Thursday, 16 August 2012

Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference

For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across Europe have been converging in St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music, films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions.

On returning from the St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) police. During the detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their names, addresses, email addresses, DNA and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions, photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.

During the detention, the police constantly accused the anarchists of lying about involvement in criminal activity and alleged that they would be conducting follow-up police action against one of the detained anarchists. In addition to this, SO15 officers asked a number of inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions, including ‘what would you do if someone raped your mother?’ evidently in an attempt to cause emotional upset and illicit angry or violent responses. One member (28) who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the police, said "We were treated like criminals. I told them I went to the congress as I am an amateur journalist and I write articles about activism. They saw my note book, camera and Dictaphone but they said I was lying. One officer said 'You said you are an anarchist, I've seen anarchists on the news, they are violent, throw molotov cocktails and disrupt people’s lives not write articles'".

The counter terrorist officers either didn't know or chose to ignore that, during the first day of the gathering, the International of Anarchist Federations (Of which the UK Anarchist Federation is a member) had issued a statement rejecting all terrorist tactics as a means of achieving an anarchist society.

In contrast to the actions of the UK security forces, the local press and residents in St.Imier reported very positively on the anarchist gathering.

With this incident, we are seeing a further slide towards political policing and the criminalisation of political ideologies. The two detained anarchists have not had any involvement in any illegal or violent activity, or any activity that would concern the counter-terrorist police. As in the past, when Metropolitan police called on people to give information about local anarchists, anarchists suffered harassment for their political viewpoint.
As class-struggle anarchists, we believe that the state does little except serve the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary people. This is seen clearly when people who hold views critical of the state are treated as criminals and terrorists. We seek to create a classless society, based on freedom, equality and co-operation. We believe in the capacity of ordinary people to run society themselves, without the interference of bosses or politicians. This incident was not in response to any crime and constitutes repression and criminalisation of a political ideology.

Anarchism is a political philosophy that seeks to build an egalitarian society in which mutual aid, co-operation and direct democracy replace capitalism and the state.
The St Imier Congress was a gathering of anarchists from all over the world to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the first international anarchist gathering in the Swiss town of St Imier in 1872.
The Anarchist Federation is a federation of class struggle anarchist-communists in the UK who seek to build an egalitarian society.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Freedom Must Be Saved

Historic Anarchist Newspaper in Danger of Going Under

1st issue, Oct 1886

July 2012 issue
Freedom Press, the anarchist newspaper, publisher and bookshop has been running on a shoestring on and off for 125 years.  It was founded by comrades like Peter Kropotkin, but now, thanks to legal action from one David Hoffman, a journalist seemingly with an axe to grind, Freedom Press has been forced to stump up £4,000 to this parasitic journo, putting the paper on the brink of bankrupcy.

While four grand is a significant sum and certainly not to be sniffed at, in the scheme of things, it's not an impossible amount to raise in order to keep Freedom Press going.  So with this in mind, we are asking people to take out a subscription to the monthly paper, Freedom, preferably a supporting subscription (details below).  If you're already a subscriber, then please make a donation to the paper. 
Let's all pull together for our comrades at this iconic publication!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Standing against the EDL

Well done to those who were out there in the freezing cold yesterday.  For a spot on account of the 4th Feb anti-EDL activities in Leicester, check out the website of our comrades in LEICESTERSHIRE SOLIDARITY GROUP (in which the AF gets a mention). 

One thing we will add to LSG's text is this: their point about building working class unity is crucial.  If we don’t build a real working class unity and a genuine culture of resistance, then things will only continue to deteriorate for working class people as government gets increasingly stronger and the capitalists can laugh all the way to the bank even more.  Any anti-fascism that is without a real class awareness will always end up rubbing shoulders with the Ross Willmotts and Peter Soulsbys of the world, hob-nobbing with community and religious leaders imposed from above, reformist politicians, apologists for the bosses, the soft cops and the hard cops, the willing agents of bourgeois democracy, each and every one them enemies of our class.  That kind of anti-fascism will always be worthless, given that the crimes of liberal or bourgeois democracy are a million times worse than the sad antics of a bunch of EDL or BNP losers.

