While Cameron and Co hand out medals to the posh and corrupt lets recognize some folks who really are deserving of them but are instead fitted up and jailed in the fight against fascism.
Andy Baker, Thomas Blak, Sean Cregan, Phil De Sousa, Ravi Gill, Austen Jackson as well as all those jailed in the struggle against the far-right everywhere, we stand with you in solidarity.
70 years ago they’d have been called heroes, today they’re labelled criminals and extremists.
MAPPA Guidance Section 15.4 Domestic Extremism (p152 onwards)
”It is important to realise that extremist views are not, in themselves, indicators
that an offender is a Domestic Extremist but are warning signs that agencies
need to be alert to. Having identified extremist views, the OM should seek
further information and continue to -
‘Ask the unaskable and think the unthinkable’.”
And if in doubt, make shit up!
………….When he or she is an Anarchist.
By Paul Stott from his blog I Intend To Escape…And Come Back Again
I guess at my age I should be too old to get annoyed by the Socialist Workers Party, or indeed by the wider socialist/marxist milieu in the UK, of which the SWP is representative. Every now and then however they still manage to press my buttons, in a way that it surprises me how much I can still rage at their idiocy and perversion of ideals.
The Socialist Worker website currently has an article and list of prisoners it suggests we write to over Christmas. It is a mixed list of those jailed in the student revolt, alleged and actual miscarriage of justice cases, plus a couple of examples of very long term prisoners who have been in correspondence with left wing groups for many years.
Needless to say the five anti-fascists still in UK jails for attacking members of the fascist Blood and Honour organisation in 2009 , do not get a mention. I can think of no reason for this other than the fact they are Anarchists. They simply do not exist in Socialist Worker’s ethos.
One thing that does exist in that rose-tinted view of the world is a ‘war against Islam’. Curiously two of the men who were allegedly behind the most important British Jihadist website, Azzam.com are listed on the SWP’s support list. Azzam.com, named after the spiritual founder of Al-Qaeda, Abdullah Azzam, played a key role in supporting the struggle to establish an Islamic theocracy in Chechnya, receiving praise from the likes of Ibn ul Khattab .
This article sums up the level the last century left has slumped to. Five working class men in jail for fighting Nazis on the streets of London are not worthy of a mention, yet a veteran of the Bosnian Mujahideen, like Babar Ahmad, is .
I have never really believed the argument that concepts of a ‘left’ and a ‘right’ in British politics are no longer relevant. However, on this type of evidence, and more generally on issues surrounding race and religion (especially Islam) I really can’t see where the divide exists any more. That a division between the gullible and the realist exists, I am sure. How to articulate that it wider political terms, I am, at this stage, less sure about. Perhaps my PhD is a step towards doing that.
Paul Stott can also be followed on Twitter here https://twitter.com/#!/MrPaulStott
Saturday 7th January 2012 10am-5pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL
You are cordially invited to a one day London anarchist conference hosted by Alarm at Conway Hall on Saturday 7th January 10am-5pm. The past twelve months have seen the political situation of the UK and London develop rapidly. This is only the beginning of a turbulent economic and social situation. We hope that this conference can give us a space as anarchists to reflect back on as well as look forward to fighting the class war that is currently being waged. We are hosting this conference in a comradely and constructive fashion and invite all those from the many headed hydra of anarchism and libertarianism to come together under the banners of mutual aid and solidarity.
The conference will be made up of three main meetings.
Each meeting will be introduced by two key speakers for 20 minutes (10 mins each).
The topic will then be opened up for discussion and chaired by a facilitator.
The aim of these constructive discussions is to highlight clear strategies and goals.
10am Meet & Greet / Tea’s & Coffee
Opening Speech 10:45am
(1) Community and Workplace Organising 11:00am
Discussing strengthening the two key fundamental bases of organising.
How can we build community groups in every borough?
How can we support militant work place struggles?
(2) The Riots and New Movements 01:00pm
Reflecting on key developments in 2011.
Why did the UK explode into four days of unprecedented rioting?
How has the emergence of new movements changed the political terrain?
(3) Total Policing and the Future 03:00pm
Looking forward to the future we aim to discuss clear strategies to pursue over 2012.
What is the state’s strategy in attempting to silence dissent?
What are to be the tactics for a future street based movement?
Closing Speech 04:45pm
Red & Black Club @ 8pm Larc (London Action Resource Centre) 62 Fieldgate Street Whitechapel E1 1ES
We look forward to seeing you on the 7th!
All London Anarchist Revolutionary Movement
‘That Church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince. For by this means the magistrate would give way to the settling of a foreign jurisdiction in his own country, and suffer his own people to be listed, as it were, for soldiers against his own government.’
Who wrote that about whom? Not Labour MP Paul Flynn about the new British ambassador to Israel. Nor US Evangelists about Muslims in America. No, it is a quote from John Locke’s 1689 A Letter Concerning Toleration and he is talking about Catholics.
Locke, of course, is generally seen as providing the philosophical foundations of liberalism and the Letter Concerning Toleration is a key text in the development of modern liberal ideas about freedom of expression and worship. Yet, it also reveals how difficult liberals often find it to be liberal.
