Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Against the UK Tory Party.

"Even more important in this period for showing that the State is not invincible were the two national miners' strikes of 1972 and 1974, the latter helping to bring down the Heath government. The Tories never forgot this resistance, and in the years of opposition that followed developed plans for taking on the working-class and its official organisations. For example, Nicholas Ridley, later a minister under Thatcher, was drawing up such a plan (to build up coal stocks and then provoke a strike) to crush the miners in 1978. Thatcher and Keith Joseph set up the Centre for Policy Studies, one of a number of think-tanks which laid the intellectual groundwork for an end to the mixed economy and in particular the installation of a "free market" in labour. This could only be achieved by making it as difficult as possible for workers to organise and act collectively, and in a series of acts this aim was pursued by such means as outlawing so-called secondary picketing and solidarity strikes. Yet another legal ploy was sequestration, the seizure of a union's assets, which was a key tactic used to attack the miners during the strike of 1984-85. This strike especially faced outright class war, and in the brutal alliance of Government, courts, police and the media against the miners was the conclusive answer to any fantasies that the State is a neutral arbitrator in the "national interest", or that the class struggle is an outmoded concept."

"Parallel to these policies of attacking working-class organisation (leaving aside the great limitations of unions, as the key point here is the Tory fear of them ) were others which tried to make workers more individualistic and consciously identified with capitalist social and economic organisation. One major way was by the selling-off of council homes to their tenants. Later came the privatisation of State-owned companies (oil and telecommunications being among the earliest ones) and freer movement of finance capital. For all that these measures might be sold as building a "property-owning democracy", the reality was that share ownership remained very much in the hands of the rich and of institutions, and homelessness grew."

Against Labour party UK


With the massive increase in the Labour vote in 1922, one might have thought (though not us!) that the Party would have become more adventurous. Henderson, the Party Secretary, said: "Trade unions should undertake not to seek to alter existing conditions by declaring a strike".

"While there were no major labour strikes during his term, MacDonald acted swiftly to end those that did erupt. When the Labour Party executive criticized the government, he replied that, "public doles, Poplarism [local defiance of the national government], strikes for increased wages, limitation of output, not only are not Socialism, but may mislead the spirit and policy of the Socialist movement."

"In opposition MacDonald continued his policy of presenting the Labour Party as a moderate force. During the General Strike of 1926 the party opposed the general strike, arguing that the best way to achieve social reforms was through the ballot box. "

"Labour won a massive election victory in 1945. Within 6 days of taking office they had sent troops into the London docks to break a strike. Three months later troops were again called out against a national docks strike. The antagonism between dockers and the Labour government came to a head in 1948 when Labour used the old Tory Emergency Powers Act and again sent in the troops. Other striking workers were also subject to strike-breaking by troops during Labour's term of office. Abroad, Labour helped Dutch imperialism by sending in troops to crush an Indonesian nationalist uprising. They used surrendered Japanese troops to back them up in this dirty business. They again employed Japanese troops to crush the Saigon workers' uprising in 1945."

"in January 1947, Attlee and six cabinet ministers, including Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, decided to proceed with the development of Britain'snuclear weapons programme,[60] in opposition to the pacifist and anti-nuclear stances of a large element inside the Labour Party."

"With public frustration over strikes mounting, Wilson's government in 1969 proposed a series of changes to the legal basis for industrial relations (labour law), which were outlined in a White Paper "In Place of Strife" put forward by the Employment Secretary Barbara Castle. Following a confrontation with the Trades Union Congress, which strongly opposed the proposals, and internal dissent from Home Secretary James Callaghan, the government substantially backed-down from its intentions. Some elements of these changes were subsequently to be enacted (in modified form) during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher"

"Harold Wilson's Labour government stopped free milk for secondary school pupils in 1968 "

"The accelerated rotting of old-style Labourism has taken place because, like similar parties throughout the world, it cannot adapt to the end of Keynesian economic strategy, which involved the development of a Welfare State and "full employment". It can no longer make any promises that it can carry out a reformist programme to transform capitalism into something more "humane" (but still exploitative). But even mild reforms cannot now be granted under capitalism because of the development of the global economy. If the boss class is to stay competitive on a world scale it cannot offer concessions. It has to press ahead with its austerity packages and redundancies, in order to streamline national economies and make them leaner and meaner, able to stand up to a bout in the global economic ring."

Monday, 28 July 2014

Thoughts on Israel-Palestine. Against all oppressors Everywhere!

An angrily written rant to Palestine Supporters.

