Anarchist Federation bulletin - Resistance 102 - April/May 2008
Read/download now in PDF format from http://www.afed.org.uk
Contents of the April/May 2008 issue:
SAFE IN THEIR HANDS - hundreds of deaths in police and local authority custody reveal extent of UK's state brutality.
TEACHERS STRIKE - but only the NUT, as IWW calls for wider action.
CRUNCH, WHAT CRUNCH? - credit is harder to get, but a big city bonus might help you ride the storm.
A BAD TIME TO BE A FASCIST - BNP stalls and venues attacked in Glasgow and Leeds, BNP copper caught with weapons hoard.
ON THE PICKET LINE, RAIN OR SHINE - members of AF support picket against Shelter bosses' attack on staff pay & conditions.
THROW A SICKIE TOMORROW - or desert from the armed forces, or both.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT - free TVs for MPs on expenses.
SUPPORT OUR PRESS FUND! - send us money to bring the next issue of Resistance closer, or the revolution, or both.
NASTY SCOTTISH TAX COLLECTORS STILL CHASING - unpaid Poll Tax arrears wanted by councils after 20 years, even if they lost your records.
SUBVERT! - diary dates for April, May and June.
SAFE IN THEIR HANDS...
In March figures published in the capital’s press noted that 180 people “nearly died” in police custody in London last year.
The “near misses” were revealed as a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission called for cells to be made “safer” (sic). Reasons for “near misses” were given as “attempted suicide, self-harm, drug abuse, medical conditions and excess alcohol”. It fails to mention those injured during ‘control and restraint’ interventions, or indeed, those brutalised and abused in the process of intimidation, bullying and sadistic pleasure (To say nothing of those “unlawfully killed” as a result of such!).
The Forum for Preventing Deaths in Custody also released figures that reveal almost 600 die each year in custody. This includes police cells, prisons and other units such as secure psychiatric and Local Authority facilities, which deal mainly with children and adolescents. The report states that two-thirds of these deaths are by natural causes, the remainder being from “killings” (perpetrator not mentioned), “accidents” and “self-inflicted”. A quick calculation reveals that around 200 people a year die in custody by means other than natural causes.
Further statistical data available from Inquest (www.inquest.org.uk), an organisation which monitors deaths in police custody and prison, reveals that 13 people died in the ‘safe hands’ of the Metropolitan Police, and 33 with other Forces across the UK in 2007. The data is broken down into four categories; Custody, Pursuit, Road Traffic Accidents, and Shootings. Data is further broken down into three categories; ethnic minority, women and youth deaths.
To some such statistics may be quite shocking. However, as anarchist-communists we are under no illusions as to the heinous, vicious and repressive nature of the State and all its institutions, of which, along with capitalism, we seek to abolish.
CRUNCH, WHAT CRUNCH?
Barclays investment banking supreme Bob Diamond, head of Barclays Capital, was paid £36million last year, despite a £1.6billion loss in the credit crunch and seeing their shares almost halved in the same period. [Incidentally, they still managed a £7billion profit!]. Just for the record; front-line workers at Barclays earn between £11,900 and £19,975 for an Assistant Manager per annum. Oh the joys of capitalism, don’t you just love it……
Make hay while the sun shines - you’re on borrowed time!
Teachers are going on strike on 24th April. They are protesting against the governments recent 3 year pay deal which sees them falling behind inflation yet again. They are the first group of public sector workers to take strike action, we predict they will not be the last. This is the first national strike by teachers in over 21 years. Resistance welcomes this strike and is sure that thousands of school kids will too!
We are equally sure that on its own this strike is unlikely to achieve its objectives. Education workers are split between at least six unions. This strike is being organised by only one of them, the National Union of Teachers (NUT). It is only NUT teachers who are striking. This weakens and divides them.
