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.

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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

For better working conditions in Amazon!

Support the struggle of workers at two Amazon fulfillment centers in Poland for better working conditions!
sad_amazonAs the Amazon workers in UK, France and Germany have organized themselves and have even gone on strike, Amazon decided it would be profitable for them to find a cheaper workforce, more desperate for employment. They opened two centers in Poland, where the wages are only a quarter of those in Germany. The warehouse mostly services orders for other countries, especially Germany.

The working conditions are even worse than in other countries. Not only the low pay and long hours. Some Amazon workers, especially those hired by agencies, complain of a number of problems including late payments, incorrect payments, not having the mandatory health insurance payments, etc. etc. There is also the matter of workers in one center having a higher rate than in the other.

Click here to send a message to the exploiter.

Message from riseup: Security is not a crime.

View on Riseup dot net: [en]   [es]   [pt]   [de]   [fr]   [it]   [el]   [ca]

[en] Security is not a crime

On Tuesday December 16th, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centers were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, and Madrid. Books, leaflets, computers were seized and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiencia Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management, and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualized facts attributed to each of them” [2]. When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” [1]; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests.

Four of the detainees have been released, but seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, “the production of publications and forms of communication”, and the fact that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the RISE UP server” [2].

We reject this Kafka-esque criminalization of social movements, and the ludicrous and extremely alarming implication that protecting one’s internet privacy is tantamount to terrorism.

Riseup, like any other email provider, has an obligation to protect the privacy of its users. Many of the “extreme security measures” used by Riseup are common best practices for online security and are also used by providers such as hotmail, GMail or Facebook. However, unlike these providers, Riseup is not willing to allow illegal backdoors or sell our users’ data to third parties.

The European Parliament’s report on the US NSA surveillance program states that “privacy is not a luxury right, but the foundation stone of a free and democratic society” [3]. Recent revelations about the extent to which States violate everyone’s right to privacy show that everything that can be spied upon will be spied upon [4]. Furthermore, we know that criminalizing people for using privacy tools also has a chilling effect on everybody, and human-rights defenders, journalists, and activists, in particular. Giving up your basic right to privacy for fear of being flagged as a terrorist is unacceptable.

[es] La seguridad no es un crimen

El Jueves 16 de diciembre, una operación policial a gran escala tuvo lugar en el Estado Español. Catorce viviendas y centros sociales fueron registrados en Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, y Madrid. Libros, panfletos y ordenadores fueron requisados y once personas fueron arrestadas y enviadas a la Audiencia Nacional, un jurado especial para casos de “interés nacional”, in Madrid. Se les acusa de incorporación, promoción, gestión y participación de una organización terrorista. Sin embargo, abogadas de la defensa denuncian falta de transparencia, sus clientes han tenido que declarar sin saber de qué se les acusa. “Hablan de terrorismo sin especificar actos criminales concretos, o hechos concretos individuales atribuídos a cada una” [2]. Cuando fue questionado por esto, el Juéz Bermúdez respondió “No estoy investigando hechos específicos, estoy investigando la organización, y la amenaza que podrían suponer en el futuro” [1]; convirtiendo esto en un caso más de arresto preventivo en apariencia.

Cuatro de las detenidos han sido puestos en libertad, pero siete han sido encarcelados pendientes de juicio. Las razones que ha dado el juez para su detención prolongada incluye la posesión de ciertos libros, “la producción de publicaciones y formas de comuniación”, y el hecho que los defendidos “usan correos con medidas de seguridad extremas, como el servidor de Riseup” [2].

Nosotras rechazamos esta criminalización kafkiana de los movimientos sociales, y la absurda y extrema implicación de que proteger tu propia privacidad en Internet es equivalente a terrorismo.

