that we will not allow anyone to grab the factory from its legitimate owners, that is, the workers and the wider community. We will support this struggle in every step along the way.

The workers of VIOME will prevail, since they fight for the just cause of dignity and self-determination!

Occupy, Resist, Produce: VIOME / ΚΑΤΑΛΗΨΗ-ΑΝΤΙΣΤΑΣΗ-ΠΑΡΑΓΩΓΗ: ΒΙΟΜΕ

And here’s the film:

VIOME is a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners at the peak of the Greek crisis, in 2011. Subsequently it was occupied by its workers, and has been producing natural detergents under workers’ control since 2013. Despite being an emblematic and inspiring struggle, today VIOME is under imminent threat of eviction. Find out how you can get involved and be part of the struggle at viome.org

This is the third in a series of short documentaries on the self-managed factories of Europe made by militant film-makers Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler. Find the other two here:

Occupy, Resist, Produce – RiMaflow


Occupy, Resist, Produce – Officine Zero

You are free to organise screenings in your town and use this film for any non-commercial purpose.

The closing video clip is “At utopia’s fiesta” by Greek militant hip-hop collective Social Waste. It was filmed at the factory of VIOME. See the full version here:

Breaking the law: victory for Bridgwater wildcats!

Andrew Mootoo, (centre) with pickets

When Bridgwater Royal Mail victimised a disabled worker, his colleagues walked out; no ballots, no bureaucracy, just solidarity. Andrew Mootoo, is deaf and suffers from severe MS, and management have come up with a stream of ridiculous excuses for keeping him off work for 18 months against his will. He might get stuck in the bog, they said, and anyway they’ve commandeered his rest room for disciplinaries. When Andrew passed a fitness for work test, they changed the test, and used a faulty chair.

80 posties went on strike the day after the government’s anti-union bill received its second reading, showing their plans to chain the working class will come to nought so long as we stick together. The management have backed down and assured the workers that they will sit down with Mootoo and reach a resolution. Watch this space to make sure they do!

CWU rep Dave Chapple said it was remarkable that 98% of staff had walked out (without legal protection) in solidarity with someone they haven’t seen for 18 months, and that he has received over 200 emails of support from fellow trade unionists and disabled people. Royal Mail are now threatening to discipline him for breaking their rules – good luck with that.

So if the bosses are taking the piss, just get together and walk the fuck out – you don’t need a vote if you have consensus. Together we win!

Bridgwater Wildcat walkout for postman and MS Sufferer smashes Tory anti-union laws!

Wessex Solidarity wholeheartedly supports Bridgwater Wildcat Postal Strike in aid of worker sacked for his disability. Reinstate Andrew Mootoo immediately!


80 Royal Mail postmen and women at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset defied the Tory anti-union laws today when they walked out without a ballot to protest at Royal Mail’s refusal to reinstate Andrew Mootoo, a postman who suffers from MS/Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew has been waiting so long for Royal Mail to support his return to work that his pay has been stopped and he has to rely on benefits.

Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, said:

“Most decent employers would do their best to try and get a disabled worker like Andrew Mootoo off benefits and back to work on a properly adjusted duty. Instead, for 18 months, since MS was diagnosed, Royal Mail, nationally and locally, have tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency. 18 months ago they tried to sack him. We stopped that by proving they would have acted illegally. Then Royal Mail tested Andrew back at work: when he passed this with flying colours, they invented a new test, which they ensured he would fail, for example, by deliberately using a faulty chair! The last straw is Royal Mail saying that Andrew has no rest room for his meal break, because it is in continuous use by managers for disciplinary purposes; and that his MS means he will get stuck in the toilet. What offensive rubbish from the country’s second largest employer! Justice for MS sufferers at work! Justice for Andrew Mootoo!”

Andrew, who is of Indo-Mauritian parents and who is also profoundly deaf, lives a full life: he drives a car, shops, goes to sport matches, goes shopping, walks down busy high streets, goes to the gym once a week, all without falling over, getting stuck in a toilet or endangering anyone else. All Andrew’ s friends at Bridgwater Delivery Office want, is for Royal Mail to sit down and give him a chance to come off the dole and work for his living, as he wants to do. The work is there. The CWU have even accepted that Andrew could return on a monitored trial basis. Every reasonable compromise CWU offer to Royal Mail has been spurned: every patient CWU plea to Royal Mail to give Andrew a chance has been ignored. 80 Bridgwater trades unionists are right now, a day after the Tory Anti-Union Bill passed the House of Commons, breaking these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague. They, and Andrew, deserve your support.

Please contact Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, on 077007 869 144, e-mail davechapple@btinternet.com

The Iva Valley Colliers.

Monument to the miners at Enugu, Nigeria.

Monument to the miners at Enugu, Nigeria.

On the 18th November 1949, 21 striking miners and a bystander were shot dead at a British government-owned coal mine at Enugu, Nigeria; 51 were injured.

The miners were fighting for back-pay owed to them for a period of casualisation known as ‘rostering’, later declared illegal, and had been sacked following a work to rule. They occupied the mine to prevent a repeat of the lock-out they had suffered during the 1945 general strike. Because Enugu was home to the Zikist independence movement, which included Marxists and other radicals; police were sent to remove the mine’s explosives, accompanied by Hausa troops drafted in from the North of the country; whose language and even their uniforms were unfamiliar to the Igbo miners.

Local Igbo constables fraternised with the workers, they were sure the government would pay them what they were due; in return the miners assured them they did not want to fight. They would not obstruct the police from removing the explosives, but refused to help because it wasn’t their job. They had strict work demarcation imposed by the British, these were hewers and tubmen: “This job is for timbermen, some special labourers, he should call them.”

Nigerian Coal had been of strategic importance during the war, and continued to be vital in the re-building of infrastructure by the post-war Labour government, who sought to maximise output in the Sterling zone to pay off its debt to the U.S. Many of the men had served in the British armed forces, veterans of guerrilla warfare in Southeast Asia. In 1943 with inflation raging they had been called on to make up the shortfall in the British coalfields caused by the war. They were acutely aware they had saved Britain’s arse and been led to believe their sacrifices would create a better world, whilst their bosses were planning for a future that didn’t exist.

They used their regular income to develop their communities, establishing the self-help mechanisms once familiar to mining villages in Britain, which were the inspiration for the welfare state, with free hospitals and relief funds for injured workers and their dependants. The Enugu Colliers supported maternity clinics, road building and clean water supplies. Rejecting the British government’s mass literacy programme, designed to prepare their children for a life of menial labour, they created permanent, stone-built primary and secondary schools. These commitments were undermined by the economic uncertainty of rostering.

The aspirations of these workers collided with Labour’s reconstructive ambitions and its cold war paranoia, plus the racism of the colonial management, desperate to maintain their privileges. As they had done at home Labour wanted to integrate trade unions into the state, using them to contain and defuse class struggle. The Colonial Office recruited hundreds of T.U.C. bureaucrats and despatched them around the empire to institute modern industrial relations practices. In this they were thwarted by the colonial officials, who considered African workers unworthy of political representation. The Igbo themselves had no use for the concept, their culture of open assemblies and mass meetings lent itself to Syndicalism; judging union leaders simply on their ability to execute the will of the workforce. Their Zikist General Secretary, Okwudili (Isaiah) Ojiyi, used his detailed knowledge of colonial labour law and thorough understanding of its political context to run rings around the bosses. Because striking was illegal he imported the Durham miners’ ‘ca canny’ go-slow tactic, translated to ‘welu nwayo’ in Igbo and spent many days in the mines teaching it.

A T.U.C. advisor named Curry tried to insert a layer of bureaucracy between Ojiyi and the rank and file by splitting the union into five occupational branches, in violation of Igbo organisational principles. They therefore interpreted this as the creation of five autonomous unions, rendering the negotiating structure redundant. The hewers began a wildcat go-slow, were sacked and occupied the mine, followed by the tubmen.

The violence was initiated by a British policeman called Captain F.S. Phillip; terrified of Africans and fearful of communist subversion, he spoke neither Igbo nor Hausa. The miners had tied strips of red cloth to their helmets and clothing to show their solidarity; to Phillip these were paramilitary insignia. As was their custom, facing the mass of armed troops they began to dance and chant to keep up their spirits. Philip panicked and shot dead a young hewer named Sunday Anyasado who had recently married and moved to the area. He then killed a machine man, Livinus Okechukwuma. Hearing the noise, tubman Okafor Ageni ventured out of the mine asking “Anything wrong?” and was killed on the spot. The firing continued for several minutes, some miners were shot in the back. Dead and wounded alike were left where they lay; blacksmith Emmanuel Okafor told Philip: “I surrender, take me to hospital”. Philip answered: “I don’t care” and walked away.

