People against capitalism 12th January 2018 London

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International Call for Action. No to the G-20 Summit in Argentina!

Found at: Global info

On November 30th and December 1st 2018, the heads of State of the 20 most important geopolitical countries of the world will meet in Argentina. They claim the objective of this meeting is to “address the major global challenges and seek to generate public policies that resolve them.” They fail to mention that it is their governments and policies which are the main culprits of the problems they now say they want to solve.

They claim they want to fight climate change, while they are responsible for 82% of all CO2 emissions worldwide.

They claim they are concerned about the future of work, while they promote labor reforms that destroy fundamental rights won over centuries of struggle, threaten workers’ organizations and encourage the creation of precarious jobs.

They claim there should be more and better education, while they promote policies of adjustment and privatization of public services to secure more spaces to generate profit for companies, to the detriment of public health and education systems.

They claim they are concerned about women empowerment and the wage gap, but their neoliberal policies in all spheres of government impoverish us and cause women and LGBTQIA+ people to face more and more violent realities.

They claim to want a sustainable food future, while promoting (transgenic) monocultures associated with technological packages and an extractivist model of production associated with a so-called “infrastructure for development”.

They claim to seek “consensus for equitable development”, while their informal and exclusive club of governments excludes the large majority of the countries of the world.

“Equitable development” has nothing to do with the trade policy and investment protection that these countries promote through an increasing number of Free Trade and Investment Treaties which only give rights to corporations and destroy the possibilities of Buen Vivir (Living Well) of all the peoples in the world.

We, members of social movements, political organizations, anti-extractivists groups and organizations of workers, women, feminists, LGBTQIA+, indigenous peoples, peasants, migrants, students, firmly and resolutely reject the presence and the agenda of the “Group of Twenty” (G20). They are responsible for the global economic, social, political and environmental crisis, and their only proposal to resolve such systemic crisis is to deepen a model that excludes broad sectors of the population and destroys the environment.

We also denounce the farce of the so-called “interest groups” of the G-20, constituted by an elite, exclusive club of businessmen, women, trade unions, civil society organizations, think tanks and scientists, selected and endorsed by the government of Mauricio Macri. The democracy proposed by the G-20 is nothing more than a pantomime of participation: these meetings – presented as the pinnacle of democracy – are not actually binding. This means that the presidential summit is not obligated to accept what is decided in those meetings of society civil. That is not democracy; that is not consensus; that is not participation.

We warn that the organization of this Summit will further intensify the country’s militarization, in a context marked by the increase of social protests by unemployed people, women and indigenous people. Argentina will spend 3,000 million pesos (more than 150 million dollars) for this Summit, of which 1,100 million will be allocated to “security and defense”, that is buying weapons and “anti-riot” equipment and air defense. 1,072 million pesos will be destined exclusively for the two days of the Summit. Meanwhile, social assistance programs and schools are being closed, scientists and hospital staff are being laid off, state institutes and hundreds of companies are being closed and retirements and pensions are being cut, thus worsening the conditions of life of the Argentine population, affecting in particular the 32% that lives below the poverty line.

It should also be noted that the summit being held in Argentina is not a coincidence. The government of Mauricio Macri intends to take the lead in the offensive against the peoples throughout the South American region. Its agenda is the agenda of large companies and financial and speculative capital. Similarly, the negotiations of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) – currently proliferating in the continent – are carried out in the same vein; in full awareness these FTAs involve the surrendering of national industries and productive sectors of the countryside as well as the rupture of any alternative regional integration process. That is why the presence of the G-20 in Argentina affects the entire region and must thus be repudiated in all countries.

We therefore invite the peoples of the world to join the fight against the G20 in Argentina at the end of November of this year.

Let’s build bridges between our countries and peoples!

Long live international solidarity!

Let’s unite our creativity to put an end to a system that excludes, exploits, destroys, contaminates and kills!

Let’s raise our voices and our bodies against the governments of the G-20 and in favor of life!

WE ARE WAITING FOR YOU IN BUENOS AIRES!