This conflict is between the powerful Israeli government armed by the US and UK against the Palestinian and Israeli people with Hamas claiming to be pro-palestinian.But only when it suits them.

My sympathy is with the ordinary people caught between Hamas and Israel.

I am angered by those who in the name of supporting Palestinian people seem happy to endorse Hamas even provisionally when it is obvious Hamas are an anti-semitic, fundamentalist organisation who are the enemy of the working class and all oppressed people.  Hamas have attacked working class people and broken up strikes.

  I am hostile to kneejerk support to whoever is opposed to Israel and/or the US. Neither Hamas nor the Israeli government truly represent the people in those areas in the same way that the Tories do not represent the people of the UK.  So why endorse either side even provisionally?

Hamas are oppressors. They are the enemy of the working class!

My support lies with the working class and oppressed both in Israel and in Palestine as it does with them across the world. I support the right of all oppressed people especially in this case, those in Israel and Palestine to resist by whatever means are necessary and appropriate their oppressors whether they are the Israeli Government forces or Hamas or Fatah or the US or the UK or the Al-Alqsa 'Martyrs' Brigades.

  No to Zionism ! No to anti-Semitism!

Power to the working class and all of the oppressed in Israel and Palestine.Their enemies are states ,capitalists, and oppressors of any kind.  

I finish by repeating in edited form the words of the Gaza Youth Breaks out Manifesto,

Fuck Hamas.  Fuck Fatah,  Fuck Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades  Fuck Israel. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA!
"  "Unity" (Ahdut/Wihda) is an anarchist-communist organization in Israel/Occupied Palestine. Our goal is the unification of forces aiming at the creation of libertarian (non-authoritarian) communism, or anarchist communism. We wish to advance a revolutionary process in which democratic and self-managed committees and workers' syndicates, organizations, communes, student sororities and fraternities, etc., would abolish capitalism and the state and replace them with a free society organized on the basis of the populations' needs and desires.
We call for a struggle against capitalism, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, sexism and patriarchy, racism and all forms of oppression and exploitation."

Selections from an Afed pamphlet on Revolutionary Organisation.

Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self-activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.’ Solidarity, ‘As We See It’

As anarchists, we are members of the working class who are conscious of the class struggle. We believe that in order to get from our current society to anarchist communism, there is a need for a revolutionary organisation. This is the basis of the Anarchist Federation.

As an anarchist communist organisation we see ourselves not as outside or beyond the working class but as part of it. We work to increase the influence of our ideas not as a leadership or ‘vanguard of the revolution’, but simply as agitators within the working class who are trying to show the strength of anarchist methods and bring about anarchist communism.

While we hope to increase our membership, this is done when other class conscious anarchists see the worth of organisation and choose to get involved. Membership is not as important as the consciousness of the working class. We never divert, disrupt or take over working class struggles in order to increase our own membership.

As it is part of the working class and at the same time a distinct tendency within it, the anarchist organisation sees the need for revolution at a time where the majority of the working class does not. We must remember that this does not make us something other than a part of the working class. To go down that road leads to elitism and separation from class reality.

At the same time, the anarchist organisation has ideas that are further developed than those more often found within the working class. This development of ideas should not be confused with the development of successful tactics; workers everywhere learn new forms of struggle and organisation so we must always be ready to learn from the activity of others. We must constantly revise our tactics as situations unfold. Just because we are members of a revolutionary organisation does not mean we are infallible. We will not always have the answer. Indeed, during revolutionary periods, anarchist organisations have often been surprised by the audacity and imagination of other revolutionaries.

In understanding that the revolution must be made by the whole of the working class, the revolutionary organisation has a number of tasks to perform.

As members of the organisation we must embody a set of shared aims and principles in the task of building towards revolution. We must work to actively dismantle structures of oppression that have been carried over from society. We must organise federally as opposed to centrally and have decision-making processes that are directly democratic. This encourages the active participation of all members and prevents the formation of unnecessary bureaucracy.

We put forward the message that the working class must destroy capitalism and establish an anarchist communist society. We do this by giving practical examples of working class self-organisation. We are internationalist and make links with other groups in order to build solidarity and increase class effectiveness. Working class history is deliberately obscured and excluded from mainstream media by the structures of the ruling class. We work towards the rediscovery of past struggles, their successes and mistakes, sharing the lessons that develop our class consciousness.