Those eighty-seven rounds sounded the doom of the British Empire; Labour’s strategies of using intermediaries to buffer class anger, and separating industrial disputes from their political context had blown up in its face. The ethnic, regional and even class divisions in Nigerian society were temporarily set aside, replaced by a collective momentum to do away with British rule.

“The radicals and the moderates, the revolutionaries and the stooges, the bourgeoisie and the workers, sank their differences, remembered the word Nigeria and rose in revolt against evil and inhumanity.”

– Nduka Eze

We are indebted to Dr Carolyn Brown, for information and sources. Mal C x

Further reading:

Syndicalist Workers’ Federation: How Labour Governed 1945-51
OWEI LAKEMFA: “One hundred years of trade unionism in Nigeria”
The link is to the first of five parts, dealing with the background to the 1945 General Strike, for the next part you have to click ‘previous article’ on the web page, and so on.
Bristol Radical History Group: Hidden histories of the British state revealed 2013
Carolyn Brown Phd: ‘We Were All Slaves: African Miners, Culture, and Resistance at the Enugu Government Colliery, Nigeria.’ Heinemann / James Currey.
‘Africa and World War II’ edited by Carolyn Brown, Judith Byfield, Tim Parsons, Ahmad Sikainga Cambridge University Press.
‘POWER AND NATIONALISM IN MODERN AFRICA: Essays in Honor of Don Ohadike.’ Edited by Toyin Falola and Salah M. Hassan, Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2008.
Frederick Cooper: ‘Decolonization and African Society: the labour question in French and British Africa.’ (Cambridge 1996)
David Smock: Conflict and Control in an African Trade Union: A Study of the Nigerian Coal Miners’ Union.’ Stanford U: Hoover Institute Press, 1969
Agwu Akpala: ‘Background to the Enugu Colliery Shooting Incident in 1949’ – Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 3,2 (1965) 335-64
Paul Kelemen: ‘Planning for Africa: The British Labour Party’s Colonial Development Policy, 1920-1964’, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol 7, No. 1 (January 2007), pp. 76-98.
Jack Woodis: ‘The Mask is Off! An Examination of the Activities of Trade Union Advisers in the British Colonies.’ London: Thames Publications, 1954

Message from Riseup, please support, we’d be buggered without them.

Dear Riseup Users,

Hello to you, and you, and you! This is our yearly user fundraising drive where we hope you will donate to Riseup and keep us going for our sixteenth year of existence. It has been a wild year of leaks around government and corporate spying, and while we finally don’t have to have boring conversations with everyone to prove why we exist, we are also serving a huge number of new users who became fed up with corporate services. Add to that the costs of doing some major security upgrades to our system, and, well, we really need money.

Donate

First though, here’s how we see our work at Riseup: there are many beautiful and important projects in this long march toward freedom and justice, and we are one tiny but important piece that provides the right for people and organizations to whisper. Not everyone needs privacy all the time, but organizing against dictators, running direct action campaigns against corporations, and journalistic autonomy are just a few places where privacy is essential. This, as we know, is hugely under attack. The way Riseup fights this is by providing good security embedded in our services all the time, so that when you do need privacy you don’t have to change your modes of communication (though you may want to use other security measures too, like GPG).

The Riseup collective loves building alternative tech infrastructures that at its roots are smart about surveillance and security. We love providing help services to troubleshoot any problems or questions you have. We love spending our Saturdays tinkering and upgrading at the hot and buzzing room where are servers live, and then going home smelling like heavy metals. As an act of mutual aid, we don’t charge for our services, even though they cost a lot in time and money. Therefore, we depend on those of you who can to donate money. Time and time again, you all have been amazingly generous in supporting us. This year we need $75,000 USD to cover our server and labor costs.

So, hello to you, yes you, with the big heart and dreams! Any donation is wonderful, but may we suggest a **recurring monthly contribution of $5-25 USD or a one-time donation of $15-$100?** That would be huge.

When you give to Riseup, know that you are also supporting a large portion of our users who rely on our services and are not in a position to give us money. Lots of folks live in the Global South, ie countries financially plundered by imperialism and neoliberalism, and we’d rather they donate to more local tech collectives. Likewise, lots of people deal with the ravages of poverty. We aren’t expecting or asking any of you to donate. But for everyone else who can throw a little mutual aid our way, your money not only supports our work, but the huge base of activists we support.

And, last, please know that we don’t ask for donations lightly. For anyone with money to give, there are so many places for it to go. If you can give to us, know that every dollar goes to collective members and/or our bills. We’ll be bugging you with some more emails over the next month, not because this is our idea of fun, but we really want to keep being part of the vital global struggles that you all are part of, too.

Love,

The Riseup Birds

There are many ways to give us money! Bitcoins! Gold dubloons! Or, you know, Paypal or wire transfers.

From Dorset Eye: Public Fury As Homeless Man Denied Entrance To Wetherspoons in Weymouth

The Swan Weymouth

The Swan Weymouth

If you’re homeless, gay, an Irish traveller or anti-fascist, you are not welcome in the ‘spoons, if you work there, you will be treated like shit. Time we shut down this anti-working class elitist racket. Re-posted from Dorset Eye

Local people are extremely angry following a local Wetherspoons’ declaration that they do not allow homeless persons in to be served. This has lead to a letter being sent to their CEO John Hutson. Below is the letter and details of the incident.

Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to you not only out of frustration and anger but also of hope.

I frequented one of your establishments last night with a couple of friends looking forward to an evening of food and beer and good times at a branch that will remain nameless for the moment.

As I rounded the corner, sat outside your pub was a guy who was clearly homeless and down on his luck and I’m one of those people who can’t just walk by without helping if I can, in any way shape or form. I would hope you too would be of similar mind set.

I sat down with him on the pavement and started to chat to him and he told me of how he’d become homeless and had just lost his father, all the while fighting back tears, this man was clearly very upset and in need of support or maybe just someone to talk to which I was more than happy to help with.

He wasn’t begging, just sat outside your establishment.

As we were sat, the bouncer for this particular branch came over and informed us that we’d both have to move on which, I can kind of understand as you couldn’t possibly have people (especially the homeless kind) sat outside of your classy chain of pubs now can you, what will the neighbours say?

I obliged, stood up and offered to take the guy into the pub so as to remove him from the street and to give him a hot meal as, I’m sure you are aware, winter is upon us and the nights are very cold and only going to get colder.

Nope. Not allowed the bouncer told me.

I’m sorry, but why not? I am paying for the meal, he is a member of the public. We weren’t causing problems and were therefore perfectly and legally entitled to enter your establishment and eat a meal.

Nope. Not allowed. Manager said so, the bouncer replied.

Again I told him I am a paying customer and we’d like to get some food just the same as anyone else in the world is allowed to do at your pub.

Nope.

Why not?

BECAUSE HE’S HOMELESS … Read more

RESISTANCE AGAINST ISIS AND AL-NUSRA CONTINUES IN ROJAVA: 32 GANG MEMBERS KILLED

Re-Posted from Kurdish question

Resistance Against ISIS and Al-Nusra Continues in Rojava: 32 Gang Members Killed

2nd October 2015

ANF – News Desk

The YPG Press Office has released a written statement about the actions conducted by YPG/YPJ (People’s / Women’s Defence Units) against the ISIS and Al-Nusra gangs in the Aleppo and Hesekê regions. 32 members of the gang groups were killed, while a panzer and many armored vehicles were destroyed.

THe YPG stated that ISIS gangs have launched the heaviest attacks since their offensive to occupy Hesekê in the Mount Kizwanan region. Seven fighters of the Defense Units have lost their lives in intense clashes that are still going on.

The statement reported that attacks led by Al-Nusra gangs on the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo also continue, in response to which YPG/YPJ put up active resistance and conducted effective counter-attacks.

CLASH IN SHEIKH MAQSOUD

The statement said a clash erupted between YPG/YPJ forces and the gang groups that launched an attack on the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood at around 10:00 local time yesterday. Two pick-up vehicles, including a bomb-laden vehicle was destroyed, but the casualties left by the action couldn’t be clarified.

THREE MILITARY VEHICLES DAMAGED

Targeting the gang groups on the Bostan Paşa neighborhood and Cendol road from where they conduct their attacks, YPG/YPJ forces damaged three vehicles belonging to the gangs, yet couldn’t determine the number of casualties.

