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Solidarity Is A Stream Of Sparks | International

Now and then the flame dies down, but solidarity is a stream of sparks”

ILYA SHAKURSKY, an antifascist political prisoner in Russia, appeals to you in this interview to write to him, and to others imprisoned in the infamous “Network” case. Please see a note at the end about where to send messages.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 19 January, is the anniversary of the assassination of antifascists Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov, who were shot dead in broad daylight in central Moscow in 2009. People will gather – in Moscow, to lay flowers at the place where they were killed, elsewhere on line – and we publish this article on several web sites simultaneously, to express solidarity. 

The “Network” case began in Penza and St Petersburg in October 2017, when the Federal Security Service (FSB) started detaining young anarchists and antifascists, who had supposedly participated in a terrorist group. The security services claimed that the young detainees were preparing terrorist acts, aimed at the presidential elections and the football World Cup in 2018 [which was staged in Russia].

It soon became clear that this “Network” organisation had been dreamed up by the FSB, and the confessions extracted from the alleged participants with the use of the most barbaric tortures. Details of the methods used, including electric shock batons, were published widely before the defendants were tried. 

Nevertheless, the defendants were found guilty and sentenced – in January 2019 in St Petersburg, Igor Shishkin to three-and-a-half years’ detention; in February 2020, seven defendants in Penza, including Ilya Shakursky, to between six and 18 years; and in June 2020 in St Petersburg, Viktor Filinkov to seven years and Yulii Boyarshinov to five-and-a-half years.

In October 2020 an appeal by the Penza defendants was heard and rejected. An appeal by Viktor Filinkov is in progress.

All ten defendants are included in a list of 61 political prisoners compiled by Memorial, Russia’s largest human rights defence group.  

This interview with Ilya Shakursky, who is serving a 16 year sentence, is by Dmitry Semenov. It was published by Free Russia House, an “alternative embassy for Russian civil society” based in Kyiv, Ukraine, and by the Rupression collective that supports the “Network” case prisoners. (The questions were sent via Yelena Shakurskaya, Ilya’s mother, and answers received, via Yelena, in written form.)

Question: Do you feel the support from outside the prison system, and how important is it? Could you say something briefly to our readers and to people who support you?

Ilya Shakursky: It feels good to realise, every morning when they call out my surname and hand over letters I have received, that people remember me and continue to support me. At those moments, the grey monotony of imprisonment is broken up by different colours. It doesn’t matter whether the letter is a couple of lines or goes on like a whole essay. Just getting some news gives me strength and happiness. When I see photos of solidarity actions all over the world; when I read interviews with well-known people who speak about the absurdity of the criminal case against us; when I hear the drums and voices of friends [demonstrating] on the other side of the [prison] wall; when I think of the concert, at which the whole hall sang “It Will All Pass” [“Vse proidet”] (a song by the Russian punk group, Pornofilms, about the “Network” case), or of the rap-battle, where verses were read in support of our case, or of the street artist who used graffiti to speak out about repression in Russia today – I feel like it wasn’t all in vain.

If this means that people start paying attention to things that were previously out of their reach, or unclear, or that they didn’t need to think about – then this could become a way in which everyone can contribute to the struggle against the absurdity, the violence and the injustice. Now and then the flame dies down, but solidarity is a stream of sparks, that stops them from putting the fire out all together, that stops us losing heart – or, to put it another way, stops us from bowing our heads and submitting to evil.

If any of you suddenly thinks of writing to a political prisoner, don’t abandon that thought. Don’t hide it in your “to do” list among your other worries. Do it, right at that moment. Write about your dreams, about what you love, share some memories that make you laugh, or your impressions from a book you have read. Please be assured that your letter is more important than it can seem to you. It can save a political prisoner from the awful monotony of another day behind bars and walls. And that really is very important.

I am very grateful to each and every person who supports political prisoners, who fights for their release, and for justice, and who conveys those sparks that light the fire, that prevent evil from consuming our lives.

Q: After you heard the verdict, and the long, severe sentences, at the court of first instance, how did you react? What has helped you not to give up, not to be overcome by depression, to hold on?

ISh: When I heard the sentences being read out, I took them as final confirmation that this was nothing more than punishment for recalcitrance. It’s difficult to believe what’s happened, and even now I try not to dwell on it. Such thoughts can gnaw away at you and drive you out of your mind.

We live in a world where the life of any one of us can be destroyed, on the whim of those who have power in their hands. What’s most terrifying of all is that people get used to this – to everything that is happening now: demonstrators and young politicians being beaten up; criminal cases under terrorism laws being opened against underaged children; the poisoning of undesirables, absurd sentences, and much, much more that is unjust, cruel and brutal, that could become the norm, if society just accepts it as the new reality. I fear that, above all. Really, that would be totalitarianism with the silent acquiescence of the majority. And then it might be too late to start saying that that was not what we wanted.

I admit, honestly, that holding on, not getting depressed, gets harder. Especially in the context of what is happening in the country. But I am still alive, I have friends and family waiting for me outside these walls, they believe in me and sincerely love me – and so I have to hold on. I must not give up, for the sake of those people who are dear to me, for my own sake, for the sake of the stars in the sky and the fresh air, for the sake of freedom and love.

With smiles they were breaking my wings,

My scream sometimes was like a wail.

And I was numb from pain and helplessness,

And could just whisper: thanks to be alive! (Vladimir Vysotsky.)

Q: You practically all received exactly the sentences that the prosecution asked for – evidently, in large part because you refused to admit guilt and you publicly denounced the torture. With the benefit of hindsight, do you now regret that?

ISh: To regret the course we have taken would render worthless all that we have lived through, and are living through now. The very worst time for me was when I gave up to weakness and fear, and betrayed myself by doing so. I felt that I had just stopped being human; hatred for myself overshadowed all my thoughts. But today, although I am in prison, actually behind four walls, I now remain the person that I really am. If I had [approached the trial] differently, my life would have been mere existence. Why talk about freedom, equality and fraternity, and then betray all of that? What would these words mean for people, if each one of us could just turn our backs on them when the executioners demand it?

The more that people betray themselves and others, the more often they carry out criminal orders in spite of their conscience, the sooner we will all become slaves, deprived of our free will, whose lives are mere existence.

Maybe I am guilty for silence,

Guilty for unnecessary words.

At moments of fear and desperation

My guilt can be hidden.

I constantly expect reproach

Even from those who are indifferent.

I, like everyone, am not free of defects, 

But I am constrained by my conscience.

That’s what calls on me at times

Not to shut my eyes to evil

And to stand by those who suffer.

Otherwise, the burden of guilt will suffocate us.

