Eighty years ago: Malaga, Jarama and Guadalajara.

The story so far: Madrid has been saved a second time by the Working Class, no thanks to the government which fled to Valencia. Durruti is dead, his column decimated, the remainder face militarisation and dispersal. Prime minister Largo Caballero has devoted his energies to re-establishing the power of the state in the republican zone, and Stalin’s grip tightens on it. The Russians have arrived, and so have thousands of foreign antifascists. The following lines from ‘The Authority of the Bootmaker’ by Mal Content.

The fall of Malaga to Italy on the 8th of February 1937 gave the dictator his excuse to unseat Caballero. Malaga suffered from the same government prejudice as Catalonia, agriculture on the coastal strip was mostly collectivised and the city had been held by Confederal militia, only three-quarters of whom were armed; they had sixteen artillery pieces in total. The government’s military representative was Communist fellow-traveller Colonel Villalba, whose incompetence on the Huesca front had inflicted significant losses on the Durruti Column. Weeks of fascist build-up in the surrounding countryside had been ignored. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, nine mechanised battalions worth, descended from the hills to the North and West in little turretless tanks and armoured cars. They were accompanied by thousands of African legionnaires and Carlist Requetés, supported by a hundred aircraft, three Spanish cruisers and the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The city had to be evacuated; some ten thousand prisoners were executed while four thousand refugees died on the hundred and fifty mile march to Almeria, simultaneously bombarded from land, sea and air. A nationalist officer wrote:

“During the first week, when no-one could enter Malaga, four thousand were shot. They were shot down in groups by machine-guns on the Playa del Palo. Later on, courts martial were set up. At dizzying speed, people were tried – if that is the right word – in groups of fifty to seventy. In this fashion, by the third month of Malaga’s liberation (sic) ten thousand people had perished.”

– Antonio Bahamonde y Sanchez de Castro: ‘Un Ano de Queipo: Memorias de un Nacionalista’

The reprisals continued for years, in August 1944 the death toll stood at twenty thousand as reported by the nationalist administration to the British consul. I could speculate that the liberal democracies’ indifference to the systematic extermination of non-combatants may have encouraged the Nazis to press ahead with their own genocide; it certainly did nothing to put them off.

The Communists claimed the defeat was due to treachery, and they may well have been right*. Villalba was arrested but swiftly released; the under-secretary of war, General Asensio, one of the few who had failed to join the party, was variously accused of incompetence and duplicity, and Caballero had defended him. He succumbed to the pressure, but his replacement was a left-wing socialist.

*Was Villalba a ‘fifth columnist’ who regretted getting stuck on the republican side? He was allowed to return to Spain after the war, and claim a Colonel’s pension; had he ever been of any use to the Republic he would undoubtedly have been shot. He seriously undermined the Aragon front from the start, when he prevailed on the anarchists to delay the assault on Zaragoza until it was too late. Did he sacrifice Malaga on Franco’s or Stalin’s orders? Or was he just an arsehole?

The Nationalists then sought to cut the road from Madrid to Valencia, which required skirting the south of the city and crossing the valley of the Jarama River. The action was intended to coincide with an attack on Guadalajara by the Italians but they weren’t ready so Franco went ahead anyway. Beginning on the 5th February the Army of Africa with a German armoured company surprised and overran Republican forces on the West bank. They defended their positions to the death, but by the 8th, the Western heights were in fascist hands. The river crossing on the 11th was led by Moroccan commandos who killed the sentries, immediately followed by cavalry that engaged the XIV International Brigade. Another column crossed the Arganda Bridge, which failed to collapse when its charges were detonated, but was halted by the Garibaldi Battalion of the XII I.B. German and Russian aircraft clashed overhead, the Russians retaining control.

The Eastern side was reinforced by the recently formed XV I.B. of British, Irish, Francophone and Balkan volunteers. The British Battalion went into action here for the first time. Things didn’t get off to an auspicious start; their commander Wilf McCartney was accidentally shot by the Brigade Commissar Peter Kerrigan (the Comintern’s British delegate) before they left their base at Madrigueras. McCartney was invalided out so Tom Wintringham took over. The first deployment of the XV was a cock-up; they were poorly equipped, had no maps and had not been told the enemy had already crossed the river, so they came under fire as soon as they began to descend the valley. The machine-gun company found it had been given the wrong ammunition. The truck carrying the replacement batch broke down, and when it arrived, the cartridges had to be belted by hand. The ridge of land that became known as ‘suicide hill’ was continuously swept with fascist machine gun fire, it was held for hours against terrific odds by one of the three infantry companies, led by I.R.A. veteran Kit Conway, who died there.

“Reaching the crest of the hills overlooking the valley and the river, the three companies of the Battalion met the full force of the Fascist advance. Up the slopes long lines of Moors and Foreign Legionnaires surged forward under cover of artillery and machine gun fire, threatening to sweep all before them. No one in his senses could have conceived that this line of riflemen could hold up that onslaught for more than a few minutes. And behind them? Nothing. A clear field down to Arganda, Morata and the Madrid road.

But men who had come hundreds of miles to fight, sustained by an understanding of the cause for which they are fighting, do not act in the way prescribed by the military textbooks. Rapidly deploying in open formation, the Battalion went into the attack against the advancing Moors. The Fascist troops faltered, then hastily dropped down to cover. Only the sheer audacity of this handful of men could have achieved this. Had the Fascist officers been aware of the true position on our side, they would have overwhelmed the Battalion by sheer superiority of arms and numbers.”

– George Leeson, antifascist: ‘Spain Today, February 1947.

The ridge was eventually abandoned, but as luck would have it, just as the fascists came over the top the machine-gunners managed to get re-supplied and mowed them all down. The following day’s chaotic infantry retreat left the machine-gun company exposed and most were captured. Forty infantrymen then charged the position, of whom six survived. On the third day fascist tanks pushed the line back to the road, it was ‘shit or bust’. Frank Ryan and Jock Cunningham gathered the survivors to counter attack, leading them in a chorus of the ‘Internationale’:

“Some were still straggling down the slopes from what had been up to an hour ago, the front line. And now, there was no line, nothing between the Madrid road and the Fascists but disorganised groups, of weary, war-wrecked men. After three days of terrific struggle, the superior numbers, the superior armament of the Fascists had routed them. All, as they came back, had similar stories to tell: of comrades dead, of conditions that were more than flesh and blood could stand, of weariness they found hard to resist.

I recognised the young Commissar of the Spanish Company. His hand bloody where a bullet had grazed the palm, he was fumbling nevertheless with his automatic, in turn threatening and pleading with his men. I got Manuel to calm him, and to tell him we would rally everyone in a moment. As I walked along the road to see how many men we had, I found myself deciding that we should go back up the line of the road to San Martín de la Vega, and take the Moors on their left flank. Groups were lying about on the roadside, hungrily eating oranges that had been thrown to them by a passing lorry. This was no time to sort them into units. I noted with satisfaction that some had brought down spare rifles. I found my eyes straying always to the hills we had vacated. I hitched a rifle to my shoulder.

They stumbled to their feet. No time for barrack-square drill. One line of four. ‘Fall in behind us.’ A few were still on the grass bank beside the road, adjusting helmets and rifles. ‘Hurry up!’ came the cry from the ranks. Up the road towards the Cook-House I saw Jock Cunningham assembling another crowd. We hurried up, joined forces. Together we two marched at the head. Whatever popular writers may say, neither your Briton nor your Irishman is an exuberant type. Demonstrativeness is not his dominating trait. The crowd behind us was marching silently. The thoughts in their minds could not be inspiring ones. I remembered a trick of the old days when we were holding banned demonstrations. I jerked my head back: Sing up, ye sons o’guns!

– Frank Ryan: ‘The Book of the 15th Brigade’ 1938.

The one hundred and forty volunteers who marched back up the road to suicide hill did not all speak the same language, but everyone knew the tune; to compensate for their lack of numbers they engaged the enemy with a high rate of fire. Evidently the Fascists had not expected to see the routed Brigaders again, and presuming them to be reinforcements, fell back. The breach in the front was filled overnight and did not move for two years. To their right the Dimitrov and Thälmann Battalions held off the frontal assault on their own positions.

There were several costly counter attacks that failed to shift the Nationalist lines significantly, Lister’s fifth regiment advancing across open ground in broad daylight took fifty percent casualties, the North American and Irish Abraham Lincoln Battalion fared no better under similar conditions, their first engagement immortalised in the last words of poet Charlie Donnelly: “Even the olives are bleeding”. Jarama seriously undermined the morale of the International Brigades; they were used as expendable shock troops by inexperienced Communist generals who wanted propaganda victories. A month of bloodshed left both sides entrenched in a stalemate reminiscent of the Western front.

It’s fair to say the republic suffered from a lack of military experience, the Spanish metropolitan army had been little more than a dining club, only those officers who had been to Africa had ever seen combat, or even been on manouvres. Their tactics were from old French textbooks* or gleaned from the First World War, to which they had been spectators. The Russian officers were mostly young and equally untested, as the Red Army was being purged. Their authoritarian culture stifled initiative and they were under strict instructions not to risk capture. The best of the I.B.s were those like the Irish, with recent battle experience, or veterans of the Great War.

