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

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

Eighty years ago: Malaga, Jarama and Guadalajara.

The story so far: Madrid has been saved a second time by the Working Class, no thanks to the government which  fled to Valencia. Durruti is dead, his column decimated, the remainder face militarisation and dispersal. Prime minister Largo Caballero has devoted his energies to re-establishing the power of the state in the republican zone, and Stalin’s grip tightens on it. The Russians have arrived, and so have thousands of foreign antifascists. The following lines from ‘The Authority of the Bootmaker’ by Mal Content.

The fall of Malaga to Italy on the 8th of February 1937 gave the dictator his excuse to unseat Caballero. Malaga suffered from the same government prejudice as Catalonia, agriculture on the coastal strip was mostly collectivised and the city had been held by Confederal militia, only three-quarters of whom were armed; they had sixteen artillery pieces in total. The government’s military representative was Communist fellow-traveller Colonel Villalba, whose incompetence on the Huesca front had inflicted significant losses on the Durruti Column. Weeks of fascist build-up in the surrounding countryside had been ignored. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, nine mechanised battalions worth, descended from the hills to the North and West in little turretless tanks and armoured cars. They were accompanied by thousands of African legionnaires and Carlist Requetés, supported by a hundred aircraft, three Spanish cruisers and the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The city had to be evacuated; some ten thousand prisoners were executed while four thousand refugees died on the hundred and fifty mile march to Almeria, simultaneously bombarded from land, sea and air. A nationalist officer wrote:

“During the first week, when no-one could enter Malaga, four thousand were shot. They were shot down in groups by machine-guns on the Playa del Palo. Later on, courts martial were set up. At dizzying speed, people were tried – if that is the right word – in groups of fifty to seventy. In this fashion, by the third month of Malaga’s liberation (sic) ten thousand people had perished.”

– Antonio Bahamonde y Sanchez de Castro: ‘Un Ano de Queipo: Memorias de un Nacionalista’

The reprisals continued for years, in August 1944 the death toll stood at twenty thousand as reported by the nationalist administration to the British consul. I could speculate that the liberal democracies’ indifference to the systematic extermination of non-combatants may have encouraged the Nazis to press ahead with their own genocide; it certainly did nothing to put them off.

The Communists claimed the defeat was due to treachery, and they may well have been right*. Villalba was arrested but swiftly released; the under-secretary of war, General Asensio, one of the few who had failed to join the party, was variously accused of incompetence and duplicity, and Caballero had defended him. He succumbed to the pressure, but his replacement was a left-wing socialist.

*Was Villalba a ‘fifth columnist’ who regretted getting stuck on the republican side? He was allowed to return to Spain after the war, and claim a Colonel’s pension; had he ever been of any use to the Republic he would undoubtedly have been shot. He seriously undermined the Aragon front from the start, when he prevailed on the anarchists to delay the assault on Zaragoza until it was too late. Did he sacrifice Malaga on Franco’s or Stalin’s orders? Or was he just an arsehole?

The Nationalists then sought to cut the road from Madrid to Valencia, which required skirting the south of the city and crossing the valley of the Jarama River. The action was intended to coincide with an attack on Guadalajara by the Italians but they weren’t ready so Franco went ahead anyway. Beginning on the 5th February the Army of Africa with a German armoured company surprised and overran Republican forces on the West bank. They defended their positions to the death, but by the 8th, the Western heights were in fascist hands. The river crossing on the 11th was led by Moroccan commandos who killed the sentries, immediately followed by cavalry that engaged the XIV International Brigade. Another column crossed the Arganda Bridge, which failed to collapse when its charges were detonated, but was halted by the Garibaldi Battalion of the XII I.B. German and Russian aircraft clashed overhead, the Russians retaining control.

