Tagged: economic crisis

Statement on Greek events

statement of the Group of Libertarian Communists (Athens) about the events of 6th December

Solidarity with anarchist Nikos Romanos

Solidarity with those arrested during the events of 6 December 2014

December 6, 2014 marks six years since the cold-blooded murder of 16-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the cop Korkoneas.

This anniversary coincides with the hunger strike of 21-year-old anarchist Nikos Romanos who is requesting furlough to attend university classes.

The day and night found tens of thousands of people demonstrating in the streets of many cities of Greece. The particularly massive afternoon demonstration in central Athens was succeeded by hours of clashes and street fighting mainly in the area of Exarchia. The police detained more than 200 people, of whom 43 were the arrested. Some of those arrested face felony charges, and are still being held at the police headquarters.

Clashes between anarchists/anti-authoritarians and the forces of repression took place in many other cities, such as Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos, Larissa, Ioannina, Agrinio, Mytilene, Heraklion, Chania, Kalamata and elsewhere. Specifically, in Patras there were six arrests (of which two on felony charges), in Thessaloniki seventeen, in Agrinio three, while about 100 people were detained in other parts of Greece.

Once again, the state attempted to unleash terror with the imposition of so-called “zero tolerance” by attacking marches, detaining protesters, and bringing charges of heavy and vengeful character to those arrested.

Once again, the rulers are wrong. Their imposed police state will achieve nothing more than to spread an intensify even more the hubs of resistance throughout Greece. Their suppressive machine does nothing more than to cause the spread of circles of subversion.

Hope lies in the militant and uncompromising attitude of anarchists hunger strikers Nikos Romanos (from 10 November), John Michailidis (from 17 November), Andrea Bourzoukou and Dimitris Politis (from 1 December).

Hope lies in the thousands of people who marched and are marching in the streets of Greece against state and capitalist barbarity.

Hope lies in the numerous hubs of resistance that have been created in the occupied town halls, universities and labor centers.

Hope lies in the neighborhoods of Istanbul where Turkish comrades marched in solidarity with N. Romanos and clashed with riot police there, in the streets of Ferguson, and wherever people are in the streets of revolt.

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Taking a rise out of us!

Image

Following successful picket in Holborn in early May London Anarchist Federation and supporters will be doing the same in Bethnal Green on Sunday July 7th at 1pm. Meet outside Bethnal Green tube by Salmon and Ball pub

.Please support
Text of leaflet below
Taking a rise out of us!
Figures released recently by the Trussell Trust reveal that “Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12..” The number needing food has trebled in a year and is expected to continue to rise! Foodbanks are opening at the rate of one a week!
Of 2,000 mothers surveyed by Netmums “1 in 5 regularly go without meals to feed their children, 16% are being treated for stress-related illnesses and one third are borrowing money from friends and family to stay afloat. Most mothers stated that their situation is worse than a year ago with less money coming in.”
Prices of bread, milk, eggs and many other food items have shot up.
It’s not just  in Britain that people are facing hunger. Everyday millions worry about where their next meal is coming from. The prices of many basic and staple foods have soared- wheat, rice, maize, soya beans have doubled in the last year or so. Every day 25,000 people die of hunger and many others have their health affected because of malnutrition. These figures will rise with ever increasing food prices.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development made the prediction “the number of food-insecure people in the world would rise by more than 16 million for every percentage point increase in the real prices of staple foods, meaning that 1.2 billion people could be chronically hungry by 2025”.
The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that it would be forced to ration food aid as soaring costs aggravate the situation.
The media are busy peddling the idea that this is due to poor harvests and they’re eager to make us believe that. It’s true that the effects of climate change have either reduced or wiped out basic food harvests particularly in the developing countries, reducing supply.
But what has really happened is that speculation on the world’s markets has caused prices to rise, in a rush to make profits. So quality wheat prices rose 25 per cent in one day because of panic buying on the world markets.
Equally the situation has been aggravated by the shift from growing food to growing biofuels. Over the last five years this increased massively with 400 million tonnes of maize production moved from food to biofuels.
These biofuels have been put forward as a replacement for petrol, coal and other fossil fuels, as some sort of “green” replacement. In reality they themselves cause environmental damage. But they are big money spinners and as a result there is a rush to invest in them. So grain prices go up AND vast areas of farmland that could be used to grow food are given over to them. This is actively encouraged by both the UK and US governments.
As well as this, agribusinesses are hoarding food and controlling food markets in order to ride out price rises. In turn the big supermarkets are taking advantage by introducing disproportionate price rises on food.
Finally, the rising cost of oil which is used both in the production of food and its transport is adding to the cost of food.
There is enough food to feed everyone adequately. The thirst for profit has caused this situation. Under the present system and its law of supply and demand if demand outstrips supply then prices increase. 
• 400% – Rise in the price of spring wheat over the last year
• 75% – Average world food price rise since 2005
• 16 million more people at risk of food insecurity for every percentage point rise in the price of staple foods
• 33% – Amount of maize harvested in US in 2012 that went to produce biofuels
Food prices were some of the causes for unrest in Algeria and Tunisia in the recent Arab Spring there and they were a direct cause of unrest in Mozambique. As the situation worsens, we are going to see more food riots and demonstrations, more mass movements emerging around the world. That should be here too. WE can feed everyone on the planet, but not under this rotten and corrupt system based on the lust for profit and power.

