Anarchist Federation bulletin - Resistance 85 - June 2006

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It looks as though 2006 is going to turn out to be highly significant for

European workers.


Here in Britain, the government, whose members are in line for whopping

great retirement pensions, are working out ways of cutting the pensions of

ordinary working people, while making them work until they drop. Make no

bones about it, this is a major attack.


And what are the unions doing about it? One day strikes here, and one day

strikes there. Given the low key response to the pensions crisis the

government is hardly quaking in its boots. Rivals Blair and Brown are

supposed to have come to a deal on this issue, so between them we can expect

to be screwed.


Contrast this softly, softly approach to what the French workers and

students achieved in March and April of this year. The French government

brought in a measure which meant that young workers under 26 within a two

year trial period could be sacked by their bosses without explanation.

And what was the response of the French working class? Well, millions of

them including young workers, students, older workers, families and

pensioners took to the streets. Not content with peaceful passive protests,

they turned to more dramatic, and effective, methods of persuasion. There

were riots, street clashes, many blockades of rail tracks and motorways.

France erupted into anger.


And the outcome? The law was scrapped and the humiliated government has been

forced to pay massive subsidies (£104 million per year) to encourage firms

to take on young unqualified staff. That’s the way to do it!





Now the Identity Cards Act has been passed, the building of 69 ‘in-person’

registration centres for gathering biometric data and vetting passport

applications is supposed to go ahead later this year. In the next couple of

years the centres will also manage compulsory entry on the National Identity

Register for passport applications, and Labour have made it clear that their

final goal is compulsory ID for everyone. Maperley [ed,correction: Mapeley ], the private offshore

company that already owns buildings for HM Revenue and Customs (but avoids

paying tax!) has been given the Home Office contract to run the new centres.

In the meantime, No2ID is asking that if you need a passport, it would show

the level of opposition to ID if everyone renewed or applied now, even if

your passport is not due for renewal yet (


Labour’s ID scheme is rife with private ‘enterprise’, which is not

surprising since the huge funds needed to set up and run one of the biggest

top-down Information Technology projects in the world seems to be an almost

bottomless pit of cash (the other British project vying for the title is

digitisation of NHS records). The size of the ID scheme is not just about

billions of pounds though. The Criminal Records Bureau have a computerised

system to do criminal record checks on job applicants, known as

“disclosures”, and say that 25,000 people were prevented from being

recruited last year. But in May, the CRB were found to have wrongly labelled

2,700 people as ‘criminal’ due to their personal details being similar to

someone on their database - an error of 0.03% in 9 million disclosures. Not

only that, but there is evidence of massive abuse of the database from

employers  making illegal checks on potential employees for jobs involving

“no risk to children or vulnerable adults”, and excessive requests for

“enhanced disclosures” which impart additional information the police may

have about an individual, not just known convictions.


The ID cards system is much, much bigger. With around 4 in 5 of us being

over 16 years of age that means about 50 million people will go in the

National Identity Register. The possibility for errors seems endless,

whether it’s in entering the 49 pieces of information per person in the

first place, or looking up your identity hundreds or thousands of times a

year (not just for the occasional job application). Never mind the myriad of

ways that knowledge of many ‘correct’ identities will be deliberately abused

by the police or anyone else that has access to the database. Children’s

databases and plans for police logging of all car travel in Britain using

digital cameras are also underway, to make us even safer we are told. It’s

clear that the more invasive the State and its corporate partners become

through their huge IT projects, the more the potential for abuse will carry

on growing.


Defending Anonymity, the AF’s anti-ID pamphlet, is available for free (send

us a SAE) or online at





The big news this month was the return of the mass wildcat to a British car

factory for the first time in many years. A thousand workers at the General

Motors Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant downed tools and walked out when they

got wind of comments by the GM Europe President that job cuts were in the

pipeline, word quickly got around and the nightshift then failed to turn up

for work as well. The union quickly got the workers back inside the factory

though, all the better to ‘negotiate’ their jobs away - 1000 job losses were

agreed within a few days.