The Eastern side was reinforced by the recently formed XV I.B. of British, Irish, Francophone and Balkan volunteers. The British Battalion went into action here for the first time. Things didn’t get off to an auspicious start; their commander Wilf McCartney was accidentally shot by the Brigade Commissar Peter Kerrigan (the Comintern’s British delegate) before they left their base at Madrigueras. McCartney was invalided out so Tom Wintringham took over. The first deployment of the XV was a cock-up; they were poorly equipped, had no maps and had not been told the enemy had already crossed the river, so they came under fire as soon as they began to descend the valley. The machine-gun company found it had been given the wrong ammunition. The truck carrying the replacement batch broke down, and when it arrived, the cartridges had to be belted by hand. The ridge of land that became known as ‘suicide hill’ was continuously swept with fascist machine gun fire, it was held for hours against terrific odds by one of the three infantry companies, led by I.R.A. veteran Kit Conway, who died there.

“Reaching the crest of the hills overlooking the valley and the river, the three companies of the Battalion met the full force of the Fascist advance. Up the slopes long lines of Moors and Foreign Legionnaires surged forward under cover of artillery and machine gun fire, threatening to sweep all before them. No one in his senses could have conceived that this line of riflemen could hold up that onslaught for more than a few minutes. And behind them? Nothing. A clear field down to Arganda, Morata and the Madrid road.

            But men who had come hundreds of miles to fight, sustained by an understanding of the cause for which they are fighting, do not act in the way prescribed by the military textbooks. Rapidly deploying in open formation, the Battalion went into the attack against the advancing Moors. The Fascist troops faltered, then hastily dropped down to cover. Only the sheer audacity of this handful of men could have achieved this. Had the Fascist officers been aware of the true position on our side, they would have overwhelmed the Battalion by sheer superiority of arms and numbers.”

– George Leeson, antifascist: ‘Spain Today, February 1947.

The ridge was eventually abandoned, but as luck would have it, just as the fascists came over the top the machine-gunners managed to get re-supplied and mowed them all down. The following day’s chaotic infantry retreat left the machine-gun company exposed and most were captured. Forty infantrymen then charged the position, of whom six survived. On the third day fascist tanks pushed the line back to the road, it was ‘shit or bust’. Frank Ryan and Jock Cunningham gathered the survivors to counter attack, leading them in a chorus of the ‘Internationale’:

“Some were still straggling down the slopes from what had been up to an hour ago, the front line. And now, there was no line, nothing between the Madrid road and the Fascists but disorganised groups, of weary, war-wrecked men. After three days of terrific struggle, the superior numbers, the superior armament of the Fascists had routed them. All, as they came back, had similar stories to tell: of comrades dead, of conditions that were more than flesh and blood could stand, of weariness they found hard to resist.

I recognised the young Commissar of the Spanish Company. His hand bloody where a bullet had grazed the palm, he was fumbling nevertheless with his automatic, in turn threatening and pleading with his men. I got Manuel to calm him, and to tell him we would rally everyone in a moment. As I walked along the road to see how many men we had, I found myself deciding that we should go back up the line of the road to San Martín de la Vega, and take the Moors on their left flank. Groups were lying about on the roadside, hungrily eating oranges that had been thrown to them by a passing lorry. This was no time to sort them into units. I noted with satisfaction that some had brought down spare rifles. I found my eyes straying always to the hills we had vacated. I hitched a rifle to my shoulder.

They stumbled to their feet. No time for barrack-square drill. One line of four. ‘Fall in behind us.’ A few were still on the grass bank beside the road, adjusting helmets and rifles. ‘Hurry up!’ came the cry from the ranks. Up the road towards the Cook-House I saw Jock Cunningham assembling another crowd. We hurried up, joined forces. Together we two marched at the head. Whatever popular writers may say, neither your Briton nor your Irishman is an exuberant type. Demonstrativeness is not his dominating trait. The crowd behind us was marching silently. The thoughts in their minds could not be inspiring ones. I remembered a trick of the old days when we were holding banned demonstrations. I jerked my head back: Sing up, ye sons o’guns!

– Frank Ryan: ‘The Book of the 15th Brigade’ 1938.

The one hundred and forty volunteers who marched back up the road to suicide hill did not all speak the same language, but everyone knew the tune; to compensate for their lack of numbers they engaged the enemy with a high rate of fire. Evidently the Fascists had not expected to see the routed Brigaders again, and presuming them to be reinforcements, fell back. The breach in the front was filled overnight and did not move for two years. To their right the Dimitrov and Thälmann Battalions held off the frontal assault on their own positions.

