Sunday, 28 July 2019

We repeat, no war but the class war!

This weekend, Leicester ACG members were asked to speak at a No War But The Class War meeting, hosted by Birmingham Revolutionary Anarchist Group (RAG). Despite it being a Saturday evening, it was a packed meeting, with a good number of RAG members, ACG people, comrades from the Communist Workers' Organisation (CWO), Midlands Discussion Forum and others completely new to anarchist communist politics.

No War But The Class War is an informal coalition of different groups who take a revolutionary internationalist position and view war as part and parcel of the capitalist system. The only way to stop wars is to fight the system that causes wars. Rather than call on governments to stop engaging in slaughter, we see the need for militant sections of the working class to undermine the bosses' war effort. The following info is from the national ACG website.

Genoa 

On such example is when the Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu was recently halted by dockworkers in the Italian port of Genoa.

The ship had previously picked up weapons for the war in Yemen from Antwerp, Belgium, but at Le Havre, France, it was prevented from picking up more arms for the Saudi military after a legal challenge by protesters from a human rights group. Later in Genoa, dock workers, with support from local protesters, took direct action and refused to load generators, saying in a statement, “We will not be complicit in what is happening in Yemen” and they also made the call to “open the port to migrants and close it to arms”.

While we are pleased that the legal challenge in Le Havre successfully prevented the ship from being loaded, we should also remember that the ruling class courts are rarely on the side of justice and the only sure way to prevent mass murder in this and other wars is when workers take direct action and physically prevent or sabotage the ruling class war effort.

This is the true spirit of anti-militarism and working class internationalism and the ACG applauds the dockworkers and their supporters in Genoa. We can only hope that this type of intervention sets an example to other workers also in a position to halt the bosses’ war machine.

Iran

At the moment, more war clouds are gathering as the US and UK gear up for conflict with Iran.

Recently President Trump has said that he was capable of wiping out 10 million people in Afghanistan in a week as a solution to destroying the Taliban but said that he would not use this option. Nevertheless this is still a threat ready to be actioned if necessary. This is not the first time Trump has made such threats. In 2017 he threatened “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea. This might be interpreted as idle bellicose threats to please his voting base and as examples of his brinkmanship in order to obtain deals, but it should be remembered that Trump has ordered a $1 trillion updating of the American nuclear arsenal and has pulled the USA out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.

Equally disturbing is the Trump administration’s policies towards Iran. In June Trump was ready to unleash US warplanes against the theocratic regime in Teheran, but then backed down, afraid that the conflict thus unleashed would destabilise all of the Middle East. Trump has increased sanctions against Iran, and pulled out of the international nuclear deal with Iran, in the process strengthening the grip of the hard line factions in the Iran regime, and bringing hardship to the mass of the Iranian population. Incidentally the US is updating the American arsenal in violation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, that being the stick they beat Iran with!

Through the use of sanctions the US hopes to bring down the Iran regime by 2020, thus boosting Trump for a second term in that election year. On the other hand, the theocratic regime in Iran is using the situation to fan nationalist fervour, and to thwart modernising elements within the establishment and grassroots opposition, fairly recently manifested in large demonstrations and industrial unrest.

Iran took advantage of the war in Syria and the emergence of ISIS to increase its influence in the Middle East, in alliance with both the Assad regime in Syria and its fellow Shiite co-religionists in Hezbollah in Lebanon and in Iraqi militias. Its own imperialist policies have been strengthened, and this has affrighted both the US and its allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia.For its part China, involved in a trade war with the US, has stated that it will continue to trade with Iran. Russia too has re-asserted its own imperialist interests in the region

We don’t take sides in this conflict. We support neither Washington nor Teheran. We support the working class internationally, whether in the USA or Iran against the regimes there, and we look towards mass movements against military mobilisation and the drive to war throughout the world.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Next Leicester Meeting, Sat 6 April


Saturday 6th April, 2pm - No War But the Class War Meeting

Open discussion meeting with speakers from the Anarchist Communist Group and the Communist Workers’ Organisation.

Takes place Upstairs at the Regent Sports & Social Club,  102 Regent Rd, Leicester LE1 7DA.

Ask at the bar for "LibSoc".

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Why We Are Internationalists - meeting 13/3/19

Wednesday 13th March, 7.30pm - the Regent

Leicester ACG's March meeting is on the topic of internationalism and why it's so crucial in the building of a viable revolutionary workers' movement.

It takes place Upstairs at the Regent Sports & Social Club,  102 Regent Rd, Leicester LE1 7DA. 

Ask at the bar for "LibSoc".

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’├ętat. 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.