Q: If you could make time go backwards, and return to some point before your arrest, would you change anything cardinal in your life?

ISh: I already look at my past from a different, probably more grown-up and aware, viewpoint. So of course there are things in the past I would like to change. For example, I would value more highly the people around me, not make mistakes or take wrong turnings, be less bitter, less naive – and much else, maybe some completely personal stuff. But I take my fate as it is – although of course there’s much I could regret, as there is for many people.

My behaviour, my mistakes, my action and my views and aims made me what I am now. That’s what makes our lives interesting, full as they are of happiness and pain, of light and dark. All the more often now, I realise that I took the road leading in the necessary direction. When I see those who hate me – Nazis, propagandists, Chekists [i.e. those in the Russian security services], thugs – and those who support me – the defenders of Shiyes, musicians, artists, political prisoners, teachers, people from my town, comrades all over the world, family and loved ones – I understand that I am on the right side, the bright side. And that understanding justifies, in many ways, the road I have taken, which is short but from which I have drawn definite conclusions and ideas.

What’s there to say about life? That it turned out to be long.

Only with grief do I feel solidarity. 

But whilst my mouth is not yet packed with clay, 

It’ll only resound with gratitude

(Iosif Brodsky.)

Q: Finally, I would ask you to formulate some sort of phrase or slogan that in the current situation helps you to overcome all the difficulties and to believe that justice will soon be achieved.

ISh: When I write that good will prevail, I don’t have in mind worldwide peace, however much I would like that. The point is that good prevails every day, thanks to sincere, good people. Good prevails when doctors save people’s lives, when people adopt a child from an orphanage, when a taxi-driver saves a demonstrator from sadists with truncheons, when eco-activists defend forests from destruction, when political prisoners are released in court, when human rights defenders protect prisoners from torture, when solidarity and love make us smile, and make us believe that we are not alone, that we are together and that we will win. Good will prevail!

PS [from Dmitry Semenov, freerussiahouse]. At the end of his letter Ilya Shakursky sent a message to the interviewer, not for publication. At the end of that message he again expressed thanks for the interest shown in the case, and best wishes. From my side I would like to send Ilya and his friends rays of support, for their freedom. “For sure, this will all pass.” 

Note. Please send messages to Ilya Shakursky and the other prisoners in English to peoplenature[at]yahoo[dot]com, and I will see that they get translated and passed along. Our friends in Russia say that there is no point in sending letters written in English (or other languages except Russian) to prisoners in Russia, as they will not receive them.

A list, in English, of the “Network” case defendants is here, and other information from the Rupression collective is here.

The English translation of Interrupted Flight, the song by the Soviet-era Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky, is from an article by Elena Dimov on the Contemporary Russian Literature site. The translation of the last lines of “I, Instead of a Wild Beast, Entered the Cage” by Iosif Brodsky is by Valentina Polukhina and Chris Jones, from: L. Loseff and V. Polukhina (eds.), Joseph Brodsky (Palgrave Macmillan, London: 1999).

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Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant | Rest In Power

Translated by the Anarchist Federation from the French language original ‘Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste’ from Le Monde Libertaire (journal and website of La Fédération Anarchiste– French-speaking Anarchist Federation, our comrades in the International of Anarchist Federations): https://monde-libertaire.net/index.php?articlen=5339

Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant

Following a long illness, on Wednesday 23 December our friend and comrade Alexandre Skirda passed away aged of 78. Has he now joined Nestor Makhno, likewise a descendant of Zaporozhian Cossacks, on banks of the Dnieper?

His interest in the region and understanding of its language enabled him to get to know the revolutionary peasant movement in southern Ukraine, heir to centuries of direct democracy practice. In books such as Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack. The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine 1917-1921 he showed how the creation of free municipalities in that period aimed to establish a stateless society, and how the Bolshevik state destroyed these after eliminating the Ukrainian insurrectionary revolutionary army (which consequently allowed them to defeat the White armies).

Even today, most Trotskyist militants shudder at hearing the name of Alexandre Skirda. They cannot forgive him for revealing the manner in which the Red Army, sent by Trotsky, crushed the City of Kronstadt that had wished for direct federalist democracy in Russia: “It is here in Kronstadt that the first stone of the Third Revolution opposed to the bureaucratic order of the Bolsheviks was laid, leaving behind the dictatorship of the Communist Party, chekas and state capitalism ” (8th March, 1921). In publishing Kronstadt 1921: Prolétariat contre Bolchévisme he granted the longstanding wish of Stépan Pétrichenlo, president of the Kronstadt Provisional Revolutionary Committee: “They may shoot the Kronstadiens, but they will never shoot down the truth about Kronstadt”.

His research enabled him to write several books on that historical event, which have been translated into different languages and reissued many times, enriched by new documents. Significantly, he recently translated and presented the previously unavailable Kronstadt in the Russian Revolution by Efim Yartchuk [also now in English].  This recounted the experiences of one of the key instigators of the Kronstadt anarchists dedicated “To those who had shed their blood during the revolution of 1905 for the complete emancipation of the proletariat from the yoke of capital and authority; To those who fought in February and July 1917 against the new world order; To those who let themselves be deceived by the slogans of the proletarian state raising their arms against the new masters, the Bolsheviks. In memory of those who perished on the road to the Society of free men: anarchy”.

Having this opportunity to scale the mountain of documents feeding his books, those mentioned here being only a small part, we are able to see the importance of his historical work in revealing what has long been hidden – as much by the “Whites” as by the “Reds” – on a revolution which has had consequences, for decades, on the workers’ movement in many countries.

We will not forget Alexandre Skirda, the essential historian of the Russian Revolution, and also the anarchist activist who, from the 1960s, led the Anarchist Studies and Action Group.

“The dead live on, and with them, the dreams they carried”, Gustav Landauer.■

Original text

Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste

À la suite d’une longue maladie, mercredi 23 décembre notre ami, notre compagnon Alexandre Skirda nous a quittés à l’âge de 78 ans. Est-il allé sur les rives du Dniepr rejoindre Nestor Makhno, descendant de Cosaques zaporogues comme lui ?

Son intérêt pour cette région et sa connaissance de la langue lui avaient permis de connaître le mouvement révolutionnaire paysan du sud de l’Ukraine, héritier de plusieurs siècles de pratique de la démocratie directe. Dans des livres tel Nestor Makhno, le cosaque libertaire, la lutte pour les soviets libres en Ukraine 1917-1921, il montre comment dans cette période la création de communes libres visait à établir une société sans État, puis la façon dont l’État bolchevik les a détruites, après avoir éliminé l’Armée révolutionnaire insurrectionnelle ukrainienne, qui avait pourtant permis de vaincre les armées blanches.

