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.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton – protest tomorrow.

Dear All

I hope you are well and not wilting in the heat. Thank you to everyone who supported Glyn, Jon and Sally on their Big Ride for Palestine. They raised £300 for the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the money will be targeted for children’s Play equipment in Gaza.

Stop Arming Israel Campaign -HSBC Bank Town Centre- 22nd August

Southampton PSC will be Campaigning outside HSBC Bank in the town centre, Above Bar Street on 22nd August from 10.30 am -12.30. Please come and add your voice. We will be asking people to sign a petition asking the UK Government to place a two way arms embargo on Israel.

According to the Campaign against the Arms Trade, between 2014-2018 the UK provided export licenses for the export of military equipment to Israel worth £364 million.

HSBC bank invests in and provides financial services to, companies such as BAE Systems and Raytheon that provide arms to Israel.HSBC also invests in Caterpillar, a company that provides armed bulldozers that Israel uses to destroy Palestinian homes.

Please come and get involved in this campaign.

We will have flags and placards. We will be respecting social distancing guidelines and we advise that you wear a face covering.

We look forward to seeing you.

Warm Regards Cathryn Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC)

Remember to follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/southamptonpsc

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

From: PSCSouthampton. pscsoton@gmail.com

Dear All

The state of Israel under Prime Minister Netanyahu, is set to annex much of the West Bank from July 1st onwards. This is unlikely to happen all in one swoop because the state of Israel will want to minimize international reaction but Israel looks set to annex most of the small amount of land that is left to Palestine. This will mean that there will no longer be an effective State of Palestine. The little that will be left will be small unconnected territories heavily controlled by Israel and with no corridors connecting them. This is illegal under international law. Palestine is a state recognised by the UN. However Israel has the support of President Trump and with the world preoccupied by the Coronavirus they may not be much international opposition.

Israel has already announced that Palestinian citizens living in land to be annexed will not have citizen rights in Israel.

Please join us outside West Quay in Above Bar Southampton at 11am on July 4th to demonstrate against this illegal land grab.

Let’s remind people to call on Israel to End Apartheid. Stop the Annexation of Palestine and call on the UK and the EU to implement sanctions. Sanctions Now

We will provide flags and Placards, although please bring your own if you wish. We intend to respect social distancing rules on public gatherings therefore we will not be giving out leaflets and we will be dividing into small groups of six and staying apart . We would advise the wearing of a face mask.

Please also write to your MP. Call on the UK government to implement a ban on all trade with Israeli settlements and for a two way arms embargo on Israel. You can follow the link below to send an email to your MP.

Please also sign the online statement to stand in opposition to annexation.

Write to your MP
http://www.palestinecampaign.eaction.online/parliamentannexation

Sign the Statement
http://www.palestinecampaign.eaction.online/stopannexation

Please also see our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/southamptonpsc

Red and Black Telly roundup







Red and Black Telly roundup



Kick over the statues….Colston is going…going…gone By Randell Brantley

Bristol Radical History Group

Over the last few years in arguments over the commemoration, celebration and memorialisation of slaver-traders we  have been told many times that the so-called ‘traditions’ of Bristol must must be protected. That is code for not changing anything; names of buildings, schools and statues, which are all part of the memorial landscape of Bristol created over the last couple of centuries largely by the merchant and business elite.

Well, there is another great historical tradition in Bristol, that is Bristolians acting together to destroy statues of their oppressors and institutions that oppress them. From the ‘mob’ who put out the eyes of a  prominent slave trader in 1090, the crowds who pulled down the statue of George III in 1813 to those who added the cap of liberty to William III’s statue as fires raged in the Mansion House in Queen Square and the prisons in the 1831 uprising; Bristolians have a long history of sorting these things out, quickly, decisively (and whilst partying at the same time).

Today was no different. It was a surreal, euphoric and peaceful experience which will echo around the world. An eye-witness from BRHG said:

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Upcoming solidarity events with Russian antifascist prisoners and Kevan Thakrar

Cautiously pessimistic

Two important anti-repression events coming up in London in the near future:

On Thursday 27 February, there’s a solidarity demo with the Russian anarchist and antifascist prisoners at 6:30pm outside the Russian Embassy, 6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QP. This event is part of the international week of action called by Crimethinc and the Rupression network.

On March 9th, Kevan Thakrar’s birthday, the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee have organised a protest at the Royal College of Psychiatrists to demand that they stop providing humanitarian cover to a system that’s held Kevan in solitary for ten years. In their words:

“Demonstrate to mark Kevan Thakrar’s 10th year in Close Supervision Centres within the British prison system. Close Supervisions Centres (CSCs) are the most extreme form of imprisonment in the UK, modelled on the ‘supermax’ prisons in the United States. People held in CSCs are often kept apart from others, allowed out of their cells for only a short time each day and denied basic human contact.