Printed and published by Anarchist Federation (London) BM ANARFED LONDON WC1N 3XX
www.afed.org.uk London@afed.org.uk

The Great Food Robbery

Text of leaflet for May 6th. please come and support!

Taking a rise out of us1

Figures released recently by the Trussell Trust reveal that “Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12..” The number needing food has trebled in a year and is expected to continue to rise! Foodbanks are opening at the rate of one a week!

 Of 2,000 mothers surveyed by Netmums “1 in 5 regularly go without meals to feed their children, 16% are being treated for stress-related illnesses and one third are borrowing money from friends and family to stay afloat. Most mothers stated that their situation is worse than a year ago with less money coming in.”

Prices of bread, milk, eggs and many other food items have shot up.

It’s not just here that people are facing hunger. Everyday millions worry about where their next meal is coming from. The prices of many basic and staple foods have soared- wheat, rice, maize, soya beans have doubled in the last year or so. Every day 25,000 people die of hunger and many others have their health affected because of malnutrition. These figures will rise with ever increasing food prices.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development  made the prediction “the number of food-insecure people in the world would rise by more than 16 million for every percentage point increase in the real prices of staple foods, meaning that 1.2 billion people could be chronically hungry by 2025”.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that it would be forced to ration food aid as soaring costs aggravate the situation.

The media are busy peddling the idea that this is due to poor harvests and they’re eager to make us believe that. It’s true that the effects of climate change have either reduced or wiped out basic food harvests particularly in the developing countries, reducing supply.

But what has really happened is that speculation on the world’s markets has caused prices to rise, in a rush to make profits. So quality wheat prices rose 25 per cent in one day because of panic buying on the world markets.

Equally the situation has been aggravated by the shift from growing food to growing biofuels. Over the last five years this increased massively with 400 million tonnes of maize production moved from food to biofuels.

These biofuels have been put forward as a replacement for petrol, coal and other fossil fuels, as some sort of “green” replacement. In reality they themselves cause environmental damage. But they are big money spinners and as a result there is a rush to invest in them. So grain prices go up AND vast areas of farmland that could be used to grow food are given over to them. This is actively encouraged by both the UK and US governments.

As well as this, agribusinesses are hoarding food and controlling food markets in order to ride out price rises. In turn the big supermarkets are taking advantage by introducing disproportionate price rises on food.

Finally, the rising cost of oil which is used both in the production of food and its transport is adding to the cost of food.

There is enough food to feed everyone adequately. The thirst for profit has caused this situation. Under the present system and its law of supply and demand if demand outstrips supply then prices increase.

  • 400% – Rise in the price of spring wheat over the last year
  • 75% – Average world food price rise since 2005
  • 16 million more people at risk of food insecurity for every percentage point rise in the price of staple foods
  • 33% – Amount of maize harvested in US in 2012 that went to produce biofuels

Food prices were some of the causes for unrest in Algeria and Tunisia in the recent Arab Spring there and they were a direct cause of unrest in Mozambique. As the situation worsens, we are going to see more food riots and demonstrations, more mass movements emerging around the world. That should be here too. WE can feed everyone on the planet, but not under this rotten and corrupt system based on the lust for profit and power.

Printed and published by Anarchist Federation (London) BM ANARFED LONDON WC1N 3XX

       www.afed.org.uk          London@afed.org.uk

STATEMENT OF ANARCHIST FEDERATION (LONDON) ON MARCH 28th

The strike actions called by the trade unions on March 28th in a supposed response to the attacks on pensions have moved from a “day of action” to a complete farce. The leaderships of UNISON and the GMB had already decided on 12th January to start negotiating with the government over pensions and soon other smaller unions like Prospect, ATL and NAHT swung in behind them. The union leaders are trying to make us believe that this is somehow different to the deal that the government was already pushing, when it was exactly the same thing.

