Archive for the ‘Anarchism’ Category
There have been reports in the last few days (see notably this) of the emergence of an Egyptian Black Bloc.
Albawaba has just reported, here.,
In 2013, an anarchist group called the Black Bloc appeared on the Egyptian revolutionary scene and got incredible media attention. Despite their very low numbers (maximum 100 combined in all incidents all over Egypt), the media went into a state of utter frenzy over this new group and the circus started in earnest, culminating in the appearance of one Black Bloc member on a TV show with a sock on his face. The fun thing about this absurdity is that everyone seems to be taking them seriously, but the dangerous thing is that it might continue.
The article suggests, no doubt correctly, that this benefits the Muslim Brotherhood regime,
The genius of turning the Black Bloc into the new enemy is how perfect they are for it. An anarchist group that targets the police, public structures and roads, juxtaposed against the Brotherhood who are always calling for stability. It doesn’t hurt that the Black Bloc has no real structure, charter, spokespeople or leadership.
Nevertheless it is interesting to see that autonomist/anarchist politics have finally breached the frontier of the Arab world.
And there is this: in the Guardian on women sexually assaulted during the anti-Morsi demonstrations.
“Two middle-aged women were guided around the tent to us – the men protecting us had rescued them from the mob. While we were being urged into the field clinic, the group moving out of the square included remnants of the Egyptian Women for Change march, mostly women over 40, which had been attacked and dispersed in the square. Many women made it away from Tahrir, but a few got stuck in the throng – including the women now with us.
One woman, shaking and crying, put her head on my shoulder, and I wrapped my arms around her. Her companion screamed and yelled. Gameela pleaded with her to save her energy; we had no idea what would happen next, or how long we would stay out of sight – and reach – of the mob. Another woman, also rescued from the mob, soon joined us, crying and yelling.
Suddenly men wearing black ski masks and carrying long knives and clubs were jumping the fence to our left. It was impossible to tell which side they were on, but they turned out to be from the Black Bloc and joined those protecting us. Some of them were now trying to rescue another woman stripped naked by the mob metres away.”
I think better, a lot lot better, of the Black Bloc after reading that.
As is traditional with all the internationally respected media Tendance Coatesy publishes a New Year’s List of Comrades of the Year.
- The Strop. Stroppy Bird has been going through some hard times recently. She is now in the process of ‘prendre pied‘ in East London. The whole working class and international movement hopes she will flourish. Apart from anything she was the person who introduced us to Blogging and Facebook.
- Dave Osler. The much-loved Strop’s partner and a bulwark of the left. For reasons too obvious to mention.
- Louise. Now installed in Bristol she had kept the Red Flag, or rather Red Camera, flying. Anybody who thinks taking photos of left events and nature is an easy matter will only to compare the pics on my mobile with Louise’s.
- Jim Denham. Anybody who inspires such bile from certain quarters has to have many good points. These were shown in Jim’s robust intervention in the Israel Shamir‘ affair. A quart of ale on us comrade!
- Dave Broder. For finally prompting the Marxist internet achieve to translate comrade Juan R Posadas’ s historic work on UFOs.
We leave the rest of this list open, that is when the Polish kids sitting next to me stop yelling and I can write properly….
” Hello Andrew,
Appreciate you are probably with the LRC, but thought you may be interested to see these.
Enclosed two “Original” Briefings.
I have great respect for the comrades who produce this journal (this is not made up)
It’s always good news to learn that Bob Pitt of Islamophobia Watch and ex-WRP is still spilling bile against secularism.
One would have though that the Arab Spring, and the relentless fight of Egyptian democrats against his old mate Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Muslim Broherthood would have led him to shut his gob.
Liberty, Equality and Islamophobia is his latest offering to the only left journal willing to give him space.
Pitt has got this theory that there is some kind of ‘left-wing’ wave of Islamophobia going on in France.
On the basis of some tiny crank orgs who have recruited a couple of former far-left individuals (Cassen and Engleman - yes I underlies a couple that is 2 people) he manages to suggest that there is some kind of widespread turn to the far right of French secularist lefties.
But the bite is in the tail.
“there are hardline secularists in Britain too, some of them active in the labour movement, whose claim to oppose all forms of religious belief doesn;t prevent themselves with the right in portraying Islam as a particular threat to civilisation”.
Now we know that Bob is referring to one main target who is tapping away at the keyboard now.
Readers of the ‘Original’ Briefing will not be any the wiser as to who the other ‘hardline secularists’ are by reading the obituary of hardline secularist Terry Liddle in the same issue.
In Stalinist style it does not mention Terry’s secularism once!
Better a Country Free than a County Sober!
The BBC says,
Ministers are to unveil plans later for a minimum price for alcohol in England and Wales as part of a drive to tackle problem drinking.
The Home Office is expected to publish a consultation on the proposal, which was first put forward in the government’s alcohol strategy in March.
A price of 40p per unit was suggested at the time.
But pressure has been mounting on ministers to follow Scotland’s lead, where 50p has been proposed.
The aim of a minimum price would be to alter the cost of heavily discounted drinks sold in shops and supermarkets. It is not expected to affect the price of drinks in pubs.
The Times predicted a 45p per unit minimum would be set and it said this would raise the price for the average can of beer or cider to £1.12.
According to the NHS website the average can of 4.5% strength lager contains around two units of alcohol, while a small glass of wine contains 1.5 units.