In another operation, Defence Units hit a gang group preparing for an assault on the Kastello road, leaving 4 gang members dead.

CLASHES IN KIZWANAN REGION CONTINUE

The statement reported that ISIS gangs have this morning conducted an expansive operation targeting the Bediî, Xerra, Xara, Til Hemam and Cefr villages to the northwest of Mount Kizwanan and the Radio hill on the mountain.

Describing the assault as the most expansive one launched by gangs in the Hesekê region since early August, YPG said Defence Units have put up steady resistance to the attack and inflicted heavy blows on the gangs.

According to the statement, gang groups have attempted two suicide attacks near wheat silos in Xerra village and in Til Hamam village. Both the bomb-laden vehicle and the motorcycle used in the actions by gangs were destroyed by Defence Units.

The gang groups that attacked the villages of Xerra, Xara, Cefr and Bediî, and the junction on Bediî-Alya road were also encircled by YPG/YPJ who eliminated the majority of the gangs involved in the attacks.

28 KILLED, ONE PANZER DESTROYED

The YPG/YPJ have destroyed a panzer belonging to the gangs at Bediî-Alya junction where at least 7 gang members were verified killed, and their bodies were seized. Three fighters of the Defence Units fell fighting here.

10 other gang members were captured dead in clashes in Xerra village where 4 YPG/YPJ fighters died. 11 other gang members were captured dead in the village of Xara.

Remarking that clashes with gang groups were continuing at four separate points, the YPG concluded that 28 gang members have been captured dead so far, while a panzer, a bomb-laden vehicle and a motorcycle belonging to them were also seized.

Edited by Kurdish question

Good migrant/Bad migrant? By Mal Content.

That loyal mouthpiece of the establishment the BBC has taken to calling the migrant populations languishing in camps and at border posts “refugees and economic migrants”. In any halfway sympathetic pronouncement from the beleaguered political class, all complicit in smashing the infrastructure of five countries, the word refugee is usually prefaced with genuine. Somewhere in the fevered popular imagination lurks the spectre of the economic migrant, a worker from a less affluent country prepared to risk life and limb to reach the UK so they can drive a minicab or deliver pizza, or worse still, eke out a meagre living under the D.W.P.’s brutal benefits regime, or perhaps wait years for an operation on the NHS. Just how desperate would you have to be? Poverty is the worst form of violence, Ghandi once claimed, though I doubt he was the first to articulate that simple truth. Why then is it so despicable to flee this particular form? Swerve bullets and bombs all you like but hunger and disease must simply be endured. The reason is obvious, how else could you accept an economic regime that has a mere eighty individuals, sitting like a boil on the arse of humanity, wielding the same purchasing power as the poorest three and a half billion?

Never mind that if all British citizens living overseas returned, and all non-Britons left, there would be 1.3 million more people on the island, and we would have traded productive workers for retired bankers and bent car dealers. We learn nothing by evaluating these matters in terms of capitalist economics. There is no shortage of anything here, with a million empty homes and fifteen million tons of food thrown away annually. If the borders were torn down and resources allocated according to need, it would just show the politicians have been talking bollocks all along. Pidgin economics are a smokescreen for racism, on which the ruling class relies as much as it ever did to keep us in our separate little boxes. Working class radicals have no use for borders; we recognise they serve only the bosses, maintaining differentials in prices and wages that allow them to increase their mark-up.

So how’s this for economic migration? In 2002, capitalist James Dyson laid off five hundred and sixty workers in Wiltshire and moved his vacuum cleaner factory to Malaysia where he can hire people for £3 per hour. Well if we all work for that rate who’s going to buy his fucking vacuum cleaners at 300 quid a pop? Dyson had free school milk, free healthcare and a grant to further education, all provided by the working class. Developing the product, he was supported by his wife’s salary as an art teacher – try doing that in Malaysia! No liberal economist would oppose the free movement of capital, but if you decline to work for three quid an hour and move from Malaysia to Wiltshire expect to be pilloried for it. The economist knows that globalisation of capital requires globalisation of labour, but the bourgeoisie does not want free movement of labour; they must be able to control it through their tame politicians. Super-exploited groups are used to drive down wages and conditions at the bottom. As a bonus, this creates resentment and division in our class, diverting the blame for economic hardship away from the bosses. So-called ‘quality immigration’ of skilled personnel is nothing but a shameless pillage of the education systems of the poorest countries. The I.T. engineer from Mumbai and the doctor from Manila owe their expertise to the working class of those communities, without whom they would never have reached adulthood, let alone qualified.

“They’re taking our jobs” well they’re fucking welcome to mine; I’d gladly share it with them and have more time for something universally beneficial. Cash-rich corporations are reluctant to employ anyone in the dwindling range of increasingly futile tasks unless they will work for JSA or come heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. It’s hardly surprising; technology makes production ever less labour-intensive so profits – which only come from unpaid labour – fall. As the cost of living, especially accommodation, rises, so does the cost of maintaining the labouring capacity of the worker, and only once this cost has been met, by the capitalist or the state, does the remaining portion of their working day generate profit for the capitalist. So the bourgeoisie are happier investing their ill-gotten in something like Trident, that doesn’t have to compete in the marketplace. The decision to purchase will be made by wealthy politicians and the cost will be borne by taxpayers, the overwhelming bulk of whom will be working class. Any new technology developed on its budget will belong to the corporations, protected by patents. The politicians will subsequently take on directorships. Is it merely coincidence that the first public admission of the use of a British drone for extra-judicial execution coincides with the opening of the biennial DSEI arms fair in London?

Western capitalism was founded on primitive accumulation, the economist’s euphemism for armed robbery: the pillage of Latin America and the Indian sub-continent, the enclosure of indigenous lands, the transatlantic slave trade and a bit of opium-running. For four hundred years, the British Empire did precisely what Islamic state/daesh is doing now, only without the internet. Its state terrorism only ceased when its colonies achieved independence. During the 1950’s Britain maintained its rule in Kenya with concentration camps, summary execution, rape, torture and mutilation.

The Middle Eastern insurgent movements of my youth were aggressively secular and vaguely Marxist-Leninist in character. ‘Political Islam’ in its mediaevalist Wahabi form, was a tiny insignificant sect. This changed with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan; the fundamentalists were cultivated, both by Western capitalism, and its proxy, the Saudi ruling dynasty, who feared the loss of their privileged position as feudal proprietors. On the other hand, Baathist Iraq, in all its secular post-Stalinist despotism, was equally courted to oppose the regime in Iran that emerged from the popular revolution against the one the West installed to replace Mohammad Mosaddeq after he nationalised Anglo-Iranian oil (now BP). Iraq had a million men under arms at the end of that war, the fifth largest standing army in the world. Following the Western invasion they were given a month’s pay and sent home. That, plus Iraqi Sunnis interned during the occupation is now daesh in Syria. In 1930’s Spain a similar totalitarian theocracy was born when British duplicity and incompetence allowed General Franco to opportunistically unite his reactionary officer corps with the fascist Falange party, religious fanatics, greedy landowners and a venal clergy.

Why all the history? Because it’s still being made! These fools brought chaos to the Middle East and terrorism to New York and London; they will deliver us World War Three if we let them.

Nevertheless the politicians have been left in the dust by the popular reaction to events. Without waiting to be asked, working class people have organised to gather and deliver aid to the camps or drive refugees illegally into Europe. Some of the most intrepid have volunteered for the militia of autonomous Rojava at the front line against daesh and their Turkish ally. Back home in our towns and villages, we attack thieving bosses and slum landlords, resist gentrification and austerity, foil workfare, eviction and deportation, and one by one, hound the fascists from our community. Our deeply divided society is steaming purposefully in two opposite directions; the one towards a life based on mutual aid and solidarity; the other perpetuating selfishness, greed, commodity fetishism and alienated wage labour. When the two meet again it will be for a fight to the finish. It’s time to choose your future and pick your side.

From Genocide to Resistance: Yazidi Women Fight Back – By Dilar Dirik

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Protest march of Yazidi women in the Sinjar Mountains on the first anniversary of the Islamic State group massacre

Having suffered a traumatic genocide, Yazidi women on Mount Sinjar mobilize their autonomous armed and political resistance with the PKK’s philosophy.