Even if the NUT are successful, the strike will do nothing to benefit the thousands of teaching assistants, clerical workers, cleaners and cooks who keep schools running. If public sector workers are to succeed in fighting pay cuts to pay for the credit “crunch”, they need to be united. That means all the workers taking action at the same time. It means uniting across union barriers and linking up demands, striking together at the same time.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a small but growing organisation of workers who aim to do just that. They are holding a meeting on May 17th in Manchester to discuss plans to build a genuine movement of all education workers. They can be contacted at education[at]iww-manchester.org.uk
A BAD TIME TO BE A FASCIST
FASCISTS SEEN OFF IN GLASGOW
Buchanan Street in Glasgow has long been a place where political groups of various flavours set up stalls and sell newspapers and political propaganda. Walking down the street on a Saturday afternoon you will find groups such as Glasgow Anarchists and various leftists all distributing political material. The usual place to find these groups is at the junction of Buchanan Street and Gordon Street. Saturday April 5th, however saw a different political group attempting to hawk their particular message. This group however were not welcome on Buchanan street, or any street for that matter. It was the British National Party, the BNP.
Three of these racist scumbags had decided that they were going to sell the “Voice of Freedom”, the vile hate rag of their party. Word quickly went around the different stalls and a group of ten assorted leftists moved down to surround them and stop them from selling their filth.
The three who were selling papers quickly departed to a slow hand clap from the people of Glasgow. However one particular goon who was talking to them and shaking hands decided to hang around, talking into his mobile phone as if calling for back up, after about ten minutes of glowering at the Anarchist stall and attempting to act menacing he departed to get backup to face the evil lefties. Disappearing into Borders bookstore he shortly returned with backup – his mum.
His mother proceeded to fulfil all the stereotypes of the far right with her ignorance, arrogance, homophobia and blustering. She attempted to pick a fight at the Anarchist stall by tossing leaflets and pamphlets to the floor and calling those on the stall a “bunch of anarchist arse bangers” and other such delightful names. Declaring that her son was not a hooligan and that she was the hooligan.
In a show of solidarity people from all the other political stalls quickly came over and proceeded to argue with the woman who claimed that her son was not in the BNP (despite him later saying that he would be putting various peoples pictures on redwatch) and then went on to hit someone. After about ten minutes of arguing people decided to ignore the scum and get on with the day. Not long after the gruesome twosome departed news arrived that the three BNP paper sellers had started selling their rags at the junction of Buchanan Street and St. Vincent Street. This time an even larger group of assorted anti-fascists marched up Buchanan Street and surrounded them.
Chants of “BNP off our streets!” began as various people argued with them and called the BNP out for the scum they are. Having already been moved on once though, they dug their heels in and refused to move, even when the crowd around them swelled with people angered at seeing Nazis on our streets. Eventually they had their papers taken off them, destroyed and distributed into the bins. Having no hate rags to sell they then buggered off to a great cheer from all on the street.
We cannot allow these pedlars of hate and bigotry to organize or spread their disease, they must be confronted wherever they rear their ugly heads.
POLICE BNP MEMBER CAUGHT BUILDING AN ARSENAL
Recently the Post Office Security Team at London’s main sorting office at Mount Pleasant intercepted a package from the USA which contained a Tazer gun, known as a stun gun, now in widening use by the Metropolitan Police. The addressee was 23 year old Ellis Hammond. The P.O. security team passed on the address and details of the contents of the package to the police in South East London. It took them only minutes to realise that Hammond was a serving officer in the Police Community Safety unit based in their command area.
In no time, they were at his family home detaining him and carrying out what was said to be a very thorough search. The items found included:
• 1 CS Tear Gas Canister
• 1 Police style ASP retractable baton
• 1 pair of Police-issue Handcuffs
• 1 Knuckle-Duster
• 8 combat knives
• DVDs with Hate material on them
• Various items of BNP literature
• Some Obscene material
• 25-30 T Shirts bearing nazi and White Power groups symbols and with hard line racist and nazi slogans on them
• 4 BB Guns
• 1 Replica AK 47 Assault Rifle
And finally to top it off, a British National Party membership card...
FASCIST MEETING PLACES ATTACKED
“In the early hours of the 14th March several Leeds venues recently used for meetings of the fascist British National Party were attacked. The BNP have used these venues on a number of occasions, and the venues were in full knowledge of whom they were hosting. The venues were:
• Ireland Wood Social Club, Leeds
• The Dog & Gun public house, Killingbeck
• Woodkirk Valley Country Club, Tingley
The attacks on the venues took the form of damage to property, comprising glued locks and the smashing of several windows with red paint being thrown inside.