For more information, suggestions of proposals and/or questions about membership: argentinamejorsintlc@gmail.co

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

Southampton PSC campaigned outside HSBC eight times over the summer, asking HSBC to Stop arming Israel. This is also the message PSC wants to bring to the UK Government. National PSC lobbies parliament each year and this year the focus is on the Stop Arming Israel Campaign and the treatment by Israel of child prisoners. I will be attending the lobby, please get in touch if you can join me.

The lobby takes place on 28th November from 12pm to 6pm, followed by an evening rally. If you can attend please ask your MP to meet with you on the day. National PSC will provide briefings for participants. If you cannot attend, you can still support the lobby by writing to your MP and asking him/her to meet with representatives of PSC. Please follow the links below and if you can attend please register. Also please email pscsoton@gmail.com  to let me know as we could travel together.

https://www.palestinecampaign.org/lobby-day-of-parliament-28-11-2018/

https://palestinecampaign.eaction.online/lobby/parliament2018notattending

Please can I also remind you to join National PSC if you are not already a member, this is one of the best actions you can take to support justice for Palestine, help the national organisation campaign and build cross party support in parliament.

There is also a further action you can take to support the BDS movement. Boycott Puma. The sports company sponsors Israeli football teams based in occupied Palestine. To find out more about this campaign please visit our Facebook page and place a picture of yourself on social media in solidarity with Palestinian activists. www.facebook.com/southampton

Stalls in the city are taking a break until the new year but we will be in the city nearer Christmas singing some “Alternative Carols” telling the real story of the injustices in Palestine. I will be in touch when we have confirmed  date for that.

In the meantime we continue to follow the events in Gaza with interest. 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the 30th March and 20,000 injured. Nine Palestinians were injured in recent air strikes on Gaza following rocket attacks on Israel by Islamic Jihad, although there were no Israeli casualties.

In occupied Palestine, at least 29 structures were demolished by Israeli forces  in the month of September, displacing 51 people- including 23 children- and affecting a further 79 people, including 54 children. The village of Al Arakib in the Naqab desert was demolished for the 133rd time!

In solidarity

Regards Cathryn Spiller

Branch Secretary Southampton PSC.

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Brighton Kurdistan Solidarity Festival Friday, 26th October 2018

Save the date!

Kurdistan Solidarity Fest 2018 is coming up on Friday, 26 October at the Cowley Club.

Music lineup and further details to be announced soon, but will include a minimum of two musical acts and delicious feast.

Donations will benefit the Anna Campbell (Hêlîn Qereçox) memorial mural fund.

Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/253271658668160/

BKS

Class struggle: the beginning of the end or just the end of the beginning? – by Mal Content.

This will be a more exploratory and speculative piece than my usual. Maybe it’s the drugs I’m on. I don’t mind whether anyone ‘likes’ it or not, this isn’t a game, but we need to come up with some answers, and fast.

Thirty years ago* Murray Bookchin wrote that the ‘particularism’ of proletarian revolution was inadequate to fend off the looming environmental catastrophe. At the time we all expected to perish in a nuclear holocaust rather than an ecological one. Then we thought we were going to run out of fossil fuel, but enough has been surveyed already to cook the planet three times over.

* ‘Remaking Society’ 1989.

Bookchin’s description of ecology and feminism as ‘transclass’ issues grates a bit. If I read him correctly, and I’m pretty new to his work, he postulates that the imperative of human survival would even bring the bourgeoisie on board, but it’s clear by now their even greater particularism can do nothing for us. We see the commodification of morality, with ‘fair trade’, carbon trading and green capitalism. Caring for the environment we are told, is a ‘luxury good’, the commodification of social duties like care of the elderly, and a new trade in the lives of the incapacitated and mentally ill. This is because there isn’t anything specifically human about capitalism. It’s a simple formula for extracting value from labour and the planet; it doesn’t have an end point.

We’ve just been told that there are eleven years left before destructive climate change becomes irreversible. It doesn’t seem to have had much impact on the mass media. Meanwhile rich wankers put fancy cars into outer space. Politicians chat and bourgeois move their fictional money around, we are going to have to save the world because we are the only class that ever does anything.

We could still just fold our arms.