SHENGAL – The old Kurdish saying “We have no friends but the mountains” became more relevant than ever when on Aug. 3, 2014, the murderous Islamic State group launched what is referred to as the 73rd massacre on the Yazidis by attacking the city of Sinjar (in Kurdish: Shengal), slaughtering thousands of people, and raping and kidnapping the women to sell them as sex slaves. Ten thousand Yazidis fled to the Shengal Mountains in a death march in which they, and especially children, died of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. This year on the same day, the Yazidis marched in the Shengal Mountains again. But this time in a protest to vow that nothing will ever be the same again.

Last year, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) promised the people to guarantee Shengal’s safety, but ran away without warning when the Islamic State group attacked, not even leaving arms behind for people to defend themselves. Instead, it was the guerrilla of the PKK, as well as the the Kurdish People’s Defence Units, or YPG, and its women’s brigade the YPJ from Rojava, who in spite of having Kalashnikovs and a only handful of fighters, opened a corridor to Rojava, rescuing 10,000 people. … Read full article at teleSUR.

Some useful points from the IWCA

We know full well that the govt. will deliberately squeeze resources to stoke racism and its propaganda wing the BBC will do everything possible to reassure wavering xenophobes that it’s perfectly natural to be scared of foreigners. Alongside welcoming the victims of the neoliberal wars we must all be fighting austerity on the ground. We must make allies of these people not rivals. The refugee crisis and the pathetic squabbling over responsibility for their well-being has made a nonsense of the concept of nation-state.

Originally posted on The Heckler

Given that refugees from Syria are due to start arriving in the UK in the next few days as part of the government’s pledge to accept 20,000 over the next five years – Syrian refugees in new scheme ‘to arrive in UK soon’ – May
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34268604 – we thought it would be useful to re-visit the manifesto of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) to see what they had to say about the issue of accommodating refugees. Here it is:

Asylum seekers & immigration

As with official anti-racism, immigration and asylum policy can prove similarly divisive. As a rule political refugees are housed in the most under-funded areas which are duly expected to share out already meager resources with the new arrivals. Across the country, the government is shown to have repeatedly short-changed councils to whom refugees are allocated. The interests, concerns and sensitivities of local communities are also routinely dismissed. Unsurprisingly this can be a source of suspicion, tension and resentment.

The IWCA will fight for:

The allocation of political refugees to areas that can most easily accommodate them.

Consultation with local communities regarding new arrivals.

Appropriate financial compensation from government to local authorities.

Additional government grants to facilitate integration.

Extra housing provision to take account of any extra demands on housing stock.

The safeguarding of tenants’ positions on existing housing lists.

The right to work or study for political refugees while their claims for citizenship are being processed.

The rest of the IWCA manifesto can be seen here – http://www.iwca.info/?page_id=1410 Trust us, it’s well worth reading…

All pretty reasonable as far as we’re concerned. However, we have to bear in mind this was written over ten years ago and we are now in the midst of some heavy duty austerity. Which means that any areas due to accept refugees will have to fight tooth and nail to ensure funding is in place and that they’re not expected to cut into their existing budgets to fulfil their obligations.

We know it’s inevitable that refugees will be parked on the worst estates in ‘hard to let’ properties with minimal support to help them settle and integrate. That is going to cause problems, there’s no point in denying it. What will exacerbate the situation is when residents contact the council with worries about the impact of refugees being parked on their estate with minimal support and find their concerns are dismissed by the council as ‘racism’. There are no prizes for guessing which political tendency is going to benefit from the resentment at having concerns about the impact of refugees dismissed out of hand.

Having a sensible discussion in some left wing and anarchist circles about the impact of settling refugees in areas already under considerable social and economic stress as a result of austerity and a stagnating economy is proving to be difficult. Lisa McKenzie is finding this out to her cost after having written this piece for the Guardian – The refugee crisis will hit the UK’s working class areas hardest http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/16/refugee-crisis-hit-uk-working-class-powerless

All Lisa has done is to point out the bleeding obvious that settling refugees in areas suffering social and economic stress is going to cause problems if financial and other forms of support are not provided and there’s no consultation with the host community. Dismissing legitimate concerns such as this as ‘racist’ and sweeping them under the carpet as some people in left wing and anarchist circles are trying to do is making a potentially difficult situation for stressed working class neighbourhoods even worse.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2015 report.

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Pic by courtesy DeGruchy photography

We pitched our tents on Friday as usual and our comrades from Sussex set up their Wob kitchen which fed our bloc, friends and guests excellent veggie food all weekend. The severed heads of Cameron, IDS, Gove, Farage and Osbourne adorned our camp. The evening’s entertainment was memorable for Funke and the two tone baby, and the Tuts, among others.

Bit of a surprise on Saturday when we took our stall to find, amongst the assorted lefties and worthies, like a log in a swimming pool, Bournemouth Action for Israel, who showed extraordinary chutzpah by promoting that rogue state and its genocidal behaviour during the first anniversary of the last Gaza massacre, in which it slaughtered two and a half thousand civilians of whom sixty percent were children. They were repeatedly taken to task by festival-goers, some of whom were in Gaza during the atrocity, and a steady stream of punters approached the organisers to complain. On Sunday morning the Zionists bowed to pressure and left peacefully. We fail to see what connection this group, which appears to be linked with a propaganda hub in the United States, and to be lavishly funded, has to do with working class culture or workers’ associations, it doesn’t even represent the working class of Israel, let alone that of Dorset. What it represents is the military-industrial hegemony of Western imperialism that has brought the entire region to ruin. A glance at their facebook page will reveal the disdain they have for our class; their mission was solely to counter the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Should we perhaps invite the hunt lobby to counter the sabs, the CBI to counter the anti-blacklist campaign, or fracking companies to counter Greenpeace? No doubt Monsanto, Lockheed Martin, G4S and Halliburtons would gladly fork out sixty quid for a stall.

It was great to see supporters of the Save Kingfisher and SCBU campaign, and Lesbians and Gay men Support the Miners on Sunday’s march. See you next year!

Pic by Stef.

Pic by Stef.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

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Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014, photo by Wheelz.

It’s our fifth anniversary! Usual deal: scaring the taxpayers, winding up the Tankies – Winning friends, influencing people and impressing them with our revolutionary praxis. Every year we welcome comrades from as far afield as Wales, France, Spain and the Midlands; we enjoy frank but good-natured debate with fellow trade unionists and activists alike. A small contingent doesn’t want us there, but sod ‘em – The Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers was an example of working-class self-organisation – Stalin would have had them shot. Still we hope to extend our safe spaces policy to all festival-goers; their kids will learn to swear without our help and please be kind to the cosplay cops, the council would charge a fortune to close the public highway.

Visit our stall in the Martyrs Marquee, if you’d like to help run it, or you have anything you’d like to give away / accept donations for please contact us An advance party will pitch tents on Friday afternoon, we corral them together so that people can get to know each other. If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 19th July, Meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners, this year’s theme will be politicians heads on spikes…

View map Download flyer

Freedom Press

A good start – Kingfisher rising!

SCBU

Just got back from Dorchester where a couple of thousand people marched against the closure of the Kingfisher children’s ward at Dorset County Hospital; estimates vary between one and three thousand. Unless you believe the Echo who put it in the hundreds, odd since they are publicly supporting the campaign.

Conspicuous by his absence was ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin, who has been hedging his bets, he would not have had a pleasant experience, we think. The march was good-natured but shows the strength of feeling in West Dorset about keeping our health services local, it was organised in a week and people required little prompting to turn out.

This is a grass-roots phenomenon bubbling up from the ground. The left are running to catch up; what will it take to get the unions to put their weight behind this? The workers at the hospital would be a good place to start. It’s all very well going to the capital a couple of times a year and trudging round in a giant police kettle, which just confirms the centralisation of power and frankly, is an exercise in hand-wringing. Here is an opportunity to strike back against austerity and let’s face it, save lives.

A couple of things have occurred to us and need to be widely appreciated:

  • It’ been pointed out by a comrade who is a practising midwife that the loss of Paediatric services and the Special Care Baby Unit will make the maternity ward untenable.
  • Next to close will be A & E.
  • They can then have another go at shutting the pathology lab which was only saved after a similar public outcry last year.
  • Then why not just sell off the rest?
  • We are under no illusions. This is a planned, progressive asset-strip. Letwin would not dream of associating himself with this campaign if he didn’t personally believe it was doomed to failure, so the decision has already been taken, somewhere, and the consultation exercise is just to soften up the public.

