Britain için arşiv

Britain, Introduction to anarchist communism – anarchist federation

Posted in Avrupa haberler, English with tags , on 05/04/2010 by Karakök

The Anarchist Federation’s overview of anarchist communist politics, arguing what is basically wrong with the world we live in, how we can fight to improve it, and what kind of world is worth struggling for.–The pamphlet is made up of two parts that run alongside each other. The main text lays out the fundamental ideas of anarchist communism. Various boxes throughout the text give examples from history to illustrate the ideas described in the main section. Full reading pdf, published March 2010 — intro pamphlet reading.pdf http://libcom.org/files/intro%20pamphlet%20reading.pdf —Contents —- Introduction .1 What we’re fighting: capitalism & hierarchy.3 – Who we are and what we believe.10 –How we fight.24 — There is no conclusion.36 — Anarchist Federation Aims & Principles..37How to use this pamphlet:

This pamphlet is made up of two parts
that run alongside each other. The main
text lays out the fundamental ideas of
anarchist communism in plain black
text. There’s also a series of black boxes
that look like this one which give
examples from history to illustrate the
ideas described in the main section.

Introduction

There’s a lot to be angry about. The massacre of thousands every year in wars around
the world. The starvation of yet more thousands every day while food rots in ware-
houses across the globe. The extinction of species after species as our environment is slowly wrecked. The millions of people abused in sweatshops until their bodies and spirits are broken and they’re thrown on the scrapheap. The tens of millions of women who will be raped and beaten in their lives by the men who claim to love them.

And these are just the shocking headlines. The main story is what happens to each and
every one of us day after day. If we work we give up our time and our energy to the whims
of some company and its managers. We have no control over what we do day after day, no
stake in what we produce. If we don’t work, we rely on inadequate benefits doled out by
people trained to hate us as work-shy and lazy. Our lives are controlled by what we can and can’t afford and by whatever pointless schemes the government insists we go on to prove that we’re not ‘scrounging’. As housewives we get no credit for the hours of work we do, as unemployed people we’re punished for something that is not our fault. As workers we are ordered around, watched every second we’re on the job and left too tired at the end of the day to really enjoy any time we have for ourselves.

On the one hand, death and destruction on a grand scale. On the other, the crushing bore-
dom and alienation of everyday life. All of these various horrors are tied together, different faces of a single system. It’s a system designed from the ground up to set us at each others’ throats. It exploits and exaggerates every tiny little difference between us, making us compete for scraps and hate each other as we fight while a tiny minority enjoy all the benefits. This system is global capitalism, a pattern of economic and political exploitation that reaches into every aspect of our lives. It uses sexism, racism, homophobia and all the other petty hatreds and prejudices around us to protect itself. It creates hierarchies of power and wealth to divide all of the people it exploits against ourselves.

Capitalism is the problem. All of us that it exploits and degrades are the solution. As we unite through our common exploitation we can become a force that capitalism cannot control, cannot crush. We can create a whole new society that serves the needs of all of us, not a minority.

In the Anarchist Federation we believe that we can be one part of this fight. We see ourselves as part of a tradition that stretches back throughout the history of resistance to capitalism, a tradition that can be called anarchist communist although not everyone involved in it would have seen themselves that way. We believe that this set of ideas and ways of organising is our best hope of destroying capitalism and creating something better.

As the first of our aims and principles says, we are ‘an organisation of revolutionary class struggle anarchists. We aim for the abolition of all hierarchy, and work for the creation of a world-wide classless society: anarchist communism.’ This pamphlet sets out to explain what all this means and how we think we can do it.

What we’re fighting:

Capitalism and Hierarchy Capitalism

Many influential people, from newspaper editors to economics professors, will tell you
that capitalism is ‘natural’. Human beings are greedy, selfish and competitive and so
any economic system must be based on greed, selfishness and competition. According to
them, capitalism is a system that uses our natural urge to compete and dominate to benefit
everyone, even the ‘losers’ in the competition. The economy grows because ruthless com-
petition between firms forces them to innovate and expand, creating wealth out of nothing
which then ‘trickles down’ through society.

These propagandists, because that’s what they are, disagree with each other over whether
this can happen completely ‘naturally’ or whether governments should intervene to
smooth the process. Some argue that everything should be open to competition – hospitals,
schools, the lot – so that the benefits of growth can spread everywhere. Others, sometimes
even calling themselves socialists, argue that some things like health care and education
should be run by the government. This creates a healthier and better educated workforce
for the capitalist firms and so makes them more competitive.

These arguments are sometimes fierce, but in the end the two sides agree about everything
that is important. Some people should own and control the factories, services and land
that are the basis of the economy. These people should make all the decisions and should get most of the wealth that these businesses create. Other people should work in these places under the control of the managers. They should take orders, not make decisions and should get a wage for what they do.

This is the essence of capitalism. One small group of people controls the places that we
work in, the land that produces our food, the factories that make our clothes and everything that makes life possible. These people are the ruling class and their power comes from their control over the means of production, the resources and equipment that are needed to produce the things we need to live. Everyone else must work in the fields and the factories, the call centres and the office blocks. We are the working class and in this system we operate the means of production. We provide the labour that allows these fields and factories, call centres and offices to produce goods and services, commodities, for the ruling class to sell at a profit.

Capitalism, then, is a system of exploitation. It is a class system where a majority, the
working class, is exploited by a minority, the ruling class. The ruling class are the people who own or control the places where we work. They make the decisions about what kinds of products the factories make or what kinds of services are provided, and they make the decisions about how this work is organised. The working class are all the people who are forced to work in these places in order to get the money that they need to live. We, the working class, build and provide everything society needs to function. They, the ruling class, suck profit out of our work. We are the body of society; they are parasites sucking us dry.

Class Struggle

In the capitalist system the interests of the ruling class and the working class are always opposed. The ruling class seek to tighten their grip on us, to gain more control, to get more profit. The working class seek to get out from under our bosses and our governments, to gain control over our own lives. There will always be conflict between these groups, whether on a small or a mass scale.

This conflict takes many forms. Most obviously it happens in the places where we work.
Strikes over wages and working practices clearly pit the interests of a group of bosses
against a group of workers. However, class struggle is much more that this. Capitalism
seeks to control and profit from all aspects of life. Our homes are bought, sold and rented for profit. The food we eat and the water we drink is privately owned and controlled. Our environment becomes a vast dumping ground for industry, valued only for profit not for the way it enables and enriches our lives. Whenever we struggle for control over some aspect of our lives, we are engaging in class struggle. When we fight for our communities or our environment we are fighting the class struggle.

It follows from this that we don’t use the idea of class in the same way as many peo-
ple, particularly in the press. Class is not about the fact that some people earn more
money than others or that some people go to different kinds of schools. These basically
sociological definitions of class, definitions loved by advertisers, managers and so on,
are used to hide the real nature of class. We don’t just see the working class as being
people with traditional manual or industrial jobs – if someone is not currently working,
but dependent on pitiful state benefits (and so under continual pressure to find work),
in education (training for work) or living on their pension (deferred wages), then their
situation is obviously very different from that of the ‘idle rich’ who are able to live a
comfortable life off the backs of others, such as landlords. Equally, many people in jobs
that are traditionally seen as ‘middle class’, such as teachers, have no real control over
their lives or the work they do and are forced to struggle against their employers just like the rest of the working class.