Encore aujourd’hui le nom d’Alexandre Skirda fait frémir la majorité des militants trotskistes, qui ne lui pardonnent pas d’avoir révélé la manière dont l’armée rouge, envoyée par Trotski, avait écrasé la Commune de Kronstadt, qui souhaitait pour la Russie une démocratie directe, fédéraliste, et déclarait le 8 mars 1921 : « C’est ici à Kronstadt qu’est posée la première pierre de la IIIème Révolution opposée à l’ordre bureaucratique des bolcheviks, laissant derrière la dictature du Parti communiste, des tchékas et du capitalisme d’État ». En publiant Kronstadt 1921: soviets libres contre dictature de parti, Il exauçait longtemps après le souhait de Stépan Pétrichenlo, président du Comité révolutionnaire provisoire de Kronstadt : « Ils peuvent fusiller les Kronstadiens, mais ils ne pourront jamais fusiller la vérité de Kronstadt ».

Ses recherches lui ont permis d’écrire plusieurs livres sur cet événement historique, qui ont été l’objet de traductions dans divers pays et de nombreuses rééditions, enrichies par de nouveaux documents. Il a notamment récemment traduit et présenté Kronstadt dans la révolution russe d’Efim Yartchouk, inédit jusque-là. Celui-ci, un des principaux animateurs des anarchistes de Kronstadt, décrit ce qu’il a vécu et dédie son ouvrage « à ceux qui versèrent leur sang lors de la révolution de 1905 pour l’émancipation complète du prolétariat du joug du capital et de l’autorité. À ceux qui luttèrent en février et en juillet 1917 contre les maîtres du monde. À ceux qui s’étant laissé abuser par les slogans de l’État prolétarien levèrent bientôt les armes contre les nouveaux maîtres, les bolcheviks. À la mémoire de ceux qui périrent sur la route menant à la Société des hommes libres : l’anarchie ».

Ayant eu l’occasion d’approcher la montagne de documents alimentant ses livres, ceux évoqués ici n’en étant qu’une partie, nous avons pu mesurer l’importance de son travail historique pour révéler ce qui a été longtemps occulté – aussi bien par les « blancs » que par les « rouges » – sur une révolution qui a eu des conséquences, pendant des dizaines d’années, sur le mouvement ouvrier de nombreux pays.

Nous n’oublierons pas Alexandre Skirda, l’historien incontournable de la révolution russe, et aussi le militant anarchiste qui, dès les années 1960, animait le Groupe d’études et action anarchiste.

« Les morts vivent et avec eux, les rêves qui les ont portés », Gustav Landauer.■

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Every Moment of the Oppressed is a Crisis! | International

Every Moment of the Oppressed is a Crisis! – Atakan Polat

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. We are born into a crisis that has been going on for centuries, and this crisis rises at the age when we start to sell our labor; By hours and days, it continues by selling our lives. Even life itself turns into crisis, transformed. We always hear the words “the burden of the crisis”; living becomes a burden for us oppressed. Unpaid invoices, pocket money that cannot be paid, books that cannot be received, calluses sinking as they walk, waist twisted by working… Even the university diploma of the oppressed often turns into a crisis with unemployment. They are all crises and crises never subsided.

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. The economic crises of the governments are added, but these crises do not develop involuntarily. The crisis that powers use to grow, gain and exploit more; the rich get rich, the poor get poor.

Today we are in a crisis again, this time in the corona crisis. Maybe many of us thought we were in a health crisis, but when the places we worked were closed, we all faced the fact that the issue was economic for the governments. We learned that with the new bans announced overnight, cafes, restaurants and bars were closed and we were unemployed. We learned, but we could not learn why the places where tens of thousands of us work were closed when everywhere was open.

In the corona crisis, many bans were imposed. And we were among the segments whose lives were most upset by these prohibitions, as workers working in cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s not just a joblessness. It was said that the money will be distributed under the name of short work allowance, but to those who have the appropriate conditions. If our conditions were suitable, that is, even if we were lucky, we did not know how to meet our needs with the short work allowance we received. But we knew that the short-time work allowance, which was shown as grace, was actually covered by the unemployment insurance fund that the state created by stealing from our salaries for every day we worked. So even when the state had to reluctantly give us back what it stole from us, it was trying to make our lives appear to be owed to it.

It was also said that it was forbidden to lay off workers in this crisis. Well, most of us were already working without insurance… The bosses fired us as they wanted whenever they wanted. We, the workers of cafes, restaurants and bars, who were employed without insurance during the corona crisis, were the first to be discarded. We were not prohibited from firing because we were not “officially” employed. The experiences of our insured ones were not much different. Because firing was forbidden, but it was not forbidden to sign a letter of resignation with the threat of “paying the salary”. Can you find any numbers regarding the workers who resigned from their jobs or were forced to do so? Can any institution of the state publish data on this? It does not explain because it does not suit those who exploit us, our labor, our future.

We are in a crisis right now and we don’t have five cents piled up in the corner. Because the money earned daily is spent daily and the money we earn in one day is not enough to accumulate. Way to go, the food goes, it goes to the phone bill … Accumulated five penny with us or the unemployed in a few days after Turkey’s standards of healthy and average budget should be allocated for a balanced diet 2 thousand 447 Liras 72 cents, the budget should be allocated for necessities average of 7 thousand 973 Liras that we learned As thousands of uninsured café, restaurant and bar workers, we wake up every day to keep up with the day, but the government’s “grant” to our insured ones with these bans is not enough to even pass near these standards.

When what we have is not enough to live, he spends the money that is not there; We borrow money from banks. Unless we can pay our debts, we will borrow even more. As we borrow money, the owners of the banks and the state that shakes hands with them will win. I don’t know who is a billionaire, who doubled his wealth in this period and the economy grew by 6.7 percent according to TURKSTAT data. This is the case not only in the land we live in, but in all geographies. At the end of July 2020, the wealth of approximately 2 thousand 189 richest people in the world reached a record 10.2 trillion dollars. Not only did billionaires’ billions increase, new billionaires were added to billionaires. The unemployed were added to the unemployed and the poor to the poor for the exploiters to exploit more easily.

Every moment of an oppressed person is a crisis. So who wants to live with crisis? Nobody wants. It is necessary to take to the streets with the oppressed like us to know that the rulers are unjust and to create a just world in order to eliminate crises. Emma Goldman said years ago: “Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.” It is obvious that those who take our work, our bread and our future will not give what they want. We know that we cannot meet our needs unless we come together, shoulder to shoulder. And yet, today, as throughout history: They will not give, we will take!

