Black Flag 212 (1997)

Black Flag 212 cover - Race Organisation Class

An issue of the London-based anarchist magazine Black Flag from the 1990s.

Submitted by Fozzie on April 4, 2018


  • Editorial

  • UK News: 1 in 12 campaign against CCTV, The Magnet Dispute Drags On, JSA slave labour,
    July 4th demo against death penality, Arnaouti bakers strike in Tottenham.
  • Class War no. 73
  • The Dawning of a New Era: Responses to Labour election victory
  • Euromarch
  • Update on the Trial of Anarchists in Italy
  • Close Campsfield!
  • Vaclav Jez: Solidarity urgently needed!!!
  • International news: Framed Greek anarchist freed, Bangladesh strike win, Czech anarchist charged with murder, Turkish anti-militarist arrested.
  • Nigeria: the struggle against repression
  • Black American Anarchist Lorenzo Kom'Boa Ervin Victimised in Australia
  • Black Autonomy: Sister Nora interview
  • Scotland Yardies (about police involvement in drugs and crime)
  • Doctrines & Reality part 2 - Noam Chomsky
  • Race Class and Organisation by SA WSF
  • Book review: The Rape of Socialism by Donovan Pedelty
  • Theatre review: The Haymarket Incident (staged at Bradford University)
  • Letters: Albania, the ACF and the CNT
  • @ quiz
  • Obituary: Fiddler (Gerald Farthing)
  • Da Rich Getting Rich - Benjamin Zephaniah


There is increasing interest in anarchist ideas throughout the world. To capitalise on this we need to be organised. But the purpose of this organisation is not to be an end in itself, but to spread our ideas to the wider working class, to encourage working class self organisation, and to fight for libertarian and revolutionary ideas within that self organisation.

So, following on from last issue, we return again to the themes of organising, this time with a lengthy contribution from a comrade from the South African Workers Solidarity Federation, dealing with separate organisation. The article on anarcho-syndicalism in our last issue attracted a fair amount of letters, which shows that this is a matter of importance to our readers. What's happening with Class War is further evidence that some of the old assumptions about organisation are being challenged.

As Blair and co break the handful of promises they made, and the Socialist Workers Party push for big lobbies of a Labour conference they know is the enemy, the task of long term work among working class communities is more and more being left to anarchists alone. The next few years will see serious fights over the destruction of welfare and benefits, and the removal of resources from working class communities. We need to be there, and so do you........…

Poles Apart: The Magnet Dispute Drags On

350 workers at Magnet Kitchens' factory in Darlington were sacked 3rd September last year. They had rejected the company's proposal on wages - £35 a week cut on average, after 3 years of a pay freeze!

Last year Magnet made profits of £27 million, and gave fat cat director Marion Anonini a pay rise of £750,000. The workers response was almost unanimous industrial action, to which Magnet responded by sacking 350 workers, nearly the entire workforce. Strikers have been threatened and scabs have been hired at even lower wages and on short term contracts. As the dispute drags on, and it is obviously hurting Magnet, it is clear that it is mainly anarchists who are actively supporting the workers there, much to the shame of the left. Aside from anarchist publications covering the dispute, there were various snide comments in the stalinist Trade Union Review about a "loose collective" of supporters occupying a Magnet branch in the North East.

There are four unions involved, and their only response so far has been to call for a boycott. This is fair enough, but if, like me, you've spent a few hours picketing Magnet showrooms, you'll notice that not a lot of trade goes on. In fact, it's quite clear that the sort of consumer boycott that hits normal retail outlets won't work here. Instead what's needed is solidarity of the real kind, such as getting construction unions in Magnet's large customers (local authorities, hotel and catering businesses) to refuse to fit Magnet kitchens. This is an awful lot harder, and the biggest step is actually to talk to the workers in these places. It begs the question as to why the locked-out Magnet workers' own unions haven't done it, as it would be much easier for them to impose an industry wide boycott.