This confusion about the idea of class is part of a wider set of tactics that the ruling class use to disguise the reality of class from the people that it exploits. Capitalism needs workers in a way workers simply do not need capitalism. If the working class unites around its common interests then it can do away with the ruling class and run society itself. We don’t need them, but they need us. Because of this, the ruling class works hard to divide us against each other. It does this in two ways, partly through trying to control ideas and the way we think about ourselves, and partly through creating small differences in power and wealth that set working class people against each other.

Things like nationalism, the idea that we should be loyal to the state in one country simply because we were born there, or a ‘work ethic’, the idea that we owe a ‘fair day’s work’ to the boss that’s exploiting us, are used by the ruling class to divide the working class and make some of us feel more loyal to the bosses than to the people around us. Nationalism splits workers in one country off from workers in another and lies at the root of racism that splits workers along lines of skin colour. The work ethic ties us to the boss instead of each other and makes people despise the ‘lazy’ unemployed rather than putting the blame whereit really belongs.

The use of these ideas to split the working class is reinforced by creating differences in
power and wealth to back them up. On a large scale, workers in the west are made to
compete with workers in the global south for jobs as factories move in search of the cheap
est labour costs. On smaller scales, individual workers are given a little bit more pay to
become supervisors and end up shafting those around them just to keep that little bit extra.

This kind of thing happens in many different ways but the end result is always the same.
Working class people compete for scraps while the ruling class skims vast profits off the
top and throws us a few leftovers to keep us fighting each other rather than them.
To fight the class struggle, then, is to try and overcome the false differences that the ruling class creates and unite as one class against the people that exploit us. This is a process that goes on all the time. Sometimes we become strong and united as a class and are able to get concessions like shorter working days, healthcare and so on. The ruling class fights back and exploits our divisions to break this unity, weakening the class and undoing what gains we have made, or even worse, turning them against us. This push and pull between the ruling class and the working class will go on until capitalism disappears.

The State

One of the things that makes exploitation possible, and one of the major tools in keeping the working class divided, is the state. The state is made up of all the institutions of
government. Parliament, the civil service, the courts, tax collectors and so on are all parts of the state. These are institutions that regulate and control the lives of ‘citizens’, that is you and me, for the benefit of capitalism. The state is the organised face of capitalism. It is the political representation of the economic power of the capitalist ruling class. When the so-called free market can’t achieve something that capital needs to grow, the state steps in and makes it happen.

There are many ways it can do this. Parliament passes laws that protect the property of
the rich whilst restricting the ability of the poor to fight back. It acts as umpire in disputes between different capitalist firms, setting rules for trade so that different companies can trust each other. Tax money is used to create the services that business relies upon but can’t build for itself – road and transport systems, schools to train workers, electricity grids and sewage systems (which can be sold off later for private profit) – all the things that make business possible. It can destroy the economies of developing countries using the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank so that firms have a ready pool of new resources and workers to exploit. From building the legal and physical infrastructure that capitalism needs to directly attacking workers seeking to improve their position, the state is an essential tool of the capitalist class.

Importantly, the state controls organisations that directly control and coerce working
class people. The army and the police most obviously use direct force to keep people in
line, with the police breaking strikes and heads at home and the army enforcing capital-
ism abroad. Schools, whilst providing an important service, also indoctrinate children
and prepare them for a life as workers rather than as human beings. Prisons, immigration
authorities, dole offices and on and on and on, all intrude into our lives and control our
actions. Some of these things, like schools, hospitals and welfare benefits, we some-times depend on for our lives. It is often this very dependence that these organisations
use to control us. Benefits come with conditions that dictate what you can and can’t do.
Schools give us the knowledge we need to understand the world but also train us to ac-
cept discipline and being bored all day because some authority figure tells us we have to
be.

Some people argue that the state behaves in this way because it is under the control of
capitalists. They argue that if the state were under the control of a group that represented the working class, usually a revolutionary party of some kind, then it would behave differently. This ignores one important aspect of the state that can be seen in all of the organisations that it controls. The state is designed to govern from above, it is, by its very nature, hierarchical. This means that it always concentrates power in the hands of a minority. A small number of people give orders and a large number obey. We can see this in the army and in the police with the huge differences in power between ranks and orders that must be obeyed absolutely and without question. But this is also true in all the other arms of the state.

Governing Ourselves: The Spanish Revolution

The revolution in Spain between 1936 and 1939 was contradictory, under
constant attack, and ultimately defeated, not just by the fascists
but also by the ‘anti-fascists’ within its own ranks. Despite all of
this, however, for a short space of time the Spanish working class, under
the influence of anarchist communist ideas, was able to achieve the
most far-reaching revolution of the 20th century.

In the face of an attempted fascist military coup the workers and peas-
ants of Spain went on strike and took up arms. In many working class
urban areas, such as Barcelona and Madrid, and in rural areas with an
anarchist-influenced peasantry, such as Aragon, Castille and the Levant,
the attempted coup was put down. The people controlled the streets and
the fields.

In the republican zone, the influence of anarchism through the anarcho-
syndicalist CNT, the largest Spanish union federation, led the workers’
movement to spontaneously collectivise industry under workers’ control,
in many cases making it more efficient. The woodworking and carpentry
industry was completely socialised, as was the baking industry in Barce-
lona. The same was true of the railways, while workers’ control was won
in telecommunications, utilities, cinemas, the buses and trams and fac-
tories and workshops of all kinds. In the countryside the revolution was
even more wide-ranging, with rural collectives doing away with private
property and in many cases declaring libertarian communism. Up to 7
million peasants were involved in the social upheaval. In both the towns
and cities a wide range of forms of collectivisation existed – in some in-
stances money was abolished, in others it was kept, in others still labour
tokens were introduced in exchange for work.

All this was too much for the more conservative elements in the Repub-
lican government and certainly too much for their Soviet backers. Laws
were passed attacking collectivisation and the centralised republican
army was used against anarchist militias and more radical sections of
the working class. Many in the anarchist movement, seeing no alterna-
tive, supported joining the government. This mistake was to no avail,
and many fine militants died in Stalinist prison cells. The revolution in
Spain was defeated before the fascists managed to militarily defeat the
republicans.

For this reason any group taking over the state will automatically find itself ruling instead of freeing the people they claim to represent. That is what states do. A state is a machine for controlling people and can never be anything else. This is not just because of the repressive and manipulative organisations it controls, although these are far more important to the state than some would have us believe. It is because the state is always hierarchical and as a result will end up furthering rather than destroying all the other hierarchies in society.

Hierarchy

Hierarchy is one of the key tools that the state and capitalism use to control people. It is implicated in both the repressive and the manipulative arms of the state, but it is most destructive when it is used to manipulate people. A hierarchy is any system where power over others is concentrated in the hands of a minority. All capitalist workplaces, for example, are hierarchies, with bosses at the top and everyone else below. Often there are tiny differences in responsibility that give some people just a tiny bit of power over others. Board members control managers, who control more managers, who control supervisors, who control more supervisors, who eventually end up ‘managing’ six people for an extra 10p an hour.

This is one important way that capitalism creates and uses hierarchy to divide working class people. We are given a small amount of power over each other so that we end up fighting each other rather than fighting the bosses.

