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Hongkongers Ain’t Nothing To Fuck With | International

In 2018 a man from Hong Kong murdered his girlfriend while on vacation in Taiwan. The horrible crime would soon become the spark of resistance in Hong Kong to the authority of the Chinese Mainland in protests that would confuse comrades the world over.

Let’s make the situation clearer.

Hong Kong is not a democracy.
It has no free elections.

While “democracy” here in the UK maybe nothing more than a shallow mockery of the concept, now more than ever, in Hong Kong it is seen as the last line of defence from an ever encroaching empire. The Chinese Communist Party has no use for any system which would threaten it’s grasp, it is moving in to deliver the killing blow to freedom in Hong Kong which is aims to bring into the fold. Hongkongers are being passed from one empire to another and the world shrugs it’s shoulders. China is an economic power house, pissing them off would be bad for business.

When we talk about Hong Kong fighting for “democracy” we cannot frame it in our own context. It is a colony population fighting for the rights to self determination and autonomy. For older generations this means appealing to the former colonial masters for help, for the younger it means revolutionary action. In 2012 the political drive for democracy dried up and ground to a halt, It seemedd that Pre-Screening of electoral candidates by Beijing would increase. Resistance to this grew into the Occupy Central with Love and Peace camps and associated Umbrella Movement which saw tens of thousands holding protests and living in camps on main intersections for months in a campaign to bring about universal suffrage. During the attempts to clear out protestors the police would use tear gas and when local television broadcasted a young man named Ken Tsang being assaulted by police there was an massive escalation. Ken was carried off with his hands tied behind his back; then, while one officer kept watch, a group of about six officers punched, kicked and stamped on him for about four minutes.

The Chief Executive CY Leung would go on to defend Beijing’s screening policy as open elections would force Hong Kong into actually caring for it’s citizens and providing social welfare, he argued that “If it’s entirely a numbers game, then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong earning less than US$1,800 a month (the median wage). You would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”

The world gave Hong Kong silence.
Standing against China is bad for business.

It was indeed bad for business under the British who occasionally flirted with the idea during their tenure of control over Hong Kong as China has always sought to “preserve the colonial status of Hong Kong” even threatening to “liberate” the region in 1960 if democratic elections and thus self governance ever granted. Tho some there were some small developments in the 80’’s and 90’s, the Hongkongers remain citizens trapped in a system they had very little voice in. The chief executive who would govern Hong Kong after the hand over was elected by a 400 member selection committee. China began it’s programme of colonisation.

Let us speak clearly here,
China is not a communist country.

It is a brutal state authority where economic disparity is celebrated and used to throttle it’s working class into obedience. Since Deng Xiaopeng took over in 1978 the CCP as all but abandoned it’s aspirations of becoming a Marxist-Leninist workers state. In 2000 this would become policy as Jiang Zemin brought in the “Three Represents” and took the nation in pursuit of a ‘socialist market economy’ with Chinese characteristics.”. Now China has 476 of the world billionaires while the average monthly salary of the worker is around £780 a month. The means of production are in the hands of private corporations and spills out everywhere. Eduction and Healthcare are privileges of the elite. China #1 is the goal and the workers best be willing to suffer for it or be considered enemies of the all powerful state.

Under Xi Jinping this has meant a radical growth in Nationalism under the guise of a “cultural revival”, a broad sweeping facial recognition and a monitoring network » that makes 1984’s Ingsoc look like rank amateurs and has seen overt and hostile moves to consolidate China and to bring about “Complete National Reunification ”, something it was made clear he approaches with teeth bared in his statements to Taiwan in January this year; “We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means”. Like all nation states, the authority demand obedience and domination. This is something they maintain in Hong Kong through the Electoral Affairs Commission which pre-screens candidates for the Legislative Council for their political beliefs and by ensure that the The Chief Executive is selected by small body of (now) 1200 people.

This Chinese sock puppet government upon seeing the situation with the murder in Taiwan and under the guise of stopping Hong Kong from becoming a safe haven from criminals moved to install The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. This bill would allow China to extradite certain criminals and run them through the radically different legal system in the mainland. One which is controlled by the CCP. This doesn’t come without precedent mind. In March 2017 the Chinese state kidnapped pro-democracy activist Lee Ming-Che saying he was under investigation on “suspicion of harming national security.”. He later plead guilty to “subverting state power” which it’s believed he was forced into.

So they begin to forward a bill many fear will be used to allow China to drag them away in the night. Resistance started on the 31st of March when the Civil Human Rights Front, an organisation composed of some 50 pro-democracy groups, launched it’s first protest against The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. It was a civil march through the city of 12,000 people. The following March on the 28th saw 500,000.

These were acts of civil disobedience but the tension was building and Ahead of the second reading of the bill organisers called for a return to demonstration on the 9th June.

Four hours after the march began, people were still leaving the start point at Victoria Park. Well over a million marched and a great many of them did not return home. Autonomists, students and pro-independence campaigners began to camp out in front of the Government headquarters. This was the moment where things changed, around midnight, the police forces Special Tactical Squad (STS) moved in and clashes broke out and mass protests took place through the night.

Come the 12th and the second reading, everyone was out. From the unions and opposition groups, to student networks and Anarchist affinity groups. The variety of political positions was vast but they came unified in opposition the the Bill and the Chinese state undermining their political agency. By 4pm the police had began using pepper spray and attacking people,and shooting tear gas on them. The Hong Kong protests as we see them on the news had begun.

Over the next three weeks there would be numerous protests from strikes, sit in and even the odd siege of police stations. The lawyers held a silent march, the legislature was raided, there was a laser festival and the airport was sat in. Whether peaceful or militant it was quite clear there was a strong sense of political unity, which over time would develop into tactical unity. The protests were organised organically, without leadership and without any singular faction taking control somewhat confusing the world media. Around the world it seems people were confused, were they pro-capitalists? Nationalist? Unions? Or even Anarchists?… The answer is yes.

Beyond all the “riot porn” and unexpected but enjoyable guides to “protesting like Hongkongers” movements such as this are diverse. It doesn’t matter if some groups waves the Stars and stripes and the sinophobic right wing of America loose their shit or if the budget is there for full page ads in newspapers around the world. The movement is diverse and at it’s core working class and grass roots.

This is the nature of a popular rebellion and like the Mouvement des gilets jaunes, they have endeavoured to maintain this and keep it grass roots. There has been two forms of protests; first there is the the civil marches full of the usual flags,placards, banners and liberal calls for democracy, they do well bringing in thousands and keeping an approachable voices to the movement. Secondly there is the direct protest actions such as holding of barricades, blocking roads and it has seen the development of new a hit and run methodology, a tactic commonly referred to as “be water”.

It’s worth noting as well that as a general rule of thumb during the more radical protests, it has become the standard practice to take down any flags and hand them back to their owner and disapprove of having their movement represented with either flags of foreign powers or local organisations. The exception to this seems to be the Black Bauhinia flag, which has come to symbolise the protests.

Along the way five demands began to present themselves.

  • Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process
  • Retraction of the “riot” characterisation
  • Release and exoneration of arrested protesters
  • Establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct and use of force during the protests
  • Dissolve the Legislative Council and begin the implementation of universal suffrage

It is on these these demands that they have come to organise and identity their collective action. It’s on these demands they are beginning to see a response as Carrie Lam moved to withdraw the bill on the 4th of September. She also requested that protestors end their demonstrations and enter into dialogue with the government. This is code for “please allow us time to re-group, hunt down leaders and remove your revolutionary agency”.

The protestors would have none of it.

At the Citizens Press Conference the next night, the young protestors and armed with helmets and masked up gave their reply in three languages. The spoke with passion and dedication to their cause and made their position on Lam’s offer of a truce clear.

“If Carrie Lam had withdrawn the bill two months ago, that may have been a quick fix, but applying a band-aid months later on to rotting flesh will simply not cut it … Liberate Hong Kong, The revolution of our times, five demands not one less. Fight on and take care fellow Hongkongers”

We cannot afford to be trapped in our anarchistic dogma as working class comrades around the world suffer brutality at the hands of the state or as they are forced to live in unjust societies with neither voice nor liberty. We must be overt and vocal in our solidarity and where capable take action in support of their cause. Not as allies but as accomplices and together we fight back against all the evil empires and hopefully sharing our notions of Anarchism as we go providing a better option for this world we are building. Heck, even if you are fundamentally hostile to the liberal protest for democracy, know that our Anarchist comrades are out there on the streets, defending their comrades regardless, defending their communities from the police and the government. Give them your love and solidarity until they win this struggle.

FIVE DEMANDS NOT ONE LESS

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Interview With An Earth Strike Organiser | Interview

Sab is the organiser for Earth Strike UK in the South West. He’s an active and well known voice in Bristol’s syndicalist and Environmental movements. He kindly took the time to meet us down the pub for a chat about Earth Strike and the upcoming Global Climate Strike.

Organise: Could you start by giving us an introduction to Earth Strike?
So, Earth Strike is a grass roots organisation, that is creating a worker led movement to tackle climate change. We believe that the most effective way of doing that is to organise both in unions and in autonomous groups, and build towards a global general strike to shut down capitalism. Thus removing peoples participation in the system that is fundamentally the cause of ecological crisis.

Why should people get involved?
I actually really like this question. I’ve come up with a way of putting it. I think anyone, no matter what their background, whether they are a workplace activist, or environmental activist, or totally new to organising, should take a moment to ask themselves three questions.

Firstly, do you think we’re in an ecological crisis? It doesn’t take very long if you look around to realise we are. Our air is polluted, it’s estimated air pollution kills 300 people a year just in Bristol. The Amazon is on fire, Siberia is on fire. A heck of a lot of shit is on fire. A worrying amount of shit is on fire. Species are disappearing at a rate not seen since the last mass extinction, sea levels are rising. Even the United Nations is freaking out a bit at this point. The science around it has been clear for a long time now. So I think most people would say yes to this, if not well… they need to take a long hard look around them.

The second question that people should ask themselves, is, if we are in an ecological crisis, do you think the current capitalist industrial system is going to voluntarily change itself enough to prevent this? I don’t think you have to look at the world around you for long to realise no. Those that run this system can spend plenty of time talking about the issues, but even after declaring a climate emergency we’ve seen a continuation of business as usual, with highly impactful industries continuing to damage the environment. The governments and corporations have taken next to no action, and given us no indication that this will change. The whole capitalist system is based on endless growth, and can’t meet the level of sustainability we need.