That doesn’t mean we are going to allow it to happen, if enough people get out to stop it. The health service is a pyramid with a three-cornered base. At its apex are the managers, politicians and ultimately, their corporate masters. At the base are the medical staff, support staff and the patients – all workers and taxpayers. Unite the base and we will cut the top off!

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Under the one-party dictatorship, workers in China are still deprived of the three labour rights: freedom of association, the right to strike, and the right to collective bargaining. Their struggles for labour rights often lead to oppression from government officials and employers. Meanwhile, due to the undemocratic political system and collusion between government and enterprises, workers in Hong Kong are similarly deprived of standard working hours and the right to collective bargaining.

As Chinese workers become aware of their legal rights, they are more courageous in their struggles which are also becoming more frequent. In the meantime, apart from forcing labour organizations to close down their offices, local governments are gradually turning to the use of violence and detention as repressive means against workers who are often forced to accept resignation compensation which is much lower than what is stipulated in the law. In the first six months of 2015, there were at least three cases of labour disputes in which police broke into the venues where workers were meeting. They beat up and arbitrarily arrested staff of labour organizations and workers representatives. At least 7 labour activists are now in prison (see name list below). Some of them are serving life or long term imprisonment due to their support of the 1989 Democratic Movement or organizing independent labour movement. There are also innumerable but undocumented cases of labour activists who are detained or criminalized.

Since the second half of 2014, the Chinese government has been tightening its surveillance of mainland NGOs that receive overseas funding and are stifling the development of the civic society and the labour movement. On June 16th, 2014, the Guangzhou Government passed the ordinance of “Community Organizations Management Directives”, stipulating that any NGO primarily funded by an overseas NGO would be defined as a branch of the overseas NGO, allowing its activities to be restricted or even banned. The draft Foreign NGOs Management Law and the National Security Law will be reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress this year. The purpose of the new laws is to block mainland NGOs from building connections and receiving support from overseas. Under the new laws, Chinese people’s right to free association will be further curtailed.

We call on the Hong Kong and International Community to continue to focus on labour rights in China and urge the Chinese Government to immediately:

  1. Release all imprisoned labour activists, and stop all suppression and violent acts against labour organizations and workers’ representatives;
  2. Ratify ILO Conventions No. 87 and No. 98; namely the implementation of the right to organize trade unions and collective bargaining, the elimination of severe constraints on domestic NGOs, the protection of the freedom of association and the establishment of the three labour rights;
  3. Implement strict law enforcement to severely penalize enterprises for labour rights infringement and to protect labour rights

Anarchist Action Network website SSL certificate.

The AAN website has been updated and new content is being added all the time, however the SSL certificate has expired which means a new one must be purchased and installed, this is being sorted by the collective. In the meantime you will see a ‘security warning’ that depending on the browser you are using will look something like the examples below. You will then have to jump through a few hoops to access the site, ignoring all their dire warnings, and we hope you will; it’s perfectly safe and fortune favours the bold!

ssl1

ssl2

ssl3

In that case you have to click on ‘advanced’ to proceed to the site.

March for SCBU and Kingfisher at Dorset County Hospital. 13th June 2015

angry_KingfisherResidents of West Dorset and supporters will march through Dorchester on Saturday 13th June, determined to retain paediatric and maternity services at Dorset County Hospital.

Meet at 11:00 at Top O Town Car Park Bridport Road, DT1 1XT Dorchester, Dorset.

facebook page

Mass march for SCBU and kingfisher ward

East London Rising

AANThe Anarchist Action Network is appealing for funds to help it put on a temporary anarchist space in East London during the first week of August 2015.

The network, which consists of individuals and autonomous local groups, based in towns and cities across the UK and further afield, says: “During the first week of August we plan to rent a space in East London, give away free food every day and hold workshops, talks and discussions about anarchism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, feminism, ecology, housing, austerity, workplace and claimant struggles.”

The event follows the AAN’s Newport Rising event last year – see this report on indymedia.

To donate what you can to help make East London Rising happen, go to http://gogetfunding.com/east-london-rising

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

Sabo CatA group of around 30 mothers came together today for a flash demo at Vespasian House, Dorchester, outside a meeting of the Clinical Commissioning Group. The protest, which was self-organised through social media, is over a plot to close the Kingfisher children’s ward and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital and move the service to Poole or Bournemouth They were supported by a member of the local Unite community branch and the driver of a bus stopped to show his support.

The protesters were met by someone calling himself an ‘engagement director’, who suggested a small delegation might be admitted to the meeting – and get fobbed off by a gang of suits – but the women were having none of it. The Unite rep told him: “Looks like you’ve got a Spartacus situation on your hands”

Picture from Dorset Echo

Picture from Dorset Echo

We hope the campaigners will stick to their guns and not allow themselves to be split up, intimidated, or worse, co-opted by political interests. The most effective movements come from the ground up. More on this as it develops.

The hospital’s website says: “We have a philosophy of family–centred care in which we see each child as an individual as well as being part of a family.” And: “We encourage parents to stay with their child and there are no restrictions on visiting times.”

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

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

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

A fair writeup from Dorset Echo

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

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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.

If you drink in Wetherspoons – be honest, vote UKIP – racist bastards.

coronetAs reported in the Irish Times The self-important bigoted pricks behind J.D. Wetherspoons plumbed new depths in 2011 when they barred delegates of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, a charitable organisation, and their guests from The Coronet pub on Holloway Road after their A.G.M. The Travellers successfully sued the chain for racial discrimination and each of them has been awarded £3,000 in compensation. Yet more proof of the reactionary mindset of Wetherspoons’ bosses.
If you drink in Wetherspoons, Be honest, vote UKIP, get a swastika tattooed on your forehead. Wetherspoons is UKIP, it stands for an anti-working class community-destroying corporate oligopoly of rich parasites exploiting their workforce and selling a grotesque parody of working class culture to their eager serfs.

Evening standard

The Guaridan

Tripadvisor

It’s a mandate for Civil War!

By Mal Content.

In the 2015 election the tories got roughly 24.4% of the registered voters, comprising the privileged few that benefit from their policies and those wage slaves stupid and selfish enough take their masters at face value. Fair enough; there wasn’t a plausible anti-capitalist alternative and most of us* voted for nobody as usual. The Scots voted overwhelmingly (in representative terms) against austerity and Trident; it will be interesting to see how they react to having these things shoved up them when their representatives cave in.

*Turnout was 66.1%, there are at least seven million eligible voters who either don’t bother to register, or are unable to due to homelessness or being on the run from domestic violence, debt collectors, or the state. Migrants and prisoners aren’t allowed to vote anyway.

In other news it’s no real surprise that 7.9% of the electorate are confused, racist, misogynistic homophobes; that’s not brilliant but it’s probably gone down a bit since I was young. I’ve long suspected the function of UKIP and the funding lavished on it by its wealthy backers was purely to obscure the class issues, giving the tories room to move to the right and drag the others in their wake, and it’s worked, the BBC were in on it as well. When it all kicks off they will use these mugs as scab labour, if we let them.

The bourgeoisie aren’t stupid or they would never have got away with robbing us blind for centuries; they know exactly how to work the electoral system they invented to keep themselves in power forever. Before 2010 the lib dems had positioned themselves very slightly to the left (whatever that means) of Labour so Cameron invited them into his minority cabinet with the promise of setting up their miserable carcases for life – which is all anyone goes into politics for – and ritually humiliated them for five years. As you’d expect he now has all their seats and no more hung parliament, he will now use this majority to pursue the interests of his corporate sponsors in defiance of every civilised value.

The phrase ‘one nation’ and the concept of national interest have never been less valid. The population is split into two irreconcilable camps whose interests lie in diametrically opposite directions, what’s good for us is bad for the them and vice versa, one side must perish. We were never represented in government and never will be, we have nowhere to place our trust but in ourselves and each other. The good news is that there are more of us.

What matters now:

We recognise our class interest and put it first in everything we do.

We understand who our enemies are, and who they are not, don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by prejudice or self-interest. That means working with those with whom we feel nothing in common, whose lifestyles don’t appeal, or whose survival tactics make us uncomfortable.

Have absolute faith in ourselves and our abilities. Look around, we the Working Class are responsible for everything that ever was and will be, when we accept that responsibility and harness our strength to our imaginations, we will do a lot better than this.

Communicate and work together, reach out to and inform the politically naive and misdirected.

We support each other right or wrong; it doesn’t matter what the fight appears to be about. The lesson of the Miners’ Strike is the importance of total class solidarity in the face of a concerted attack. The ruling class are hardly going to let you in on their long-term plans.