Kevan is regularly held in his cell for 23 hours per day and is prevented from speaking with other prisoners. Numerous studies and papers have pointed out the severe damage solitary confinement can cause for those placed in it. As a 2006 paper in Washington University Journal of Law & Policy put it, it has ‘long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning’. To quote from a paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, ‘psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture’.

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ACTION ALERT: KEVAN THAKRAR

IWOC

Urgent support needed!

Our member Kevan Thakrar is currently being held in the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) at HMP Full Sutton. He is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who recently attacked Kevan with a metal flask. The cell is in a blind spot with no CCTV, and Kevan and his family are worried he’s being set up for another attack. Kevan has repeatedly been the victim of racist attacks by other prisoners and guards during his time in prison, most recently when he was stabbed with a shank on 23 December 2019. Prison guards have previously ignored assaults, and Kevan has not been allowed to access appropriate healthcare.

We need everyone to get in touch with HMP Full Sutton to demand that Kevan is NOT MOVED TO THIS CELL. Phone calls, emails, letters all help keep Kevan safe and shows the prison governor that we are aware of what’s happening. Numbers matter! We need as many people to write and call as possible.
Write to

Prison Governor Gareth Sands
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS
Gareth.Sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk
Or phone the prison on 01759 475100
Fax 01759 371206
Cite Kevan’s prisoner number, A4907AE.

Call script:

Hello, I am calling on behalf of Kevan Thakrar who is currently in the CSC at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan has been informed that he is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who has previously attacked him. I am extremely concerned for Kevan’s safety and demand that he is not moved to this cell, but rather is moved out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately.

You can also email the following:

Executive Director for High Security & Long Term Estate for HM Prison and Probation Service, Richard Vince, demanding Kevan be moved from the CSC to a safer location: Richard.Vince02@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Email Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Riding: sothcottt@parliament.uk

Keep Kevan updated with all your actions by email through emailaprisoner.com or letter to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

Interview with Kafeh, Anarchist Movement in Lebanon

Abolition Media Worldwide.

Kafeh

Kafeh, the anarchist movement in Lebanon, has been active in the ongoing revolutionary uprising against the Lebanese state and its capitalist economic policies. We interviewed Kafeh for their perspective on the protests and anarchist organizing in Lebanon.

With so many uprisings taking place around the world, what are some unique features of the uprising in Lebanon?

Lebanon’s uprising is unique by being a revolution against not only one system or one symbol… but against several. Knowing that Lebanon has 18 sects, and each sect having its chiefs and leaders. So this uprising represents the people united against those chiefs that gave us nothing but war and fights and poverty and corruption. Although it has some similarities with other countries’ uprisings, concerning the oppression and the demands.

What issues are people most upset about and what was the turning point that led to such a widespread revolutionary movement in Lebanon?

The main idea is that there is an oligarchy ruling over the country for about 40 years and this regime refuses to give up. We even see fathers giving positions and powers to their sons and grandsons to carry on their corrupted ways of ruling. And as a result of that, the people that are suffering poverty, insecurity, economical and social crisis found no other solution than to revolt, to overthrow this regime.

What are some historical factors that have created the conditions for a revolutionary uprising in Lebanon?

The never-ending cartel of rulers and their families that have deep roots in Lebanon’s history in being regional ruling families over religions, and sects.

As anarchists, what are some of your goals for your involvement in the protests?

The overthrowing of the regime is a great first step, as well as the prosecution and punishment of the corrupt and the abolition of the sectarian laws.

What are some of the anarchist and revolutionary slogans that you have been chanted in protests or painted in graffiti?

  • All of them are in Arabic… but are translated as:
  • The people want to overthrow the regime
  • When the people get hungry, they will eat their rulers
  • Our war is a class war
  • Down with the rule of the military
  • We are the coming nightmare

And of course the anarchist symbol on walls, banks and government buildings.

What long-term preparations can anarchists make to defend the gains made in the revolutionary uprising?

To spread the anarchist philosophy among the people and show them how they can perfectly live without anyone ruling over them.

What current or historical revolutionary movements or figures do you find most inspiring for your group?

The Catalonian revolution, Rojava, Mikhael Bakunin.

Outside of the protest movement, what other organizing has your group been involved in?

Meetings, public debates, social media platforms, research and education.

What kind of actions would you recommend anarchists in other parts of the world taking to show solidarity with revolutionaries in Lebanon?

To be honest, a little funding would be great.

What is your position as anarchists in the Middle East on Trump’s so-called “Peace Plan” for the region?

We show solidarity with all oppressed individuals and groups. Therefore, the people of Palestine should be liberated from the oppression of Israel.