Sunday, 19 January 2020

Our Helping Hand.

       Have you received you “thank-you” letter from big business yet, no, me neither. Well I feel our generousity should at least by acknowledged. Figures are a bit out of date referring to 1012-13, but I don’t imagine much has changed since then.
       In year 2012-13 the government received from big business £41.3 billion in corporation tax receipts, but handed out £58.2 billion in grants, subsides and corporate tax benefits. Taxpayers, you and I, are handing out approximately £93 billion a year, that amounts to around more than £3.500 from each and every household in the UK, just to help big business along and swell their bank accounts. Figures from Guardian. 
Big business and government.
       -------Many of the companies receiving the largest public grants over the past few years previously paid little or zero corporation tax, the analysis shows. They include some of the best-known names in Britain, such as Amazon, Ford and Nissan. The figures intensify the pressure on George Osborne, the chancellor, just as he puts the finishing touches to his budget. At the heart of Wednesday’s announcement will be his plans to cut £12bn more from the social welfare bill.
       Yet that sum is less than the £14.5bn given to companies in direct subsidies and grants alone.------
--------In 2012, Amazon was attacked by MPs on parliament’s public accounts committee for avoiding UK tax. Yet in the same period, the online retailer was awarded £16.5m in grants by the administrations of Scotland and Wales to help build distribution centres. To link the Wales plant to the transport network, the Welsh assembly built the mile-long “Ffordd Amazon road” at an additional cost of £3m------
        We all know we are being shafted by big business, aided and abetted by the state’s business orientated ideology and the state’s stamp of legitimacy, so that makes it alright!! How many MPs have shares in these companies, how many have friends in high places in big business?The real question is not, do we know this, but why do we put up with it and when are we going to get rid of this systematic plundering of the poor. When the cupboard is bare!!
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American Dream.

        America, the richest country in the world, though that might not be too accurate when you consider it massive debt. Never the less, in capitalist terms, it is the richest country in the world. The image it portrays to the rest of the world  is America is the land of plenty, opportunity, and of course the "American dream". Unemployment at a record low, stock market ever rising, money, money everywhere. Often we are shown how poverty thrives in "third world" countries, but America, it is the shining example of good living, and prosperity. Of course, it is a capitalist country, and anyone who knows how the system works will be well aware, that is an illusion. 

         40 million plus, Americans live below the poverty line, homelessness is mushrooming, medical care is not for everybody.
A couple of videos and extracts from Peak Prosperity: 
At least, it has been.
        Recently, it’s become impossible not to see the signs that more and more people are falling into poverty. They just can’t afford the rising cost of living, even if they have a job.
       Here where I live, nowhere is this more apparent than the Joe Rodota trail connecting my small town of Sebastopol with the nearby city of Santa Rosa. Over the past year, this previously quiet, clean, bike & pedestrian route has exploded into a sprawling homeless encampment for hundreds of dispossessed people.
        Here’s a 2-minute video I took of the encampment this afternoon (h/t to my daughter Charlotte for manning the camera as I drove):

      If you have the time, I recommend watching this 45-minute documentary on US poverty produced by a German public broadcast service. Currently more than 40 million Americans live beneath the poverty line — that’s twice as many as in 1970.
       Viewing our country through their outsider’s eye is a stark warning that we ignore this metastasizing social epidemic at our peril:
      Back to my question at the start of this post: What’s it going to take? How many more millions will fall into poverty? How much more abuse will continue until of those of us paying attention, with growing fear at the social implications and perhaps at our own financial vulnerability, actively revolt against the elite-centric status quo?
       For thousands of years, history has warned us that such social imbalance will not stand:

Read the full article HERE:
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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Thieving Employers.

