Saturday, 17 November 2018

MY Car Is My Home.

       The number of people in America who are working and find their car is their home is on the increase. They drive to work, drive back to a parking lot and go to sleep. Just another symptom of a rotten corrupt exploitative system that works for the wealthy few, creating unbelievable opulence, and dire poverty and destitution. This from Vice News:
Published on Sep 6, 2018

         There is a shortage of affordable housing in every state in the country, but it's especially bad in California — where there's only one affordable housing unit for every five extremely low income households. The gap is not only pushing more and more people out onto the streets—it's also creating a new, fast-growing, and hidden class of homelessness: People who in the past would have been able to afford a room or apartment but now live in their cars by necessity. Danielle Williams is one of them. She’s a single working mother who has been living in her van with her daughter for five years. At first, it meant sleeping in dark, scarcely populated areas, and being hassled by the police. But thanks to a program called Safe Parking — a network of parking lots equipped with porta-potties and lot monitors — she can now stay in her car overnight without worrying about her safety. VICE News traveled to California to see how the new program is helping people like Danielle live a little more comfortably, and met with a government official who’s frustrated there aren’t longer term solutions to help the roughly 16,000 people in Los Angeles who now sleep in their cars. Subscribe to VICE News here: Check out VICE News for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: More videos from the VICE network:

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Capitalism's Inadequacy In The Face Of Disasters.

          Regarding the tragic situation of the fires in California, our babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media, gives us lots of photos of burning trees and homes, brave firefighters tackling the ferocious blazes, and some reports of a few distressed people looking at what remains of their homes. But what is really happening to those hundreds of thousands who have fled their homes and the thousands who have no longer got homes to return to?  This article from Its Going Down, goes some way to filling that gap and also displaying capitalism's total inadequacy, and unwillingness to deal with this sort of tragic occurrence.

        In the lead up to the election, Donald Trump and Fox News anchors attempted to mobilize the Republican base by playing up fears of disease laden refugees from Honduras coming to the United States to seek asylum, ironically fleeing a regime that was helped into place by Hilary Clinton and the Democrats. On Thursday, November 15th in Tijuana, the first trickle of refugees from across Central America began to arrive at the border, as thousands of US troops stationed across three states along with border patrol and pockets of heavily armed paramilitaries were ready to great them.
        But while Trump and the rest of the far-Right has spent weeks building up fear around the so-called “migrant caravan,” within the United States, much larger scores of internal refugees are being mass produced through eviction, rising housing prices, and now, massive fires and hurricanes. These new internal refugees are taking on different forms, from park lots filled with the working poor, displaced from their neighborhoods, to climate refugees burned and washed out of their homes now grouping together in the back of Walmarts and on beaches, to say nothing of the growing number of homeless tent cities and encampments popping up across the country, as the population of houseless people grows in the first time since the Great Recession.
      #CampFire 40% contained, Air quality extremely toxic. Worst on Earth, Tent cities filled w/ refugees. Viral outbreak unfolding. Scores of vomiting refugees quarantined, Shootout in evacuation zone. 1 dead, Military humvee’s operating checkpoints 600 still missing & 63 have died — Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 16, 2018
        The number of these internal refugees is only getting larger, and in many instances the State has no idea of what to do with them, other than to make half-hearted attempts to funnel them into bureaucracies like FEMA. These growing bodies of people, many of them still working jobs, going to school, and with families to support are now part of a burgeoning segment of the working-class that has now found itself homeless, displaced, and increasingly pushed to the margins of society, often with little hope of ever being let back in. These new concentrations are also leading to other, often even more horrific problems. For example in Northern California, this week tens of thousands of people made newly homeless and clumped together after devastating fires, faced multiple norovirus outbreaks across different evacuation centers in Chico, CA. To make matters worse, as of Sunday the largest self-organized tent city for Camp Fire survivors is scheduled to be evicted.
The Growing Fire Crisis in California           Over 60 people are confirmed dead in Northern California and hundreds are still missing, after tens of thousand were displaced in a matter of hours following the rapid incineration of the blue-collar town of Paradise, close to Chico, California. Eric Holthaus of Grist wrote of the fires, that they are the most destructive to ever hit California and the deadliest wildfire in modern American history.”
       Wildfires have also broken out in Southern California, causing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands, and as of November 16th, fires were also reported in the Santa Cruz Mountains, below the bay area. The impact of the fires has gone far beyond just the tragic lives lost, as now across Northern California, schools have been canceled and people have taken to wearing breathing masks or staying inside when possible. As Grist wrote:
          On Thursday, northern California’s Air Quality Index, a measure of how polluted the air is, was the worst of any region in the world. Chico, Oroville, and Sacramento reported pollution levels in the “hazardous” category — the highest on the scale — topping parts of China and India and breaking records for the worst air quality in the area since record keeping began. It’s the equivalent of smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.
          It appears that the recent crisis was brought on by a mix of human caused climate change, environmental factors, and human error. Over the past several years, severe drought has been coupled with infestations of bark beetles, which has led to the deaths of over 129 million trees along large sections of eastern California, setting the stage for vast amounts of territory going up in flames. As one report wrote:
           After burning for more than one week, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has destroyed over 98,300 acres, approximately equal in size to the city of Denver, Colorado. The fire prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people and is responsible for three deaths thus far. An estimated 504 structures have been destroyed and an entire section of the Pacific Coast Highway remains closed. As new details emerge of the Woolsey Fire’s devastation, the death toll in Northern California’s Camp Fire jumped to 63 on Thursday with the number of missing increasing to 631. The Camp Fire is now the deadliest wildfire in California history. More than 11,862 structures have been destroyed as of this writing. The Camp Fire completely destroyed the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada mountain foothills leaving more than 26,000 residents with no homes to return to.
         There are also reports of electrical malfunctions in Northern and Southern California which may have triggered the initial fires, while far-Right and pro-Trump pundits have even gone so far as literally to blame “ANTIFA.
             But the unfolding tragedy across California has only been made worse by the inability of capitalist society to deal with the crisis. Many people in affected areas learned of the fires and had to leave so fast, (some estimated the fires moved “at a rate of one football field per second), that they were not able to grab phones, IDs, and basic items. A majority of those displaced by the fire were working-class and working-poor, often renters; people that no have nowhere to return to.
          In the face of this, starting on November 15th according to local news, at the behest of the Red Cross, services such as free clothes, bathrooms, and food began to be slowly turned off, as it was announced that the Chico based tent-city behind a WalMart would be shuttered on Sunday, November 18th.
According to local news:
          Federal assistance isn’t available yet. The Disaster Recovery Center for FEMA won’t even be open until [the 16th], and even then the temporary housing options aren’t in place. FEMA stated to the local news that shelters in Chico could be used to house some people, however many currently are suffering from norovirus outbreaks, leading many people to choose to take their chances on the streets.
           Volunteers with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief have spoken to It’s Going Down for years about the poor response from FEMA and the Red Cross to current disasters. They have shared stories about the Red Cross offering sporadic aid to devastated communities while ignoring poor communities of color completely, often leaving behind those without access to food and shelter. We’ve heard about people in the the wake of Florida’s storms being quickly made homeless after their landlords evicted them from apartments destroyed by flooding, and turned away from any sort of relief from FEMA in North Carolina after their mobile homes were destroyed by hurricanes.
           Speaking with local news outlets, both organizers of the informal tent city and survivors of the Paradise fire both expressed frustration at the inaction from government officials and also a fear of what was going to happen next as the eviction on Sunday looms.
Only Part of a Growing Crisis
          According to The Guardian, 2017 marked the first time since the Great Recession in 2008 that homelessness has been growing in the US. Across the US, there are signs of an exploding crisis of economic and climate refugees, as more and more tent cities pop up, parking lots and streets are lined with those sleeping in their cars, and beaches are populated by those fleeing massive fires. In California, courts have ruled that cities must provide shelter beds and cannot ticket people with no other recourse but to sleep on the streets. In Modesto, California, only a few hours south of Chico, this has led to the creation of a massive self-organized tent city filled with hundreds of tents and families. Other cities, such as Minneapolis, are in the process of evicting their tent cities in the middle of winter, while in Oakland and British Columbia, homeless people and their allies have fought to take over vacant land and even squat buildings. 