*To the extent that Franco believed they were receiving training from the French armed forces.

Flushed with the carnage at Malaga, Mussolini planned a showcase for fascist Italy’s martial prowess; sending his Blackshirts to cut off Madrid to the North East at Guadalajara. Instead they took such a shafting as to acquire a reputation for military incompetence and retreat that outlived his regime. Instrumental in their downfall was the Garibaldi battalion of the 12th I.B., exiled Italian antifascists with a score to settle. On the 8th of March the motorised infantry swarmed into the pass in their fleet of little tankettes. With about five to one numerical superiority they initially made rapid progress but were slowed by bad weather and boggy ground. The vehicles began to get stuck and their air support was grounded whilst the Republican air force benefitted from the concrete runway at Albacete. The 14th division led by the Madrid bricklayer Cipriano Mera counterattacked. The rout at Guadalajara guaranteed Mussolini’s continued support for Franco, to save face, it also led to the latter rescinding Blackshirt military autonomy and caused observers to re-think their strategy regarding mechanised infantry. At the same time, in their capacity as members of the non-intervention committee, Italian and German navies blockaded the Mediterranean coast; the only supply route left to the Republic was across the Pyrenees, and the French were all over that.

Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair 18th February 2017.

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Some thoughts on liberalism, identity politics and the left, by Mal Content.

As a contribution to this discussion on the South Essex Heckler:


The evolution of the ruling class.

The bourgeois revolution is incomplete, although it relied heavily on racism, patriarchy, hetero-normativity, nuclear families and a Christian work ethic to get underway, the logic of the market respects only the exchange of commodities. Our bosses are getting more diverse; the sixty-two individuals who control as much purchasing power as half of humanity are not all white, or male.

Meanwhile the ruling class hedges its bets; it offers on the one hand neoliberal ‘rainbow capitalism’ underpinned by a theoretical freedom and equality under the law but no safety net, and as a fallback position, what we might call ‘capitalism in one country’ with a degree of protectionism and social conservatism to reflect local norms. As the Class that must work for wages is only allowed to construe economics in terms of jobs and money it’s easy to see why the latter reassures a section of it. Wage labour is an abusive relationship however you dress it up, and the indignity of having your status defined by your abuse, relative to someone else’s, throws up some highly reactionary positions.

Both positions of course are bogus. Identities, like everything else, are marketable commodities and therefore must trade at different prices. The USA elected a black president who presided over the torture of Muslim prisoners of war, the enslavement of black workers in the prison-industrial complex, and the systemic assassination by cops of Working Class black youth. If there is ever a female president, a gay president, a trans’ president: they may become a rallying point for those communities but they will set no one free, it isn’t their job. The ANC revolution in South Africa created a new black bourgeoisie, which exploited exactly as before; their police gunned down striking workers as they did in the days of empire. The West is awash with goods produced in the sweatshops of recently independent Asian countries. As for protectionism, capital will always find ways to move around, and to reduce the price of labour to its minimum local reproduction cost.

There has never been, in any period of capitalism, an entirely free market without a heavy reliance on primitive accumulation (theft and murder) and military expenditure. Very expensive short-lived manufactured goods that do not have to compete in the market because the decision to buy them is taken by the executive. Corporations can always borrow money against this because it’s a blank cheque, underwritten by taxpayers, the bulk of whom are Working Class. It pays for technological innovations their bosses protect with patents. Virtually everything we take for granted in the modern world was developed this way, so above all, capitalism needs enemies.

For a century, this balance between market and state was maintained by the vanity projects of a handful of sociopaths: Bolshevism and fascism, the first almost immediately creating its mirror-image. ‘The end of history’ left two vacuums, one for the bosses and one for us. Post-war anti-imperialist movements, including the Middle Eastern ones, were mostly Bolshevik-influenced. Once the Soviet empire collapsed, ‘Radical Islam’ – which the West originally co-opted against it – proved an easier vehicle with which to rally marginalised and ill-informed populations against the tidal wave of global capital, with just a hint of the Maoist ‘protracted people’s war’ about it.

The left.

Since the mirage of state socialism evaporated, left-wing parties have been no more relevant than the flat earth society. They were deeply reactionary anyway; in 70 years of the U.S.S.R. they never managed to abolish racism, sexism, homophobia or religion, all those delusions resurfaced with a vengeance and they slipped seamlessly into a market economy with most of the same people in charge. In the UK it was the craft Unions who negotiated women out of the workplace after two wars, Labour governments that struggled in vain to keep the empire, then hold back migration from its former colonies.

“We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.”

– Mikhail Bakunin: ‘Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism’.

Insofar as ‘left’ refers to position in a representative assembly – which I would have no truck with – relative to the other representatives, we only use it to distance us from the right. Whereas the old left existed to contain Working Class anger and prevent it from disrupting capitalist power relations, the new left’s project was to speed the bourgeois revolution to its conclusion; maybe they wanted capitalism to succeed so they could take it over as a going concern. Maybe they just wanted their hands in the till and a cushy retirement. Ten years after thatcher abolished society, isolating our Class, a smug posh-voiced tosser named Tony Blair told us we didn’t exist. Where does that leave us? Without Class the worker is an isolated individual with no social relationship to anyone but the boss – wasn’t that the aim of the twin totalitarian projects? Either way it’s inherently nationalistic (I include ‘Eurocentrism’ in this.)

The failure of the statist left to see beyond transaction and coercion not only paved the way for fascism in all its forms but preserved capitalism long past its expiry date. We need to look back a century to the ‘Great Unrest’ and the currents of revolutionary syndicalism and self-organisation that developed in the Class to see anything like a viable alternative.

Intersectionality, privilege and the Working Class.

Liberal politics of aspiration and contempt, of ‘social mobility’ challenge you to escape from our Class rather than work together to liberate it. You are Working Class if you’ve got nothing to sell but your labour, but talk of ‘working people’ sets the bosses as gatekeepers to the Class and they’re quite comfortable using the term when they get to define it. If your measure of self-worth is being selected by some bourgeois to add value to their capital – thereby increasing their power over you – no wonder your messiah is a narcissistic parasite with a gold crapper.

Intersectionality contradicts liberalism; I define liberalism as that which postulates a theoretical freedom and equality under the law, but takes no account of structural oppression. The concept of privilege requires acceptance that:

a) Oppression is the norm, society oppresses us all by default then mitigates it for each to different extents according to how well they fit into the oppressive structure, and that:

b) No-one achieves anything entirely by their own efforts, but through their membership of a collective.

This makes it an incredibly difficult concept for many people. As difficult as understanding that the pound in your pocket is not a reward for what you did last week, but represents a complex web of social relations, and that its value is reinforced by the threat of violence.

The advantage of intersectional analysis is that it gives a sharper understanding of how and where systemic oppression is applied in practice. Its limitation is the shift in emphasis from collective struggle to individual conflicts and alliances. It reflects, and indeed encourages, a loss of confidence in the ability of individuals to appreciate, understand and fight inequalities that do not afflict them personally. Worse, in my view, is it defines the individual according to the boundaries created by the hegemonic group, which, for simplicity, I will continue to refer to as the ruling class. They have taken great pains to replace the dangerously homogenous strata of similarly oppressed peoples with a socio-economic continuum. In parallel, our focus on privilege and identity has lowered our sights from universal liberation to the temporary relief of the most vulnerable, allowing them to be taken as hostages to the economy. There’s no getting away from the fact that the greatest structural oppression is the money economy and most of the others are mediated through it.

Identity politics.

The working class is more than 50% female*, disproportionately black, migrant and/or minority ethnic. If you are black, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated than if you are not; at each stage the odds are against you. If you have a mental condition, you are more likely to be homeless. We can only respond to these issues as a united, fighting Class. As a comrade pointed out last week, if the white Working Class don’t get it, it isn’t because we devoted too much attention to racism, sexism, homophobia etc, but too little. If you want to appeal to the white Working Class separately, why not the straight, white, cis, male Working Class? Further divide fully employed from unemployed and precarious, and you’re not far from the failed 20th century craft Union model. Personally, I’ve never identified as ‘white’ Working Class, I’m white in the sense that I’ve got no racialised characteristics. I’m also male, fit to work, with a skilled trade. I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a privileged position, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise.

*Given the gendered disparity in income which, over a lifetime, exacerbates the gap in total wealth, by any socio-economic measure of ‘working class’, males will represent less that half. Single mothers and single retired women are especially disadvantaged in this respect.

Those groups who find themselves super-exploited fight the ruling class out of necessity; for the rest, what else is there to do? Some comrades defend Wetherspoons, X factor and a fetish for designer clothes as working class culture, now there’s identity politics! As an anarchist I’m not about to tell anyone how to express themselves; if a section of the youth decline to integrate with mainstream culture it’s because it has nothing to offer. I’ll defend the right to wear a Burqa because – just fucking try telling me what to wear.

I believe that a society based on mutual aid and solidarity can only be achieved through voluntary association, starting from a federated affinity group structure. Therefore I’ll not condemn anyone for choosing to organise with those who share their own experiences if it gets the job done. It will be fine, for a while, as long as there is a mechanism for communication and co-ordination so we’re not getting in each other’s way or duplicating effort. Post-capitalist councils of producers and users would of necessity call in delegates from groups with needs and interests that are not readily anticipated or understood by others.