So you don’t have any faith in the likes of the UN climate change conferences, and other international political efforts?
We had the Paris Agreement, which, fell really far short of what needed to be done, and we couldn’t even hold countries to account for that. Now we’re seeing figures like Trump and Bolsonaro come to power, who are making things even worse for the planet. They didn’t come out of some vacuum, they aren’t some anomaly, they came out of the current political system. This is how it responds to crisis, protecting the needs of the ruling elite, protecting the needs of capitalism. We’ve got to understand if we want a different future, one that doesn’t involve environmental destruction and millions of deaths as a result, we need something more.

That leads us on to the third and final question. If we are in an ecological emergency, and if the current system isn’t going to change itself voluntarily, what the fuck are we going to do about it?

Well, what the fuck ARE we going to do about it?
That is where Earth Strike comes in. At the moment, all of us, everyone, we’re contributing to a system that is inherently suicidal. We are working towards the destruction of our own planet. The thing we have to do, if we are to have any chance of changing this, is to organise the working class to take part in mass industrial action.

Do you think it’s possible, if a global general strike is achieved, to force capitalism to be ecological sustainable?
Hah, that is kind of a trick question. We’re not really trying to force capitalism to change, we’re not interested in just lobbying MPs to make reforms. We are saying we can no longer participate in this system, full stop. We are building a new system outside of the existing structures. We have to build, what autonomous thinkers like Antonio Negri call a counter-empire. We don’t want to take over the existing structures, we’re not seizing control of the system, we’re saying it has failed. We want to end the current system of techno-industrial capitalism. To build up alternative systems, inspired by the likes of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the revolution in Rojava, by social ecology, by movements rooted in mutual aid and direct democracy. As the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World – IWW) say, we need to build a new world in the shell of the old. So when the old system collapses, we have the foundations ready, systems of direct democracy, mutual aid and solidarity.

That’s the why folks should get involved, now how do they get involved?
Get in touch! The easiest way is probably our website, but there are also numerous local and national pages on social media you can reach out to. We’ll be able to get you in touch with existing groups near you, or help advise you on setting one up.

There’s not really a huge amount of requirements. We’re not a membership organisation, so there is no formal joining process or payment of dues. If you agree with Earth Strike and believe to the basic principles of a worker led, horizontal, response to environmental crisis, you can organise in your own space. Our groups are fairly autonomous, and we trust people to find the tactics which will work best depending on who is involved and the environment in which they are operating. They can cover a local area, a specific workplace or school, or even be formed from an existing group, like a trade union branch or activist group. Whilst we are international, we want as much planning and organising as possible to happen at a local level.

How do the mostly autonomous Earth Strike groups organise with each other?
Most of our organising is done online, through platforms like discord and loomio, which has presented a number of challenges, especially when trying to work on a large scale. To help with this we have a co-ordinator for a region, that is responsible for ensuring the various groups with in it are communicating and coordinating. This co-ordinator also acts as a delegate bringing input from the region to other regions from around a country. This input is how we develop specific demands within each country, we also do that at a local level. For example, in Bristol we’re demanding there is no airport expansion. On an international level we organise similarly, with delegates from each country feeding in.

How are these coordinators chosen?
By local groups, where they exist already! The coordinators are always accountable to the local groups, if at any point a group thinks they are acting in a way they disagree with they can call for an election of a new coordinator(s).

You’ve become the coordinator for the South West, what led you to get involved in Earth Strike ?
I first became involved in January this year. I’d been involved in Extinction Rebellion (XR) for a period of time before that, but felt dissatisfied with where the movement was going. I wanted to do something that was more focused on working class organising, and on more intersectional issues than XR was offering. So I started looking for alternatives, and came across posts about Earth Strike on reddit. They were looking for new people to get involved, so I dropped the UK organiser an email, and set up a Bristol group with other members of the IWW. We held out first demo on January 15th, and had about 60 people show for it.

In what ways do you feel XR failed to be intersectional or a movement that involved the working class?
So, with respecting the St Paul Principles, I don’t want to be too open in discussing my criticisms of other movements, who I feel are doing good things, or have members who are taking actions I support. However, I did feel that quite a lot was being asked of individual members, things like getting arrested, giving up all their time, this felt like it was coming from a very privileged place, where these things were easier and had less risk attached. I’d been active up to that point, but I had felt that a lot of the potential for the movement to really address working class concerns had been lost. Stuff like reskilling workers, and calling for a “Just Transition”. The chance for it to highlight the gendered issues of climate change, and the racial issues of climate, had been stifled, quite actively stifled. So that left me dissatisfied with things.

What is a “Just Transition”?
It’s a way of moving to a sustainable society whilst still protecting workers rights, and ensuring the continued well being of communities. A way of ensuring hardships don’t just fall on those at the bottom of society. Kind of the opposite of things like Marcon’s attempt to impose a fuel tax that would hit France’s poorest hardest, and of schemes that see waste ‘recycled’ from wealthy countries only to be dumped in poorer ones.

In what ways do you feel it is important that ecological campaigns recognise these intersecting oppressions and struggles?
Firstly I think it’s important to point out that the people on the front lines of climate crisis are almost entirely people in already precarious situations, or with the least rights in society. So indigenous peoples threatened by fascists like Bolsonaro, people forced to become refugees who are drowning in the Mediterranean and being put in concentration camps by Trump. Really any strategy to counter climate change has to genuinely engage with people on the sharp end of things. To put forward their concerns more than, say, those of a middle class white activist. I was really impressed that Earth Strike was a movement that seems to be doing this.

For example, one of the first things earth strike did as a movement, was to hold demos all over the world in response to a call for solidarity from the Unist’ot’en. At the time the Canadian government was trying to clear the way for a pipeline to be built across Unist’ot’en land. The government had sent in police to violently evict the Unist’ot’en and clear their barricades. These pipelines are of course damaging to the whole of the world, but on the ground it was the Unist’ot’en who were suffering the most as a result of it. Other actions have included Earth Strike groups in the US joining coalitions to shut down ICE concentration camps. It’s also important to recognise the impact of the arms trade and of the huge amount of resources burned to maintain vast standing armies. We can’t separate out these overlapping struggles militarism, imperialism and climate change.

How long had Earth Strike been around at that point?
Not long, it started towards the end of 2018. It had actually started on the r/chomsky forum on reddit. I can’t remember the user name, but someone put a message up saying they were feeling a real sense of grief about the climate crisis, and they wanted to do something about it. They said that what we really needed was the whole Earth to go on strike. A lot of people agreed, and decided to form an organisation. Being an online space from the start there were people from all over the world, who could start talking with others in their communities and build outwards from there. Initially in fact some of those involved were calling for the strike day to be in January,

As if organising a general strike wasn’t ambitious enough!
I know, but quite quickly those of us with experience in workplace organising, said we can’t have that kind of call out. It takes time to build up a base of support.

So that brings us to the days of strike action, I understand its Friday 20th of September in the UK and the 27th in most other places?
Yes, the 20th in the UK, the 27h in the US. In the UK we thought we’d have the most impact striking together with the youth strike in the UK on the 20th (there have been calls from the movement known as ‘fridays for future’ ‘school strike for climate’ and ‘youthstrike4climate’ for workers to join them – which matches up nicely with Earth Strike’s stratgey) . Some of our other European groups are organising for both days!

What is it you are hoping to achieve on those days?
There’s multiple layers to that question. Obviously on the days themselves what we want to achieve is a mass turn out of working class people, all withdrawing their labour. Of course a strike isn’t a goal, it’s an action towards an end. The goal is to avoid the dystopia we’re heading towards if we don’t derail the current course of history. I guess that is quite a vague far off thing.

A bit! What is in between calling this action and saving the world?
The purpose of that day specifically, the day of our call for the first UK general strike since 1926, is to really raise working class consciousness, especially in relation to environmental issues. We want to say that, if we want our whole society to be sustainable, we’re going to have to start exerting our power. One day of strike actions won’t change the world, but it is the start of showing the sort of tactics that will in the long run. Hopefully new people will see the strikes and be inspired by them. From there we need to build on what we have so far, we need to escalate, more strikes, longer time periods. We need to connect up the various people in struggle, connect up workplaces and working class communities. We need to start doing, well, it’s back to the Wobbly thing of building the new world in the shell of the old again. What if we withdrew our labour from the capitalist system, but continued to occupy our workplaces. How could we use them to sustainably build things we really need?

How do we go about distributing these things? This is going to be a long process. It’s not just going to be one day and then done. This is just the first stage in building the kind of militancy and the kind of organisation we will need to push for a real future.

What is your response to criticism that gets levelled at Earth Strike, and also previous calls for general strike actions, such as those came from Occupy, on May Day, on the day of Trumps Inauguration, and for a women’s strike on international women’s day? Namely that they don’t come out of unions or of organised workplaces so can never lead to meaningful strike action?
First off, a lot of people shit on the women’s strike, and wrongly so. Reproductive labour, which was one of it’s focuses, is incredibly important, and more strikes and more union activists should realise the place it has to play. It’s an important part of Earth Strike as well.

I also think a lot of the people levelling these criticisms at us, haven’t actually looked at the organising that is happening within Earth Strike. We’re not some force external to working class organising. There are plenty of workers, in workplaces, really leading the call for more action. Just recently we’ve had the Harland and Wolff workers in occupation demanding a switch in production to renewable energy, and we’ve been in contact with them via the IWW. That is the sort of thing we want to promote, this kind of ‘Lucas Plan’ style of changing workplaces. Earth Strike isn’t divorced from the workers movement, it’s come from people inside the workers movement. Workers organisations are realising they have to act on climate issues. These are things that do, or will, directly effect their members, both at work and in the community. Earth Strike members haven’t just been organising online, we’ve been pushing for actions in our workplaces and our unions. We’ve grown as part of the workers movement.

What is your relation to these workplace organisations, both the radical syndicalist ones, and the more mainstream unions?
The IWW were one of the first groups to take an active role in earth strike, especially in the UK. Like the IWW, we believe we must abolish the wage system and live in harmony with the planet. Earth Strike sits at the intersection of ecological struggle and class struggle, and we want to spread the idea of environmental unionism. We’ve been working with and within the syndicalist unions to educate people about striking in general. Some of the syndicalist groups are organising via strike notices, where workers sign up and agree to strike if a certain percentage of the workers also agree. Whilst this doesn’t have a legal protection, if solidarity is maintained it is as much protection as is possible outside of the legal protections offered.