As I pointed out in my rant against fortress Europe, large segments of the earth’s surface are shortly to become uninhabitable, and the dominant political class is frantically trying to re-establish notions of national and folk identity to soften us up for some serious crimes against humanity. The latter concept may become obsolete. Nearly a million people have lost their lives in natural disasters already this Century, and a tsunami that cleared the Netherlands sea defences could kill hundreds of millions.

The proxy war in Yemen holds millions of lives in the balance, potentially a holocaust in the making, as the politicians sit on their hands and make noises off. They’re all too deeply invested in the great game being played out on someone else’s ground, and in the only trade that still shows a return.

We’ve been here before.

Have forty years of neoliberalism left us immune to each other’s suffering? I’ve been told the English Working Class are too busy with their own survival to care about Palestine. I beg to differ, if caring about my Fellow Workers is a luxury or a privilege better I do that than stick my wages up my nose, because my freedom and theirs are inextricably linked. It doesn’t matter whether you appreciate this or not, it happens to be true.

Though Marx’s analysis of capitalist accumulation still works in general terms* the industrial proletariat is no longer the primary driver of social change. The best chance we had of using those productive relations was during the first quarter of the last century, and the establishment of the Comintern put the tin hat on that. Bolshevism was the Wetherspoons of class conflict: take ‘em over, shut ‘em down or make ‘em all the same, a plastic imitation of Working Class culture.

* Like Newton’s laws of mechanics which are fundamentally flawed but perfectly adequate if you want to build a bridge or fire a projectile.

21st Century capitalism is little concerned with the production of things*, and even the production and accumulation of value is simply a vehicle for the reproduction of power relations, capitalism’s sole purpose. It lurches from crisis to crisis, from war to war, ever refining itself as a mechanism for maintaining the dominance of the few over the many. As it lays waste to its habitat and its subjects, it remains entirely successful in this.

* Yet it produces more things than ever!

Tired of the circular arguments over class versus identity? It’s inarguable that there are a few people whose bloated purchasing power, validated by conflict and disaster, keeps the vast majority of humanity in poverty or debt-peonage. There are seven billion of us and most of us are not white, only a tiny fraction are bourgeois. A disproportionate amount of the work is done by women and children. Many of the workers who produce the things, in the gadget, garment and gimmick factories of Asia, are de-facto slaves. If we can’t even free the slaves, or create the conditions under which they can free themselves, we will never be free. We must destroy the economy and the social context in which it resides. It falls to us, in Europe and North America who fall into the hegemonic group to attack the source of the misery.

If we can agree then that capitalism is lethal and must be destroyed, we can sort out what happens next after we’ve killed it. Of course we have to use an intersectional analysis of oppression in both our means and ends, or the disparity in gains will be used to claw them back from us, long before we reach our goal – which must logically be to stop putting relative values on human attributes, needs and abilities. This renders the constitutional left, all political and industrial representation, redundant.

Privilege theory is a useful tool that reminds us that the oppressed often don’t need too much encouragement to oppress each other. Is it difficult to understand that a tool ideally suited to one context is entirely inappropriate in another? I don’t put nails in with a toothbrush or take a hammer to my teeth. Privilege isn’t about establishing a hierarchy of oppression and forming an orderly queue to air our grievances, it’s about the flow of information within the class, using direct experience to put each fragment of class struggle in its own context. Then we can piece together the whole jigsaw, we want to win this don’t we? Now we rush them all at once.

I offer just two examples that illustrate the pitfalls of neglecting this analysis.

A Faustian bargain was struck between capital and labour for most of the last century, to keep women out of the skilled workforce. Negotiation centred on the ability of a male wage worker to support a family on a single wage. His payoff was free domestic labour – in itself a massive subsidy to the bourgeoisie, who had tricked the class into reproducing itself at its own expense – and economic control over his spouse. For the bosses, they faced half as many organised workers as there could have been.

In 1949 Britain’s social democratic settlement collided tragically with cold war politics and imperialism at the state-owned Enugu colliery in Nigeria. The Labour government and TUC tried to impose their corporatist collective bargaining processes on an African workforce that had a syndicalist organisational structure along with tactics familiar to miners everywhere. They had recently saved the British Empire and been led to believe they were going to get a new deal in return, they weren’t going to be taken for mugs. Twenty-two workers lost their lives in the resulting massacre.