            As Alliance Against Displacement wrote: The organization and direct action of homeless people constitutes a frontline in an international struggle against capitalism. In the Bay Area and Vancouver, we see skyrocketing wealth inequality and gentrification, alongside the state’s disinterest in housing poor and working class people. Municipalities all over Turtle Island are attempting to invisibilize the global housing crisis by directly attacking homeless communities, but their efforts are not enough to hem in a growing movement led by homeless people, whose determination to survive and thrive radically intervenes in a society founded on profit, property, genocide, slavery, and displacement. The right to homes for all, and the power to defend them, must be won through asserting relationships to land against the logic of property.
       Meanwhile, more and more sections of the working class are being displaced. In many major cities, the number of working and poor people sleeping in their cars is skyrocketing. As Slate wrote: As housing costs soar in major cities, more Americans are living behind the wheel. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn’t collect national data on vehicle residency, but unsheltered homelessness—a category that includes people sleeping in vehicles—is on the rise. In 2016, HUD counted 176,357 unsheltered people nationwide on a single night; last year, that number jumped to 192,875. In King County, Washington (which includes Seattle), about 3,372 people—more than half of the county’s unsheltered population—are living in vehicles. And in Greater Los Angeles, which has the largest unsheltered homeless population in the country, more than 15,000 people live in cars, vans, and RVs.
        The discourse around this reality on both the “left” and “right” is predictable as it is idiotic. One side takes a “law and order” approach as it always has to the homeless, as some local governments hire advisors to pass laws and ordinances to push the homeless out of their cities by means of harassment and court fines. On the “progressive” side however, simply advocating for tent cities and allocating unused corporate parking lots at night for those sleeping in their cars, which could be seen as a form of “harm reduction,” at the same time does nothing to address a system of industrial capitalism that is creating all of these problems to begin with.
          One thing in looking at all of this is clear: the refugees we need to worry about aren’t the ones coming to the US from Central America, but the refugees being created daily by gentrification, capitalism, and climate change. Moreover, this system is not able to meet the demands of hundreds of thousands of people impacted by these disasters. Instead, human beings are going to have to organize themselves to impose their own needs directly upon everyday life – now, not by waiting on elected officials or through the ballot box, and doing so in the face of and against the interests of the rich and powerful and calls by liberals for “civility.”

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Our Dear Green Place.