This is one of the differences with the mainstream unions. Those unions, even when they endorsed Earth Strike in principle, haven’t been as forthcoming for calling for actual strike action. These established organisations don’t want to break the law of course, but, under existing UK law, it is impossible to call for a strike ballot on broad issues like climate change without breaking the law. We have had statements of support from PCS, BFAWU, UCU, (three trade unions that between them have 400,000 members) and a number of local branches. There have been calls from within UCU for all TUC (Trade Union Congress, a federation of UK trade unions) unions to endorse the Global Climate Strike and to back a limited action on the day. If the TUC do endorse this on Sept 8th it’d be the most radical thing they’ve done in a long time. (Since the interview took place, the TUC have published a message of support with the Global Climate Strike). Despite that, we are going to need more, we’re going to have to rely on wildcat action. That is why having one unified day is important, it means that people aren’t just acting as one work place, they are part of something bigger, and there is more and power and more security in that.

We need to be far more disruptive than the constraints of legally protected trade union action. It’s one of the reasons that having a group like Earth Strike is important is that we can call for things that the Trade Unions can’t.

If the TUC unions are so constrained, what is the point in reaching out to them?
Well, we’re based in the workers movement, and we have to start from where we are. We’re pushing the unions to do as much as they can. We recognise that we’ll have to move beyond the restrictions of union bureaucracy as well. It’s also a practical thing, it is where we can find other workers who are up for organising around these issues.

A while back you mentioned a ‘Just Transition’, and you’ve also mentioned the Lucas Plan, do these things tie in with what people have been calling the ‘Green New Deal’ ? Do you see Earth Strike as linked to these calls that tend to come from within political parties, such as Labour(UK) and the Democrats(US) ?
Similar to the IWW we don’t form any alliances with political parties. We believe that labour organising has to come directly from workers, not from politicians. Things like the Green New Deal, and I don’t want to be too critical of it, seem to be a way of making concessions within the capitalist system. So they’ll push green industries, but still within a system that requires perpetual growth. Rather than the de-growth of harmful industries that is necessary to both mitigate climate change, and stop the continued exploitation of the resources and people of the global south – who are the ones facing the brunt of ecological disaster already. They’ll fund more green jobs, but we’ll still have the inequality that is such a major driver of ecological damage. We won’t be tackling the root causes. So, the Green New Deal is a good starting point to talk about but it falls short as an end goal, it is too focused on sustaining capitalism for as long as possible.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, any final thoughts?
Just that we’ve got a limited time to do a lot of shit.
So don’t wait around, get involved!

Organise! has added links throughout the article for more information on the the ideas and organisations mentioned. We hope this acts as a glossary, because not many people will know what all of them are (if you do, you have an impressive memory for abbreviations!).

Organise! would also like to thank the JustSeeds cooperative who kindly allowed us to use the artwork of its members. In order of use that would be Roger Peet, Josh Macphee and Jesse Purcell.
You can find the entire set on their website justseeds.org

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Anarchist Festival Announces Its 2020 Dates | Announcement

Anarchist Festival, a decentralised event happening across Britain and Ireland since 2018, has announced its 2020 dates. Here is what the Afest collective has to say.

This is a call out to take part in what will be the third Anarchist Festival, happening across Britain and Ireland. The idea is simple: groups or individuals put on their own anarchist events and actions, concentrating on the dates of Friday 1st to Monday 4th May 2020, and the programme is collated and promoted by us on our website and social media( 1 and 2).

So far the model has been a success, with a good range of well-attended events at multiple venues having occurred.  The decentralised model means location shouldn’t be a barrier to putting something on.

The ideal vision for the festival would be to see events, large and small, all across Britain and Ireland. The more events that take place, the more momentum the festival has, and in turn the more people might get involved and come into contact with anarchist ideas. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

In recent years we have seen anarchist bookfairs pop up in cities and towns across the UK and it would be particularly good if those groups might organise something as part of the festival.

But in practice anyone could put something on, whoever they are and wherever they are. This is a good opportunity to get anarchist thinking and practice happening in the local community, and outside of the usual anarchist circles. Ideas might include: reading an anarchist text in a local book group, organising a discussion in a local pub or meeting space, engaging the local community in a little ‘anarchism in action’, be it a solidarity action collecting for a food bank, a bit of guerrilla gardening, closing a street off for a party – whatever you think is best.  There’s an archive of events from the last two years on the Anarchist Festival website, but don’t let what has gone before limit the possibilities. The potential here is endless, and the definition of what counts as anarchism can be at its broadest and most inclusive.

A little history: the idea to do this came after feeling the absence of the London Anarchist Bookfair in 2018 and 2019. We couldn’t readily replicate the incredible organisational work that goes into putting the bookfair on, but those who wanted to could at least put on our own small events, and keep the spirit of a communal yearly anarchist event going.

It is cheering to see that there is an attempt to get an anarchist bookfair in London up and running again in October 2020, but with the previous success of our decentralised festival we feel it’s worth keeping this initiative going too. By having our event in May it leaves a space of about half a year between the two events, allowing plenty of time for planning and organising.

This year Afest will also fall on the weekend of May Day / International Workers Day. In the past this has been a bank holiday, but the government has shifted the holiday to Friday 8th May so as to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, all of which seems like a fitting moment to go some way to reclaiming May Day’s anarchist roots.

Do have a look at the website for more info, not least about what to do to submit an event for the programme. www.anarchistfestival.wordpress.com

Really hope you can get involved!

Anarchist Festival

anarchistfestival.wordpress.com/events/

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Solidarity with Exarcheia! | Statement

Solidarity with Exarcheia!

On Monday the 26th of August, the Greek police launched a large operation in Exarcheia, the famous rebel district in the centre of Athens. This is a unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-organised spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and solidarity with migrants and the precariat.

Early in the morning, the squats of Spirou Trikoupi 17, Gare, Rosa de Fon and Transito were surrounded by huge police forces: anti-riot police, anti-terrorism police and secret police. The police then launched a large repression operation, leading to over 100 arrests. Migrants have been sent to camps known for inhuman living conditions. More than 15 kids that grew up in Athens and had their life there were deported. The security forces are now walling up the buildings that used to be home to so many.

This operation aimed to directly attack the incredible solidarity efforts that were developed by a network of people, many of them anarchists, to cope with the austerity measures the Greek state and the EU implemented.
It aimed to destroy a neighbourhood that has invented a new world where it has been possible to exist and live regardless of your economical, social or cultural background.
It aimed to keep Exarcheia under the control of a violent state that, like the rest of Europe, is ready to put humans in camps, simply because they were born on the other side of a border.

Exarcheia has many other squats, around 20, but the newly elected Greek prime minister promised a complete “cleaning”. More battles are to come.

The Anarchist Federation is expressing its full support to everyone in Exarcheia.

For a future without state, police or borders. ■

Solidarity! αλληλεγγύη!

Anarchist Federation

Additional from the Editor:-
Since this morning when the evictions took place Spirou Trikoupi 17 put out the call for people to gather and have taken a stand.

” Here, in Spirou Trikoupi 17 we have lived more than 2.000 people, coming from more than 10 different countries, and that we have crossed, at least, 3 borders till here. This wall that the state is building to seal the entrance will never be able to stop us!
See you at 6pm the solidarity assembly towards the squats in Notara 26 “


Since the evictions police have rounded up immigrants who will be dragged through the system and government workers have bricked up the doorways to peoples homes.
As night has fallen the police have taken a aggressive stance against the locals and tooled up with riot gear have taken to the streets for what is sure to be yet another night of horrific state violence.

Follow them & the AF for updates.
Spirou Trikoupi17
Anarchist Federation

External reports on what is happening from the ground.
Enough is Enough
Squat.net

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The 11th Congress of the IFA | International

The end of last month saw the 11th Congress of the International of Anarchist Federations, which co-ordinates social anarchist organisations across 13 different national and language regions in three continents — we reproduce (via Freedom) reports from the gathering below.

Background to the IFA Congress
The following is adapted from an article which first appeared in Italian anarchist newspaper Umanita Nova.
Prior to the 2019 Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia the last major gathering of the IFA was in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016. That gathering supported the creation of the Central American and Caribbean Anarchist Federation (FACC), as well as offering solidarity for a renewed will being shown to coordinate anarchist organisations in Latin America, the revolutionary process underway in Rojava, the founding of Greece’s Anarchist Political Organisation (APO), and many social mobilisations from French upheavals to the TAV struggle.

Since that congress the IFA has maintained strong relations between the many anarchist realities that compose it, supporting the struggles and experimentations that member federations live daily, from Brazil to France. It has promoted campaigns such as that denouncing the murder of Santiago Maldonado in Argentina and in support of the Mapuche population’s struggle, against the oppressive regime of Maduro in Venezuela and in support of the anarchist components that are an important part of the ongoing revolutionary process in Rojava.

The Ljubljana event was an opportunity to move the Frankfurt discussions forward and examine what has been done since 2016, to support the creation of renewed federative processes such as those undertaken in Brazil and to give sister organisations like APO the opportunity to join the IFA. But it was also an opportunity to meet and discuss, to discuss the socio-economic processes that groups and federations are living on their territories, working through strategies to deconstruct the neo-liberal imagination that still pervades the actions of billions of people around the world and crushes and influences masses of exploited and exploited.

Core topics identified ahead of the gathering as they are seen to affect anarchism today included:

  • The international scene of permanent war and the forms that modern totalitarianism is taking in different parts of the world, starting from the ambiguous concepts of sovereignism and nationalism now rooted everywhere, to arrive at the economic processes of global expropriation and exploitation,
  • The fear, insecurity, social fragmentation and precariousness in modern life that pushes many to blame unsatisfied lives on migrants — a pretext for the construction of walls and reduction of social rights
  • The worsening of living conditions for millions of people both in Europe and in Latin America or Africa
  • The constant reduction of free space and the growing repression that States continue to exert on anarchists and social movements — but also forms of solidarity between workers and workers, with migrants, between exploited and exploited that everywhere are being born, either spontaneously or in an organised way
  • Renewed ecological sensibilities and our need to free it from the processes of capitalist reproduction and the generation of new markets such as the green economy, or the myth of sustainable growth,
  • International experiences of struggle on gender issues, which arise, however, from an individual and collective awareness, on which to continue to work, to reject the patriarchy and the relations of domination in social and interpersonal relations,
  • Increasingly conflicting and spontaneous forms of resistance in the world of work and trade unionism, of the rejection of militarism and war and of violence as an instrument of coercion and hegemony.

It is an important moment for organised anarchism to strongly reaffirm libertarian and class internationalism, and commit to cooperation and solidarity between the exploited — to strengthen struggles and experiences that can break down borders, walls, homelands and encourage the construction of a free and equal world.