So whilst I’m exasperated when privilege is played as a trump card to shut down discussion, it’s equally frustrating to have the ‘prolier than thou’ type refuse to engage with it altogether. We are dishonest with ourselves if we do not challenge oppression where we see it, and that may require some patience, but having two separate closed conversations about it serves no one but the oppressor.

“The problem is that left politics are perceived to be backward looking, while the right has ridden the tidal wave created by capitalism’s convulsions. That a significant proportion of our class see fascism as a viable alternative, we must accept as our failure. Even the anarchist movement, with which I identify, is too introspective and slow to provide practical solutions to everyday problems. What about building community solidarity by linking defence against hate crime with resistance to evictions over the bedroom tax, and general poverty relief, why are there no autonomous food banks?

In my view we need a message as simple as the EDL’s, only based on class unity, resistance to austerity and division, tying local struggles to global ones; and we need to make ourselves as visible and confident as they are.”

– ‘Life after Woolwich: a personal view.’ No Quarter issue 7.

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

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Background:

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

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

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

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

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

– Daniel Guerin: ‘Fascism and Big Business’

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

Churchill spelt out the establishment’s position:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– J. Goebbels, 1934.

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

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

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

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

*(ibid)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– The Times, 22 March, 1934

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ubby Cowan. (ibid)

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

– Betty Davis, antifascist. (ibid)

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

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

– Lou Kenton. (ibid)

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

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

– Dave Hann: (ibid)

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

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

For a world without leaders, elections, jobs, money, nukes or fascists: Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2016.

naughty boyIt was a lovely sunny weekend, with a superb music line-up. We made some new comrades and enjoyed catching up with the Bognor contingent, Bristol Afed, Swindon A’s, North London, South Wales, West Midlands IWW and many musician friends. Big shout out to the Wob Kitchen for all the tasty vegan meals.

Tolpuddle festival is the Ascot of the left; the various historical re-enactment societies and activist groups rub shoulders in a more or less cordial way and Che Guevara shirts are worn without irony. The Radical Workers’ Bloc idea began in 2011, as a new generation discovered rioting, exasperated with the blatant futility of representative politics. Ever since, in the jolly festival atmosphere, we’ve had frank tactical discussions between Marxists and anarchists, antifascists, environmentalists, trade unionists and hunt sabs. There has been a tacit acceptance of the need for militant antifascism and mass direct action generally.

This was a weird one, the main topic of conversation being the tedious soap opera playing out in the Labour Party. The Westminster freak show is beyond parody, so we understand that the concept of any politician not being a crook or a sociopath is such a fucking novelty it could easily be mistaken for “a new kind of politics”. A good few of our comrades think so: “it isn’t really about Jeremy …” – well you could have fooled us. Each campaign group, union and Marxist party in turn pledged allegiance to the Leader. Even the bands made a point of endorsing Him from the stage. The SWP stall featured a large banner that commanded: “Join the Socialist Workers Party Today!” above a poster of J.C. proclaiming: “We’re the Labour Party and we’re here to stay!” Very confusing.

A more worthwhile discussion is the TUC’s failure to agree a coherent policy on the environment. Unite’s website insists Hinkley nuclear power station must go ahead without delay, plus the third runway at Heathrow– which 13 comrades narrowly avoided prison over recently. We understand there’s still a row going on in the GMB over fracking. If the workers’ organisations are not prepared to take responsibility for the fate of this lump of rock we’re all stood on, then who is? The bourgeoisie don’t give a shit.

Since the weekend three quarters of her majesty’s loyal opposition have voted for a new Trident doomsday machine, they must be stuck on the stench of burning flesh. The Corbyn movement now numbers at least half a million, maybe a million, fair play. So apart from keeping Corbyn what are their demands? They are split on the EU but then so were we. We’d guess they fancy a bit of social Keynesianism in place of the military variety, nationalisation and a progressive tax regime, but how and where are their different agendas going to be reconciled? If half a million people committed to direct action on one single issue – preventing deportation for example – there would be no more deportations. If they announced they would not permit anyone to be evicted from their homes, there would be no evictions. If that doesn’t grab anyone they could shut down fracking, blockade the factories that arm Israel and Saudi Arabia, or stop Trident dead in its tracks.

The only people feeling more left out were the Maoists, whose literature still fumes about the ‘counter-revolutionary renegade’ Leon Trotsky, apologises for the death toll of the Great Leap Forward and offers a defence of the Taliban against western imperialism – bless! I suppose if you actually want a boot on your neck, the left or the right one will do. The retrospective justification of mass murder, though unpleasant, is of little consequence when the perpetrators are a spent force. For sheer convoluted self-justifying, revisionist bullshit they’ve got nothing on Unite’s Executive Council statement on Trident which pre-emptively lays the blame for Armageddon at the door of anyone but the only people with the power to stop it.

Still our seditious anarchist literature flew off the stall, so someone must be reading it, follow leaders all you want, we’ll still be here when you get back. As for paying to vote for one, if anyone’s actually got 25 quid they don’t need it would be better spent supporting political prisoners such as Michelle Smith, a respected community activist, antifascist, and Unite the Union official from Merseyside. This comrade, who has our unreserved admiration, received a one-year sentence last Tuesday for helping the people of Dover defend themselves from neo-Nazis. It is entirely thanks to people like Michelle that the fascist threat is well contained. She is the single mother of two children, we send our solidarity and best wishes for an early release.MerseyAFN

A paypal account is being set up, in the meantime if you would like to donate, or write to Michelle, please send a message to Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network’s facebook page. There will be a fundraising event, Alerta! in Liverpool on sat 20th August 2016. Tickets are £5.

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2016.

captswing2Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally: Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2016. View map

We’re back again for the sixth year running, with the stall, Freedom Books, the Big Tent and our Wob Kitchen on the campsite catering for our comrades from Friday to Sunday (F.C.F.S). Camp with us, eat with us and march with us on Sunday. We will have a few of our new ‘Friends of Captain Swing’ T shirts made by the Sabcat anarchist workers’ co-op. If you fancy one for a tenner, let us know through the contact form and don’t forget to include your e-mail address and size. We may ask for a small deposit depending on how much we have to front up – we’re rubbish capitalists!

Pro

We’ve also got a limited number of these left in black or red, also by Sabcat, larger sizes only, but they do work best as a billboard!

Freedom Press

revenge of the working class!

Open Letter to BBC South Today from Palestine Solidarity Campaign

National Action and South Wales Police / Heddlu De Cymru: from the Anti Fascist Network.

SWP-101-logo-Landscape

Here’s something that caught our attention here at AFN. We’re clear what conclusions we can draw from it, but encourage you to make up your own minds.

The posh boy neo nazis of National Action recently published a triumphant, yet hilariously delusional “action report” of their efforts to impress in Swansea. They attempted to infiltrate an antifascist demo to cause trouble back in March but it didn’t end well for them, with the attempt exposed and seen off by vigilant antifascists and almost the whole group arrested. Their online version of events was the source of much mirth and amusement for antifascists who have seen (the backs of) them in “action”.

Less entertaining was the bit where they gloat about all their charges being dropped. Not because we want them to be “brought to justice” (as militant antifascists we do not believe the state has anything to offer in this department), but because of what it means.

The antifascist comrade who was arrested for being part of defending the demo against the attack from National Action was recently approached by the police to be an informer.

Officers from the Welsh Counter Extremism and Terrorism Unit (WECTU) stated that if the comrade agreed to give information on other activists they would “help out” the comrade. When asked, the cops confirmed they would be making the neo nazis the same offer / request to grass. That same day it seems all the charges against the neo nazis were dropped. ‘Ello ’ello! What’s all this then? Could it be that South Wales police and the surveillance state have found some new helpers? Well, it all seems to be pointing in that direction to us.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

at a time of great domestic political upheaval it is easy to forget about the plight of the Palestinian people. However, the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people continues unabated and we have to continue to respond to it. On the 4th June Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with other groups around the country, held a day of action to highlight the role of the technology giant Hewlett Packard in providing technological services which allow Israel to profile and control the lives of the millions of people living under illegal occupation. National PSC has reported this here They have also set up a dedicated web-site about Hewlett Packard which can be viewed here. National PSC has set up an on-line pledge for people to sign to let HP know that they plan to stop buying Hewlett Packard products until such time as HP ends its support for Israeli human rights violations and war crimes which can be found on the home page of the Stop HP web-site.

Next month will mark two years since the beginning of Israel’s major assault on Gaza which killed over 2,200 Palestinians – over 500 of whom were children. Although the time-line of events shows clearly that Israeli violence was politically motivated, and therefore terrorist in nature, the British main-stream media insisted in parroting what can only be described as propaganda lies put out by the Israeli government. We therefore found ourselves in the position of having to protest, simultaneously, the Israeli attacks themselves and the biased coverage of the main-stream media including the BBC. This included protests outside of the local BBC offices in Southampton and an open letter from Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the BBC. Since then Palestine Solidarity Campaign has continued to campaign for a two-way arms embargo between Britain and Israel as part of the Stop Arming Israel campaign – a joint initiative of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want, and Campaign Against the Arms Trade. We also run an on-going Fair News Campaign which aims to hold the BBC to account for its biased reporting and to which anyone who wishes to can contribute.