        The ever decreasing green places in our city is a frightening prospect. A city with little or no green parks is a concrete desert. Even those places that are still green and pleasant within our city are under attack, because of the continual renting them out to commercial interests. This is not what these green and pleasant spaces were created for, they were not created to make profits for commercial concerns, they were spaces for our citizens to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Places within our city for kids to run free and safe, for people to walk in peace, to relax, for safe open air leisure, for an escape form the concrete and traffic. Without them our lives are diminished, impoverished, and our kids are deprived of that essential in growing up, the ability to run, play and relax in pleasant and safe surroundings.
My local Springburn Public Park

        These paces must be protected and preserved for our leisure and pleasure, not as opportunities for the commercial world to cream off ever greater profits.
     An appeal from my Friend Bob, but also from my heart.

    Two events concerning the commercialisation of green space and what we can do about it

A discussion (Thursday 13th Dec)

       Each summer the volume of paid events occupying our parks is expanding. The disruption to ordinary park users who see the park as an escape from the chaos and consumerism of daily life is worsening. Many park users see these disruptions to their enjoyment of using and living round the park as out of sync with what the park is there for.
      We will be discussing these and other park and green space issues and some that that are also enjoyable and more conducive to park use – and that could help to stop the use of our parks for commercial profiteering.

Speakers to be confirmed.

A workshop (Sunday 16th Dec)

The workshop will be around. How to find out things about parks, greens pace, commons and how to use the “Community Empowerment Act”. The general public need to be heard in this conversation in protecting community assets. We will be looking at the various, forums, assemblies and mechanisms, that could help to enable groups as well as individuals to take part in this important dialogue.


Thursday 13 December 7:00
Kinning Park Complex. (For food 6:00)


Sunday 16 December 3:00 (Soft & hot drinks)
Kinning Park Complex.

Please forward to interested.

More info:
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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Disturbing Public Peace.

 The Local Kids, is a publication that describes itself as, a compilation of texts, a contribution to a correspondence between those who desire anarchy and subversion. It is certainly filled with interesting articles on a variety of subjects.
    All of the articles are worth a read, this particular short article is from issue No.2:

Disturbing Public Peace
First pronounced in a courtroom in Berlin, 8th ofAugust 2018

       For me, the court, this building of authority, is not a meaningful setting for anarchist and revolutionary confrontation with domination. The struggles for a world without exploiters and exploited take place in everyday life and on the streets. A trial is an imposed snapshot that seeks to weaken current and past struggles and to deprive them of their fellow combatants.
      In a way, however, I involve myself with this juridical spectacle by sitting in the dock today. I could have simply paid the fixed fine to avoid this trial. But to pay for what? I am here today to create a certain publicity that should show that state repression can be counteracted by combative deeds.
       Therefore, it is not my intention to negotiate with the prosecutor and to enter into the discourse of innocence or guilt. It is perfectly clear to me that if I am convicted - as in principle is true for all accused - I will be convicted as an example, to deter others from committing the reproached deeds. I doubt that in this case the intent of overall repression and oppression will have an effect, because I do not feel attacked as a person, but mainly for my idea of a human coexistence without any domination. But this idea does not solely belong to me. Thousands of comrades showed this clearly in July 2017 in Hamburg - among other dates - where for a brief moment state control has failed altogether, despite massive security measures. During this moment, the will to create a rupture with the existing order has moved and inspired many people to act in solidarity.
       That today a public prosecutor will judge me, is to me an admission of the vulnerability of the state. In that sense, I'm certainly not the one who is justiying himself with this trial and judgment, but you: who must defend your blood-soaked power and submission to the state and capital!
       Because of my views, I certainly do not insist on the right to freedom of expression, because the language of the law is not mine. Accordingly, I expect and demand nothing from this court and its servants, because as I have already said: the struggles for a liberated society and against the existing order will be fought elsewhere
Autumn 2018.

Read issue 2 PDF, A4.      Print issue 2 PDF, A3.
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

History Should Teach Us Something??

      I came across this little piece I penned at the start of the illegal invasion of Iraq, for the paper I produced, "The Anarchist Critic". Since then the imperialist slaughter has washed across Libya and Syria with Iran in the cross-hairs. At the time it was difficult to drink in the horror and terror inflicted on the ordinary people of Iraq by the Western imperialist's callous and brutal "Shock and Awe", a deliberate action of savagery unleashed on the innocent, children, elderly and infirm. All because one man and his team wouldn't play ball with the Western imperialists. Since then the faces of the figureheads of Western imperialism have changed, but the policy is still the same. We have seen the faces of Bush, Clinton, Blair and Cameron come and go, we now have the Trump and May duo, but that's all that has changed, the brutal imperialist bloodshed continues unabated.
     When will it finally sink in, that voting to change the faces of these figureheads, these puppets of corporate imperialism, will change nothing. They say that doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result, is one of the first signs of insanity, is that where we are at now?
From 2003:

         However, these two arrogant Christian fundamentalists nutters are for real. Their brutal Afghanistan and Iraq bloodbaths have turned the world into a nightmare, a breeding ground for other fundamentalist nutters to pursue their "God given" dogmatic beliefs. The number of innocent civilian deaths cannot be justifies on the banner of "A good cause". The impoverished country of Afghanistan has been returned to the stone age where 5% have access to fresh water, 25% of all children are dead by the age of five, 400 a month are blown up by land mines and civil war festers just below the surface. Conservative estimates put the civilian deaths in Iraq, since the illegal invasion at 15,000 and still rising. Coalition aggressors deaths nearing the 1,000 mark and an estimated 8,000 US soldiers injured. Economically the costs of this brutal, illegal Iraq adventure are put at $100 billion, (tax payers money of course) and most agree that this is a grossly under estimated figure. Iraq's infrastructure is in tatter and once again it is the innocent civilians and their children that have to try to survive in this Bush/Blair disaster.
         Getting rid of the Bush/Blair "God disciple duo" is not the answer, they are merely the selected strong-arm war lords of the corporate world, doing its bidding, (with a little help from God). They would be replaced with a different personality but the same brutal agenda would still be pursued. We have to crush the system that welds the state apparatus and corporate power into a brutal force that controls the worlds resources. We have to bring all the world's resources under the control of the ordinary people. The state and its repressive apparatus must be dismantled, multi-national corporations taken over by those who work in them and moulded to the benefit of all, a new society created, one that is based on free association, voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Tomorrow must belong to us the ordinary people or there is no tomorrow.
                                                                                              ann arky.
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Monday, 12 November 2018

Gaza, The Israeli State's Extermination Camp.

