Red And Black Telly: CORONAVIRUS – POLICE DEPLOYMENT.

Class War Not On Pause

Reproduced in full from ACG

It is a common tactic of states and capital to invoke the “national interest” and “we’re all in it together” as a means of diverting attention from the class war. Such cries were heard often during and after the 2008 financial crisis, when states and capital protected themselves by turning the screws on workers. However, the current situation with COVID-19 has certainly outdone the 2008 financial crisis in the pleas for national unity. Indeed there has probably not been an occasion since the 2nd World War where the national interest has been so successfully employed (at least in “the West”).

In the UK all parties and governments are largely in consensus, happy to echo this call for unity, any division between Tory and Labour, liberal and conservative, “leaver” and “remainer”, Westminster and Holyrood has been temporarily put aside by the political classes. Journalists and politicians alike, backed up by their tame experts and pet scientists, are happy to raise the myth of WWII – a wartime footing for the NHS, the fight of our lives, etc – to make the argument for unity. Of course the real divisions of society – between labour on the one hand and capital and State on the other – are as present as ever. The effects of this crisis will be felt disproportionally by the poorest – both in the UK and worldwide.

The political consensus is rooted in the unanimity that there can be no more damage to the economy, an argument reflecting the interdependence of the State and capital. Contrary to claims of some social democrats, neo-liberalism has not been a case of capital doing away with the State but rather the State and capital becoming increasing integrated, capital requiring the State to facilitate its exploitation of workers. The current crisis provides an excellent example of this interdependence, with the State stepping in to ensure the economy (i.e. the economic exploitation of workers) continues to function in some manner.

To this end we have seen a series of increasingly interventionist budgets by the UK government to deal not only with the COVID-19 situation but also the demands of workers. As a result there have been some real, if limited, concessions to labour – the covering of 80% of the salary of those workers on a payroll will be welcome relief to some, however, it does nothing for those in precarious employment and many of the lowest paid. And while the demands from some for a “basic income” may have some advantages, particularly at the current time, it would still be part of a series of measures designed to save capitalism not to bury it.

However, despite their intentions, capital and the State may have a harder time than they think in putting the genie back into the bottle. Even before, the additional measures were taken because the COVID-19 crisis workers had forced the 1st budget of this government to the “left” of any since at least 2008. While the conflict between liberalism, already weakened before the pandemic, and (national) populism is currently taking a backseat, it seems likely it will be renewed sooner rather than later. It is not hard to see that the current crisis will feed into the increasingly anti-immigration political climate. Neither liberalism nor national populism offer anything to labour directly but the competition between the two may open opportunities to advance the power of workers. In addition, to supporting worker self-organisation at this moment it is vital that we also look forward to how we can keep and extend any gains we make. To that end the nonsense of national unity, not “being political” and workers and bosses being on the same side needs to be opposed whenever possible.

#CORONAVIRUS: WHILE POLITICIANS CHITCHAT, WORKERS ARE SUFFERING!

Received from CNT-AIT-Fr

To date, unlike what happened with H1N1 in 2009, many of us healthcare workers have not received our endowment of FFP2 masks needed to treat patients. While the state had two months to build up reserves of these much-needed protections, it seems it has done nothing.

A practitioner explains: “Not shaking hands with our patients is insufficient, will not protect us from contamination by air, it should be understood that the shortage of FFP2 masks can quickly lead to the shortage of caregivers, by their quarantine, with the consequences that this implies. “.

Obviously, the budgetary choices have been made, on the one hand, the State have enough budget for organising summits, meetings and even a State National Security Council, intended to entertain and deceive the people, on the other, the State leaves health workers unprotected.

SHORTAGE OF FFP2 MASKS and PHASE 3 OF THE #CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC
As we indicated last Saturday, the stocks essential for the protection of workers do not exist, Health Ministers Buzyn and Veran lied to us and are still lying to us. The few million masks that will be distributed are surgical masks that do not protect against contamination.

The transition to Phase 3 is the referral of coronavirus patients out of the hospital that will be overwhelmed towards the city. Doctors and nurses will have to work unprotected with hypercontagious patients, the right to opt-out is ethically impossible for them.

