Working Class Self Organisation

South African riot police pave the way for Obama visit

Security forces have clashed with protesters who are angry that Barack Obama is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.

Demonstrators – from the university, trade unions, communist party, and the groups ‘NoBama’, and ‘No You Can’t’ - cited Obama’s on-going support for Israeli attacks on Palestinians, drone attacks, and plans to exploit Africa’s resources - as the rationale for their protest.

A student spokesperson said that:

Squatters in Manila clash with police over gentrification project

Thousands of people living in slums in Manila have fought fierce battles with police, who are trying to evict them from their homes in order to make way for a multi-billion dollar project to turn the area into a new business district.

As police moved in to the 72 acre site, residents erected barricades, and fought back the police using rocks, nail bombs, and bags of faeces. The police repeatedly charged the barricades with batons and teargas, but without success.

Political prisoners seize control of Vietnamese prison

Over fifty political prisoners seized control of a Vietnamese prison for several hours, demanding a more humane regime, improved conditions and food.

The prisoners gained control of the facility following violent clashes with prison staff and local police. The prison governor was held hostage throughout the duration of the prisoner’s control.

Workers in China kidnap their boss

Workers at a medical supplies factory in Beijing, China, have taken the owner of the factory hostage. He has been locked in his office for several days, and subject to sleep deprivation techniques. The action was taken following a dispute over unpaid wages and severance pay.

The factory boss, Chip Starnes, visited the factory last week to ‘lay-off’ thirty workers. He gave them a redundancy payment and then intended on leaving. As soon as the rest of the workers on shift realised what was happening they thought the entire factory was about to close down and barricaded him in his office.

The Voltairine de Cleyre Reader

The Voltairine de Cleyre Reader, edited by Professor A.J. Brigati, is a collection of the work of the American female anarchist.

The book’s preface by Barry Pateman provides an overview of de Cleyre’s life (1866-1912), her contribution to anarchism, and notes that while de Cleyre “preferred not to label her expressions of anarchism,” her essays “reveal her tendencies as an individualist anarchist.” The preface explains that de Cleyre was born into poverty and then shipped off for a convent education.

Knowsley Fight The Bedroom Tax embrace fascists, exclude antifascists

The growing Merseyside movement against the bedroom tax has astonished and delighted long-standing activists with the speed of its growth, both in terms of numbers and geographical spread. From the initial meeting in Liverpool city centre just four months ago, it has grown to involve thousands of people from across the region.

Each local group is very different from the next, and this is to be welcomed, so long as it doesn't stop us uniting when it matters.

Assata: An autobiography - Assata Shakur

PDF e-book of the autobiography of black revolutionary, Assata Shakur. We do not agree with all of her politics but reproduce this text for reference.

Assata Shakur has been living in Cuba since 1986, after escaping from prison where she was serving a life sentence imposed in a highly disputed trial. Assata was a Black Panther then a Black Liberation Army (BLA) leader in the early '70s, so she was a target of the FBI's COINTELPRO operation.

War is a Racket - Smedley Butler

The transcript of a speech given in 1933 by former Major General Smedley Butler. Butler served in the US military for 34 years, and at the time of his death he was the most decorated soldier is US history...... WAR is a racket. It always has been It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people.

Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Selfishness and Benevolence - Donald Rooum

It is still not thought strange to denounce bosses for pursuing their own selfish advantage, as if to suggest that they would be acceptable, if only they were all incorruptible idealists. It has become obvious that bending the knee to a god and touching the forelock to a boss are mutually reinforcing activities, but it is still not clear to everyone that calling shame on selfishness is another activity of the same kind.

There is a verbal trick, apparently proving that benevolence does not occur. “Why are you giving a fiver to Oxfam?” “I think it might relieve someone’s distress.” “Do you like the thought of relieving someone’s distress?” “Yes.” “Then you are not doing it to relieve someone’s distress, but for your own pleasure in relieving someone’s distress.”

Utopias of the English Revolution - Marie Louise Berneri

While on the Continent the seventeenth century saw the consolidation of absolute governments, in England the absolutism of the kings was resolutely opposed by a great section of the population, and the power of the monarchy was held in check by Parliament. At a time when Louis XIV was able to proclaim “L’Etat c’est Moi,” Charles I was led to the scaffold.

The doctrine of the divine right of kings, which had allowed the French monarchs to crush all political and religious freedom, had gained little support among English people who believed, on the contrary, that the power of the rulers must respect the inalienable rights of the individual and that certain limitations must be put to the power of the head of the state.