There isn’t much point in reflecting on privilege unless you subvert it or do something with it. Suppose an event doesn’t have disabled access; you could boycott it or even picket it, unless you are going there to perform a specific act. On the other hand, if it is necessary to spy on some fascists it would be useful to be white and straight-looking, and capable of making a swift exit, the revolution will not be a safe space, and there will be casualties, otherwise we’re all doomed anyway. What can you find to fuck with? If I had my time again I would study maths and computing and get an I.T. job in a stock exchange, the better to fuck shit up. I believe a dedicated, well prepared insider could destroy capitalism in an afternoon.

If you’re reading this and you work at the stock exchange, go on, you know you want to!

Use what you’ve got: Speak more than one language? We need you. If you’ve got a car, give people lifts, if you’ve got room put people up, if you’re not strapped for the cash you could pay for the meeting venue or at least buy a fucking round. If you see someone sitting on the pavement, give them something, don’t wait to be asked, they’re sat on a pavement and you’re not.

The myth of scarcity.

There isn’t enough: money, work, food, space. We hear this crap all the time from people who actually do know better but think we’re all mugs.

Even the bourgeoisie are beginning to suspect that wage labour and commodity production may not be sustainable. They regularly resort to primitive accumulation and state capitalism, fictitious capital augments itself without the intermediary of commodity exchange, somebody must then be made to need it or it confers no power. Remember capitalism is about domination, and there are other ways of dominating someone than making them work for a living, like knocking them to the ground and standing on them. We might see domination imposed directly, a new pauperage, a massive expansion of the prison-industrial complex.

Food has always been a blessing, its production the basis of stable social life, its consumption the cement of social relationships. Capitalism has made of it a curse, turned it into pollution, an environmental hazard, a source of ill-health and unhappiness, and still people starve. I like Kropotkin’s idea of technologically-intensive urban gardening to feed people at source without the need for wasteful transport and storage. Ah, and which plant grows ever so fast and sucks up water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide like nobody’s business? – Have a think.

Creative destruction.

We’re building the new world in the shell of the old, but we’re being too kind to the shell. Co-operatives, green initiatives, youth and community projects, these are good ideas, so capitalism co-opts them, and crucially, finds a way to profit from them. We should keep these things free of their interference.

The shell must not limit or confine us, even as it’s expanding and absorbing our blows, we have to break it to pieces. Transaction, and its evil twin coercion, can form no part of a humane society. As long as they are at its heart, there will be status, there will be power, and it will be self-perpetuating.

“Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!”

– Mikhail Bakunin: ‘Reaction in Germany’ 1842

A fungal spore alights on a fallen trunk, it embeds itself in the dead wood and weaves its threads between and along the fibres, prising them apart, and taking such sustenance as it needs, spreads out through the forest floor, feeding the living trees and carrying their chemical messages back and forth. It breaks down the useless old material into its components and builds them up into something new and magnificent that blasts more spores into the wind. Countless organisms feed on its body, when conditions are unfavourable it lies dormant, but it never dies.

There are many well-rehearsed arguments against terrorism (vanguard adventurism, revolutionary gymnastics, propaganda by the deed etc). It makes the population feel unsafe and justifies state repression, it separates the revolutionary from their own class, and can corrupt those who practise it. The masses are seldom inspired by bandits and no state that wasn’t already on its way out was ever overthrown this way.

Nevertheless, in a world run by the likes of Assad, Bin Salman, Ergogan, Putin, Trump and Xi, imagine the sum of human suffering and conflict that could be saved by simply blowing the heads off them. That isn’t propaganda by the deed, it’s more akin to clearing up the dog shit in the park. Guerrilla gardening and tyrannicide share a common motivation: making your environment more pleasant to live in. The CNT-E’s assassinations of Cardinal Soldevilla and Bravo Portillo come into that category. We haven’t got time to build a worldwide revolutionary organisation, we could take a leaf from the nihilists*. We are implacably opposed to every aspect of this dead society so we can strike it anywhere, any time.

