The murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi was horrifying but not surprising. The Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis and the alt.right have increased in confidence under Trump and indeed in his rambling and incoherent speeches he refused to completely condemn them. Heather’s murder was not an isolated incident. It follows the shooting of a member of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Seattle, the double murder on the Portland train, and many other incidents in Berkeley, Minnesota etc.
As the General Defence Committee of the IWW stated: “Fascism is a deadly threat to all of us. There is no escape from the demand that we confront it. Politicians, the police, and the university will not save us. We cannot vote our way to safety. As always, police aided and protected the fascists, while permitting and assisting wholesale violence against counter-protesters. University officials refused to use campus security to protect students and others from a gang of hundreds of fascists”.
Far from intimidating people the attack appears to have led to a strengthening of the movement against the growth of the far right. When the far right tried to rally in Boston shortly after Charlottesville, they managed barely a hundred supporters. They were surrounded by an angry crowd of 40,000.Trump labelled these as “anti-police agitators”. A demonstrator was quoted as saying: “Our generation has been radicalized by police murdering people of colour. And cops shut down a massive section of Boston and protected about 25 rightwingers while 45,000 people joined counter-protests. I think for a lot of people it’s clear what side the police are on. It wasn’t on the side of the people protesting white nationalists even though Marty Walsh [the mayor of Boston] talked tough earlier in the week.”
This massive response threw fear into the far right. As a result 67 rallies across 36 states organised by the hate group Act for America were cancelled. Many actions in solidarity with the Charlottesville attack took place around the USA, and around the world. In Asheville, North Carolina a crowd gathered and tore down a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. San Francisco dockers called for a strike against a far right rally organised by the Patriot Prayer group.
The movement that is developing in America is radicalising. It sees how the police protect far right rallies, is increasingly aware that the police are a murderous and racist institution, and increasingly sees now that the whole problem of racism and white supremacy is a result of the system itself. For too long the alt.right and their allies in the KKK and the neo-Nazi groups have been tolerated and have become more and more confident under a President who is himself a racist, xenophobe and misogynist. Now they are starting to panic as mass resistance to them grows. They can be swept back, Trump can be overthrown. It all depends on mass action rather than waiting on possible impeachment.
Next public meeting of London Anarchist Federation:
The Anarchist Movement in Modern Spain
Report back on factfinding tour of Spanish anarchist movement by AF member
7pm Thursday August 31st at Common House, 5e Pundersons Gardens, London E2 (nearest tube Bethnal Green. Plenty of time or discussion, refreshments
“Let me be absolutely clear: the support for the families on the ground in the initial hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they should go to seek help. That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most.”
It’s not often we quote politicians but on the Grenfell blaze, Theresa May was right. It was a complete failure of both the national state and government and the local state, Kensington and Chelsea Council, they failed to provide anything like adequate provision to the Grenfell survivors, but not just in the initial hours but for days to come. But it went beyond that. Both the national and local state were deeply implicated in the fire itself, with the cutting of fire services, the ignoring of repeated warnings by residents about the likelihood of a fire.
On the other hand, we had a great upsurge of grassroots solidarity, with volunteers from across London and as far away as Birmingham, bringing support and supplies, linking up with survivors and local community groups. They provided food, drink, clothes, bedding, toys and toiletries in vast amounts. When Camden Council ineptly moved tenants out of council blocks after panicking about fire risks, they again, like Kensington and Chelsea Council, treated them appallingly, failing to provide them with adequate information, and alternative housing, and generally treated them with the same contempt as Kensington and Chelsea Council. Local councils, whether Tory or Labour, have utter contempt for social housing tenants and for the working class in general. Camden Council failed to even provide water to the now homeless tenants, and this was left up to Grenfell volunteers who arrived to provide water.
There is a stark contrast between the response of the national and local state, and the emergence of grassroots voluntary organisation. This is not the first time this has happened after catastrophes, far from it. It illustrates the power of ordinary working class people to organise support networks. Another example is the creation of grassroots health centres in Greece with the collapse of the State health services.
This is anarchism in action. We must look more and more to this kind of grassroots organisation in the future as capitalism seeks to strip away social services in line with its strategy of austerity.
AFTER THE ELECTION:
THE ANARCHIST ALTERNATIVE
After the election we analyse the state of play, the nature of Corbynism and how we relate to it, and how we need to help bring to birth a mass grassroots movement that goes beyond electoral politics and poses a real threat to capitalism and the State with a vision of a new society based on equality and freedom. We will also be discussing the Grenfell fire and how the traditional left has responded and how our response should be diferent, based on encouraging self-organisation.We will be inviting guest speakers and there will be plenty of time for everyone to discuss.
Refreshments available, disabled access
Convened by London Anarchist Federation
7pm, Thursday June 29th at Common House, 5e Pundersons Gardens London E2 (nearest tube Bethnal Green
We are participating in the Anti University events from 10th-16th June –Teaching and Learning As Direct Action, a direct action programme of self-organised radical learning activities. On June 11th as part of these events we will be putting on a public meeting at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1 (nearest tube Holborn) at 4pm, An Introduction To Anarchist Communism.
Later the same day at the same venue at 7pm, London AF will be hosting the writer-activist Pieter Gelderloos, who will be speaking about his new book Worshipping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation’.This book provides a history of state formation in Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Europe, from Mesopotamia to the 20th century. Identifying different models or paths of state formation, Worshiping Power lays the groundwork for an anarchist theory of the origin of states, and in the process disputes common misconceptions stemming from liberal, Marxist, primitivist, and environmental determinist theories of state formation. Rather than treating state formation as a singular event, a Pandora’s Box, Worshiping Power analyzes state formation as a constant process, with religious, militaristic, economic, and kinship-based motors. It is also a work in grassroots scholarship, taking the study of the State out of academic institutions and into the streets, showing how a historically grounded understanding of the nature of the State is relevant to today’s struggles against patriarchy, environmental devastation, racism, war, and capitalism. There will be a talk by the author and Q&A session. Peter Gelderloos is also the author of ‘Anarchy works’ and ‘The failure of non-violence’. At White Building, Queen’s Yard, White Post Lan,e Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN
Members of London AF attended and supported the joint actions by Independent Workers Union of Great Britain and United Voices of the World Union at the LSE and Senate House in support of cleaners and security staff on Wednedsay May 17th.
Later on the same day London AFers supported the picket by Cleaning and Allied Independent Workers Union outside HSBC at Canary Wharf in support of cleaners there.
In our continuing attempt to monitor the draconian and repressive laws afflicting our comrades in Spain, we are glad to recently have received this piece of news translated from this webpage.
“The National Court signed the release order after eighteen days decreeing his imprisonment in Soto del Real. Judge Juan Pablo Gonzalez, after analysing the documentation prepared by the Mossos, ordered the release on bail to the tune of 8,000 euros Enrique Costoya, neighbor Santos, labour lawyer of the CNT and anarchist activist, jailed since October 30 .
He spent three weeks in the prison of Soto del Real, after the riot police and the General Information Office stormed his home the morning of October 28, as part of the second phase of Operation Pandora. They confiscated books, posters and supplies . It is expected he is to leave the prison early in the afternoon. Since Procés Embat Elissa Group and San Andres de Palomar have posted tweets where they gave a ‘welcome’.”
A short insight to how ludicrous and repressive the laws are in Spain facing protest can be gleamed from a New York Times piece in April of this year.