Riseup, como cualquier proveedor de correo, tiene la obligación de proteger la privacidad de sus usuarias. Muchas de las “medidas de seguridad extremas” usadas por Riseup son buenas prácticas comunes para la seguridad online y son usadas a su vez por proveedores como hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. Sin embargo, a diferencia de estos proveedores, Riseup no está dispuesto a permitir puertas traseras ilegales o vender los datos de sus usuarias a terceras partes.

p. El informe del Parlamento Europeo sobre el programa de vigilancia de la NSA de EE.UU. Declara que “la privacidad no es un derecho de lujo, sino los cimientos de una sociedad libre y democrática” [3]. Revelaciones recientes sobre el alcance de la violación del derecho a la privacidad de todas por los Estados muestran que todo lo que se pueda espiar, será espiado [4]. Más aún, sabemos que criminalizar a las personas por usar herramientas de privacidad tiene un efecto escalofriante en todo el mundo, y en defensoras de Derechos Humanos, periodistas, y activistas en particular. Renunciar a tu derecho básico a la privacidad por el miedo a ser etiquetada como terrorista es inaceptable.

[pt] Segurança não é crime

Na terça-feira, 16 de dezembro, uma grande operação policial ocorreu no Estado Espanhol. Catorze casas e centros sociais foram invadidos em Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa e Madrid. Livros, panfletos e computadores foram apreendidos e onze pessoas foram presas e enviadas para a Audiência Nacional, uma corte especial que cuida das questões de “interesse nacional”, em Madrid. Eles são acusados de incorporação, promoção, gestão e pertencimento de uma organização terrorista. No entanto, os advogados de defesa denunciaram a falta de transparência, dizendo que seus clientes tiveram que dar declarações sem saber pelo que estavam sendo acusados. “[Eles] falam de terrorismo sem especificar os atos criminais concretos ou fatos concretos individualizados atribuídos a cada um deles.”[2] Quando questionado sobre isso, o Juiz Bermúdez respondeu:”Eu não estou investigando atos específicos, eu estou investigando a organização e a ameaça que ela pode representar no futuro”[1]; tornando assim mais um caso de prisões aparentemente preventivas.

Quatro detidos foram soltos, mas sete estão presos aguardando o julgamento. A razão dada pelo juíz para continuar a detenção deles inclui a posse de certos livros, “a produção de publicações e formas de comunicação” e o fato de que os réus “usam emails com medidas extremas de segurança, como o servidor RISE UP”[2].

Nós rejeitamos esta criminalização kafkiana dos movimentos sociais e a implicação ridícula e extremamente alarmante de que proteger a sua privacidade na internet seja equivalente à terrorismo.

O Riseup, assim como qualquer outro provedor de email, possui a obrigação de proteger a privacidade de seus usuários. Muitas das “medidas extremas de segurança” usadas pelo Riseup são boas práticas comuns para a segurança online e são também usadas por provedores como hotmail, GMail ou Facebook. Entretanto, diferentemente desses provedores, o Riseup não está disposto a permitir a instalação de backdoors ilegais ou a vender os dados dos usuários para terceiros.

O relatório do Parlamento Europeu sobre o programa de vigilância da Agência de Segurança Nacional (NSA) dos Estados Unidos afirma que “a privacidade não é um direito de luxo, mas a pedra fundamental de uma sociedade livre e democrática”[3]. As revelações recentes sobre a extensão da violação pelos Estados do direito de todos à privacidade mostra que tudo que puder ser espionado será espionado[4]. Além disso, nós sabemos que a criminalização das pessoas por usarem ferramentas de privacidade também tem um efeito paralisante em todo mundo e, em especial, nos defensores de direitos humanos, jornalistas e ativistas. Abrir mão do seu direito básico à privacidade por medo de ser marcado como um terrorista é inaceitável.

