The Authority of the Boot-Maker. By Mal Content.

Here’s the whole thing.
You can all now pick holes in it, not that Mal would give a shit.

Fascism and Antifascism. Part three. Populist fascism: perpetual counter-revolution.

From ‘The Authority of the Boot-maker’ by Mal Content.

“What is this liberal rubbish?
Are you some kind of mug?
Don’t talk to me of ‘free speech’
For murdering fascist thugs

We remember Mosley
And how Cable Street folk fought him
When we see the fash
We let the boots do the talking”

– Oi Polloi

Now I started writing this chapter in 2012, then I paused it to see what would happen, and quite a lot has happened since. Ten years on, Britain has the most explicitly right-wing authoritarian government in its history, suppressing dissent by any means at its disposal. It is supported by computerised surveillance and detection, a police force as brutal, sexist and racist as ever, tamed media and a judiciary who mostly went to the same schools as the executive. The entire island is in counter-insurgency mode.

We’ve seen the rise and fall of the English Defence League and the United Kingdom Independence Party, the election of far-right governments around the world. The United States elected a reactionary-comic television presenter as its 45th President, who clowned around for five years making his office even more of a laughing stock while we wondered if anyone had the sense to disconnect the nuclear button.

In 1945, after six years of war against Nazism, a British labour government permitted the fascists detained under Regulation 18b to resume their activities, and gave them a police escort wherever they went, as unsurprisingly they had no popular constituency whatsoever. They were joined by Axis prisoners of war who were supposedly being rehabilitated. Some of those returned to Germany and maintaining their British contacts, plotted a fourth Reich, under cover of a crank spiritualist group called Ostara. Recently demobbed British Jews reacted with disbelief:

“I had been in the merchant navy, survived two torpedo attacks on the Atlantic convoys, and I came back home to Amhurst Road, Hackney to hugs and kisses. My mother went out to make some tea and my dad said, The bastards are back – Mosley and his Blackshirts

– Morris Beckman, antifascist: to ‘The Guardian’ 2009.

Apart from Spain and Portugal, which retained fascist governments, the only country in Europe where it was legal to glorify Hitler and the holocaust was Britain. Mosley took advantage of this to publish a German-language paper and antisemitic propaganda for distribution by right-wing British service personnel in the occupation zone. After three years of that, Mosley again combined the splinters into the Union Movement, and embarked on an electoral campaign.

“Going from a cinema showing newsreel of piles of Jewish men, women and children being bulldozed into lime pits in the concentration camps, and then passing an outdoor fascist meeting or seeing swastikas whitewashed on the walls of Jewish homes and synagogues affected these ex-servicemen with emotion ranging from choleric anger to a cold hard desire to kill the perpetrators.”

– Morris Beckman: ‘The 43 Group’

The conflict in the British Working Class was inflamed on the one hand, by newsreels of the holocaust, and on the other, by the civil war in Palestine that preceded the establishment of the state of Israel.

“Above all, it was the unfolding extent of the concentration camp horrors that really unhinged us all. It imbued every ex servicemen with a sick sense of shame that no action had ever been taken to try to save the camp inmates. Air crews had no doubt that specialised attacks could have taken out gas chambers, furnaces and SS barracks. Ex-paratroopers and Special Forces veterans argued that drops into and around the camps could have saved many, but nothing was ever attempted, …”

                (ibid.)

You have to keep in mind that Churchill had been an anti-Semite when Hitler was still in short trousers, and so was post-war foreign secretary Ernest Bevin. Bevin was an enthusiast of the ‘Truman Doctrine’ against Soviet influence, so the pre-war squabble between socialist and Communist internationals was still playing into fascist hands. A dedicated imperialist, Bevin opposed Indian independence and set about re-establishing Dutch control in Indonesia, using British, Indian and even Japanese troops to wrest the islands from the indigenous people who had recently liberated them. He was also concerned to limit Jewish emigration to Palestine, declaring to the press on 1st March 1946: “Jews must not try to get to the head of the queue”, sparking riots in Tel Aviv that left six civilians dead, shot by British troops. Some Jewish soldiers refused to clash with their co-religionists and were quietly posted elsewhere.

“Watching the Royal Navy stop Greek and Turkish bucket ships crammed with the sick and broken survivors of the camps and the Pathé Gazette and Movietone films of these same derelicts being incarcerated behind barbed wire in Cyprus, seemed to plumb the very depths of inhumanity.”

(ibid.)

Just as they had been before the war, the fascists were driven off the streets by autonomous direct action. The ‘43 Group’,

Read the rest of it.

Kevan Thakrar transferred to HMP Belmarsh

Justice for Kevan

Kev has been moved to Belmarsh and is currently in the seg.

Write to him: Kevan Thakrar A4907AE, HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, London SE28 0EB.

As he does not yet have his property, please include a stamped envelope with letters if you can!

If you email with Kev, you will also need to change the location under the “recipients” tab on the email a prisoner site.