However, there are hierarchies in society that were not created by capitalism and which have their own separate existence and history. The oppression of women is thousands of years old and has shown up in different ways in hundreds of different societies. This is known as patriarchy, a system of oppression and exploitation that sees women placed under the control of men in a variety of different ways. The oppression of gay, lesbian and transgender people, indeed of anyone who doesn’t fit a straight, monogamous, gendered norm, is age old. It’s often even more brutal than patriarchy, seeking not just to control but to exterminate people who don’t fit. Racism and ideas of white supremacy are younger but no less vicious, with a legacy of slavery and exploitation that has destroyed the lives of millions.

All of these systems of oppression and exploitation, and the many others that hang off them, must be fought on their own terms by the people that suffer them. Just as only the working class can fight capitalism because we are the ones being directly exploited, so only women, gay people and those attacked by racism (which can change from place to place and period to period) can destroy patriarchy, heterosexism and white supremacy. We can all support each other in these different fights, but it is vital that those directly attacked chose the form and structure of their own response. Organisations of women, gay peopleand of black and ethic minority people (who are often, in reality, majorities) are absolutely vital in resisting and destroying various systems of hierarchy.

However, we should also remember that all of these systems of oppression work
together to create the world as we know it. Capitalism is propped up by patriarchy
which divides the working class (men against women), gives some workers power
over others (men are more likely to get higher paid and supervisory jobs), and forces
people to do untold hours of unpaid but essential work (housework and the raising of
children are essential to the economy but mostly done for free by women). Patriarchy
is propped up by capitalism as the media pump out stereotypes of women to sell cos-
metics and perfumes and businesses create the role of the housewife to force unwanted
women out of the workplace and create a new market for consumer goods. Racism
allows capitalist states to justify invading and pillaging different countries for raw
materials and new markets and divides the working class at home between black and
white, immigrant and native. All these forms of exploitation and oppression, all these
hierarchies, reinforce and amplify each other, until they are impossible to untangle
from each other.

For this reason it is impossible to just fight capitalism or racism or sexism and so on
and so on. Gains made against one system will be eaten up by another. For example,
women’s fight for equal rights at work has often ended up with women working a
‘double day’, with housework at home and long hours at work. The rebellion of black
people in the 1960s won political equality, but also created a new black leadership
who became part of the ruling class while everyone else was left to rot.
Capitalism then is more than just a class system. The power of the ruling class comes
from their control of the means of production, but they keep that control by manipu-
lating a whole series of different systems of oppression and exploitation, different
hierarchies. These systems give some of the working class more power than others,
they make us complicit in our own exploitation. Back in the 19th century there was
a slogan: ‘workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.’ The
way that capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and other systems of hierarchy work
together means that this is not true. These systems give large sections of the work-
ing class just a little bit of privilege. This is enough to turn them against the people
they should be uniting with, enough to make them defend the ruling class against the
claims of women, LGBT people, black and ethnic minority/majority people and on
and on and on.

To get past this we need a revolutionary movement made up of many different organi-
sations. We need many different ways in which people can take control of their own
lives and fight the different oppressions that push them down. We need to completely
transform society and ourselves. In the Anarchist Federation we believe that the ideas
of anarchist communism offer the best chance of doing this. The next section lays out
what these ideas are.

Britain, On January 24th CLASS WAR is organising a one day conference in London open to all

Posted in Avrupa haberler, English with tags , on 01/01/2010 by Karakök

‘CAN YOU DIG IT?’ – THE CLASS WARRIORS —- groups and individuals who share our political
ideas and want to make an effective anarchist intervention in the forthcoming general
election campaign. By effective we mean getting our politics back onto the streets in a
rumbustuous and exciting way that will make sense to the proletarian punters. W expect the
conference to be passionate and to come up with firm proposals for action so we hit the
campaign trail running. Whitechapel Anarchist group and members of Camden Anarchists are
committed to coming and we warmly welcome others from round the country.This will not be
the usual navel gazing bollocks about community v workplace struggle or the need for
dogshit politics in the long term. There will be two items on the agenda only:

1.The General Election campaign

2. Opposing the BNP

Both these items will be looking to see what we can do from Jan. 24th up till the day
after the election on May 7th in concrete terms – not vague waffly proposals that melt on
the winter air. There are several exciting, imaginative, and committed proposals that
should wake us all up from our long deep slumber. Make sure you are there. The unity of
the gangs.

Britain, report from anarchists in nottingham who fought fash today

Posted in Avrupa haberler, Duyurular, English with tags , on 06/12/2009 by Karakök


Today the EDL demo’d and anarchists were out to find them and clash with them… Having
avoided being kettled throughout the day, a small group of dedicated anti-fascists roamed
looking for the enemy….breaking away from the castle kettle, near the robin hood statue,
they headed for the square to meet up with others who were routed by cops….. Out side
Walk About Bar on Friar Lane a load of fash came storming out and attacked some anti-fash
comrades, causing a big fight that lasted, according to one participant, around ten
minutes until police with horses slit up the groups. Injuries on both sides, no arrests at
the scene, certainly not of anarcho-warriors anyway. police tried to get witnesses but
none came forward as far as we know. The anti-fash dispersed. EDL hid in the pub. It was a
brave fight, especially given the almost military style police take over of the city center.

It was best to publish this report as main stream media has buried the anti-fascist side
of the story, as usual..

Ainfos


Britain, Anarchist federation RESISTANCE

Posted in Avrupa haberler, Duyurular, English with tags , on 16/11/2009 by Karakök

English Defence League opposed in Manchester and Swansea + Third time lucky in the fight for free spaces?

English Defence League opposed in Manchester and Swansea —- On 10th October around 1500
anti-fascists from in and around Manchester turned out to confront the English Defence
League, a hate group linked to football hooliganism. Those with some knowledge about the
EDL and its stated aims might wonder why the Anarchist Federation would want to oppose a
group which claims to protest only against ‘extremist Islam’. The answer is simple: having
seen them in action before, we know that the EDL are not merely concerned with extremist
Islam, but are a firmly anti-Muslim, anti-worker and wholly reactionary organisation.
The Manchester protest, like the demonstrations that preceded it, showed the EDL members
for the racist band of thugs they are. The EDL that day might have managed to wrangle
together some 600 or so members, but the fascist core of their grouping was very visible,
from ‘sieg hails’ and racist abuse to swastikas and known members of fascist
organisations, the political agenda of the EDL was made very clear. Luckily they were
heavily outnumbered by antifascists, and were seen off when they attempted to back up
their ‘tough guy’ image with action.

Similarly when the EDL
mobilised in Swansea under their
Welsh name the ‘Welsh Defence
League’ on the 17th October they
were greeted by over 600 anti-
fascists. Sadly though, the WDL
managed to attract over a hundred
and fifty. This time their fascist
politics were made even more
clear with local National Front
members joining some WDL
members in burning a flag with
an anti-Nazi symbol on it, as if to
incontestably prove their links to
the politics of hatred and racism.
What is worrying however is
that, while it is becoming more
and more clear that the EDL exist
only as a thinly veiled front for
members of fascist groups such
as the British National Party to
get involved in ‘street action’,
they are winning over members
of the working class. We need to
be prepared to win people over
ourselves by spreading the message
that any economic downturn,
unemployment problem or
housing shortages are not caused
by Muslims or immigrants. The
cause of these genuine concerns
is the very system that relies on
working class division and racism
to survive – capitalism. In the
meantime we can’t afford to just
sit back while the far-right makes
gains in our communities, pitting
workers against one another and
scapegoating Muslims for populist
gain. The EDL might try to make
themselves look more reasonable
than their nazi friends by waving
Israeli flags and burning swastikas
in publicity stunts, but the fact
that the nazi salutes and racist
chants go unchallenged at their
demonstrations shows that they
use what works – deep down its the
same old racism they’re peddling,
and that racism is always poison.
The EDL will be marching in
Nottingham City Centre on the 5th
December.