There were several costly counter attacks that failed to shift the Nationalist lines significantly, Lister’s fifth regiment advancing across open ground in broad daylight took fifty percent casualties, the North American and Irish Abraham Lincoln Battalion fared no better under similar conditions, their first engagement immortalised in the last words of poet Charlie Donnelly: “Even the olives are bleeding”. Jarama seriously undermined the morale of the International Brigades; they were used as expendable shock troops by inexperienced Communist generals who wanted propaganda victories. A month of bloodshed left both sides entrenched in a stalemate reminiscent of the Western front.

It’s fair to say the republic suffered from a lack of military experience, the Spanish metropolitan army had been little more than a dining club, only those officers who had been to Africa had ever seen combat, or even been on manouvres. Their tactics were from old French textbooks* or gleaned from the First World War, to which they had been spectators. The Russian officers were mostly young and equally untested, as the Red Army was being purged. Their authoritarian culture stifled initiative and they were under strict instructions not to risk capture. The best of the I.B.s were those like the Irish, with recent battle experience, or veterans of the Great War.

*To the extent that Franco believed they were receiving training from the French armed forces.

Flushed with the carnage at Malaga, Mussolini planned a showcase for fascist Italy’s martial prowess; sending his Blackshirts to cut off Madrid to the North East at Guadalajara. Instead they took such a shafting as to acquire a reputation for military incompetence and retreat that outlived his regime. Instrumental in their downfall was the Garibaldi battalion of the 12th I.B., exiled Italian antifascists with a score to settle. On the 8th of March the motorised infantry swarmed into the pass in their fleet of little tankettes. With about five to one numerical superiority they initially made rapid progress but were slowed by bad weather and boggy ground. The vehicles began to get stuck and their air support was grounded whilst the Republican air force benefitted from the concrete runway at Albacete. The 14th division led by the Madrid bricklayer Cipriano Mera counterattacked. The rout at Guadalajara guaranteed Mussolini’s continued support for Franco, to save face, it also led to the latter rescinding Blackshirt military autonomy and caused observers to re-think their strategy regarding mechanised infantry. At the same time, in their capacity as members of the non-intervention committee, Italian and German navies blockaded the Mediterranean coast; the only supply route left to the Republic was across the Pyrenees, and the French were all over that.

Defend the ZAD – a call for international solidarity: 8th & 9th October 2016

For over 50 years, farmers and locals have resisted the building of a new airport for the French city of Nantes (which by the way already has one).

Now in these rich fields, forests and wetlands, which multinational Vinci want to cover in concrete, an experiment in reinventing everyday life in struggle is blossoming. Radicals from around the world, local farmers and villagers, citizen groups, trade unionists and naturalists, refugees and runaways, squatters and climate justice activists and many others, are organising to protect the 4000 acres of land against the airport and its world.

Government officials have coined this place “a territory lost to the republic”. Its occupants have named it: la ZAD (zone a défendre) zone to defend.

In the winter of 2012, thousands of riot police attempted to evict the zone, but they faced a determined and diverse resistance. This culminated in a 40,000 people strong demonstration to rebuild some of what had been destroyed by the French State. Less than a week later, the police was forced to stop what they called “Operation Cesar”. For the last three years, the ZAD has been an extraordinary laboratory of new ways of living, rooted in collaborations between all those who make up the diversity of this movement. There is even a set of 6 points (see below) to radically rethink how to organise and work the land without an airport, based on the creation of commons,the notion of usage rather than property and the demand that those who fought for the land are those who decide its use.

Now, the entire zone is due for expulsions to start the construction of this absurd airport. Prime minister Valls has promised a “Rendez Vous” this October to evict everyone who is living, working, building and farming on the zone.

On October 8th , tens of thousands of people will gather on the ZAD to demonstrate that the determination of the movement is as strong as ever. Honouring farmers struggles from the past, we will come with wooden walking batons and leave them on the zone, as a sign of the commitment to come back and pick them up again if necessary. We will also raise a barn, built by dozens of carpenters during the summer, which will be used as a base, should evictions happen.

We are calling on all international groups and movements to either come to the zone on 8th of October or show their solidarity with the ZAD through actions directed at the French government or multinational Vinci in their own towns and cities on that day. The airport will never be built. Life on the ZAD will keep on flourishing!

