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Dastardly duke puts on pressure

Anarchist Communist Group

Back in December 2018 we reported here on Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, and his foiled attempt to remove 37 allotments from next to his stately home Syon House, in Isleworth, West London, so that 119 flats and eight houses could be built there. The allotments have been there for over 100 years but Percy wants the new housing development to pay for £13 million repairs to Syon House. It seemed then that his moves had been defeated, but since then, Percy, who has an estimated family fortune of £445 million, ordered allotment holders to leave by the end of September, the period of harvest time. Faced with stiff opposition, he extended the deadline until later in the autumn.

He did this before obtaining planning permission, and with 1,000 objection letters to Hounslow Council’s planning department. This move was clearly to push the planning committee to make a decision to his benefit.

Allotment holders have been growing vegetables on the site since 1917. Many of them live in flats and will not be able to store their plants and equipment whilst they look for new allotments.

In October Percy got the backing of the planning officers who have recommended that councillors on the planning committee give the go-ahead to the dastardly Duke’s plan.

The final decision on this is due this Thursday. Here’s hoping the attempt by Percy to throw out the allotment holders fails. As we said in the previous article, “These are the sort of people owning most of the land in Britain. Speed the day when they are swept away and all land is held in common!”

Privilege (for the benefit of the privileged), identity and the Class War. By Mal Content.

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone.

… From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”

– Aldous Huxley: ‘The Doors of Perception’.

This was always going to be a personal account, anarchism is after all an extrapolation of the particular to the general. The author is an able-bodied (at time of writing), cis-male, heterosexual*, Working Class anarchist of North European heritage, self-educated with a few engineering and craft skills, living in the South of England, I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a position of considerable privilege in the modern world, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve honestly never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise. I’m also big, ugly, and in my fifties which helps when dealing with management and cops.

* I seldom use the word ‘straight’, it implies bias, and I’m not claiming my relatively banal proclivities as a badge of community with anyone.

Early on I questioned whether I was writing primarily for people more or less like myself, and dismissed the idea. Obviously it has its limitations, it wouldn’t be of much use to someone whose interest was, for example, the development of anarchism within Chinese culture. It is intended for people new to anarchist ideas, and privilege is a concept many find utterly baffling. Like reification* it’s a hard one to get your head around because it’s woven into the fabric of perceived reality, it’s largely invisible, especially if your contacts are all drawn from a narrow social base.

* Of course, privilege is a form of reification.

Privilege in this context is an absence or mitigation of oppression, seen from the point of view of the oppressed. At first sight it’s counter-intuitive, because no one ever feels privileged,* and the colloquial use of the word is a benefit of some kind, usually earned. It sounds dangerously close to the bosses’ view that we ought to be grateful for access to work, housing, health and education. It’s a demonstrable fact that the presence of any super-exploited group, migrant labour for example, depresses pay and conditions for all workers, so how does it work? How is it a privilege not to be excluded, underpaid, sexually abused, targeted by cops or attacked by bigots?

* There’s a lesson there; not even the ruling elite feel privileged, because they’re conditioned from birth to believe they deserve a bigger slice of the pie.

The liberal would claim these as basic human rights, but they have it backwards, society is oppressive by its nature, its institutions were specifically devised to divide and exploit us, so we each become acclimatised to the level of oppression we experience, and only when these lines are crossed protest that our rights have been violated. This is the liberal trap – it’s the oppression that’s normal, not the absence of it. For many these experiences are routine, and they may indeed consider it a privilege to walk home without being harassed, to apply for a vacancy and be offered an interview, or to attend and not hear that it has just been filled.

If X walks a steeper road than Y, all things being equal, Y will make more progress in a given time for the same effort. Capitalism requires us to compete by excluding others*, so as Y is ahead of X they will have the first choice of whatever they need for the next leg of the journey, and set off feeling positive and refreshed. So on through life; Y will always be where X isn’t, and X will have to work harder than Y just to avoid being left by the wayside. Y’s setbacks will be easier to overcome and of shorter duration. Believing in equality of opportunity, Y may conclude the demoralised and resentful X isn’t trying, or they may congratulate themselves on their own industry and cunning. Meritocracy is a nasty bourgeois trap, like justice, it’s a logical fallacy.

* Housing gentrification and social cleansing is a good example of this.

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Wessex stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival, Sunday 29th August.

Wessex Solidarity will have a literature stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival in Bournemouth this Sunday. Our first outing for a while with lots of new pamphlets. Freedom Press are there also.

At Oakmedian club house, Meyric Park, Bournemouth BH2 6LJ

Free Entry from 1 p.m. till midnight, with Live music, food and other attractions.

Supporting International Care Network and Hope For Food.

facebook event

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But We Have To So We Do It Real Slow…

pura acraciaINTRODUCTION

I wrote this short essay 5 years ago at a time when anti-work was not as popular a position, or sentiment, within the radical milieu. My intention with this piece was to highlights elements of anti-work / refusal of labor that already exist among Mexican(-American)s in the so-called United States. And by doing this extend the critique of work beyond the white radical milieu of the North American Anglosphere. The critique of work is now (thankfully) more widespread, and I hope that others take up the task of extending the critique of work because the pandemic has verily cleared the fog of pro-work propaganda: most of us learned first-hand that our work, deemed essential or not, has always been activity which exists for the immediate benefit of others and not ourselves. We barely float by, physically & mentally, while capitalists retreat further into their well-protected bubbles of wealth (even into space). It’s time we reclaim our time, energy & activity. Time for communism & anarchy…which always also means the abolition of work.

Noche Tovaangar, so-called Los Angeles

July, 2021

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Translation of a letter from a Cuban Anarchist after the protests

bentley

There is a lot of turmoil that cannot be fit into a left-right schema. It is a people who are discovering their capacity to be more than a mere mass of support for a retrograde and cynical oligarchy which uses the words “revolution” and “anti-imperialism” to legitimize an ordinary despotism hardly different from any other tyranny. They are a people tired of “revolutionary” and “socialist” inequalities and privileges.

Cuba, in addition to being a museum of the global left, is a society with a state, police, repressors, privileged & marginalized peoples and a bureaucratic military oligarchy as greedy as any other. The fact we’ve had an enlightened and humanistic despot does not excuse him, nor his lasting heirs, from their despotism. A significant portion of the people say they’ve had enough. The American blockade must be lifted, the monopoly of the Castro oligarchy must end. It will be complicated & surely “impossible”, but that’s the most honest perspective I’m seeing.

Our companion Leonardo Romero is currently missing; he is an enemy of the Cuban state for having publicly written on a sign “Socialism yes, repression no!” His disappearance is the true face of this government.

original text at http://www.polemicacubana.fr/?p=15774

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Red and Black Telly roundup.