Third time lucky in the fight for free spaces?

The first two weeks of October
were dramatic ones in Shef-
field, as not one but two squatted
social centres were opened up and
evicted in quick succession. Pis-
gah House in Broomhill, a historic
listed building owned by Sheffield
University, was chosen as the first
location for the anti-capitalist so-
cial centre, which managed to get
over 50 people through its doors
on the opening night. Over the
next week, it hosted events such as
an introduction to Climate Camp
and a Sheffield Activist Network
open meeting, before abruptly be-
ing served with papers summon-
ing the occupiers to court in two
hours’ time! The University made
an openly political case for the
building’s eviction, presenting a
witness statement that complained
about the building being used as a
social centre based on “co-opera-
tion and mutual aid, openness and
inclusion, voluntary participation
and shared responsibility” and “a
space for people to openly discuss
and learn from each other about is-
sues of social and environmental
justice”, and taking the exceptional
step of applying for a possession
order and an injunction simultane-
ously.

Not wanting to give in that easily,
the social centre collective imme-
diately opened up another squat in
a nearby disused building, only to
be served with more court papers
on their second day. They also dis-
covered that the place was not as
empty as it appeared, and had been
used to store some NHS equip-
ment, which they immediately
handed over to the hospital – a fact
that was not acknowledged in a
sensationalist and highly inaccu-
rate local media article demonis-
ing the centre. The space remained
open for another few days, hosting
more events such as discussions of
anti-capitalism, anti-militarism and
Sheffield’s radical history of work-
ing-class resistance, but people in
powerful positions were clearly
determined to prevent the city from
having a functioning social centre,
so a second eviction was rushed
through.
The social centre collective is cur-
rently taking a break after two
weeks of intensive activity and the
stress of two moves in quick suc-
cession, but those involved remain
determined to carry on with similar
projects in the near future. In Shef-
field and elsewhere, the fight for
free space goes on …

—————————

TNT Workers’ protest: a
chance to spread the
struggle?
While union-busting firm TNT is
hungrily eying the Royal Mail, and
“selflessly” offering to provide its
staff as replacement posties, TNT
workers are showing their anger with
their employer.
Following “crippling” pay cuts,
400 TNT workers marched through
Atherstone town centre at the end
of September, before demonstrating
outside the company’s headquarters
on Long Street. According to Unite,
“the firm is taking advantage of the
current economic climate to justify
making pay cuts.”
_______________

Britain, Liberty & Solidarity, Housing Supply

Posted in Avrupa haberler, English with tags , , on 15/10/2009 by Karakök

Liberty & Solidarity is a political organisation aiming to build workplace and community
democracy through direct action and struggling with all those fighting for change. —- We
stand for the power of workers and local people against the bosses and politicians in
order to bring about radical social change, to build a society based on freedom, democracy
and cooperation. —- Housing —- Intro. —- L&S is a socialist organisation. As such we
advocate workers control. That is every bit at the heart of our approach to community
politics as it is in the workplace. One of the fundamental battlegrounds for community
organisation is over housing provision. We therefore cannot abrogate to comment on the
procurement, supply and control of this. —- Housing Supply —-

In a time of capitalist crisis the formula the government has used for the past period of
New Labour governance, which echoes the doctrines of the Tories before them, who began the
process that New Labour have brought to a head, has reduced the supply of social housing
to record lows.

In a time of mass housing repossessions and unemployment this has severe repercussions on
the quality of life of working class people, pushing us more and more into the hands of
Rachmanite landlords in the private sector.

The vision for ‘social housing’ (a term created by a Tory MP to soft-sell the
privatisation and stock transfer of public housing to social enterprises and quangos known
as Housing Associations), appears to have been to reduce it to vestigial levels to make it
a choice of last resort.

With the collapse of cheap credit since October 2008, the era of the ‘homeowning
democracy’ is now firmly over. We must understand, despite complicated financial
arrangements, the vast majority of British people are tenants. They are either de facto
tenants of banks thru mortgage, tenants of the government (be that in council housing, or
quangos known as housing associations, or special housing), or tenants of private
landlords (including those landlords applicable for ‘registered’ status).

The shift over the past 30 years has been to make most people tenants of banks (mortgage
holders). As the banking sector is now underwritten by the government, this blurs these
lines even further.

High quality council housing is not available in this country to many who need it, forcing
those who have no other option into the hands of banks or Rachmanite landlords. As credit
dries up and financial risk is reassessed by the UK’s declining financial sector, mortgage
tenancy is going to become increasingly impossible to obtain, forcing more people into the
hands of private landlords.

This is a partial return to the conditions which obtained before the struggles of
generations of working people prevailed in the mass home building that took place from the
Attlee government onwards.

Organisation

When tenants are organised under one landlord it is easier to apply pressure, then when
there are multiple landlords and multiple conditions prevailing for tenants.

When that one landlord is a local authority, the ruling class is forced to provide at
least some level of accountability. Similar to collective bargaining, having conditions
which prevail for all tenants in a given neighbourhood also mean that solidarity is easier
to build.

Organisation in the private sector (due to the cross-over of certain forms of commercial
interests) often encroaches on the territory of organised criminal gangs, drug dealers,
and gangsters in various hues. While the state can be every bit as brutal when it chooses
to be, the price for the state in removing the veneer of respectability in repressing
tenant organisation is usually far greater than in the private sector, so open repression
is less likely as an initial response to organisation. This can allow organisation to
develop more readily before it comes under attack.

But it also means that organisation faces particular pressures. The state responds to
organisation in council and public sector tenures thru a strategy of inclusion.

Example of this strategy in practice: In Scotland since 2004, when the independent
tenants movement, came under severe attack, the government established regional networks
cohered by civil servants, and comprised exclusively of registered tenants organisations
(RTOS: a new status that was brought in during the 2001 Housing Act; tenants associations
register with their landlord and the government, and must operate within the constraints
of a government approved constitution. They are funded to the tune of £500 a year, and
this funding can be selectively audited by government, and registered status can be
revoked; landlords are under statutory obligation to ‘consult with’ RTOs.). Participation
is refused for unregistered groups. There are nine regional networks of RTOs across
Scotland, brought together for consultative purposes, and to rubberstamp decisions at the
beck and call of civil servants (and until recently, a government department known as
Communities Scotland, part of whose brief appears to have included the task ‘to destroy
the tenants movement’). The government has until recently refused to deal with any other
organisation at a national level, but at the same time the regional networks are prevented
from taking up any real campaigning activity, because ‘local issues’ such as landlord wide
action are kept off the agenda as they do not concern the entire region. At the same time
the government has withdrawn support and dialogue from local authority-wide federal
organisations that are not in its pocket.

This kind of thing is a challenge that is not faced by private sector tenants. Partnership
working enforced like this has all but destroyed a tenants movement in Scotland, which 3
three years previously had forced the government to enact ambitious and progressive new
homeless legislation granting everyone in Scotland the right to a public sector tenancy.

1. L&S believes in the power of independent tenant organisation. L&S will build and
support independent tenants organisation, and will encourage that the tenants movement
adopt an uncompromising stance of independence in defence of our class interests.