6 points for the future of the ZAD. Since there will be no airport… Once the project is abandoned, we want:

1. That the inhabitants, owners or tenants who are part of a compulsory purchase or eviction order can remain on the zone and regain their rights.
2. That the impacted farmers resisting and refusing to bend to the will of AGO-Vinci, can continue to freely cultivate the lands that they use and recover their rights and pursue their work in good conditions.
3. That the new inhabitants who came to the zad to take part in the struggle can remain on the zone. That everything which has been built since 2007 as part of the occupation movement in terms of experiments in alternative agriculture, self-built homes or temporary dwellings (huts, yurts, caravans etc.) and forms of life and resistance, can stay and continue.
4. That the lands that each year are redistributed by the chamber of agriculture for AGO-Vinci’s, in the form of precarious leases, are handled by a body that comes out of the resistance movement and brings together all its elements. So that it is the anti-airport movements rather than the normal institutions that decide on the uses of this land.
5. That these lands are for new agricultural or non agricultural projects, be they authorised or not, and not for the expansion of already existing farms.
6. That these agreements becomes a reality through our collective determination and that we carry together an attention to resolve all eventual conflicts linked to them being put in place.

We are already sowing and building a future without an airport in our unity and diversity. It is up to all of us, from today, to enable it to flourish and to defend it.

FOR MORE INFO:

zad.nadir.org

zad@riseup.net

Je suis burkini! By Mal Content.

Content warning: mention of racial violence and sexual abuse.

headscarfYou couldn’t make it up: an adult woman is resting with her family on a crowded public beach, wearing black leggings and a turquoise long-sleeved shirt, with a matching headscarf, the kind that covers only the hair. She is approached by four heavily armed men, who menace her with a pepper spray, to demand she remove an item of clothing, such as to expose more of her skin to public view. The officious pricks then appear to issue some form of penalty notice, her crime is: “Wearing clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism”

Police patrol the beach at Nice in enforcement of an ordinance imposed by more than 20 municipalities in France aimed at the unfortunately named ‘’burkini’ a piece of sportswear that bears no resemblance to the burqua. If anything it’s like a two-piece wetsuit made of fabric, but it looks too ‘Islamic’ to the French burghers, who have taken it upon themselves to regulate feminine swimwear. The 34-year-old mother, who gave her name as Siam, said: “I had no intention of swimming.” I fail to see how her treatment is other than sexual abuse at the hands of the state.

The justifications given are embarrassingly facile. It reminds the bureaucrats of the garb worn by self-styled Islamic State troops and is deemed a provocation to the secular and broadminded French public. Incredibly, the assumption that Muslim women are always attired under the coercion of male relatives is also used, to justify imposing a penalty on the women themselves. The mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet claims swimming in a burkini is “unhygienic”, he’s never worn a wetsuit in cold water then; SCUBA diving in February, we all used to piss in them to warm up. I can’t think of much less hygienic than swimming in the Mediterranean anyway, it is after all, a body of water in which billions of things shit, fuck and die.

Aside from religious observance, there are many reasons why a person of any gender might choose to cover their skin: sensitivity to light, sun- or wind- burn, allergies, injury, skin disease or disfigurement, or bashfulness, which is no crime. The garment offers protection not only from lecherous glances, but harmful ultraviolet rays, insects, jellyfish and other stingers that abound in these waters.

I think religion is bollocks, but so is the French concept of secularism, the creation of Joseph Fouché, the ‘butcher of Lyon’, who was enforcer for the Revolution’s National Convention, then Napoleon Bonaparte’s police minister, and ironically also the architect of modern policing with all its arbitrary pettiness and treachery.

So, a stupid law, that appears to apply only to female members of an ethnic minority, shows up law enforcement, and law itself, for what it has always been: the feeble posturing of inadequates in response to events they can neither influence, nor be bothered to analyse properly. The guardians of the French state are clueless as its colonial chickens come home to roost. Within living memory, that same state and its bastard offspring the O.A.S. slaughtered thousands of Algerian civilians, no surprise then, that many of its home-grown jihadists are of Algerian heritage. The death throes of the Roman Empire lasted hundreds of years; is it reasonable for the western powers to assume as soon as they’ve shut down the concentration camps, knocked off the rape and pillage and turned over the keys to the governor’s mansion they will simply be regarded as good neighbours?