There is in fact much to admire about A Letter Concerning Toleration. Written at a time when Europe was rent by tempestuous religious strife, and when intolerance and persecution were the norm, it is a powerful argument for religious freedom. Locke’s starting point is the insistence that the duty of every individual is to seek his own salvation. The means to do so are his religious beliefs and the ability openly to worship. The power of human political authority cannot, therefore, rightfully extend over either sphere. The proper concern of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, health and property. The magistrate can use force and violence where this is necessary to preserve civil interests against attack. One’s religious concerns with salvation, however, are not within the domain of civil interests, and so lie outside of the legitimate concern of the magistrate or the civil government.
It is a brave and controversial argument, particularly so given the background of religious bigotry. In the wake of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Catholic James II was overthrown by a union of English Parliamentarians and the Dutch Protestant William of Orange, British Catholics were denied the right to vote and sit in Parliament, or to possess army commissions, and no Catholic could ascend to the throne, or even marry a monarch, a prohibition that still remains on the statute books. Against this background of naked bigotry, Locke’s was a refreshing voice.
But Locke’s concept of liberty was also exceeding narrow. ‘Locke’s toleration’, as historian Jonathan Israel observes in Radical Enlightenment, ‘revolves primarily around freedom of worship and theological discussion, placing little emphasis on freedom of thought, speech and persuasion beyond what relates to freedom of conscience.’ It is also grudging ‘in according toleration to some groups and emphatic in denying toleration to others.’
‘No opinions contrary to human society, or to those moral rules which are necessary to the preservation of civil society’, Locke insisted, ‘are to be tolerated by the magistrate’. Catholics ‘ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince’; their opinions therefore run contrary to ‘the preservation of civil society’ and cannot be tolerated. Locke was even harsher about atheists. Those ‘who deny the being of a God’, Locke insisted, should ‘not at all to be tolerated’. ‘The taking away of God, though but even in thought’, he wrote, ‘dissolves all’.
Today, few charge Catholics with having ‘dual loyalty’, or suggest that the toleration of Catholicism would lead to ‘the settling of a foreign jurisdiction in his own country’. Many, however, continue to make exactly that charge about Jews, and, most especially, about Muslims.
The Florida Family Association, a US evangelical group, has been leading a campaign against All-American Muslim, a reality show that follows the lives of five Lebanese families in Dearborn, Michigan. ‘The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks’, the FFA suggests, ‘while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.’ Exactly the same was once said of Catholics. According to the FFA ‘One of the most troubling scenes occurred at the introduction of the program when a Muslim police officer stated “I really am American. No ifs and or buts about it.”’ No Muslim, it seems, can ever be a true American. That, too, was once said about Catholics.
The FFA has pressured advertisers to pull ads from All-American Muslim. It is not surprising that an evangelical group should indulge in such bigotry. What is shameful is that some corporations are willing to give in to such blackmail.
The context of seventeenth century anti-Catholic bigotry is very different from that of contemporary prejudice against Jews and Muslims. But the argument that certain people cannot be real citizens, and that they constitute an insidious threat to the nation, because of their faith or ethnicity, has barely changed. Some arguments never die.
At the time that Locke was writing, there was a very different argument about freedom from Baruch Spinoza. A Dutch Jew who had in 1656 been excommunicated from his local synagogue for his ‘evil opinions’, ‘abominable heresies’ and ‘monstrous deeds’, Spinoza was a leading figure in the Radical Enlightenment, and a champion of individual liberty and free expression.
The starting point for Spinoza was not, as it was for Locke, the salvation of one’s soul but the enhancement of freedom. ‘The less freedom of judgment is granted to men’, he argued in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, ‘the further are they removed from the most natural state and consequently the more repressive the regime’. All attempts to curb free expression not only curtails legitimate freedom but is futile. ‘No man… can give up his freedom to judge and think as he pleases, and everyone is by absolute natural right master of his own thoughts’, so ‘it follows that utter failure will attend any attempt in a state to force men to speak only as prescribed by the sovereign despite their different and opposing opinion.’ ’The right of the sovereign, both in the religious and secular spheres’, Spinoza concludes, ‘should be restricted to men’s actions, with everyone being allowed to think what he wishes and say what he thinks’. It is a view that seems startling even today.
The story of Spanish anarchist bricklayer and bank robber Lucio Uturbia.
There are plenty of anarchists in the world. Many have committed robbery or smuggling for their cause. Fewer have discussed strategies with Che Guevara or saved the skin of Eldridge Cleaver, the leader of the Black Panthers.
There is only one who has done all that, and also brought to its knees the most powerful bank on the planet by forging travellers cheques, without missing a single day of work in his construction job. He is Lucio Urtubia, from a tiny village in Navarra in North of Spain. Lucio, 75, now lives in Paris, still raising anarchist hell. Lucio has been protagonist and witness to many of the historic events of the second half of the 20th century. His family was persecuted by Franco’s regime, he was on the streets of Paris for the phenomenon of May of ’68, he actively supported Castro’s revolution, he helped thousands of exiled people by providing false documents to them. But without a doubt, his greatest triumph came in the second half of the seventies. The press called him “the good bandit”, or the Basque Zorro. He managed to swindle 25 million dollars from the First National Bank (now Citibank), to later invest the money in causes he believed in. Miraculously, he spent no more than a few months in jail throughout his career. ENJOY!