He is still receiving some post sent to HMP Full Sutton but it is taking longer to get to him.

Death in the English Channel – ACG (GB) and UCL (France) statement

The Anarchist Communist Group.

The following is a statement agreed by the ACG and the Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL) in France.

The recent twenty-seven deaths of refugees in the English Channel follow another ten deaths this year of desperate refugees attempting to cross to the UK. There does not appear to be official figures for the number of deaths in similar circumstances over the last twenty years, but last October a figure of 296 was given of those attempting to cross by boat or tunnel. These latest figures raise the number of deaths to over 330, to say nothing of the thousands who have met their deaths in the Mediterranean. Our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of those who have died.

Both the British and French governments have attempted to place the blame for these deaths on people traffickers. But it wasn’t the traffickers who supplied the arms to vicious authoritarian regimes and who intervened in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, with bombings and occupations, destabilising the region, it was the Western powers, and that includes France and Britain. In addition, the French state has carried out a war against the refugees, dismantling their camps and pulling down their tents in the middle of winter, running out rolls of barbed wire around a camp at Lille and along the railway tracks to Calais, rounding up migrants, subjecting them to harassment, gassings, and strip searches. On the day of the tragedy that resulted in the 27 deaths, the sub-prefect of Boulogne-sur-Mer sent the police to stop the survivors being supplied with dry clothes.

There have been 1,281 recorded attempts to cross the Channel since the beginning of the year, involving a total of 33,083 people, according to the French maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea. The British Home Office recognises that 25,792 refugees managed to reach Kent, and the Maritime Prefecture says that it has brought back 8,200 during rescue operations.

The refugees don’t come to the West just to annoy people in Calais and in Kent. They are fleeing mass murders, bombings, oppressive regimes and political and religious persecution. Many are Kurds who have been forced to flee from Iraq, Iran and Syria. They are not coming to the UK to “scrounge” as has been stated by Priti Patel and other Conservative MPs in parliament, but because there are already existing migrant communities who can support them and provide work, often off the record. Indeed, in early November, Patel stated that 70% of refugees were ‘economic migrants’ and she has not substantiated this spurious allegation. Tory MPs like Edward Leigh and Julian Lewis have gloated in Parliament over the deaths, saying that it would act as a lesson for those attempting to cross the Channel into Britain.

Both the French and British governments have expressed hypocritical sympathy for those who have died, Macron saying that he would not let the Channel become a cemetery. His actions say otherwise. Meanwhile Boris Johnson allocated £54 million last summer to stop crossings. Both are cynically using the crossings to exacerbate the tension between the British and French governments.

It is precisely because of the militarised and heavily fortified crossing points, particularly at the entrances to the tunnel at Coquelles, that have forced refugees to take to sea, often on improvised rafts.

Johnson came to power because of Brexit and one of the aims of Brexit was to end the influx of migrants, especially from the Middle East. This is failing significantly, as around 25% of refugees manage to cross to Britain. In France there is the run-up to the presidential elections, and candidates are keen to show how zealous they are to combat migration.

The Johnson government has closed down any legal paths into the UK and ways of setting up safer routes, such as allowing asylum applications at British embassies, which it virulently opposes. The resettlement scheme he promised for those fleeing from the Taliban in Afghanistan three months ago has still not been implemented, forcing many to take dangerous routes to escape. As for Priti Patel, the Home Office minister, she continues to blame the French government and her own legal advisers and officials for a failure to deliver on Brexit promises. She has raised the idea of a “push-back” policy, with the coastguard and the Navy forcing refugees back to France mid-Channel. No seafarer relishes condemning anyone to drowning, and even the staff union of Border Force, the frontiers law enforcement agency, has rejected the “push-back”. Other crazy schemes mooted have been the sub-contracting of processing asylum seekers to distant countries, for example Albania. The Albanian government has dismissed this as “totally fake”.

For us, libertarian communists, the world is not divided between East and West, North and South, but between the classes, between those who rule and exploit and profit, and those who work and produce the wealth, and are used as cannon fodder by the boss class. Solidarity between French and British workers and with the migrants. Don’t let the nasty, sordid aim of restructuring capitalism on a global scale by those who rule and exploit fool you. The workers of the world have no country. It is time to resurrect a class consciousness that does not recognise borders and states. In the meantime, we must fight to stop any further deaths in the Channel.

We want council housing and homes for life!

Focus E15 Campaign

Another family has been moved into the hostel Brimstone House in Victoria Street in Stratford during the last eight weeks. This means that Newham Labour council and Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz still think that rooms built for single young people are adequate to house families. This has to stop! People need to be housed in decent housing. Shame on the council and those in local government who sit by and let the housing crisis in Newham escalate whilst people suffer and homes remain empty.

This family is a father, a mother and a four month old baby. There is just about space for a double bed and a sofa. Currently the father sleeps on the sofa while the mother sleeps with the baby in the bed, which is against the advice from midwives, health visitors and GPs about safe sleeping for babies. It is just not appropriate for an adult to sleep all night on a sofa.