Act locally; define your sphere of influence and get a grip on it. Taking everyone into the capital a couple of times a year just confirms the centralisation of power and gives the state free crowd control training at very little risk.

Build support mechanisms outside of the economy, based on mutual aid and mutual respect; think about how we are going to feed each other, keep the lights on, and care for the vulnerable. Abandon the concept of transaction.

Organise within the infrastructure, we’re still going to need it.

The only thing that matters in a war is who’s left standing at the end of it.

Mal C x

Autonomy film show in Bridport, Sat. 2nd May 2015.

1505 Four Horsemen (1)

Events organised by others.

23rd April.
Frome Friends of Palestine. Peace Building in our Community – Stories from three Palestinians. The Ammerdown Centre, Ammerdown Park, Radstock, Somerset, BA3 5SW Tel: 01761 433709

Between Frome and Radstock.

Bar opens 7.30, starts 8:00. Admission free.

​Sat 25th April.
38 Degrees NHS Day: Meet Bucky-Do Square at 11am to leaflet and get signatures for petition*, drawing attention to what is happening to the NHS and to encourage Election candidates to see the groundswell against privatization.​

*didn’t we do all that 5 years ago? – ed.

28th April
South Somerset Peace Group. Journalism and Solidarity, Passion and Bias. Minster Rooms, Ilminster. 7.30pm ; all welcome – £3 appreciated, including tea/coffee .

Mayday events 2015.

We’ll probably add more as we hear of them, send us yours!

Why we celebrate May Day.

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Bristol: May Day Demo – Combat Workfare with Bristol Anarchist Federation Friday 1st may.

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We’ve been lucky to mark International Workers Day (1st May) with some effective & fun demonstrations and direct actions for the past four years.

Last year we directly a large local organisation to end all involvement with workfare – picture of the demo is the one above! This year we hope to build on that, and our other anti workfare successes.

Boycott Workfare have called for a week of action that covers May Day, we aim to target a couple of companies who are profiting from the forced exploitation it represents – and hopefully help out some people affected by the schemes at the same time.

We’ll post more details nearer the time, yes we know its during the day on a workday but we also know a lot of you use any means at your disposal to avoid working on May Day! If you are forced into it you have our sympathy, if not see you on the streets again!

Gig afterwards

kebele mayday

Cardiff: Radical Workers Bloc Saturday 2nd May facebook

Caerdydd: Bloc Radicalaidd y Gweithwyr.

“THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.”

– (August Spies on the scaffold before his execution)

SWA_8x3

South Wales Anarchists will be demonstating in Cardiff to celebrate this years May Day. Originally a pagan festival, the modern May Day bank holiday has its roots in the fight for the eight hour day and is celebrated across the globe as an International Workers’ Day to commemorate the anarchist trade union organisers who were executed in Chicago 1887. They were framed and wrongly accused of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a crowd in the Haymarket during a demonstration involving over 400,000 working in Chicago on May 4, 1886.

The anarchist idea did not die with these workers in 1887 and continues to be the inspiration for many fighting capitalism around the world. We call on all those struggling for a world of justice, dignity and freedom to come together and join us this May Day in Cardiff.

Bring your red and black flags and class struggle banners!

Meet at 12 noon at the southern end of St Mary St, under the railway bridge near the Great Western Wetherspoons. March starts at 12.30 through the streets of Cardiff City centre to…. somewhere with no bureaucrats’ speeches!!!

London: Reclaim the Beats – join the Fuck Parade!

Fuckboris
Class War 12V multi rig street party at 1 Commercial Street, London, from 6pm on Friday May 1.

Manchester: 0161 Festival Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd May 2015 Facebook

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Milano: NoExpo 2015

Noexpolittle

May 1, 2015: from Milan, capital of the crisis, to Europe.

After seven years of crisis the precarious pride has become rage and indignation against the burgeoning unemployment and the growth of poverty imposed by BCE & IMF to most of the population with austerity policies, particularly in Italy, Greece and the rest of the Latin Europe. Social slaughter, plunder of wealth and common goods, the end of the public city are the bases upon which governments build their response to the economic crisis.

Make a week of it:

APRIL 28: INTERNATIONAL NO EXPO CAMPING. Until May 3 with debates and workshops
APRIL 29: THE CITY OF MILAN AGAINST THE FASCIST MARCH
APRIL 30: NATIONAL STUDENTS DEMONSTRATION
MAY 1: #NOEXPOMAYDAY
MAY 2: MOBILIZATIONS AGAINST EXPO
MAY 3: GENERAL ASSEMBLY for 6 months of mobilizations
FROM MAY 3: 6 months of meetings and conflict against and beyond the Expo paradigm.

Tyne & Wear:

maynewc

Support independent anti-capitalist Cubans of the Observatorio Critico.

Please share this campaign to raise money to support the trip of anarchist comrades from Cuba to Europe in June:

Gofundme – Observatorio Critico Cubano

Now that the border is opening after many years a time for change is coming, full of possibilities and danger for Cuban society and perhaps for all of us. We want to make our voices, our social views and proposals for self-managed co-operativism heard. We ask for your help to cover the expenses for our network of collectives and social initiatives in Cuba.

We are the Observatorio Crítico Cubano. Our projects include years of work for non-violence, the struggle against racism, LGBT rights, the recovery of our Indigenous and Black original heritage, Ecology, the development of Open Source computer culture, communities for mutual aid in mental health, support for childhood education by means of non-competitive and non-adult-centered child play, cultural research, promoting self-managed socialism, and the crafting of proposals for building Cuba’s future from an anarchist perspective.

We work towards a world where the public space is the birthright of all the people, not just a few powerful minorities. A world where those decisions, which affects the people, are not discussed and arrived at out of sight of the majority. In this world the highest praise is reserved for those initiatives where neighbors gather spontaneously to give their communities the best they have to offer, via the arts, ecological activism, the remembrance of historical and cultural traditions, the promotion of popular education. A world where the workers are the true owners of the means of production. Contrary to today’s prevailing logic, profits, manipulation and the rule of the mightiest are not prioritized; instead we advance dialog and the search for consensus on the important issues of social life. In this world we are building all consciences are respected, and in ecumenical fashion the representatives of the different manifestations of spirituality participate as equals.

What we are attempting:

In July this year we are organizing a tour of several European countries (France, Spain and maybe a couple more still to be decided) in order to take part in various international forums we have been invited to, where we will be able to show Cuba’s social and cultural reality, for the first time in many years, straight out of the hearts of the people of the Island and outside the official discourse of the Cuban government or international interests which seek to silence the people’s daily struggle for a better and more just world for ourselves and for humanity. For that we need your help.

What we need:

  • Visas, custom duties and air fare to France for two members of our collective: 3000 EUR.
  • Transportation for four people by land to three or four countries: 1000 EUR.
  • Room and board expenses for those four people in those countries for the 20 days the tour will last: 1000 EUR.

Why we ask:

We receive no financing from any government, official institution, or NGO. We don’t want it either, in order to safeguard our total independence and not be subordinate to any external agenda. Occasionally we get small donations from collectives and people close to our principles, unconditionally and with no strings attached. Our activity doesn’t generate profits of any kind rather it is the opposite.

It is also well known that with the Cuban median salary ($20 per month) it is impossible to cover the large expenses a trip like this incurs.

What we will give in return:

  • We don’t have material things to give in exchange, just our gratitude and good vibes.
  • For those who wish to make their names public, we’ll have a list of appreciated  donors in our website with the names of those people who helped make our effort real.
  • Also, if you will allow us, we will include your email addresses in our distribution list, so that you will receive the newsletters our collectives publish.
  • We will give you a recap of our trip, as well as a thorough report regarding the way donations have been spent.

Salud y Anarquia!

apoyoalobservatoriocritico – wordpress blog

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Cancellation of the conference on Israel and international law by Southampton University.

Dear All,

please read below a statement by our Chairman Professor Suleiman Sharkh and sign and share this petition calling upon the university to overturn this decision:

From PSC Southampton.

e-mail

Website

Blog

Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may know, I am one of the organisers of the conference. The conference was approved by the University back in 2014 and we followed all the procedures and collaborated fully from the start. We have been transparent throughout.

Some of you may wonder why I am involved in organising a law conference. The obvious answer is that understanding the law is essential to engineering and it is indeed part of our curriculum – it is a requirement of accreditation. My own research on smart electricity grids and smart metering involves understanding the legal issues that arise from the development of the technology, particularly with regards to privacy of the data collected by the smart meters.