Goals of L&S Housing Policy

2. The ultimate objective of L&S housing policy is for popular control of our housing.

Popular control is less a measure of the type of housing, or who is the landlord, than it
is what is the health, confidence and power of a movement. A powerful movement will
arrogate power.

Popular control is not partnership working. It is not management of housing subcontracted
out to tenants. It is when the power of organised workers is sufficient that landlords
answer to our organisations, as our organisation develops its capacity to expropriate our
housing back from the landlords in the future.

The life of such a movement however is very much based in these questions however (the
type of housing etc). Every tenant everywhere wants more or less the same thing. They want
security of tenure. They want high quality housing, that is windproof, airtight and
waterproof, dry, and sizeable enough to meet their needs. They want that to be affordable.
They want their repairs and maintenance carried out promptly and efficiently. They want
their landlord to otherwise butt out of their lives, and for tenants locally to be able to
secure such improvements as are necessary quickly, with the minimum of fuss.

Despite three decades of propaganda aimed at encouraging mortgages to be taken out, and
artificially inflating a shared sense of ‘home ownership’ amongst the majority paying
mortgages, social housing is still valued for precisely the reason that when it is good
these conditions have been met (at least as long as people have been able to force them to
be met), even if the past decades have been ones of decline, and mass demolitions. Many
people in cities faced with overcrowding and poverty (such as London) cannot get a council
house try as they might. One in twelve people is on a waiting list for a home. If anything
this figure understates the demand.

Despite the propaganda, and despite the decades of underinvestment most people want social
housing to be seen as a right, and a choice, not an option of last resort.

3. L&S believes that in the here and now we must fight for more high quality council
houses to be built to address the housing shortfall and mammoth waiting lists for a decent
home.

4. L&S also believes that we must remove the subsidies to the banks and the private
sector. State run housing is cheaper, and provides opportunities for organisation that in
the private sector would be harder to achieve.

5. We believe the ultimate aim of our housing policy should be to socialise all housing.
We should be tactically flexible when we approach this question. It is possible to force
private sector landlords to make concessions, and ultimately to force them into providing
housing on a par with the conditions met in social housing. But we must bear in mind that
secure tenancies, regular upkeep and space for families were things that previous
generations won from the state. They were not given to us, and as organisation has
collapsed these things have started to be taken away from us.

Social housing can be provided for in a number of ways, from housing co-ops, to council
housing, to housing associations. There are many variations on the theme. The key point is
that it should a goal of L&S to build a movement to transform any tenancy into the best
conditions possible for the tenant, as we work to build a movement capable of eventually
seizing control.

In the here and now however, with calls from Unite, Shelter Scotland, and the Scottish
Tenants Organisation to build more council houses, and the first council house programme
in decades underway (albeit the drip in the ocean it actually is in response to the
massive need), there is a very real opportunity to force the state to provide more council
housing.

6. Now more than ever then it is an urgent task to build a movement capable of asserting
the wishes of communities. The scale of the transformation of society possible by such
methods in the mid term future is far greater than the possibilty of using other methods
to construct more social housing (housing co-ops for example will always remain a fringe
phenomenon by comparison, due to the huge quantities of capital required to engage in
major building works. Council house building is the most efficient way to plug the need in
housing.

7. As such L&S requires all members active in housing struggles to seek the involvement of
local tenants federations, and requires members to participate in local chapters of Defend
Council Housing, or Scotland’s for Council Housing, and to pursue the building of new high
quality homes. The shortfall in the availability of social housing must be met by building
more council housing. This is the only method that will actually provide housing in
sufficient quantity to meet the needs of our class in the here and now. Shelter Scotland
have called for 100,000 homes to be built in Scotland. Unite have called for new homes to
be built at a UK level.

8. L&S endorses the DCH call.

An increase in the supply of social rented homes of some 50,000 a year will be
necessary to reduce significantly the backlog in demand. Despite recent increases in
spending, current rates of building are below this level; all providers of social rented
homes need sufficient encouragement, resources and flexibility to increase supply. The
Government must be prepared, if necessary, to raise investment in new supply still further.

9. L&S endorses the call from Unite.

* A massive programme of new build, high quality, environmentally sustainable
social housing, including council homes which would create jobs, meet housing need, and
redress the inequality of social housing in rural areas.
* A comprehensive construction apprenticeship scheme for the 16 to 24-year-olds
whose job prospects have diminished during the recession.
* Investment in a ‘retro-fit’ programme for existing homes to improve energy
efficiency. It is estimated that such action could generate a further 25,000 jobs and
would greatly contribute to the Government’s environmental targets.
* The Government to use its large stake in the banking sector to do more to
prevent repossessions and strengthen the regulatory framework.
* Greater support for housing associations to ensure they receive sufficient
funding to provide housing and support for tenants; and that staff numbers and employment
conditions are maintained and enhanced.

10. L&S further notes.

“the UK’s 600,000 empty homes should be brought back into use by reducing VAT on
repair and maintenance and giving local authorities real power rather than ineffective
Empty Dwelling Management Orders”.87 Similarly, the Campaign to Protect Rural England
notes “in the North West region alone, there are around 130,000 homes lying empty—more
than five times the number of new homes planned for the region (23,000 per year)”.

[…]

The Government is willing to purchase unsold homes from developers through the
National Clearing House. We believe it should also be willing to buy unsold family homes,
for which there is a particular need in the social rented sector, on the open market. We
recommend that it direct some of the money from the National Affordable Housing Programme
to the purchase of suitable properties which have not sold on the open market for a period
of a year or more. Priority should be given to the purchase of homes where the transaction
would enable elderly home-owners to gain access to much needed sheltered accommodation.
The refurbishment of these existing homes for social rent will help utilise skills and
capacity in the construction industry which might otherwise be lost. [DCH report]

11. L&S supports such calls. L&S will support 4th Option policies to bring council housing
to a level playing field wih the private sector, removing hidden subsidies for the private
sector, and removing the subsidy for demolition.

Control not management

The aim of L&S housing policy is to see popular control of housing, and improvements in
our homes in the here and now. It it not to provide subcontracted management of homes for
landlords from tenants.

12. L&S supports calls for community buy-outs, tenant management co-ops, letting
initiatives, establishment of community land trusts, and moves to establish condominiums
and other shared services and control initiatives established at the demand of tenant and
mortgage holders. We aim to spread this methodology, as we advance the power of our class.
But we also note that this is not the solution for those vast majority of communities at
present where little or no organisation of our class is present. The viability of such
initiatives is determined exclusively by the vitality and strength of popular
organisation; this is the only safeguard against such moves becoming recuperated into
becoming the agents of landlords.

A infos

Britain, Anarchist federation Resistance bulletin issue 116 October 2009

Posted in Direnis, English with tags , , , , on 14/10/2009 by Karakök

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THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. What are we fighting for? Migrant camp in Calais, Workplace round-up (Royal Mail strikes; anti-racism strike in Black Country; PFI hospitals victory; National Grid workers in Newcastle and Northampton; Refuse workers in Leeds), English Defence League tour, Carlos anti-fascist murder trial, Nepalese Maoist strike ban, DSEI arms fair, ESOL, London Anarchist Bookfair, and more.

Download PDF or read online:

RESISTANCE bulletin issue 116 October 2009 [PDF]: http://www.afed.org.uk/res/resist116.pdf

Subscribe to receive Resistance in print for a year, or join one of our free mailing lists to receive PDF or text by email.