Atakan Polat
Genç İşçi Derneği (Young Workers Association)

Originally Posted:
http://gencisci.org/ezilenin-her-ani-kriz-atakan-polat/

Shared without permission.
Automatically Translated.

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IFA statement on Belarus situation and solidarity

The following statement was produced at the online delegate meeting of the Relations Commitee of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) on 24-25 October 2020, and subsequently translated. Scroll down for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese translations or visit the websites of the respective federations.

BELARUS: AGAINST CAPITALISM AND DICTATORSHIP, FOR INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY

The Commission of Relations of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) expresses its support and internationalist solidarity with the struggles of people in  Belarus against Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, a mass movement that is participated in by our anarchist comrades there. The situation in Belarus concerns the autocratic dictatorship that has lasted for 26 years, the current economic, health and public services crises. A wave of protests have filled the squares of the country to request the dictator’s withdrawal.

As anarchists, we are not empassioned by the debate on whether the last presidential elections were fair or not. It is simply clear that the people in Belarus are saying ‘enough is enough’: they do no longer want a government which is starving, beating and oppressing them.

We stand in solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and demand their immediate release. We also demand the reinstatement of all workers who have lost their jobs for participating in strikes or protests, and urge an immediate end to the repression. We denounce the violence and abuses of the political policies that are in place, and the regime’s
military or paramilitary forces, who are arbitrarily detaining, beating and torturing its political opponents. We demand the fall of an authoritarian power which is a sad remainder of the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union, one which still serves as a weapon for the military strategy of Putin’s Russia which which uses its neighbouring country as a military foothold.

However, in the same way as we oppose Russian militarism in Belarus, we also oppose the militarism of Atlantic (NATO) forces in the Baltic Republics, together with all the armies and all the wars that are made by states against the people. Likewise, we do not buy the current rhetoric of Western ‘freedom’, nor of a possible mediation role of the European Union. The only role that the EU has is to manage the interests of European capitalism and therefore, as internationalists, we are opposed to this institution.

Instead, we call for international solidary between all workers and oppressed people and for all social movements which are committed, in the East and in the West, to syndicalism and workers rights, to the right of housing, to feminist and LGBTQ mobilisations, to the defence of land and environments against speculators, to people’s solidarity and mutual aid, to the occupation of spaces, to the production of alternative cultures, and to the defence of civil society all freedoms against exploitation and authoritarianism – to quote only some of our preferred axes of social intervention.

Only the direct participation of people in struggles from below can make a difference and produce a movement that go beyond the substitution of an old government with a new one, more or less corrupt, more or less authoritarian. Among all other challenges that humanity is facing, the current pandemic has confirmed that state and capitalism do not work when it comes to the need for solidarity.  It is the entire society that must change towards equality and freedom, and anarchism is more than ever the option that we put forward to achieve this.■

The Commission of Relations of the INTERNATIONAL OF ANARCHIST FEDERATIONS (IAF/IFA) – 25 October 2020

Originally hosted with Italian / Spanish / Portuguese translations here.

The Italian version is also available to listen to on YouTube:

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On Belarus | Editorial

For the past five days I have watched batons smashing into the faces of the working class. I’ve watched people be shot and trucks plough into yet more without any sense or reason other than the sick poison that oozes in the hearts of the police.

I’ve watched children get smacked around and listened to women talk about the police beating and sexually assaulting them in the backs of vans and while locked in cells. I’ve seen hours of footage both broadcast publicly and shared through private channels that has sickened me. I’ve spoken to comrades both local and in the diaspora who’ve kindly taken the time to share their concerns and report on events.

I’m listening to Belarus cry out in the birth pains of a revolution and watching the death throws of a totalitarian regime. They tried to squish the revolutionary movement before it had began, they failed. The moment the factories stepped out and long muted resistance sprang up across the country the future of Lukashenko was sealed. The future of Belarus is being written now on the streets and at the factory gates.

This began last Sunday (9th of August) Belarus was put through an election rife with fraud, by the end of the day 50,000 people from all walks of life had descended onto the streets of Minsk. The police response was brutal with some 3000 arrested, hundreds injured and at least three protestors lost their life. The next day there were hundreds of thousands on the streets of at least twenty cities. Factory workers went on strike and Anarchist affinity groups erected barricades. The aims are clear to all. Lukashenko must be removed.
 
In over 20 cities huge numbers of working class people are fighting for their future, to find liberty from underneath the boot of Lukashenko. Like any popular movement they come from all walks of life and across the spectrum of politics, from the anarchist affinity groups that have existed underground for years to the all manner of nationalists, neo-liberals and progressives. They are not united by the politics they desire but by the politics of those they need to break free from. As comrade put it;

“For sure, there are people in the demonstrations with a wide range of different political views. Most of them don’t define themselves politically at all. When miners go on strike because they don’t agree with the corrupt state government and the exploitation that their bosses are engaged in, do we try to determine their exact political identity as communists, anarchists, or liberals? Trying to define this huge crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered through humiliation, exploitation, and oppression for the last quarter of a century seems ridiculous to me. For me, there’s one obvious fascist: Lukashenko”


It is vital that we listen to our Belarusian kin, and amplify their voices. The working class have no borders between us, no nations to tear us a part. We feel the pain of injustice wherever it occurs, whether that is Brest or Bolton. There can be no question in our minds that the working class of all lands must know that they do not stand alone.

Speak up and share your solidarity.
Belarus, you do not stand alone.

Peter Ó Máille
Editor of Organise!

Read about the situation:

Belarus: Anarchists in the Uprising against the Dictatorship
https://crimethinc.com/2020/08/12/belarus-anarchists-in-the-uprising-against-the-dictatorship-an-interview

Call for solidarity actions with the uprising against the Lukashenko regime – 14 August
www.abc-belarus.org/?p=12980&lang=en

Belarus: ‘without organisation, without struggle, the oppressive unfreedom will never disappear’
https://libcom.org/news/belarus-without-organisation-without-struggle-oppressive-unfreedom-will-never-disappear-140

Websites to follow:
www.pramen.io – Anarchist Media Collective
www.abc-belarus.org – Anarchist Black Cross Belarus

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The Demands of CHAZ | Statements

THE DEMANDS OF THE COLLECTIVE BLACK VOICES AT FREE CAPITOL HILL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

In credit to the people who freed Capitol Hill, this list of demands is neither brief nor simplistic. This is no simple request to end police brutality. We demand that the City Council and the Mayor, whoever that may be, implement these policy changes for the cultural and historic advancement of the City of Seattle, and to ease the struggles of its people. This document is to represent the black voices who spoke in victory at the top of 12th & Pine after 9 days of peaceful protest while under constant nightly attack from the Seattle Police Department. These are words from that night, June 8th, 2020.