However, we cannot see ourselves solely as a propaganda group. We work to achieve local victories in our communities, building solidarity between those who rent, those who own, those on housing benefits and those who are squatting or homeless. We are involved in workplace disputes, attempting to make links between unionised, non-unionised and unemployed workers, as well as demonstrating common purpose between different workplace struggles against our shared class enemies. We join groups formed around fighting at particular intersections of oppression within the working class (such as women’s groups, queer collectives, disability campaigns, etc.).

We point out the anti-capitalist and libertarian tendencies in these struggles. We agitate for a break with reformism, hierarchical forms of organisation, and the idea that we share an interest with members of the ruling class on the basis of a common identity. We work towards the fullest mass participation inside groups and throughout the working class as a whole.

ltimately, we aim to show the way in which all these struggles are interconnected and help build a sense of understanding, respect and practical solidarity between working class struggles so that different groups can work in mutual aid against common enemies.

While seeking to openly spread our ideas as part of these movements, we do not try to make them appendages of the revolutionary organisation. Liberation is achieved by building autonomous groups that work together in class solidarity.

Finally, we must continue to develop anarchist communist theory and practice during a time when many hold relatively conservative ideas and values. To this end we must be sure that these are not merely abstract theoretical concepts but are in fact real strategies developed through struggle. It is not the case that ideas must necessarily come before action; we learn through struggle and this in turn influences developments in our theory. It is vitally important that we are constantly assessing and revising our ideas to reflect changing material conditions.

What follows is a brief introduction to some of the practices we in the Anarchist Federation currently put forward as part of the role of a revolutionary organisation:

Collective action also creates a spirit of combativeness as people realise that, far from being powerless, they do have the power to bring about change.

Direct Action
Direct action involves tackling the root cause of a problem without appealing to a third party to act on your behalf. When we take action on our own behalf rather than lobbying an external authority, this provides us with opportunities to raise class consciousness from the situation and improve our effectiveness in taking action.

Conversely, political action is when the proposed solution relies on someone else taking action to resolve the conflict. This often requires a high level of activity with a high chance of failure. Political action reduces or controls the opportunities to form lasting change through collective action. Rather than foster a culture of resistance, it isolates different segments of the working class and fosters a culture of reliance on authority figures and specialist groups.

Direct action is not simply a loud or militant protest, with some of the loudest protests (such as demonstrations outside of shops or marches from one point to another) being forms of political action. We should only advocate political action when direct action would not be possible or would not have a positive outcome. We should always make clear to those involved which kind of action is being undertaken and be realistic about our thoughts on the outcome, aiming to always take part in actions that will win concrete victories.

In this revolutionary period the anarchist organisation must call for and assist in the formation of armed workers’ militias to defend themselves and their gains. The revolutionary organisation must help fight against any party or organisation that aims to take power in the name of the working class. If force is used to destroy the gains of the working class then anarchist organisations must be fully prepared to combat this on a physical level.

Notes on the struggle of Working class vs Capital in UK.

·       Inspired by

In contrast to orthodox marxist ideas of inevitable laws , there has been changes in capitalism and developments of each phase in response to working class resistance/broader struggles by the oppressed against the oppressors of the world.

Each phase represents changes in the nature of capitalism and attempts by it to defeat resistance.

  •           Industrial revolution- Factory system.
  •          1920s resistance to this system by the working class. closeness fostered solidarity and strength. UK 1926 general strike.  Closest UK has ever been to revolution.
  • ·         Taylorism  brought in by capitalism. Working class resistance.
  • ·         Henry Ford and Fordism of the assembly line
  • Syndicalism in the 20s and 30s.

“The greatest exponent of this trend was Henry Ford, who dramatically demonstrated the concept of relative surplus value by doing what at the time – the early 20th Century – was considered impossible. He paid workers 4 or 5 times the ‘going rate’ (actually the bare minimum that could be screwed from the bosses), yet still made a huge profit. By vastly increasing the production of relative surplus value through the use of the assembly line, coupled with FW Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ of the work process, he was able to vastly improve the productivity of his plants. This was a true [capitalist] revolution and its effects are still with us today. This story is fairly well known. Less well known is what Ford and his like also brought into existence, and that was the worker of the assembly lines, sometimes known as the ‘mass worker’. Whereas before the capitalist had relied largely on skilled workers to manage the production process – and in some countries and industries this is still the case – the mass worker was a new type. During the development of the working class, it discovered the secret of the production of relative surplus value and learned to exploit this knowledge in its struggle for a fairer share of the product of the national economies of the industrialised world. This in part explains the powerful workerist movements of the 1940s-1980s.”

  • ·         Keynesianism of the 40s & 50s.  'Social peace' strategy.  Welfare state and NHS to stave off revolution. massive Co-opting of working class movement. 
  • ·         Workers strong in 60s,70s and 80s. 
  • 1970s oil crisis, recession.