Recently we have had to try to defend ourselves against opportunistic efforts made by pro-Israel groups withing the Labour Party to use the controversy over remarks made by Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone to try to define anti-Semitism in a way that would severely curtail expressions of criticism of Israel within the Labour Party. In response to this Jeremy Corbyn set up an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party led by Shami Chakrabarti. One good thing that has come out of this otherwise unpleasant episode is a wealth of excellent submissions to this inquiry explaining clearly and precisely the differences between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel. A Free Speech on Israel web-site has been set up which has collected many of these submissions. Many of the submissions are quite long but are well worth the effort as they provide a very clear explanation of anti-Semitism, Zionism and anti-Zionism. Submission which I particularly recommend include the submission by Palestine Solidarity Campaign the submission by the Jewish Socialist’ Group and especially the excellent submission by the UK Palestine Mental Health Network. Alternatively you could take a look at my shorter submission which received over 500 shares on Facebook.

We have an active time over the summer and will be running stalls at the Tolpuddle Festival and the Southampton Left Fest. Feel free to call by and say hello if you are attending either event.

The struggle against racism and discrimination is one that we support both in Israel/Palestine and here in the UK. I have been asked to let people know that on Saturday 2nd July the Southampton and West Hampshire Trades Union Congress are organising a demonstration, meeting at 11am at Bargate in support of diversity and multiculturalism. This is a response to plans by a right wing group that plans to demonstrate at that time and the demonstration organisers hope to significantly out-number them with people committed to supporting our precious multicultural society and all minority communities within it.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Waterhouse Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Report on the 2nd July from Southampton AntiFA

Struggles for autonomy in Kurdistan: New book from Corporate Watch

Cover

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

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

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

Buy the book or download it for free here.

An interview with the DTK. Corporate Watch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Received by e mail – W.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes for editors:

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

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

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

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

More thoughts on the EU referendum – Mal Content.

La cinquante-huitième de Mars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Buenaventura Durruti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Buenaventura Durruti

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pie and mash go nowhere in Portsmouth.

Picture by Southampton Antifascists.

Picture by Southampton Antifascists.

Having failed to make a significant nuisance of themselves in Bristol or Swindon, internet fantasist group Pie and mash squad began making online threats against a family-friendly Stand Up To Racism meeting at Portsmouth Central Library. Portsmouth Antifascists decided to mobilise just in case – imagine our surprise then, to hear the fascists had asked the police to facilitate a counter-protest! Their demo consisted of half a dozen well-known idiots drinking in the nearest wetherspoons, (the Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but never mind, they’re all the fucking same) surrounded by a larger number of cops. As the meeting drew to a close, about 30 locals surrounded the pub to keep them there while the attendees dispersed, Matthew Woods protesting that they were ‘just having a drink after work’. They all got on the blower and eventually another four fascists arrived, who giving us a wide berth, quick-marched behind police lines to join their colleagues, the expression on Martin Jackson’s face really needed to be seen! Eventually the cops herded them back into the pub and we went home. The following day the Pie and mash farcebook page disowned the hapless pompey mob.

fashboast

They did, however feel the need to bang on about it at some length, eventually blaming it on the EDL. What a waste of time

Fash in The Pan by Swindon Anarchists

A report from Swindon Anarchists’ latest meeting View original

On Wednesday the 9th of March, Swindon Anarchists held a packed public meeting, with numbers being boosted by a few poorly judged threats from a weird collection of fascist keyboard warriors.

Under 24 hours from our meeting ‘an introduction to anarchism’, we got a call from the venue saying they’d received information that far right groups were targeting the meeting. Sure enough, a quick trawl through facebook showed that an odd collection of fascist losers with a vivid online imagination but no street presence were claiming that local fascists were planning to ‘smash’ us. As our local fascists main hobby is drinking and in-fighting, we weren’t unduly fussed, but in the context of growing violence from the far right, we thought we’d better be prepared. The next 24 hours saw them swinging between claiming the meeting had been cancelled and that it was still on, but was going to get smashed up by ‘the lads’. Their weird posts attracted comments from even weirder individuals, such as infamous nazi and Todmoredon village idiot David Jones, who claimed he would be along to ‘smash the c*nts in with a sledgehammer’.

threat1

While the fascists were busy playing make believe on the internet, we were organizing. In response to the threat, we invited along anti-fascist comrades from the surrounding area and changed the topic of the meeting to ‘how to defeat fascism’.

On the evening, our event was a massive success, with over 30 people attending, including a dozen from nearby towns and cities packing out the meeting. We watched a film detailing the defeat of the National Front in the 1980s before a couple of short clips of the Nazis getting a pasting in Dover and Liverpool. This was followed by a lively discussion about the best ways of dealing with the increasingly minuscule, but increasingly far-right and violent groupsicles that constitute the fascist scene in the UK. At the end of the meeting, a hat was passed around, and we raised a decent chunk of cash which will all be ploughed in to local anti-fascist activity, before most of us headed to the pub.

groupphoto-blobs

Throughout the meeting, we had spotters out and about in the local area, with no sign of any fascists.

Ultimately, there are a few reasons why the fascists might have bottled it. It might have been that, while they talk a good game on the internet, they simply can’t muster the footsoldiers to do their dirty work. Alternatively, they might have turned up and bottled it when they saw a packed, diverse, well stewarded meeting, not the few liberal students they seemed to be expecting. Finally, it might have something to do with the fact that the night before, 7-10 fascists tried to attack an anti-racist meeting in Bristol, before getting chased off and taking injuries.

Either way, the Pie and Mash squad’s only response was the picture below, which they claim shows them marching through Swindon to confront us, before getting stopped by police. The obvious flaws in this argument are that our spotters in the area saw no sign of them, that the town in the picture isn’t Swindon, and that it is daylight in their picture, despite our meeting starting at 7.30pm!

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

HDP

01 March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

*ENDS*

Download as pdf

Students for Palestine: film show at Highfield Church Centre, Southampton. Tuesday 8th March.

On Tuesday 8th March, 7pm, at Highfield Church Centre, there will be a short 30 minute film about the plight of the Christian Palestinian community in the Bethlehem and Hebron which will be followed by a short talk by Cathryn Spiller who will be running a half-marathon in aid of Amos Trust in Bethlehem in April.

A map of the Highfield Campus can be downloaded here

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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.

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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

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

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.

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

yazidi_resistance_genocide4a.jpg_1718483346

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.

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.

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

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 .

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

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

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.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Southampton Branch Film show Saturday 28 February 2015

Uriel Orlow: Unmade Film Saturday 28 February 2015

Private View 1.30-3.30pm All Welcome

Unmade Film is an ambitious body of work by Uriel Orlow shown for the first time in its entirety in the UK. The work takes the form of an impossible film, fragmented into its constituent parts. A collection of audio-visual works that point to the structure of a film but never fully became one, Unmade Film as its starting point the emblematic yet wholly invisible Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, formerly on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The multi-part work evolved out of long-term research and collaborations with actors, musicians, pupils and psychologists in East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Uriel Orlow In Conversation with Oren Ben-Dor and Jumana Emil Abboud 12.30-1.30pm Booking essential

Before the Private View of Unmade Film, join Uriel Orlow in conversation with Oren Ben-Dor (Professor of Law and Philosophy at University of Southampton) and Jumana Emil Abboud (Associate Director, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem). To book:

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

AAN join rooftop occupation

Anarchist Action Network took part in the occupation of an arms company in Kent on Tuesday February 17 2015.

Anarchist Action Network took part in the occupation of an arms company in Kent on Tuesday February 17 2015.

Reblogged from Anarchist Action Network.

Instro Precision, an arms company near Broadstairs, was occupied for more than 12 hours, from 5am, to protest its sales to both Israel and Afghanistan. Four people took the roof with banners to shut the factory down, with ten more on the ground, one of whom locked herself to the front gate.

The activists decided to leave after shutting the firm down for the whole day. There were no arrests.

Instro is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who make drones that are used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are also supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall.

Elbit Hermes drones have been flown over Afghanistan and the new Watchkeeper drone, based on the Hermes, was deployed by the MOD last year. Although the Watchkeeper is ostensibly a surveillance drone, it has been displayed with missiles under its wings at the DSEi arms fair in London.

During last Summer’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ attack last Summer, armed drones killed 830 Palestinians in Gaza. 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military are supplied by Elbit. Elbit’s share price rose in July off the back of the extensive use of its technology during Israel’s massacre,and the company recently reported a backlog in orders worth $6.2 billion. Elbit advertises its products as “combat proven”, by which they mean their products are tested on the bodies of Palestinian civilians.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Next week Students for Palestine will be running Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Southampton with the following events:

Monday February 23rd, 7 to 8.30pm: Boycott Israeli Apartheid – Beyond the Propaganda. Nuffield Theatre, Lecture Theatre A (building 06/ room 1077)

The first event of Israeli Apartheid Week 2015 – a panel event on the growing BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Movement to put peaceful pressure on Israel to respect human rights, international law, and basic dignity.

