Calais: after the Jungle – an interview with Calais Migrant Solidarity, June 2019

Corporate Watch

In 2016, the northern French port town of Calais was all over the TV screens, as an army of Gendarmes and CRS riot police evicted the “Jungle” – a largely self-built refugee camp where about 6,000 exiles from the world’s war zones lived in sight of the razor wire border fences. But Calais’ refugee story goes back much further, and it’s not over yet. Hundreds of refugees are still gathered around the main channel crossing point, living in even more miserable and precarious conditions now the big jungle is gone. To get a snapshot of the current situation Corporate Watch talked to friends from Calais Migrant Solidarity, a network that has been active alongside migrants in Calais since 2009.

See also: Calais border profiteers update June 2019

How many people are still trying to cross the border at Calais? Where do they come from?

read more

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RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally 2019 Friday, 19th to Sunday, 21st July 2019. View map No stall this year, apparently they were “oversubscribed”. Nah we don’t either, more time to get drunk then.

On the plus side the IWW are back, with a new improved stall run by Dorset branch.

Wob kitchen will run from Friday evening to Sunday lunch, next to the Big Tent; you’ll hardly notice the difference. Wessex Solidarity will make some of our literature catalogue available on the day. We’ve lots of new stuff that isn’t in the reference library as we’re running out of storage space – it hasn’t been updated for years. Why not get in touch now if there’s a subject you’re particularly interested in.

Catering Cadre: Comrade Les, our Wob kitchen chef is offering free training on outside and event catering for Radical Workers and groups who want to feed their members, homeless or unemployed workers in a safe and cost-effective way. Topics including:

  • Basic Health safety and hygiene.
  • Basic budget and Menu planning.
  • Basic dietary requirements.
  • Basic safe use of LPG and Butane gas cookers.

Let us know if you’re interested or come and see us about it at the festival.

Safe Space Policy: “don’t be a dick”.

This year we ask Radical Workers to be especially kind to members of the Prison Officers Association, as they are ever so sensitive, and easily upset by loud noises and rude words.

Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

International May Day roundup

Anarchist Communist Group

In France there were many large demonstrations in cities and towns, In Paris, there was a march of some 2,000 anarchists on the morning of May 1st. This was followed by the main march with a turnout from the usual unions and left parties, but with also the turnout of both feminists and Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) who are increasingly radicalising. This was met with a massive police presence, who attacked demonstrators with batons and gas.

 Two thousand demonstrated in the centre of Rennes. Several thousands demonstrated at Toulouse, where again demonstrators were attacked with many tear gas grenades by police. There were two thousand demonstrators at Orleans, and between nine to eleven thousand demonstrators at Lyon, with a large anarchist bloc. There was a very large anarchist contingent on the demonstration at Dijon, where two thousand turned out for May Day. A few gas canisters fired by the cops. Two thousand at Cherbourg with an anarchist bloc, ten thousand at Bordeaux and a thousand at Aubenas. On all of these demonstrations, there were turnouts from feminists, climate change campaigners and Gilets Jaunes.

In Colombia, there was a large anarchist presence on the May Day demo in Bogota.

In Chile there were brutal attacks by the police on demonstrators.

In El Salvador, there was a large anarchist bloc on the demo in San Salvador.

There was an anarchist presence on the demonstration in Helsinki, Finland.

In Bangladesh the Anarchosyndicalist Federation organised a large event.

In Sweden twenty anarchists protesting against the government’s plans to clamp down on strikes were brutally arrested.

In Turkey, despite the severe repression there, large numbers of anarchists under red and black flags turned out.

In Bandung in Indonesia, police arrested six hundred anarchists, out of an anarchist bloc of one thousand, stripped them to their underwear and shaved their heads. Elsewhere in Indonesia, police tried to block a large anarchist bloc marching to join the main demonstration, leading to clashes.

In Germany in Berlin, police attacked a demonstration of twenty thousand, who chanted “The streets are ours” and “anticapitalism”.

In Italy, police attacked a demonstration against a transalpine high speed train tunnel.

In Greece there was a 24 hour strike of transport workers, including ferry, tram, train and bus workers.

Solidarity with the Social Protests in France: Resistance to Capitalism, Exploitation! and the State!

From the International Workers Association

The IWA would like to show its solidarity with the social protests occuring in France which are yet another example of resistance to the overbearing exploitation that working people around the world are facing.

Below we would like to publish parts of a text sent by the CNT-AIT and an appeal for solidarity.

Call for solidarity with the popular movement in France of the “Yellow Vests”.