To the politicians who run the administrations, who lay down standards that are as absurd as they are useless, we have only one word to say: Bastards ! On the other hand, the stocks of rubber bullets and grenades, that have been used by thousands against the Yellow vests, are full …. On June 16, 2019, the French government was able to anticipate with sufficient time to order 25 million assault rifle cartridges and 40,000 anti-riots grenades, to be delivered for early 2020. Obviously, the State does not have the same priorities as the population.

Other workers in public transport, hypermarkets, etc. must ask their employers for fully-paid hourly breaks to wash their hands, hydroalcoholic gel if necessary, and adequate masks or otherwise exercise their right to optout.

RIGHT TO OPT-OUT
The absence of collective or individual protective equipment legitimizes the recourse to the right of employees to opt-out : Article L4131-1 of the French labor code stipulates that “The worker immediately alerts the employer to any work situation which he has reasonable grounds to believe presents a serious and imminent danger to his life or health and to any defect which he finds in the protection systems. He can withdraw from such a situation.

The employer may not ask the worker, who has made use of his right of withdrawal, to resume his activity in a work situation where a serious and imminent danger persists, resulting in particular from a defective protection system. “

CNT-AIT Health care workers
CNT-AIT (International Workers Association)
contact@cnt-ait.info
http://cnt-ait.info
http://cntaittoulouse.lautre.net
FB: @ chats.noirs.turbulents / @cnt.ait.toulouse

Red And Black Telly: CORONAVIRUS AND TREATMENT FOR THE ELDERLY WORKING CLASS.

Racism and Close Supervision Centres, by Kevan Thakrar.

Over the past decade the levels of racism in society have drastically increased with the use of discriminatory language becoming acceptable to the extent that the country’s Prime Minister has felt safe to deploy such abuse. With this becoming common in the mainstream media, as well as demonisation of Muslims through the prejudicial policy known as ‘Prevent’, it is of no surprise that prisoners have suffered as a result.

So many prisoners lack a basic education, that enables them to be easily influenced by the propaganda sprouted by the likes of the BBC. For those illegal regimes of practically 24 hour lockdown, the television can quickly become their only source of comfort. Day-after-day of minority groups being negatively portrayed whilst living under conditions recognised worldwide as torture, is a recipe for brainwashing with devastating effects.

The rise of racist gangs, especially within high security prisons holding men who can be serving up to a whole life sentence, coupled with the tendencies to resort to drug taking to pass the time which has meant in recent years the mind altering ‘spice’, has spiralled out of control. Unsurprisingly, it is within the most oppressed, desperate and disturbed of the population that this phenomenon can best be identified.

The Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system was originally designed by the sadistic Michael Spurr back in 1996, long before his unfortunate rise to leader of the entire prisons and probation service. Its intended purpose from the beginning has been to brutalise these prisoners labelled as posing too much of a control problem on a wholly arbitrary basis. Since the day it opened in 1998, racist scum have occupied its units both as staff and those detained within. The repressive slide of wider society’s models and values, coupled with the ideologically driven swingeing cuts to the legal aid and prisons budgets causing even harsher conditions, have left around one third of CSC detainees seeing racism as correct.

The majority of the CSC prisoners who are racist have sought refuge within the CSC, preferring blatant and ridiculous behaviours to be designated as too much of a risk to be managed on main location. Many of them have already tried to seek safety within a Vulnerable Prisoner (VP) wing first, or believing that by not officially becoming a VP makes then somehow not be seen as the cowards that they are. It is with this background that their behaviour within the CSC can be understood, as unlike anyone with any sense, they actually want to forever be CSC prisoners both for their own protection through their isolation from mainstream prisoners, and the foolish belief that it is somehow a badge of honour to be labelled as a CSC prisoner.

Officially, the CSC holds only the most dangerous prisoners, which currently is around 50 men. The racist element within this population is unlike the rest, they crave the dangerous reputation in the hope that this will be enough to protect them and cause their otherwise disgusting pasts, which tend to be of a sexual nature, to be overlooked or forgotten. They stand out and they know it. With many of them having banded together seeking safety in numbers in the racist extremist gang calling themselves ‘Death Before Dishonour’ (DBD), or their ‘secret’ codename 4-2-4 signalling the position of the letters in the alphabet, one would imagine it would be easy to separate this insidious group.

