Resistance #37

Dying for a job?

The first of May is workers’ day; a day to recognise the gains that have been made over the past century because of the struggles of those who have gone before. The first May day (see article inside) was established in order to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs, anarchists hanged because of their role in the fight for the eight hour day. Now, over a hundred years later, much of what they and others gained for all workers has been clawed back by the boss class. You would have thought that we would have reduced the working week even further, especially with the massive increase in productive capacity. But, no! We seem to be working even more! Estimates put the average working week at 48 hours, well over eight hours a day. We all are affected by the obsession to work ever-increasing hours and to accomplish more and more in a limited amount of time such that our lives never seem to slow down. We are expected to ‘multi-task’ and many pride themselves on their ability to do this well. Products have been developed to help us do this. For example, there is now a device which allows you to listen to your e-mails why you are brushing your teeth! Ads encourage us to eat food that means we can keep working over lunch and promote flu and cold remedies in such a way to imply that we needn’t take a day of sick if we are ill. Some people work themselves to death. The Japanese have even created a name for this ‘disease’: karoshi-death by overwork. So why?

Like almost everything else that is wrong with our society, capitalism is to blame. Not content with the huge increase in productivity that has already brought unimaginable amounts of profits and wealth to a few, the system requires that this process continues relentlessly. This is accomplished in two ways: the use of technology like computers which produce more with the same amount of effort on our part and intensifying the work process itself so that we do more in the same time. It doesn’t matter whether you work in a factory, bank, shop or school, this is going on everywhere. And even worse, work has now crept into our home lives with the mobile phone and e-mail. University College London is developing a new computer programme that will allow those at work to see exactly what an employee ‘working at home’ is doing on the computer.

This increase in the pace and amount of work is largely forced on us by the bosses and managers. They try and make us feel that if you don’t keep up, you will lose your job or, in jobs such as nursing and teaching, that others will suffer. Employers are very skilled at playing on people’s good will. However, when we fall for there tricks we make ourselves our own worst enemies...People often compete with others to see who is the most ‘efficient’ worker. Many people have swallowed the work ethic of capitalism hook, line and sinker. And it is the same with consumption. How many of us can go a day without shopping? For many it is actually a recreational activity or a way to escape problems – retail therapy. How many of us complain that we have to wait in a queue at the supermarket? The message boomed down from above is that if you work ‘well’ and shop ‘well’ you have value, but if you don’t, then you have no status in their society.

We see things differently. How much they get out of us depends on how much we let them take. The day to day refusal of many people to the speed up of work is a growing reality. Some people take more control over their lives by refusing regular jobs and surviving on benefits and odd jobs.

Those of us with jobs should:

- never go into work when ill (especially if you don’t have to worry about sick pay)

- take days off work just for yourself

- always take your lunch break

- don’t go in to work early or leave late

- don’t ever leave for work early because there are problems with transport

- don’t let work enter your home, either in the form of phone calls or ‘taking work home’

- try and create an alternative culture at work that makes fun of people who are obsessed with work

In general do what ever will help resist attempts at work to increase the workload and pace of work. Instead, find ways of slowing things down. Many people are reluctant to do less because their colleagues or customers will suffer. But there is a lot of work that is only for the boss – paper work, bureaucracy – that can be targeted for a go-slow.

And in many jobs, when the product or service itself is useless or even dangerous, there is even more reason to slow down. It may be hard to do these things on your own, but many people feel the same, they just need to know that they aren’t the only ones and things could start happening. If resistance begins on a small-scale, then a bigger movement could be created, one that seriously begins to challenge the power of capitalism to control every aspect of our lives.



Council Workers have just rejected a 3% pay offer – (95% voting against), which may trigger a strike vote on a national strike, the first in 20 years – workers were already preparing for the expected battle against transferring public services to private operators and this pathetic offer can only heighten tensions. Watch this space.

Fire fighters are also close to their first national strike since 1977 (scabbing green goddesses anyone?) – they want better wages in recognition of different duties and skills that are not taken account of under the present agreement.