Days of action in the last few months involved hundreds of thousands striking and marching. The proposed action on March 28th is now involving fewer and fewer unions and in the case of the National Union of Teachers will only be on a London rather than a national level. Likewise the University and College Union will not only be striking at a London level rather than the national level as previously decided but will only involve post-1992 universities (former polytechnics etc) and further education colleges. The Public and Commercial Services Union will not be striking at all, as its executive called off strike action despite 90.5% voting to reject the government’s offer and 72.1% voting to support a programme of further action with other unions – the highest vote for action the union has ever had. Similarly the Scottish teachers union EIS also called off strike action despite a 73.5 yes vote for action.

The action by the unions in Britain is echoed in the worthless days of actions called by union centrals throughout Europe which in fact demobilise and defuse the anger of workers against the bosses’ austerity programmes.

Increasingly we as workers have to look to our own grass roots organisation, controlled by ourselves and not involving those who would sabotage our struggles. The grassroots self-organisation of electricians, organising in spite of the UNITE leadership, delivered a victory. We have to find new ways of organising against the increasingly savage attacks by the boss class. We have to do that as a priority and as a matter of urgency. We cannot rely on the union leaderships to do this, we have to rely on ourselves.

Anarchist Federation (London)

london@afed.org.uk

Solidarity Protest – Greek Embassy 18/02/2012

Up to 300 people attended a protest outside the Greek Embassy, in west London, on Saturday 18 February, as part of the international day of solidarity with the Greek people. Speakers from the lecturers’ union, UCU, from the NUS, from the Jubilee campaign, from Occupy UK, and from the Anarchist Federation offered their solidarity, alongside speakers from Greece, who talked of the resistance to the austerity measures.

‘There are a lot of myths about Greece,’ one speaker said, ‘and we need to expose them.’Another Greek speaker talked about the need to cancel the debt, nationalise the banks under workers’ control and break with the IMF and the EU. A representative of the Turkish community organisation, the Refugee Workers’ Cultural Association, also brought solidarity greetings.

The protest turned into a spontaneous demonstration and march, which blocked the main road nearby. A favourite slogan was ‘Athens, Cairo, London and Berlin, We shall fight and we shall win!’

THE CUTS: THEIR LIES, OUR RESISTANCE

The student protests hit the headlines before Christmas with the media focusing on the ‘violence’ and the ‘terrible shock’ given to members of the Royal family. Attention was taken away from the real issues that face both students and the rest of us. The facts are being hidden behind a smokescreen of lies. It is important to see the difference between what the government and media would like us to believe and what the facts are.

Lies : Causes

  • too much spent over the years on public services
  • wasteful bureaucracy
  • large public sector pensions
  • welfare scroungers

Facts: Causes

  • The main drain on resources is not public services but the fact that:
  1. the government bailed out the banks with billions of pounds of public money
  2. the government has been waging costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for decades
  • There is a large bureaucracy, largely made up of supporters of various political parties, who have managed to get ‘jobs for the boys and girls’ in various quangos at both national and local government level,  but this is not going to be the main targets of the cuts.
  • A few of the top civil servants may get large pensions but most public sector workers do not. The pension they do get is some compensation for the generally low wages that public sector workers earn.
  • The Daily Mail devotes a lot of energy to ferreting out the odd example of someone managing to get huge amount of benefits which they in no way deserve. The point is that the vast majority of people on benefits are desperately in need. In terms of ‘scroungers’, the Royal Family costs the taxpayer much more than people on benefits, not to mention all the corporations who don’t pay the taxes that they are supposed to.

Lies: The Solutions

The solutions are presented as the only way.

  • Cut public services, in particular education
  • Cut jobs in both local and national government
  • Reduce pension benefits and make people pay more for their pension
  • Drastically reduce welfare benefits
  • Raise taxes on people’s spending
  • Massively increase the amount students pay for university and reduce benefits for 16-19 year olds

Facts

  • The cuts will cause big reductions in people’s income; they will spend less and make an economic recovery even more difficult.
  • By cutting back on education, and youth services in general at a local level, the government is in the process of creating a massive problem for the future. After decades of telling young people from working class backgrounds how important education is, they are now giving the message that it is only for those who can afford it. Universities are preserving their research status at the expense of students and their education. The top universities will still get the students because they tend to take students who can afford to pay, but other universities will be in crisis. How many young people will flood on to the job market at 16 rather than going on to do A levels and then to university?
  • The amount of savings to be made are very small compared to savings that could be made by stopping the war.
  • Those who were the cause of the crisis in the first place, and who can most afford to pay, are being let off the hook. Banks are now making huge profits again and their directors as well as other company directors continue to award themselves large pay increases and pensions and make sure their companies avoid paying taxes.

 The Way Forward

Lies

The main message given out by local councils and employers is that there is nothing that can be done. It is a bitter medicine that has to be swallowed in order to get Britain through the crisis.