[de] Sicherheit ist kein Verbrechen

Am Dienstag, den 16. Dezember fand im spanischen Staat eine große Polizeioperation statt. Vierzehn Häuser und soziale Zentren in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa und Madrid wurden durchsucht. Bücher, Flugblätter und Computer wurden beschlagnahmt, elf Menschen verhaftet und zur Audiencia Nacional verbracht, einem Sondergericht in Madrid, das für Anliegen “von nationalem Interesse” zuständig ist. Ihnen wird die Gründung, Bewerbung, Verwaltung und Mitgliedschaft in einer terroristischen Organisation vorgeworfen. Allerdings beklagen Anwält_innen der Verteidigung einen Mangel an Transparenz; ihnen zufolge wurden ihre Klient_innen zu Aussagen gezwungen ohne zu wissen, was ihnen vorgeworfen wird. “[Sie] sprechen von Terrorismus ohne konkrete kriminelle Handlungen zu benennen oder konkrete individualisierte Tatsachen, die den einzelnen zugeschrieben werden könnten” [2]. Als er damit konfrontiert wurde, reagierte Richter Bermúdez mit den Worten: “Ich untersuche nicht spezifische Handlungen, ich untersuche eine Organisation und die Bedrohung, die in Zukunft von ihr ausgehen könnte” [1]; damit handelt es sich um einen weiteren Fall anscheinend präventativer Verhaftungen.

Vier der Häftlinge wurden inzwischen freigelassen, sieben bleiben jedoch in Untersuchungshaft. Die Gründe, die vom Richter für ihre fortgesetzte Haft angegeben wurden, beinhalten den Besitz bestimmter Bücher, “die Herstellung von Publikationen und Formen der Kommunikation”, sowie die Tatsache dass die Angeklagten “eMail mit extremen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen verwendeten, so wie den RISE UP Server” [2].

Wir verurteilen diese kafkaeske Kriminalisierung sozialer Bewegungen und die irrsinnige und außerordentlich alarmierende Schlussfolgerung, den Schutz der eigenen Privatsphäre mit Terrorismus gleichzusetzen.

Wie jeder andere eMail-Provider hat Riseup die Pflicht, die Privatsphäre seiner Nutzer_innen zu schützen. Viele der “extremen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen”, die Riseup einsetzt, sind gängige Musterlösungen (sog. “Best Practices”), die auch von Providern wie hotmail, GMail oder Facebook eingesetzt werden. Anders als diese Provider ist Riseup allerdings nicht bereit, illegale Hintertüren zuzulassen oder die Daten ihrer Nutzer_innen an Dritte zu verkaufen.

Der Bericht des Europaparlaments über das US-amerikanische NSA-Überwachungsprogramm stellt fest, dass “das Recht auf Achtung der Privatsphäre kein Luxus ist, sondern einen Grundpfeiler der freien und demokratischen Gesellschaft darstellt” [3]. Die jüngsten Enthüllungen über das Ausmaß, in dem Staaten die Rechte aller Menschen auf Privatsphäre missachten, zeigen, dass alles was ausspioniert werden kann auch ausspioniert wird [4]. Darüberhinaus wissen wir, dass die Kriminalisierung einzelner weil sie Werkzeuge zum Schutz der Privatsphäre verwendet haben, eine Einschüchterungswirkung auf alle hat, und ganz besonders auf Menschenrechtsverteidiger_innen, Journalist_innen und Aktivist_innen. Das eigene Grundrecht auf Privatsphäre aufgeben zu müssen aus Angst, als Terrorist_in markiert zu werden, ist inakzeptabel.

[fr] La sécurité n’est pas un crime

Mardi 16 décembre, une opération policière d’envergure a eu lieu en Espagne. 14 domiciles et centres sociaux ont été perquisitionnés à Barcelone, Sabadell, Manresa et Madrid. Livres, brochures et ordinateurs ont été saisis. 11 personnes ont été arrêtées et déférées devant l’Audiencia Nacional espagnole, un haut tribunal à Madrid s’occupant des affaires d'”intérêt national”. Elles sont accusées de recrutement, promotion, organisation et appartenance à une organisation terroriste. Toutefois, les avocats de la défense dénoncent un manque de transparence, précisant que leurs client·es ont été interrogé·es sans savoir de quoi ils ou elles étaient accusé·es. “[Ils] parlent de terrorisme sans préciser les crimes reprochés, ni même les actes individuels attribués à chacun d’entre eux” [2]. Interrogé, le juge Bermúdez répond: “Je n’enquête pas sur des faits spécifiques, j’enquête sur l’organisation, et le danger qu’ils peuvent représenter à l’avenir” [1]; créant ainsi un nouvel exemple d’arrestation préventive.