         If you know anything about your working class history you will be aware of all those long and hard struggles to wrestle some concessions from the employer class to improve our quality of life, The 8 hour day, the 40 hour week, paid holidays, sick pay etc.. They were long and hard struggles, and the progress was slow. Some people paid dearly in those struggle from being blacklisted by employers, arrested by the state and on occasions some paid with their life.
        A short period and people took these conditions as normal, only to find that bit by bit they were being dismantled by the employer class, all under the banner of efficiency, profit and the illusion of "freedom of choice". All these changes stripping away at workers conditions were always given the stamp of legitimacy by the state, the corporate bosses minders.
        From this we should all realise that conditions won from employers are not ours to keep, they will be taken back bit by bit by the employer class. Their battle for ever increasing profit and low production costs will always drive them to chip away at your conditions. This is done in various ways, today its methods include zero hours contracts, pushing workers to be "self employed" etc. freeing the employer from national insurance, holiday pay, etc. Also freeing the employer from any responsibility concerning the employee and their conditions.
        The only sure way to improve our working conditions on an ever improving scale, is to remove the employer, in other words bring down capitalism and its co-joined partner, the state.
       This extract may sound very familiar to lots of you, the total disregard by the employer, of the employee as a human being.
     WORKER: Well yes, my terms and conditions leave a lot to be desired. For example, I was on a contract for a maximum of 20 hours, but if I had no students I had no pay. So in reality because of the vagaries of the people we teach, who often have chaotic lifestyles, my hours could vary anywhere between 10 and 20 in a given week, so obviously my pay reflected this. Also we have to take leave around the school holidays. So effectively, because you can't earn enough annual leave to cover this amount you are without pay for around 8-10 weeks a year.
     AWSM: Is the pay good?
    WORKER: On paper it looks ok. I won't go into the exact figures, but it is $30+ an hour and seems generous. The reality however is very different. I get paid what is known as an inclusive rate. This means I get deductions for my holiday pay, which I know isn't that unusual, but also I have to pay the kiwisaver employer contributions out of my pay, which was a new thing for me and totally surprised me as I didn't even know that was a thing. Also we don't get paid for any time we spend preparing lessons or marking, and it is expected we are in the building at least half an hour before any class that we are teaching starts. Another thing that winds me up is once a month we are expected to attend staff meetings, without pay, that can drag on for over 2 hours, thanks to two managers who will talk and talk interminably about nothing much - of course they will be getting paid as they enjoy the luxury of 40 hour contracts.
      AWSM: In the previous question you said you were on a contract with a maximum of 20 hours, did this change?
      WORKER: Yes, at the end of Term 2 last year I was asked if I would like to take on a new course that involved 40 hours per week teaching. I accepted and they put me on a salaried contract which actually saw my pay drop by about $8 per hour. The course actually involved a lot more than 40 hours a week with gathering resources and marking, and of course, such is the lot of a salaried worker, you don't get overtime - but of course if you ever leave early then it is seen as theft of time. I got reprimanded once for leaving an hour early for a doctors appointment - this having worked for the previous 4 saturdays above my 40 hours to catch up with my workload.
      AWSM: Things like that must drive you mad?
     WORKER: Honestly, I have been in the workforce for a long time now and I have no expectation of being treated differently. I really don't think I have ever had a boss who I had any respect for and would treat you decently.
      AWSM: Are you still on that contract now?
    WORKER: No. As soon as my course finished they put me back on a 20 hour/Zero hour contract. Presumably so they don't have to pay me fully for public holidays. When I return at the beginning of next term I will be offered the 40 hour contract again.
      AWSM: How do your colleagues view their working conditions?
    WORKER: No-one really talks about it. I try and get others involved in conversations but they really don't want to rock the boat at all.
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Friday, 17 January 2020

Cut Root And Branch.

       Questions used to be asked, would the state system collapse, would capitalism collapse, now the questions are when will the state system collapse and when will capitalism collapse. A look around you and it seems perfectly obvious that both the state system and capitalism are on the crumbling edge of decay. The system that is destroying the planet and human life on it, along with millions of other species, isn't sustainable. In state after state people are taking to the streets to display their righteous anger at the greed driven plunder and destruction of our only home. Inequality is so wide and glaringly obvious, it is no longer accepted, misery and destruction spawned by continuous wars for resources for the rich is now seen for with it is, the destruction and plunder of the planet for power and wealth for the few. A love of humanity and empathy with all other species demands that we hurry the collapsing process of this cancerous system as much and as quickly as we can. Time is not on our side as the planet's changing weather system is already causing unimaginable death and misery across the planet, fires, floods, poverty for countless millions, mass migration, are all on the increase. Can this deliberate destruction be halted? Certainly not if we appeal to the system that caused it to put it right. No use pruning a rotten and collapsing tree, it has to brought down and destroyed.
       As I have said before, trying to build a "Left" political party is just giving the people a paracetamol to ease their pain, but it will  never cure their problems.
Athens, Greece: Obsidian: Against Nations, all out on the 18th January against the state
        Anarchy if anything is total opposition to the nation state. Anarchists don’t just critique or hold a strong suspicion of states, our movement was founded on their negation. This new decade is a new era for nations, one that will likely break them from their historical model. Within this vaccuum our ideals will be increasingly relevant and thrive if able to adapt. The opposite is true for the left wing of capital, those Marxists and liberals who already look like caricatures from the past. For this reason we must vigorously oppose any compromise with old ideas. Our world is moving too fast to look back.
      Our current moment is a train crash of climate emergency, forced migration, mass information, war and growing population. To say the old system is only breaking is an understatement. It broke long ago and is now collapsing under it’s own weight like the many empires before it. Unfortunately the same common history still applies, new beginnings come after violent, unpredictable ends.
       As anarchists in this climate of increasing social instability we should not only say the things only we can say. But take action that makes our antistate position clear. Reminding all that compromise has never ended authority, no matter how comfortable a fantasy. Leaving traditional opposition to wither and watch their own states break apart and lash out with dictatorships.
      In Athens, Europe and the world so many ask when the desperation will end. This question fuels uncontrollable rage directed at the parasite latched onto our collective body. Individuals are sick of asking obvious questions, losing the little ground gained over past decades. As the light at the end of the tunnel dims, a vicious fire lights the way.

