Red and Black Telly roundup.











Corona comment number five, from the South of England: Snake oil and tinfoil, by Mal Content.

Clockwise from left: Buttar supports Trump, Buttar supports the military, Icke talks crap about BLM, Kate Shemirani on ‘sons of liberty’, Sherri Tenpenny and Alex Jones, Senator Jensen on ‘Go Right’ a ‘gays for trump’ channel.

The corona virus has thrown the ruling class into disarray. Their sales pitch, that their institutional and economic hegemony is capable of managing the infrastructure to the benefit of all, fell at the first hurdle, as the economy was effectively pitted against itself.

Meanwhile yet another fault line has opened in the anarchist movement, and what for the sake of argument we can call the libertarian left (social democrats and Bolsheviks need not apply). Part of it has embraced Benthamism, sacrificing individual judgement to someone else’s (invariably the ruling class’) statistical aggregate of the greater good. Some find finger-pointing and curtain-twitching a worthwhile use of their time. In promoting his Panopticon prison design, Bentham commented: “As the watchmen cannot be seen, they need not be on duty at all times, effectively leaving the watching to the watched.” In fact that principle has informed all more-or-less totalitarian states ever since. As a utilitarian, materialist, libertarian socialist I reject Bentham’s definition of utility and there are many well-known thought experiments that reduce it to the absurd.

At the other end of the scale ‘professional contrarians’ come across like petulant teenagers answering back to their dads. People who’ve spent years masked up for nefarious purposes will demonstrate without them now they are officially sanctioned – of all the things they could protest about! How hard we tried to get the ‘peaceful protesters’ to hide their faces as cover for the ones prepared to kick off. We dreamed of a world where face coverings were worn as a matter of course and we could blend into the mass.

I’ve already given my opinion that masks are a placebo. Can you smell smoke through your mask, even outside from six feet away? Ever smoked a chillum through a rag? The largest smoke particles are like boulders compared with corona viruses, the smallest are comparable and both are within the colloidal range, in other words they are capable of being indefinitely suspended in air by Brownian motion. So do it or don’t do it as you please, and if a fellow worker hands me a book and asks me to write down a name and address it’s no hardship. It won’t be mine of course and I suspect they know that. I don’t ever recall debating with a copper my right to use marijuana, I’d just say I didn’t have any and hoped I’d hidden it well enough.

We’ve had a lot of fun ridiculing the floundering politicians’ arbitrary “guidance” and the middle-class dupes who rationalise it. We caution against taking anything on trust in an untrustworthy world, but some anti-authoritarians have chosen to rub shoulders with even less trustworthy and more authoritarian tendencies. We have taken issue with our long-standing comrades at The Acorn/Winter Oak over their promotion of a rally by stand up x, a motley collection of flat-earthers who postulate as always a liberal elite – led by George Soros no doubt, denying them their right to live in the fourteenth century. On the net you’re only ever three clicks from David Icke, except the stand up x facebook page, then it’s one click, and they’ve booked him for the 29th August. It’s all there, guy Fawkes masks, butchers’ aprons, fox news, NWO, secret paedophile rings. The anti-malaria drug being pushed by Bolsonaro is manufactured by the Brazilian military for obvious reasons, it wouldn’t surprise me if Derek Guff had his finger in that particular pie also.

What is their protest intended to achieve; business as usual or just business? Protest always smacks of supplication and this was never more likely to fall on deaf ears, if you want to “stand up to the system” withdraw your labour, occupy the means of production or expropriate property.

On the platform:

  • Dolores Cahill, Irish freedom party – big on law and order, except hate crime which is just free speech.
  • Dr Zac Cox, a ‘homeopathic dentist’.
  • Dr Adil, who claims SARS CoV2 isn’t a virus at all.
  • Dr Eric Nepute, purveyor of vitamin products who does think it’s a virus, and has been warned off by the Federal Trade Commission for selling quack cures for it, uses words like “bazillion” on his website – clever bloke.
  • Dr Scott Jensen, Republican senator for Minnesota, who features on breitbart and ‘Go Right’, a Bush Fellow and god-botherer.
  • Dr Mikael Norway – sorry, no idea who they are.
  • Dr Sherry Tenpenny, another quack, author of ‘Saying no to Vaccines.’
  • Kate Shemirani, who sells mistletoe injections for cancer and expensive “beauty products”, appears on the ‘sons of liberty’: “Re-shaping America by redirecting future generations to our Judeo Christian heritage through education and media.”
  • Dr Andrew Kaufmann, whose website has a massive disclaimer that it doesn’t offer any medical advice, though he will give you a consultation for a fee.
  • Dr Kevin Corbett, an artist with a PhD in social sciences.
  • Rashid Buttar, a struck-off doctor, conspiracy theorist, anti-vaccine proponent, and youtuber. He has twice been reprimanded by the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners for unprofessional conduct and cited by the FDA for illegal marketing of unapproved and adulterated drugs. He variously claims 5g and chemtrails cause Covid, or that it is a biological weapon of the Chinese state.
  • Piers Corbyn, climate change denier and general-purpose nutcase.

You wouldn’t want to be seen with these wankers, unless you’re stood on the Minnesota senator’s neck.

The anarchist response to pandemic is the same as to any other situation. Do as much research as you feel necessary, apply your judgement and experience, consult whoever you trust then make up your mind and do as you see fit. Whether to visit your grandmother on her deathbed is a personal decision to be taken on its merits. You may find yourself balancing actual harm with hypothetical harm and wish to weight those two factors differently. I won’t be lectured on “protecting the NHS” by those who have spent forty years trying to abolish it, or the ones who sat back on their arses while we were picketing things and getting arrested. Petitions don’t count.

The NHS for all its benefits is a capitalist employer and an arm of the corporate state. The people who run it do so not for the benefit of its workers or patients but for their investors and for “UK-PLC” which requires that at least some of us are fit to augment their capital. Science is not to be used as propaganda; it is simply an enquiry into the nature of things informed by empiricism and logic. Faulty logic and badly designed experiments will give you duff gen. Disagreement is to be welcomed and should help us see the wood for the trees, there are no sides to this, if you like to stand in lines shouting at each other, crack on, it does nothing for me.

Morality must be balanced with utility, like strategy and tactics neither is any use on its own. We can all do that without getting into bed with the lunatic fringe of the American religious right. Any movement devoid of class analysis is worthless to us. We recall the awful mess Occupy got into with ‘freemen on the land’ and all that bollocks about the Magna Carta. There are people out there who believe fluoridation makes you gay, vaccination is a conspiracy to stupefy us, and 5g is about mind control. They would sell you bogus medicines for cancer or tell you to pray it away. Unlike the kind of street fascist who really does benefit from a Totector in the face, our best weapon against these cranks is ridicule, but we’ll make an exception for Senator Jensen.

Workers are every day having to decide between unsafe environments and starvation or homelessness. These are not decisions toff politicians ever have to make, nor will they help you do so. The latest tory decree on “shielding” has just given the bosses an excuse to shed workers with chronic health conditions that were protected characteristics under EA10. I’m reminded of the story of the potato farmer who lived by Chernobyl. When the evacuees started to return they found the old man had never left. The potatoes that came up the first year after the fire looked a bit odd, he admitted, but you could eat them. A man had come from the government, “don’t you know those potatoes can kill you?” “Not as fast as no potatoes!” was the response.

Why are we still having these silly arguments? Partly because we are not deeply enough rooted in the class, we are peripheral to it. Before the politicians even took an interest in corona the anarchist movement stopped what it was doing to organise community support and mutual aid, but it lacked the clout to shut down the economy; that requires mass direct action. We have become reactive, so many of our Class are hostages to the market that we have shifted our focus from dismantling the hateful death machine to mitigating its effects on the most vulnerable. A look at our history will reveal that it is often the most vulnerable who stop the wheels. To put it crudely, if you’ve got a rock and one good arm you can throw it, better do that than lament the shortage of rocks. Don’t allow your perceived privileges to immobilise you!