For more than 2 months, a social movement of a new type has been shaking France.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly working classes (poor or middle-class workers, unemployed, temporary workers, pensioners, …), have been gathering to spontaneously occupy public spaces (and especially the “roundabouts ” ones may find at the entrance of any city or village in France), to express their anger and to seek how to overcome the current political system. These thousands of people have been using the method of struggle which are familiar to anarchosyndicalists: decisions in assemblies, refusal to have leaders or representatives, direct action (that is, action taken directly by the people in struggle, and therefore without political parties, without unions or any other organizations outside of the assembly which would be intermediate between the assembly and the Power / State / Government / Boss). An autonomous movement with diversity of tactics and mobility. (“Auto” means self and “nomous” means norm, so an autonomous movement that defines its own rules for action, outside the regulatory and legal framework.) To identify themselves, people in struggle have adopted the “yellow vest”, a universal symbol that makes everyone equal, and gives visibility to those whom those in Power do not want to see: the poor, those excluded from the economic system by capitalism and globalization. The Bosses and Capitalists are worried about the impact of this movement on the economy. The cost for the French economy is already estimated to be in the billions of euros. In the 2 months of this autonomous agitation, the “Yellow vest” movement has already obtained more social progress than all trade-union representatives and political elections in the last 20 past years.

You’ve probably seen the movies and the pictures of the clashes between the yellow vests and the anti-riot police every week-end since November. These images are certainly spectacular; we can even speak of insurrection in Paris on December 1st or in the city of Toulouse (where our main group in France is located) each weekend. However, we have to look further and avoid the hypnosis of images. In our point of view, what is really important in this movement is not so much these images of battles that are looping over the internet or on the TVs, but rather the fact that thousands of people have got used to meeting regularly in assemblies to decide by themselves, without political party or outside organization, developing their own policies and criticizing Capitalism and the State.

The Power (Capitalism, Class and State) is even more afraid of this momentum of mass awareness of the workers self-capacity for autonomous action, than they are afraid of spectacular violence. As the weeks go by, the revolt, which initially focused solely on a fuel tax issue, has spread and could lead to a complete challenge of the system. To break this movement, the Power tries all the weapons at its disposal: it first tried to say that it was a movement of the far right. In this ridiculous attempt to slander it, The State has been helped by the majority of libertarian or leftist organizations which are so cut-off from the working class that they are incapable of recognizing the class nature of this movement. It is true that – in some cities – racists tried to manipulate the movement at first, but for the moment they have been put in the minority and even sometimes violently expelled from the demonstrations. Then the government tried to calm the spirits by announcing some subsidies for those with the lowest wages. But this measure was so out of step with the social reality that it felt more like humiliation. So the State and Capitalists had to take off their masks and show their true face: that of violence. They remind us that “State has the legitimate monopoly of violence” and that Capitalism operates on a system of domination of the strongest over the weakest. Thus, since the beginning of the movement, several thousand rebels have been arrested and several hundred have been sentenced to very heavy prison sentences, often for the sole crime of having been present in the street to protest. Hundreds of people have been wounded, some have had their hands or feet torn off by explosive grenades, others have their eyes or cheeks pierced by rubber bullets.

CNT-AIT activists have been involved in the movement of yellow vests since the beginning. Initially we came to see and understand what was happening. Quickly it became clear that we were together with people who shared our organisational practice of Assemblies, without representatives, refusing political parties and elections, asking for more social justice. So it seemed natural for us to participate fully but always in the respect of our anarchosyndicalist principles. Our intervention also aims to eject the fascists and other harmful political parasites who seek to use this movement.

In the immediate future, there have been many people arrested and sentenced to prison, who are mostly workers, with or without work, and most often without money and isolated. The duty of anarchosyndicalists is to express solidarity with these prisoners of the social struggle, to demand their release. That is why today we are launching an appeal for solidarity. Any solidarity action, even symbolic, is welcome.

On February 5th, a call to strike was launched by the Yellow Vests. The CNT-AIT calls to join the general strike.

Violence is the State and Capitalism!
Freedom for prisoners of social revolt!
CNT AIT France

Red And Black Telly: U.K. REAL OR PHONEY YELLOW VEST MOVEMENT ?

Common press release from the medic, legal and DIY media team following the demo’ in Bure on the 15 August 2017

[Fr] http://vmc.camp/2017/08/17/a-bure-la-prefecture-continue-sa-strategie-descalade-brutale-au-prix-de-nombreux-ses-blesse-e-s-continuons-le-soutien/

In Bure on the 15 August 2017, around 800 people set off on a demo (numbers like this had never been seen  before for a non-declared demo in Bure). The prefecture deliberately chose a strategy of aggression and asphyxiation that led to a number of injured people.  The police deployed were twice the number deployed for the demo of the 18 February 2017, 15 riot cop vans and a water cannon were counted.

The route of the demo headed towards Saudron and not the “laboratory”, chosen to avoid the fortified red zone and all the blue team.  The objective was to arrive in a big field between the village of Saudron the “Espace Technologique” (an Andra Building) to highlight a very important Neolithic site discovered by archaeologists and ignored by Andra

Meanwhile the prefecture deliberately attempted to provoke people in the middle of Bure, 100m after the start of the demo.  Many riot cop vans were posted at the edge of the village.  Instead of falling into this trap, protesters intelligently decided to avoid confrontation and to go on a 4km detour across fields to get to the field that they wanted to go to.  Just before reaching this field on the edge of Saudronm riot cop vans and the water canon were deployed followed by the firing of tear gas which of course led to clashes in the middle of the village….