Support anarchy against nations
Destabilize the repressive machine
Retake and expand space that pains dominant society.
All out on the 18th January against the state. Kaniggos Square. 6:30pm Athens
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Thursday, 16 January 2020

France Mass Protests.

The heads of Britain's richest benefit family out for a walk.

       Not much on mass protests and police brutality happening in France, from our bubble gum and popcorn media outlets, but they continue to spew out the drivel from the family squabbles of Britain's richest benefit family, the Windsors, as if it was earth shattering news about to alter our whole way life. While we, in our under heated homes with our underfed children, sit and wait with bated breath to see which road Harry and Meghan will take. Only when we know this will we be able to relax and get back to our subservient life.
      Meanwhile, in France a general strike has been in progress for 7 weeks. Started by transport workers it is now being joined by a wide spectrum of French society including lawyers and judges; and the dancers at the Paris Opera, among other professions. They have now joined up with the Yellow Vests, who have been on the streets protesting since December 5th. 2018.
       Naturally this has not been happening in a conciliatory manner, the state has unleashed it dogs onto the street, and they have treated the protestors with a brutal savagery typical of any authoritarian state. Beatings, tear gas, rubber bullets, random arrests and more, has been part of the state's response to the demands of the people. Obviously all this is not worth mentioning by our bubble gum and popcorn media with the people gasping for more on the gripping story of the Windsors. 

         "-----On one side, the Macron government has staked its legitimacy on pushing through this key “reform” intact, as a matter of principle, regardless of how unpopular it is. On the other side stand the striking railroad and transit workers, who are bearing the brunt of this conflict and have already sacrificed thousands of euros in lost pay since the strike began on December 5. After six weeks, they cannot accept the prospect of returning to work empty-handed, and they have set their sights high: withdrawal of the whole government project.
        This looks like a “now or never” situation. Moreover, it seems clear that the transport workers mean business. When the government — and the union leaders — proposed a “truce” in the transport strike during the sacred Christmas/New Year holiday period, the rank-and-file voted to continue the struggle, and their leaders were obliged to eat their words.
        Nor are the transport workers on their own, despite the inconvenience to commuters and other travelers. They have been joined by emergency-room nurses and doctors angered over lack of beds, personnel and materials; public school teachers protesting undemocratic and incomprehensible reforms to the national curriculum; lawyers and judges; and the dancers at the Paris Opera, among the other professions joining the strike.-----"
Read the full article HERE: 

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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Cruel Vindictive Act.

      To be evicted from you home, is an inhuman act, but in Scotland in the winter, it is of vindictive act of cruelty. There is no way that a civilised society can stand by and see a fellow human being thrown on to the street, usually in the name of money and profit, and do nothing about it. It is encouraging to see that there is still some of that Red Clydeside running through the veins of the citizens of Glasgow.
      Monday 13th. December say a protest  in support of a fellow citizen who was being faced with eviction onto the cold miserable wet streets of Glasgow. Thanks to that support the eviction has been postponed. Again, solidarity is the weapon that wins struggles.
This report from Living Rent:

Turn up, turn out, turn your landlord inside out!
        Great show of solidarity on Monday, 13th. December, for our member Philip, who is being threatened with eviction during this dreich Glesga winter. Thankfully it has been postponed to a formal Tribunal hearing on February 24th!
       Philip's case represents ANOTHER example of why a winter eviction break is needed in Scotland. A victim of an inadequate and faulty benefit system which has denied him the dignity he deserves, Philip's situation has been made even worse by his landlord, Southside Lettings, who has refused to fix the mould and damp in his flat.
       Phillip is facing a winter eviction in a city whose council recently and unanimously backed a motion endorsing Living Rent's campaign for a winter break on evictions. Clearly some of the city's landlords and letting agents are not taking the hint that this cruel practice should end now.
       However, with the backing of his tenants' union in collaboration with legal representatives, Phillip knows that he isn't facing his landlord alone.
Sign our petition for a Winter Break on evictions here:

       Read more about Glasgow City Council's endorsement of a Winter Break here:…/urgent-call-for-government…/
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Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Ask Your Gaoler For Paracetamol.