The first workers sacked under the 1999 employment law clauses, which allows workers to be sacked after eight weeks on strike are still out at the Friction Dynamex car brake plant in Caernarfon. They have been picketing the plant since June when the boss took advantage of the Labour Party introduced law, to sack them and employ new workers at lower wages – New Labour/ Old Labour, still selling workers down the river.

Manchester airport workers are continuing their series of walkouts and have just rejected a 10% pay offer. 1000 Faslane naval base workers staged a walkout in protest at privatisation plans, while Devonport base has also voted for industrial action on the same issue.

The Brukman factory in Buenos Aires has been under control of its workers since the owner refused to pay their wages, the seamstresses have fought off attempts by hired goons to re-take the factory and have been supporting themselves by selling off the factories supplies – the women have organised themselves via mass assemblies and other libertarian ways. This form of action is spreading throughout the country as bosses try to use the crisis to their advantage.

Around 1,000 Romanian miners held a sit-in at Baia-Borsa and Rodna mines, barricading themselves into their mines to protest against plans to slash jobs over the coming months, hunger strikes are threatened if the cuts continue.

Greece’s largest port (Athens) was forced to close in early April when Naval engineers went on strike against pension reforms – public service officials also staged 24-hour strike over the same issue.

Macedonia saw violent clashes between police and people recently made unemployed from state companies, and the government buildings came under attack.


As a result of the not-quite-so-unusual, perfectly natural event of giving birth to a child, Liz Hurley, film ‘star’-cum-model and celebrity scab (Hurley crossed union picket lines when struggling colleagues were on strike) is set to receive a reported £1.5 million from a gossip mag. For taking us through this phenomenon the sillier sections of the trashy media are falling over themselves to rush into print with Ms Hurleys account of her pre- and post-natal experiences.

Contrast this pathetic hullabaloo over the Hurley child with the vicious attacks the same media mount against young single mothers wrestling with poverty pay/benefits to raise their kids on a council estate. Such women are vilified in the press are the harbingers of doom for the whole of Western society, if editors are to be believed. What utter tripe! And it all comes about because the media capitalism exploits so well encourages everyone to regard the likes of Hurley as unique or special whilst the rest of us are simply here to make up the numbers, drooling over world-shattering occurrences like Hurley bearing a child. Big deal.

Anyone tempted to buy this garbage would do more good donating the cover price to, say, the 6,000 children dying weekly in Iraq as a consequence of continuing US/UK bombing raids and medial supplies/aid embargoes, probably very soon to develop into all out war if madmen Bush and Blair (“is that a clinker on my nose, George?”) get their way.

Hurley hasn’t killed any Iraqi children directly but every time the papers are full of trivia about people like her then the plight of millions suffering under capitalism goes unreported. That amounts to culpability in our book and why Liz Hurley qualifies for the esteemed title of prat of the month.


Regular demonstrations topping 150 000, a monster rally of over 3 million, quickly followed up by a General Strike (the first for 20 years) which managed to shut down nearly all the country’s business, and the state attempting to intimidate protesters into silence – France in May 1968? Poland in 80/81?

No, this is Italy in 2002 where a massively important battle is taking place between the working classes and the ‘modernising’ forces of the Italian state. The struggle has been instigated by Prime Minister Berlusconi’s attempts at passing laws that, amongst other things, will allow bosses to hire and fire as they please – in short, job security will be thrown out of the window in favour of a “pay ‘em peanuts, if they complain get rid of ‘em” approach (sound familiar?). The anger that this proposal has provoked has been astonishing, and has been steadily building up in recent weeks.

April 16th saw the latest step up in the fight – a nationwide work stoppage of 13 million people. Public transport by road, rail, air and sea was stopped all over the country, there were no live television broadcasts, no newspapers were published, schools, banks, post offices and government offices remained closed all day, airports were deserted, with air traffic controllers stopping work for eight hours, disrupting domestic and international connecting flights. Plans are now being made to carry the struggle onwards - this won’t go away like Berlusconi hopes – the recent events have reminded people of the power of the working class to change this society, and that its continuance is based on OUR work – the boss needs us, we don’t need the boss!


