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.

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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.

EA minded to permit waste water re-injection at Surrey oil site

DRILL OR DROP?

The Environment Agency is seeking public comments on its proposal to allow Angus Energy to dispose of waste water underground at the Brockham oil site in Surrey.

Angus Energy site at Brockham, Surrey, on 16 December 2018. Photo: Brockham Protectors

Despite local concerns, the EA said it was minded to permit water re-injection at Brockham.

In a draft decision document, the EA said it was satisfied that risks had been identified and that operating procedures were “sufficient to mitigate the risk to groundwater”. There was no need for groundwater monitoring, it said.

A public consultation opens on Wednesday 29 December 2021 and runs until Monday 31 January 2021. Comments can be made online or by email

Details

Waste water, also known as produced or formation water, often comes to the surface during oil and gas extraction.

It is usually very salty and may be radioactive. Companies seek to re-inject it back underground to avoid expensive water treatment and to support the pressure in the hydrocarbon reservoir, improving hydrocarbon flows.

Angus Energy has previously said it would give up the Brockham site if it could not re-inject waste water.

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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.






New campaign around Autism & ADHD Services

From an initiative by Plymouth Claimants Union.

Plymouth in UNISON have been asked to support this campaign that should hopefully have a positive effect for staff as well

Dear Devon Clinical Commissioning Group,

We are writing to you because we are concerned – both by the lack of provision of diagnostic services for adult autism and ADHD in Plymouth, and by the absence of communication or consultation on this matter. We request that you meet with us at your earliest convenience to discuss the concerns raised in this letter. Specifically, we are asking for:

1. A waiting time for assessments of adults with autism or ADHD of 2-3 months. Until that target is reached, patients should be given the option of referral to another service outside the area or through the patient choice scheme

2. Any diagnostic service for autism or ADHD should be provided by the NHS, NOT contracted out to Livewell Southwest or any other private company

3. For the NHS in Devon to commit to a strategy for raising awareness among medical professionals regarding:

3.i. The under-diagnosis of autism and ADHD in many sections of the population based on gender, class, race and ethnicity

3.ii. The less well-known presentations of autism and ADHD (for example, inattentive symptoms of ADHD)

3.iii. Common co-morbidities and how they may mask symptoms of autism and ADHD in patients (for example, how autism is often missed in patients with  other disabilities, or how ADHD is extremely common in patients already diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome)

We believe that anything less will in fact cost the NHS more money, and lead to discrimination against patients based on a number of characteristics protected under the equality act.

The knock-on effects of leaving autism and ADHD undiagnosed are well-established. Within the NHS, it will lead to increased pressure on A&E, increased needs for mental health services, and increased needs for addiction services. For ADHD in particular, simply providing people with the correct medication reduces the need for all three of the above. We are sure you will agree that given the need to reduce spending in Devon, prompt diagnosis and support for adults with autism and ADHD is essential.

In order to access reasonable adjustment at work and university, it is necessary to have a diagnosis. People are leaving employment, failing courses, and loosing relationships while waiting for an assessment. Without access to a timely assessment, adults with autism and ADHD are exposed to significant discrimination in work and education. We understand that in other parts of the UK, people are being assessed significantly faster – within just one month, in one area that we know of. We urge the CCG to consider the impact that long waiting times are having on us when planning any services in Plymouth.

Children belonging to groups protected under the equality act (particularly girls and BAME children), are less likely to have their symptoms of autism and ADHD noticed at an early age. As such, these groups are more likely to receive a late diagnosis in adulthood. Any barriers to accessing a diagnosis in adulthood are therefore having a disproportionate impact on these groups. Furthermore, we are aware that there is often a lack of awareness regarding how other disabilities may “mask” autism and ADHD, and a lack of awareness regarding common co-morbidities. This is likely leading to discrimination on the basis of disability. We believe it is vital that the CCG consider all of this in any equality impact assessment for a new service in Plymouth. We further believe that it is important to ensure all medical professionals in the area are fully aware of these issues when dealing with patients. We request that the CCG commit to a strategy for this.

We are extremely disappointed by the lack of communication regarding the suspension of diagnostic services in Plymouth. We understand that assessments for autism and ADHD have not taken place for quite some time. However, there have been no announcements regarding this. Nor has there been any public consultation regarding the establishment of a new service. Patients have been given contradictory and unclear information, left unsure as to whether they are on a waiting list or not. Several patients have been informed that their only option is to pay a private psychiatrist for an assessment. The CCG has consistently failed to respond to requests for more information. This is not solely the responsibility of the CCG but also a failure of the company Livewell Southwest, who we understand is contracted to provide services in Plymouth.

In order to rebuild trust it is vital that any service is as accountable to the public as possible, particularly because they will be treating vulnerable people who find access to complaint procedures more challenging. The Freedom of Information Act is one such avenue for accountability. However, as a private community interest company Livewell Southwest is not subject to the provisions of that Act. In order to protect vulnerable patients, and due to their recent failure to provide the services they are contracted to provide, we believe it would be wholly inappropriate for Livewell Southwest to provide diagnostic services in future. We request that instead, these services are provided directly by the NHS – either through the DAANA clinic, or a new service tailored to Plymouth.

Finally, we understand that it will take some time for a satisfactory service to be established in Plymouth. In the meantime, we request that the CCG make it easier to access other services – either by referral to NHS autism and ADHD services in other areas, or by private assessments via the patient choice scheme.

Yours sincerely,

The Devon Assessment Campaign ( devonassessmentcampaign@riseup.net )