        It becomes more and more obvious that we can't get the type of free and just society we want without a hard and bitter struggle. As state repression crawls further and further into our everyday life, enforced by a well armed police force backed up by a loaded judicial system, more and more people are drawn into conflict with the state. The endless attack on the social fabric of the population by the plundering of the public purse, by the state's money and business orientated policies, while pampering and subsidising their corporate friends, it becomes obvious that the state and big business are not on our side. We stand diametrically opposed to each other in what is clearly a class war, the rich and power with their self protecting state apparatus versus the ordinary people armed with nothing more than solidarity and a desire for a fair and just world for all. To get there will never be done by appealing to the rich and powerful political and corporate Mafia, you are asking them to give up the wealth and power and join us in shaping an equal and fair society, to give up their pampered and privileged life to join us the ordinary people in a building a society that sees to everybody's needs fairly. Such requests are based on an illusion peddled by the political parties, who in reality benefit from the existing unjust and corrupt system.
       The misery, poverty, deprivation, inequality and violence encapsulated in this capitalist system backed up the state is so glaringly obvious, it is crime to look the other way, it's an abandonment of your humanity, it's giving consent and being complicit in perpetuating the injustice. Appealing to your gaoler for an extra pillow to make a your life little bit more comfortable, or asking for a paracetamol to ease your pain, is not an answer, we have to break down the prison walls and free ourselves.
 We are tearing down walls for freedom

         The recapture of Matrozou 45 and Panetoliou 21 is an act against the fear imposed by state repression. It is a signal of resistance and a rallying cry for escalation. Let us not leave our neighborhoods and nature in the heat of development plunder. Do not accept the displacement of our lives. Keep the parks, squares and hills free. Let us oppose the mercenaries of the state. Let us intensify the struggles against the exploitation of labor. Let us completely take up the struggle for survival and freedom. The struggle is neither legal nor illegal.
        Together with dozens of anarchist / antisocial companions, we are taking back the community’s homes in order to meet housing needs that would not have been possible without this occupation, to re-open solidarity structures and re-establish free-living relationships without hierarchy, reopen homes in the neighborhood and in the movement with events, celebrations and organization.
        We occupy buildings and connect illegal electricity and water. We are working to make them sustainable and we are taking on the cost of repression. It is a conscious choice to blackmail with rent and bills. Meeting the basic needs must be a given to all people and not a tool in the hands of the bosses to give us the dilemma of submission or misery.
        Housing seizures are a logical response to the irrationality of a financial system that forcefully keeps people in huts, roads and concentration camps at the same time as there are thousands of vacant buildings. In a suffocating metropolis drowned in cement and drinking places, occupations are places of socialization without institutional and financial control, places where people can redefine their relationships on the basis of solidarity and respect, outside the dominant standards.
         And for those who are complaining about the unpaid occupation accounts, it would be good to dig a little deeper into all that has been stolen by state and international economic policies, all those unpaid party accounts, factories and, of course, the millions in euros. In a forest-burning state with the collapse of the health system and bleeding education system, the state chooses to hire 1,500 cops with extra money for equipment. Because all they care about is protecting their friends and their friends’ investments from an uprising.
       On the other hand, the Greek police and media, the urban propaganda system, are on the verge of collapse after the last operation in Koukaki. They still do not want to admit that high-profile journalists and politicians and the anti-terrorism unit itself condemned without any evidence an “innocent Greek family.” Because this will undermine social trust in the foundations of the urban system and give us space to say once again that THIS IS NOT ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL CASE. They prepare and construct the next culprits… All this is done to instill fear and terror into people’s minds about squatters and anarchist / antisocial sites.
         The squatters are attacked by the entire state apparatus and not only by the “right government.” The disagreement between SYRIZA and ND is about what is the most effective way to suppress the movement. Police democracy throughout the area with the involvement of anti-terrorism also existed under SYRIZA with thirty examples. One example of extreme repression was when they sent two MAT squads to Philopappou Hill to prevent tree planting. Whether left or right, such an unjust and contradictory system cannot survive without repression, and repression is something that will always exist and we will have to go through it to get what we need.
         The occupation of all the necessary resources, productive forces, spaces, and ultimately our own lives, is the one-way street for the struggles of the oppressed and exploited, and our small occupations foreshadow this happy future.

Occupation Community of Koukaki

Original publication January 11, 2020

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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Prisoners Solidarity.