On the same day as the massive general strike in Italy millions of state employed workers struck in India, protesting against proposed anti-worker changes in labour laws. In line with greater efficiency in the global market, the coalition government is planning to speed up the privatisation of the nationalised industries. The strike was strongest in West Bengal, where airline flights and trains in Calcutta were halted by blockades of airports and railway stations. The strike was solid among dockers and miners, and workers in banking and finance came out too.

In Liaoyang in North China (see resistance #36) thousands of sacked workers are demanding the freeing of their 4 spokespeople arrested by the local police. When the metal works went bankrupt there, the municipal authorities set up a jobs fair for those made redundant. To the disgust of the workers among jobs advertised were masseurs of feet in the saunas – a euphemism for the brothels of the town!


In the Polish navy shipyards 60 workers have gone on a wildcat strike with the support of their 130 sacked mates. The official union Solidarnosc has refused to support this movement. Support work and the spreading of information about the strike have been organised by the Anarchist Federation of Poland in Poznan. Supporting this are workers from the naval shipyards of Szcecin who have been the victims of State repression with the excuse of “incitement to sabotage” which means the distribution of their anarchist magazine in the shipyard (see resistance #31).

Anarchists participated in demonstrations of the unemployed against the “liberalisation” of the labour laws in Gdansk, Szczecin and Warsaw. In Gdansk anarchists wore handcuffs to demonstrate the effects of these policies. Leaflets from the anarchist Workers Initiative were distributed in many areas on a mass basis

30 anarchists gathered at the Israeli embassy in Warsaw on 10th April under the slogan “The Warsaw Ghetto is now in Palestine”.

On the 18-19th May the GAS (Grupa Anarchistyczna Solidarnosc) of Poznan are organising an anarchist bookfair. The international anarchist movement is invited to attend. The GAS want to spread ideas locally and increase their links internationally.

Write in Polish or English to GAS, Michal Wojciesak, PO Box 12, 60-975 Poznan 61, Poland. Email or


Anarchist arrested
On March 15th in Barcelona anarchist demonstrations were brutally attacked by the police during the European Summit. One of those badly beaten was Maja, a 20-year old anarchist from Slovenia. She was arrested by the police and is still awaiting trial.

Maja and other anarchists from Slovenia and Croatia attended the demonstrations. The anarchist movement in these 2 countries is young and growing. A concert of support was organised for her in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, and a collection was made among Slovene, Croat and Serb anarchists. Anarchists in this part of the world are on lower incomes than in the West, so any donations will be gratefully received via the group Antifasisticna akcija Ljubljan. Contact them by emailing You can send messages of support to Maja at


Organising in Romania
December 1st is Romania’s national day and a public holiday.

The previous night a massive flyposting of antifascist posters was organised by anarchists.

The centre of town and in particular the headquarters of the Great Romania Party were plastered with anarchist posters. The cultural centre of the army, the police HQ and similar buildings were also targeted.

Anarchists organised similar flypostings at the same time in the towns of Craiova, Timisoara and Cluj.

Visit the Romanian Anarchist Action site at and leave a message of support



The sight of thousands of people queuing up to see a royal funeral was a bit hard to take. The media laid it on thick and after a couple of days of people not caring, enough interest was generated to give the few who were bothered the spectacle they so desperately wanted. Those who were masochistic enough to watch were subjected to endless hours of fawning drivel about what a wonderful person the Queen Mother was and how much she did for the country. People can’t really be so stupid! Thousands of working class people suffered during WWII while the Queen Mother had all the food and drink she wanted and had a choice of palaces to retreat to. Today the status quo that the monarchy stand for is one where OAP’s die of hypothermia in freezing homes they can’t afford to heat and have long given up hope of getting treatment on the NHS for their painful ailments. Meanwhile, the Queen Mother had every luxury and managed to get two operations done with no waiting at all. The real heroes and heroines of our society are all those in the working class who struggle day after day to cope with the difficulties of life helped only by friendship, love and solidarity.

Contact the Movement Against the Monarchy at: MAM, PO Box 14672, London, E9 5UQ.


May 1st 1886 saw 340,000 workers striking all over the United States demanding an 8-hour day. In Chicago alone, 80,000 came out. There the anarchist movement was strong and had taken a great part in the agitation.

The following Monday, the police fired on strikers at the McCormick Harvester works and 6 workers were killed.