Screwboy is a term used throughout the prison system for a prisoner who does the bidding of the prison officers or ‘screws’. It should be unimaginable for someone within the CSC to appropriately be referred to as a screwboy, yet about every single racist there displays the behaviour that would lead them to be an outcast at best within the mainstream population. Here is where the most significant difficulty arises, the racist scumbags in the CSC are effectively working for the screws against the minorities they live alongside for power partly, but also to remain within the CSC. This includes providing false information to legitimise someone being stitched up, harassing minorities with constant abuse shouted out of windows etc for all to hear, and even attacking minorities usually with weapons from behind. When these behaviours are rewarded rather than punished, they become more and more attractive to others suffering the CSC regime, who will often join in with it.

The CSC Operational Manager is responsible for the placement of CSC prisoners throughout the 6 units currently in existence, and throughout the segregation units of high security prisons. The man holding this title at present is Stephen Waldron, formerly in-charge of the now abolished Managing Challenging Behaviour Strategy (MCBS) and before then a junior governor of HMP Durham. During his tenure at MCBS, a significantly smaller role, a Ukranian racist extremist who was in prison for the murder of a Muslim prisoner for ‘praying too loudly’ during his previous prison sentence, was made to associate with Muslim prisoners at HMP Woodhills MCBS Unit. Ignoring the fact this scumbag was only not on the CSC because HMPPS support racist attacks, as the centrally managed MCBS unit contained as few as eight prisoners maximum it could not have been difficult to foresee the conflict inevitable by his presence. The final outcome being that the other prisoners had, had enough of him, and killed him. With a history like that, you would expect Waldron to be especially sensitive to the placement of racists alongside minority prisoners.

Waldron has been reported to have told officers who have been complaining that since he took over the CSC, their job has been made significantly more difficult due to him allocating prisoners to the same unit who cannot mix, generally due to racist beliefs and minority characteristics, that they should be careful what they wish for––as, if he placed together only those who got along, they would attack officers as soon as the cell doors opened instead of each other. A calculated policy therefore appears to be in operation, which can easily be seen by the increasing frequency of racist attacks occurring since his appointment.

It is within this environment, under these circumstances, surrounded by more and more scumbags, where I have been living for the last ten years. Emboldened by the support of their masters, ignorant of the consequences of their actions and decisions due to being in a constant state of intoxication through prescription medication and/or spice, these racists have made it impossible to tolerate their existence any longer. Having arrived at HMP Full Sutton in September, within three months I have twice been attacked with a weapon by a racist as I have sought to avoid conflict to enable me to progress out of this oppressive system.

The first attack came from the certified VP, John Mansfield. He tried to hit me with a metal flask he had just filled with boiling water. Fortunately, I managed to block it, and being in full view of CCTV and four officers preventing anything further, I assumed it would be dealt with. Following his guilty plea at adjudication of the charge of assault, Mansfield was given a suspended sentence to go on top of his multiple other suspended sentences. As also expressed a fear to ever be unlocked with me again, my regime time has been cut to around forty percent of what others get, to allow him to be out without me.

The last time Mansfield had conflict with another prisoner on this unit, he paid his mate Kevin McCarthy to try to stab the other guy. It was not difficult for him to do this, as Mansfield wears dentures––having none of his own teeth remaining––meaning when being administered controlled prescription drugs, he can easily hide the tablets behind the dentures. McCarthy accepted the tablets out of his friends dirty mouth, before engaging in the attack, which resulted in him being knocked out, as the intended victim saw it coming.

Then there is the fact that only two years ago, McCarthy cut the throat of a prisoner, who at the time was disabled and using a walking stick. Whilst at the servery of the HMP Whitemoor CSC Unit, McCarthy waited for his victim to begin receiving his meal so his hands were full before cutting him from behind with a razor, then running back to his cell. His motive? Well earlier that day, another prisoner had reprimanded him over his ongoing failure to do the job he was paid for and clean the prisoners’ facilities, leaving others to have to do it for him. As that prisoner was Muslim, McCarthy thought attacking a disabled, defenceless Muslim in retaliation was acceptable, despite him having nothing to do with it.