       Our media would rather we forget the struggles on the streets, unless it is happening in a country that is deemed to be an enemy of the Western imperialism. The last thing the establishment want is for people to realise that the world is in revolt against this planet plundering, life destroying, exploitative greed driven system. State after state continues to attack and incarcerate those opposed to its gravy train for the rich and powerful. If we forget or ignore those who have been locked up in the states repression cages, we lose the struggle for that better world for all. Those who have struggled and find themselves enmeshed in the loaded state judicial swamp deserve our full and unstinting solidarity and support. They have started the struggle, we need them to help us continue with that struggle to end the darkest hour in humanities history, the capitalist economic system. The system uses international co-operation against dissent, we to have to use international co-operation against the system.
      This from 325: 


        More than 80 days after the social outbreak in Chile, the struggle and social organization persists in the unwavering conviction of confronting and breaking with the model of power and economy that has perpetuated inequalities, injustices and abuses for decades.
        Undoubtedly the revolt that still breathes in Chile means this is a turning point with no return, it is within a long journey of struggle that has also brought with it a hard cost: hundreds and hundreds of prisoners of the revolt that are today in the different prisons in this territory. Each week this number increases and in an obvious phenomenon of mass incarceration the State seeks to intimidate and criminalize social protest. We speak of political prisoners of the revolt because of the fact of the mass imprisonment of social fighters after the outbreak of the 18th [October], responding to a political decision of the State and not to technical/legal criteria, understanding the complicity between the different powers of the State in order to perpetuate the existing model of control. That is why we make this call for international solidarity with the prisoners of the revolt in order to reveal the political condition of their imprisonment and demand their immediate freedom. We extend this call appealing to the multiple initiatives and solidarity actions that arise in each territory.



In other languages 
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State's Inhumanity.

         It is unbelievable that a so called civilised democracy can treat humans with such cruelty, herding them in disgusting conditions, removing their right to decency, inflicting on them conditions that endanger their physical and psychological health. Treating them to harsh and brutal treatment should they dare to object.
       Migrants, it's as though they arrive with a special badge signifying that they are sub-human, and deserve nothing from the community, no rights, and must be kept enclosed in filthy detention centres. One such detention centre that our media seldom if ever, mention is the Greek island of Samos, an island that its past can lay claim to be the birth place of such luminaries as the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, after whom the Pythagorean theorem is named, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, the first known individual to propose that the Earth revolves around the sun. (this info from Wikipedia)
     Nowadays  It is home to 7,497 migrants in a camp made to house 648. these appalling conditions merit outrage not just from the migrants, but from all decent civilised people. These conditions are inflicted knowingly and deliberately by the Greek state authorities. Where is the international outrage, perhaps because the migrants on Samos are not the only ones, this is common practice across the globe by state after state.
This report from Act For Freedom Now:
         At the moment 7,497 people are being held in a centre built for 648.
     Many are unaccompanied minors. Protests against the dramatic living conditions are frequent: yesterday, Thursday, a revolt was suppressed by riot police, a fire had destroyed about one hundred tents and shacks on October 14 leaving thousands of people without shelter and forced to sleep outdoors.
      A protest was held on October 18 to claim freedom of movement and the possibility to finally leave the island concentration camp and for two days between October 24 and 25 a group of people held a permanent sit-in in piazza Pitagora, in the centre of Vathy. A riot had previously been severely repressed in the month of May. Also this morning, Friday December 20, the people being held in the Samos concentration camp continued their struggle without letting themselves be intimidated by the repression, and came out into the streets again reaching the city of Vathy in a determined and noisy demonstration. Translation to Italian by: Athens Indymedia

       About 300 immigrants began to protest on Thursday December 19 against the segregation and detention on the island, outside the main entrance to the detention centre, shouting slogans. They then headed for the minor entrance (which links the hotspot with the city of Vathy) and blocked the road. The police prevented them from carrying on the protest towards the city, which was only 500 metres away.
       The immigrants responded by overturning the chemical toilets, putting up barricades and throwing stones at the police, who reacted with a shower of teargas. The municipality of eastern Samos decided to suspend lessons in the nearby primary and nursery schools because of the strong smell of teargas present in the air.

Solidarity with the rebel immigrants!

       “They will never admit in their news that the act of rebelling was our extreme attempt to remain human” – from “Lotta contro l’oblio”, [Struggle against oblivion], the latest text of Apatris
       Try to imagine, 7,497 people, young and old, living in a detention centre, mainly tents, built to house 648 in rather sparse and restricted conditions!!
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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Slave Labour In The UK.

        How many products do you buy or services you use, here in the UK that are produced by slave labour? Workers here in the UK that are paid as little as 30p to 50p an hour, and it is all perfectly legal and encouraged by the government. In fact it couldn't happen without the government organising and delivering this bonus to the corporate world.
       A host of well known and little known companies benefit from this government produced bonanza, right here under our eyes. I am of course referring to prisoners being used as cheap labour for the business world. This in turn allows companies to pay off workers who have to be paid the minimum wage, who get sick pay, who get paid holidays and can take action against an unjust action by their employer. None of these conditions are allowed while being employed in prison. You are a captive slave labour force with no workers rights and you are being more or less forced to feed the rich and powerful, at the expense of your fellow workers on the outside.