The panel will discuss the principles and importance of BDS, and will address common myths and misinformation surrounding BDS, with time for the panel to answer your questions about the Boycott movement. We will be joined by a trio of eminent panellists from various backgrounds, consisting of:

Professor Suleiman Sharkh: Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Dan Judelson: Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Rena Zuabi: Students for Justice in Palestine

Wednesday February 25th, 6.30 to 8pm: Murder Merchants – Israel and the Arms Trade*. University of Southampton Murray Building (building 58, room 1009)

The second panel event of Israeli Apartheid Week at Southampton will explore the murky world of the international Arms Trade, and the way in which the thriving trade in weapons and military technology between the UK and Israel facilitates and rewards the atrocities Israel commits against the Palestinian people, with the massacres of last summer being just one example.

The arms trade between the UK and Israel is a glaring example of our country’s complicity in Israel’s actions, and companies involved in the arms trade profit directly from the frequently illegal actions of the Israeli state and military. There is therefore a very strong case to be made for boycotting and divesting from these complicit companies, especially in our unique position as students.

We are honoured to be joined by three brilliant activists and speakers for this panel, who will give a fascinating insight into the world of arms dealing, explore what is to be done, and answer any questions you may have:

Mike Deas: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, The Electronic Intifada
Ryvka Barnard: War on Want, Jadaliyya
Maya Evans: Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade

Friday February 27th, 6.30 to 8.15pm: Roadmap to Apartheid – Film Screening*. Nuffield Theatre, Lecture Theatre A (building 06/ room 1077)

If seeing the words “Apartheid” and “Israel” together shocks, confuses, or even angers you, Roadmap to Apartheid is essential viewing to understand the rationale for the description.

This award-winning documentary, directed by a white South African and a Jewish Israeli, examines and explains the Apartheid analysis, demonstrating how it applies to the situation faced by Palestinians, and why it is a analysis that is increasingly being used in discourse over Israel/Palestine.

Using a facts-based analytical approach, with input from a great variety of respected analysts and commentators, combined with archival material and anecdotes from South Africans, the film forms a complete picture as to why the analogy is being used with increasing frequency and potency – come along and bring your friends!

Map of Highfield Campus showing the location of the Nuffield Building and building 58.

Portsmouth branch group of Palestine Solidarity Campaign is holding a Palestine Day on Saturday 28th from 12 to 5pm.

The event will be held at St. Swithuns Church Community Centre, 105 Waverley Rd, Southsea, PO5 2PL, Map with the following talks:

12am: Palestine and Sport – Red Card Israel Racism – Gareth Edwards (Lecturer in Sports History)
1pm: lunch (free Palestinian food)
2pm: Health and Education in Palestine – Aimee Shalan (Director of Friends of Birzeit University)
3pm: Why is Gaza Blockaded – Kevin Ovenden (Viva Palestinia Organiser)
4pm: BDS – The Way Forward – Salim Alam (Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaigns Director)

Free entry, all welcome. For further details about the events  e mail. Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

An open letter to John Harris, photographer, from a participant in the Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle.

We would like to point out that these comments are in no way related to John Harris Photography of Norwich.
Stick with horses head handle
Background

Those who were at last year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival may recall an attack on the Radical Workers’ Bloc stall. The RWB is an annual celebration of class struggle anarchism focussing on Sunday’s march. For the past two years a collective of libertarian groups has manned a stall acting as a meeting point and a distro for literature and other items for which we will accept donations in the hope of covering our costs. We don’t actually sell anything ourselves although we’ve carried stock for our comrades of Freedom Books, Hunt Saboteurs Association, Anti Fascist Network and Solidarity Federation, the proceeds from which went directly to those bodies.

Insofar as any transaction takes place, it is between the bloc’s supporters and South West TUC who provide us with a pitch for sixty of your English pounds (debt tokens, beer vouchers, symbols of the state’s monopoly on coercive force or whatever you conceive money to represent). That pic of Lesley Boulton at Orgreave has been widely shared on this 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike; it’s all over the Internet, in all forms from thumbnail to posterised to high definition. Anyone can click ‘print’ ‘save’ ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ on one of these images, and countless thousands do. We had a couple of them on display though we couldn’t say for sure whether any changed hands. Imagine our (W.S.) astonishment when the following message was received through our contact form:

Name: John Harris
Email: info@reportdigital.co.uk
Comment: If I catch you selling or using my pictures from Orgreave without my permission I will be after you! Pastpixels & OTJC have my permission.
Unlike some we do not have a private income & have to earn money to reproduce ourselves so my family can eat & we can carry on taking pictures
I hope that is something you can understand!
Thanks
John Harris/reportdigital.co.uk

Here, a comrade who was present on the day, but did not witness the incident, makes reply:

“John Harris, you’re coming after us are you? Come on then. Your arrogance verges on self-parody, with your exclamation marks – are you stamping your little feet? You’ve provoked us with some hostile language but sadly there are no words in the English language rude enough to express our contempt for you. Were you ever a protagonist in the class war, or just a tourist? We have within our ranks photojournalists who have risked life and limb to document social struggles the world over, not just to make money. Whatever you may or may not have achieved in your life you have just pissed all over it.

The field of Orgreave, on which working class heroes shed their blood, and the near-execution of a fellow photographer, provided you with the photo opportunity on which you have been dining out for three decades. Those workers fought to reproduce themselves and feed their families, and many have struggled to do so ever since, whilst you have made – who knows? Enough to show for a day’s work?

On the 30th anniversary of that great conflict, you stand, not facing the enemy, but facing your own Class petulantly demanding your royalties. You are the living embodiment of the self-serving moral bankruptcy that defeated the 20th century left.

As to your puerile threat, we fervently hope you mean it, but we suspect what you actually intend to do is invoke the bourgeois concept of litigation in defence of the bourgeois concept of property.

John Harris, do your worst, win, lose or draw the actual working class doesn’t give an actual fuck.”

– Jo Gonmush.

France: Migrants, Asylum Seekers Abused and Destitute.

Investigate Reports of Police Abuse in Calais, Provide Shelter.

Read full article on Human rights watch. Francais

A group of Iranian migrants and asylum seekers keeping warm in a camp in Calais in November, 2014.© 2014 Human Rights Watch

(Paris) – Asylum seekers and migrants living in destitution in the port city of Calais experience harassment and abuse at the hands of French police, Human Rights Watch said today. The abuses described to Human Rights Watch include beatings and attacks with pepper spray as the migrants and asylum seekers walked in the street or hid in trucks in the hope of traveling to the United Kingdom.

Several thousand asylum seekers and migrants, most from Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, are living in makeshift camps or in the streets in Calais. Some said that their treatment by police, a lack of housing for asylum seekers, and delays in the French asylum system had deterred them from seeking asylum in France.

“Asylum seekers and migrants shouldn’t have to face police violence in France, and no one who applies for asylum should be left to live in the street,” said Izza Leghtas, Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Providing adequate reception conditions and humane treatment for asylum seekers isn’t only a matter of meeting legal obligations, it is also the right thing to do to help end the limbo for many asylum seekers in Calais.” More.

Message from riseup: Security is not a crime.

View on Riseup dot net: [en] [es] [pt] [de] [fr] [it] [el] [ca]

[en] Security is not a crime

On Tuesday December 16th, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centers were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, and Madrid. Books, leaflets, computers were seized and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiencia Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management, and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualized facts attributed to each of them” [2]. When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” [1]; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests.

Four of the detainees have been released, but seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, “the production of publications and forms of communication”, and the fact that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the RISE UP server” [2].

We reject this Kafka-esque criminalization of social movements, and the ludicrous and extremely alarming implication that protecting one’s internet privacy is tantamount to terrorism.

Riseup, like any other email provider, has an obligation to protect the privacy of its users. Many of the “extreme security measures” used by Riseup are common best practices for online security and are also used by providers such as hotmail, GMail or Facebook. However, unlike these providers, Riseup is not willing to allow illegal backdoors or sell our users’ data to third parties.

The European Parliament’s report on the US NSA surveillance program states that “privacy is not a luxury right, but the foundation stone of a free and democratic society” [3]. Recent revelations about the extent to which States violate everyone’s right to privacy show that everything that can be spied upon will be spied upon [4]. Furthermore, we know that criminalizing people for using privacy tools also has a chilling effect on everybody, and human-rights defenders, journalists, and activists, in particular. Giving up your basic right to privacy for fear of being flagged as a terrorist is unacceptable.

[es] La seguridad no es un crimen

El Jueves 16 de diciembre, una operación policial a gran escala tuvo lugar en el Estado Español. Catorce viviendas y centros sociales fueron registrados en Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, y Madrid. Libros, panfletos y ordenadores fueron requisados y once personas fueron arrestadas y enviadas a la Audiencia Nacional, un jurado especial para casos de “interés nacional”, in Madrid. Se les acusa de incorporación, promoción, gestión y participación de una organización terrorista. Sin embargo, abogadas de la defensa denuncian falta de transparencia, sus clientes han tenido que declarar sin saber de qué se les acusa. “Hablan de terrorismo sin especificar actos criminales concretos, o hechos concretos individuales atribuídos a cada una” [2]. Cuando fue questionado por esto, el Juéz Bermúdez respondió “No estoy investigando hechos específicos, estoy investigando la organización, y la amenaza que podrían suponer en el futuro” [1]; convirtiendo esto en un caso más de arresto preventivo en apariencia.