Meanwhile, for those on the left, particularly the SWP-UAF, they may possibly have heard that Karl Marx once said something about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.  Well, the continual cycle of SWP fuckups and cynical maneuverings is seriously bloody farcical.  It's unfortunate that organisations such as the SWP are virtually the first point of contact for anyone becoming rebellious in a vaguely class conscious direction.  It's also unfortunate that such rebellion only gets pissed up the wall by the likes of the SWP.

So with that in mind, it's high time we made anarcho-communism the default setting for working class rebellion.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The knuckle-draggers are coming!

On Saturday 4th of February a gang of inbred, beer swilling, racist, half-arsed fascist fuckwits known as the EDL are intending to descend upon Leicester.  
The 'master race' after a hard day on the piss

Their aim is to:
  • threaten, harass, intimidate and attack anyone who looks 'a bit asian' for being 'muslamics' (as they so quaintly put it) and therefore unpatriotic
  • have a pop at any 'reds' they might encounter for being mates of the 'muslamics' and also for being unpatriotic
  • make loud grunting noises in public places and generally bark like a bunch of rabid mutts in protest at all things 'muslamic' and generally 'foreign'
  • piss on a few pavements and leave a trail of patriotic puke
  • break a few windows and maybe even try and smash up Big John's burger bar again for daring to sell possibly 'muslamic' nosh
  • frighten some little children just for a laugh
  • get kettled by the plod before being sent home on buses that may possibly be fitted with new air conditioning for the return journey.
Now much as we can all have a laugh at these ignorant specimens of nationalistic idiocy, it's still a serious business when they turn up, especially for those of us from an asian background, because their intention is to attack those sections of the wider working class community on the grounds of religion and race.  So it's up to all of us to oppose them, make it clear to them that they're not wanted and make sure the EDL or any other fascist gang think twice about coming back to Leicester in future. It's also useful to help some of them realise it's a very bad move hanging round with a bunch of no-marks like the EDL.

So far, local anti-fascists have come together around the slogan of 'Love Leicester Hate Racism' in anticipation of the EDL's arrival.  LLHR represents a wide range of groups with various methods of opposing fascism, so there's something we can all get involved in. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the SWP's front organisation, Unite Against Fascism (UAF), are already wildly self-promoting and virtually claiming that the resistance to the EDL will be pretty much all their doing.  Of course, anyone who knows anything about UAF will know this to be complete and utter bollocks.  On the day, UAF will most likely go for their usual tactic of getting kettled by the plod and the nearest they'll actually get to confronting Fred Fash will be via a war of megaphones from behind several lines of coppers.  We suspect UAF will also be encouraging Highfields yoof to join them in their cosy kettle so they too can listen to stirring speeches, chant UAF slogans for several hours and read the latest issue of Socialist Worker from cover to cover while they pass the time.

We also expect the local council, police and certain 'community leaders' to be true to form and adivise people to stay in doors, don't go out, run for the hills, etc. This 'advice' should be treated with the contempt it deserves as it plays right into the hands of the fascists by handing over the streets to them without giving them any real opposition.  Then again, we expect no less from such agents of the boss class.

Defend the community
It goes without saying that defence of working class communities has to be our main priority on the day.  What's essential is not that we get to chant slogans all afternoon from behind a police cordon but that we join together with residents in defending those parts of the city that the EDL will have set their sites on attacking, for example, Highfields and St Matthews.

So, we encourage everyone to get out there and stand by all those of us living in threatened areas on 4th February, to defend our streets and keep the fascists out.  And if the EDL do try and break through into our communities, then they'll be met with fierce resistance.

A few tips for on the day...
  • Make sure you stick together with people you trust
  • Always back each other up
  • Stay sober
  • Keep mobile
  • Don't get kettled by the dibble
  • Don't get knicked

They shall not pass!