        In August 2016 the US department of Justice announced that they are going to set about phasing out their use of private prisons, which triggered a spate of moral high-horsing from British people who tried to claim that our private prison riddled system is still superior to the US system because at least here in the UK we don't use prisoners as a cheap source of labour.
       The map in the article header proves how wrongheaded this attitude is. Just because they haven't heard of Britain's prison labour management company One3One, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or that it isn't farming out prison labour to ever increasing numbers of private companies that are queuing up to take advantage of prison labour for as little as 30p an hour.
        Prisoners in England and Wales are being used as a cheap source of labour in all kinds of industries including printing, textiles, engineering, woodwork, laundry and even assembling plastic poppies for the Royal British Legion.
        The idea of training prisoners up with skills so that they are less likely to reoffend when they get out of jail is a vary good idea in principle, but the problem with farming prison labour out to the private sector is absolutely obvious. If scores of companies all over the UK are taking advantage of prison labour for as little as 30p an hour, then this availability of extremely cheap labour has an obvious downwards effect on wages and employment rates in whichever business sectors they become involved in.
      Since the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010, British workers have suffered the longest sustained period of long-term wage deflation in recorded history. The real terms value of British wages has slumped 10.4% since the economic crisis, a wage decline only matched in severity by Greece out of all of the most developed economies in the world.
        The Tories have been doing everything they can to reduce wages and the disposable incomes of ordinary people: They've reduced public sector wages in real terms by imposing below inflation 1% pay rises (whilst accepting an 11% pay raise for themselves), they've overseen an exponential rise in people employed on exploitative Zero Hours Contracts, they've repeatedly slashed in-work benefits like Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, they've massively increased the amounts charged for university education and the interest rates charged on this appalling form of Aspiration Tax, they've unlawfully used unemployed people as a massive pool of free labour to distribute to their corporate mates and they've massively expanded the number of prisoners working for private companies too.
       The economic effect of prison labour driving down the wages of ordinary workers is bad enough in itself, but there is evidence that the availability of prison labour is actually resulting in real job losses as unscrupulous companies lay off their paid workforces and replace them with prison labour.

Here are some specific examples:
DHL According to the One3One website the global distribution company employs over 800 UK based prisoners to receive orders, pick, pack and ship. Meanwhile they have been shutting distribution centres, laying off hundreds of paid staff across the country (including 330 jobs in Droitwich, 200 job losses in Swindon and further job losses in Scunthorpe and Corby), and slashing wages across their distribution network prompting strike action. This is how Chris Taylor, DHL General Account Manager described the scheme on the One3One Solutions website: "Once you are through the prison door we like to create an environment identical to any DHL workplace"
Going Green
A Cardiff based loft insulation and solar panel instillation company that
laid off 17 workers at their call centre and replaced them with prisoners from Prescoed prison at an hourly rate of just 40p an hour
Speedy Hire A tool hire company that sacked 800 workers and shut down 75 depots in 2010. Since then they have massively increased the size of their prison contract to service and repair the tools they hire out, paying Erlestoke, Garth and Pentonville prisons £114,012 for the services of around 100 prisoners during the 2010-11 financial year. 
Timson Ltd
The boss
James Timson is happy to act as a propaganda mouthpiece for the government's prison labour scheme, but what he fails to mention in his praise for the programme is that his company's increased use of prison labour coincided with a wave of redundancies that wiped out some 30% of the paid workforce at the company.
Cisco Cisco is mentioned by the Tory MP Andrew Selous as being a big player in the government's prison labour scheme. In August 2016 the company announced that it plans to lay off 5,500 workers worldwide. Perhaps they could prevent a few job losses in the UK by bringing the services they've outsourced to prison labour schemes back in-house?
Read the full article HERE: 

         An extract from an excellent article on prison slave labour by IWW Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.

Workplaces of the future?

Prison Labour
        During every moment of a prison sentence, someone somewhere is profiting from that person being caged. The UK has the most privatised prison system in Europe, and since the early 1990s, when the first private prisons were built, prisons are increasingly being used to line the pockets of companies and individuals. Prisons have always benefited those in power; a longstanding tool of social control and repression used against working class communities.
            Prisoner that work in prisons have no rights to organise, no contracts, no pensions, no right to to choose what they do – they have no use of the gains that workers have fought and died for over centuries. If prisoners refuse to work they are punished via the IEP (Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme), and can have visits, association (time outside in a courtyard or out of cell) and other ‘privileges’ take away from them. They are the ultimate captive workforce for capitalist industries and have been used to break strikes, while simultaneously taking jobs out of communities and into prisons. Prison labour has been used as a tool for conquest and domination for centuries, from using convict labour to colonise countries, to putting prisoners to work in making goods for armies and war.
        IWOC are working on a report about Prison Labour and Prisoner Exploitation in England, Wales and Scotland that will hopefully be available by Summer 2016. These key facts and statistics paint a brief overview of prison labour here:
           One3One Solutions is the trading arm of the Ministry of Justice founded in 2012. Over 9,700 prisoners were employed in their profit-making partnerships with private companies, with a total of 13.1 million prisoner working hours being recorded (1).
Read the full article HERE: 
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Friday, 10 January 2020

Bloody Democarcy.