Update on the Trial of Anarchists in Italy

The trial has now entered a phase of technical testimonies made by convicts and police officers. At this stage, what's being analysed is the episode of the so-called "Prenestino Car-bomb", which exploded in 1989 killing comrade Luigi De Blasi. There have been many police investigations and technical evaluations made in order to determine the quality, quantity and destructive potential of the explosive used, and also the motives and identities of those involved in this incident. Both top forensic scientists and professors from the university came to testify on the investigation into who the man devastated by the car-bomb was (for the prosecution, the assassin De Blasi). The prosecution's final theory was that this car-bomb must have been a reprisal to avenge some kidnappers killed by police on the hard shoulder a few days previously in Rome. So, according to the prosecution, this was the motive and De Blasi must have carried out this attack. Moreover, the professors specifically stated their certainty regarding the identity of the bomber.

The next hearing is set for the 7th and 8th of July, practically a month and a half away from the last one. There's an interest in spinning out this trial, to make sure it goes by unobserved, and in dampening the atmosphere of confict that developed in the first few hearings.

One last piece of news is that Lovecchio, who arrived in Rome a few weeks ago after being extradited from the Netherlands, found herself jailed in Rebibbia and is now under house arrest.

For more info

Close Campsfield!

The inspection report of Campsfield was finally published in April and was highly critical of the Home Office. Among the main points of the report were that detainees don't know why they are there, they have nothing to do, and Group 4, the private security company who run the centre, don't have a clue. Minister for Racist Immigration Practices Mike O'Brien and the dreaded spin doctors managed to convey to the media that the main recommendations were that more asylum seekers should be locked up! O'Brien went on to renew Group 4's contract for 3 years.

Despite the confirmation of the report's author Sir David Ramsbotham that the regime at Campsfield is probably illegal, no move has been made to drop the charges against the Campsfield 9, whose trial started in June. Already, an official has admitted that he couldn't recognise one of the detainees he named as participating.

Anarchists were among those who picketed the Crown Prosecution Service over the Campsfield 9 in April.

Source: CARF, BM Box 8784, London WC1N 3XX

Class War no. 73

If they are to be believed, this is the last issue of CW, though no doubt someone will republish it, just as all the ageing punk bands who still provide the inspiration for one half of CW always stage comebacks - welcome to the old timers, but offering nothing new.

That said, there are positive things to say about this paper. To quote, "We need to find new ways of organising ourselves that can appeal to all the working class, male and female, young and old, black and white." We wholeheartedly agree. While we could nitpick that this is not the first time this has been said, what matters is what we have in common, and what we can achieve together. So we recommend people do go along to CW's meetings, with an open mind and clear from preconceptions, just to see if there are worthwhile common projects.

There are three areas where we can work together, in the locality, in the workplace, and around issues. Here are some of our thoughts.

Working locally is the most important and most neglected. It is in the local area where you can have the greatest impact and greatest visibility. And visibility is important, it's the only reason anyone ever joins the SWP. However, local activities do have their problems. The reason many anarchists don't prioritise local activity is often, we suspect, because they don't feel connected with the locality, especially in cities like London, where many anarchists tend to ghettoise themselves in areas like Hackney and Brixton. Allied to this, it can be dull, and will take a long time. It is fair to say that concerted local work will pay back in terms of members, success and influence after 5 to ten years, depending on conditions. For young activists that is very daunting. It is also difficult at times for people to work out what to do. Fighting for a zebra crossing isn't very glamorous, is it?

A good example of what can be done locally is the Bradford 1 in 12 Club, who have the confidence in their politics and the influence (and know a lot of the local politicians and bureaucrats because they've been around as long) that they can call meetings, demand that the council sends someone to answer questions, and the Council does! This isn't to buy them off, it's because the Council has learnt the hard way the price of ignoring them. Bad examples of local activity are legion, unfortunately.

Local groups do not have to be based around a social centre, though it obviously helps. They do need to have an understanding of what's going on in their locality, and this is one of anarchism's advantages over the 57 varieties, so why don't we make more use of it? Perhaps we're afraid of people breaking up our cosy little world, or perhaps we scare people off with jargon or the promise of loads of work as the victims of burnout see new members as an opportunity to rediscover a life.