For ease of consideration, we’ve broken these demands into four categories: The Justice System, Health and Human Services, Economics, and Education.

Given the historical moment, we’ll begin with our demands pertaining to the Justice System.

  1. The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police. At an equal level of priority we also demand that the city disallow the operations of ICE in the city of Seattle.
  2. In the transitionary period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.
  3. We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the abolition of youth jails. Get kids out of prison, get cops out of schools. We also demand that the new youth prison being built in Seattle currently be repurposed.
  4. We demand that not the City government, nor the State government, but that the Federal government launch a full-scale investigation into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle and Washington, as well as the re-opening of all closed cases reported to the Office of Police Accountability. In particular, we demand that cases particular to Seattle and Washington be reopened where no justice has been served, namely the cases of Iosia Faletogo, Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Tommy Le, Shaun Fuhr, and Charleena Lyles.
  5. We demand reparations for victims of police brutality, in a form to be determined.
  6. We demand that the City of Seattle make the names of officers involved in police brutality a matter of public record. Anonymity should not even be a privilege in public service.
  7. We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.
  8. We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department. This includes the immediate release of all protestors currently being held in prison after the arrests made at 11th and Pine on Sunday night and early Saturday morning June 7th and 8th, and any other protesters arrested in the past two weeks of the uprising, the name Evan Hreha in particular comes to mind who filmed Seattle police macing a young girl and is now in jail.
  9. We demand that the City of Seattle and the State Government release any prisoner currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense and expunge the related conviction.
  10. We demand the City of Seattle and State Government release any prisoner currently serving time just for resisting arrest if there are no other related charges, and that those convictions should also be expunged.
  11. We demand that prisoners currently serving time be given the full and unrestricted right to vote, and for Washington State to pass legislation specifically breaking from Federal law that prevents felons from being able to vote.
  12. We demand an end to prosecutorial immunity for police officers in the time between now and the dissolution of the SPD and extant justice system.
  13. We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.
  14. We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.
  15. We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.
  16. We demand that the Seattle Police Department, between now and the time of its abolition in the near future, empty its “lost and found” and return property owned by denizens of the city.
  17. We demand justice for those who have been sexually harassed or abused by the Seattle Police Department or prison guards in the state of Washington.
  18. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that each and every SPD officer turn on their body cameras, and that the body camera video of all Seattle police should be a matter of easily accessible public record.
  19. We demand that the funding previously used for Seattle Police be redirected into: A) Socialized Health and Medicine for the City of Seattle. B) Free public housing, because housing is a right, not a privilege. C) Public education, to decrease the average class size in city schools and increase teacher salary. D) Naturalization services for immigrants to the United States living here undocumented. (We demand they be called “undocumented” because no person is illegal.) E) General community development. Parks, etc.

We also have economic demands that must be addressed.

  1. We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control.
  2. We demand the restoration of city funding for arts and culture to re-establish the once-rich local cultural identity of Seattle.
  3. We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.
  4. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that Seattle Police be prohibited from performing “homeless sweeps” that displace and disturb our homeless neighbors, and on equal footing we demand an end to all evictions.
  5. We demand a decentralized election process to give the citizens of Seattle a greater ability to select candidates for public office such that we are not forced to choose at the poll between equally undesirable options. There are multiple systems and policies in place which make it impractical at best for working-class people to run for public office, all of which must go, starting with any fees associated with applying to run for public office.

Related to economic demands, we also have demands pertaining to what we would formally call “Health and Human Services.”

  1. We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.
  2. We demand the people of Seattle seek out and proudly support Black-owned businesses. Your money is our power and sustainability.
  3. We demand that the city create an entirely separate system staffed by mental health experts to respond to 911 calls pertaining to mental health crises, and insist that all involved in such a program be put through thorough, rigorous training in conflict de-escalation.

Finally, let us now address our demands regarding the education system in the City of Seattle and State of Washington.

  1. We demand that the history of Black and Native Americans be given a significantly greater focus in the Washington State education curriculum.
  2. We demand that thorough anti-bias training become a legal requirement for all jobs in the education system, as well as in the medical profession and in mass media.
  3. We demand the City of Seattle and State of Washington remove any and all monuments dedicated to historical figures of the Confederacy, whose treasonous attempts to build an America with slavery as a permanent fixture were an affront to the human race.

Transcribed by @irie_kenya and @AustinCHowe. Special thanks to Magik for starting and facilitating the discussion to create this list, to Omari Salisbury for the idea to break the list into categories, and as well a thanks to Kshama Sawant for being the only Seattle official to discuss with the people on Free Capitol Hill the night that it was liberated.

Although we have liberated Free Capitol Hill in the name of the people of Seattle, we must not forget that we stand on land already once stolen from the Duwamish People, the first people of Seattle, and whose brother, John T. Williams of the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe up north was murdered by the Seattle Police Department 10 years ago.

Black Lives Matter — All day, Every day.

The Capital Hill Autonomous Zone is an occupied area of Seattle, taken on June 8 2020 during BLM Protests and encompasses around 6 city blocks. You can find out more, and watch the live streaming at www.caphillauto.zone

This statement was originally shared on Medium.

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Against the Terror of Anti-Terror | International

The Philippine government is another step closer to revealing its true self: an undemocratic, oppressive entity ready to protect and serve the interests of the powerful, wealthy, and privileged few. Before there was talk of lockdowns and quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was the issue of updating the Human Security Act, a law defining the parameters of terrorism. After many days and weeks of politicking, grandstanding, and red-tagging, Congress unveiled the 2020 Anti-Terror Bill.1

In it, the government aims to strip whatever semblance of constitutional liberties and rights are left after the Duterte administration’s stints into extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses, that have claimed upwards of 5,000 lives and left indelible marks on the lives of countless Filipino families.2

On the 28th of February 2020, the Senate passed their version of the Anti-Terror bill, with 19 senators voting yes, and only 2 voting no.3 Debate still rages in the House of Representatives on its merits and its dangers,4 however, as of the 29th of May, two congressional committees approved the Anti-Terror Bill.5 As the people of the archipelago face the greatest health crisis of this century without mass testing, public safety, and financial stability, Congress is trying to take advantage of us while we are down and already suffering from pandemic and the excesses of government.