There was also a large wildcat in the West Midlands mail centre, when around

a 100 workers walked out after a racist incident. Further trouble is on the

way in the Post Office where a national strike is looking very likely

following management’s unilateral imposition of a 2.9% wage rise - something

that the workers are very unhappy with - it’s been suggested that in line

with the PO manager’s long term plans this is an attempt to further

demoralise post workers so that they leave, cutting the wages bill, and

making the company appear a better bet for investors with further

privatisation lined up over the coming years.


The nationwide lecturers boycott of exams continues and is now really

starting to bite with exams being called off around the country. The union

is still refusing to endorse a strike though, despite the clear need for

decisive measures to be taken immediately: and is only arguing for a slight

escalation via management boycotts and other partial steps.


Bus drivers in Wiltshire and Dorset are going be holding a number of 24 and

48 hour strikes next month over a derisory pay off. The surprising news is

that for once the company involved isn’t First.


Some bad news now - a CBI report has found that absenteeism is now at its

lowest point for 10 years, and that only 17% of days lost are believed to be

fraudulent. With the World Cup fast approaching surely with a bit of effort

we can improve on the 160 million days lost last year - pull your fingers



We bet the CBI didn’t bother to publicise another report that was published

last month, which discovered that leading company bosses enjoyed an average

pay package of £3.3 million a year - meanwhile, the average pay is £22,900.

The class war is over is it Tony?





For some time the university academic staff unions, the AUT and NATFHE, have

been instructing their teaching members’ not to set exams or mark their

students’ work, to pressure employers in the current pay dispute. Already

some university vice chancellors are threatening to deduct wages.

Lecturers and research staff were promised higher wages as a result of the

new tuition fees which will be charged from September, a promise that the

universities had no intention of keeping. Wages have dropped in value by 40%

compared with other public sector increases since the 1980s, whilst those of

vice chancellors have risen by an average 25%.

Due to the action many students will end the academic year without having

gained enough marks to progress, and if they are in their final year they

will not graduate properly. So is this action justified? Many staff as well

as students don’t think so, and see it as dividing their essentially common



University academic staff are taking the most traditionally effective form

of action – the withdrawal of labour. But why strike when other forms of

action are open? Students suffering is just a side-issue to trades unions,

because students are not their members. Other forms of industrial action

should be taken, something that unites staff and students and expresses both

of our interests whilst hitting the universities in the pocket.

Both students and lecturers have also been let down by the naive careerists

of the National Union of Students. These fashionably supported lecturers’

action at first, but then withdrew it when things got controversial. These

issues are not games. We need to work out where we stand, and remain firm.

The NUS strives for nothing beyond the status quo.


In the current situation students can only be expected to identify with

lecturers’ interests to a certain extent. We need to work hard to unite

lecturers and students in challenging both the employers and the power of

single-interest unions, which fail to represent us.





The conflict began on May 3, when flower vendors from San Salvador Atenco

attempted to sell flowers in the nearby community of Texcoco at the site of

a planned WalMart megamall. Police evicted the vendors, beating many people

in the process.


The Atenco-based Peoples Front in Defense of Land (FPDT) mobilized protests,

which were brutally repressed by police. News reports indicate police killed

at least two residents, and at least 50 or more are injured, some of them

critically. Eleven police were detained by Atenco residents who demanded an

end to the repression and the release of prisoners in exchange for the

release of the detained police. Instead of negotiating an exchange, the

Federal Preventative Police (anti-riot squad) entered Atenco during the

early morning hours of Thursday, May 4, declared a state of siege, and began

a house to house search for the detained police, severely beating and

arresting residents.


The  results of the police terror on May 4 were 275 people held in custody.

Many of the leaders of the FPDT were arrested when police searched their

homes without warrants, directed by a masked informant. Townspeople

recognized the informant’s voice as he directed police. Three of the top

leaders of the FPDT are in a maximum security prison, charged with



Now, 144 people are charged with a lesser offence for which they can bail

out if they can come up with approximately 24 thousand pesos (around $2,000

dollars). Charges against another 17 were completely dismissed. However, 28

remain in prison charged with kidnapping for the detention of police on May

3, including 3 FPDT leaders.