This will affect one group: poor drinkers.
Let us ignore all the ‘medical’ concern about alcohol and binge-drinking.
This is not true. Earlier this year this was published
There has been a long-term downward trend in the proportion of adults alcohol intake, as in 1998 75% of men and 59% of women drank in the week prior to report’s survey compared to 68% of men and 54% of women in 2010. Furthermore, the average weekly alcohol consumption for all adults was 15.9 units for men and 7.6 units for women and 26% of men reported drinking more than 21 units in a typical week. For women, 17% reported drinking more than 14 units in a typical week
The measure is all about cracking down on “”drunken mayhem” on Britain’s streets.
Or, to put more clearly, about dealing with the rabble.
In recent months Ipswich – apparently a ‘model’ for what could become the norm across the country – has ‘encouraged’ (a visit from the rozzers) off-licences not to sell super-strength lager and white cider.
There has been a hysterical campaign in the local media about street drinkers sipping tinnies of Special Brew and Frosty Jack near the centre of town.
The Council, and all local political parties, have joined in.
To cite a recent story from the Ipswich Star,
As the war on cheap super-strength alcohol is stepped up in Ipswich, a Star investigation has illustrated the size of the task facing the authorities.
Reducing the Strength
The Reducing the Strength campaign was launched in the town in September.
The campaign aims to stop the sale of cheap super-strength beer, lager and cider from off-licensed premises.
The campaign is a joint initiative between Suffolk Police, NHS Suffolk, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and the East of England Co-Operative Society.
Reducing the Strength asks off-licence owners to voluntarily remove super-strength products from their stores.
Yesterday police began rewarding shops which have signed up to the Reducing the Strength initiative, aimed at ridding Suffolk’s county town of the scourge of ultra-potent beers and ciders.
But high-alcohol beverages are still easily found in Ipswich.The Star was able to buy a three- litre bottle of cider – costing just £3.99 and containing more alcohol than the weekly recommended allowance for a man – within minutes of trying.
The 7.5 per cent proof Frosty Jacks cider contains 22.5 units – more than health experts’ 21-unit limit for men.
The cost per unit of 17p is less than a third of the 50p limit which prime minister David Cameron wants to impose.
Now there is a problem with street drinkers in Ipswich, as in many towns and cities across the country.
Why has it grown?
Policies of successive governments, known as ‘neo-liberalism’, or the free for all – for business – have excluded many people from the labour Market.
The Dole these days is only given to those who satisfy an increasingly rigorous set of criteria, turn up to bogus ‘employment’ schemes (3,5% success rate), and have their lives under constant surveillance.
Many, in the words of my mate Neil, say “fuck it, and go and drink cider in the park”.
Alcohol is only one of their choices.
Most mix the booze with even cheaper tranquilizers (Temazepam), and, frankly, any drug going.
The Left and Alcohol.
Some on the left agree with this clamp-down on poor drinkers.
Some cite the Scottish experience of raising prices. They claim it has been needed because they are particularly afflicted.
In Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share there is a scene in that land where out-of-their-brains youngsters snaffle down a 3 litre bottle of Frosty Jack.
You can see this round here every day. I have left my gaff at 9 in the morning and seen people swigging Tenants Super at the end of the street.
This will not go away if the cost is raised. The hard-core will just beg and, possibly, shop-lift more.
But what is really behind the thinking of those on the left calling for the less well off to cut down on drinking?
In Britain there was a strong teetotaler movement inside the late Victorian and Edwardian labour movement.
Henry Hyndman though not a non-drinker (he liked his Bordeaux vintages) frowned on the workers imbibing strong drink. He once wanted to snatch a bottle of whisky away from SDF members playing cards on a post-Party meeting train.
Against this prejudice Robert Blatchford felt obliged to make a defence of moderate drinking in his popular Merrie England (1894).
The ILP initially made it policy for members to sign the non-drinking ‘pledge’ .
I can’t imagine my Whisky drinking Scottish ILP forebears liking that.
The policy lasted precisely a year.
Today we see people on the left who have given up changing the world and prefer to try to change (that is cajole) people.
Their attitude is often the same as Hyndman.
They can drink fine wines, good quality real ale, and cider.
But the rabble in the streets need ‘reforming’.
The Anarchist journal Now or Never replies,
With heavy drinking increasingly attacked by the Government and media, Tug Wilson suggests we look to history for guidance, and that it is once again time for drunkards everywhere to march under the banner of the Skeleton Army.
During the late 19th Century the recently formed Salvation Army were taking their message of virtuous clean living to the streets of Britain, deliberately targeting drunks, gamblers, prostitutes and other ‘undesirables’. The Salvation Army’s unconventional approach was abrasive to both the Christian establishment and many of those they were preaching to. In choosing to attack popular working class pastimes, they whipped up a violent grassroots reaction and their provocative style of disseminating their message often resulted in public disturbances. Towards the end of 1881 in Weston-Super-Mare a rag-tag bunch of libertines, drunkards, publicans and brothel-keepers began an organised opposition to the Salvation Army; the Skeleton Army. Very soon Skeleton Armies started appearing throughout the country.
The present anti-alcohol lobby is the modern temperance movement.
This measure is ill-intentioned, ill-conceived and will be ill-executed.
Join the new Skeleton army!
As Kevin has commented (below) I shall add this further example of hypocrisy, which I cut-and-pasted from his Blog,