Saturday, 15 December 2018

Call out to support the Stansted 15 for Tuesday 18th December

Actions listed in towns and cities across the country

Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2081279961918126/

We repeat the callout from Unis Resist Border Controls and Leicester Student Action along with groups across the country. Actions are set to coincide with International Migrants Day 18/12/18. The call out says:

For International Migrants Day on Tuesday 18 December, activists from all over the UK will stand in solidarity with the Stansted 15, a group of people who stopped a secret charter flight from deporting precarious migrants to destitution, persecution, and death. On Monday 10 December, the Stansted 15 were found guilty of terror-related charges. Amnesty International called the verdict a crushing blow for human rights. We are using this day to raise awareness of the plight of the Stansted 15 in addition to local migrant-rights issues in every city participating in this national day of action.

We believe that this draconian ruling was designed to thwart direct action against the UK government's brutal and violent treatment of migrants. This country’s racist and xenophobic immigration policy is rooted in its colonial history. This history continues with the mistreatment and exploitation of migrants in detention, a regime of sexual and physical violence that has resulted in over 43 migrant deaths inside ten immigration removal centres since 2000. Even when not detained, borders cross the everyday lives of all migrants, especially asylum seekers who live in enforced poverty, forbidden to work and housed in appalling privately-run accommodation. State hostility is further embedded in schools, universities, the NHS, charities and housing authorities, with employees conscripted to become border guards, making precarious the lives of so many non-EU and EU migrants and those who were born in the UK but were unable to regularise their status because of opaque immigration rules and high visa fees. The violent coloniality of the hostile environment was exposed this year by the horrible treatment of the Windrush generation, many of whom were brought to the UK to help rebuild the national economy after World War II, raising children that were born in the UK. After living in the UK for their entire lifetimes, members of these communities have found themselves cruelly detained and deported, without the ability to contest their cases.

On Tuesday 18 December, we will use our collective voices to stand in solidarity with the Stansted 15 and with all migrants, such as the women detainees in Yarl’s Wood who continue to #HungerForFreedom.

Helping migrants and stopping detention and deportations from happening in our communities is not a crime! We demand an end to the the hostile environment policy, an end to immigration detention centres and an end to deportations!

To support the Stansted 15 and End Deportations we urge people to wear and/or make signs in pink in solidarity.

#NoOneIsIllegal
#EndDeportations
#EndDetention
#NoBorders
#Stansted15

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Leicester ACG informal pre-xmas meeting/social next Weds 28 Nov

It's the last Leicester ACG meeting of 2018 - we're skipping December and cramming two into November!

Meeting is from 8pm on Wednesday 28th November at the Regent Club,102 Regent Road, Leicester LE1 7DA

It's purely an informal meeting/social this time with no set topic - though feel free to ask all the burning questions you have, tell us what you think of our paper, Jackdaw, our websites, other publications or our politics in general.

We'll be in the public bar downstairs at the Regent from 8pm onwards.If you've been to our meetings before, come and put the world to rights with us over a pint. If you've not been before, look for the copies of Jackdaw out on our table and come and say hello.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Notes from our "how did WW1 really end" meeting

The following are the notes from the talk given at the ACG public meeting in Leicester on 10th November 2018

In this centenary of the end of the First World War and the media hyping of Remembrance Day we have stories like “How Lloyd George Ended the War” along with praise for Marshal Petain, the arch-militarist and leader of the Vichy regime from French President Macron. We are told the Allies were fighting for “civilisation” and democracy against Prussian militarism.  Curiously the German Empire from 1871 to 1918 (and the North German Confederation before it in 1867) had universal male suffrage whereas universal male suffrage was not introduced in Britain until 1918 (women in both Britain and Germany had to wait until after the War for any voting rights). But how did the World War Really end? In fact, it was the working class that brought about the end of the War through disorder, riots, mutinies, strikes and indeed two revolutions.

The First World War was a watershed for the workers movement. The majority of the Social Democratic Parties in Europe, including the Labour Party, took the side of their particular states, whilst syndicalist unions like the Confederation General de Travail (CGT) which had promised a general strike if war broke out, caved in and were swept away by war fever. A minority of social-democrats like the Bolsheviks and the Menshevik Internationalists in Russia opposed the war. A minority within the anarchist movement supported the Allies, with the majority taking clear anti-war positions.