       Gaza, it can no longer be called an open prison, it has now been changed, by the Israeli government, into an extermination camp. Deaths and maiming are a daily occurrence, and those whose bodies have not been ravaged by Israeli sniper fire, live a life of utter deprivation, with suicides increasing at an alarming rate. All of this is by deliberate government policy, with the results being well known to the vicious racist state of Israel and the rest of the so called civilised states.
     If a so called civilised world can stand by and see this happening, and not only do nothing, but continue to arm and support the responsible state, then they are complicit in this mass murder and maiming, just as if the had their troops involved in this barbaric state genocide.
     Gaza, a strip of land approximately seven miles by two at its widest part, is home to over 2 million Palestinians. They are penned in by the Israeli military, penned in under appalling conditions of over crowding, poverty and deprivation, with electricity just a few hours a day, a shortage of clean water, no work, a health service that depends on the Israeli authorities allowing medical volunteers through their strict check points. 
      In this small over crowded strip of land, since March this year, 220 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli military, more than 24,000 causalities, more than 5,000 shot with high velocity gunfire, hundreds of them requiring amputation.
      You will search hard to find another small strip of the planet where so many human beings are being systematically brutalised and exterminated by deliberate state policy, and we see the cabal of Western states turn their backs and look the other way, in the name of "security" and profit.
       A must read article that goes some way to highlighting this 21st. century state genocide, from the Independent,

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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Day, Who And What To Remember?

      Remembrance Day is here, and as usual it will be filled with so much pomp and ceremony, so much false narratives, and distorted history, that the truth will lie buried with those millions of ordinary people who died in some of the most horrifying circumstances imaginable. From the Somme to Hiroshima, the deaths will never be remembered as battles for supremacy between opposing power mongers, each seeking to bolster their own particular hold on power. It will always be honoured as noble, just, and necessary, in an attempt to make war "clean", "moral" and "righteous", so that it can be used again and again, as the various power mongers defend and bolster their own particular power block for the benefit of the rich and powerful. Through the fog of lies we should be more selective in who and what we remember.
      On this Remembrance day perhaps we should reflect on the words uttered by a German soldier, from the novel "All Quiet on the Western front",
       “But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony – forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”

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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Rebellious Working Class Ended WW1.