Why McCarthy was ever allowed to mix at all so soon after his previous violence cannot legitimately be explained, but it was through the support of the HMPPS psychologist he shares with Mansfield, Louise Coughlin, that this was signed off. As the CSC management were fully aware of McCarthy’s history and loyalty to Mansfield, to place him in the cell directly opposite the servery, and to unlock him as I collected my meal, so he could sneak up behind me without being searched goes beyond negligence. He strolled past two officers, weapon in hand, then in full view of five officers who made no attempt to alert me, sound the alarm, or restrain him, McCarthy began stabbing me in the back using two hands in attempt to plunge it through me. I was not aware what was happening, could just feel the banging in my back and hear him growling, ‘die,’ behind me. As I turned around, confused by the lack of action, McCarthy back beyond the officers who duly protected him, so much so that he was allowed to walk back to his cell with the weapon as the officers focused on me as if I was the threat.

Despite McCarthy’s intent, his weak physical prowess limited my injuries. Most of what he did left scratches as the only blemish, with only a few strikes actually breaking the skin with the deepest wound around 1 cm. Had he been armed with something requiring less strength than a ten-year-old child to operate, my life would have been in serious danger. The governing Governor of this prison, Gareth Sands, visited this unit a couple of days later but made sure I was locked away before coming on to the landing. This dishonest weasel went around writing everyone, including McCarthy and Mansfield, ‘Merry Christmas’ whilst not saying a word to me or doing his job to check on my welfare. With that level of attention from senior management, how could anyone conclude anything other than that HMPPS do not care whatsoever about those they are paid to look after.

Within seven days of the attack, and before any attempt to search or secure evidence had occurred, McCarthy was allowed to pack all of his belongings to be taken to the main segregation unit with him the following week where he had requested to be moved to. Until the move occurred, he was held in the end cell on this unit where he was supplied with his game console and radio, as well as prison issue TV to make his stay easier. Mansfield remains one of five prisoners sharing this unit with me, making sly comments as he’s allowed to freely pass my cell as I remain locked-in for his benefit.

In 1997, Amnesty International (AI) condemned this unit causing it to be shut down and its then name of Special Security Unit (SSU) to be abandoned. Functioning as a CSC, with so many seriously mentally ill and/or racist prisoners now being allocated to what AI said was torture, is significantly worse. My experience of this unit is that it should never have been reopened, and the safety of anyone held here will always be at risk.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE Close Supervision Centre
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
York
YO41 1PS

www.justiceforkevan.org

Contactable via emailaprisoner.com

Update on the situation of our comrade Gabriel Pombo da Silva

325.

One month after the arrest of our comrade Gabriel, who was detained on January 25 in Portugal, the Guimaraes court has ruled in favor of extradition to the Spanish state.

This news does not surprise us, considering the active revenge of the Judge Mercedes Navarro of court number 2 of Girona against Gabriel. This Judge is the same one who, in May 2016, ordered the then Dueñas prison director (of Palencia) to hide the order for Gabriel’s immediate release. Gabriel, after 3 weeks of being “kidnapped” finally tasted freedom on June 16 (for this reason Navarro was denounced for “prevarication”).

During this last month, Navarro has not stopped pressuring Portugal in order to consign “this very dangerous individual”.

We remember that the main objective of the defence is to obtain Gabriel’s freedom under the “special principle” (thanks to which he was released four years ago without it losing legal validity) and, in any case, avoid extradition, given the Portuguese nationality that Gabriel has recently obtained (Portugal should not extradite its own naturalised citizen).

Neither the principle of specialty nor the Portuguese nationality have been taken into consideration by the court of Guimaraes, which has been limited to giving us the reason to later conclude that it must proceed to the extradition (that is, it cannot resist indefinately the pressure of Mrs. Navarro).

The lawyer is presenting the appeal to the Supreme Court of Lisbon and until this is pronounced (around a week) Gabriel will remain detained by the judicial police of Porto.

We continue to express all our solidarity … And so that it is not left as an empty word!

FREE GABRIEL! * FREE EVERYONE! * LONG LIVE ANARCHY!

Bristol Radical History Festival Saturday 16th May, 2020

10.00 am to 4.30 pm

Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG) have organised a full programme of events for our 2020 Radical History Festival, in collaboration with our hosts at M Shed.

Themes

The 2020 Festival has two main Themes, where once again we will reveal hidden histories, debate and agitate for a future of better pasts:

State and private surveillance of labour and social movements (1792 to now)

Hidden histories of post-war mainland Britain (1945-51)

Programme of events