In fact, the Armistice signed by Marshal Foch with the German military leaders on November 11th 1918 did not end the War. Fighting continued on many fronts with a result that 10,000 were killed, wounded or reported missing on that day. Indeed, the Allies continued to wage war with the new Russia created by the February and October Revolutions long after the signing of the Armistice. Britain and France eventually withdrew from Russia in April 1919 because of strikes and mutinies in their own countries.
In Britain and France in there was great support for the War. In Germany there was a more subdued support for the War, whilst in the Austro-Hungarian Empire the subject peoples-Slovenes, Czechs, Ruthenes, Croats, Serbs, Italians etc- were tepid about mobilising. This less than enthusiastic support for the war became more pronounced as the Austro-Hungarian Empire quickly suffered several defeats. In Russia there was discontent from the start and a defeatist attitude towards the Tsarist autocracy’s direction of the war. This become more pronounced from 1915 with the start of mutinies within the Russian Army.

In Britain the Labour Party supported the War, in France the Socialists in general and the unions did the same, with the exception of Jean Jaures whose anti-war stance led to his murder. In Germany the Socialists rallied the German working class with the defence of civilisation against Russian autocracy and barbarism. The German trade unions banned all strikes, the only exception being the anarcho-syndicalist FVDG whose anti-war position led to their banning by the State. Those Socialist MPs- Liebknecht, Ruhle- who had anti-war and internationalist positions, failed to vote against war credits in the German Parliament on August 4th and obeyed Party discipline. Only one socialist deputy abstained and he failed to make any political statement about this act.

The First World War followed the American Civil War in its industrialised slaughter. Casualties began to mount and in Britain this led to the introduction of conscription in January 1916, resulting in draft dodging and conscientious objection. Within the Russian Empire war weariness, exacerbated by food shortages, grew and in February 1917 women workers and housewives demonstrated on International Women’s Day with the slogans of Down With The War! And Give Us Bread! They brought out male workers in the factories and combined with soldiers’ mutinies this brought about the February Revolution.

The February Revolution in Russia had immense sympathy among the working class internationally, first of all because it was seen as a way of ending the War.

In Germany living standards began to fall because of the war and the allied blockade. Prices rose and inflation soared. Wages fell and by 1915-1916 many foods became scarce, with a veritable famine. However, the rich were protected from this suffering, and this included the officer class within the army and navy. This developed a class consciousness and a polarisation between the ruling class and the mass of the population. Starting in 1916 workers ignored the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions and took part in direct action and strikes to improve their situation.

The following year there were massive strikes throughout Germany. The worsening food situation was aggravated by a fuel shortage. The Russian Revolution further added fuel to the fire. In April 1917 there were huge strikes in Berlin, Leipzig and elsewhere. 200-300,00 went on strike in Berlin against a decrease in bread rations. In Leipzig the strike became openly political with demands for peace without annexations, and freedom for political prisoners.

The strikes were followed by hunger strikes in the Navy against the decrease in food rations. The officers were thoroughly hated for their arrogance and the fact that they were better fed. In August mutinies broke out with sympathy strikes in Wilhelmshaven harbour. The High Command reacted with repression and two sailors were executed.

Massive demonstrations followed in German cities in November 1917. In January 1918 in Austria, which faced a similar situation to Germany, there were massive strikes and demonstrations because the peace talks with Russia were failing. A massive strike followed in Berlin on January 28th. The demands of the strike were: workers’ representation in the peace talks, better food, the end of martial law, and a democratic regime in Germany. The strike spread to many towns and cities., with over a million on strike in the next few days.  The authorities replied with repression, deploying police and the military. The strike failed but in July and August wildcat strikes broke out, but they were soon defeated.  Serious defeats increased the number of desertions. By late October the German High Command attempted a naval attack on Britain. Sailors at Wilhelmshaven and Kiel were expecting peace and feared that this expedition would destroy any chance of peace negotiations and that the officer class were planning a coup d’état. Mutinies broke out.  Sailors took over Kiel forming sailors’ councils with dock workers also creating workers’ councils. The rebellion spread to other ports and harbours. This was followed by a spontaneous uprising throughout Germany. Soldiers refused to fire on the demonstrators. Workers, soldiers’ and sailors’ councils emerged everywhere. On 9th November the Kaiser abdicated and fled to the Netherlands. The monarchy was ended and the new republic began peace negotiations with the Allies. The action of the masses had brought about the end of the War.