If you can’t think for yourself who’s going to do it for you? Not the bungling fraudsters in Westminster, who obtained their jobs under false pretences. Not their politically-appointed experts, who like David Knutt will get fired for publishing science that contradicts their policy. Not internet con-artists who make a living flogging crap. Not flag-waving, god-bothering numbskulls. Not tinfoil-hatted keyboard worriers. The Working Class must decide what is good for it and that requires us to collectivise each issue, the bigger it is, the more collective our response must be.

We’re just going to have to sort this one out ourselves.

Third comment on corona virus pandemic, from the south of England: The future of our Class. By Mal Content.

Parts 1 & 2 can be found here.

“Always be honest and logical with honest and logical people, never be either with a system that is neither.”

– Carl Cattermole: The Prison Survival Guide.

This is written as the British government has once again changed the “rules”* for the territory of England. Scotland and Wales will continue to make their own, under the devolved administration, and of course Ireland will have two sets, causing people to scurry back and forth across the border.

* What a stupid idea; no-one ever takes pride in following rules, only in getting around them.

I’m not remotely interested in these changes, which only reflect what people were doing anyway, or what the state found it could not police, with a smattering of pointless detail on precisely under what circumstances people are “allowed” to meet others from outside their “household”* to give the impression some thought has gone into it.

* I’ll take a moment to deconstruct this bourgeois concept; it is a hateful thing and we should have no truck with it. It implies property ownership and once involved a retinue of servants, including women and children who had no agency and were subject to abuse.

The privatisation of domestic space that accompanied the separation of production from reproduction encouraged Working Class folk, contrary to their own traditions, to mimic the bourgeois household and abuse their own.

The nuclear family is simply the most efficient unit for wage labourers to reproduce at their own expense. The Working Class has always drawn its strength from the extended family, tribe or village; the atomisation of these support mechanisms has been high on the capitalist agenda since the industrial and agricultural revolutions.

Anyone who believes the policy-makers are wiser than us is irredeemably stupid and at high risk of dying from something or other at any time. For example some fuckwit has decided that public transport is safer than car-sharing! For a taste of just how dense these people are, here’s a screen shot from the government’s own website:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary: “Retail is the sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale.” – Not wholesale, transport, research, manufacturing, cleaning, construction or admin. But you knew that, and so did I.

My purpose here is to examine the class dynamics that will develop in the aftermath, and how we can turn these to our advantage. Indeed, how we must if we are to avoid the bleak future the bosses have planned for us.

As stated previously the concept of “lock down” is construed entirely in bourgeois terms. Their slogan “stay at home, stay safe” is aimed at a tiny minority who are thus able to monopolise the moral high ground. If I had a pound for every middle class prick on the radio telling us “we all work from home now” whilst waiting for a Worker to deliver their groceries, I’d be able to retire. The television combines corporate team-building bullshit with adverts for technological gimmicks and online gambling.

For the precarious and heavily exploited people who keep the infrastructure running, the only noticeable effect of “lock down” has been the closure of their leisure facilities and meeting places, reduction of already sparse and overcrowded public transport, queueing at the shops, and the pressure of a potentially unsafe working environment. The bosses have tacked a ‘race to the bottom’ in health and safety on to that of wages and security.

Workers in hospitality and entertainment, bar and sex work have been subjected to a simple lock-out. The “furlough” scheme is inadequate and doesn’t apply to everyone; 80% of fuck all is fuck all.

Added to this, is the interruption of Working Class children’s education, and loss of their main/only meal of the day, yet another handicap in the lottery of life. It hasn’t occurred to the toffs that many families rely on free school meals to feed their kids, or perhaps they have reverted to the 20th century tactic of using starvation to keep the lower orders from developing.

The changes will feed a new group of workers to the virus, after healthcare, logistics and transport, now manufacturing and construction, whilst the idle rich – including the media and politicians – continue to hide themselves away. Golf and tennis are coming back, but not basketball or boxing. It’s all intended to keep the bourgeoisie firmly in the saddle. As ever, the workers suffer and scrimp to protect their masters’ wasteful and extravagant lifestyles, the bourgeoisie’s self-inflicted crisis of 2007 fell entirely on the poor whilst the rich got steadily richer without a hiccup.