Quatre des détenu·es ont été libéré·es, mais 7 restent en détention préventive pour leur procès à venir. Les motifs présentés par le juge pour leur incarcération sont la détention de certains livres, “la production de publications et de moyens de communication”, et le fait que les accusé·es “utilisent les emails avec des mesures de sécurité extrêmes, comme les serveurs RISE UP” [2].

Nous rejetons cette criminalisation kafkaïenne des mouvements sociaux, ainsi que l’implication que la protection de la vie privée sur internet est équivalente au terrorisme. Cela est absurde et extrêmement alarmant.

Riseup, comme d’autres fournisseurs de courrier électronique, a l’obligation de protéger la confidentialité de ses utilisateurs et utilisatrices. Beaucoup des “mesures de sécurité extrêmes” utilisées par Riesup sont de bonnes pratiques communément admises en termes de sécurité sur Internet et sont aussi utilisées par des fournisseurs de services comme hotmail, GMail ou Facebook. Toutefois, contrairement à ces fournisseurs, Riseup ne veut pas permettre la mise en place de portes dérobées illégales, ni vendre les données de ses utilisateurs et utilisatrices à des tierces parties.

Le rapport du parlement européen sur le programme de surveillance de la NSA “souligne que le respect de la vie privée n’est pas un droit de luxe, mais constitue la pierre angulaire d’une société libre et démocratique” [3]. Des révélations récentes sur l’étendue des violations de la vie privée par les États montrent que tout ce qui peut être épié le sera [4]. De plus, nous savons que la criminalisation de l’usage des outils de protection de la vie privée a un effet dissuasif sur toutes et tous, en particulier les défenseurs des droits humains, les journalistes et les activistes. Abandonner ses droits fondamentaux à la vie privée par peur d’être identifié·e comme terroriste est inacceptable.

[it] La sicurezza non è un crimine

Martedì 16 dicembre 2014 in Spagna si è svolta una vasta operazione di polizia. Quattordici tra case e centri sociali sono stati perquisiti a Barcellona, Sabadell, Manresa, e Madrid. Libri, riviste, e computer sono stati sequestrati e undici persone sono state arrestate e inviate alla Audiencia Nacional, il tribunale speciale con sede a Madrid che si occupa di casi di “interesse nazionale”. Sono accusati di aver costituito, promosso, diretto e partecipato a un’organizzazione terroristica. D’altra parte gl’avvocat* della difesa hanno denunciato la mancanza di trasparenza dell’accusa e hanno riferito che le persone che seguono sono state costrette a rilasciare dichiarazioni senza sapere di che cosa erano accusate in concreto. “Parlano di terrorismo senza specificare atti criminali concreti, o atti specifici attribuibili individualmente”[1]. Interrogato al riguardo, il giudice dell’udienza preliminare ha risposto: “Non sto indagando atti specifici, sto indagando l’organizzazione, e il pericolo che potrà rappresentare in futuro”[2], a dimostrare che si tratta dell’ennesimo caso di arresti preventivi.

Quattro degl’arrestat* sono stat* rilasciat*, mentre sette resteranno in carcere in attesa di giudizio. Tra le motivazioni del giudice per la custodia cautelare, si includono il possesso di alcuni libri, “la produzione di pubblicazioni e altre forme di comunicazione” e il fatto che gl’accusat* “utilizzassero caselle di posta con misure di sicurezza eccezionali, come il server RISE UP”[2].

Rifiutiamo questa criminalizzazione kafkiana dei movimenti sociali e l’implicazione ridicola ed estremamente allarmante che proteggere la propria privacy su Internet equivalga a un atto terroristico.

Riseup, come ogni altro fornitore di servizi di posta, è obbligata a proteggere la riservatezza dei suoi utenti. Molte delle “misure di sicurezza eccezionali” usate da Riseup sono buone pratiche invalse nel campo della sicurezza in rete e sono le stesse che vengono usate da provider come Hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. D’altra parte, a differenza di questi servizi, Riseup si rifiuta di inserire backdoor illegali o di vendere i dati dei propri utenti a terze parti.