Cuatro de las detenidos han sido puestos en libertad, pero siete han sido encarcelados pendientes de juicio. Las razones que ha dado el juez para su detención prolongada incluye la posesión de ciertos libros, “la producción de publicaciones y formas de comuniación”, y el hecho que los defendidos “usan correos con medidas de seguridad extremas, como el servidor de Riseup” [2].

Nosotras rechazamos esta criminalización kafkiana de los movimientos sociales, y la absurda y extrema implicación de que proteger tu propia privacidad en Internet es equivalente a terrorismo.

Riseup, como cualquier proveedor de correo, tiene la obligación de proteger la privacidad de sus usuarias. Muchas de las “medidas de seguridad extremas” usadas por Riseup son buenas prácticas comunes para la seguridad online y son usadas a su vez por proveedores como hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. Sin embargo, a diferencia de estos proveedores, Riseup no está dispuesto a permitir puertas traseras ilegales o vender los datos de sus usuarias a terceras partes.

p. El informe del Parlamento Europeo sobre el programa de vigilancia de la NSA de EE.UU. Declara que “la privacidad no es un derecho de lujo, sino los cimientos de una sociedad libre y democrática” [3]. Revelaciones recientes sobre el alcance de la violación del derecho a la privacidad de todas por los Estados muestran que todo lo que se pueda espiar, será espiado [4]. Más aún, sabemos que criminalizar a las personas por usar herramientas de privacidad tiene un efecto escalofriante en todo el mundo, y en defensoras de Derechos Humanos, periodistas, y activistas en particular. Renunciar a tu derecho básico a la privacidad por el miedo a ser etiquetada como terrorista es inaceptable.

[pt] Segurança não é crime

Na terça-feira, 16 de dezembro, uma grande operação policial ocorreu no Estado Espanhol. Catorze casas e centros sociais foram invadidos em Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa e Madrid. Livros, panfletos e computadores foram apreendidos e onze pessoas foram presas e enviadas para a Audiência Nacional, uma corte especial que cuida das questões de “interesse nacional”, em Madrid. Eles são acusados de incorporação, promoção, gestão e pertencimento de uma organização terrorista. No entanto, os advogados de defesa denunciaram a falta de transparência, dizendo que seus clientes tiveram que dar declarações sem saber pelo que estavam sendo acusados. “[Eles] falam de terrorismo sem especificar os atos criminais concretos ou fatos concretos individualizados atribuídos a cada um deles.”[2] Quando questionado sobre isso, o Juiz Bermúdez respondeu:”Eu não estou investigando atos específicos, eu estou investigando a organização e a ameaça que ela pode representar no futuro”[1]; tornando assim mais um caso de prisões aparentemente preventivas.

Quatro detidos foram soltos, mas sete estão presos aguardando o julgamento. A razão dada pelo juíz para continuar a detenção deles inclui a posse de certos livros, “a produção de publicações e formas de comunicação” e o fato de que os réus “usam emails com medidas extremas de segurança, como o servidor RISE UP”[2].

Nós rejeitamos esta criminalização kafkiana dos movimentos sociais e a implicação ridícula e extremamente alarmante de que proteger a sua privacidade na internet seja equivalente à terrorismo.

O Riseup, assim como qualquer outro provedor de email, possui a obrigação de proteger a privacidade de seus usuários. Muitas das “medidas extremas de segurança” usadas pelo Riseup são boas práticas comuns para a segurança online e são também usadas por provedores como hotmail, GMail ou Facebook. Entretanto, diferentemente desses provedores, o Riseup não está disposto a permitir a instalação de backdoors ilegais ou a vender os dados dos usuários para terceiros.

O relatório do Parlamento Europeu sobre o programa de vigilância da Agência de Segurança Nacional (NSA) dos Estados Unidos afirma que “a privacidade não é um direito de luxo, mas a pedra fundamental de uma sociedade livre e democrática”[3]. As revelações recentes sobre a extensão da violação pelos Estados do direito de todos à privacidade mostra que tudo que puder ser espionado será espionado[4]. Além disso, nós sabemos que a criminalização das pessoas por usarem ferramentas de privacidade também tem um efeito paralisante em todo mundo e, em especial, nos defensores de direitos humanos, jornalistas e ativistas. Abrir mão do seu direito básico à privacidade por medo de ser marcado como um terrorista é inaceitável.

[de] Sicherheit ist kein Verbrechen

Am Dienstag, den 16. Dezember fand im spanischen Staat eine große Polizeioperation statt. Vierzehn Häuser und soziale Zentren in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa und Madrid wurden durchsucht. Bücher, Flugblätter und Computer wurden beschlagnahmt, elf Menschen verhaftet und zur Audiencia Nacional verbracht, einem Sondergericht in Madrid, das für Anliegen “von nationalem Interesse” zuständig ist. Ihnen wird die Gründung, Bewerbung, Verwaltung und Mitgliedschaft in einer terroristischen Organisation vorgeworfen. Allerdings beklagen Anwält_innen der Verteidigung einen Mangel an Transparenz; ihnen zufolge wurden ihre Klient_innen zu Aussagen gezwungen ohne zu wissen, was ihnen vorgeworfen wird. “[Sie] sprechen von Terrorismus ohne konkrete kriminelle Handlungen zu benennen oder konkrete individualisierte Tatsachen, die den einzelnen zugeschrieben werden könnten” [2]. Als er damit konfrontiert wurde, reagierte Richter Bermúdez mit den Worten: “Ich untersuche nicht spezifische Handlungen, ich untersuche eine Organisation und die Bedrohung, die in Zukunft von ihr ausgehen könnte” [1]; damit handelt es sich um einen weiteren Fall anscheinend präventativer Verhaftungen.

Vier der Häftlinge wurden inzwischen freigelassen, sieben bleiben jedoch in Untersuchungshaft. Die Gründe, die vom Richter für ihre fortgesetzte Haft angegeben wurden, beinhalten den Besitz bestimmter Bücher, “die Herstellung von Publikationen und Formen der Kommunikation”, sowie die Tatsache dass die Angeklagten “eMail mit extremen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen verwendeten, so wie den RISE UP Server” [2].

Wir verurteilen diese kafkaeske Kriminalisierung sozialer Bewegungen und die irrsinnige und außerordentlich alarmierende Schlussfolgerung, den Schutz der eigenen Privatsphäre mit Terrorismus gleichzusetzen.

Wie jeder andere eMail-Provider hat Riseup die Pflicht, die Privatsphäre seiner Nutzer_innen zu schützen. Viele der “extremen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen”, die Riseup einsetzt, sind gängige Musterlösungen (sog. “Best Practices”), die auch von Providern wie hotmail, GMail oder Facebook eingesetzt werden. Anders als diese Provider ist Riseup allerdings nicht bereit, illegale Hintertüren zuzulassen oder die Daten ihrer Nutzer_innen an Dritte zu verkaufen.

Der Bericht des Europaparlaments über das US-amerikanische NSA-Überwachungsprogramm stellt fest, dass “das Recht auf Achtung der Privatsphäre kein Luxus ist, sondern einen Grundpfeiler der freien und demokratischen Gesellschaft darstellt” [3]. Die jüngsten Enthüllungen über das Ausmaß, in dem Staaten die Rechte aller Menschen auf Privatsphäre missachten, zeigen, dass alles was ausspioniert werden kann auch ausspioniert wird [4]. Darüberhinaus wissen wir, dass die Kriminalisierung einzelner weil sie Werkzeuge zum Schutz der Privatsphäre verwendet haben, eine Einschüchterungswirkung auf alle hat, und ganz besonders auf Menschenrechtsverteidiger_innen, Journalist_innen und Aktivist_innen. Das eigene Grundrecht auf Privatsphäre aufgeben zu müssen aus Angst, als Terrorist_in markiert zu werden, ist inakzeptabel.

[fr] La sécurité n’est pas un crime

Mardi 16 décembre, une opération policière d’envergure a eu lieu en Espagne. 14 domiciles et centres sociaux ont été perquisitionnés à Barcelone, Sabadell, Manresa et Madrid. Livres, brochures et ordinateurs ont été saisis. 11 personnes ont été arrêtées et déférées devant l’Audiencia Nacional espagnole, un haut tribunal à Madrid s’occupant des affaires d'”intérêt national”. Elles sont accusées de recrutement, promotion, organisation et appartenance à une organisation terroriste. Toutefois, les avocats de la défense dénoncent un manque de transparence, précisant que leurs client·es ont été interrogé·es sans savoir de quoi ils ou elles étaient accusé·es. “[Ils] parlent de terrorisme sans préciser les crimes reprochés, ni même les actes individuels attribués à chacun d’entre eux” [2]. Interrogé, le juge Bermúdez répond: “Je n’enquête pas sur des faits spécifiques, j’enquête sur l’organisation, et le danger qu’ils peuvent représenter à l’avenir” [1]; créant ainsi un nouvel exemple d’arrestation préventive.

Quatre des détenu·es ont été libéré·es, mais 7 restent en détention préventive pour leur procès à venir. Les motifs présentés par le juge pour leur incarcération sont la détention de certains livres, “la production de publications et de moyens de communication”, et le fait que les accusé·es “utilisent les emails avec des mesures de sécurité extrêmes, comme les serveurs RISE UP” [2].