The purpose of this action is to send a clear message that we will do all we can to prevent the fascist BNP spreading their racist poison within West Yorkshire, and will actively confront those who provide them with resources and/or attempt to turn a quick profit from assisting them. Nick Griffin and his shabby cohorts may wear suits and ties instead of blackshirts, but we are not fooled as to the true nature of the fascist BNP.”
From Yorkshire anti-fascists
ON THE PICKET LINE, RAIN OR SHINE
The Anarchist Federation joined workers from Shelter (a charity that campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing) in national strike action against senior management’s attempts to implement the most serious attack on staffs pay and conditions in the organisation’s 41 year history. Workers and activists alike braved the bracing Yorkshire weather to raise awareness for the struggle and bolster the picket lines.
Management are pressurising staff to accept an abolition of incremental pay, an extension of the working week (which amounts to 3 working weeks per year at no extra pay), downgrading of posts throughout Shelter’s housing advice and support services and changes to redundancy policy involving a massive reduction in salary protection for redeployed staff. Staff are also now being told they must sign to a reduction in their terms and conditions. If they refuse to sign, management are threatening to implement the changes without consent by sacking staff and offering re-employment on new contracts with reduced terms and conditions.
These attacks will directly affect the quality of much needed advice and support given by the charity. It will seriously impact upon Shelter’s policy and campaigning work which is meant to be informed by the experiences of badly housed or homeless people. Front line staff are already increasingly less able to pass on their experiences to staff in campaigning and policy because of top-down pressure to deliver contractual targets.
This is all while senior management earn top-tax bracket salaries and will be materially unaffected by these changes. There appears to be money for the organisation to employ highly paid consultants and a swanky refurbishment of the head office, while the mortgages, bills and rent of Shelter workers are considered expendable.
THROW A SICKIE TOMORROW!
It’s good to see that sickies are on the increase. From 164 million days in 2005 to 175million in 2006. The CBI who compiles such data, will not be releasing figures for 2007 until later this year, however, predictions are that this trend will continue to rise. The CBI believes that over 20 million of these days are “suspect” and cost industry around £500 per worker. Such a staggeringly high amount is bound to cripple the capitalist economy. In the words of Tom Hodgkinson, author of How to be Idle, “Throw a sickie and get a life”.
And in the military people have been taking things even furhter. Figures released in 2007 revealed that there were almost 12,000 cases of military personnel going AWOL since the start of military operations in Iraq and Afganistan. However, the Ministry of Defence reports that the majority of these absconders either returned to duty of their own volition or were apprehended by the authorities - although almost 1,000 remain on-the-run. The Ministry of Defence has announced that Army is now carrying out a study to identify the reasons why troops are going AWOL. Durr….
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
Resistance 100 commented on the fraudulent activities and financial irregularities of Derek Conway MP. So it follows, and comes as no surprise to us, that questions have been raised at the “expense” accounts of other Members of Parliament. In October 2007 the House of Commons announced that MPs ran up expenses of £87.6 million in the previous year - on top of their basic salaries of £59,686. Labour MP Shahid Malik was the costliest at £185,421, while the cheapest was Philip Hollobone of the Conservative Party, claiming a mere £44,551, small change no less.
Now, our dear elected leaders and champions of the people have tried to block the publication of their expenses. An all-party committee has been advised there is no legal basis for an appeal against a ruling by a Freedom of Information Tribunal that details should be made public. Tough shit guys.
SUPPORT OUR PRESS FUND!
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NASTY SCOTTISH TAX COLLECTORS STILL CHASING
In December last year Citizens Advice Scotland announced that many people are finding it impossible to prove they have paid Poll Tax charges that local councils insist are still due. There was a huge non-payment campaign after the Poll Tax was introduced into Scotland in April 1989, and in England and Wales a year later. By the end of 2006 an impressive £435 million was still outstanding! Unlike England and Wales, where this kind of debt is written off after six years, Scottish councils can still demand payment up to 20 years later.