* Now, according to Volin, Russian nihilism was only an intellectual and philosophical current, and self-styled ‘nihilist revolutionaries’ were just appropriating the name because they liked the sound of it; I don’t know.

Nihilism was a reaction to the partial reforms of a leader who remained explicitly an autocrat*. It was a rejection of style in favour of substance, a rejection of mysticism and mythology in favour of natural science, a rejection of ideology in favour of utility.

* Tsar Alexander the second, killed by ‘nihilist revolutionaries’.

Everywhere there is talk of reform, of liberalisation, of progress, yet the grip of the bourgeoisie, of the spectacle, grows ever tighter. Is global warming being caused only by fossil fuels or by all this hot air? We’ve got used to our leaders being crooks, now we expect them to be clowns as well. There’s so much shit to fuck up.

Like it or not, most political discourse currently takes place online and I see fundamental flaws in it. The most serious I think is the ownership of facts. Facts don’t belong to anyone, they are just objective truths that can be tested empirically*, and truth serves no-one but those who seek it for its own sake. You may feel like an anarchist but if you only consider the facts that support your argument you’re engaging in party politics – and you don’t even belong to one.

* Otherwise they’re opinions.

People online do not so much express opinions as they take positions, and by a ratcheting process tighten that position’s grip on them until they cannot move. We spend a lot of our time exchanging views with virtual strangers, this could be a very good thing, but we’re judging each other not through close association but snippets of polemic. It lends itself to correspondence and confirmation biases, ad hominem, and my favourite: ‘no true Scotsman’.* Just as a person who follows the herd is no use to anyone but the herdsman, having one dud opinion doesn’t make you an idiot.

* I like to regularly scroll through a list of cognitive biases and see where I might have fallen for them. I recommend it as a useful daily meditation.

It seems to me that the proudly-identifying class-reductionists are dividing the class by making arbitrary judgements about who’s allowed to play. We need to abandon cultural conceptions of class entirely. It doesn’t matter whether you listen to hip-hop or opera, or whether you know which fork to pick your nose with, class is a power relation, and it’s pretty daft opposing people who have no discernible power over each other. It’s not just posh people who have a sense of entitlement either, one Trump supporter lamented that: “white people always go to the back of the queue” – well that’s how you queue mate.

It goes without saying the bourgeoisie would like to abolish class struggle altogether, their aim is to de-stratify their market, leaving a socio-economic continuum in which no member will easily recognise a common interest with any other – unless they specifically want to. If they succeed in this have they won? Must we refuse to trust one another or work together? Alternately aspiring and resenting, or sneering at the one next to us on the slope? They told us they’d won when the Berlin wall came down and a certain mirage of Working Class-ism evaporated, but now it’s all up for grabs and the stakes have never been higher.

Well that was a bit of a disjointed ramble, I’ll post it anyway, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, heh, heh, heh.

Mal C x.

Jonathan Sacks, hypocritical wanker.

If you only know him from his tedious radio broadcasts you might be surprised at what a nasty piece of work Jonathan Sacks actually is.

So whilst we’re all trawling the archives, the sanctimonius bore gets a mention in this article from +972 Magazine Published in May 2013:

A year in review: Anti-African racism and asylum seekers in Israel

There’s a lot of it, and be warned, it’s a pretty harrowing read.

“The campaign to cover up Israel’s persecution of African asylum seekers is not only fought by the Israeli government itself. The cause is also eagerly taken up by Zionist celebrities, such as British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who had the gall to claim in February that Israel leads the world in accepting asylum seekers.”

Perhaps he was exercising ‘British irony’.

“Since Israel took over responsibility for reviewing refugee status requests from UNHCR, out of the 60,000 non-Jewish African asylum seekers living in Israel, Israel has approved only one single solitary application. And that one African woman that the State of Israel, in all of its magnanimity, has deigned to bequeath refugee status upon – is an albino.”

A racist endeavour? Decide for yourselves.

Fuck anti-Africanism, fuck anti-Semitism, fuck Jonathon Sacks.