A History of Insurgency

Different insurgent groups exist within our country, whose goals aim to threaten and change the status quo — to overthrow the people who benefit from it: the current ruling class. The most prominent of these groups are the Bangsamoro separatists (such as the MNLF and MILF), the Islamic fundamentalists (such as the BIFF, the Abu Sayyaf, and the Maute Group)6 and the Marxist-Leninist parties engaged in armed struggle (the CPP-NPA-NDF and remnants of MLPP-RHB).7

These sets of militant organizations with their own allegiances and motivations have been operating for decades across the archipelago, challenging government power in rural and urban areas around the country.

It is in this landscape of insurgency that in 1996, then-Senator Juan Ponce Enrile introduced a bill that would create a legal definition for terrorism, and outline what the police and military can or cannot do to catch and prosecute convicted “terrorists.”8 A “watered-down” and “toothless” version of this bill became the Human Security Act, signed into law by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.9

However, the rhetoric since then has evolved as Rodrigo Duterte became the President of the Philippines. Duterte has condoned and even called for the extrajudicial execution of alleged drug users and pushers as part of his campaign against illegal narcotics.10 He also told soldiers to shoot female rebel combatants in the genitalia, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.11

Meanwhile, police and military forces regularly illegally detain dissidents, regardless of their affiliation or intention.12 There are even cases where farmers, workers, and activists are murdered as part of “anti-subversion activities.”13 Worse still, indigenous Lumad ancestral land across the country are being occupied illegally, while atrocities against their communities continue to be perpetrated.14

Left and right, in the name of public safety and order, the current administration has committed grave violations of human rights. Civil and military officers even called for the restoration and enhancement of laws and measures to make their jobs easier, presumably so that they could claim more victims and plunder more territory. This included the push by Secretary Año to bring back the Anti-Subversion Law that specifically targeted communists and those with communist sympathies.15

In this context, one cannot help but be skeptical about the government’s motivations in changing the definition of terrorism, and extending the punishment to be meted out to suspects and convicts under this bill.

Reading Between the Lines

In the Senate, this bill was authored by Senator Panfilo Lacson, to “provide a strong legal backbone to protect our people from the threat of terrorism, and at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.”16

Terrorism has been given a different definition under this bill. Simply, terrorism is any organization of people proving to be harmful to the social, cultural, and economic structures of society, capable of causing harm to property or personage, and inciting other people in joining their cause.

Under the proposed law, suspected “terrorists” can be held for 60 days without an arrest warrant. Aside from this, a 60 day period can also be granted for digital surveillance, meaning any gadget connected to the internet, a phone, a computer, and appliance can be spied on, with a simple suspicion by an involved police or military authority. This basically means that freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and even freedom of conscience can be violated as soon as any investigator deems a person or a group “terrorist.” Anything suspects do can be considered a “terroristic act” and will be subject to the state’s extrajudicial ways and means.

Once convicted, those who will “propose, incite, conspire, and participate” in the “planning, training, and facilitation of a terrorist attack” face life imprisonment. The same punishment goes for any “recruiters and active supporters of a terrorist organization.” Lesser sentences are given to those who “threaten to commit terrorism, incite others to do so, voluntarily join any terrorist group, or be an accessory in any acts they do.” In short, anybody remotely related to any “terrorist organization” can be charged with a crime under this act.17

Overbroad and Overpowered

We can all agree that safety of the public is always the concern of our society. Our safety and the safety of our friends, our family, and our communities have been part of the Filipino psyche for centuries. Once this welfare has been violated, we come to each other’s aid, and struggle to restore it to them. An injury to one is an injury to all.

However, the government has consistently shown itself as the primary violator of our freedom, our security, and our right to live. Whether it be on issues of labor, civil rights, the indigenous peoples, or even human life, the State continues to side with the powerful and supports Capital, the wealthy, and the privileged.

Yet, the State itself has the audacity to declare what is a public threat, what is terrorist or not. Under this bill, any organization can be dubbed terroristic as long as there is enough “evidence” to secure a conviction. Anyone can be convicted as a terrorist just because they called to oust the current president, joined a rally that suddenly became a “serious risk to public safety,” or even shared posts or messages that are remotely critical of the government. They can be detained for as long as the police or military would need to build a falsified, trumped-up case against them.

For years, activists have been discriminated on without any proof from the government. Students, labor leaders, and even indigenous elders from Mindanao have been harassed and persecuted for their views and beliefs. If the Anti-Terrorism Bill passes, anyone the regime considers an enemy can be silenced with practically life imprisonment. No wonder why many people consider this bill as a Martial Law in all but name.

The Terror in Anti-Terror

Mikhail Bakunin once said that:

“The human being completely realizes his individual freedom as well as his personality only through the individuals who surround him, and thanks only to the labor and the collective power of society.”18

This means that freedom is only achieved when all people are themselves equally free. Freedom can only be achieved when a person’s beliefs and actions are recognized by their fellowmen. The fact that our conscience can be arbitrarily punished by any leader in government means that freedom can be punished for being in the way of greed for power.

Once we start thinking about this reality, it then dawns upon us that we have never really been free. We may have freedom to post online, to make our opinion and dissent heard, and to act according to our beliefs and interests. However, as soon as we point our fingers to those in power and disclose their weaknesses and faults, they will do everything in their power to silence us, and hide it from plain view. For years, this facade of democracy reigned over the archipelago. In reality though, it is nothing but a game the rich and powerful play to become even richer and stronger. This bill merely shows us the rules they want to play on.

A society that is libertarian, a society that respects liberty, does not rely on organizations that say they protect and serve us, only to break up protests, discriminate based on sex or race, and kill in cold blood. It recognizes and respects the autonomy of each person, the ability of each person to think, speak, and act however they want. As such, the power to protect themselves and those they care for from the threat of terrorism, perpetrated today by cops, bosses, and government officials.

We have a long way to go before we can even ponder on what we should do to build a better society. Today, we see what little freedom we have left collapse into authoritarianism and fascism. We have seen Bolivia, the United States, and Hong Kong. If this bill is not junked, we could see it too in the Philippines. This is not just an issue for Filipino libertarians and anarchists. This is an issue for everyone in the archipelago, regardless of age, sex, religious belief, or political affiliation. If the State can take away from us, how more are they willing to terrorize us further? Besides, how can we trust fascists to tell us who are the real terrorists?

Written by Malaginoo
Original post can be found here on Bangilang itim’s website.
Bandilang Itim aspires to end the atomization imposed upon us by capitalist society, an alienation that separates us from each other. Bandilang Itim aims to be the banner that rallies together libertarian socialists in the archipelago known as the Philippines.