Also available: Organise! magazine no.72. No. 73 out at the London Anarchist Bookfair.

The Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk

THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN – WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

Anarchists oppose the war in Afghanistan. We don’t do this because we are pacifists. We believe it is often necessary to defend yourself. We oppose the war because it is not being fought to protect our streets but for money and power.

If one lie doesn’t work …

The excuse for the war was the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th 2001. George Bush promised a War on Terror that would root out the terrorists and make our cities safe. Since then, about 251 times as many people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in those ghastly attacks. Each week brings news of more soldiers dying in the effort to defeat the Taliban. The number of Afghan casualties is colossal – at least 20,000 dead and 50,000 injured.

It soon became clear that the War on Terror was a cover to expand American power and to grab Iraq’s oil fields. Having done that, the main war effort shifted to Afghanistan. This time we were told is was to protect democracy, to improve the rights of women and stop the flow of heroin to the West.

Drugs, votes and women

The reality is different. The Afghan government is run by drug cartels. The recent election was fixed. Votes were bought and sold for $20 a time. Ballot boxes were filled with fake votes. Women were forced to stay at home while their husbands and fathers sold their votes to the highest bidder . Both sides in the war, government and Taliban, finance their armies and rule with drug money. Women’s rights are now worse under Karsai’s government than before – new laws allow husbands to legally rape their wives.

To make this war possible, young British men and women from working class families are flown half way around the world. There, they fight and die – over 200 so far, with almost 2000 wounded this year alone. Every week we hear of more being killed, along with horrific, botched attacks on the Taliban which result in hundreds of Afghani deaths and other casualties. Denied proper press coverage, we can only begin to picture the horror of the war.

Oil, gas and power

So why are the troops really there? What is the war about? To understand the reasons it helps to look at a map and see who Afghanistan’s neighbours are. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have huge oil and gas fields. Afghanistan’s other major neighbour is China. Turkmenistan contains the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas, but it is completely landlocked. Uzbekistan is the world’s 8th largest producer of gas. Controlling Afghanistan would give the USA a route for new pipelines to export this gas. The alternative is that it goes through Russia or China.

Trading partners they may be, but the USA and China are fierce rivals too. Holding Afghanistan keeps China at arm’s length from the oil and gas rich states and from Pakistan. Building pipelines for gas and oil also prevents the near total domination of gas supplies that will otherwise fall under Russia’s control.

Once again war is really about controlling natural resources. We all know this is why Iraq was invaded. The death and suffering in Afghanistan are to maintain the profitability of the big oil and gas companies and also to ensure the continuing domination of the world by the USA.

A different way?

Like in all wars it is never the rich and powerful who fight and die. It is working class men and women and poor peasants and villagers who suffer. Anarchists believe that the answer to this is for us to get rid of the profit system which benefits only those in charge. We believe that in a world controlled by people where they live, working for themselves and not for the state or the rich, that poverty can be eliminated and war will become a thing of the past. Making that kind of change will not come about by going on marches or signing petitions, it will need a social revolution by working people. We urge you to join with us in making this happen.
SOLIDARITY WITH THE CALAIS MIGRANTS!

The eviction of the Migrants’ camp in Calais known as “the jungle” has seen a chorus of protest from different parts of the political spectrum. For human rights groups, the destruction of the camp was worthy of condemnation because human beings were being “treated like animals.” For rightwing papers like the Daily Mail, the problem was that now the hated camp they have raved about for years is being pulled down the migrants have to go somewhere, and that might well be Britain!

The attack on the camp comes after the French Immigration Minister Eric Besson declared that Calais was to become a “migrant free zone.” He has been lent support by his British counterpart, Phil Woolas, who has claimed that the very fact that these migrants are in Calais shows that they are not genuine – as migrants are supposed to seek asylum in the first “safe” country they reach .

Many of the migrants are Afghans, fleeing the chaos of the country as the ongoing war between NATO troops and insurgents grinds on. Though many are just looking for a better, less dangerous life in the same way any of us would if we were in the same situation, it would make sense to assume that one of the countries which has brought war to your home country, compounding its status as one of the most dangerous in the world, might have some responsibility for their welfare. This, unfortunately, is naive, Afghanistan has been declared ‘safe’ like the most dangerous country in the world, Iraq, for propaganda reasons. The French state is offering to “help” the migrants back to their country of origin, or help them make an asylum claim. This is being presented as a reasonable deal, indeed, the French government has changed emphasis and is now portraying itself as saving the migrants from people smugglers. This “help” means that the migrants have the option of seeking asylum in the first country they reached, or being deported. This means that many will have to claim asylum in Greece, a country where 99.6% of claims are turned down, where an asylum camp was recently burned to the ground, where racist brutality against immigrants is common, and where police and neo-nazi gangs act in unison in attacking immigrants.

Whether it’s jobs, homes or public services, immigrants are taking the blame for the effects of a system centred on profits, not needs. We must stand against the scapegoating of immigrants for the problems of capitalism, and its brutal results, such as this raid.
ON THE FRONTLINE: WORKPLACE ROUNDUP 

Workers have borne the brunt of the recession. Unemployment is rising to near record levels. Workers across the economy have reluctantly agreed to pay freezes and cuts in hours. Perhaps not surprisingly the last year has seen the number days lost to industrial action fall close to historic lows. Now though there are signs that the economy is beginning to turn the corner. Despite this assault on workers’ jobs and conditions by the bosses and the state continue unabated.

Union leaders have shown how little they have to offer; cosying around Gordon Brown at Chequers, as they did just before TUC Congress last month; pouring millions into Labour’s coffers just as the party announces it is going to cut public sector jobs; or proposing the creation of yet another new workers party (thanks Bob Crow, that’s just what we need!). Despite this, there are encouraging signs that workers are willing to fight back.

Royal Mail Strikes

In response to threats to jobs, hours and pay postal workers are gearing up for the first national postal dispute in two years. Actions so far in sorting offices, which have included sit-ins, has seen some 20 million letters being undelivered. In the words of the CWU, “Royal Mail’s head-in-thesand attitude to the problems in our industry is now severely damaging service for customers – with backlogs bigger than in the national strike of 2007.”

Black Country: Anti-Racist Strike

Elsewhere workers at a Black Country food-processing firm are hailing the success of an unofficial walkout, forcing management to sack a security guard accused of making racist comments and to come to the negotiating table. More than 100 staff at Smethwick-based Two Sisters Foods staged a wildcat strike and police were called as their protest threatened to get out of hand. There were a further demonstration outside the firm’s premises in Bevan Way before bosses agreed to meet senior officials from trade union Unite.

Anti-PFI Victory

Unison members at a hospital in Yorkshire are also celebrating success as threatened industrial action led to employers backing down on threatened changes to terms and conditions. As part of the new PFI hospitals project in Wakefield & Pontefract, Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust managers connived with the contractor Balfour Beatty (BB) to draw up new Job Descriptions for hospital support staff, who would be transferring to the PFI hospital. Despite protests from UNISON and Unite the Trust and BB refused to negotiate any changes to terms and conditions with the staff concerned, saying they were “new jobs” which did not need to be agreed with the staff side. In a ballot 94% of the affected workers voted for industrial action. The result? Management backed down.