There is little or no ventilation, the room is quickly filled with cooking smells which can be overpowering, and the toilet flush does not work properly despite repeated requests for it to be fixed, it has not been repaired. The alarm continues to go off in the building and there is drilling early in the morning. It is no wonder that these parents are distressed, tearful and unwell. There is no space and nowhere to put their belongings. It is clear that Brimstone House is no place to raise a child and the housing is not suitable.

Meanwhile, the roomy council flats around the corner on Carpenters estate remain empty and there are trees growing out of them! What a waste. We want to save every single council flat on this estate because this housing offers the chance for long term stability, community and cheap rent. A chance for a decent life.

Please join us on Saturday 18 December 12-2pm on the Carpenters Estate where over 400 home have stood empty for over a decade, where currently a ballot is underway and where the council is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to secure a yes vote to its regeneration scheme which will mean demolishing 60% of the estate.

We need more council homes, not fewer!

We need families like the one above from Brimstone House, and the thousands of others on the housing waiting list and those in temporary and emergency accommodation, to be housed decently.

Join us on Saturday 18 December at 12 noon in the middle of Carpenters Estate in Stratford (near the shop) to fight for housing, to make a stand against capitalism, against racism in housing and to restore people’s dignity.

Please share and join the facebook event

Red and Black Telly roundup.







Racism and the Working Class.

Chapter Seventeen of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

Racism is another ideological hegemony closely woven into the fabric of modern (capitalist) society. It is a species of mythology, and like religion, requires certain assumptions to be taken on trust, not subjected to rational analysis. So I’d like to examine who racism serves, what racists actually believe, and how these ideas gained currency in the first place. Racism holds that mankind can be divided into separate branches identified by physical characteristics, and that these can be ‘ranked’ in terms of ability, intelligence or morality. I well remember school books in my youth that presented this as fact.

Race is a political construct with no scientific basis, it does not follow from any of the major religious traditions, nor is it particularly old. Nevertheless, apologists for racism often contend that there have always been antagonisms between races and this is rooted in some feature of human nature – that old cobblers. By extrapolation, they imply that racism can never be eliminated entirely, which absolves them from the bother of having to do anything about it, or even

Read More.

Patriarchy: A design for oppression.

Chapter Twenty-two of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

“I haven’t the faintest notion what possible revolutionary role white heterosexual men could fulfil, since they are the very embodiment of reactionary-vested-interest-power.”

– Robin Morgan: ‘Sisterhood is Powerful’.

If, like me you come into that category, your initial reaction to this statement may be one of dismissal, but once you’ve had the thought it never quite goes away. If you’re serious about revolution, it makes sense to regularly question whether you may be one of those holding it back. One of the reasons people glaze over when we speak of revolution is the glaring fact that almost every revolutionary movement has rapidly re-created the power structures it set out to abolish, and frequently ended up killing more of its own side than the enemy. The cure is worse than the disease! There is a reason for this, and it’s staring us in the face. Just as capitalism and state re-create each other, so do patriarchy and hierarchy.

I see patriarchy as the original and fundamental form of oppression; I believe it informs not only how men oppress women, but also how they oppress each other, and how the bourgeois state oppresses us all. The structural character of this oppression makes it virtually impossible, with the best of intentions, not to be complicit on some level, a revelation the enormity of which, takes time to sink in.

“Nothing in nature explains the sexual division of labour, nor such institutions as marriage, conjugality or paternal filiation. All are imposed on women by constraint, all are therefore facts of civilization which must be explained, not used as explanations.”

– Claude Meillassoux: Maidens, Meal and Money: Capitalism and the Domestic Community.

We see how ideological hegemony causes the oppressed to reproduce their oppression; patriarchy is a specific hegemony that cuts across economic and cultural lines, but like capitalism and the state it stands as an obstacle to a free society. By patriarchy I mean the structural

Read More.

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

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

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

– Aldous Huxley: ‘The Doors of Perception’.

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

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

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

* Of course, privilege is a form of reification.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of it.

The Tories want immigrants to save them from shortages? Fuck off

gal-dem

In a winter of discontent ruled by shortages, the Tories are turning to the immigrants they demonised to help them out.
Kemi Alemoru

Welcome to Britain. A land where Nandos and KFC, our premier chicken restaurants, are out of chicken. McDonald’s has no milkshakes. Our supermarket shelves are empty. Brexiteer-run budget pub chain Wetherspoons has pumped its own beer taps dry. The British Soft Drinks Association says we’re running out of gas to make our drinks fizzy. And thanks to nationwide fuel shortages, people are stuck in mile-long queues at petrol stations. Good luck. Outside of the motorway network an estimated 50%-85% of independent petrol stations in the UK currently have nothing left to give. We’re watching the nation coming apart at the seams.

What a silly little mess

view post