         From our daily bilge feed from our mainstream media, it would appear that all is fine and dandy in France, and the people are quietly getting on with their servile existence. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, the people of France are angry and showing it on the streets. It is over a year since the yellow vests started their mass protests, and they are still continuing, recently they have been joined by massive union presence on the streets, taking on the government for its unjust, corrupt, anti-worker and profit oriented polices. Of course France being a member of the phony democracy club, comes down hard with unleashed police brutality against the any form of dissent. 

     The following video is of one of the many protests happening on a continuous basis. This altercation took place at the corner of rue Jeanne d'Arc and rue du Gros-Horloge in the city centre at around noon local time on the 9th of January 2020.

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Profit From Illness.

        We keep hearing our prancing political ballerinas spouting about how the National Health Service is safe in their hands, and that there are no plans to privatise the NHS. What utter bullshit, the NHS has been getting privatised slice by slice for years and it is still continuing.
From Kings Fund:
         The Department of Health and Social Care’s accounts also show that NHS providers spent £1.3 billion2 on services from non-NHS organisations in 2018/19. Data from NHS Improvement shows that NHS providers spent £271 million on outsourcing services to other providers, including the private sector, in 2018/19 – up from £221 million in 2017/18. This includes outsourcing elective hospital treatment in order to deliver waiting times targets.
         If spending on primary care services – including GPs, pharmacy, optical and dental services – is included, some have estimated that approximately 25 per cent of NHS spending goes on the private sector.
        Anybody that holds any illusions that this creeping privatising of the NHS will some how be reversed under a capitalist system is naive in the extreme. With the engineered problems in the NHS it is likely to become a galloping privatisation, with governments seeing private capital as the white knight that will rescue our struggling NHS, but also making lots of money from people's health problems, for the financial Mafia. A system of profit governing your treatment, not your needs.
       Then there is this talk of opening up the NHS to the American market, which of course will lead to an American style Health Service. The following is just one example of how the American Health Service works.
 'I live on the street now': how Americans fall into medical bankruptcy 

        It’s been over a dozen years since Susanne LeClair of West Palm Beach, Florida was first diagnosed with cancer and she’s been fighting ever since. Now she, like many other Americans facing life-threatening illness, is bankrupt despite having health insurance.
       Before her first cancer-related surgery, LeClair was told by the hospital they accepted her employer-based health insurance.
      “I paid my $300 copay. After the surgery, I started receiving all these invoices and came to find out the only thing covered was my bed because the hospital was out of network,” said LeClair. “My bills were hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I had no choice but to file bankruptcy.”
        LeClair is on the verge of having to file for bankruptcy a second time due to the mounting medical debt she has accrued for additional cancer-related surgeries, regular appointments, medications and supplies related to her recovery, despite having health insurance and paying as much as she can out of pocket for copays, deductibles and premiums to maintain insurance.
       “My medical bills are at $52,000. I’ve done everything from credit cards to consolidation loans, I just keep simply paying one credit card with another interest-free one until I can pay the next one,” LeClair added. “It’s the side of cancer most people don’t understand or know about and it’s never-ending. It just keeps adding up and adding up and before you know it you’re back in debt that you can’t believe again.”
       Bankruptcy can also make it difficult to find employment given that many employers will disqualify a candidate with a bankruptcy filing found from a background check.
        According to a study published in February 2019, about 530,000 bankruptcies filed annually are because of debt accrued due to a medical illness. The study found that even the Obama administration’s landmark Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) has failed to change the proportion of bankruptcies caused by medical debts, with poor health insurance cited as one of the main culprits.
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Thursday, 9 January 2020

Insanity Reigns.

        It is difficult to comment on the recent drone killing in Iraq by the irrational and impulsive action of Herr Trump, the possibilities for misery, carnage, chaos, death and destruction, involving millions of innocent people, is so multi-faceted that the mind draws back in horror and disbelief. However, it is a reality and must be faced and met with mass protests and direct action against all those who for whatever reason support this insanity. This is just the latest act of bloody imperialism by the US establishment, the latest in a long line that goes back more than a century. The blood of innocents drips from every dollar, countries become metropolises of misery and populations become an army of migrants, as a result of the US foreign policy, aided and abetted by its varies poodles dotted around the planet, including that previous blood soaked imperialist state of the UK.
     Sanity and humanity demands that we do our utmost to bring down this festering system of plundering the planet by the powerful for their own gain. As long as capitalism exists, power will dominate, wars will persist, death and destruction will be a daily occurrence for millions, and waves of displaced people will wash across the planet in search of safety and sanctuary. As always the rich and powerful will gain, the poor will always pay the price in sweat and blood. 
        Who can disagree with this extract from an article by Black Rose Anarchist Federation