  1. See a report on the proposed law: Neil Arwin Mercado, “Longer warrantless detention among features of Lacson anti-terror bill.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 02, 2019. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1172687/longer-warrantless-detention-among-features-of-lacson-anti-terror-bill []
  2. See a list of some of the victims: Jodesz Gavilan, “LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte’s drug war.” Rappler. October 21, 2019. https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/179234-minors-college-students-victims-war-on-drugs-duterte []
  3. Op. Cit. Neil Arwin Mercado, “Longer warrantless detention among features of Lacson anti-terror bill.” []
  4. Filane Mikee Cervantes, “House panels OK non-contentious provisions in anti-terror bill.” Philippine News Agency. March 10, 2020. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1096093 []
  5. Filane Mikee Cervantes, “House panels approve anti-terror bill.” Philippine News Agency. May 29, 2020. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1104372 []
  6. See the report: Agence France-Presse, “Tracing back the Philippine Muslim conflict.” Rappler. October 7, 2012. https://www.rappler.com/nation/13759-tracing-back-the-philippine-muslim-conflict []
  7. See the report: Alan Robles, “Explained: the Philippines’ communist rebellion is Asia’s longest-running insurgency.” South China Morning Post. September 16, 2019. https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3027414/explained-philippines-communist-rebellion-asias-longest-running []
  8. Janess Ann J. Ellao, “Human Security Act: ‘Draconian, Fascist.’” Bulatlat. August 11, 2007. https://www.bulatlat.com/2007/08/11/human-security-act-‘draconian-fascist’/ []
  9. GMANews.TV, “Arroyo to sign proposed anti-terror law Tuesday.” GMA News Online. March 5, 2007. https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/33045/arroyo-to-sign-proposed-anti-terror-law-tuesday/story/ []
  10. Sofia Tomacruz, “Duterte: It is my job to kill.” Rappler.com. March 10, 2020. https://www.rappler.com/nation/254037-duterte-says-job-to-kill []
  11. Paterno Esmaquel II, “Duterte defends ‘shoot in the vagina’ remark.” Rappler. February 26, 2018. https://www.rappler.com/nation/196966-duterte-defends-shoot-female-rebels-vagina-remark []
  12. See for example the harassment of mutual aid activities during the pandemic: Rambo Talabong, “10 feeding program volunteers arrested in Marikina.” Rappler. May 1, 2020. https://www.rappler.com/nation/259615-feeding-program-volunteers-arrested-marikina-may-2020
    See also the harassment of benign May Day protests: Eimor Santos, “Cases filed vs. 18 ‘protesters’ arrested in Quezon City.” CNN Philippines. May 2, 2020. https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/5/2/Alleged-Labor-Day-protest-Quezon-City-cases.html []
  13. See for example a report on the killings perpetuated on the island of Negros: Ronalyn V. Olea, “Negros killings, ‘a war against unarmed civilians’ — groups.” Bulatlat. July 27, 2019. https://www.bulatlat.com/2019/07/27/negros-killings-a-war-against-unarmed-civilians-groups/ []
  14. See for example the report: Cristina Rey, “Increased militarization under martial law threatens Lumad teachers in the Philippines.” Intercontinental Cry (IC). July 15, 2017. https://intercontinentalcry.org/increased-militarization-martial-law-threatens-lumad-teachers-philippines/ []
  15. Janella Paris, “Proposed anti-subversion law a ‘repressive weapon’ – law group.” Rappler. August 17, 2019. https://www.rappler.com/nation/237963-law-group-says-anti-subversion-law-repressive []
  16. Op. Cit. Filane Mikee Cervantes, “House panels OK non-contentious provisions in anti-terror bill.” []
  17. Taken from the contents of the bill itself. See: Senate Bill No. 1083 “The law on the prevention of terrorist acts of 2020.” https://senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=18&q=SBN-1083 []
  18. Mikhail Bakunin, “Man, Society, and Freedom.” The Anarchist Library. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/michail-bakunin-man-society-and-freedom []
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Life has stopped, we have not stopped | Statement

May 1st is the day of struggle and solidarity. For centuries, workers have been rebelling against the persecution of bosses and the injustice of capitalism in their workplaces; they bring their struggles together in the streets and squares. This year, we enter May 1st on days that are extraordinary for us every day, but this time for the rich. The corona crisis has become a new one of the ongoing crises of the system for young workers who are in crisis every day. We had to grapple with difficulties as hundreds of thousands and millions, both desperate and unconcerned, as well as those who stayed in their homes with their accumulated, paid leave or who did not need a salary to close home already. The struggle for us is every day in our lives, where we have to choose between working disease and staying hungry.

We speak as young workers, those who serve their homes closed under the name of corona virus outbreak measures. It is now time to raise our voices, which we maintain between cashiers, we deliver from one cargo engine to another, and we whisper between parcels on our back, and orders in the kitchens.

Who are we? We are young workers, we are forced to work even under the most inoperable conditions.

We are cargo workers, in our workplaces where measures are regarded as expense or delayed, we are forced to keep up with an increased workload. The simplest mask, as if we had to touch what hundreds and thousands of people touched from home to home, from warehouse to home every day, are the ones who eat little by little in our disinfectant demand. In these days when walking around the street is prohibited, we are the ones carrying shoes from warehouses to houses.

We are warehouse workers. Among the boxes we have to raise for cargoes, we measure the limits of the product that a person can carry by forcing them with his body. We are paying the increase in the workload due to the epidemic by decreasing our salaries despite the increase in working hours.

We are market workers. We are seen as snoring as a source of virus in workplaces where the human tail is not missing at the door. On days when people are afraid to spend even 1 hour outside, we have no employees working for less than 13 hours. Precautionary preparations are not even included in working hours. We are the ones who take care of the departments that they are not interested in before and who are forced to do things that are not responsible.

We are fast food workers. We are those who are not paid or delayed while working in the world’s largest chains. As a reason for this, we are billed for less incoming orders. We are forced to be even faster in the industry where we work fast.

We are waiters, komis, dishwashers who are fired; In this system of injustices, where we do not have the luxury to close home, we are the ones who are taken away from work. We are workers who are forced to use their annual leave and sometimes even use it as luxury.

FOR SOME FREE
LEAVE FOR SOME

We, the young workers, have been the most exploited and the most oppressed since the beginning of the process. This violence continued to increase to our friends working in different service sectors, where precarious, flexible working conditions are used as a weapon. While only a few of the workers working in secure jobs were on paid leave, none of the service workers had paid leave. Those who can take leave are either used their annual leave or leave for free leave and are sentenced to starvation at 39 lira per day.