Workplace organisation is just as essential, though obviously not everyone is in a position to do it. That many who are in such a position don't is a result of confusion about unions and their role. Put simply, there is a difference between defending your rights at work and becoming general secretary of the TUC. There is not the same opportunity here as there is in local organising, but the two are complementary. If someone is victimised at work the local group can support and help out in terms of pickets, solidarity, doing stuff for organising campaigns where the workers want to remain anonymous. With the JSA and the quick succession of temporary dead end jobs many are now faced with, having a local is vital. It is worth being a shop steward or union rep, both for the knowledge and skills you will learn as well as the satisfaction of fighting the bosses at a small but meaningful level. In our opinion union positions outside the workplace, such as branch secretary and so on, while someone needs to do them, are not the best places for anarchist militants to put their effort into.

Successful workplace organisation needs two things - local support in terms of numbers and solidarity, and solidarity and advice from others in the same industry. These require both a local organisation (see above) and an industrial network of like-minded militants.

Issue based campaigns are perhaps the most problematic. We'll start with a good example, the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC). The ABC has no problems in terms of members / supporters agreeing on political principle and on what they want to do collectively (it is a voluntary organisation after all). It is also not bound by constraints of geography or circumstances, even if you are the only anarchist on Rockall you can still write to prisoners.

What get called single issues are usually not single issues. The problems associated with them include working with other people who not only do not share your politics, but are openly hostile to them, such as Trots and Stalinists.

We are clear that we are not talking about a new organisation, there is no need for one. Should one arise it must come from the bottom up, from local groups networking. Our energy is better spent in organising than in another organisation. These meetings are to be welcomed.

CW73 available from BM 5538 London WC1N 3XX for 50p

Solidarity urgently needed!!!

On July 7th anarchist militant Vaclav Jez was arrested in the Moravian town of Blansko for attempted double murder charges and "keeping illegal arms". On July 6, Vaclav had been attacked by two Nazi-skinheads while destroying some anti-anarchist slogans, sprayed by local fascists. The two Nazis attacked him brutally with the intention of heavily injuring or even killing him. In desperation, Vaclav drew the illegaly owned gun and fired in self-defense. One bonehead was hit in the shoulder and the second escaped.

Police immediately accused Vaclav of a "double murder attempt", claiming that well known Blansko nazi skinheads were just "ordinary youngsters" accidentaly passing by and that the streetfight was incited by Vaclav himself.. The district judge sentenced him to preliminary custody awaiting trial. Vaclav faces a 15 year sentence for both "murder attempts" and 5 years for his illegally-owned gun. The whole situation is complicated because Vaclav was sentenced previously to 2 years conditionally for refusing to serve "civil service" (instead of "normal" military service).

Vaclav is one of the most active militant anarchists in all Czechoslovakia and a well known antifascist activist. He has already been framed by the Special Antiextremist Secret Police, which arrested him on the May Day demonstration 1995 and accused him of "verbal assault on a Police officer". Vaclav spent 5 months in jail and was freed only due to anarchist public protest campaign. He was investigated by the policemen, who were beating him during interrogation and demanding contacts and names of Czech anarchist militant scene. The false Police interpretation of his self-defense against two armed skinheads is another attempt to silence him.

Because legal assistance is extremely expensive in the Czech Republic, we urgently ask all anarchists all over the world to help us to provide a good lawyer for Vaclav. Because he is a "recidivist" according to the law, he can be also sentenced to "extraordinary punishment", which means 25 years or more. If you want to help, please, contact the International secreatriat of CSAF [email protected].

Send protest letters to your local Czech embassy demanding the dropping of the charges against Vaclav, because he acted in self-defense and expressing solidarity with this Czech revolutionary anarchist !!!



From: Kevin Brandstatter -----A report on the UK leg of the march.

Saturday 4 June about 300-400 max marchers got together in Hyde Park. I put the term loosely. The venue had been variously billed as Marble Arch, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, and lastly Reformers Tree in Hyde Park.

I was the first to arrive, met a couple of other IWW members and waited. Members of the SPGB turned up followed by few people from Socialist Organiser and then some Spartacists who tried to "teach" me that what we needed was a Bolshevik Revolutiona along the lines of 1917!!

Two people arrived with a banner procaiming themselves the Euromarch, walked straight to the centre of the Park, set up a megaphone and started making speeches. At the time they turned the megaphones on there was no-one around to listen to them. They had gone to a completely different place to the supporters of the march. Eventually we filtered over to where they were, listened to a number of boring contributions, laced with such homilies as "fight social exclusion" [a sociologists dream slogan I think] and waited for the mass march from Hillingdon Hospital to arrive. It did - there were no more than 30 on it! We then spent another while listening to more speeches and the march assembled and set off. [It was the smallest London march I had ever been in] At Downing Street a petition or something was handed in and a delegation of 6 returned cheering as if the revolution had started!