        When it comes to WW1, most people in UK think it ended in victory for the "allies", the word "armistice" doesn't seem to register. What really brought an end to that particular imperialist bloodbath, was the collapse of discipline. Mutiny and rebellion were breaking out everywhere, troops had had enough, orders were ignored, officers were ridiculed, and the various states were anxious as to their survival. It was a class thing that finally put a nail in that particular psychopathic imperialist endeavour. 
       The following is an excellent article on libcom, posted by Jared, well worth reading in full, as we head into the hypocritical pomp and ceremony of establishment's charade of caring, that will be on display in the next few days. That babbling brook of bullshit, our mainstream media, will wallpaper our lives with banal, patriotic jingoism and empty rhetoric, which we are supposed to swallow. Those who engineer and benefit from wars, will take the stand with bowed heads, who knows, perhaps thinking of the next great plunder and how they can get away with it all.
       I make no excuse for posting this in full, it should be writ large in the minds of this generation, as we stand looking at bloody war after bloody war, with the high possibility of even more devastating conflicts looming.
The untold history of armistice 
and the end of World War I
         ‘The best antidote to ideology is detail,’ writes Paul Mason. And the detail that’s missing this Armistice Day is that working people, when they take power into their own hands, can end whatever catastrophe is imposed on them.
        In 1918, after four years of slaughter, deprivation and hardship, the Central Powers of Austro-Hungary and Germany were rocked by strikes and mutinies. In February, a naval mutiny broke out at Kotor and sailors shot their officers; by October, the Austro-Hungarian army had collapsed from mass desertions and political upheaval. Soon afterwards a mutiny by German sailors at Kiel merged with other uprisings and quickly escalated into a full-scale rebellion against the imperial state, sparking the abdication of the German Kaiser and the proclamation of a workers’ republic on 9 November 1918.
       Preferring peace to full-scale revolution, an armistice with the Allied powers was signed two days later, on 11 November 1918. Working-class revolt had helped to end the First World War.
      Not that you’d know this from New Zealand’s centennial commemoration of armistice Day, Armistice 100. People across the country will take part in a number of sanitised official events, from joining the ‘roaring chorus’ to texting the Armistice Beacon. They’re unlikely to learn much about the strikes, mutinies and resistance from below that toppled both generals and governments.
      I’ve searched the program resources in vain for any reference to how and why armistice came about. Among messages of peace and the standard script of sacrifice and loss, there is a notable silence when it comes to the masses of working men and women who contributed to the war’s end. Instead, peace seems to fall upon the war like a happy sun-shower. The surrenders of the various Central Powers seem to just … happen.
       Why is there such a gap in the historical narrative? Surely it is not for lack of time or information. We’ve had four years of commemoration and some big spends to go with them (although not as much as Australia, whose $1.1bn dwarfs the $31m spent in New Zealand). It’s not as if the date crept up on us.
      Perhaps I’m being far too critical of the Armistice 100 program and the small pool of public historians working on WW100-related events. After all, I’ve been one of them, although if I’m honest, the feature on censorship and its marginal references to dissent during the First World War was possibly too little, too late.
      It would be wrong to see this glaring omission as some devilish scheme designed to serve the interests of capital and the state. There’s no conspiracy at play here. Instead, official historians are often hamstrung by codes of conduct and the mythical stance of neutrality, or by what is or isn’t palatable to their managers and their manager’s managers. Histories of social revolution, radical ideas, and the agency of everyday, working-class people are hardly the thing of monthly reports or ministerial press releases. And despite the big-ticket items of commemoration, the long, hard slog of quality, in-depth research is like the work of any modern workplace – of trying to do more with less.
       Perhaps, too, there’s something in the turn away from class as a framework of analysis – that is, if class was ever a frame of analysis in the first place (we have, after all, had numerous historians tell us that New Zealand was a classless society, free of a bourgeoisie and proletariat). As Paul Mason notes, ‘the termination of war by working-class action fits uneasily at a deeper level: for most of history the existence of a workforce with its own consciousness and organisations is an afterthought, or an anomaly.’ Instead of exploring the final months of the war through the experience of class or capitalist social relations, we have instead been fed a discourse that historian Charlotte Macdonald believes ‘has come to be strongly characterised by rather too neatly drawn themes of consensual patriotism, duty and sacrifice.’
      Yet if we centre class, and class conflict, in our reading of armistice, the history it reveals is somewhat different to the official account on offer.
       A few examples will suffice. On 16 October 1918, 14 men of the 1 New Zealand (Divisional) Employment Company were charged with mutiny after ‘combining together not to work in the NZ DIV laundry when it was their duty to do so.’ The men, most of whom were labourers, were all sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour for their collective work-refusal. That their sentences were later remitted does not negate their struggle.
       Three days after armistice, on 14 November 1918, a riotous throng of men from the New Zealand Division gathered in the town square of Beauvois, France. Monty Ingram, a bank clerk from Whakatāne, recorded the event in his diary. ‘A great gathering of troops were harangued by a chap in the Dinks, who, standing on a box in true labour agitator style’ called on the military authorities to send them home. After a Padre was physically prevented from speaking and a staff officer was howled into silence, the men, now in their thousands, marched on Division Headquarters ‘and swarmed over the place like bees around a honeycomb.’ When Major General Andrew Russell finally appeared in the doorway, he was ‘badly heckled by all sorts of interjections thrown at him and by being called all the b-b-b’s under the sun.’ Russell’s speech fell on deaf ears. Instead, the crowd ordered their general to get in touch with the War Office and cancel any orders sending them to Germany. According to Christopher Pugsley, appeals to the honour of the Division and the threat of dire punishment prevented further action. Still, Russell recorded in his diary: ‘must watch for Bolshevism.’
      This temporary levelling of rank was triggered by frustrations about demobilisation, but class was ever present. As Dave Lamb notes, the widespread mutinies across the Allied forces broke out too soon after armistice for delay in demobilisation to be the sole cause. ‘Antagonism towards officers, hatred of arbitrary discipline, and a revolt against bad conditions and uncertainty about the prospect of being sent to Russia all combined with the delay, confusion and uncertainty about demobilisation.’
        Observed William Wilson, a farmer: ‘Codford [Camp] the last few weeks has been unbearable, discipline has gone to the pack and the troops don’t care a damn for officers and NCOs.’ Strikes by British dockers and seamen caused further delays, and further examples of direct action. There was conflict in Bulford and Sling camps, where New Zealand troops were charged with ‘endeavouring to persuade persons to mutiny’ and sentenced to hard labour. And on the transport ships home, unpopular officers found themselves victim to collective justice. In these moments, when the soldiers took power into their own hands, the generals were powerless to act.
       Back in New Zealand, the sudden end to the war, coupled with the influenza pandemic, also tested the home front military command and their ability to enforce discipline. Two weeks after armistice, the Chief of General Staff, Colonel Charles Gibbon, found himself rushing to Featherston Military Camp, where the troops were mutinous. 5000 men had staged a ‘violent’ demonstration in front of camp headquarters and presented a list of demands to the commandant. Gibbon and Defence Minister James Allen endured a stormy confrontation with the men’s delegates. In the face of mass protest, Gibbon and Allen gave in to some of the soldiers’ demands around demobilisation. By December, the recruits were marching out of Featherston at the rapid rate of 500 a day.
      The militant self-activity of working people – whether they were soldiers, industrial workers, or both – was a deeply entrenched concern for the New Zealand government. The upheavals of 1918, home and abroad, fed into a developing ‘red scare’. By 1919, red scare rhetoric came to dominate the public sphere. Prime Minister William Massey urged his Reform Party faithful to ‘secure good men to stem the tide of Anarchy and Bolshevism’. Allen believed ‘there was so much lawlessness in the country that the only thing that could save [it] from going to damnation was the drill sergeant.’
      Wartime regulations were extended into peacetime. The power to deport undesirables was legislated in 1919. Distributing revolutionary books or pamphlets remained seditious. And now that soldiers trained in killing had returned to their jobs and their pay disputes, firearm acts were passed allowing the state to clamp down on whole working-class neighbourhoods.
     Fear of working-class resistance strengthened the apparatus of state surveillance. Meetings of radicals were secretly attended by police and fortnightly reports were sent to Police Headquarters. Detectives in each district systemised this work by compiling an index of individuals who had ‘extreme revolutionary socialistic or IWW ideas’. This signaled the formation of New Zealand’s first ‘Special’ Branch and laid the groundwork for all future spy agencies in New Zealand. The unrest unleashed in the final months of the war directly influenced the monitoring of dissent in New Zealand for years to come.
       This is a small taste of the untold history of armistice and the end of the First World War. Instead of learning about it, the turbulent events leading up to and after armistice are turned into joyous celebration. Cloaked in the language of peace, Armistice Day becomes an official exercise in justifying the insane loss of life.
      We might even be tempted to see Armistice 100 as an example of what Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and scholar Viet Thanh Nguyen calls the ‘industrialisation of memory’. In his book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Nguyen also examines the ‘memory industry’ – the museums we take our children to visit, the sculptured grounds of Pukeahu National War Memorial, the Armistice Day parades at sunset. For Nguyen, at the root of this industry is the industrialisation of memory.
      Industrialising memory proceeds in parallel with how warfare is industrialised as part and parcel of capitalist society, where the actual firepower exercised in a war is matched by the firepower of memory that defines and refines that war’s identity.
        In other words, memory and the memory industry are weaponised. And while the memory industry produces kitsch, sentimentality, and spectacle, the industrialisation of memory ‘exploits memory as a strategic resource’.
        It is how bodies are produced for current and future wars.