Il rapporto del parlamento europeo sul programma di sorveglianza della NSA statunitense dichiara che “la privacy non è un diritto di lusso, ma il primo fondamento di una società libera e democratica”[3]. Le recenti rivelazioni sulla portata delle violazioni del diritto alla privacy da parte degli stati dimostrano che tutto ciò che può essere intercettato sarà intercettato[4]. Inoltre sappiamo che criminalizzare chi usa gli strumenti di difesa della privacy ha l’effetto di una doccia fredda su tutti, e in particolare su difensor* dei diritti umani, giornalist* e attivist*. Rinunciare ai propri diritti fondamentali per paura di essere segnalati come terroristi è inaccettabile.

[el] Η ασφάλεια δεν είναι έγκλημα

Την Τρίτη 16 Δεκέμβρη μια μεγάλη αστυνομική επιχείρηση έλαβε χώρα στο ισπανικό κράτος. Έγιναν εισβολές της αστυνομίας σε δεκατέσσερα σπίτια και κοινωνικά κέντρα στις πόλεις Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, και Madrid. Κατασχέθηκαν βιβλία, φυλλάδια, υπολογιστές και συνελήφθησαν έντεκα άνθρωποι και μεταφέρθηκαν στη Μαδρίτη, στο “Audiencia Nacional” ένα ειδικό δικαστήριο που χειρίζεται υποθέσεις “εθνικού ενδιαφέροντος”. Οι άνθρωποι αυτοί κατηγορούνται για σύσταση, προώθηση, διεύθυνση και συμμετοχή σε τρομοκρατική οργάνωση. Παρόλα αυτά, οι συνήγοροι υπεράσπισης θέτουν ζήτημα έλλειψης διαφάνειας, αναφέροντας πως οι πελάτες τους έπρεπε να απολογηθούν χωρίς να γνωρίζουν συγκεκριμένα τις κατηγορίες που τους αποδίδονται. “Μιλάνε για τρομοκρατία χωρίς να ορίζουν συγκεκριμένες εγκληματικές πράξεις ή συγκεκριμένα εξατομικευμένα γεγονότα για κάθε μια και έναν από αυτούς (στμ τους κατηγορούμενους)” [2]. Όταν ο δικαστής Bermúdez ήρθε αντιμέτωπος με αυτό τον ισχυρισμό, απάντησε: “Δεν ερευνώ συγκεκριμένες πράξεις, ερευνώ την οργάνωση και την απειλή που μπορεί να συνιστά στο μέλλον” [1], καθιστώντας την επιχείρηση αυτή άλλη μια υπόθεση προληπτικών συλλήψεων.

Τέσσερις από τους προσαχθέντες έχουν αφεθεί ελεύθεροι, αλλά επτά παραμένουν φυλακισμένοι και αναμένουν τη δίκη. Η αιτιολογία που δόθηκε από το δικαστή για την παράταση της κράτησής τους, περιλαμβάνει μεταξύ άλλων την κατοχή συγκεκριμένων βιβλίων, “την παραγωγή εκδόσεων και μορφών επικοινωνίας”, και το γεγονός ότι οι κατηγορούμενοι “χρησιμοποιούσαν email με εξαιρετικό επίπεδο ασφάλειας όπως ο RISE UP server [2].

Εμείς απορρίπτουμε την καφκική εγκληματοποίηση των κοινωνικών κινημάτων, και το γελοίο αλλά και εξαιρετικά ανησυχητικό συμπέρασμα ότι η προστασία της ιδιωτικότητάς μας στο διαδίκτυο ισοδυναμεί με τρομοκρατία.

Το Riseup, όπως κάθε άλλος πάροχος email, έχει την υποχρέωση να προστατεύει την ιδιωτικότητα των χρηστών του. Πολλά από τα “εξαιρετικά μέτρα ασφάλειας” που χρησιμοποιούνται από τη Riseup είναι κοινές βέλτιστες επιλογές για την ασφάλεια στο διαδίκτυο και χρησιμοποιούνται από παρόχους όπως το hotmail, το GMail ή το Facebook. Παρόλα αυτά, σε αντίθεση με αυτούς τους παρόχους, το Riseup δεν είναι διατεθειμένο να επιτρέψει παράνομες “πίσω πόρτες” ή να πουλήσει τα δεδομένα των χρηστών σε τρίτους.