The march then wound its way to Westminster hall and there was a small rally.

In retrospect the day was a complete waste of time although as the IWW we made a few contqacts and sold some literature. I spoke with quite a few people who came along and it seems apparent that the attempts to totally depoliticise the march itself and the Euromarch in general had been so successful that no-one actually knew what the whole event was for!!! That in itself probabaly knocked participation totally on the head.

Kevin Brandstatter

Black Autonomy

Recently, we met a member of Black Autonomy visiting London. Sister Nora is a student in Atlanta. We began by asking about the lockdown of poor black communities that occurred during the 96 Olympics in Atlanta.

Nora: During the Olympics, thousands of homeless people were evacuated out of the city, and loads more arrested for no good reason, some spending months in jail. The police were everywhere, though people in Atlanta are used to seeing them as Georgia is a police state. Most working class people had jobs, but many in the African American community set up venues in a historic part of town. The police and city council conspired to direct traffic away from them, and many were ruined.

BF: Were there any protests during the Olympics?

Nora: There was no protesting or boycotting - the police stopped it all, using anti-terrorism laws. The city returned to normal after the Olympics, but they beefed up police security, with lots of roadblocks. People in Atlanta think this is normal, they are used to it. The police are very brutal. In 1995 they killed Brother Jerry Jackson, shot him dead in cold blood. The officer who did that hasn't even been prosecuted or brought to trial.

In August 1996, Sister Olabumi Chavious was brutalised by police after someone jumped into her taxi. The police officer involved slammed her face into the pavement and refused to call a doctor despite the pleas of witnesses.

Police harassment is constant. There is little done to counter it, old organisations like the NAACP have a lot of meetings, banquets and so on, but they don't DO anything. The situation for poor people is one of high rents, high gas and electric, high reconnection fees if you're cut off.

BF: What sort of opposition is there to this?

Nora: There's very little, none really. The middle class are very afraid of the poor working class, and the poor are caught up in materialism. Many can't read, do math, and are so called third generation welfare. No one on the campuses is working with the poor, the only community oriented organisations are very middle class.

In many places the police run the communities. One particular squad, the "Red Dogs" run the drugs industry. The projects are very bad, in one a baby choked on a cockroach and died. the ghettos are starved of resources, and this is in a black run city. At my school there was no heating, and I ended up going to a white high school. The Atlanta education system is one of the worst in America.

BF: What about police involvement in the drugs trade?

Nora: They are famous for it, especially the Red Dogs who break into peoples' homes. There are some projects where it has now been proved that the government brought crack into them, because certainly no one there could afford it.

Most police are black, the whites tend to live in the suburbs. The biggest problem is the lack of education, the leftist organisations are afraid of the black working class themselves.

BF: What about the Nation of Islam and their drug programmes?

Nora: The NOI is very strong in Atlanta, and Farrakhan is a demigod to them, though they don't do anything political here. The Million Man March was well organised by the NOI but nothing came from it. Their next plan is the Million Woman March, out of Philly. The Communist Youth Brigade are active on campuses but won't touch the black working class. The NOI fill the vacuum that ought to be filled by leftist organisations with things like the breakfast programmes and drugs work. With the NOI, this tends to be individuals do this work, and the Nation rallies round, though some Ministers have been expelled where they did a lot of work with the working class. It is a good escapist organisation for people without self-discipline.

BF: Is there a way out of it?

Nora: It needs education, the kids feel there's something wrong but don't know what. There are various organisations which do literacy programmes but they don't address where people are coming from. A lot of the kids don't feel they can do anything for themselves, and there are a lot of measures against them, like curfews.

Black American Anarchist Victimised in Australia

PM Claims "not of good character" but Lorenzo Komboa Ervin wnis his battle to stay and be heard

On Tuesday July 8th, the Australian Federal Government cancelled former Black Panther Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin's visa on the grounds that he was not of good character, while lawyers for Kom'boa replied that the Prime Minister had falsely accused him of dishonesty.