        ‘The best antidote to ideology is detail,’ writes Paul Mason. And the detail that’s missing this Armistice Day is that working people, when they take power into their own hands, can end whatever catastrophe is imposed on them.
        First published by Overland Literary Journal. Jared Davidson is a labour historian and archivist based in Wellington, New Zealand. His forthcoming book, Dead Letters: Censorship and subversion in New Zealand 1914–1920 is out March 2019

Posted By Jared
Nov 10 2018 04:20

Friday, 9 November 2018

Publish And Be Damned.

         You believe strongly in justice for all, equality of opportunity, freedom as a basic right, you are vehemently anti-exploitation, anti-war. You sit at your computer writing up leaflets, flyers and texts, to distribute to all and sundry, hoping to influence them to change society towards these ideals. However, are they legal? For the word legal, substitute, "controlled". The state lives by control, if what you are doing is not controlled, you will be deemed a threat, and no doubt, appropriate action can and will be taken. In this society, freedom extends only as far as you are subservient, and you make no attempt to change the structure of the power arrangements within this society.

          This from leccoriot, translated for Act For Freedom Now:

          On 7th July a comrade was stopped in Lecco station by the Railway Police. After searching him and examining the books and pamphlets he was carrying, the police decided to raid his home and that of his parents on the pretext that they had found ‘La salute è in voi’ [Health is within you] among the books, a manual for lovers of direct action edited in 1906 and recently reprinted by some comrades. 
        Following the searches more anarchist printed material was seized as it had been printed illegally, and the comrade was charged with ‘clandestine printing’. To this charge another was added, that of ‘insulting the armed forces’, because of a poster where the Alpini [Alpine Troops] were specifically attacked in a proposal for a debate.
         Unfortunately this episode is not an isolated one and raises several points for us to think about.
           First of all it reintroduces the charge of clandestine press from out of the armoury of repression. Although claiming the publishing and distribution of material outside the rules imposed by the market (and the State) would be superfluous, it might be useful to dwell on the potential of this repressive instrument for a moment.
         In fact, in any documentation centre or squat there are dozens of texts that have been ‘freely’ published without any authorization or copyright; all this material could end up being locked away in police station store rooms.

What to do in the face of this?

         Without even considering the question of legalization, which, if it were possible, would allow books and pamphlets to continue to circulate without any legal consequences, one preventive response to future repressive crusades in the name of clandestine printing could be to open up a debate on the significance of ‘free’ publishing, its potentialities, perspectives and difficulties.

The charge of ‘contempt for the armed forces’ also deserves a mention.

          Certainly not because of the penal question in itself, which is minimal, but rather for comrades to think about. Attacking the armed forces directly, whichever way one prefers, should be a good habit not to be lost in our opinion. Especially as some of these forces, the Alpini for example, disguise themselves as pacifist entities that are beneficial to the community and, thanks to their fake folkloristic character, their nationalist, racist and sexist aspects are passed on unsuspectingly. Hence the decision to unmask them explicitly and openly criticize them in any situation whatsoever, no matter who their interlocutor, so as to tear away the veil of ambiguity that lets them move around freely. 
         May there be contempt! This could be a good starting point for looking beyond the single atrocities perpetrated by Alpini, police and carabinieri, and finally getting to the root of the problem. That is to say the State’s need to increase its repressive or preventive apparatuses, the existence of the armed forces as functional to maintaining the status quo. And no less important, especially in these ominous times, the increasing push for every ‘good citizen’ to become police informers, blindly obedient with an acritical respect for the law seen as absolute truth, characteristics that are undeniably linked to the militarist ideology.
          Certain that their intimidations won’t have any effect, we need to build as many occasions as possible so that words printed in black and white cut through our pages and come out into the open, expressing a radical critique that can’t be recuperated by the democratic yoke.
          To bring alive the tension against all authority, against assassins, minions of power and the indifferent, increasingly accomplice to everyday atrocities.