The tinfoil hat merchants would have us imagine the entire situation has been manufactured to allow the imposition of totalitarianism, I won’t entertain this idea, we know our leaders are all bent, but they really aren’t that clever. Neoliberal disaster capitalism is programmed to exploit every crisis to increase the power of the ruling class – but not at the expense of everyday commerce. Even the most unscrupulous capitalists: Virgin’s Branson, Wetherspoons’ Tim Martin and B.A.’s Willy Walsh, bemoan the ineptitude of their political lackeys.

They have visibly been caught on the hop, despite having been warned by the study they commissioned in 2016 that the NHS would not be able to cope with a pandemic, they carried on squeezing it and flogging it off. They shot themselves in the foot with ‘brexit’ and presumed we would carry the can for that as well. You’ve only got to look at that idiot Boris de Pfeffle Johnson pointing at a graph on telly to conclude that he’d never set eyes on one before. Nor are we fooled by their arbitrary “steps” and “phases”. Pfeffle will be getting the sack as soon as they can find a replacement; there should also be hue and cry from our Class over the thousands of unnecessary deaths from their failure to procure adequate PPE, ventilators or testing.

Ask yourselves: how much longer will you let this gang of chancers blight your future in pursuit of their failed neoliberal project?

The money economy is going to take the biggest hit of its life. It was not fully developed during the Black Death and since the modern banking system appeared in the late mediaeval period it has always been fed and watered by the expansion of empires. War has never hurt the bourgeoisie, two World Wars and the cold one generated huge state subsidies to industry for the development of technologies they would come to own and protect with patents. Almost everything we take for granted in the modern world was invented for the military. The debt thus created and traded is underwritten by the Working Class.

This is entirely different, it’s a straight contraction of commercial activity; it has not served any of the functions of war: to destroy surplus production, to cull the working population*, no lucrative technologies have been developed and there will be no rebuilding of infrastructure. The bosses will be desperate to recoup their losses and expect us to do it for them. Capitalism will not survive unless it is carefully nurtured, unless we sacrifice to make up their profits, and why would we want to do that?

* Appalling though it is, the death toll will not have a significant effect on the labour market.

There is going to be mass unemployment, homelessness, failure of health and welfare systems, and vast numbers of empty buildings – what are we going to do about it?

If the anarchist movement has any value in the modern world we must be on hand to offer credible alternatives, bring our experience to bear and lead by example. This is the moment we have been waiting for.

We need to squat everything – including residential dwellings – in an organised systematic fashion and we will need to exercise self-discipline, not just because the virus is likely to be with us for some time. We recall the devastation wreaked on Working Class communities by thatcher. People on the street without support can rapidly lose self-respect, empathy and focus.

The spooks are most likely going to flood the country with cheap smack as they did in the 80’s, or maybe ketamine. Don’t be prison fodder; if they can’t extract your surplus-value they will lock you up and make money out of you that way.

There will be skilled trades-people standing idle who can co-operatively prepare buildings for use once the homeless have taken and secured them.

Occupy unused land and grow food on it.

Turn disused restaurants into free canteens for the Working Class.

Set up neighbourhood supply and defence committees to protect the vulnerable and resist evictions, deportations etc.

Create no-go areas for cops, bailiffs and other undesirables.

We should look into occupying manufacturing facilities with a view to making something useful (to us). The simple act of setting up a co-operative venture, learning and sharing new skills, organising the work and supply chain by consensus, prepares us to take over industry once and for all.

Some will find teaching their children at home works for them. With the range of skills and experiences available to the extended family or ‘village’ kids can learn much more than how to fit themselves to the wage system. Who knows, they might actually find things they enjoy and are good at.

Empty offices can be social centres, libraries, medical or legal drop-in points, venues for gigs, film shows, seminars, meetings, self-defence training or whatever you want.

We should have our own radio stations, they’re more fun than the internet and easier to keep a grip on.

It has been suggested there will be no live entertainment this year, well they can fucking back out with that! We may see a revival of the free party/festival scene, playing cat and mouse with the babylon. Parties could be timed to coincide with more serious expropriations. The more we stretch their resources the less they will have to evict squatters.