People attending a conference of the Irish Travellers Movement in Britain were barred from entering the Coronet pub, a Wetherspoons establishment, next to the Resource Centre in Holloway Road where the conference was held. Even a police inspector who had spoken to the conference was prevented from entering with other people who had attended the conference. People who had been at a completely different event at the Resource Centre were barred because they were suspected of having attended the Travellers conference. Apparently this was a CORPORATE decision by Wetherspoon’s centrally after they heard that this conference was taking place.
The Travellers Solidarity Network invites you to an event NEXT FRIDAY 9th DECEMBER at 5pm outside the Coronet on Holloway Road to show what we think about this racism. Bring yourselves, your voices, banners, placards and musical instruments!
The Coronet is about 100 yards East of the junction with Tollington Road and about half a mile west of Holloway Tube Station (Piccadilly line). Buses: 43, 271, 153, 4, 29, 91, 253, 259.
By Kenan Malik from his blog Pandaemonium
I gave a talk on Wednesday night to the Studienbibliothek in Hamburg. Entitled ‘Left, Right and Islamism’ the talk explored the ways in which the responses of both left and right to Islamism have betrayed of basic principles of freedom and liberty. One of the key themes in the discussion afterwards was about how the liberal fear of giving offence has helped created the space for Islamists to take offence. The more that we worry that people will be offended by a book or a play or a cartoon or an idea or a thought, the more we give licence for people to be so offended, and the more that people will seize the opportunity to feel offended.
It is not just Islamists who live by outrage. Returning to Britain, I discover in the three days I’ve been away three incidents that perfectly illustrate how everyone now wants to feel offended – or rather how the authorities, from the police to trade union bureaucrats, seem to want everyone to feel offended.
First, there was the case of the woman whose racist rant on a Croydon tram went viral after another passenger videoed it on a mobile and posted it on YouTube. The police tracked her down from that video, charged her with ‘racially and religiously aggravated harassment’ and got her remanded in custody. Then came Jeremy Clarkson who made a typically inane joke about public sector workers needing to be shot. UNISON, the public sector union,demanded his sacking and a police investigation. And then Manchester City footballer Micah Richards received some racist backchat on his Twitter feed. @WillMadine94 tweeted: ‘You big fat nigger u r shit. Martin Kelly over u all day for england. Play for africa!!!’. Lincolnshire police launched an investigation (the tweeter is believed to live in the county) and are trying to track him down.
Each of these incidents is different, ranging from poor taste to hateful abuse, and each requires a different response. What none of them requires is for the law to intervene.
Tram woman was nasty and abusive; she is of a kind I have faced many times in my life (though thankfully rarely in recent years). The way to deal with her was as the passengers on the tram actually did: they confronted her and challenged her abuse.
Clarkson should simply have been ignored. He is like the pub bore whose whole aim is to provoke a effect. The more that people rise to the bait, the more they make his day. At least Clarkson had the excuse that he was trying to make joke. UNISON has no such excuse. There is, as David Allen Green pointed out , something more than a little odious about a trade union ‘calling for someone to be summarily sacked. No disciplinary procedure, no due process, no contract rights: the man should be fired immediately.’
@WillMadine94 is one of those foul-mouthed, bigoted trolls that pop up all too frequently on the web (though he seems now to have deleted his Twitter account). Richards, if he had really felt offended, could have blocked @WillMadine94 on his Twitter feed. Instead, Richards responded : ‘Love the racist abuse keep it coming… ☺.’Hardly the response of someone shattered by the abuse. The police decided to step in anyway.
Outrage these days has become almost a means of defining oneself, of marking out one’s identity. I know who I am because I am outraged by this, you know who you are because you are outraged by that. Muslims, Christians, atheists, liberals, conservatives – for every group outrage has become an expression of self-definition. The mark of identity is the possession of a thin skin. Monica Ali, whose novel Brick Lane caused umbrage among some Bangladeshis , talked in an interview I did for my book From Fatwa to Jihad , of the creation of a ‘marketplace of outrage’:
What we have developed today is a marketplace of outrage. And if you set up a marketplace of outrage you have to expect everyone to enter it. Everyone now wants to say, “My feelings are more hurt than yours”.’
Indeed they do. It is a marketplace that is quickly becoming more crowded than a passport queue at Heathrow airport.
The marketplace of outrage is not, however, simply a means of creating self-identity. It is also a means of social regulation. Speech regulation – whether of hate speech or of offensive speech – is becoming a mechanism through which the authorities can police relations between groups in an era of identity politics. in an increasingly tribal society, the slightest whiff of saying something unacceptable has become a matter for social discipline. It is a kind of society that Islamists revere. What is extraordinary is how many liberals, and those on the left, seem to desire it too. I’m outraged.