 “At first capitalist states attempted to contain and demobilise working class resistance by granting it a greater share of the social product, running up big budget deficits in the process. In the UK we had prices and incomes policies and at plant level many non-existent productivity deals were negotiated. But this economic response to a new social reality failed to contain the working class. In Western Europe, the most frightening aspect of the long campaigns against Fordism during this period was not the ever-increasing wage demands – which could, after all be accommodated within capitalism – but the rejection in many places of the system of ‘factory discipline’ itself; though occupations, strikes, sabotage, marches and riot. In France, Italy, US and the UK in the late 1960s and early 1970s we saw a period of more or less open class struggle. Always at the centre of these struggles was this new ‘mass’ worker. All attempts to contain this mass worker – who had discovered that the Fordist system could be destroyed by collective action - failed. ‘Scientific management’ was no answer to workers who collectively could impose their will on the productive process. In Britain the attempt to buy off the workers ended with the intervention of the IMF in 1976, severe recession, the period of defensive struggle from 1978-1983 and the long-term demobilisation of the working class following the Miners Strike of 1984-85. Monetarist policies of the 1980s were re-introduced as within each nation state attempts were made to limit the share of the social product going to labour.”

  • ·         Neo-Liberalism in the 1980s. Austerity. Thatcher in the UK, Reagan in the US . Attack on NUM ,strongest union in the UK. Destruction of the working class resistance movement by about 1984. Destruction of working class communities in the UK. 

·         “First austerity policies were deliberately introduced to break the ‘cycle’ of wage demands, inflation and more wage demands. This brought about the biggest unemployment level since the 1930s. With the mass worker now relatively subdued but still looking to the unions who were an integral part of the imposition of the austerity measures, the stage was set for a more long-term strategy. Capital became more mobile – that is it ran away from an insurgent industrial working class to exploit a global proletariat – globally. This necessitated changes in technology, especially communications technology that was needed to monitor and control a productive process that was now geographically disparate. But crucially it also needed an ideological offensive to sell the new form of work to a new working class.
·         The result of this has been the intensification and lengthening of the working week. The value we get for the work we do, which is itself a measure of the value capital can extract from us by way of investment, has decreased steadily over the last twenty years of so. The long campaigns of workers to reduce the working week have been halted and reversed. Where capital has never conceded shorter hours to workers – for instance in the fast-industrialising Majority World – workers are often at their machine for 60-80 hours a week. This accounts for the fact that though wages are absolutely higher than they were yesterday, most people actually are or feel much poorer than before.

·         ‘Work’ is now something we do throughout our lives. We are no longer ever away from it – mobile phones and mobile computers bring ‘work’ to us when we are at leisure, socialising – even when we are sleeping. Workers are now on ‘permanent call. Even the unemployed are now engaged in the ‘work’ of ‘looking for work’. And there is an even greater contradiction. Even as the productive capacity of the economy has exploded hugely so that in the 1980s it was seriously suggested by some unions that our problem in the 21st century would be filling the ‘leisure time’ that the new automated economy would bring, at the same time ‘work’ has become even more imposed on greater numbers and most ‘work’ is now devoid of any genuine content at all.”

  • ·      90s- present day:  Capitalism is now more dispersed, more technological, globalized etc. Increased tendency towards casualisation/ part time work/ temporary work/ zero hour contracts/ workfare/ work placements. Out-sourcing. Rise of the 'precariat'.    Post-Fordism, the increased shift to the service sector  e.g. retail etc , Affective Labour, Globalization, use of sweatshops and slavery in the ‘third world’, ongoing forceable dispossession of people off their lands, permanent austerity. Terrorism as excuse for repression and war. Difference intellectually though similiar in ways to 30s and 80s. No way back to Keynesianism.
"McDonaldisation (the modern form of Taylorism, though management courses will not mention either word) is a system of producing goods and services in which the process is broken into its smallest part, systematically analysed, re-engineered to maximise profit and replicated in each and every working environment that produces those goods. Making things becomes a series of entirely independent, discrete, controllable actions, eliminating independent thought and creativity."