Η έκθεση του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου σε σχέση με τα προγράμματα επιτήρησης της NSA των ΗΠΑ αναφέρει ότι “η ιδιωτικότητα δεν είναι δικαίωμα πολυτελείας, αλλά ο θεμέλιος λίθος για μια ελεύθερη και δημοκρατική κοινωνία” [3]. Οι πρόσφατες αποκαλύψεις σχετικά με την έκταση της παραβίασης από τις ΗΠΑ του δικαιώματος όλων μας στην ιδιωτικότητα, δείχνουν ότι οτιδήποτε μπορεί να είναι αντικείμενο παρακολούθησης θα παρακολουθείται [4]. Επιπλέον, γνωρίζουμε ότι η εγκληματοποίηση όσων χρησιμοποιούν εργαλεία για τη διαφύλαξη της ιδιωτικότητας έχει αρνητικές συνέπεις για όλους, και ειδικά για αυτές που προασπίζονται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, δημοσιογράφους και ακτιβιστές. Η παραίτηση από το δικαίωμά μας στην ιδιωτικότητα υπό το φόβο του να μαρκαριστούμε ως τρομοκράτες είναι μη αποδεκτή.

[ca] La seguretat no és cap delicte

Dijous 16 de desembre, una operació policial a gran escala es va dur a terme a l’Estat Espanyol. Catorze vivendes i centres socials van ser escorcollats a Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, i Madrid. Llibres, pamflets i ordinadors van ser requisats i onze persones van ser arrestades i portades a l’Audiència Nacional, a Madrid. Se’ls acusa d’incorporació, promoció, gestió i participació d’una organització terrorista. No obstant això, advocats de la defensa denuncien la falta de transparència, els seus clients han hagut de declarar sense saber de que se’ls acusa. “parlen de terrorisme sense especificar tipus delictius concrets ni fets concrets individualitzats que se’ls imputen.”[2] Al ser qüestionat per periodistes, el Jutge Bermúdez va respondre “no investigo els possibles atemptats, jo investigo l’organització i el que poden ser de perill per al futur”;[1] convertint això en un cas més de detenció preventiva en apariència.

Quatre de les detingudes han estat posades en llibertat, però set estan empresonades pendents del judici. Les raons donades pel jutge per prolongar la detenció inclouen la possessió d’alguns llibres, “la producció de publicacions i formes de comunicació”, i el fet de que les acusades “utilitzessin correus electrònics amb extremes mesures de seguretat, com ara el servidor Rise Up.”[2]

Nosaltres rebutgem aquesta criminalització kafkiana dels moviments socials, i l’absurda i extrema implicació de que protegir la teva pròpia privacitat a Internet és equivalent a terrorisme. Riseup, com qualsevol proveïdor de correu, té l’obligació de protegir la privacitat dels seus usuaris. Moltes de les “mesures extremes de seguretat” utilitzades per Riseup son bones pràctiques comuns per a la seguretat online i són emprades alhora per proveïdors com hotmail, Gmail o Facebook. No obstant això, a diferència d’aquests proveïdors, Riseup no està disposat a permetre «backdoors» il·legals o vendre les dades dels seus usuaris a tercers.

L’informe del Parlament Europeu sobre el programa de vigilància de la NSA d’ EE.UU. Declara que “la privacitat no és un dret de luxe, si no els fonaments d’una societat lliure i democràtica.”[3] Revelacions recents sobre l’abast de la violació del dret a la privacitat de totes pels Estats, mostra que tot el que es pot espiar, serà espiat.[4] Més encara, sabem que criminalitzar a les persones per utilitzar eines de privacitat té un efecte esgarrifós a tot el món, i entre els defensors dels Drets Humans, periodistes, i activistes en particular. Renunciar al teu dret bàsic de privacitat per la por de ser etiquetada com a terrorista és inacceptable.