San Salvador Atenco is an autonomous (self-governing) community a little to

the east of Mexico City. The community is  highly organized and is famous

for its militant protesters who participate in popular mobilizations across

central Mexico, including those opposing a WalMart store near the

archaeological site of Teotihuacán (close to Atenco). It appears that the

police were just waiting for the right excuse and the okay from above to

smash San Salvador Atenco, in particular the FPDT. Organise actions against

Walmart and put pressure on the Mexican government in support of  Atenco.





A political time bomb has exploded in East London. The racist British

National Party won at least 11, and possibly 12 seats on the local Council.,

making it the official opposition to Labour. The BNP has effectively, for

the first time in its history, gained a mass base in a community.

How has this situation come about? Firstly, it should be noted that until a

couple of years ago, the borough of Barking and Dagenham was almost totally

white working class. In this population the Labour Party has had effectively

one party rule for decades. The local Party is corrupt, arrogant and a

career base for the ambitious.


Much of the population was poor and neglected. They lived in the biggest

council estate in Europe. It is vast but the families in the community knew

that council housing was secure for them.


Then came Thatcherism, council houses were sold off, many being bought by

whites who bought to rent, becoming landlords (leeches), and depleting the

housing stock for their children. New rules about the right to council

accommodation also made getting a council house much more difficult.


Within the last few years, local people, in the town of Barking in

particular, became aware that large numbers of Kosovan refugees were being

housed in their area. Some housing staff actively promoted the idea that

Kosovans were responsible for the shortage of housing, fueling resentment.


Council houses in the borough became increasingly scarce after the right

to buy was introduced. Still, a few years ago they could be bought for

£60,000. Now a 3-bedroomed ex-council house costs over £180,000, well beyond

the reach of local people.


About 2 years ago, the ethnic character of the borough changed rapidly.

Large numbers of black people moved in and bought many of the ex-council

housing. Some, it appears, were given grants to help purchase their

properties by housing associations in inner London eager on moving them to

make way for new applicants.  This fuelled resentment. The blacks, Kosovans

and other outsiders were blamed for the housing crisis.

The widespread poverty in the borough not only impacted on housing. Schools

and social services could not cope, adding further resentment.

Who is responsible for this rapid and widespread growth of racism? Blame

firmly rests with Labour. The local Party was complacent and corrupt. But it

was under Blair that mass racism in the borough was created. Blair and co.

have done nothing about the widespread and chronic housing crisis in



The only hope in the short term for the poor of all races, is more social

housing. Labour continues to oversee the sale of council houses.

The BNP success is now starting to take effect. Working class whites who

voted for them are becoming more vocal, more confidently racist in the

changed political climate.


What are the prospects? The BNP are noted for their incompetence in local

government. Maybe they will make fools of themselves and be voted out next

time. More worrying, if the BNP uses its public platform to criticise the

lack of progress under Labour and no improvements take place, especially

with housing, they could capture the whole borough.


There are no easy solutions. More affordable social housing and decent free

local health facilities should be available to all, this will only be

achieved through the poor of all races arguing out their differences, and

uniting against their common enemy, landlords, bosses and government (local

and national, of whatever party).





On July 19th 1936, forces within the Spanish Army, backed by the right wing

in the Catholic Church and among industrialists and big landowners, as well

as among the fascists of the Falange and the monarchists, made an attempt to

overthrow the young Republic.


Rumours and preparations for the attempted army coup had been obvious to all

but the government, which, afraid of the workers more than of the army,

refused the demands that arms should be distributed to the people. All the

attempts by the Army in the main industrial centres were defeated, with the

exception of Cadiz, Seville, Cordoba and Grenada.


Half a million workers were organised within the mass anarchosyndicalist

union, the Confederation Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), and many other workers

were in the socialist union the Union General de Trabajadores (UGT). In

Madrid armed UGT militants smashed the Army revolt. In Barcelona, it was the

CNT and the Federacion Anarquista Iberica (FAI) which captured the barracks

and thwarted the generals. So began the Spanish Revolution.


In Catalonia and Aragon, the regions with the highest concentration of

anarchists and those influenced by them, distribution of food, the

maintenance of public services, the opening of collective restaurants and

the organisation of armed militias was undertaken by revolutionary

committees outside the control of government.


Collectivisation of industry and the seizing of the land were set in motion

by CNT embers, and to a lesser extent UGT members. Often, anarchist militias

such as the Durruti Column, would actively promote and defend

collectivisations as they traveled to the frontline. Possibly 3 million

people were involved in collectives in 1936-37.


