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.
The terrible tragedy that befell the Turkish town of Suruc following an ISIS inspired suicide bomber on Monday 20 July has had undoubtedly massive repercussions. Social media is awash with accusations against the ruling party, there have been major disturbances in Turkey and already retaliations have begun.
The gathering at Suruc was called to look at the possible reconstruction of Kobane, which lies approximately 15 km south on the other side of the Syrian border. Kobane until recently had an ISIS presence. The meeting was called by the Marxist-Leninist Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) the youth wing of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). Just prior to the bombings they had declared that “The children of Gezi [the park riots of a few years prior] are gathered in Suruc’s Amara Cultural Center to go to Kobani.” Little did they anticipate what was to follow.
What we also know is that of the 300 present there was an international contingent including a member from Black Rose/IWW who were there to offer solidarity and they have put together a well circulated statement. Of the 32 who have now been declared dead, two have also been connected to Turkeys – Anarchist Initiative (Anarşist Komünist Inisiyatif/AKI) who have thrown themselves into a spate of solidarity actions.
We should all be deeply moved by their loss. If ever ISIS wanted a fitting summary to its heartless carnage it was in attacking a youth mobilisation hoping to bring a little relief after such misery to region.
The Kurdish and Turkish community of London wasted no time in mobilising its grief against the tragedy. The response the next day resulted in an inspirational display of thousands amongst which we numbered amongst a small contingent of anarchists and anti-fascists offering our sombre reflection on the terrible recent events. Vigils were held and rumour had it the police had the audacity to pester people about burning an ISIS flag. Nothing better to do, eh?
There are further attempts to co-ordinate actions around the weekend. Saturday and possibly Sunday.