Those of us who find ourselves by chance still in waged labour are another front. It beggars belief after decades of austerity and precarity that most of our Class are still not unionised. If this is you, get into one fast, you can join the IWW for a pound a month unwaged, or, if appropriate, one of the more location and industry specific such as UVW, CAIWU and IWGB. It will fall to us to prevent the boss class re-asserting itself; all the old Wobbly tactics are as relevant as ever.

  • Sick-in, the slightest sniffle will now give you good reason to take seven days self-certified, you’re doing society a favour!
  • Good work strike, be kind to your class, turn a blind eye to shoplifting for example.
  • Sabotage (need not involve physical damage), use your imagination here.
  • Expropriation (theft), you need never queue for bog rolls again!
  • Open mouth (whistle blowing); let’s hold the bosses fast to the rules while we break them.
  • Working to rule. Health and safety legislation allows any worker to walk off the job if they believe it poses a risk to themselves, their colleagues or the public. They cannot be disciplined for this and their belief does not have to be correct, only reasonable. This is a good excuse for a sit-down strike while they sort it out.
  • Shirking, skiving, go-slow; take it in turns to do fuck all for half an hour, see above.
  • Dual power: organise the work to suit yourselves and by-pass the boss, it’s good training for when there isn’t one.
  • Bombard management with grievances to tie them up and waste their time; I see no problem with using the law as it is the terrain on which we operate, so make yourself an expert. It’s skewed in favour of the bosses but this has led to a culture of impunity whereby most of them can’t be arsed to familiarise themselves with it, which leaves a lot of ‘low hanging fruit’. It’s akin to hitting your opponent with the door or the wall rather than bringing a cosh to the party. The only thing that matters in a fight is who’s left standing at the end of it.

You’ll find more tactical detail here:

How to Fire Your Boss – a workers’ guide to direct action.

Here’s a pamphlet on taking over the healthcare sector:

Defend the NHS – fight for socialised healthcare. By Felix Sabot.

Let’s hope it’s a long, hot summer and we have some good riots.

Mal C. X

RED AND BLACK TELLY: NEW YEARS MESSAGE.

And from us a very happy and successful New Year to insurrectionists, insurgents, malcontents and troublemakers around the globe!

Red And Black Telly: EXTINCTION REBELLION – FIRST DAYS PROTEST.

How Goldsmiths students took on campus racism and actually won

gal-dem

By Micha Frazer-Carroll

Photography by Micha Frazer-Carroll

After 137 days in occupation, students of colour at Goldsmiths have won a long, gruelling fight against their university – marking what can only be described as a momentous achievement. The group’s demands, which the university has now agreed to meet, were extensive; including requesting that colonisers’ statues be taken down, scholarships should be reinstated for Palestinian students, the university should investigate the possibility of colonial reparations, launch an institution-wide plan to tackle racism at the university, introduce unconscious bias training for members of academic staff, issue an audit of the curricula, and ensure training and investment for culturally competent counselling services, to name a few.

Fiona, a second year anthropology and media student, had previously told me that as far as they were concerned, it was “all or nothing” – the students wouldn’t leave the university’s administrative centre until their demands were agreed to be met. Even though the university pursued legal action against the students, with a court hearing taking place in the week before the occupation ended, Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team (SMT) did eventually sign a legally binding document to commit to their demands.

Read full post

Street Medics — Keeping Our Movements Healthy and Safe

medium.com

This is the third segment in the Lawyers, Lockboxes and Money series, a project that explores the role shared social movement infrastructure has played in social movement uprisings and how this infrastructure has evolved over time, moving across issue areas and geographies to knit together a shared fabric of progressive social movements.

Over the past decade, people across the US and around the world have taken to the streets in wave after wave of popular uprising. They have camped out in city centers and remote construction sites through hot summers and cold winters. They’ve faced down militarized police forces with their chemical weapons, fire hoses, tasers, clubs, and rubber bullets. And in each of these uprisings, teams of medics have mobilized alongside protestors, warriors and protectors, to keep our movements healthy and safe and in the streets.

DC Medic Collective

[…] more

CBSA Offices Shut Down by Migrant Justice Activists in honour of Mr. Bolante Idowu Alo and our Deported Friends and Neighbours

Found at: Solidarity Across Borders
August 30, 2018

2Montreal CBSA offices were shut down this morning in honour of Mr. Bolante Idowu Alo and of our friends, family members and neighbours who have been deported. Migrant justice activists blocked and chained all doors to the building and employees were not able to enter the building to carry on their work for two hours.