We will fight against exploitation in Amazon! from ZSP union.

amazondzwig10.5 hour shifts, one 30 minute unpaid break for lunch. Barely enough time to get to the canteen, eat something quick and get back to work. Not to mention that the food isn’t fresh. Half the time we work in the night, from 18:30-5 AM. Many of us travel more than one hour to work. Our bodies cannot adjust to the changing shifts. We miss spending the evenings with our families. We treat this job as something we are stuck with until something better comes along. Almost any job is better.

Work in the fulfillment center is stressful, we are always monitored. There is a lot of physical work. We are exhausted in the first few hours. We cannot take a break to rest our feet. When we get home, we can only collapse.

For all our hard work in the evenings and even on Sunday, we get no extra pay. Workers in Sady get paid more than workers in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same job.

In some countries, workers get more money for the evening shift and two paid 15-minute breaks. Not in Poland.

A lot of colleagues say the same: they thought they would have opportunities to work more, overtime, extra pay for night shifts. They feel misled by the agencies that recruited them. Nobody told anybody what the work would really look like. Some people might not have taken the job. A lot of us have no other choice.

There is a total mess with the payments. One colleague is not in the system and can’t get paid. Others claim they received too little payment. There are delays. People do not understand why their salaries are so low.

Some of our colleagues already quit and a lot where just hired til the end of the year. Some of us will stay on here, hoping that things will get better. But nothing will change if we let the bosses treat us like slaves. In Germany workers make 4 times more money for the same job and they still fight for better working conditions. We are being used to increase the profits of a company that earns enough to pay their workers decent wages.

ZSP union has taken action concerning payments through Manpower and Adecco. We will fight so that agency workers and better informed and paid correctly and on time!

In the long term, we want to see better working conditions in Amazon Poland and this means concretely a higher rate for evening and Sunday work, no pay discrimination and paid breaks.

Contact

Victory at Autogrill: from LabourStart

Thank you – your support helped contribute to this important win.
streik

Back in May we launched a campaign on LabourStart in support of striking German workers at Autogrill.  5,930 of you signed up to support it.

That campaign, called by the NGG union and its global union federation (the IUF), has now resulted in a victory.  

The IUF has issued this statement:

The German Food Workers Union (NGG) have announced a successful conclusion to their fight for a first-ever collective agreement at Autogrill Germany, where workers in Bavaria and Thuringia have been holding strikes since April. On September 9, Autogrill Germany announced it would be joining the national employer organization for the sector, which would bring Autogrill employees under the national collective agreement for the sector.  The NGG has warmly thanked the many thousands who supported the campaign.

It’s always great to report a victory — but I’d like to ask you to do more:

Make sure you’re supporting ALL eight of our current online campaigns.  Workers on the picket line, workers who have been the victims of employer-initiated violence, workers who have been locked out — they all need your support:

And most important of all: spread the word in your unions about these campaigns.  Share this message by email and on social networks.  Click on any of these links:

   

Thank you!


Eric Lee

Polish fellow worker fired for organising, solidarity needed.

iwwlogo-buttonFellow Worker Anna, a worker/organiser, was fired by Aelia, a  conglomerate that owns duty free shops around the world, usually situated in airports.

She appears to have been fired directly because of organising. She works at Chopin International Airport in Warsaw. The local workers have been picketing. Thus far there has been no reaction from Aelia.

There’s something you can do right now for Anna. She was organizing a union at Aelia duty free shop at the Warsaw Airport, and she was fired on Friday, June 6. Our union in Poland is conducting solidarity pickets at other airports, where Aelia runs its shops listed here. Globally, Aelia runs shops at more than 10 airports in France, 5 airports in Spain, in China, Australia and elsewhere. Aelia belongs to Lagardere Services group, one of the international leaders in the travel retail market. Lagardere is present in more than 20 countries around the world. So spread the word, so people coming to Poland or traveling elsewhere can boycott Aelia and other Lagardere outposts.

It would be also helpful if some non-Poles could write e-mails to Aelia’s management), as well as Lagardere’s, demanding Anna’s reinstatement and that the the union be allowed to function.

You’ll also find a link to Labourstart’s campaign in the post below.

Here’s the Polish union’s official statement in English.