He spent several nights in Brisbane's maximum security Sir Arthur Gorrie Centre after the Acting Minister for Immigration, Senator Vanstone, cancelled his visa. Shortly after, Lorenzo made this statement: "I was handcuffed with my hands placed behind my back. The Immigration officials accompanying me then pushed my face into a wall causing my glasses to break. I was then dragged by the handcuffs by Correctional officers at the Sir Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. I was in pain at this stage. I was not allowed to bring my broken glasses to the legal interview with my barrister .... and I only have the use of prescription sunglasses which are only for outdoor use. "

Prime Minister John Howard intervened after racist Queensland MP Pauline Hanson had accused Kom'boa of using his four-week speaking tour organised by the anarchist group, Angry People, to stir racial tension among Aborigines. In an ironic twist, it happened to be NAIDOC week, which is the government-sanctioned celebration of aboriginal and islander cultures.

Immediately this news got out there were demos all over Australia and outside Australian consulates the world over. On July 10th about 150 demonstrators assembled at the immigration department office in in Brisbane, where several people spoke and a statement from Lorenzo was read out.

An application for Lorenzo's release and a new visa was heard by the high court at 3.30pm. The court sat in Canberra (the federal capital), but the lawyers for the Lorenzo and the immigration dept appeared in a court room in Brisbane, linked up with Canberra via closed circuit tv. All the protesters were eventually allowed into the court to watch the proceedings.

The immigration department's case was shaky and at about 5pm the hearing was adjourned till 11th July.

There were demonstrations organized in Sydney and Melbourne, Dublin, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, LA, Edinburgh and protests in at least a down other countries were made to embassies. ON the Friday, the judge decided that the government had acted unlawfully and not accorded him "natural justice" and Lorenzo was released on bail pending a hearing on the Monday14th.

At the Monday hearing Government was forced to withdraw the decision by the Minister, Amanda Vanstone, to cancel his visa and was ordered to pay Lorenzo's legal costs.

It is usual process for travellers entering Australia, to be questioned by immigration officers at the airport, should they not fully complete their passenger cards or indicate that they have a criminal conviction. If this was Lorenzo's case, as the government claimed, why was it that Lorenzo was not questioned, but simply arrested and thrown into a maximum security prison to await deportation ?

While the Australian Government licked its wounds, both Lorenzo and Angry People called for an apology from Canberra, but, as they put it, "we're not holding our breath."

Reclaiming Theatre

A review of the play The Haymarket incident staged at Bradford University May 5th 1997

I'm the wrong person to review this play. "I'm biased. I was staying for the weekend-in Bradford for the 1 in 12 Club's May day festival It was the first time I'd seen the 1 in 12 in action, and possibly the best event they've ever put on. And I hadn't been back up north for a while. And Bradford suddenly reminded me of the nice bits about Middlesbrough (apart from relegation, of course). And the sun was shining. And I was thinking all weekend "I quite fancy moving here' And then I went to see this play.

It-tells the story behind May Day. Set in Chicago, 1886 it centres around the activities (and eventual framing and murder) of four anarchist trade union militants, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel and Albert Parsons.- Put on by the 1 in 12's theatre group -most of whose members had no previous acting experience.or drama school education, it tells the Story in a down to earth and human way , with humour, politics, romance. And it's bloody good.

The play starts as soon as you walk into the Theatre. In almost complete darkness, with no seats, and a barely visible stage, you are hearded in by 19th Century American cops with truncheons who bark at you aggressively to move to the front and to keep moving. And then very quickly you as the audience are dragged into the action. You very quickly become a crowd, responding to the events that unfold: A man (August Spies) dodges like a scared rabbit through the crowd and hides behind us against the wall. A cop pushes through , pulls him out, humiliates him and and beats hm up. This sets the context and tone of the play. Bits of action pop up in every dark corner of the theatre, and the audience (or crowd) moves over to see the action and occasionally gets involved, cheering speeches, backing off as a gun is fired, or just being an audience. And it keeps you enthralled. It's audience participation at it's best.: You don't feel daft when you cheer a speech or join in a song because you feel part of the Story.