Action at the National Grid

Leeds City Council plans to cut the wages of refuse workers by one third – on average from £18,000 to just £13,000 a year. Not surprisingly UNISON and the GMB members have responded by taking strike action after the Council refused to negotiate any alternative to these massive pay cuts. The union said of the proposed cuts, “if they were imposed on our members, hundreds of workers and their families would lose their homes.”

Whatever happens at the next election it will business as usual for bosses as they try to drive down pay and cut jobs. Workers are beginning to show that they are not willing to stand for this. The current wave of strike action, sit-ins and occupations need to be built on. And while union support for industrial action is to be welcomed, union bosses will need to be watched carefully to make sure they do not stifle this growing militancy.
SMASH THE ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE! 

A group calling themselves the English Defence League (EDL) have recently started a national tour of the UK, protesting in major cities and declaring their opposition to “Terrorists and Sharia”. They have already visited Whitechapel, Wood Green, and Luton, and they like Birmingham so much that they have pitched up in the city centre three times. Where they have mobilised, it has been clear that despite their rhetoric about being nothing more than concerned, patriotic individuals, mobilising against Muslim extremism, they are an exclusively white mixture of football hooligans, drunken thugs and fascists. And when fascists feel confident enough to march through our streets, it is certainly a fact that the antifascist movement here in the UK is in a sorry state.

Though the EDL have been very keen to distance themselves from more overt fascist organisations such as the British National Party (BNP), this denial would of course be much more convincing if they didn’t share the same hate-filled politics. Recently EDL ring-leader (should that be ‘zoo-keeper’?) Paul Ray made clear the EDL’s true intentions when he spoke of their “opposition to all Muslims practising their faith in Britain.” This is not the first time Ray has spoken out against Muslims, having earlier appeared on American radio speaking of his opposition to “paki muslims” – a phrase he chooses not to use when speaking on behalf of the EDL.

Fascists have long been known for their lack of intelligence, and in true form the EDL are no different. Although they deny any links to fascism, their nazi salutes at demos, their attacks on anti-fascist campaigners and their chants of “no more mosques” and “we hate pakis more than you” leave no-one fooled. And if further proof were needed of the EDL’s fascist roots, their web designer is none other than BNP activist Chris Renton. But even if this was not the case, a street-based nationalist group existing to defend Britain’s supposed Christian identity, and whipping up hostility to Muslims must be opposed.

All anti-fascists should mobilise against fascism in our streets and couple this with a message that immigrants, Muslims and all other scapegoated sections of society should not be blamed for the short-comings of capitalism.

The EDL have announced plans to demonstrate in Manchester city centre on October the 10th and Leeds on the 31st at 1pm. The EDL will no doubt be planning more demonstrations after this, so keep an eye out for updates on their website. We encourage all anti-fascists to make it clear that we won’t accept racism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.

EDL Humiliated in Harrow

After the sight of groups like Unite Against Fascism claiming that thebanning of all marches and demonstrations in Luton following EDL activity – anti-fascist ones included- was a great victory, thepeople of Harrow showedhow to deal with fascism infine style.

After the EDL announced a demonstration against a mosque in Harrow last month, thousands of mostly Asian counter-protestors turned up with the intention of kicking them out. The few dozen fascists who turned up were unable to do anything but hide in a pub, as the locals outflanked the police and controlled the streets.
CARLOS PRESENTE! Trial over anti-fascist’s murder begins

A comrade in Spain reports:

Around 10,000 antifascists demonstrated on saturday 12th of September in Madrid, two days before the trial of the neonazi who murdered Carlos Palomino was due to begin. Carlos was 16 when he was stabbed in the heart in November 2007 while making his way to an antifa rally.

The demonstration paid tribute to the youngster on the street where he was killed. At the opening hearing, the nazi claimed that he acted in self-defense, despite the evidence against him, including underground cctv footage which showed him stabbing the unarmed Carlos.

Thank you to all those in London who attended the rally called by Afed and Antifa few days after the murder took place. We are determined to continue his struggle and eradicate racism and fascism from our streets. No Pasaran!
NEPALESE MAOISTS TO BAN STRIKES

Maoists who recently swept to power in Nepal have passed laws restricting workers’ action in their proposed Special Economic Zones. They are now planning a national ban on strikes in Nepal. They say that they are doing this because they must attract foreign investment. Under these proposals workers would be able to join unions, but would not be allowed to take any action that would disrupt production or “normal industrial operations”. In April the Maoist finance minister told Nepal’s International Chamber of Commerce that street protests and demonstrations as well as strikes would be forbidden.

So goodbye to any pretence that these people were ever any friend to workers and peasants.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK: GIVING ARMS DEALERS AN EARFULL 

From the 8-11th September, arms dealers (and government representatives) from all over the world converged on London for the “Defence Systems & Equipment International” (DSEI) – the world’s largest arms fair. And, as in previous years, their presence provoked a healthy upsurge of anti-capitalist and anti-war anger. This year, in keeping with the growing distrust and resentment of the global financial system, and recognising how the arms trade is linked in with every other aspect of capitalism, militant anti-arms group Disarm DSEI called for a demo in the heart of the City of London, targeting firms with investments in the arms trade.

In a marked contrast to previous protests, the police were on their best behaviour, having clearly been warned to avoid anything that might lead to yet more bad publicity for them. We can’t say how long this will last, but we would urge everyone to make the most of it while they can. Thanks to the laid-back policing, demonstrators had direct access to their targets, so Legal & General (who have £795m in the UK arms industry and £2199m in the global arms trade) had their headquarters redecorated with messages such as “Stop profit from death” and “A single non-revolutionary weekend is infinitely bloodier than an entire month of permanent revolution”. More impressively still, British Telecom (who have nearly £59 million in the arms trade) were unprepared enough that protesters, complete with banners and sound system, actually managed to pile into their headquarters. It may well have been the first time that the red and black flag of anarchist communism was raised inside BT HQ, but we hope it won’t be the last. A few other investors were also visited, but the last major stop on the tour was at the investment managers AXA(who have £6207 million in arms), who weren’t so willing to allow visitors in, and ended up getting their revolving door smashed in for their lack of hospitality.

Protests continued throughout the week, so that despite a last minute change of location, a special dinner for war profiteers at the Park Lane Hilton on the Thursday still attracted a noisy and disruptive presence outside it. Perhaps due to the fact that there were so many delegates actually there, the police were considerably more aggressive on this occasion, with 10 people arrested for breaching the Public Order Act.

Overall, the event was very positive – the police evidently feel unable to control and repress dissent the way they’re used to, so the actual targets of the protest took a battering, instead of everyone having to focus their energy on resisting the police. And the focus of the Disarm DSEI protest showed a strong awareness that the problem isn’t just a few dodgy firms – it’s the insanity of the entire capitalist system, where the logic of the market can make investing huge amounts of resources in death and destruction seem like a reasonable decision.

 

TOWER HAMLETS ESOL WORKERS ALL OUT

Following the emergence of management plans to make job and course cuts at Tower Hamlets College in London, workers there have undertaken indefinite strike action with the support of the local community, fellow workers, and activists from around the city.

Tower Hamlets college lies at the centre of the local community; the ‘access’ courses it provides are a vital route for many working class people into further education, while its English for Speakers of ther Languages (ESOL) courses are of great importance in aiding migrants pick up the skills they need to find their way in Britain. Tower Hamlets is a hub for Bangladeshi migrants, possessing a longstanding Bangladeshi population which makes it a destination for new arrivals. As a result the college’s ESOL courses are very popular, mostly with female working class migrants.