Diary of an International

Venezuelan media group El Libertario was present as an observer to the IFA Congress and produced a daily diary of events, which we reproduce an edited translation of below.

July 24th
This first day was mainly designated for the traditional reception and presentation of the different participating federations, as well as to presentations by invited guests of the international. Federations present were:

  • Anarchist Federation (AFed: Britain) 
  • Anarchist Federation (AfedCZ: Czech Rep & Slovakia) 
  • Federation for Anarchist Organisation (FAO: Slovenia & Croatia) 
  • Anarchist Federation of German Speakers (FDA: Germany & Switzerland) 
  • Anarchist Federation of French Speakers (FA: France, Belgium & Switzerland) 
  • Italian Anarchist Federation (FAIt
  • Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAIb: Spain & Portugal ) 
  • Argentine Libertarian Federation (FAI
  • Belarusian Anarchists (BEL
  • Anarchist Political Organisation (APO: Greece) 

While guests included:

  • Free Union of Holland (VB)  
  • Popular Organisation of Rio de Janeiro (OP) 
  • Cubivo de Publicaciones Casa Viva de Portugal. 
  • El Libertario
  • A Japanese anarchist

In the evening hours, the Argentine comrades offered an excellent video forum (open to the general public) on gender struggles in Argentina, including the struggle to legalise abortion and improve women’s rights already showing an attendant process of protest and struggles for the rights of transgender people … The questions were swift, showing the great interest and curiosity aroused by gender issues on our side of the world. 

July 25th
On the second day of the congress we had the opportunity to attend a debate on Migration and Borders, a discussion that began with delegates from across the Iberian Anarchist Federation recounting the general conditions of the migration process in southern Spain and between countries in Europe. Delegations from the Italian Anarchist Federation also talked on what is happening under their hard right government, and its positions on this issue. 

Brazil’s Comrades were also given the opportunity to present on problems arising with the far-right Bolsonaro government, where the State is stimulating indifference and sharpening the repression of internal migratory movements in Brazil. Argentine comrades meanwhile spoke on how Latin American internal immigration is changing the social landscape and generating tensions between immigrants (Bolivians, Paraguayans, Venezuelans) and resources-starved populations in Argentina. 

During our own talk, we explained the migratory flight process that is happening in Venezuela, following our local problems, pointing to how humanitarian geopolitics are also being modified in neighbouring countries.

During the second part of the day, we were able to participate in a forum debate about the importance of communication and media to our work. The discussion was compered by FAIt comrades responsible for the publication of Umanitá Nova (now nearing its centenary), continuing with the participation of sections of Britain’s Anarchist Federation, who presented strategies to improve communication processes within the IFA. The creation of a broadcast list was also discussed based on an idea from the FAIb comrades, in order to expedite the process of publishing materials, both for future publication on paper as well as online. At this point a fellow from the Sicilian Anarchist Federation joined the congress, who, among other things, showed us their collaboration with people in Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea area, as well as the appearance of a new segment in their newspaper Sicilia Libertarian dedicated to the anarchist movements of the world, beginning in July with the first section dedicated to Latin America.

In the third part of the day and at night, we were invited together with comrades from Brazil and the Japanese partner to participate as opening speakers in a public event, “Populism and Authoritarianism” in the Tabor Square of Ljubljana. At this forum we were able to expose in more detail how the shameless authoritarianism of the Chavo-Madurist regime has been consolidated, as well as providing information regarding the violation of human rights and the increase of executions by groups such as FAES (Venezuelan National Police), as well as expressing our intentions for combating the current propaganda of mainstream medias at the service of the left or right authoritarian-Statists.

The participation of the Brazilian comrades focused on highlighting the racist character of the Bolsonaro regime as well as the presence, in the popular sectors of Brazil, of militia movements and squadrons of extermination. The intervention of the Japanese comrade was focused on the authoritarian and nationalist character of the Japanese regime, which is relying on events such as the next Olympics to exacerbate nationalism in the population, while implementing ever more sophisticated methods of population control and supervision through mass surveillance and behavior analysis. 

July 26th
Friday was marked by two debates of general interest to our organisations. 

One was on modern totalitarianism, moderated by the Slovenian delegation, which gave an excellent opportunity to discuss this facet in our societies. The second debate was about the class struggle today, proposed by the Francophone Anarchist Federation. As a third morning event, there was also a workshop on internet security, proposed by the companions of the German-speaking Anarchist Federation.

After lunch we participated in the methodology workshop for the creation of strategies led by the German-speaking Anarchist Federation, where we learned to design a plan to identify the best way to obtain the desired results depending on the initially proposed objectives. 

At the end of the afternoon session, the Argentine comrades presented to a public talk on their experience at a Free School which they manage (the Escuela Libre de Constitución), generating an interesting exchange of information with the people present. 

To conclude the day of the comrades of the Francophone Anarchist Federation, they began an interesting debate about ecological struggles, which was followed by the participation of other compasses as well as the public present in this open section.

July 27th–28th
The penultimate day of the event was intended for general discussions about the future of the IFA, as well as meetings between the participating federations. 

The new secretariat will be left to the comrades of the Italian Anarchist Federation. For the organisation of the next congress no agreement was reached as to where it will be, and therefore who would organise it, but the discussion has been started.

The rest of the morning was dedicated to exchanges between the different federations, as well as interviews. It is worth highlighting the interview conducted by the Belarusian comrades, where there is a knowledge of the links of the rulers of both countries and with other dictatorships of similar type. We also spoke for a long time with the comrades of Umanitá Nova as well as with the rest of the Italian group. 

For the afternoon session different communiqués from each of the workshops that were held were discussed, giving them final form in which they will be published (these will appear on the IFA website over the next while). One of the most interesting and discussed was on migration processes, as well as the communications workshop.

The day ended with a public debate about the work of the IFA as well as the practices of the different federations, offering information to people outside the congress. 

To conclude this week of discussions, the music did not wait and our comrades from Brazil made a public exhibition on the punk movement there, followed by a show where a comrade from Brazil performed, followed by comrades from Slovenia with their libertarian rap group “Strategia Tensie”

Sunday 28th was dedicated to internal discussions between federations formally affiliated to the IFA, in which we can not participate, but we will continue discussions with the representations of Brazil and Argentina, to publish a statement from South American groups following an application by the Italian comrades.

We want to leave here our deep gratitude to the French Federation that served as an intermediary for this invitation; to all comrades of the different federations for their deep interest in the Venezuelan problem and our position on it. And finally, we thank the organisers of the event for the impeccable implementation of this congress, on behalf of our collective, thank you very much for this invitation. 

Health and Anarchy!  ■

(Original article by Freedom can be found here)

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Their fight was ours, Their fight will continue in ours! | International

In July 2015, 33 revolutionaries who set out to rebuild Kobanê, a city that was destroyed and plundered by ISIS gangs, were massacred by the murderous State and ISIS. In order to commemorate the massacred revolutionaries and to keep their struggles alive, commemorations were made for the 4th anniversary of the Suruç Massacre in Istanbul and Ankara upon the call of the Youth Organizations including Anarchist Youth.

At the very hour of the massacre 4 years ago, commemorations took place at the graves of our comrades, who were massacred by the murderous State and ISIS gangs. The 33 Martyrs were remembered and it was promised that unfinished dreams would be completed and that we would call the responsible to account for what was done to them.

All the revolutionaries and the families of those who lost their lives in Suruç Massacre were gathered at 18.00 in Kadıköy, Halitağa Street for the sit-in protest to commemorate 33 revolutionaries. It was shouted that the people who were massacred by murderous State and ISIS gangs, still live in the struggle. Throughout the sit-in, the families of those living on that day and the families of our murdered comrades gave speeches.

The ongoing injustice, oppression and violence since the massacre continued in Istanbul and Ankara against those gathered to commemorate them.

Following the sit-in in Istanbul, as the march towards Süreyya Opera House, the meeting point for the memorial event in Mehmet Ayvalıtaş Park, the murderous police (of the murderous State) began their unceasing attacks. Similarly, in Ankara, on the call of Youth Organizations, including Anarchist Karala, those who came together for the action on Sakarya Street were subjected to police attacks. 8 revolutionary were detained. With the ongoing gatherings in the Kızılay after the attack, it was once again shown that it would not step back against the killer State. The revolutionaries who did not leave the streets showed that the struggle for Justice for Suruç could not be ended with theseattacks.

KADIKOY IS BARRICADED

Those who forced the revolutionaries to step back after being subjected to their attacks, detention and intimidation policies once again saw that Kadikoy was the barricade of the revolutionaries. 33 comrades, our friends, were fighting in the streets of Kadikoy. The violent police tried tosuppress the anger of the revolutionaries was inturn responded by narrowing the streets of Kadıköy with barricades to stymie the determined police attacks, Kadikoy was once again shown to be a field of resistance and struggle.

Continuing their unceasing attacks , the police detained 20 revolutionaries, including 3 of our comrades from Anarchist Youth. From the Kalkedon to Bahariye Street, barricades were built on all the streets of Kadıköy.
The fight of the 33 anarchist and socialist revolutionaries massacred in Suruç is our fight. The journey of martyrs cannot be ended with bombs, attacks, detentions and intimidation.

Their fight is ours.
Our fight will continue! ■

Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet
DAF (Revolutionist Anarchist Action )

(Translation edited by Organise!)

Original Link
hosted on anarsistfaaliyet.org

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A Review of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson: Nepotism and Self-Entitlement

As the private election inside the the Tory party comes closer and it looks to everyone like our next PM will be Boris Johnson, we thought we’d ask an international comrade whose knows very little about the man to do a little research and let us know what conclusions fresh eyes come to. These are his results…

Introduction and Explanation of Purpose
It should be noted that this analysis has been written by an American Anarcho-Syndicalist, and that while I did complete my MA in international relations and diplomacy in Paris, France, I had known very little aside from the major news articles printed about him back in 2012-2016. That being said, my pre-existing beliefs about Johnson have largely proven true, though, many things about the man have surprised me. In writing this, I hope to give as close to a neutral perspective as can be afforded to the topic and person of Boris Johnson. In this work I have learned far more about this dividing figure in UK politics, and while I find myself filled with contempt for his policies, public lies, and general character, I also found what one might call pity for the poor fool. Though I must confess I am perhaps the most incensed by him making any claim to him being an Anarchist (in the political philosophy sense), in statements such as “a libertarian Anarcho-Tory like me,”1 because that is just infuriating.