Centro di documentazione anarchico l’Arrotino [Anarchist resource centre l’Arrotino]
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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Artists In Solidarity.

       Spirit of Revolt's next big event is a special one, in conjunction with thi wurd. It is formed round an event that took place in 1984, in support of the miners strike, by Artists-in-Solidarity, and was called "Writers for Miners". It took place in what was then The Third Eye Centre, now the CCA, Centre for Contemporary Art. It involved a considerable number of well know singers, song writers, musicians, writers and poets, some who sadly are no longer with us. The audio files of the event survived and with the effort of writer James Kelman, the surviving members have been contacted and agreed to have the files made into a CD and use it as a fund raiser for Spirit of Revolt. most of those involved in the original event and who are still doing there thing, have agreed to come and perform on the night of the CD launch. The CD has 21 tracks, and no matter your interest, I'm sure you will recognise most of the artists.
       This will be an opportunity to come and enjoy a rich and varied event with some of the best know musicians/artist/writers/poets from our area. The words of some of the poets who are no longer with us, will be read by members of thi wurd.
        It will be held in:
     Mono, Kings Court, Glasgow, on November 28th. 2018.
All funds raised will go to support Spirit of Revolt, archives of dissent.

Music Poetry and Politics! 

A collaboration between thi wurd, Artists-in-Soidarity and Spirit of Revolt.


James Kelman
Paula Larkin
Tom Leonard
Liz Lochead
Ewan McVicar
Alan McMunigall
Aonghas MacNeacail
Peter Nardini
Nancy Nicolson
Rab Noakes
Donald Saunders
Gerda Stephenson
Allan Tall
Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Stalls:   IWW,  Spirit of Revoltthi wurd.
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Spirit of Revolt's Conscientious Objectors.

       To all those who were unfortunate enough to miss Spirit of Revolt's Show and Tell event on Conscientious Objectors, held in the Mitchell Library, here is your chance to catch up. The event is now up on film on Spirit of Revolt's NEWS section. Thanks Bob for the film.
      From Spirit of Revolt, enjoy:

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There Is Only So Much Bullshit We Will Take.

      I didn't get any of this from any of the tributaries of that babbling brook of bullshit, our mainstream media, you have to look elsewhere for any real news. How long before the rest of the country decides it has had enough of the bullshit fed to them from our political ballerinas via the bullshit propaganda machine called the "media"?
Report from events outside the New Cross Assembly

     What we saw last night 6.11.18 was real people power in action, as people continue to fight against the destruction of Tidemill community wildlife garden in Deptford and the eviction of the adjacent flats at Reginald House. This follows last week’s eviction of the Tidemill occuption by hordes of cops and bailiffs, which was strongly resisted throughout the day. The area now remains a fortified zone, permanently surrounded by dozens of bailiffs.
      At 7pm on Tuesday evening, around 40 people, furious about the planned destruction of yet another green space & eviction of yet more council flats, gathered to protest at the Lewisham Mayor and councillors who were due to speak at the New Cross Assembly. Despite there being plenty of empty seats in the room, us common riff-raff were shut out and prevented from participating in their ‘democratic processes’.
       So instead we made our feelings heard from the outside, banging on the gates and makeshift drums and eventually making it right up close to the half-open windows, through which cries of “stop demolition”, “careerist parasites!” and “no one believes your lies!”, and plenty of cheers of support for the angry locals inside the event were expressed.
      Councillor Joe Dromey, a particularly smug-faced, upper-class advocate of the destruction (and son of Harriet Harman no less) was the first politico to leave the event. As he did so, he was mobbed by the fiery crowd. He couldn’t face his constituents and eventually opted to be bungled into a police van to drive him home.
      Meanwhile, Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan’s attempts to make a quiet getaway were foiled, as the crowd spotted him and encircled his car. Some people lay passively in the road while others stood around the car. The message was made very clear to the young mayor: drop the development, hands off tidemill. The cops waded in and, without giving any formal warnings to leave, set about dragging people out the road and violently chucking people about left right and centre. Several of them appeared completely unhinged, charging and punching people in the face.
      For about 5-10 minutes, the mayor’s car was unable to leave its parking space as the scuffles with the cops continued. Eventually, enough violence was used by the police to clear the path, enabling the mayor and his colleague to begin driving slowly through the backstreets of Deptford. But at every turn, brave and passionate people with little concern for their own safety, got back into the road, or tried to make barricades with bins. This was it: Tidemill had become a symbol of every dodgy development project in the area, of lie after lie by self-serving and patronising local politicians, of destruction of our neighbourhood and the environment. People really have had enough.
       To get the car through, the police had to bring in heavy reinforcements and dogs. Met police Commissioner Cressida Dick even made her way down by the end of it and was sighted talking to the chief cop on the scene. At one point, crazed skinhead cop #1393 inexplicably made a beeline for a harmless and entirely peaceful young brown man who was walking alone about 10 metres ahead. This psychopath threw himself on this poor lad, chucked him to the floor and proceeded to asphixiate the totally passive guy, digging his thumbs into pressure-points on his neck so that his face was rammed up against the concrete, and knelt on his knee for extra measure. It looked like he was going to kill the guy, and the many people who witnessed it said so. Given that there were lots of people who had been much closer to Egan’s car, this was yet another overt case of pure racism, premeditated assault, and outright police brutality. This took people’s attention away from Egan’s car which was then able to get away onto New Cross Road at around 10pm. The poor guy was arrested and taken to Lewisham police station, where a group went to support him.
      The racist assault & arrest by the cops aside, the night was a really promising one. It was fantastic to see impassioned people taking to the streets again, uncompromisingly defending our neighbourhood from corporate parasites, fighting ecocidal destruction, and refusing to play to their silly game of ineffectual quiet protest.
      Later that night, Councillors Joe Dromey and Paul Bell pulled out the inevitable tired old tropes of ‘legitimate’ vs. ‘illegitimate’ protestors, masked vs. unmasked, young vs. old, ‘native residents’ vs. interlopers, poor vs. middle class & respectable -i.e. those naive enough to continue to play along with their sham consultations and faux democratic processes.
      No-one but your suited cronies buy it. We’ve gone right through the petitions, the utterly futile ‘debate’ in your forums, the legal processes and the passive protests. And Lewisham Council has run roughshod over all of them.