Facts

As shown above, this is complete rubbish and this is the message that the students have brought to our attention. They are not about to ‘bite the bullet’, but are fighting back. We know perfectly well that there are other alternatives- there is plenty of money around- just not in our hands. And the government is making sure that soon we will have even less. So whether it is in your community or at work, no matter what the political party in charge, the message has to be NO! We won’t pay for your crisis!

Anarchist Federation (London) London@afed.org.uk  BM Anarfed, London, WC1N 3XX

Beyond voting

Have you had enough of politicians posturing before, during and after the general election? Did you think voting would make any real difference to the economic and social crisis that’s hitting us? Are you now asking yourself if anything can be done to defend our interests as working class people and fight for a better life for us all?

We ended up with a hung parliament and a coalition deal stitched up between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. The stark truth is that it really wouldn’t have made much difference which party (or combination of parties) ended up in government as they would all have had to implement the same agenda. This being the imposition of swingeing public expenditure cuts in a desperate bid to preserve the UK’s triple A credit rating, thus saving sterling from the attentions of the currency speculators and ultimately, fending off a visit from the International Monetary Fund.

The only issue that was up for debate was when the cuts that were already underway would have been escalated. All the contestants privately acknowledged that whoever gained power, they were likely to go down as one of the most unpopular administrations in history as they had no choice but to swing the axe. It is ordinary working class people who are bearing the brunt as services are cut and jobs are axed. In addition, there is the elephant in the sitting room in the form of another banking crisis that a growing number of experts are predicting – should this occur, then effectively, all bets are off!

What can we as ordinary working class people do in the face of what looks to be a bleak future? There is a stark choice – we struggle as individuals to deal with the consequences of the crisis or act collectively to defend our interests and our communities. Modern society is becoming ever more fragmented and atomised with an emphasis on consumption as opposed to community. As a result, the response to any crisis becomes more individualised – and that’s how the powers that be like it!

This opens the way for divide and rule as different sections of the community are played off against each other. There are those who will divide us from the likes of the British National Party and the English Defence League on the one hand through to religious fundamentalists such as Islam 4 UK, Hizib ut-Tahrir and the Christian Party on the other – they need to be faced off and told they have no place in our communities.

We have to regain a sense of solidarity that will get all of us through what will be difficult and challenging times. Acting collectively opens the way to face off the crisis and to unite our communities. The cuts that will come are going to leave massive holes in terms of provision – it is going to be up to us to step up to the plate to ensure that we take over whatever we can in creative and innovative ways. You may well ask, what can be done on a practical level in this kind of situation – well here are some examples to inspire us…

In a community that has long suffered under provision, the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) in Blackbird Leys, an estate to the east of Oxford, has a history of stepping up to the plate to fill the void. In their relatively short history, they have organised a Saturday morning Children’s Cinema Club, a SATs booster course for school children and numerous community away-days. Last summer, they organised a community football tournament. [1]

There are examples from history of direct resistance to attacks on the working class that we can learn from such as the 1915 Glasgow Rent Strike …

During the First World War, rent increases across Glasgow provoked massive working class opposition, mainly from women organised in tenants’ groups. Starting in Govan that April, strikers paid only their normal rent, refusing the increase. Despite intimidation by rent collectors the strikers succeeded, and by June, the landlords had given in. News of the success spread to other parts of the city, where tenants organised agitation and propaganda against the landlords. The solidarity of the working class women was so strong it could not be broken by the rent collectors, who had to apply to court to evict the tenants. Sheriff officers were called in to serve the writs and carry out the evictions, but the strikers took action, barring the path of any sheriff officers entering their communities. Large scale demonstrations were held whenever an eviction notice was served.

Currently, there is a wave of resistance to evictions from foreclosed homes across the USA that shows how communities can mobilise to fight the consequences of an economic crisis that impacts on the working class…

In Philadelphia ACORN and other community organizations helped to pressure the city council to order the county sheriff to halt foreclosure auctions. Craig Robbins, who directs ACORN’s foreclosure campaign said: “We’re looking to throw a wrench in the foreclosure machinery,” adding that ACORN are planning to organise “rapid defence teams” ready to turn out crowds on short notice to prevent evictions. [2]

We face a period where the interests of working class people will be brutally sacrificed to appease the interests of capital. However, as we can see from the examples above, it is possible to fight back. The crisis will not go away – we have no choice but to unite and resist if our communities are to survive. Resisting will make us stronger and opens the way for a better future…

[1] IWCA – The type of community engagement that mainstream politics has abandoned – http://www.iwca.info/?p=10144

[2] AlterNet – Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spreads Across the Land – http://www.alternet.org/economy/121844/resistance_to_housing_foreclosures_spread_across_the_land/

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