The police operation
apart from lots of tear gas and the water cannon being used, police also used  lanceurs de balle de défense (small hard rubber balls fired from a police weapon), fired above the waist (which is not “legally” authorised) injuring people.  They also used the diffrent grenades (stun grenades and flash bang grenades) thrown by hand but also using launchers that fired the grenades tens of metres behind the clashes that were taking place, causing serious injuries.

From a small part of the clashes at the end of the demo the following police weapons were found (at least) 15 stun grenades, 12 small hard rubber balls fired from lanceurs de balle de défense, 4 flash bang grenades.  This gives you an overall idea for the day.

List of injured people
The medic teams counted more than 30 injured people, including a couple with serious injuries and 3 people were hospitalised.  We take a look at one person hospitalised with a serious injury:

  • One person had their foot torn apart after the explosion of a flash bang grenade causing a triple open fracture on the bones of the foot. Surgeons that looked at the victim (after the first aid done by the medic teams) are now talking about the risk of amputating the toes because of the presence of plastic melted from the shoe into the tissue.  A photo is available here but is very gruesome to look at:

While injured people were being evacuated, police targeted people that were helping the injured, causing panic and more injuries.

For the more seriously injured people, the state ambulance/fire crews were called but we could see their difficulties in dealing with these kind of injuries for which they didn’t seem trained to deal with. Should these crews be trained to treat “war” injuries ou should these so called “non lethal arms” that mutilate and kill people stopped being used?

This record of events is very heavy and adds to the previous demo on the 18 February 2017 where 20 people were injured and 2 hospitalised.

Potential repression for the hospitalised people.
Not only did the police injure, mutilate and maybe cause amputations, they even went to hassle the injured in the hospitals, sometimes before they had even been treated to interview them or even confiscate personal items.

  • One person hospitalised in Neufchateau saw the police come into their bedroom to control their ID.
  • In the hospital in Nancy, police interviewed the person with a severe foot injury, in the afternoon of the 16 August.  One and a half hours of tiring interrogation done by the people responsible for a possible amputation.  One out of two questions concerned the other people present at the demo. “I’ll accept the interrogation but I have nothing to say, you’ve ruined my life” the reply of the kind cop “we are here for you, not against you, here to help you”.  90 minutes later the police came back with orders to check the person’s clothes.  “I’m tired, you’re pressuring me and it’s the second time that you’ve come into my bedroom!” Answer “I was kind, I didn’t have to be”

A strategy of repression that is more and more brutal.
It’s far away from the times when Andra and the Prefecture decided not to make a fuss, to avoid showing that people were contesting the project. Since a few months the police strategy has started to be more and more aggressive: daily provocations and intimidation, stopping demos, serious injuries.  Instead of protecting the laboratory and the other infrastructures which was the case in the past, the riot cops received orders to target protesters in the middle of villages, favouring division, injuring, mutilating…just how far will they go?

The objective of this kind of press release is not to fall into a counter propaganda of a victim, a sad summary or warrior overkill.  It is to better record the attacks of police on protests and to offer an account on the continuing repression in Bure.  We’ve taken note of this strategy and in the months and years to come, we’ll look at how to continue in lots of different ways.

Testimony from Robin, with a seriously injured foot.
Robin wrote this testimony on the 16 August, from his hospital bedroom
to share with everybody:

“I am Robin, the person that got a foot injury from one of the number of flash bang grenades that the riot cops fired onto protesters, near Bure on Tuesday 15 August 2017.  I’m in the hospital of Nancy.  My foot is in a terrible state, the grenade dug 3 cm into my foot with a diameter of 13 cm.  Most of the bones are broken.  Some have even disappeared, pulverised.  The shoe exploded, the plastic melted into the wound, so much that an infection is likely which would mean the amputation of 5 toes.  Added to that are 30 pieces of shrapnel in the other leg. The riot cops fired around 15 flash bang grenades, they were not in danger. Just before my foot was hit, I saw a grenade explode at head height. For me the objective of the police force at that time was  clearly to injure or kill, with the goal of terrorising those who fight and those who are not fighting yet.  On the medic team stretcher that I want to underline their courage and efficiency, I heard more grenades exploding. Despite the brutal change in my life that this injury has caused in my life as a father to 2 very young children, I call out more than ever to continue in this struggle, to get active or get back into it for some.

Write to Robin and other injured people: to write and show your support to Robin and other people injured during the demo, don’t hesitate to write to: Maison de résistance à Bure, 2 rue de l’Église, 55290 BURE, France. Correspondence and support messages will be forwarded to them.

Press contact : +337 53 54 07 31

email : sauvonslaforet@riseup.net / for the anti-répression arr@riseup.net

Red And Black telly: ELECTION QUICKIE 5 – THIS ELECTION IS SO BLOODY BORING!