Clean water for the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine

You can donate here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jordanvalleywaterwells

Water. Something we all take for granted until it isn’t there. Unfortunately, for many of the Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine, they can’t take it for granted. Not because of natural disaster or scarcity, but because the Israeli occupation is using access to water as a strategy to drive Palestinians from their land and into the cities.

We at Jordan Valley Solidarity are working together with Palestinian communities and NGOs to rebuild water pipes, re-dig wells and to bring piped, fresh water to isolated communities so that these communities can continue to resist the ethnic cleansing of their land.

Where is the Jordan Valley?

The Jordan Valley is the easternmost third of the occupied West Bank and runs from the border with 1948 Israel in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches all the way from Kenya to Syria and, at more than 400m below sea level, forms the lowest inhabited place on the planet. It is also completely occupied by the Israeli military.

95% of the Valley is designated as Area C, meaning that it is under the direct control of the Israeli military authorities. This 95% excludes the largest towns and town centres but includes numerous Palestinian villages and Bedouin communities. At least 58,000 Palestinians reside in this jurisdiction but deliberate Israeli policies have caused this to decrease from 300,000 in 1967.

The Jordan Valley is situated on a natural aquifier. Hot summers and ready access to underground water mean that it is perfectly situated for mass agriculture. Since 1967, huge Israeli agribusiness settlements have increasingly colonised the land and overwhelmingly dominated access to resources whilst forcing Palestinian residents off the land. Israel has made no secret of its intention to annex the Valley permanently in the eventuality that it is forced into a two-state solution, citing both security and business desires.

What has this got to do with water?

The West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, sits on top of a huge natural aquifier. This means that water should be a readily available natural resource.

Yet, the inhabitants of this same territory are deprived of it. In Area C, Palestinians are routinely refused permission to build the infrastructure for clean water. When they build it anyway, the occupation sends soldiers and bulldozers to fill in the wells and destroy the pipes. This means that Palestinians have to buy tanks of water from the Israeli state water company at exorbitant prices.

The vast majority of villages, communities and farmers have seen their access to water destroyed by the occupation that steals this ‘blue gold’ for the benefit of settlers, as well as Israeli civil society through big companies such as Mekorot. By denying access to water, the occupation hopes to force Palestinians into exile in the cities or abroad, thus, clearing more space for Israeli-only settlements.

There is a law established by the occupation in area C, which says that when a Palestinian does not cultivate land for 3 consecutive years, then it no longer belongs to them and becomes property of the occupation.

But how can a Palestinian farmer cultivate their land when their access to water is made almost impossible? They will be a farmer who will no longer have the energy to fight the occupation. A farmer who will have no viable and secure land to ensure the future of his family, to pass on to his descendants.

What can we do about it?

Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) has teamed up with six international charities, local communities and a network of Palestinian NGOs to complete a campaign of building works bringing clean water facilities to communities in the Valley. We are looking for £7000 to pay for materials and the cost of paying local labourers a fair wage (and thus putting money into the economy) for their work.

Palestinians have an Arabic word, Samoud. Samoud translates most clearly as ‘steadfastness’ and is used by the Palestinians to express their desire to resist the ethnic cleansing of the occupation by staying exactly where they are. This means finding ways to live, work and live family lives in the midst of the violence and harassment of the occupation.

Israel wants to make life impossible for the Palestinians of the Valley so that they up sticks and leave. By donating towards the Water Campaign you are directly contributing to the resistance against the occupation. To Exist is to Resist.

What is JVS going to do about it?

We are going to dig a new water well, 150 metres deep to access the falling water table. This well will be accessed by 40 large Palestinian families who are currently forced to buy the water from under their feet from Israel. This well will also provide emergency water to other communities during the hot, dry summer months. If the occupation destroys the well, we will dig it again.

Half of the cost of this work is being donated by Palestinian civil society groups and we are raising the other half. The more we raise, the more work we can do.

Who is Jordan Valley Solidarity?

Jordan Valley Solidarity campaign is a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups from all over the Jordan Valley and international supporters. Our aims are to protect Palestinian existence and the unique environment of the Jordan Valley by building international support and supporting communities on the ground.

www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org