Methodology
I began this search by checking NNDB, Wikipedia, his own website, and a Google search for “Boris Johnson,” with the dates set between the 1st of January 1980, and the 11th of September 2001. I then cross-referenced everything between one another. I chose the cutoff for 9/11 because I hypothesized his xenophobia and Islamophobia were either nonexistent or not publicly expressed. After I had compiled an outline of his early life, career, and such I started a search on “Boris Johnson,” with the date tool set to Sept 11, 2001 – 01/01/2015. This period allowed me to see what he said, how his beliefs are reflected, and avoid the proliferation of news about both his relationships and the potential to be charged with lying and misleading the public during the lead up to the Brexit vote. Finally, I focused on his voting record, at least what I could scrape up from secondary sources. Apologies to the subjects, time periods, and areas of focus that I as an outsider have neglected. I invite others to give a more complete picture, to challenge conclusions I draw, and the evidences I offer, let us talk and debate.

I largely eschew academic style citations, given that this piece relies largely on information available and digitized online, and its target audience is not academia. The purpose of a citation is to allow one to research the claim at its source, a hyperlink in this case will do the job nicely. Where citations were provided, and the information confirmed, such as on the Wikipedia entry, I use their citation, and quote the paraphrasing. I do my best to wade past any unsubstantiated claims, personal attacks, or political disagreements, even from my own basis in Anarcho-Syndicalism or leftist critiques. As such, my search was very successful, though, I had to amend the searches to remove the word “affair,” as I didn’t care about his relationships beyond how he used connections to further his own aspirations, and/or what connections he used and positions he was afforded from them. I will attempt to avoid rhetoric, speculation, or other irrelevant discussion topics. My goal is to describe the trends, baseline, and tendencies of the man, nothing more. I attempt to inform the reader of what I previously about Johnson during periods in which I have memories of him for full transparency.

Early Career: A Study in Nepotism and Connections
Throughout his working career he has attained positions through nepotism and family connection, at least until he became well known enough to have his own public following. From his earliest jobs it was connections that brought him income and security. While an NBC piece recently said he had a “brief stint” as a consultant, his time with L.E.K Consulting was a grand total of a week, not even enough time to learn one’s colleagues’ names.

He was able to get employment at The Times as a graduate trainee due to “family connections, in late 1987;”2 now this is important to note that even as a graduate trainee, it was through connections and not his demonstrable skill or study in the field that brought employ. This job lasted only a short while as he made up a quote for an article, citing his grandfather as the source for a fake quote from an English King. Next, he leverages his Oxford connection to Max Hastings, Editor of the Daily Telegraph to become the “leader-writing desk of The Daily Telegraph;”3 once more connections are his only resource for employment early on. It should be noted that he studied the classics, and not journalism in university.

I have found no digitized records relating to his grades or what levels he graduated with, but it is apparent that even early in his life that his school years were spent in schools known for their elite membership. It should be noted that he attended those schools on scholarships, which I cannot find enough information to draw any conclusions. There were plenty of quotes to choose from, but I found the sentiment in the quote below repeated throughout his life, and thereby the best suited to express his personality.

Martin Hammond, who was Johnson’s housemaster and taught him classics, was also at times unamused, writing of him in a school report in April 1982: ‘Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies . . . Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School for next half): I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.’”4

It is during these years are the Daily Telegraph, that there are some shifts in Johnson. Notably that he becomes more socially progressive, I highly suspect that it was due to living among the UK’s liberal intelligentsia, and no doubt partly from his wife-at-the-time’s input. Which as you will note later in this piece, makes his positions and voting a bit of a hodge-podge.

Johnson in Politics – What a World.
In 2003 he came out strongly against the war in Iraq, which to my memory (as a young and ignorant American) made him seem like the caricature of lefty-Europeans that my overwhelmingly Protestant-Republican area and upbringing had indoctrinated me against. Granted, in the end he conceded and voted for the war, following the neo-liberal line within the Conservative party. I didn’t learn about the Blair-Bush conspiracy for the Iraq war until my time during my MA degree, so between the 2003 and 2012 I heard and thought nothing of Johnson. Which is when his political career and persona began to take shape into the man we see today.

In 2004 when he lost his job for lying publicly about an affair he had. As an outsider, a sex positivist, and an Anarchist I am not sure what to make of the political and economic ramifications he faced, but it certainly wasn’t first nor last of his private affairs becoming very very public. Then in 2007 he blamed Liverpool for choices made by others, the impacts of policy choices, and continued a tradition of blaming others for their circumstances, but excusing his own choices as circumstantially influenced. And I quote, “The article, on 16 October, said people in Liverpool ‘cannot accept that they might have made any contribution to their misfortunes, but seek rather to blame someone else for it, thereby deepening their sense of shared tribal grievance about the rest of society’.”5

In order to prepare this to my satisfaction and to ensure I was taking nothing out of context, I read volumes of things written and said by Johnson. I most looked forward to reading The Telegraph’s 2013 piece “Boris Johnson’s speech at the Margaret Thatcher lecture in full.” First because it was a day that inspired hope in at least a number of circles, as it seemed with the harbingers of neo-liberalism fading that we could perhaps change things for the better. And second because I had presumed in such a long piece he would produce a number of absurdisms. Unfortunately, this was not the case. While he references some bits I have already mentioned, it is a hard-hitting speech. The quote below hit me the hardest, and I am sure you will understand why.

and what has been really striking about the last five or six years is that no one on the left – no one from Paul Krugman to Joe Stiglitz to Will Hutton, let alone Ed Miliband – has come up with any other way for an economy to operate except by capitalism. We all waited for the paradigm shift, after the crash of 2008. The left was ushered centre stage and missed their cue; political history reached a turning point, and failed to turn.”6

His point here is obviously partially false, but it isn’t technically incorrect. We weren’t given any chances, there was austerity, and shout-downs filled with red-baiting, politicians and lay people alike sought to contain the suffering to those who could least handle being pushed further down the ladder. Granted, with decades of suppressing the left, unions, and using education as an indroctrination route, the neo-liberal experiment did partially suceed in severely hampering leftism in general, and he is right, we had a golden opportunity to make changes, one we missed. While it is possible to still pull ourselves back, the rise of the Greens giving some hope, the loss of leftist critiques, genuine knowledge and ideas for how to make it work, it has been hard not to lose hope.

In 2013 Johnson opened up a bit about his personal view of society, justice, and how he thinks humanity progresses. In short he believes that while life is cruel, unfair, and that competition accentuates inequality, he sees this essential as the crucible of life. Moreover it are his social Darwinist views that explain a lot about the man, his voting records, and of course self-righteous pomposity. Unlike similar contempory world politicians, like the Orange one, Johnson’s primary ideological drive is at least one which is coherent, even if abhorrent, and is sadly reflected in political theory historically. So one may see what I mean, allow me to profer the following quotation:

No one can ignore the harshness of that competition, or the inequality that it inevitably accentuates; and I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth. Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent have an IQ above 130.”7

Moving on, as pretty much every UK resident knows, Johnson is being sued for the bus add campaign he put out before the Brexit vote. Specifically, “Boris Johnson could be prosecuted over claims that the U.K. sends £350 million a week to the EU that were plastered all over a bus that toured Britain during the Brexit referendum campaign.”8 While time will tell if the courts agree, it is emblematic of his personal and political style to be vague, or conversely incorrectly specific. In this case he took something he thought and pasted it on buses.

Confusingly he defended May’s decision to join the U.S. and France against Syria in April 2018, which unlike his Iraq war position shifting he was all hawk.9 Not but a month later he became the target of a prank, “thought to have been perpetrated by Russia—when a recording was made of a telephone conversation between him and a pair of individuals, one of whom fooled Johnson by pretending to be the new prime minister of Armenia.”10 Hypothetical question, if the man can be fooled into thinking he is talking to the Armenian P.M., does that speak particularly highly of his ability to make judgements, or ability to discern reality? I know that there are a plethora of things to dig through in 18 years of public life, but my space grows short and I feel like a view at his voting record before closing is appropriate. Please do feel free to add other details, I think that a series of such articles, perhaps shorter and more focused on specific time periods would be useful in a longer and more comprehensive final piece, maybe a book… I bet he would be willing to even add a foreword.

Votes Recorded11
War:
Despite originally being quite vocal about not wanting to enter the Iraw war, he consistently voted for the Iraq war, and at the same time almost always voted for investigations into the Iraq war. In general he voted against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws, while also consistently voting for military action against ISIL (Daesh). While he is off talking about unnecessary government spending, “seeking” investigations into wars he voted to have, and cutting welfare. Despite this he almost always voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas, so war is good to spend on, because apparently he thinks money is best spent on killing other peoples’ poor, while also defunding your own poor is the way to go in politics. I am sure after looking at this that he mostly uses his public talking points as cudgels against other parties, and not because he actually cares about people or their well being.

Welfare & Taxation:
Johnson almost always voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability, and a reduction in spending on welfare benefits. Which of course follows the Tory narrative of “welfare makes people lazy,” the nonsense of it. My thesis adviser during my M.A. program told me what it was like growing up poor, and how much of an impact it had in Manchester, and on his (my MA thesis Adviser’s) education.

In a strange series of votes he consistently voted to raise the threshold at which people start to pay income tax, at first I would have thought it to be some sort of recognition that the poor don’t have enough as it is, but I am fairly certain it has to do with his anti-tax Mises-style economic preferences. I base this suggestion on several other votes: no higher taxes on banks, stricter regulations for trade unions, reduce the capital gains tax, and reducing corporate taxes. His voting record in the economic world reads like an American “Tea Party” pamphlet. Remember early in his career when he kept open the air ambulance and the nearish hospital? In parliament he has almost always voted against introducing foundation hospitals, which says to me that his is less able to dehumanize when not presented with physical and emotional distance. Basically, if needed literally present him the carnage, humanize victims, and it may just get through once in a while if done right. While theyworkforyou.com says he generally voted against university tuition fees, his record is not so clear with 3 votes for, 4 votes against, 3 absences, between 2004–2017. A semi-related note is that he follows conservatives everywhere in voter suppression and disenfranchisement, restricting the vote keeps conservatives in power, and they know it. Which explains why he generally voted against a lower voting age.

Surveillance:
Despite not wanting to spend money on the poor, Johnson consistently voted for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities and requiring the mass retention of information about communications. Additionally, he generally voted against introducing ID cards, which at first confused me given his pro-surveillance voting, until I remembered that a required ID may be paid for (in part of fully) by the state, and then it made sense.

Immigration:
Johnson generally voted for stronger enforcement of immigration rules and he also generally voted for a stricter asylum system; though with 8 votes for, and 20 absences, it seems he might not be completely ideologically driven in this.

Climate Change:
Johnson has almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change, which doesn’t surprise me after getting this far, it matches his “let profit rule” mentality.