Working people began to cast off centuries of mental servitude. People spoke

to each other as equals. New groups involving themselves in artistic,

musical and cultural activities emerged in a surge of creativity unleashed

by the possibilities the revolution offered.

This far reaching revolution was attacked by the forces of Franco, and

sabotaged from within by the Communist Party and the liberal Republicans.

But that’s another story….





Organise! magazine #66 (Spring/Summer 2006) now in print, with articles on

ID cards Act, Spanish revolution 70th anniversary & artist Ramón Acín

Aquilué, Environmental struggles in West Ireland & USA, Venezuelan

interview, Anarchists and Media, Prisoner Support.


Available at or from our usual address (see below).





Finnish anarchist jailed for refusing military service


Finnish anarchist MC Henrik “Iso H” Rosenberg began his 195 day prison

sentence for total objecting (refusing military service and alternative

state work) 20th of March. Iso H is not the first Finnish anarchist MC to go

down for total objecting - both Jus Aname representing Järvenpää and Tapani

Ganja representing Turku did their prison sentences in 2002. But differently

from Jus Aname and Tapani Ganja who are strictly underground, Iso H is a

commercially successful hip hop artist with a celebrity status. 11th of

November 2005 Iso H was performing in a successful joint benefit concert for

Union of Conscientious Objectors and Anarchist Black Cross, over stage there

was a big banner in support of American anarchist political prisoner Jeffrey

“Free” Luers. Paid audience was more than 500.


Total objecting is getting more and more mainstream, and currently vast

majority of objectors come from outside activist circles. For example of 25

people doing time 1st of march for “alternative service crime” according to

state statistics, vast majority of whom are political, only six had

contacted Union of Conscientious Objectors in order to get to their prisoner

list. You may subscribe a War Resisters International petition for Iso H at:


US anti-fascist jailed


An American woman, Lasandra Burwell, has been sentenced to 5 years

imprisonment for 2nd Degree Felony Assault, 1st Degree Felony Assault, and

Fourth Degree Aggravated Riot for throwing bricks at police cars and police

officers during the anti-fascist riot in Toledo, OH last October. She

welcomes books and letters of support. Her address is:

Lasandra Burwell W063658, Ohio Reformatory for Women, 1479 Collins Ave.

Marysville, OH 43040, USA


Information from:





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:




3-11: Stop the Arms Trade Week  – An opportunity for co-ordinated local

campaigning. Contact Campaign Against Arms Trade on 020 7281 0297 to order a

free campaign pack or to find out what is happening in your area, or visit for more


4: International day of Child Victims of Aggression - Bring the family to

Beith munitions depot in Ayreshire, Scotland - where a very large number of

bombs used in the Iraq conflict and conflict elsewhere are made, tested and

stored. Meet 1pm for picnic outside the gates. For transport from Edinburgh

and Glasgow tel: 07876 698 736 or email:


10: 2006 Road Block national conference. Anti-roads campaigners take note.

The location is central Birmingham. Workshops and guest speakers. Get more

information and download booking forms here:


10: Norwich Anarchist Bookfair - Stalls, meetings, food, bar & music.

Blackfriar’s Hall, Norwich, 10am-6pm. Free entry. Beards optional.


11 until July 1: Art Not Oil, London. An exhibition and campaign committed to

showing powerful political/ecological art, to seeing an end to oil

sponsorship of the arts, and to helping build movements for climate justice

both here and throughout the world. For more info: email tel: 07708 794 665 visit:

Art Not Oil is a project of London Rising Tide:


16-18 June: PROJECTILE: A festival of anarchist film and culture

Newcastle, Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2BB

ADMISSION & ACCOMODATION: Weekend pass: £25 waged or £5 waged

Individual films: suggested donation of £3.50, free for asylum seekers

Discussions: Free

For more information, contact



Anarchist Federation,


WC1N 3XX, England.


Also visit: and

Subscriptions to resistance costs £4 from the address above for 12

issues. A two issue subscription to our magazine, Organise! for

revolutionary anarchism, is also £4.

 You can subscribe to resistance by email for free, or

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