PHOTOS
VIDEO

We want to ensure that business could not go on as usual. Mr. Bolante Idowu Alo died violently at the hands of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA): we cannot let them carry on as though nothing has happened. We call on our communities to not only condemn this outrageous violence but take action to stop it from happening again.

Mr. Alo lived in Canada for 13 years. He repeatedly told Canadian officials that his life was in danger in Nigeria. CBSA nevertheless proceeded with his deportation on 7 August; Mr. Alo died shortly after he was taken off the plane that was supposed to deport him.

We took this action to challenge the normalization of CBSA violence, and of deportations and detentions of migrants and refugees. We want to hold the CBSA accountable. Mr. Alo is not the first person to die in CBSA custody. And he should never have been threatened with deportation in the first place.
We are also remembering other friends, family members, and neighbours who have been detained and forcibly deported from Canada by the CBSA, like Lucy Francineth Granados, who was deported on 13 April 2018, leaving holes in our lives and communities.

In 2016, Canada issued 11,733 removal orders: some left “voluntarily”, others were deported, still others remained to become undocumented migrants. Of the migrants who crossed irregularly into Canada to flee the Trump regime, whose cases have been heard, less than 50% have been accepted as refugees; this figure drops to 10% in the case of Haitians. People whose refugee claims are refused are ordered to return to their countries of citizenship – including to Haiti, despite the fact that Canada issued a warning against travel to Haiti.

In support of the shut down, people gathered outside CBSA offices for a public mourning of Mr. Alo and their deported friends and neighbours. A coffin was placed in front of the building. Black silhouettes with the names of friends who had been deported were lined up against the wall. The rally demanded the abolition of the new Ministry of Border Security, a moratorium on deportations to Haiti, and an end to the deportations of refugees and migrants.

#StopDeportations
#shutdownCBSA
#PortesClosesASFC

 

The mass protests in Baghdad and Southern Iraq continue

By Zaher Baher: Iraq-Sulaymaniyah 24/07/2018

The protests in Baghdad and Southern Iraq still continue and have entered the 3rd week now. So far the protesters have been able to protect their own  independency and none of the political parties or the regional governments  have been able to tame or control them.

While some of the media outlets, particularly Al Jazeera tries to discredit the protesters and describe them as foreign-backed  groups and agents of the United States of America (USA). However, the Iraqi government, to certain extent, acknowledged the legitimacy of the protesters’ demands.  The Iraqi Prime Minister, Hadier al-Abadi agreed to spend $3 million to meet some of the demands of the people.

In fact , there is no doubt that USA, Iran, and the other neighbouring states try to domesticate the protesters, as they  want to intervene in Iraq, to control it to remain in a weak position for their own interest. However, they know that the collapse of the Iraqi government under the pressure of mass protests, demonstrations or uprising is not in their interest.  The “Arab Spring” has given them a good lesson .

It is absolutely certain that the  demands of the people are legitimate. The people have been suffering for so long and now have no choice but to force the government, through their uprisings, to meet some of their demands.

The protests, which started on 08/ 07/2018 triggered when the Iranian authority switched off the electric power from Basra when the
temperature was around 50 degrees. The protests are getting  bigger and bigger and have extended to Baghdad and various other towns and cities in southern Iraq.  See the link : http://anarkismo.net/article/31071

On Sunday the 22nd for the third time, thousands of protesters gathered in Al Tahrir Square in Baghdad and confronted by the heavily armed Iraqi police and security forces. According to the Human Rights Commission report until last Friday, the 20th of July, 14 protesters have been killed,  729 injured and another 757 have been detained .

Furthermore, on the same Sunday the protesters managed to occupy an oilfield  in Nasiryah . According to Almada Daily Political Newspaper, the protesters detained 75 of the workers and other staff members of the oilfield.   The demands of the protesters were including clean water, increasing wages, and employing 270 more workers. Although, the authority claim that no one has been detained by the protesters, however, it confirmed that the oilfield has been occupied and negotiation between the authority and the protesters was going on.