A Summary
My personal way of explaining Johnson, in a nutshell is that he is lazy, ignorant, power hungry, and a genuinely self-entitled piece of work. Mind you, I am not using those as insults, rather, as descriptions of behaviors that literally match the definitions. I should also mention that his votes, as far as I could find, were somewhat confusing. In some instances he voted 3 times for something, but also had 20 absences, it makes me question what he actually believes versus when he is voting to follow through with what he thinks the electorate or party wants. Additionally, I can see why he would become popular, the insensitive style, unrestrained remarks, and forgetfulness make him approachable. With his ability to discuss philosophy and history, though from a lens I find abhorrent and empty, in his longer pieces he shows that he does understand that inequality is an increasingly growing problem, but his worldview is basically that life sucks and suffering happens – more or less. While his positions often rankle me, and are quite far from anything I would consider ethical or moral, often it seems to me that he supports or votes specifically to satiate the desires of others, specifically those who support him.

It should also be noted that politics and privilege is a major part of his family, formerly and currently. For example, his younger brother Leo works for PwC, a professional services firm, and co-presents a series on Radio 4. While Jo his other brother is also a Conservative MP, who also resigned due to negotiations for “Brexit.” Their sister Rachel is an editor, journalist, and television presenter in London, and lead candidate for Change UK in 2019. Their father, Stanley Johnson, was also a politician.

Johnson is culturally and socially insensitive, demeaning others for their clothes, norms, and regularly commits fallacies when describes those he considers outsiders. Additionally, he deeply believes that people desire to be governed, which does follow an old English tradition in political philosophy, and also reflects on his worldview and outlook that can be seen both in his mannerisms and policy preferences. He blames has internalized and subscribes to the belief that it is through “moral weakness” and a “weak will,” that addition, obesity, and emotional disturbances arise. Given his presumptive nature, he vast privilege, it is no wonder that he completely lacks empathy or understanding of the impact that poverty, 0-hour contracts, overworking, and high rent takes on physical and emotional well-being. Consider this, he has a single weekly column, for which he is paid £250,000 annually; it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that he believes anyone who tries can make it, because he never has had to try and he has been well rewarded for not trying. I would like to mention that his belief that everyone else’s woes originate from weak wills, moral weakness, and lack of self-control; that in a 2012 interview with Vainty Fair, he was asked “What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?” to which he replied “Akrasia [lack of self-control],”12 and is a rather classic case of projection. As an Anarchist I hate his vision for the world, his willingness to blame the sick and poor for society’s ills and his readiness to sacrifice others as scape goats for his ambitions. I have thus far attempted to avoid rhetoric and using my personal preferences to judge the actions and character of a man I knew very little about, I hope that I have done so as fairly and justly as is possible given the subject and topic of Boris Johnson.

Addendum:
For the periods of 2005-2006 and 2007-2013 I simply either found nothing noteworthy, could not sift through the massive piles of articles. As someone almost entirely unfamiliar with the man or his public record before researching this, I did about as well as I could given the circumstances. Feel free to fill in the gaps though! ■

Seskef De Rishton is an American Anarcho-Syndicalist, who studied in France, and volunteered with the CNT Syndicate du Presse. Since then has been forced due to this thing called borders to go back to the Neo-Liberal dystopia called America. They are currently a researcher, writer, and a DM for D&D 5e.

Citations

  1. www.nymag.com/news/intelligencer/encounter/boris-johnson-2012-6/
  2. Purnell 2011, pp. 95–99; Gimson 2012, pp. 88–90. Emphasis added.
  3. Purnell 2011, pp. 102–103; Gimson 2012, p. 97. Emphasis added.
  4. www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/10/boris-johnson-man-who-would-be-king
  5. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557548/Boris-Johnson-in-quotes.html
  6. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/london-mayor-election/mayor-of-london/10480321/Boris-Johnsons-speech-at-the-Margaret-Thatcher-lecture-in-full.html
  7. Ibid www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/london-mayor-election/mayor-of-london/10480321/Boris-Johnsons-speech-at-the-Margaret-Thatcher-lecture-in-full.html
  8. www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-could-be-prosecuted-over-brexit-bus-claim/
  9. www.britannica.com/biography/Boris-Johnson
  10. Ibid www.britannica.com/biography/Boris-Johnson
  11. As Assembled by TheyWorkForYou.com www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/uxbridge_and_south_ruislip/votes
  12. www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/06/boris-johnson-proust-questionnaire-summer-olympics-life-in-london
  13. 1 http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/encounter/boris-johnson-2012-6/2 Purnell 2011, pp. 95–99; Gimson 2012, pp. 88–90. Emphasis added.
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When Lactose Meets Intolerance

It started with a strawberry milkshake.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (pretend name Tommy Robinson) was on the streets of Manchester stirring up racial hatred and xenophobia as part of his Rebel Media and American Conservative funded campaign to become a legitimate politician when he got drenched in thick milkshake. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t Antifa or some other organised Anti Fascist. It was just an random Joe who, having left McDonald’s, saw a racist getting up in peoples faces and making the air stink and thought “fuck it”. Yaxley-Lennon switched from his “respectable politician” act to completely loosing all control in an instant, and from the look on his face, had his day spoilt.

The next day Yaxley-Lennon attempted to test out his powers of persuasion on a mum in Salford out to pick up some shopping and promptly lost a debate with her. Realising that confrontation works a bit better for him than conversation, at the next rally, in Warrington, he singled out one of the few Muslims who just happened to be stood watching and marched over. Flanked by his very dodgy entourage, which has included knife wielding kidnappers and Polish Neo Nazi (who he professes to be opposed too) Yaxley-Lennon and co. surrounded the poor guy and went on the attack. It’s a method favoured by Scientologists, street missionaries and the like; crowd your target, pretend to be spectators and then apply pressure, bullying the opposition to force a reaction. Once a reaction is got – or once they’ve finished shouting in someones face – they shove the result on Youtube under “Tommy takes on a terrorist” or some shit. The lad being targetted here, Danyaal, nodded for a few seconds and then thought “fuck it”, tossing his milkshake over the fascist, before being jumped by Yaxley-Lennon and his wee mob.

Two makes it a tradition

Pretty Soon, Alt-Right mouth piece Carl “it’s OK if she understands consent” Benjamin who likes to make rape jokes and spread racist drivel has four milkshakes, some horse shit and even a handful of kippers (he’s a candidate for UKIP get it :p) tossed over him over three days of campaigning and then, the one that took it to all the papers, Nigel Farage takes a Banana and Salted Caramel milkshake to go in the most efficient community response ever. He arrived… got out… a random passing by saw him and thought “Milkshake, fuck it, just do it”… Farage runs off crying about how his security isn’t up to par.


You know what? It works too.
These pricks stop coming out to play.

After Benjamins’s three days of milkshake and horse shit, UWE cancelled his podium. He’s since shut the fuck up and stayed off the radar. As a bonus, fellow peadophile apologist Milo Yiannopoulos was also milkshaked while out campaigning with Benjamin in Exeter and stopped coming out to play too.

After Farage was doused he refused to get off his bus in the next town. A few days later as I write this, Farage is trapped on his bus in Rochester, refusing to get off because three people dressed in black who “looked like they had milkshakes” sent his security into a panic.

After Yaxley-Lennon was covered, he not only instantly returned to the violent thug he is, his methods reverted from the politican out and about after a baby to hug to the atypical right wing methods where he can try to control the opposition through violence and intimidation.

You see, milkshaking is a radical response even your average liberal can get behind, it’s leagues away from the violent confrontations that often result from confronting Fascists. You don’t need a dedicated squad with militant tactics and organisation nor do you need to read the literature or have a deep understanding of why “¡No Pasarán!” is so important. Heck you don’t even need the physical capacity to handle yourself – though it does help if you are stealthy, quick on your feet, or able to roll with a couple of punches.

You really just need a shake.

It’s the rally ending weapon that can be in anyone’s hand.

The likes of Benjamin and Farage can’t deal with it. There is nothing they can do but whine after the fact.
They are both in political parties that want to be seen as mainstream. Sure they promote xenophobia and Ethno-Nationalism but they do so with pretensions of legitimacy and thus their capacity to react is limited. Add now the fact that overwhelmingly people in the UK, leave or remain, left or right of centre, are deeply opposed to such blatant racism (and of course nonces), plus (unfortunately) McDonald’s is fucking everywhere. This all means each step on the campaign trail is a potential threat to them – a countdown to humiliation and a visual display of what the people think of them.

These guys come from a position of trying to assert themselves as legitimate politicians and black bloc tactics often don’t work against them. The police are ready to beat the opposition out the way and their PR machines all to rehearsed at responding to this kind of confrontation. As a result they have felt free to trounce around seemingly invulnerable.

Shakes make them stay at home.

It infuriates them immensely. Authoritarian bullies like this can withstand violence, it’s their world. What they can’t stand is humiliation. Milkshaking is a savage insult and public display of rage that undermines their attempts to appear dominant and powerful. It cuts them deep. Being ridiculed in public can make even those who’ve been in the politics game for a while loose their cool and end up punching children in the face.

This behaviour isn’t normal. It’s not the behaviour of the democratic politician.
Most take these kind of things and laugh it off like Ed Milliband did after being egged a few years back or by attempting to remain calm and rise above it as homophobe Anita Byrant did when she took a pie to the face. This latter hilarity part of a pretty good run in the States for pies in face, a classic for it’s circus connotations alone. Oh and let’s not forget Corbyn who stood up, dusted himself off and carried on after Brexit supporter John Murphy smashed an egg on his head. This by the way resulted in absolutely zero complaints about “political violence” from the right of centre.

Slight tangent but John Murphy was given an utterly absurd 28 day prison sentence for egging Corbs, which almost inevitably the Liberal left declared a win against violence, selectively ignoring prison abolitionism and solidarity against state actors when it suites them. Can’t touch the holy messiah eh?

Ok, sure, there is the odd barny like the ‘Rumble in Rhyl‘, but Prescott was always a bit of a lad and it wasn’t long before he was laughing about it, instead of say, calling on the mob to abuse and intimidate his attacker like the fash do… besides the guy was a pro-hunt protestor so fuck him.

It’s clear that from Heseltine to Bush there is a long history of chucking stuff at or over politicians, it’s an overt display of opinion from those who are often silenced. It isn’t about debate or lofty politics, it’s about expressing rage in a manner that remains shy of actual physical harm. It’s inherently working class and it’s a most appropriate display of fury from your average – generally upstanding – member of the community. There are mind you, alternatives as illustrated by Greek Anarchists when dealing with Police protecting a Golden Dawn candidate in the local elections a few days ago.