"      "GOOD WORK
One of the serious problems facing militants in general and workers in the service industries in particular is that they can end up hurting the consumers (mostly fellow workers) more than the boss. This isolates them from the general mass of the population, which enables the authorities to whip up 'public opinion' against the strikers. One way round this problem is to consider techniques which selectively hurt the boss without affecting other workers - or better still are to the advantage of the public. The 'good work' strike is a general term which means that workers provide consumers with better service or products than the employer intended. One good side-effect of the good work strike is that it places the onus of stopping a service on the employer. Even if ‘good work’ leads to a lock-out of workers by the boss, service-users would still blame the employer rather than the worker. And lock-outs can be avoided by ‘wildcat’ good working: suddenly, without notice, and for limited periods - repeated at intervals until the bosses cave in. In New York City restaurant workers, after losing a strike, won some of their demands by heeding the advice of organisers to "pile up the plates, give 'em double helpings" and figure bills on the lower side. You can imagine similar situations in other industries, for instance postal workers behind a counter only accepting unstamped letters or people working checkouts refusing to work the tills. Here’s a final example: Lisbon bus and train workers gave free rides to all passengers. They were protesting because the British-owned Lisbon Tramways Company had not raised their wages. Today conductors and tram drivers arrived at work as usual, but the conductors did not pick up their money satchels. On the whole the public seems to be on the side of these take-no-fare strikers."

 As Alexander Berkman argues:

"We do not live by bread alone. True, existence is not possible without opportunity to satisfy our physical needs. But the gratification of these by no means constitutes all of life. In a sensible society…….. [t]he feelings of human sympathy, of justice and right would have a chance to develop, to be satisfied, to broaden and grow."


Sunday, 27 July 2014

articles on Sectarianism

"As anarchists and communists, we very much want the removal of sectarianism from society, but not so that everybody can hold hands and go shopping, but so that some genuine class politics might emerge."

"Anarchists are for the defeat of British imperialism. We understand that the root cause of the troubles in the six counties lies with the British ruling class and the northern sectarian statelet. That is why we call for Troops Out. But we want more, we stand for the creation of a new society in the interests of the working class and against the bosses, both orange and green."

"So fight national oppression but look beyond nationalism. We can do a lot better. Changing the world for the better will be a hard struggle so we should make sure that we look for the best possible society to live in.
We look forward to a world without borders, where the great majority of people have as much right to freely move about as the idle rich do today. A worldwide federation of free peoples - classless and stateless - where we produce to satisfy needs and all have control over our destinies - that's a goal worth struggling for. "

"The reality of the Orange Order is that it is a counter-revolutionary institution set up and maintained to target not just Catholics but also 'disloyal' Protestants"

"The strategy was simple. In order to prevent Protestant workers identifying with their Catholic neighbours the order offered an anti-Catholic society, led by the wealthy Protestants that offered all Protestants a place in its ranks, and the promise of promotion and privilege. The annual parades were a key part of this strategy, they filled two roles. They allowed the working class Protestant members a day in the sun to mix with their 'betters' and at the same time lord it over their Catholic neighbours."

This danger of class unity saw the ruling class and British conservatives rapidly returning to the Order and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland responded with a manifesto claiming that the Land League was a conspiracy against property rights, Protestantism, civil and religious liberty and the British constitution. When the question was put this way the Orange Order fulfilled its role and went on to provide the scab labour which attempted to harvest Captain Boycott's crops.
From this period on, with the growth of the socialist movement, the Orange Order's warnings became extended to the idea of a conspiracy of "Popery", "anarchy" and "communism". These sort of warnings were repeated whenever periods of social radicalism saw Protestant workers acting in their own interests as it was precisely at these moments that the danger of them linking up with Catholic workers threatened the unity of the Order. In 1932, when the Falls and Shankill rioted together against unemployment, the Order warned "loyal subjects of the King, the vital necessity of standing guard against communism"."

"Anarchists cannot call for state bans on marches in any guise. Bitter experience has shown that when the state is given a weapon to ban reactionary marches it will quite happily use this weapon against progressives ones too"

James Connolly's "Labour in Irish History" explodes the myths and I would in conclusion like to quote extensively from it.
"It is unfortunately beyond all question that the Irish Catholics shed their blood like water and wasted their wealth like dirt in an effort to retain King James upon the throne. But it is equally beyond all question that the whole struggle was no earthly concern of theirs; that King James was one of the most worthless representatives of a race that ever sat upon the throne; that the "pious, glorious and immortal" William was a mere adventurer fighting for his own hand, and his army recruited from the impecunious swordsmen of Europe who cared as little for Protestantism as they did for human life; and that neither army had the slightest claim to be considered as a patriot army combating for the freedom of the Irish race."

" Again and again episodes of working class militancy were destroyed by appeals from Orange bosses to Orange workers to abandon the class conflict and 'defend Ulster'."