EMPLOYEE EXPLOITATION ALWAYS MORE

For those of us who have to work to live and whose sector is not directly affected, precautions were presented as a reason for our struggle with increasing workload. Our working hours participated in the preparatory phase of the mandatory measures. We have worked more in the workplaces where we have always worked more, this time with our salaries reduced by half. The government said that layoffs were prohibited, but many of us were already laid off until the whole process was over. Legal cases were created for unpaid leaves, with the excuse of banning layoffs.

In the epidemic, capitalism continued to exploit child labor without slowing down. For other young workers, double standard practices… After the declaration of curfew under the age of 20, young workers who could work with a permit were granted “privilege”. A small amount of assistance for basic foodstuffs and other needs could not be accessed, we were forced to take care of our families trying to get along.

We are entering May 1st when we are most aware of the increasing pressure, exploitation, and our lives trying to be devalued. We call on our fight against bosses who steal our lives with or without viruses. We call on all young workers to participate in the program we have prepared for May 1st and to raise the sounds we make amongst us.

Declaration of May 1st from the Young Workers Association (Genç İşçi Derneği) of Turkey.
You can find them on Twitter

Originally posted (and in the original Turkish) on Meydan.org

Translation by DAF (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet)

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International Workers Memorial Day | Calander

Every year, more than two million people worldwide are killed as the result of work-related accidents or diseases, more than the annual total of every person who is killed in every war across the world. This means that every fifteen seconds, a worker is killed. My use of the word, ‘killed’, is intentional; the majority of these deaths were preventable, but, of course, the profits of the Capitalists are always prioritised over even the most basic of measures necessary in order to ensure the healthy and safety of the workers.

People are not fools and do not willingly accept these risks, but they are forced to accept them if they want to access food, water and shelter. By maintaining their control over the means of production, Capitalists take workers hostage- work or starve- and attempts to demand better, bearable conditions are suppressed with the constant threat that there is always another desperate person willing to take the job, in spite of its dangers.

It doesn’t have to be this way; if workers controlled the place they work, they would not subject themselves to unnecessary dangers and would ensure that the workplace was as safe and hygienic as possible, but, as long as Capitalism exists, thousands of people are condemned each day to die, sacrificed to sate the gluttony of an ever-growing economy. In the midst of a global pandemic, with thousands of people being forced to work in cramped, unsanitary conditions that allow for the rapid spread of the virus, this fact bears down on us more harshly than ever.

Workers’ Memorial Day, which takes place on the 28th of April each year, was originally started in 1989 by the AFL-CIO in the U.S.A, but it soon became international, being formally recognised by the Canadian Parliament in 1991 and adopted by the International Trade Union Confederation in 1996. Now, International Worker’s Memorial Day is formally recognised in at least 18 countries, and commemorated by workers across the entire planet, celebrating the lives, struggles and contributions of the countless workers who have been killed at work, whilst also providing a solemn reminder of the alienation, oppression and danger that the overwhelming majority of workers still face in their day-to-day lives.

The commemorations are made in a wide variety of forms, ranging from a minute of silence, to the laying out of empty shoes, to direct, workplace action, such as strikes or slow-downs, attacking the system that took the lives of the workers. Whatever action you feel like taking, we hope that you’ll join us this Worker’s Memorial Day to remember those whose lives have been taken by the Capitalist system, and to continue the struggle to overthrow it once and for all!

Solidarity Forever.

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Pronunciation for the dignity of the Yacuiba university | Statement

During statements made in Yacuiba, to the media on April 23, 2020, by José Quecaña of the Transitional Regional Executive of the Autonomous Region of Chaco, utilised language that violated the dignity of the Public University and which are aimed at guiding the actions of the State to provocatively violate University Autonomy.

For this reason, the “Autonomía” University Front affiliated to the FEBA and adhered to the IFA associative pact, pronounces:

First. The Repudiation of any declaration or intention by the Bolivian State to violate the University Autonomy.

Second We demand, a public retraction of the José Quecaña of Transitional Regional Executive of the Autonomous Region of Chaco, for his statements that violate the legal principle of University Autonomy.

Third Confirmation that, faced with threats to University Autonomy, the student body will unite in the sole cause of defending the dignity of the University.

Fourth We request solidarity support from the student movement, to stop any attempt to violate the grounds of the University Campus of Yacuiba.

Yacuiba, 24th April 2020

Original statement
https://bit.ly/358MCkw

For context of the situation students face in Yucuiba here is a report from el Popular

For José Quecaña “the university autonomy does not matter” and affirms that the state will have the environments of the UAJMS in Chaco

The Transitional Regional Executive of Chaco, together with other local authorities, decided to use the University Campus of the Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University (UAJMS), so that its facilities are transformed into a temporary shelter for more than 500 people with Bolivian nationality, who will return from Argentina after being stranded in that country.

The repatriation of Bolivians is scheduled for the first days of May 2020, the Minister of Defense, Luis Fernando López, together with the authorities of the Region, toured the environments of the UAJMS in Yacuiba, which will be used as a temporary shelter. or quarantine center.

Subsequent to this determination, the Rector of the UAJMS, Gonzalo Gandarillas denied the use of the environment for the installation of the Yacuiba quarantine center.

The Rector reminded the Chaco authorities of the existence of a co-government for decision-making within university autonomy, “there is a definitive legal impediment that makes it impossible to grant the requested university properties, due to the rule of law and why doing so otherwise -as provided by the EOU- commits the university authorities to authorize such legal nonsense and manifest illegality, before our own regulations, “explained Gandarillas, in a formal letter sent to the Minister of Defense.

In addition, he warned that following the request to use the university premises located in the north of Yacuiba, as a quarantine center, would put the continuity of the semester at risk, it was categorical, the students would lose the semester.

“The fact of following the request of his ministerial office, considering that the entry of compatriots would be the first days of May and they must be in quarantine for 14 days, would seriously jeopardize the health of our students and teachers who provide services in the Faculty of Integrated Sciences of the Gran Chaco – Yacuiba and would determine the loss of the semester ”

In relation to this response, the Transitional Regional Executive of Chaco, José Quecaña, recalled that all the infrastructures in the Region were built, with economic resources from Chaco, “no one has to oppose,” he warned, explaining that it will be the State (referring to the central level), which will have the environments “the infrastructures in the Chaco are of the State (…) you cannot tell the State (referring to the response of the Rector of the UAJMS) that you are not going to provide an environment that the State built” Quecaña indicated. “Now there is a (negative) answer, it can be autonomous, not autonomous (referring with disdain to university autonomy) the State has to enforce,” he said, stating that the UAJMS will not have the last word regarding the use of environments. from the Yacuiba university campus, infrastructure that must be transformed from the last week of April into a Quarantine Center.