The early part of the story centres around Parsons, An ordinary bloke, the play takes us through his home life, his relationships and eventually his involvement in a strike by workers at the McCormack Machine Company and the agitation for an eight hour day. During an attack on a Striker's Rally outside Mcormack's by armed police, at which August Spies was a speaker, one workers is killled and several wounded. Spies immediately circulates a flyer for a Mass Rally against police violence and calling for " Workingmen to arm themselves and appear in force". In response, the police attampt to stop the rally and a bomb is thrown, killing at least one policeman., paving the way for a massive state crack down on trade unionists in Chicago, including the hanging of four known activists -The Haymarket Martyres. The second half of the Play centres round the trial and excecution. The trial at which Spies turns up half-way through, stating he is prpared to face death along with his other comrades) is played out using much of the original recorded words. And as well as being intensely moving it's also funny.,which brought you back down to earth. There's the two cockney likely lads who are called as witnesses for the prosecuation who have obviously been paid to say that Parsons and Spies had made bombs.and make a coplete hash of their court appearance.. And there's the judge who, every time the lights come on to start a new scene, is caught snogging a "floozy" who sits almost on his knee throughout the trial wearing little else but a few feathers.

Then very shortly after, there's a disturbing and violent scene where the Four stand with their heads covered ready to be hung, and make inpassioned political speeches seconds before they die.

It's the best play I've seen for a long time. But if you want to see it yourself you'll have to do a bit of work. The Cast are mostly unemployed, ordinary young people. they haven't got any funding but would love to do a tour. They need groups to sponsor them. If you're interested you can contact the group directly through the 1 in 12 club (01274 734160) .. The Director and Producer and (it seems) the main enthusiast is Noel Batstone,a 1 in 12 member. I suppose it's just nice to see a real play with real people who ahven't been to college telling a political story that inspires you. And I haven't seen anything like it since the Poll Tax when a lad from Leeds did a one-man show about the peqasant's revolt, and toured the country with it. It'd be great if anarchists could give these people a hand to put the play on elsewhere. Go on- give 'em a ring.!.

John Mc Arthur


Replies c/o ACF
c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

Dear Black Flag,

In regards to the statement that the "newly formed Anarchist Communist Federation " supported the CNT-Unificado/CNT Renovado which later changed its name to the CGT,in the last issue of Black Flag,may I point out the following facts:The ACF has never supported the CNT-Renovado/CNT-Unificado /CGT in any of its publications.The ACFs critiques of anarcho-syndicalism/revolutionary syndicalism that have been developed over the last 10 years would exclude any support for the Renovados/CGT.No motion of support has ever been put forward,let aloe passed,for any conference or delegate meeting of the ACF.

The ACF was founded in March 1986.In February and May 1985,a member of the Anarcho-Communist Discussion Group,one of the elements that assisted in the foundation of the ACF,wrote 2 articles of information in Freedom about the repression and torture carried out by the Spanish state against members of the CNT-Euszkadi(Basque section of the CNT Unificado) who had played an active role in the Michelin workers strike ain Vitoria.This was an act of simple solidarity and did not imply uncritical support for the CNT-U.This was followed in October 1985 by another article in Freedom "A Reply to the CNT-AIT" by the same writer,replying to a report by the Press Secretary of the CNT-AIT discussing the expulsions of various groups from the CNT,including the magazine collective Askatasuna who the Press Secretary wrongly called Platformist (they were not Platformist but were expelled because they advocated a libertarian Euszkadi-Basque country)the Movimiento Communista Libertaria (influenced by Platformism,but using the Platform as a point of reference and not as the Gospel)the Anarcho-Syndicalist Affinity Groups around Sebastian Puigcerver,a former member of the CNT national committee,and the magazine collective around Bicicleta,an independent anarchist magazine based in Catalonia.The writer went on to describe the physical attacks on members of the CNT-Unificado,with one militant nearly losing an eye,and another receiving a fractured skull.The aim of the article was not to discuss the rights and wrongs of the splits in the Spanish CNT,but to point to the authoritarian character of the expulsions ,and the barbarous behaviour of some in the CNT-AIT,including members of the Federacion Anarquista Iberica.The writer finished by saying "There are probably many workers in the CNT-AIT thoroughly sick of the violence and sectarianism employed against workers in the CNT-U,libertarians themselves,just as there are many workers who have left the CNT,and are disgusted at these antics.The sooner these destructive squabbles are settled,the better for the libertarian workers movement in Spain."Hardly an all out endorsement of the CNT-U.The writer of these articles is still a member of the ACF,but like everyone else in the ACF,would not support any syndicalist faction.To conclude otherwise,as your writer does,is a little specious.