The next day a protest meeting was held in the centre of Chicago. At the end, the police began to attack the rally. In the following melee, a bomb was thrown at the police, killing one outright and fatally wounding 7 others.

Evidence came to light later that the bomb had been thrown by a police agent.

The State and the bosses, however, used this incident to victimise leading anarchists, some of whom had spoken at the rally, and had already left it to go on elsewhere when the bomb was thrown.

After a farce of a trial, where the judge showed openly how biased he was, with a jury made up of businessmen, their clerks, and a relative of a dead policeman, four anarchists were hanged, another preferring to take his own life before sentence could be passed.

In 1888, the American Federation of Labour continued the 8-hour day movement with May 1 as a day of action. The Paris conference of the Second International of Working People fixed Mayday as an international day of solidarity for the 8-hour day.

That year, demonstrations took place all over Europe and America.

The anarchists had not been satisfied with the granting of 8-hours, they saw the actions as a springboard to further action and organisation and the destruction of capitalism.

In Britain, when workers took the day off on May 1, a previous Labour government conveniently granted a public holiday- but not necessarily on May 1st but the closest Monday to it! What a joke!

May 1st should be brought back to life as a day when we don’t go to work, when we take over the streets and prepare for the time when every day will be a May Day, when we take on the State and the boss class, when we ignore the pathetic manipulations of the trade union bureaucrats and their leftist friends( who conveniently disguise the fact that the Chicago martyrs were anarchists). When boring ritualised demonstrations are replaced by meaningful mass action. Roll on that day!


Support US anarchist prisoner

Rob los Ricos is in the ‘hole’ for refusal to submit to mandatory DNA testing at Oregon State Penitentiary.

Letters of encouragement can be sent to: Rob Thaxton #12112716 OSP, 2605 State Street Salem, OR 97310, USA.

Letters must have a complete return address, use only ballpoint ink, avoid anarchist symbols and choose content carefully.

BACKGROUND: Anarchist writer, Rob los Ricos, was arrested during an international day of solidarity in opposition to a G-8 Summit on June 18, 1999 in Eugene Oregon. The day the police came out to model their armour and exercise their force. Rob was sentenced to seven years and four months for throwing a rock at a cop who was in pursuit. This is an outrageous sentence. The cop was not injured and is a known racist.

For more information check out:

Turkish anarchists released

On 1st of December 2001, five people from Usak were arrested for being members of “Usak Anarsist Otonomu” when some of them were distributing their leaflets during a trade-union demo. They were only charged with doing graffiti and a leaflet titled “No to Capitalism and War!” Four of them were forced to spend two months in cramped F type cells.

The state attorney claimed they were part of Anarsist Genclik Federasyonu (Anarchist Youth Federation) which according to the Turkish police is lead by Tayfun Gönül. Tayfun Gönül went to court as a “witness” and rejected all of the claims, adding that as he was born in 1958 it was impossible for him to be a member of a youth group!

Later the court decided to release the four anarchists (Muammer Özgür Küçüktekin, Ahmet Serkan Tomar, Sabri Serkan Kazak, Onur Ayaz and Rahmi Tiril) Sabri Serkan Kazak was released on the 13th of February. The next trial will be on 21st of May. More info from:

Anarchist Black Crescent - Ankara Anarsist Kara Ay - Ankara email:

New internment camp

A detention centre for immigrants will built on the site of Katajanokka Prison in Helsinki, Finland, by the beginning of the summer 2002. The Katajanokka prison is being closed because it is in breach of international regulations of how prisoners are allowed to be treated.

The ex-prison, soon-to-be detention centre has been rented from the city of Helsinki for a year by the “Employment and Economic Development Centre” (TE-centre), an institution charged with the tasks of “supporting enterprise and influencing and participating in regional development in general”. The funding will come from the TE-centre. Contact these institutions and demand that they stop doing this work:

TE-centre Uusimaa PL 15, 00241 Helsinki Tel: +358 9 2534 2111 Fax: +358 9 2534 2000 Email:

Helsinki reception centre for immigrants: Kylasaarenkatu 10, 00580 Helsinki Tel: (+358 9) 310 42900, 310 42912 Email:

Also Visit the international No Border network website:


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