There’s only so much bullshit that people will take.



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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

We Live To Tread On Kings.

     Spreading anarchist ideas is obviously the way to  get them picked up by the public at large. The more we make them available the more we will see the general public engage with those ideas. Like the corporate world says, "It pays to advertise". With Stuart Christie giving us The Anarchist Film Archive, this can be enriched by such sites as The Anarchist Library, and now a revamped site that list anarchist texts for printing and distributing, Library Anarhija, well worth a visit. Then of course, at a more local level we have an archive here in Glasgow gathering and preserving the history of the struggles of the ordinary people of the city and the Clydeside area, Spirit of Revolt. We learn from our history.
      All wonderful resources that we should use extensively in our attempt to raise awareness of the rich possibilities of anarchist ideas.
      Of course there are many, many more, such resources, and we should use them freely, however, never forgetting the need for positive action in our communities, our workplaces and our streets.  
A text from Library Anarhija: 

‘O gentlemen, the time of life is short;…
And if we live, we live to tread on kings;’ 
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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

UK, Third World Country!!

          Further to my article regarding the "End Of Austerity" some very interesting and devastating  series of facts in this link from Comrade Loam. It lays bare the facts of how we in the UK have seen our standard of living deteriorate further in relation to inequality within the country than any other country in Europe. As far as inequality goes we look more like a third world country than a so called rich developed country.
      "...purchasing power parity poorest people in the United Kingdom in the year 2000 are poorer than any other nation in 2010 some of the poorest 10% of the population have an income on the scale which the OECD create and I should explain this a little better to you the OECD study creates a scale and inequality scale in the year 2000 in the United Kingdom the poorest 10% of the population had an income which which gave them 60 points on the OECD scale the top 10% of the population of the United Kingdom in the year 2000 had an annual income at 845 points on the same scale 60 at the bottom 845 at the top Germany is the country in the study which comes closest to the United Kingdom at the bottom end of the scale poorest people in Germany are at around 60 points in the scale as well but the richest 10% of the German population have a score at the other end of the scale lot of 845 but just above 300 and that's the closest of any country in the whole survey including the United States so that's in the year 2000 15 years later and uniquely in the survey poorest people in the United Kingdom are poorer than they were in the year 2000 and there is no other country in the survey at all where 15 years later people have fallen further back than they were 10 years earlier at the top of the scale in the United Kingdom the richest people have moved from 845 points on the scale now to 1150 they have broken through the 1000 barrier in Germany the most well-off have got richer - they've now moved from just above 300 to just below 400 so the gap between the United Kingdom and any other country in Europe which starts with differences in equality in inequality which are absolutely striking at the start of the period that gap has grown even further in the 15-year period and that's what I mean I think by suggesting to you that while in the European mainstream the gap between the top and the bottom in any country is relatively narrow and even under the conditions of austerity grows to a modest extent the United Kingdom begins as the most unequal country in the European Union and that accelerates away accelerates away even faster during the austerity years and the figures as you will know I'm sure are not in any way one-off for the product of some strange methodological quirk earlier this year research for the Centre for you for European reform the Centre for European reform told the same story at a regional level the United Kingdom has nine of the ten poorest regions in northern Europe there is one part of Belgium that is on that list all nine others are regions of the United Kingdom and within the United Kingdom the gap between the richest and poorest regions is wider than in any the European Union country and that gap the centre concludes has widened and not narrowed during the age of austerity but simply it seems to me that by the end of the period the United Kingdom no longer looks like a European country the mechanisms of social solidarity which are the project of government action have been abandoned here to an extent unparalleled elsewhere with the gross disparities exposed in the figures I just set out and nor of course in our country is this dismal journey over..."

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Anarchist Film Archive.

      Put on a local film show, bring anarchism to your neighbourhood, Spread the word with a friendly film night, all possible via Anarchist Film Archive. It's there make good use of it.
Anarchist Film Archive- More than 1000 FREE rare films & documentaries

        Christie Books just relaunched the Anarchist Film Archive, an easy to use online streaming, and has a ton of rare and hard to find films, documentaries and historical archives from early 20th century until our days. Check it out now HERE:
In their own words:

        “The archive is free to access and contains a growing collection of nearly 1000 difficult-to-find feature films, documentaries, interviews, talks and short videos — all with anarchist or libertarian-oriented themes of education, justice, resistance — and liberation. Complementing the archive is a comprehensive and regularly updated database of anarchist/libertarian films compiled and maintained by Santiago-Juan Navarro. The archive is easy to use: you can scroll through the titles, search for a particular film in the ‘Search’ box or search by tag. You can also embed individual films in blogs, facebook pages etc.”
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