In fact we do not know whether the protesters will be able to achieve all their demands or not , but we know for sure that they discredited the politicians, the political parties and the government. In my opinion the struggle of the people has progressed and left the sectarian war behind. They have begun  to realise the fact that whoever rules them is, more or less, the same. Perhaps the only difference between the  rulers is the different ways of exploitation, dictating and robbing the people.

Mass Protest in Central and Southern Iraq

Zaher Baher: Iraq- Sulaymaniyah 16/07/2018

It looks like the US and Western Countries’ propaganda, and the illusions of religion and nationalism, are no longer working for the people in central and southern Iraq. It might be that the time has arrived to end the sectarianism between Shia and Sunna.  It’s fifteen years since the collapse of Saddam Hussain and there has been thirteen years (2005) of Shia government. The failure of the election process and parliamentary system should have given both Iraqi Shia and Sunna the lesson that the real changes cannot happen through this process and establishment. This was probably also the main reason only 38% of the electorate participated in Iraq general election in May this year.

During this period the real winners were the politicians, businessmen, government ministers, heads of government departments and the foreign companies. The loser are the ordinary people who has lost everything – even the little they had under Saddam Hussein’s regime. In addition, people has been suffering badly at the hands of corruption, privatisation, injustice, unemployment, a sectarian war, the widening a gap between rich and poor and lack of gas, electric and clean water.

People in central and southern Iraq obviously don’t want to continue living this kind of life. For almost a week the people of Basra (a city rich from oil and gas and controlled by the central government and foreign oil corporations) have been fighting the authorities. The oil companies employ thirty thousand people – none of them from Basra.

Basra is the 3rd most important city in Iraq after Baghdad and Mosul where over five million people live. They have suffered terribly at the hands of the local authority and foreign companies. They have no decent health treatment or education.  According to one Iraqi report 48% of Basra’s residents have been diagnosed with a type of cancer whose cause has been linked to depleted uranium.  Because of all this, the people of Iraq, especially those in the south and central area had no choice but to fight back against both local and central government.

Protesters in Basra have occupied many government’s buildings and offices and are involved in street fighting with the police and security forces.  People have also set fire to offices and the headquarters of political parties in the city.

Since Friday 13th July protest have spread to many other towns and cities including Nasiryah, Maysan, Qadisiyyah, Karbal, Thi Qar , Babil and Najaf. In Najaf, the most Holy Shia City in Iraq, protesters managed to occupy and take control of the airport. In Basra they are trying to take control of the oil fields and refineries to stop oil being exported. On Saturday afternoon further protests started in four neighbourhoods of Baghdad very close to the Green Zone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Zone) – a hugely sensitive place in Baghdad.  It seems that the central government has now imposed a night curfew in certain areas of Baghdad.  Other reports talk about the cutting off of the main road by the government  between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

The situation is so tense that Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minster of Iraq, shortened his visit to Brussels so he could return to Basra on Saturday to have a meeting with the authorities, politicians, and the heads of police and security in Basra.  Protesters tried to occupy the meeting hall but they were crushed by the police and the security.

We do not know the exact numbers of people killed or injured as there are many different reports. Some reports confirm over twenty protesters killed, more than 240 injured and over 1000 protesters arrested. In the mean-time central government doesn’t want the news of protesters and their activities reaching other cities. From Saturday morning until Monday morning Facebook was down and form Saturday 6pm until after 11am on Sunday there was no internet.

We do not know what the outcome will be, but so far political parties haven’t managed to restrain or control the protests. And, at present there are no religion demand, slogans, anthems or shouting “God is Great” from the protestors.

However, if people do not organise themselves in non-hierarchical independent groups in every work places, streets and neighbourhoods to coordinate their actions it is difficult to be optimistic about the situation. There is also the possibility that protesters face the dirty policy of the government  and the bloody tactics in killing of the state that push protesters to defend themselves with weapons. This could change their mass struggle through peaceful demonstrations and protests to a civil war. Recent history of the “Arab Spring” shows that civil wars only really benefit those in authority, the rich, the corporations and the system in general.