Now in the UK this level of conflict is a world a way from what most people want, such militant action is a distant memory and most want it to remain there. Which is why when dealing with career politicians such as Farage or new chancers like Benjamin, milkshaking or it’s equivalent is a perfect expression of distaste and one they have little response too. They must accept the disgust people have for them and get out of dodge.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is a different kettle of fish.

The EDL like a dozen other mobs before them came to demonstrations, in part to have a scrap. It was part of what held the hooligans – who didn’t really give a fuck about the politics – onboard and active. After proper Nazis started to filtering in and after getting a pasting one to many times Yaxley-Lennon, declared he was no longer with the EDL, saying himself he was worried about the “dangers of far-right extremism”. He subsequently took a pay check from a xenophobic think tank which masks it under the banner of “counter-extremism”. He subsequently disappeared to work with Americans and get some nice fat checks. A few years, later he’s come back a little smarter. Now he’s fuelled by American money, Russian twitter bots and contacts across the saccharine coated far right networks of Robert Shillman’s “Rebel Media” and distinctly uncoated Neo-Nazis from Poland. He’s dressed to impress but remains the same violent thug.

Having taken to pretending to be a journalist, He began once again to spread hate at every opportunity , not being held to account until he ended up Jeopardising the prosecution of paedophiles with his attempts to sow racism and division amongst the working class. This while taking home fat pay checks and thousands in donations from some of the poorest in our communities. It was all working too!

The financial backing meant he could hold legitimate looking rallies with TV screens and police permission. The Nazi emblems and Seig Heils were exchanged for Union Jacks and smiles. He was careful about what he said trying to remain respectable, he wants to be a politician see? roots in the community like. The crowd of Fascists chanting racist drivel and trying to attack people on the edge of his rallies became “not his responsibility” an unfortunate radical periphery… ‘least to the media and public in general… Anti Fascists still knew their names tho and the links across the various networks of scum. This “unfortunate radical periphery” kept starting a ruck, each and every time and it wasn’t a mere coincidence. Like the Alt-Right over in the States – notably Richard Spencer – Yaxley-Lennon wants to appear respectable while continuing to foster a hostile environment and empower his base, the Ethno-Nationalists. He’s trying to walk a fine line of encouraging the most horrific events while saying “I’m innocent”, oozing disgusting rhetoric while pretending to hold no responsibility for the acts of violence that follow in the wake of vox tyrannis.

Suddenly it’s Anti Fascists who stand out, latter day ninjas on the edge of a “peaceful” gathering. It’s them who – despite being on hand to protect people from drunk fash – that look like the aggressors before the right wing Youtuber’s lens and even those of the mainstream media. Without context or understanding of the tactics of Fascists, popular opinion started to move towards these ersatz rebels, despite their campaign outright parroting Hitler’s propaganda.

Time and time against various far right speakers got to say “we aren’t racist, we are just patriots. Why are you censoring free speech?” and relished in pointing at networks like National Action and System Resistance for what actual Nazi’s look like… claim to just some patriots andthat it was the Antis that are are here to be aggressive and violent. This is something that funny enough got the out and proud Nazi’s from these networks gripeing on places like Stormfront, tho to be fair their Overton window is so far right they were never a fan and see this lot as traitors to the Aryan cause.

This middle grounding was working, The huge demo in London proved that. A media savvy attitude and thousands of of pounds in backing puts on a good display. Then came the milkshakes and the humiliation. How dare people not respect political discourse? His boys got worried and took to kicking off with school kids. They needed a narrative that painted them the victim of violence, not milkshakes! How can a ‘ard lad take on milkshakes? Directly after the second milkshaking, Stephen Yaxley- Lennon’s bodyguards started a fight and beat up a 24 year old woman. It started when one of his entourage Danny Tommo, barged into a man with his hands in his pockets clearly with with intention to start a brawl. It wasn’t enough tho and two blokes smacking someone half their size didn’t look good so when he came to Liverpool he had his lackey, class traitor and wide up merchant, James Goddard try to wind up the crowd by approaching them and agitating them, unfortunately for him he told some scouse mums that Liverpool was a shithole and was chased down the road eventually apparently having to climb a tree.

Seriously you fash fucks, stop trying to mess with mums.

Burger Kings twitter as it came out that Police had Stopped McDonald’s selling shakes during a Farage rally.

So what are you gonna do? It’s not going well… Milkshakes and mums aren’t great for the big man image… (By now even Burger King Is getting in some laughs) so a couple of days later Yaxley-Lennon rocks up to Oldham, knowing that he’ll get a fight if he wants one given the complex history of the area. He brings plenty of boys and they come prepared. While a few locals who think he’s talking sense listen to his Alt-Right, not quite racist speech, his boys taking action. They arn’t stood listening to him yammer on, nah they are at the back kicking shit off. According to the (0)161 Manchester crew, his mob first tried chasing a black women then started tossing hammers and bottles. What followed was the Muslim Defence League (MDL) alongside Oldham locals and Anti Fascists from across Manchester taking them on directly and overtly.

This was a fight he needed.

There was plenty of footage for him to paint a picture of hostile Muslims and violence… Instantly there were videos about stabbings and a shooting, entirely fictional but they plant the seeds. The Facebook timelines move so quick, truth is negotiable and the damage is already done before the few inclined to look it up find out the truth. The next day Youtube is crawling with “Truth about Oldham” videos declaring it an an attack by Muslims on good hard working white patriots. A bullshit narrative that the Fascists feel secure in and can use to play victim. Deeply concerningly they targetted Legal Observers from GBC and Netpol for abuse, labelling them as “Islamic Legal Observers – Paid for by the Islamic Labour Party!”, putting not only their capacity to protect ALL protestors from the state but also tempting fate with their personal safety both during protests and after due to the right wings habit of doxxing and attacking.

The next few days is a tirade of media highlighting their hostile reception and pushing self victimisation across social media. Countless hours of effort is spent painting a picture of where the mainstream media and police are part of a oppressive “left” system and the traitor protesters are working for the boogie man of “Islam” who they treat like it was Emmanuel Goldstein and this is Airstrip One. They are the victim and Islam an all powerful enemy always present and furiously trying to destroy everything the good British people love… they say everything but “fourteen words” and “white genocide” in their campaign to make people feel under attack.


Now they can add genuine violence to this make believe fantasy. Remember the right feeds off fear and intimidation. Not just spreading it in the community but internalising it, letting it fuel their dreams of being a noble vanguard for the British people/Aryan race (delete as appropriate). In the current climate of seemingly approachable right wing politicians, taking a beating (imaginary or otherwise) works in their favour, it solidifies their narrative as a victim and the Anti Fascists as the hostile mob.

In domestic abuse support, they call this DARVO: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. DARVO is the reaction that perpetrators of wrong doing may display in response to being held accountable for their behaviour. Abusers Deny their behaviour, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.

It’s a popular strategy across the Alt-Right. Even with it’s media savvy smiles and boy next door manners which make it acceptable for financing publicly, these movements which previously relied on grass roots support and macho power plays has changed tack. They have taken the grand strategies popular with abusers, oppressors and bullies throughout history and made them work. Now they have a plan and believe they have moved beyond the blunt weapons they relied on in the past, at least in public.

Yeah it’s taken a while for the Anti Fascists to catch up.

Well now they have.

The capacity (and let’s be honest often the inclination) for a physical line of defence remains but from London to Glasgow, Anti Fascists of all persuasions have noticed the shift in response. A passer by with a milkshake can end a rally and send them packing, ridiculed by everyone. Somewhere between a passive static demo and street battles there is milkshaking. So most everyone has decided at the same time to celebrate the new method and help give it a firm footing as the “go to response” in the minds of those who might never join a counter demo but still really hate fash.

Mind you it doesn’t mean to say there is no space for a community to defend itself.
It’s not a single strategy but a collection of means and methods that just got a little larger.

Funny thing is, fascists have a short memory about how well violence actually works for them historically. If they think they own the physical response… they are wrong.

1933, The Battle of Stockton-on-Tees saw blackshirts from the “British Union of Fascists” attempting to hold a rally on Market street. They were met but Anarchists, Communists, Trade Union members and locals in general armed with pickaxe handles, staves, half bricks and razor blades. Nothing peaceful happened that day and the community took the Fash on directly sending them fleeing down the road. They were 200 and met by 3000 and 20 of them left with several injuries including the brother of John Warbuton (one of Mosley’s top bods) who took a brick to the face and lost an eye.

1936, The Battle of Cable street saw thousands of working class lads and lasses stand with the Jewish community against Mosley’s black shirts. A local dock worker smacked a blackshirt so hard he lost an eye too, in place of milkshakes, the contents of chamber pots were poured over them and the police both.

1977, The Battle of Lewisham saw 4000 Anti Fascists confront 500 National front attempting to march with 5000 police protecting them. 11 of these cops were sent to hospital and over a 100 of the NF lot went home wts in Lebanon and The Nationalists that followed Franco.ith injuries.

1992, The Battle of Waterloo, a Blood and Honour gig brought 1000 or so skinheads to town and saw sporadic fighting across the area as pockets of Fash sent to pick up direction to the gig at Waterloo station encountered squads from Anti-Facist Action and Red Action promptly receiving a pasting.

“The station concourse was nearly deserted. We discovered afterwards that British Rail had given Black and Asian workers the day off – pandering to racism. A small group of Red Action went into the station buffet and found a couple of skinheads who had been enjoying a quiet cup of tea. There was some loud rumbling and smashing sounds, then the Reds emerged unscathed and blended with our crowd. Five minutes later an ambulance arrived to cart off the two hapless Fascists. (Rumour has it that they might have been, in fact, plain clothes coppers).”

Fuck, there is a long history of bashing the Fash on the streets of Britain.
This also extends to field of war, not just in the Second World War but Catalonia and Rojava too, where Anti Fascists volunteered their service and too often their lives fighting against a brutal enemy. It’s this enemy who the likes of Yaxley-Lennon , Benjamin, Farage and the rest of them echo now, sure in their own vernacular with a focus on “British values” but it’s the same poison, From Isis in the Levant to Phalangests in Lebanon, from the Nationalists that followed Franco to the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, the bile is the same.

In truth for most, it would be hard to deny the cathartic pleasure from this history, however the British people are keenly aware that it doesn’t go one way, from mass attacks on union strikers and peaceful protestors to straight up murders such as those of Gurdip Singh Chaggar and Jo Cox. The right wing has illustrated time and again it is not afraid of violence, not the defensive violence of the opposition but deliberate attacks on innocents.