Unsurprisingly, management plans to axe staff and course numbers have been met with outrage from workers and locals. 13 jobs are earmarked for compulsory redundancy, while another 40 are lined up for the axe. At the same time, college bosses want to hire another 15 managers. On top of all this, 1,000 places on ESOL courses are to be cut. Workers have responded bravely, beginning indefinite strike action. Such action is rare in the UK, where discontent is more often channelled into setpiece one-day stoppages by unions. The ESOL workers have been making use of mass meetings to thrash out strategy, a vital tactic in keeping control of struggles in the hands of the workers concerned rather than union bureaucrats. Daily strike committee meetings have been similarly important, and workers have shown their willingness to flout anti-strike laws and take unofficial action.

The strike has caused significant problems for the college. Enrolment hasn’t been completed on time, and classes are grinding to a halt. Posties are refusing to cross pickets, and affected sites aren’t receiving mail. The workers have sought and received support from the wider community and students, and have emphasised the effects of the cuts on the local area. They have also shown creativity and enthusiasm in their action, even forming a band (the UCU all-stars)!

Anarchists have supported the struggle, visiting pickets and attempting to spread the struggle into their own workplaces. The London Education Workers Group, which exists to co-ordinate activity between anarchists and libertarian communists in the education sector has circulated a leaflet on the struggle, and has undertaken other valuable solidarity work, such as fundraising. We reproduce the leaflet here, as it offers valuable analysis.

Victory to the Tower Hamlets strikers!

Text of EWG leaflet:

Solidarity for the Tower Hamlets ESOL workers!

The recession may be over if some reports in the press are to be believed, but on the ground the cuts are still coming in thick and fast. Not surprisingly, the Labour government on their sinking ship are scrambling for the lifeboats. With cuts planned across the public sector and especially in further education it’s clear they’re happy to push the rest of us into the icy waters below.

The defence of jobs and student places (especially on the vitally important English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses) at Tower Hamlets College is certainly important in its own right. However, this strike is not just about one college. Its clear management thought they could target an isolated workforce but have been met by workers with strong resolve, backed by the community and other workers in the area. This last point is key. The cuts in question here are only one part out of the millions of pounds being taken away from further and higher education. The most important thing is to continue spreading the struggle, to continue getting support and solidarity from other colleges facing cuts and anyone else next in the firing line.

Part of this means going beyond the boundaries set by membership of different unions and professions. Having meetings open to all staff regardless of union affiliation increases our strength as workers and keeps actions under our control. We must seek out each other’s support, even if that means not waiting for the unions to make those links for us and doing it ourselves.

The Tower Hamlets strikers have set a fantastic example for the rest of us in education to follow. Through their direct action and solidarity they have shown Michael Farley and all those seeking to make cuts in education that we will not go down without a fight.

-London Education Workers Group
ORGANISE!

We in the Anarchist Federation have strongly pushed for more effective organisation within the British anarchist movement ever since we were set up in 1985. Our own organisation has grown quite considerably over the last year or so, but we aim this article at other anarchists in the movement who are either thinking of committing to joining a national organisation but have not as yet done so and those who do not see the benefits of such a national organisation.

Alternatives frequently offered to the national organisation are 1. local groups and 2. networking, that is, relying on loose networks that come together over specific issues or campaigns. We in the AF have never been opposed to the setting up of local anarchist groups. In fact we see the putting down of roots in the local neighbourhood and workplaces as vitally important. Within the AF we strive to be involved in local activity and local issues as much as possible. However we do not subscribe to the idea put forward by some advocates of such groups that on their own local groups are enough for a vibrant anarchist movement. We often need to respond to attacks from the bosses and the State on a national level and that’s one good reason why we need national organisations. Some advocates of the local group idea are not completely opposed to the setting up of national organisations but they say that it must come from the coordination and coming together of local groups on a regional and national level. Whilst we in the AF support all efforts for greater effectiveness either regionally or nationally, we have to confess that we have not yet seen such a process coming about. National organisations and strong local groups are not incompatible, they should be part of the same process. Too often local groups with no connection to national structures can emerge in an area and then disappear followed by the appearance in the same area of another one later on, with no reference to the previous activity and history of groups that came before. Having a national perspective does not mean that this won’t happen again, but at least a national structure can ensure some continuity in terms of local contacts and the memory of what local groups had done before.

Similarly with networking. Whilst some networking has been effective, all too often, thanks to the lack of structures that ensure maximum and equal participation of its members, decision making and control of such networks are taken by informal hierarchies. There is not necessarily any permanence to such networks, with them coming and going, appearing and disappearing, just like local groups can.

We don’t think that the liberation of the working class, and through it the liberation of humanity as a whole, will come about on a purely spontaneous level. The road to revolution has not yet been built. It will come about through the development of a mass movement. That does not remove the need for specific organisations. The role such an organisation can play is not one of making the revolution on behalf of the masses, of being the single and centralised instrument of the revolution. It is above all an assembly of activists who seek to work within struggles and movements. It seeks to act as a memory for the working class, searching out and recalling the history of past struggles, and attempting to draw the lessons to be learned from their successes and failures. One of its functions should be to act as a propaganda grouping, ceaselessly and untiringly putting over a revolutionary message. It acts as a liaison for its militants, conveying information both here and abroad. It acts as a place for debate for militants, where ideas and experiences can be synthesised. By offering this place for debate, it counters localism, and fixation on single issues. It puts into practice its own strategies. It fights for the independence of struggles, for their self-organisation, against their co-option by reformism and electoralism. It puts forward initiatives for practical unity and debate wherever possible. Defending the independence and self-organisation of mass movements does not mean that the revolutionary organisation does not seek to spread its ideas in these movements. More than ever we need a strong and effective anarchist movement in this country ready to take part in the struggles that must come as capitalism in crisis attempts to impose its austerity programmes and cuts on our class and try to make us pay for its own crisis. This cannot come about through a loose and badly organised movement. It has to come about through greater and greater coordination and organisation where anarchists can more effectively coordinate, act and strike together against the enemy. We urge all anarchists to seriously think of joining a national anarchist organisation. Obviously we would like that choice to be the Anarchist Federation. However we are aware that some anarchists might have different emphases and points of view and might be attracted to another national organisation like, for example, the Solidarity Federation. Whatever the choice, think seriously about making that commitment. More and morewe need to be seen as a serious movement, one that can begin to grow and to fight back against the many attacks that have come and will come upon the working class. Organise!

The Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk

Britain, Anti-Nato demo in Edinburgh

Posted in Avrupa haberler, Direnis, English, Haberler with tags , on 12/10/2009 by Karakök

Welcome to the website of the NATO Welcoming Committee. The committee is linked to the Anti-Militarist Network.

In November the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will meet in Edinburgh. As anti-militarists we aim to shut it down.

We are calling for a mass demo to try and shut down NATO on Friday the 13th of November, the first day of the assembly.

The NATO Welcoming Committee will provide a convergence space for activists to converge and stay in throughout the Assembly, as well as providing food, medical services in terms of street medics and a well-stocked medics space, legal support through the Scottish Activist Legal Project, trauma support and other forms of support to activists. The NATO Welcoming Committee has signed up to the AMN’s principles. These are:

  • We embrace a diversity of tactics
  • We will not publicly condemn other peoples actions
  • We have a respect for life

See you on the streets!