Also, as many of you know, I am a Palestinian. I grew up in Gaza, but my family is originally from a town called Majdal Asqlan (now called Ashkelon by Israel). In November 1948, six months after the establishment of the State of Israel and after the wars have ended, the town was bombed and many people were killed. Those who survived were herded towards Gaza, crawling on their hand in knees in the thorny field. Since then we have lived in squalid refugee camps. I walked around in the sand soiled by the open sewers with my bare feet. I got my first shoes when I went to school at the age of six.

International Law was responsible for our misery. It was used to legalise the theft of our homes and it continues to be used to legalise the on-going oppression of my people by the State of Israel. The questions asked by the conference are therefore questions that I have been asking all my life. They are important questions that need to be answered. However answering these questions risks exposing the true face of Israel, and risks reminding the world of the uncomfortable truth about the crimes that were committed against the Palestinian people. As a result, the pro-Israel lobby exerted huge pressure on the University, which has resulted in the withdrawal of the permission to hold the conference.

The attached statement explains our point of view, and why the University’s Senior Management decision is wrong in law. This decision will have a direct impact on you and your freedom of speech.

I am a Southampton graduate. This is my University. Studying and working at Southampton is the best thing that happened to me. It broadened my mind, it showed me that there are alternatives to violence and hatred, namely respectful debate and love. I care greatly about the University and its reputation and hence the reason for deciding, with a very heavy heart, to take legal action to reverse the decision to cancel the conference.

The main press may give you the impression that this was going to be an anti-Semitic conference. This is absolutely not true. My fellow organiser, Professor Oren Ben-Dor is a Jew. We have many Jewish supporter. And I am glad that many Jews immigrated to Palestine to be a safe haven and I welcome more Jews to live in Palestine. My main aim is to achieve justice, freedom and equality for my people to live side by side with Jews and all people in historic Palestine (and I do not mind if it is called Israel). I want it to be a safer haven for Jews. I hope the conference will be a small step in that direction.

Finally, I want to assure you that there will be no spontaneous demonstrations or any violence from supporters of the conference. We will conduct our protests in a very dignified manner, within the law, with full collaboration with the Police and the University. I will never accept any harm to be done to the University and the wonderful people who work and study here, who keep it the fantastic place of scholarship and learning that it is.

Yours sincerely

Suleiman

Professor Suleiman Sharkh

Court hearing expected next week in challenge to UK university’s ban on Israel conference

Industrial dispute at Refresco-Gerber, Bridgwater, Somerset: Press release from Unite the Union. Support needed!

Please support this major strike in a Somerset manufacturing plant in any way you can. This is a David and Goliath struggle against a vicious multi-national company going all out to weaken or smash trade union organisation. Please share far and wide.

Don’t vote, picket!

Picture by Roy Winter

Press release from Unite the Union: Friday 13th March 2015
Angry strikers set to escalate dispute:

250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end

Picture by Roy Winter

Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday. This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices. At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks. Unite the Union officer Roy Winter said:

“Our members contribute their working lives to this factory, which makes a handsome profit for Refresco-Gerber. Unfortunately, under new owners whose HQ is now in Rotterdam, those profits are not enough: the plan is to double or treble them at the expense of Unite members sick pay, shift allowances, pay protection. We are talking here of corporate greed, nothing more or less. Refresco-Gerber is making a bad mistake. There has been a recognised union organisation here for nearly fifty years: Unite the Union will not walk away from this dispute until the company agree an acceptable settlement.”

Picture by Roy Winter

Two mass meetings will be held on the 16th & 17th March to inform Unite members involved in the dispute of the latest negotiations.

Future 36-hour strikes are set for:

  • Wednesday /Thursday the 18th/19th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Tuesday/Wednesday 24th/25th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Wednesday/Thursday 1st /2nd April, 0645am to 1900pm.

Trades unionists are welcome at picket lines, key times are 7am/7pm. For further information please contact Roy Winter on 07720 705078 roy.winter@unitetheunion.org

Autonomy Films and Bridport UNITE Community Group film show Saturday 28th March 6:45 for 7:30pm

1503 Sell Off

Other Events locally

19th March 2015.

Film – Life in Hebron. 7:30pm St Catharine’s Hall, Park Road, Frome BA11 1EU. Bradford on Avon friends of Palestine. £3 Proceeds go to bringing the Freedom Theatre of Jenin to Frome.

21st March.

Demonstration – UN Anti-Racism Day. Assemble 12 noon at the Town Pump, march to the war memorial and brief rally. Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland TUC, Unite Against Fascism Dorset Socialists and Dorset IWW.

CAAT conference. 10am – 5pm, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL, UK £7 waged / £3 unwaged (Includes tea, coffee and a light vegetarian lunch).

24th March. Talk – Democracy and War Today. 7:30pm, Minster Rooms, Ilminster. South Somerset Peace Group. All welcome – £3 appreciated, including tea/coffee.

25th March. Public First – Local democracy petition, signature gathering, South Street, Dorchester.

28th March. Disco – Frolic for the NHS at the Con Club, North Street, Bridport 9.30pm.

2nd April. Transition Town Bridport – Talk with Carloine Walker ‘The Circular Economy’. WI, North Street, Bridport. 7.30pm. £3 or £1+2Nets.

8th April. From Page to Screen – The Grapes of Wrath. 11am Bridport Arts Centre. £6/£4.

14th April. Hustings with all local electoral candidates, on human rights and general issues at Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis 7pm

15th April. Hustings with all local electoral candidates, on environmental issues at Thomas Hardy School, Dorchester 7.30pm

A reply to the blogger kittysjones: “The ultimate aim of the “allthesame” lie is division and disempowerment of the Left.”

What a fucking cop out!

What follows was posted as a reply to the blog post here: twice; we then asked the blogger whether our comment had been censored, as we could see other, more sycophantic comments had since been approved by the admin; that reply didn’t appear either. It doesn’t auger well for a future under labour if even their supporting bloggers seek to stifle mild dissent.

From the anti-capitalist point of view of course they’re all the same, – should the turkey vote for Christmas? The Chartist and suffragette campaigns were not primarily about the right to vote, that was just a means to an end. They were an attempt to bring the selfish and greedy ruling class to heel, and they weren’t afraid to fight. But it was too late, they let us have the vote once they had completed the theft of our means of production, and condemned every single one of us to wage labour, which however you dress it up, is an abusive relationship; an abomination. The labour party gave the working class someone to vote for that could speak politely for it in the corridors of power then take its seat again without ever altering the balance of that power.

The worst thing about voting is that it’s an excuse for not doing anything, it reinforces the idea that someone, somewhere, is in control and it’s up to them to solve the problems they created, it isn’t, it’s up to us. People waste their time and energy campaigning in an election and then sit back on their arses as if they’ve done something worthwhile. What a fucking cop out. The working class has power, governments claim to have it; government is a conspiracy between rulers and ruled. Your reward for allowing yourself to be governed is absolution from responsibility for the misery created by the society you inhabit. Recent history has shown that whilst elected governments must bend to corporate interests a handful of determined militants can thwart their best laid plans. An example of the futility of parliamentary democracy can be found here: yet generations of leftists have defeated themselves in this arena. Read how the labour member respects our enemies for their ability to frustrate us.

What if labour do get elected? A thinly-veiled corporatism is sold to us on the basis that it will be slightly kinder; and to the bourgeoisie on the premise that it will be more stable than their cut-throat piracy (in other words we will be persuaded to collaborate in our own exploitation). When we start kicking off, wildcatting, blockading fracking sites, stopping evictions and deportations, closing down exploiters, actually hurting our capitalist enemies, they’ll tell us to stop rocking the boat or we’ll let the tories in again, just like they did in the 70’s. Anyway, here’s our original reply:

“All three parties are fighting this election under false pretences, the idea that countries must balance their books like petty bourgeois households and that abstract debts created in computer programmes exert some moral obligation over real people – much less the working class, who even built their wretched computers for them. The idea that there is a shortage of work and money when in fact there is too much of both. There is plenty to do; to be sure, saving the bloody planet for a start, but the only activity that will earn you a qualified right to exist in their world is one that adds value to someone else’s capital thereby enhancing the fetishised status of the socially useless. A true socialist would have the courage to say so.