As we have seen there was also unrest in Austria. Mutinies broke out in Czech and Ruthene units in June 1916. And these spread in 1917 and 1918. On February 1st, 1918 a mutiny broke at at Cattaro (Kotor) in Montenegro with Czech and Italian sailors in the forefront. A red flag was run up on the cruiser St George. The mutiny was crushed, with 4 of its leading lights executed. In France where soldiers suffered great suffering in the trenches mutinies began in May 1917. The 21st Division revolted and its leaders were shot.  Revolts followed in the 120th Division and then the 128th. Twenty thousand deserted. The authorities reacted with a mixture of repression and compromise, executing 49 whilst promising more leave and better conditions. At least 918 French soldiers were executed during the War. Russia had sent two brigades to fight with the French Army in 1916. Mistreatment by the French led to unrest, with an outright mutiny taking place in May 1917. The French then moved the brigades to La Courtine, an isolated camp in south central France. Here they held mass meetings and refused to return to the French front, having already suffered 4,000 casualties. They elected soldiers’ committees, refused to recognise their officers and defied the Russian High Command. The French military, in collusion with the new Kerensky regime in Russia, surrounded La Courtine and began an artillery bombardment. Hundreds died.

Within the Bulgarian Army unrest led to 600 executions. In Italy, which had joined the carnage later than the other combatants, there was an officer class that was drawn from the upper classes and which looked on the rank and file with contempt. Soldiers were seen as completely expendable resulting in huge losses. 750 executions took place with many hundreds of other summary executions. 25,000 deserted, 5,000 defied the callup whilst 34,000 others obeyed the call-up but deserted before mobilisation. There were mutinies in the Army with the Ravenna Brigade revolting in May 1917 and the Catanzaro units in July 1917. These were brutally repressed.

Within the British Imperial Army, where there was a similar class divide between the officers and the ordinary soldiers. Soldiers were flogged and manacled for trivial offences. New Zealand troops mutinied at Etaples in September 1917. Later in the month a mutiny resulted in 23 deaths at Boulogne. Strikes broke out in labour battalions on September 11th, and mutinies continued through to 1918.  Resistance to the war expressed itself in self-inflicted injuries to avoid being sent to the Front. As a result, 3,894 soldiers were sentenced to prison for these actions.

Friday, 26 October 2018

MEETING10/11/18 How did WW1 really end?

HOW DID WORLD WAR 1 REALLY END?

2pm Saturday 10th November 2018
Venue: Upstairs at the Regent Club
102 Regent Rd, Leicester LE1 7DAAsk at the bar downstairs for the “Libsoc” meeting

With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War, Leicester ACG will be holding a public meeting to look at what really brought the Great War to an end. In schools, the ruling class history curriculum teaches schoolchildren the reasons World War 1 started – forgetting the part about imperialist thieves falling out and fighting over markets for various national capitalist interests. School history lessons generally shy away from remembering what actually ended the war. This meeting explains why.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Leicester ACG Radical Reading Group – Council Communism 4/10/18

The next meeting for Leicester ACG’s Radical Reading Group takes place on Thursday 4th October, upstairs at the Regent Club, 102 Regent Rd, Leicester LE1 7DA

This month, we'll be looking at

Council Communism by Mark Shipway

Council communism was an influential and historic anti-state communist tendency which developed mostly in the Netherlands and Germany, where for a time it became a significant force within the working class movement. Notable council communist theorists and supporters included Anton Pannekoek, Herman Gorter, Otto Rühle, Sylvia Pankhurst, Paul Mattick and Reichstag fire starter, Marinus van der Lubbe. Lenin dismissed it as an “infantile disorder” but council communist ideas have since influenced a range of more libertarian left-marxists as well as non-marxist groups such as the Anarchist Communist Group.  Essentially, council communism is:
a theory of working-class struggle and revolution which holds that the means that workers will use to fight capitalism, overthrow it, and establish and administer communist society, will be the workers' councils.

The Mark Shipway text is available HERE

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

30th August: Leicester Radical Book Group

Leicester ACG is holding its first radical book group on Thursday 30th August, 7:30-8:30/9.00 at The Snug, Exchange Bar, 50 Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1RD.

We will be discussing “The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists” (The Platform) by the Dielo Truda Russian exile group and the subsequent debate between Makhno and Malatesta (links to content below). It’s a genuinely interesting and important debate about how to organise effectively to change society.

Everyone who is interested in radical politics is welcome. You don’t need to confirm in advance if you are attending but if you have any questions please get in touch via leicesteraf@gmail.com

To read the Platform online, click HERE

And the following debate between Malatesta and Makhno is viewable HERE