Nous rejetons cette criminalisation kafkaïenne des mouvements sociaux, ainsi que l’implication que la protection de la vie privée sur internet est équivalente au terrorisme. Cela est absurde et extrêmement alarmant.

Riseup, comme d’autres fournisseurs de courrier électronique, a l’obligation de protéger la confidentialité de ses utilisateurs et utilisatrices. Beaucoup des “mesures de sécurité extrêmes” utilisées par Riesup sont de bonnes pratiques communément admises en termes de sécurité sur Internet et sont aussi utilisées par des fournisseurs de services comme hotmail, GMail ou Facebook. Toutefois, contrairement à ces fournisseurs, Riseup ne veut pas permettre la mise en place de portes dérobées illégales, ni vendre les données de ses utilisateurs et utilisatrices à des tierces parties.

Le rapport du parlement européen sur le programme de surveillance de la NSA “souligne que le respect de la vie privée n’est pas un droit de luxe, mais constitue la pierre angulaire d’une société libre et démocratique” [3]. Des révélations récentes sur l’étendue des violations de la vie privée par les États montrent que tout ce qui peut être épié le sera [4]. De plus, nous savons que la criminalisation de l’usage des outils de protection de la vie privée a un effet dissuasif sur toutes et tous, en particulier les défenseurs des droits humains, les journalistes et les activistes. Abandonner ses droits fondamentaux à la vie privée par peur d’être identifié·e comme terroriste est inacceptable.

[it] La sicurezza non è un crimine

Martedì 16 dicembre 2014 in Spagna si è svolta una vasta operazione di polizia. Quattordici tra case e centri sociali sono stati perquisiti a Barcellona, Sabadell, Manresa, e Madrid. Libri, riviste, e computer sono stati sequestrati e undici persone sono state arrestate e inviate alla Audiencia Nacional, il tribunale speciale con sede a Madrid che si occupa di casi di “interesse nazionale”. Sono accusati di aver costituito, promosso, diretto e partecipato a un’organizzazione terroristica. D’altra parte gl’avvocat* della difesa hanno denunciato la mancanza di trasparenza dell’accusa e hanno riferito che le persone che seguono sono state costrette a rilasciare dichiarazioni senza sapere di che cosa erano accusate in concreto. “Parlano di terrorismo senza specificare atti criminali concreti, o atti specifici attribuibili individualmente”[1]. Interrogato al riguardo, il giudice dell’udienza preliminare ha risposto: “Non sto indagando atti specifici, sto indagando l’organizzazione, e il pericolo che potrà rappresentare in futuro”[2], a dimostrare che si tratta dell’ennesimo caso di arresti preventivi.

Quattro degl’arrestat* sono stat* rilasciat*, mentre sette resteranno in carcere in attesa di giudizio. Tra le motivazioni del giudice per la custodia cautelare, si includono il possesso di alcuni libri, “la produzione di pubblicazioni e altre forme di comunicazione” e il fatto che gl’accusat* “utilizzassero caselle di posta con misure di sicurezza eccezionali, come il server RISE UP”[2].

Rifiutiamo questa criminalizzazione kafkiana dei movimenti sociali e l’implicazione ridicola ed estremamente allarmante che proteggere la propria privacy su Internet equivalga a un atto terroristico.

Riseup, come ogni altro fornitore di servizi di posta, è obbligata a proteggere la riservatezza dei suoi utenti. Molte delle “misure di sicurezza eccezionali” usate da Riseup sono buone pratiche invalse nel campo della sicurezza in rete e sono le stesse che vengono usate da provider come Hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. D’altra parte, a differenza di questi servizi, Riseup si rifiuta di inserire backdoor illegali o di vendere i dati dei propri utenti a terze parti.

Il rapporto del parlamento europeo sul programma di sorveglianza della NSA statunitense dichiara che “la privacy non è un diritto di lusso, ma il primo fondamento di una società libera e democratica”[3]. Le recenti rivelazioni sulla portata delle violazioni del diritto alla privacy da parte degli stati dimostrano che tutto ciò che può essere intercettato sarà intercettato[4]. Inoltre sappiamo che criminalizzare chi usa gli strumenti di difesa della privacy ha l’effetto di una doccia fredda su tutti, e in particolare su difensor* dei diritti umani, giornalist* e attivist*. Rinunciare ai propri diritti fondamentali per paura di essere segnalati come terroristi è inaccettabile.

[el] Η ασφάλεια δεν είναι έγκλημα

Την Τρίτη 16 Δεκέμβρη μια μεγάλη αστυνομική επιχείρηση έλαβε χώρα στο ισπανικό κράτος. Έγιναν εισβολές της αστυνομίας σε δεκατέσσερα σπίτια και κοινωνικά κέντρα στις πόλεις Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, και Madrid. Κατασχέθηκαν βιβλία, φυλλάδια, υπολογιστές και συνελήφθησαν έντεκα άνθρωποι και μεταφέρθηκαν στη Μαδρίτη, στο “Audiencia Nacional” ένα ειδικό δικαστήριο που χειρίζεται υποθέσεις “εθνικού ενδιαφέροντος”. Οι άνθρωποι αυτοί κατηγορούνται για σύσταση, προώθηση, διεύθυνση και συμμετοχή σε τρομοκρατική οργάνωση. Παρόλα αυτά, οι συνήγοροι υπεράσπισης θέτουν ζήτημα έλλειψης διαφάνειας, αναφέροντας πως οι πελάτες τους έπρεπε να απολογηθούν χωρίς να γνωρίζουν συγκεκριμένα τις κατηγορίες που τους αποδίδονται. “Μιλάνε για τρομοκρατία χωρίς να ορίζουν συγκεκριμένες εγκληματικές πράξεις ή συγκεκριμένα εξατομικευμένα γεγονότα για κάθε μια και έναν από αυτούς (στμ τους κατηγορούμενους)” [2]. Όταν ο δικαστής Bermúdez ήρθε αντιμέτωπος με αυτό τον ισχυρισμό, απάντησε: “Δεν ερευνώ συγκεκριμένες πράξεις, ερευνώ την οργάνωση και την απειλή που μπορεί να συνιστά στο μέλλον” [1], καθιστώντας την επιχείρηση αυτή άλλη μια υπόθεση προληπτικών συλλήψεων.

Τέσσερις από τους προσαχθέντες έχουν αφεθεί ελεύθεροι, αλλά επτά παραμένουν φυλακισμένοι και αναμένουν τη δίκη. Η αιτιολογία που δόθηκε από το δικαστή για την παράταση της κράτησής τους, περιλαμβάνει μεταξύ άλλων την κατοχή συγκεκριμένων βιβλίων, “την παραγωγή εκδόσεων και μορφών επικοινωνίας”, και το γεγονός ότι οι κατηγορούμενοι “χρησιμοποιούσαν email με εξαιρετικό επίπεδο ασφάλειας όπως ο RISE UP server [2].

Εμείς απορρίπτουμε την καφκική εγκληματοποίηση των κοινωνικών κινημάτων, και το γελοίο αλλά και εξαιρετικά ανησυχητικό συμπέρασμα ότι η προστασία της ιδιωτικότητάς μας στο διαδίκτυο ισοδυναμεί με τρομοκρατία.

Το Riseup, όπως κάθε άλλος πάροχος email, έχει την υποχρέωση να προστατεύει την ιδιωτικότητα των χρηστών του. Πολλά από τα “εξαιρετικά μέτρα ασφάλειας” που χρησιμοποιούνται από τη Riseup είναι κοινές βέλτιστες επιλογές για την ασφάλεια στο διαδίκτυο και χρησιμοποιούνται από παρόχους όπως το hotmail, το GMail ή το Facebook. Παρόλα αυτά, σε αντίθεση με αυτούς τους παρόχους, το Riseup δεν είναι διατεθειμένο να επιτρέψει παράνομες “πίσω πόρτες” ή να πουλήσει τα δεδομένα των χρηστών σε τρίτους.

Η έκθεση του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου σε σχέση με τα προγράμματα επιτήρησης της NSA των ΗΠΑ αναφέρει ότι “η ιδιωτικότητα δεν είναι δικαίωμα πολυτελείας, αλλά ο θεμέλιος λίθος για μια ελεύθερη και δημοκρατική κοινωνία” [3]. Οι πρόσφατες αποκαλύψεις σχετικά με την έκταση της παραβίασης από τις ΗΠΑ του δικαιώματος όλων μας στην ιδιωτικότητα, δείχνουν ότι οτιδήποτε μπορεί να είναι αντικείμενο παρακολούθησης θα παρακολουθείται [4]. Επιπλέον, γνωρίζουμε ότι η εγκληματοποίηση όσων χρησιμοποιούν εργαλεία για τη διαφύλαξη της ιδιωτικότητας έχει αρνητικές συνέπεις για όλους, και ειδικά για αυτές που προασπίζονται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, δημοσιογράφους και ακτιβιστές. Η παραίτηση από το δικαίωμά μας στην ιδιωτικότητα υπό το φόβο του να μαρκαριστούμε ως τρομοκράτες είναι μη αποδεκτή.