Of course the tories are despicable and wish to enslave the working class, but need I remind you the last labour government introduced workfare and lied to the United Nations to start a war in which a million people died, despite an unprecedented and inarguable level of active public opposition. Short of taking up arms against the state the British people were powerless to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe engineered by Tony Blair on behalf of his sponsors in the oil industry – Halliburton – who were at the time running the United States. They’ve got form for this; the Wilson government took a solemn decision in cabinet to lie to the U.N. over Diego Garcia which it had sold to the U.S. for a military base, had the population forcibly removed and left to stave to death on a rock.

Now Miliband will pander to the moral panic painstakingly created by the corporate media over immigration; curiously the public service broadcaster has led the way in this. The BBC incessantly prompts callers for reactionary comments, reassuring wavering racists that it’s understandable to be scared of foreigners. Any fool knows that economic migration is not controlled by governments but by the bourgeoisie, who use it to lower the wages and conditions at the bottom, whilst ‘quality immigration’ – importing I.T. specialists from India or doctors from the Philippines is just a shameful pillage of the education systems of the poorest countries by the richest – primitive accumulation. National borders are of no use to us, being only necessary to maintain differentials in prices and wages to the benefit of the employing class. A true socialist would have the courage to say so.

A ‘Labour’ party would stand for the working class regardless of nationality and expose the concept of national interest for the scam it has always been. It would stop lying about the realities of economics, stop apologising for the excesses of global capitalism, stop trying to fix the economy, stop polishing the turd. If we want an end to capitalism we have to stop trying to make it work. The economy is the mechanism that maintains the dominance of the few over the many and we must push it until it breaks.

We don’t want a different government we need expropriation of private property and to take control of the infrastructure to institute sustainable demand-led production. No political party is going to do that for us, the emancipation of the exploited is the task of the exploited themselves, not some lily-livered apologist for the exploiters.”

Mal C x

BEING LABELLED A WOMAN…

Re-blogged from irate

Being a feminist for me didn’t come from reading academic theory. It also didn’t come from a hatred of men. It just came about from being a woman in this society and not understanding the way I was treated on a day to day basis; from the casual sexism of school playgrounds to being ignored in meetings as an adult, talked over, patronised and put down. It may sound simplistic, even trivial, but living in a world where women are constantly undermined and under-represented, makes those everyday ‘soft sexisms’ really hard to bear. Often too difficult to prove, often too vague to explain, often too complex to tackle, but always extremely difficult to bear.

These everyday manifestations of a male dominated society are at the thin end of a large social wedge, where the majority of low paid exploited workers are women, where women still take on the majority of care and household responsibilities, one in four women will suffer from domestic violence and one in three are raped. We are bombarded with unhealthy images, which make us hate our own bodies; made to feel guilty for controlling our reproduction; dirty for enjoying sex; and perhaps worst of all, labelled hysterical or monstrous, when we demand our rights.

Faced with this, it’s all too easy to see women as the passive victims of society but in doing so we forget that throughout history women have actually been at the forefront of political struggle. We must not fall in to the trap of rendering women and women’s labour invisible. Whether it be the early trade unionists like the Match Girl Strikers of 1888, the suffragettes fighting for their right to vote, women demanding abortion provision, the Women Against Pit Closures, the Wages for Housework Campaign, the Grunwick Strikers and the more recent Gate Gourmet workers, time and time again women have heroically fought to improve their lives, often faced with the most difficult circumstances. The fight for women’s liberation is, and has always been, at the heart of the labour and anti-capitalist movements’ fight for a world in which we can all realise our true potential, living in a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few.

So what is the role now for feminists? Well for most women, it’s not enough simply to get more women to parliament, as New Labour has smugly delivered, or espouse rhetoric supporting increasing women’s representation, which even now the Tories have donned. Questions about whether or not we should wear high heels and how ‘to have it all’ (being a successful professional, perfect mother and style icon all at the same time) as important as they are, fail to fully deal with the reality of most women’s lives – not least that of the cleaner or nanny employed by these middle class women to ‘free’ them from household drudgery. Admittedly, it is a victory of some kind that this type of feminism is quite prominent in the media now (from columnists like Julie Birchell and Susan Moore to ‘pop’ politics books by the likes of Caitlin Moran and Kat Banyard) – signifying that it is no longer acceptable that issues arising from gender are completely silenced.

Yet we know that the career or liberal feminist outraged pursuit of legal equality is woefully inadequate. Different people have different access to (and indeed, some explicitly denied) these ‘human rights’. Popularism for these feminists invariable means opportunism. More importantly, whatever value their otherwise often valid and accurate analysis has to offer, is tragically diminished by their illusions in ‘tinkering’ around the edges of society’s structures, changing laws; reforming capitalism to included women. And of course, what this in the end becomes, is to fight to include white middle class women, who indeed are still oppressed in relation to their male counter-parts, in to the system. Why can’t they be rich and powerful too?

This is not to say that engaging in these reformist campaigns are superfluous, when, in fact, they impact greatly on our lives. Only, lessons of the Women’s Liberation Movement, have shed light on the tendency of certain ‘feminists’ to silence difference through their ‘universalising’ narrative. A story based on their own unrepresentative experience. The ones who get to speak on behalf of us all. To be ‘heard’ loudly and clearly – becoming the columnists, academics, lawyers, journalists (and so forth) – as the establishment accepts them more readily because in many ways they are from the establishment (or at least less of a threat). Feminism in this light becomes alienating and excluding for anyone who can not relate, or indeed have diametrically opposing interests, to this middle class white privilege.

Of course the conditions created by capitalism create and utilise a myriad of complicated oppressions which divide us. Oppression and exploitation are linked in a whole host of ways – there is always something of the idealogical in exploitation and something material in oppression. Arguably capitalism did not just inherit systems of oppression from previous societies but that these systems have actually helped to shape its social manifestation. As a result we socially and personally negotiate complex and unique identities. There is a constant struggle between being defined and defining ourselves. It seems crucial that these processes are engaged with and that we all need to reflect – consciously, sensitively, individually and collectively – on both our own and other’s sense of self (and how we relate to each other). Diversity is a massive resource of our movement and yet it goes to waste as we often reproduce the crushing limitations that oppression inflicts on individual lives.

On the other-hand we want to resist fetishing and exotising difference by creating mysterious unknowable others. Not only can become very unhelpful but is often leads to pointless (in my opinion) competitions about who is more oppressed. Most importantly of all, we need to understand our society in order to change it. Understand what drives these oppressions; what drives everything. It is Marxism that offers us not just a ‘critique’ of the material reality but more importantly a future. A way forward beyond lifestyle individualism.

We need a type of feminism which is able to address the conditions in which the majority of women live. One that is able to take account of the multiple different oppressions people experience (from race to disability to gender to sexuality and so on) and represent our multiple identities. One that goes beyond a, far too often limited, critique of patriarchy but has the capacity to imagine and create a fundamentally different society. It is becoming increasingly clear to many, that we need revolution not reform and only an anti-capitalist intersectional feminist movement will be able to truly deliver.

CLASS WAR PRESS RELEASE: London’s longest running protest is under threat from the Met – & National ‘Call A Copper A Cunt Day’.

Picture by Dave Amis Creative Digital Photography, links to site.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact

The weekly Poor Doors protests outside No.1 Commercial Street in Aldgate have been ongoing over the past eight months. But last Thursday, organisers Class War were told to remove their banner featuring the four major party leaders with ‘ALL FUCKING WANKERS’ slogan underneath or face arrest.

Although eager to carry out arrests over the banner, Met backed down in apparent confusion over the legalities. The clash between the Met’s reliance on public order legislation against protests and the protesters’ on European rights rulings means the outcome will have far reaching implications for protest. The Met allege the banner was offensive but despite canvassing passers by could not find anyone other than themselves who were offended – a requirement under the legislation.

Class War’s Ian Bone said: “The Met morality appears stuck in a 1960s Lady Chattersley’s Lover era – where offence is taken on behalf of one’s servants. Do they have a remit on English language usage?

“Only four years ago a photographer was acquitted after cops raided his house of a Class War ‘Cameron wanker’ poster in the window. More recently a judge ruled that swearing at a policeman was not a crime because they heard it so often.

“We like swearing and swear that we will continue to swear in public….at policemen. Defend swearing. Tell the cops to fuck off!”

Class War argue that Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act give them the right to display the banner in a public place. Case law pertaining to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 also suggests that use of swear words alone is insufficient reason to arrest. See Harvey v Director of Public Prosecutions [2011] All ER (D) 143 (Nov).

DEFEND FREE SPEECH – OUR RIGHTS TO SWEAR ARE BEING ATTACKED

NO.1 COMMERCIAL STREET THURSDAY MARCH 5TH 6pm

sweary