Not that the R&P ever stopped in the battle for the Middle East that has raged ever since one Winston Churchill decided to switch the British Navy’s preferred fuel from coal to oil. This followed hard on a ferocious labour dispute in the Welsh coalfields resolved only by martial law, the recent discovery of petroleum in Iran and the formation of Anglo-Persian Oil (now B.P.) pretty much everything else has flowed – or rather been pumped – from that.

A youth walking the street in a hoody and baseball cap is more anonymous than a woman in a burkini. As for facial veiling, the recent obsession with exposing the face to scrutiny has been driven not by a love of openness and sociability but by the ubiquity of surveillance cameras and the invention of facial recognition software. We are not deceived, we mask up on demo’s not to scare the taxpayers but because we don’t want to be photographed, simple as that.

When I was growing up you could get in a fight at the bus stop for wearing the wrong trousers; you got beaten up for having long hair then you got beaten up for having short hair. Punks, hippies, Rastas, skinheads, got the blame for everything and were assumed by default to be up to no good; respectably dressed couples would show their disdain by spitting in your direction. “Are you a boy or a girl?” “Let’s see what you’ve got in your pocket, son.” “You’ll never get a job looking like that”. Hard to believe now that middle-management types get tattooed and shave their heads.

I will never accept anyone telling another how to present themselves, if you do that, you’re a prick.

Red And Black telly: REFERENDUM 4 – A Tale Of Two Brexits!

More thoughts on the EU referendum – Mal Content.

La cinquante-huitième de Mars.

EU bombMy last post on this subject stirred a lively discussion so I’ll try and answer some of the points raised by people who generally express agreement with anarchist principles. Most activists are maintaining a dignified abstention from what they regard as an internal dispute within the British establishment, and none of the anarchist groups have agreed a policy as far as I can see. The arguments expressed in support of voting for the British state to remain in the EU verge on liberalism. As social revolutionaries we are presently fighting a rearguard action, some are confused and understandably torn between thwarting capitalist globalisation – a cause for which many comrades have lost their lives and liberty – and mitigating its short term effects on individuals.

This is not, as has been suggested, about opportunistically kicking the Cameron regime; the entire global bourgeoisie is in agreement on this issue*. They would like us to understand, without betraying their rising panic, that the British state’s membership of the EU is important to them. Of course, in every case we want the opposite of what they want: de-growth, de-alienation, an end to pointless commerce, futile toil, military activity, coercive power and capital accumulation. We must dismantle the political structures they rely on.

*”What about the tabloid press?” – They sell newspapers, and will continue to do so either way, it won’t make any difference to them and the next British P.M. will kiss Murdoch’s arse just like the last one. A few homegrown capitalists oppose it for opportunistic reasons, because they are insulated from it economically. Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin has cunningly engineered a captive domestic market that would probably stay loyal to him if he pissed on their shoes.

An out vote will wipe billions off their capital, which quantifies their power over the rest of us. It will seriously weaken the EU itself, destabilise the United Kingdom, and undermine the security of NATO. It will be a major blow to Western imperialism. Perhaps the most immediate benefit to our class, and the planet, is that it will balls up negotiations on the nightmarish TTIP treaty,* which, along with its Trans-Pacific counterpart would give a handful of unaccountable bourgeois oversight of local policy across the entire world. Working class militants, not only anarchists, are fighting these plans tooth and claw. The UK government’s own report on it, which they’ve been sitting on for three fucking years, predicts no benefit to the economy (See conclusions at the end).

*I recommend this article but the entire Z-Net site seems to have gone down this morning – coincidence? This is quite good, though I don’t share his faith in courts and parliaments, obviously.

Ask yourself: how many of us would hypothetically have to lay down our lives to do that amount of damage to our enemies? This is no time to hedge our bets, sometimes you have to gamble to win, especially when the status quo is intolerable. Cameron only called this referendum to staunch defections to UKIP and win the last election; and according to poll analyst Professor John Curtice it’s ”an awful lot closer than it was meant to be”. However uncomfortable the current climate might be, we’re not going to get another chance.