This is why Anarchists and Communists take a strong zero-tolerance line and traditionally rock up ready to defend themselves and the community. It’s a brutal history that meant they were always ready for the worst and it left them somewhat taken back when the right-wing changed it’s pace. Sure there was celebration when Richard Spencer took a smack to the face, however to the media he was just a nice normal guy chatting about politics… it kicked up a lot of debate that leant towards platforming Fascists as part of good ol’ Free speech an Americanism that seems to have drifted eastwards as a blind absolute that allows the worst amongst us to play victim if they are not tolerated and heard.

Milkshaking, much like that famous punch unites everyone who hates Fascists in orgasmic relief while sending the media opinion pieces into free fall, crying about how politicians should be free to go about their business unharassed – seemingly ignorant of the context of these demagogues and bigots. Both sent the right as a whole crying about “political violence” despite, at the same time celebrating brutal attacks on peaceful activists who you know… aren’t advocating for the systematics genocide of entire races. It’s now gone big with European and American outlets talking about this “British phenomenon” of milkshaking and we’ve seen international comrades at first smirk, not quite getting it, then then realising it’s fucking beautiful. The first international hit in this was of resistance being Dan Park , a piece of trash from Sweden.

It’s not all without critisims mind.
It has brought out some less awesome side in the left, namely all the Bukkake jokes and the Brazzers logo.
Like for fucks sake, can we just not?

When folk add the Brazzers logo or joke about them “being gay”, “loving cock” or “bukkake” they are attempting to humiliate these homophobic, misogynist pricks by comparing them to sex workers, gay men and women in general who are fetishised for accepting an act that is erotic due to it’s nature as an act of degradation and elicit humiliation. Look, calling someone “gay” isn’t fucking great in the slightest because however you mean it, you are implying that being gay is a negative or something undesirable.

People argue that it’s just to offend the fash sensibilities however in reciting the worst of their traits it just contributes to the hostile attitude we as a society hold on sex work and on feminised people in general. This isn’t an attack on the sexual act or pornography mind, just stop fucking using them as means to undermine.

“haha you look like the girl I masturbate over” isn’t cool.

Similarly it’s ticked off Vegans and Animal Rights activists somewhat as milkshake is a product of a shitty industry. So have a think about your vegan options… maybe consider the classic water ballon full of water/paint or if you want to be inventive cook up some gunge – Powder paint 160 grams (2%) Xanthum Gum 96 grams (1.2%) HOT water 8 litres.

As I add final notes they are giving out free milkshakes at polling booths and someone’s apparently chucked one over a Brexit Party volunteer of venerable age (who once shot an unarmed man during the troubles) so it looks like folk are taking all manner of action with milkshake. Over in Salford, Yaxley-Lennon’s lot were chucking bricks and bottles injurying three, so true to form eh?. I’m sure we’ll see much more from milkshaking, for better and worse, until eventually we’ll all get bored.

Till then, keep letting Fascist scum know what you think of them and don’t forget the odd bigwig from Labour and the Tories. ■

Rhyddical is just another pseudo bohemian revolutionary Anarchist who expects better of us all but does his mains in Tesco anyway.



Fresh spray is popping up all over.



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Knife attack in Publico!

Last Thursday, the day after major Mayday demonstrations, a comrade from the Fédération Anarchiste was attacked in the FA’s Parisian infoshop and bookstore Publico by a man in his mid 40’s with a knife. The attacker came at Christophe with a knife while he was packing books and hit him so violently that part of the blade broke off in his skull.

Shortly after the attack they were called and given verbal abuse down the phone, removing the possibility of a simple random event. No, this was a cold attempt at murder almost certainly given the history and context, by someone aligned with the far right.

Publico, where Christophe volunteers his time is a central hub for the Anarchist scene in Paris, much like Freedom in London, it plays host to several groups such as Radio Libertaire and the paper Le Monde Libertaire while providing a warm and welcoming space for those looking to pick up books about Anarchism and related struggles. It is no stranger to assault, “We have already had incursions of right-wing activists in the bookstore, who entered shouting things like “France to the French” but never a savage attack” laments a volunteer and indeed it’s a deeply concerning escalation of the violence as more and more Anarchist and Socialist spaces come under attack. Last year we saw far right storming into Bookmarks and the previous year saw the “Pie and Mash” fascist troop attack the ANAL social centre in Belgravia force them and the crew and homeless guests to defend themselves. Elsewhere the Proud Boys attack on the Portland IWW Union Hall it’s very easy to become concerned about things escalating to the tragedy that befell Libertatia in Thessaloniki when Fascists attacked the social centre, burning it down in the process.

Christophe was taken to Saint Antoine the hospital where he was treated however scans show that a fragment of the blade has remained planted in the skull bone. Thankfully Christophe’s health seems stable and he was patched up and sent home to recover while waiting for an operation to the remove the left over shard. At time of publishing the culprit remains unknown no doubt quite proud of his addition to the air of oppression and constant threat of violence that fascist skum aim to seed with their horrific acts… However, the main concern to Publico’s opening hours remains the ongoing renovation work. The revolution will not be intimidated, it will not be silenced and we will not allow these acts of violence to pass.

Anarchist and Socialist spaces are bastions of liberty and community in an overtly oppressive environment and they must be defended. The threat isn’t just from the xenophobes on the far right but from the state as well with even such large communities as ADM in Amsterdam being evicted by legal and physical force. We must remain vigilant and with all our must protect and preserve these spaces for the benefit of the communities they serve and improve with their existence

Our complete and overt solidarity with Christophe, Librairie Publico and the Fédération Anarchiste during these most interesting times on the streets of Paris.

For more information keep an eye on:-
librairie-publico.com
federation-anarchiste.org

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Militarization Increases in Zapatista and Campesino Territories in Chiapas

The counterinsurgency strategy in regions populated by first peoples supporting the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) has intensified since President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) administration took power in Mexico, according to human rights watch groups deployed in Chiapas. In a report published on May 2, 2019, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, (“Frayba”) stressed that in April alone, army units conducted 14 incursions into the territory surrounding La Realidad Caraol in the Lacandón rainforest.

Among the operations that were spotted, observers saw military patrols with tanks. In January, just days after the EZLN released a strong critique of AMLO’s government from La Realidad, soldiers entered the community four different times and conducted another four helicopter flyovers.

According to the watch groups’ report, personnel from the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena, its Spanish acryonym), dressed as civilians, had entered La Realidad to ask about the EZLN’s activities.

The Denunciations Increase

On April 10, 2019, during the commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of Emiliano Zapata’s assassination, the EZLN decried that, with the new government, “the military, police, and paramilitary presence has increased, as has that of spies, listening ears and informants. This, on top of the appearance of airplane and helicopter flyovers, “as well as armored vehicles, like in the times of Carlos Salinas de Gortari” [translator: Mexican president in office at the time of the Zapatista declaration of war.]

María de Jesús Patricio, spokeswoman of the Indigenous Government Council (Consejo Indígena de Gobierno), read the text, which was signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. “They show up in the communities saying that war is coming and that they’re just waiting for orders from ‘way up.’ Some of them make themselves pass for what they’re not and never will be, in order to learn the supposed ‘military plans’ of the EZLN. Perhaps ignoring the fact that the EZLN does what it says and says what it does… or perhaps because the plan is to set up a provocation and then blame the EZLN.”

Thus they asserted that López Obrador is really just acting like his predecessors, “but now he changes the justification: today, the persecution, harassment, and attack on our communities is ‘for the good of everyone’ and it’s done under the banner of the supposed ‘Fourth Transformation.’” [Translator: The Fourth Transformation is AMLO’s term for supposed broad changes in Mexican politics under his leadership. The first three “transformations” were independence from Spain, the reform laws of Benito Juárez, and the Mexican Revolution.]

This militarization that persists in Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s new federal government and Rutilio Escandón Cadenas’s new state government represents an assault on the lives of First Peoples’ communities in Chiapas that defend their right to autonomy, self-determination, and territory.

It’s worth recalling that on May 2, 2014, during the same action in which José Luis Solis López was extrajudicially executed, members of the Historic Independent Union of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos-Histórica, a campesino organization and paramilitary group) destroyed the school and the autonomous clinic, also threatening to dismantle the Madre de los Caracoles del Mar de Nuestros Sueños (Mother of the Sea of Our Dreams Caracoles, another name for La Realidad Caracol). That action was a pretext for the Sedena to intensify militarization, which the Frayba pointed out was an act of intimidation, instead of looking for justice and for civil and peaceful means to resolve the conflict.0

One of the Causes: Mining and Megaprojects

This isn’t the first time this year that the human rights group, based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, has denounced military actions against organizations against communities that defend their territories in Chiapas, in the south of Mexico.
During the Women’s Rights are also Human Rights land defenders’ encuentro, which took place March 23, 2019 in the community of Lázaro Cárdenas, in Chicomuselo municipality, they denounced espionage actions against the activists and human rights defenders present at the event.

“Members of the Mexican Army’s 101st Infantry Battalion carried out acts of espionage during the encuentro. Victorino Morales Morales and Alejandro Yera Reyes, soldiers dressed as civilians, surveilled and photographed the activity, which was called for by the Women’s Diocese Coordination (Coordinación Diocesana de Mujeres, CODIMU), of the San Pedro and San Pablo Parish… this constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of association, as well as a risk to the personal safety and security of those who defend human rights in Chicomuselo,” the organization stated to local media. In that region of the Chiapan Sierra Madre, people are organizing against mining activity by a Canadian company called Blackfire that extracts baryte, titanium, and magnetite in several regions of Chiapas.

The parish of San Pedro and San Pablo, located in the municipal capital, has questioned the investment in construction of a military base in the vicinity, which would give soldiers easy access to the municipalities of Frontera Comalapa, Chicomuselo and La Concordia. “The huge investment of public funds in the construction and maintenance of a base raises questions for us, in a time where there are no resources to give Mexicans access to basic necessities like health, education, and water,” declared the campesinos who oppose the project. The project is currently suspended.

There are at least 99 mining concessions in Chiapas, spanning 15% of the state’s territory. Some of them are found in buffer zones for important protected natural areas like the El Triunfo and Encrucijada reserves in the Soconusco region.Hydrocarbon extraction projects and the installation of geothermic power plants remain active in the Zoque region in the north of the state, as do mini-hydroelectric plants and wind farms in the coastal-isthmus region.

Written by Ñaní Pinto This article was originally shared on the 7 May, 2019 on Avispa Midia, you can see the original here.

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