[ca] La seguretat no és cap delicte

Dijous 16 de desembre, una operació policial a gran escala es va dur a terme a l’Estat Espanyol. Catorze vivendes i centres socials van ser escorcollats a Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, i Madrid. Llibres, pamflets i ordinadors van ser requisats i onze persones van ser arrestades i portades a l’Audiència Nacional, a Madrid. Se’ls acusa d’incorporació, promoció, gestió i participació d’una organització terrorista. No obstant això, advocats de la defensa denuncien la falta de transparència, els seus clients han hagut de declarar sense saber de que se’ls acusa. “parlen de terrorisme sense especificar tipus delictius concrets ni fets concrets individualitzats que se’ls imputen.”[2] Al ser qüestionat per periodistes, el Jutge Bermúdez va respondre “no investigo els possibles atemptats, jo investigo l’organització i el que poden ser de perill per al futur”;[1] convertint això en un cas més de detenció preventiva en apariència.

Quatre de les detingudes han estat posades en llibertat, però set estan empresonades pendents del judici. Les raons donades pel jutge per prolongar la detenció inclouen la possessió d’alguns llibres, “la producció de publicacions i formes de comunicació”, i el fet de que les acusades “utilitzessin correus electrònics amb extremes mesures de seguretat, com ara el servidor Rise Up.”[2]

Nosaltres rebutgem aquesta criminalització kafkiana dels moviments socials, i l’absurda i extrema implicació de que protegir la teva pròpia privacitat a Internet és equivalent a terrorisme. Riseup, com qualsevol proveïdor de correu, té l’obligació de protegir la privacitat dels seus usuaris. Moltes de les “mesures extremes de seguretat” utilitzades per Riseup son bones pràctiques comuns per a la seguretat online i són emprades alhora per proveïdors com hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. No obstant això, a diferència d’aquests proveïdors, Riseup no està disposat a permetre «backdoors» il·legals o vendre les dades dels seus usuaris a tercers.

L’informe del Parlament Europeu sobre el programa de vigilància de la NSA d’ EE.UU. Declara que “la privacitat no és un dret de luxe, si no els fonaments d’una societat lliure i democràtica.”[3] Revelacions recents sobre l’abast de la violació del dret a la privacitat de totes pels Estats, mostra que tot el que es pot espiar, serà espiat.[4] Més encara, sabem que criminalitzar a les persones per utilitzar eines de privacitat té un efecte esgarrifós a tot el món, i entre els defensors dels Drets Humans, periodistes, i activistes en particular. Renunciar al teu dret bàsic de privacitat per la por de ser etiquetada com a terrorista és inacceptable.

Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists

Re-blogged from Bristol Anarchist Bookfair.

Recent years have seen growing, militant and popular anarchist movements across Spain. Unsurprisingly these have been met with state repression – attacks on protests & assemblies, arrests, beatings, imprisonment – but movements have continued to flourish. Mired in corruption and economic chaos, the Spanish state has recently moved to introduce a new law, the ‘Gag Law’, or Ley Mordaza, to clampdown further on opposition. It was no surprise then when on 16 December mass raids on homes and anarchist spaces were carried out, leading to at least 4 anarchists on bail and 7 on remand. The response of anarchists, other radicals and indeed non-radicals was immediate, as a series of protests & actions have occured daily ever since. The twitter hashtag #YoTambienSoyAnarquista (I too am an anarchist) has achieved mass circulation. The article below is one of many such statements of solidarity & struggle, and comes from the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias – FIJL), a Spanish anarchist organisation that pre-dates the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. You can read here the Spanish original, and here the original English translation. Details of a Spanish solidarity fund/bank account are here.

Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists

On December 16, Operation Pandora was unleashed. The State’s security forces burst into different houses and squats in Barcelona and Madrid, and eleven anarchist comrades were kidnapped.

NiInocentesThis kidnapping—and it couldn’t have been done any other way—was coordinated with the media, who helped justify and legitimate it with heart and soul, spreading the news that the police had carried out an operation against international anarchist terrorism. This kidnapping of eleven comrades set off a multitude of rallies and demonstrations that same day in different cities—Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Zaragoza, for example—thousands of people coming out in solidarity with the kidnapped comrades and showing rage and hatred towards the State’s new repressive operation against the libertarian movement.

Two days later, on December 18, the news came to light that Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez, with an ample repressive history behind him, ordered pretrial detention without bail for seven of the eleven comrades, in so doing giving greater media and political justification for the repressive campaign. We have to remember that this new repressive operation is closely related with the still-open repressive case against the anarchists Mónica and Francisco, who have already spent a year in pretrial custody, in isolation, and to remember that the torturer Javier Gómez Bermúdez was also responsible for imprisoning those comrades.

Zaragoza

The persecutor Javier Gómez Bermúdez justifies the pretrial detention of these seven comrades with such compelling reasons as “there are indications that support the hypothesis that they are part of coordinated anarchist groups with terrorist ends” and that “they seriously upset the public peace.” However, as anarchists, we are not going to play the game the System imposes on us, the game of concepts, assessments, guilt, innocence or “investigation” processes; as anarchists, we recognize neither their Justice, nor their Law, nor, of course, their Public Peace; not only do we not recognize them, but we fight them and we declare war on them without quarter. We’re not concerned with what our kidnapped comrades did or didn’t do or say; we don’t recognize the categories of “innocent” or “guilty” imposed by the System, categories that only make sense when recognizing and legitimizing the Law and the Judicial System.

It seems that, in the police searches, numerous copies of a book called “Against Democracy” [“Contra la democracia”] were found. This book attempts to provide tools of reflection and debate for those who oppose democracy, that mythicized and deified system that we are all obligated to venerate and defend, given that if we don’t, we run the risk of ending up with our bones in the State’s dungeons. However, we know that democracy is precisely the following, the same story once again: repression and incarceration of all those who raise their heads and fight daily for the destruction of all Authority and the construction of a new world that works based on horizontality and mutual aid, in which all vestiges of Power have disappeared.

seeds

Democracy is, necessarily, prison, the police, pistols and bombs, wage labour, schools as centres of indoctrination and distortion, psychiatrists, merchandise, the Parliament, government and domination as a form of “organizing” society…; democracy is simply one more way that the State and Capital, the dominant minority, have of administering their system of oppression. It’s because of this that, as anarchists, we declare war against democracy and any other system of domination and Power; it’s because of this that we fight and will continue to fight the “public peace” mentioned by the torturer Javier Gómez Bermúdez, the public peace of jails, of wars, of unemployment, of wage and labour exploitation, of hunger, of misery, of evictions, of consumerism, of beaten and expelled migrants, of arrests and police torture, of the hundreds of women killed at the hands of machismo and patriarchy, of the representation of our lives in the hands of a minority by means of the vote and parliamentarianism, of that false life of cardboard and money whose goal is for us to forget and for us to accept our alienated, submissive, and empty lives.

It’s because of this that yesterday, today, and forever we will struggle day to day against the State, Capital and all forms of Authority, even if they are dressed up in the suit of democracy. It’s because of this that it is undeniably clear and certain to us that we will defend our kidnapped comrades with tooth and nail, that we will unleash that which always scares the State so much: anarchist solidarity, that is to say, mutual aid and direct action against the Enemy and its institutional tools and frameworks. This new repressive blow is not going to put the brakes on the struggle, but just the opposite: we will continue on the path we have set forth on, we will strengthen and organize ourselves even more so as to continue and magnify the everyday struggle against the system of oppression and domination that we suffer permanently and daily. We will construct a new world, where not a trace of Power remains, in which there will be neither dominators nor dominated, neither condemned nor persecutors, persecutors like Javier Gómez Bermúdez.

fijlINTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST SOLIDARITY!
FREEDOM FOR ANARCHISTS IN PRISON!
DEATH TO THE STATE AND LONG LIVE ANARCHY!

FIJL / Grupo Aullido Libertario / Nafarroako Gazte Anarkistak / Juventudes Libertarias de Mallorca / Juventudes Libertarias de Salamanca

AUTUMN 2014 RESISTANCE #157 is out.

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

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

“Flood the Embassy – Justice for Michael Brown – Darren Wilson is GUILTY” London Black Revs 26th November 2014

lbrs

IWW Convention Statement on Solidarity with Ferguson

This motion was passed at the Industrial Workers of the World’s 2014 General Convention in Chicago

September 1, 2014

Motion for Solidarity with Ferguson

Whereas the IWW has historically operated in opposition to white supremacy and its relationship to capital, class, exploitation of fellow workers,

And whereas the residents of Ferguson, Missouri are openly defying white supremacy,

And whereas capitalism and white supremacy have conspired to construct a social reality which values private property above the lives of Black people,

And whereas these systems operate in a fashion which seeks to dehumanize rather than empower our fellow workers through tactics of economic, physical, psychological violence,

And whereas the residents of Ferguson have a longstanding history of oppression, disenfranchisement, marginalization due to intersecting mechanisms of economic and racial
control, And whereas the economic and social structures which simultaneously exploit and oppress all fellow workers also finance the technological advancement and surplus of military equipment deployed against the people of Ferguson,

Be it resolved that the Industrial Workers of the World stand in solidarity with the oppressed and exploited residents of Ferguson currently enduring a militarized denial of basic human dignity,

Be it further resolved that the IWW supports industrial action to combat oppression and spread the struggle, such as taken by UPS workers in Minneapolis, and commits to support and organize similar action in the future.