There is widespread confusion over the, European Convention on Human Rights adopted by the 47 states of the Council of Europe, which, despite using the same flag, is not related to the European Union and pre-dates it. The UK government is planning to do away with it anyway. Of more concern to libertarians is the European Arrest Warrant that allows governments to pursue dissidents across member states. It waives the convention in International extradition law that you cannot be extradited for an act that would be legal in the state you are being extradited from (called double criminality). Hidden among the list of heinous crimes this clause applies to is “participation” in a banned organisation. Since my last post the Spanish state has imprisoned two anarchist comrades for twelve years without a shred of evidence.

Some fear that a boost will be given to the far right, who will take it as a victory; fair comment, but they take everything as a victory anyway, and they were always going to be there. Was there ever a likelihood of the National Front campaigning for the EU? In Dover recently we were treated to the spectacle of Greek-Cypriot fascist and friend of Golden Dawn Paul ‘pitt’ Prodromou burning an EU flag with the words: “Stick it up your arse, we don’t want your foreigners” As a reflex comrades rushed to defend the institution, rather than just ridiculing the idiot. The EU cannot by any stretch be considered a buffer against fascism; xenophobic parties, including neo-Nazis are well represented at European and national level. In corporatist Europe ‘the left’ still means bureaucracy and top-down control for its own sake, and this contradiction gives the right something to get their teeth into. The Daily Express would be mostly blank without it. So is the EU in fact dragging the continent to the right?

Fear of the fash can be healthy, if it means you take care to steward public events, advertise wisely, monitor local fascist groups, ensuring you know where they meet and when, how many, how active, how mobile etc. But you’re doing that already, aren’t you? Clinging to the hope that if all else fails the state will step in is the triumph of optimism over a century of bitter experience. In 1920’s Italy, after two years of wildcat strikes, land and factory occupations, landowners and industrialists funded Mussolini to recruit a scab army of Blackshirts to evict the workers and break up union meetings. They obtained arms and vehicles, received training and logistics from the army and preferential treatment from police and courts. Firearms permits were selectively granted to right-wingers (like the brits did in Ireland). Left politicians invoked the constitution to protect their rights, but no-one was listening. When the official unions eventually organised armed resistance it was too little, too late. The same mistakes were repeated in Germany, Portugal and Spain. A world war, sixty million dead later and in London, Mosley was back in business with a police escort. There is no good or bad ruling class; there is one ruling class that operates differently over different terrain. Nobody is ever going to save anybody from anything out of moral sentiment.

“No government in the world fights fascism to destruction. When the bourgeois see power slipping out of their hands, they resort to fascism to hold onto their privileges.”

– Buenaventura Durruti

It has been suggested that workers settled here from the mainland may be removed; even the most rabid of UKIP spokesmen are not proposing this, it would wreck the economy instantly and remember there are far more British citizens over the channel than the other way round. Martin wouldn’t go for it either; he’s too fond of underpaying his staff. The British government is however, planning to remove all non-EU citizens earning below £35,000 p.a. leaving only the wealthiest.

The saintly Jeremy Corbyn having renounced his long-standing Bennism, the reason he’s struggling to make a socialist case for the EU is that there isn’t one. All his arguments are bourgeois; he speaks of the interests of “the people of this country” – which ones? If he actually believes workers’ rights are granted by politicians he needs to do a bit of reading. This is the kind of thing we’re up against in Poland and Hungary. Why is he pandering to this crap? Like everything to do with party politics, Corbyn’s conversion is dictated by internal power dynamics. He has chosen the parliamentary party over his social base, Momentum – bulked up by fractious Trots and tankies who aren’t allowed in the Labour party and are instinctively anti-EU – which declared neutrality so as not to embarrass the leader.