Nasty council authorities, clearly not content with the demise of the Tories after the anti-Poll Tax struggle, have pursued individuals and even partners of non-payers, using tactics like freezing bank accounts. A couple in their eighties had £100 taken from their bank account for community charge due between 1989-93 and the council warned another £600 would be taken shortly. The couple are adamant they had paid but no longer have any proof such as bank statements or receipts. As well as these ‘mistakes’ there are clearly thousands of principled non-payers who either can’t pay, won’t pay, or both.
The CAS, who are taking the issue to the Scottish parliament, said “How many people actually have personal financial records going back to the early 1990s? After almost 20 years, it’s time to finally bring the curtain down on the Poll Tax.” We couldn’t agree more. It’s not nice to be hounded by council debt collectors, but fair play to the Scots where one in four CAS clients has an outstanding debt! This just shows how solid the collective non-payment campaign was with people feeling strong enough to resist, knowing that others were doing the same. On the other hand, it seems that the council umbrella group Cosla now considers we are weak enough to pursue us as individuals without reprisals, saying there will be “no amnesty” for those refusing to pay. It also shows up the danger of moving towards a universal identity database that can be used track and link up information about our lives.
SUBVERT! - DIARY DATES FOR APRIL, MAY & JUNE
When going on demonstrations stay sober, don’t talk to the police and if you’re arrested give only your name and address then say ‘no comment’ to any other questions. For more info visit: www.ldmg.org.uk
28 - A march for International Workers Day remembering those killed or injured at work March to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) headquarters in Southwark St and City Hall, London SE1 for rally with speakers. Address: Meet Holland St, London SE1 beside Tate Modern. Time: 10.30am Phone: 07747 795 954 Web: http://www.hazards.org
1 - International Workers Day. Events around the world. Contact the AF for more information.
1 - Mayday - Invasion Of The Climate Snatchers - On May 1st, International Workers’ Day, there will be a climate change protest in the UK. Challenging false solutions to climate change and show the real solution: far-reaching social change and reduction in consumption. Web: http://networkforclimateaction.org.uk
2 - 4 Faslane Peace Camp punks picnic - Live music and malicious mischief. Bring a tent! Phone: 07835215787 or 07770893815 Web: www.myspace.com/faslanepeacecamp or www.faslane.co.nr
10 - 1968 and All That / Be Realistic! Demand the Impossible! - An international conference and bookfair to celebrate the hopes and dreams of May 1968 - forty years after. With talks, films, food, art, debates and books – plus speakers from France, USA, Russia, Germany, Eastern Europe and Britain. Address: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 Time: 10am – 10pm Web: www.1968andallthat.net
17 - IWW Education workers meeting. Manchester. for more information Email: email@example.com
7 - Manchester Anarchist Bookfair. 11-5 Jabez Clegg, 3 Portsmouth St, M13 9GB (opposite manchester University Students Union)Stalls, meeting, vegan food. Web: www.bookfair.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Anarchist Federation is an organisation of class struggle anarchists aiming to abolish capitalism and all oppression to create a free and equal society. This is Anarchist Communism. We see today’s society as being divided into two main opposing classes: the ruling class which controls all the power and wealth, and the working class which the rulers exploit to maintain this. By racism, sexism and other forms of oppression, as well as war and environmental destruction the rulers weaken and divide us. Only the direct action of working class people can defeat these attacks and ultimately overthrow capitalism.
As the capitalist system rules the whole world, its destruction must be complete and world wide. We reject attempts to reform it, such as working through parliament and national liberation movements, as they fail to challenge capitalism itself. Unions also work as a part of the capitalist system, so although workers struggle within them they will be unable to bring about capitalism’s destruction unless they go beyond these limits.
Organisation is vital if we’re to beat the bosses, so we work for a united anarchist movement and are affiliated to the International of Anarchist Federations. The Anarchist Federation has members across Britain and Ireland fighting for the kind of world outlined above.
Contact us at:
London, WC1N 3XX.
Also visit: http://www.afed.org.uk and http://www.iaf-ifa.org
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