In today's world, a daily occurrence for millions. 
        We share the view of fallen Black freedom fighter and Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. that “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: my own government. I cannot be silent.” Much of the world has become a scorched battlefield for over two centuries as the dark shadow of U.S. imperialism, resource extraction, and capital accumulation first spanned the continent, then the globe. Through the colonization of indigenous peoples in the Americas to imperialist expansion around the world, this great purveyor of violence has displaced, imprisoned, tortured, enslaved, and killed untold millions. It is no surprise that in our time, through an endless “war on terror” that the darkest areas of this shadow have engulfed the broader Middle East.
        We stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and the Middle East who have suffered greatly from U.S. imperialism. The 1953 CIA-orchestrated coup that ousted Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and brought the oppressive shah back to power made the ground fertile for the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Since then, the U.S. has been directly involved in destabilizing both Iran, and later, Iraq; first starting with the Iran-Iraq war (1980). The Gulf War of 1990-91, the intermittent bombings as well as the sanctions and blockade that lasted through the 90s, the 2003 invasion and ensuing occupation, and the battle against ISIS can more accurately be viewed as a three decade long war waged by the U.S. Intermittent threats of war against Iran, crippling economic sanctions and drone warfare have finally come to a tipping point. The world waits in horror as lines are drawn in the sand and Trump openly threatens to commit war crimes in Iran through the targeting of cultural sites. Millions of people who are desperately trying to escape the clutches of this endless war have fled their homes: the U.S. is guilty of creating the largest refugee and humanitarian crises since WWII. We demand: U.S. Out of the Middle East!
Read the full article HERE:
       My only disagreement with the above statement is that it is not "Out of the Middle East", it is off the face of the planet for all imperialism, capitalism.
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The Whole Barrel.

        Prisons, those large buildings planted firmly midst the population and sometimes in the countryside, though unwelcoming in appearance they sit quietly as part of the landscape. People walk and drive by and in most cases don't give them a second thought. Though in fact these edifices to state authority and control, house inhumanity in an organised and brutal fashion. Prison after prison in country after country, torment, cruelty, sadistic and deliberate violence and even death are part and parcel of their routine. All those who find themselves entangled in this state repression machine are damaged by it, some physically some psychologically, some both. This is not by accident, these institutions are doing the job of the state control and repression, suppressing dissent, attempting to create a subservient, passive population.
        The case below is not one of those isolated unfortunate happenings, it is part and parcel of a deliberate program of state control, carried out by the paid minions of the state, and those responsible do so with impunity, all under regimes that fly a false flag of "democracy". Like the article says "Not Rotten Apples" it is simply a rotten system and the whole barrel has to be destroyed. There is no place in a civilised society for prisons, in any shape or form.

Solidarity poster for anarchist comrade Pierloreto Fallanca (Paska)
       September 17 saw the start of the trial against our comrade Paska, accused of resistance and grievous bodily harm towards some of his jailers during a transfer.
        A couple of pushes against a few of the escort screws was the least he could do after the treatment they had reserved for him on various occasions: the latest being the rally driving of the paddy wagon that caused him a strong blow to his head and ribs during the transfer of October 18, 2018.
      On the other hand, since his arrival at La Spezia the prison management had decided to arbitrarily reserve even more restrictive measures for him such as delaying mail, bans on meeting others, isolation up to the 14bis isolation regime level as well as being forbidden to go to the yard with the other prisoners.
       That doesn’t surprise us. In the year 2018-2019 alone La Spezia prison boasts no less than 5 deaths out of about 230 prisoners, added to the acts of self-harm and beatings as a daily occurrence: the normality of a prison considered to be among the most progressive in Italy. It is, therefore, within the normal execution of their functions that escort guards Luigi Viziello and Stefano Cenderelli covered our comrade in insults, kicks and punches.
      In a climate of constant fear and threats many prisoners avoid talking about their daily harassment for fear of repercussions. And when someone does decide not to stick to the rules of the game the medical staff take care of it – as in the case of Paska, Gouba Abdelatif and Giuseppe Landini – to complete the work of the thugs by liquidating what happened.
      When asked to report the signs of beatings and ascertain the physical consequences, the doctors deny the evidence and dish out psychotropic drugs: yet another weapon to bow the will of those who rebel.
      Unfortunately our comrade’s story is the normality of prison, a story of ordinary detention. The guards appearing as the injured party in this trial are not an exception, they are the most coherent and sincere representatives of every prison and its reason for being.





Source: RoundRobin

via: Inferno Urbano
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