Cameron is on his arse and a good kick would finish him off. It’s Labour doing what it always does, offering to rescue the ruling elite just when its own venality has rendered it inoperable. Labour belongs to the possiblist tradition that holds that capitalism will eventually abolish itself if we would only be patient, and use the institutions it has given us. It the meantime, it’s not so much “bigger cages, longer chains!” More like what Unison might call “a negotiated and phased reduction in chain length and cage size”, to keep us all in alienated wage labour. Valiant French workers are fighting the bosses and the state right now, whatever they win will be theirs, let no one claim any credit because they voted for something.

If imported goods and overseas holidays become more expensive and cross-border trade falls, all the better for the environment. Maybe folk will be slower to chuck away food that’s been air-freighted around the globe. Perhaps consumers and farmers would by-pass the supermarkets and deal direct, as they do in Greece. We should be moving towards localised production anyway, repairing equipment instead of replacing it, like we all did only a few years ago, and we didn’t expect to eat bloody strawberries at Christmas. Weak sterling stimulates manufacturing, if that’s your bag. Scots who favour independence could vote ‘out’, to force the issue, and if an independent Scottish state benefits economically from re-joining that could even out the North-South wealth gap.

Meanwhile in NATO’s other bulwark against whatever-it-was, Turkey, persecution of the migrants being rejected by the EU is underway. The deal struck between big-hearted Angele Merkel and the Turkish state declared this despicable fascist regime a safe destination while it was burning women and children to death in their houses at Cizre. The Turkish state does not abide by the Geneva Convention and is simply driving the refugees back into Syria, according to this Amnesty International press release. It’s got a worse human rights record than some of the countries the Western powers have invaded in recent times, and US air force bases.

On radio 4’s Today programme of the 4th April, the day the agreement took effect we heard that two boatloads of our fellow workers had already been deported from Greece in defiance of international law. Both the EU and Turkish governments are ultimately responsible for the plight of these people (as proxies of the United States) but no one is going to hold them to account for it. That’s the thing about international law; it’s an agreement between the rulers of nation-states, which are subject to change from time to time. They make it up to suit themselves, and decide how and if it gets enforced. The Syriza-coalition government’s Migration Spokesman rather despondently absolved his administration of any responsibility for the resulting chaos and misery by pointing out that the arrangement was between the EU and the Turkish government, nothing to do with him. He couldn’t help mentioning that the Greek economy is flat on its back thanks to the measures imposed on it by its creditors in its desperation to remain in the euro zone. He proceeded to bang on about ‘economic migrants’, with as much venom as any neoliberal.

The Greek state has itself suffered the most complete loss of sovereignty since its occupation by the Axis in WW2 and subsequently becoming the first battleground of the cold war under the Truman_Doctrine. NATO interference in Greek affairs led logically to the CIA-sponsored military coup of 1967 by a group of former Nazi collaborators. It is now entirely the plaything of global capital, but the Greek workers do not look to Brussels for salvation, but their own efforts.

In the last one I hinted that climate change will make borders redundant before we do, here’s the article if you want it. I for one would like to see free movement of peoples, not limited to an arbitrary geographical area where most of the population happens to be white, and certainly not subject to the whim of politicians. European economic and political union is essentially a white-supremacist project; Europeanism is as unpleasant as nationalism. Europe being simply one end of a much larger land mass has always defined itself by what it isn’t. Its history is of the conquest and exploitation of everything that wasn’t Europe, and its creation of the capitalist hegemony through primitive accumulation (the economist’s euphemism for armed robbery). Its present cultural identity is framed in terms of antagonism to the ‘other’, and the myths of civilisation and enlightenment that were and still are used to justify slaughter and brigandage. Small wonder that we are being implored to think of ‘security’ – the continued hegemony of European cultures across the globe, and that includes the United States, an entity spawned by European imperialism. Boris Johnson’s racial slur against Barack Obama misses by miles. If his Kenyan heritage causes him to ‘hate Britain’ (whatever that means) he would likely bear similar animosity towards the territories of Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal Spain and the Netherlands, whose rulers also perpetrated genocide in Africa, and most other places.

Fear of change has never been part of anarchist thought. We speak of building the new world in the shell of the old; soon we will have to crack that shell, and it will require personal sacrifice.

“It is we, the workers, who built palaces and cities in Spain, America and elsewhere,  we can build them anew, and better. We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth, there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a New World, here, in our hearts.”

– Buenaventura Durruti