Finally, (hooray) on the charge of Platformism against the ACF. The ACF does not regard itself as Platformist,but sees the Platform as an interesting point of reference.(Some ACF members are more enthusiastic about the Platform than others.)The same could be said for the Union des Travailleurs Communistes Libertaires of France -UTCL (renamed several years ago as Alternative Libertaire-AL).They did enthusiastically support the CNT-U/CGT and still do,as did the Swiss Organisation Socialiste Libertaire and various libertarian communist groups in Italy with similar politics to the UTCL-AL.These grouops have a conception of work within the reformist unions in their specific countries which in most cases includes taking official positions in the union structures. The ACF has nothing in common with these tactics,so you can hardly talk about a united bloc of groups erroneously labelled as "Platformist",especially if you also include the French Organisation Communiste Libertaire,who the writer in Black Flag would probably also describe as "Platformist" but who,as far as I am aware,never took sides on the CNT split.As regards the Workers Solidarity Movement,who are keener on the Platform than others,I'm sure they can defend themselves.

Yours for libertarian communism
Ron Allen

Letter: Sectarianism


To my mind,the ill-informed sectarian bollocks about the Anarchist Communist Federation in the last issue of Black Flag ruined an otherwise fascinating article on sectarian bollocks in the IWA.

I can't see how such snide shit stirring about other anarchists is going to help Black Flag become a forum for debate,ideas and action amongst class struggle anarchists.

Yes, anarcho-syndicalists are going to disagree with the ACF's position on the unions (otherwise they wouldn't be anarcho-syndicalists) but simply giving anything you disagree with a slagging isn't going to get anyone anywhere.

Yours gainst sectarianism and for a united revolutionary anarchist movement,

Freddy Cheeseworth

@ Quiz

1. Which linguistic scientist wrote that 'a visiting Martian scientist would surely conclude that aside from their mutually unintelligible vocabularies, Earthlings speak a common language'?

Answer Choices:
a: Gerald Edelman
b: Giles Brandreth
c: Noam Chomsky
d: Jordi Ballart

2. The same scientist has only one entry in 'Bartlett's Familiar Quotations', and rather a strange one at that. What is it?

Answer Choices:
a: Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.
b: When all's said and done, there's a lot more said than done.
c: If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then give up, there's no point being a damn fool about it.
d: Eat my shorts.

3. What was the longest strike in Australian history?

Answer Choices:
a: The Perth garment workers strike over dayworking.
b: The Iron Knob bauxite miner's strike of 1972 - 1976.
c: The strike of the Gurrindgi Stockmen of Wave Hill station, in the Northern Territory.
d: The Queensland sheep shearer's strike of 1878 - 1882.

4. What connects it to Professor Fred Hollows, Australian eye-scientist, rabble rouser, former Communist and general controversial figure, who, in his last interview before he died in 1992, said that he was now more in agreement with anarcho-syndicalism than anything else?

Answer Choices:
a: Fred Hollows spoke before the United Nations General Council on the issue.
b: Fred Hollows saved the sight of Vincent Lingari who was publicising the strike in Sydney.
c: Fred Hollows donated $150K to the strike after being awarded this amount with his 1972 Nobel Prize for Medicine.
d: Fred Hollows was the first signatory of a 2 million name petition on behalf of the strikers.

Correct Answers:

1: c - Noam Chomsky is the Professor of Linuistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2: a - Despite being in the top ten most referenced writers in the humanities (and the only one alive) his one 'familiar quote' is 'colourless green ideas sleep furiously', a sentence he contrived to show that a sentence could be grammatical but make no sense, and that impossible word orders could also be grammatical. For example, colourless can't be followed by green, ideas don't sleep.

3: c - In 1966, the Gurrindgi Stockmen of Wave Hill station, in the Northern Territory, went on strike against being paid only in rations, and for control of their land, leased at the time to Lord Vestey, British meat baron, owner of Dewhursts and tax-dodger extraordinaire. Eight years later, Aussie PM Gough Whitlam gave Vincent Lingari a piece of paper recognising the Gurrundgi people's right to the land. The strike as significant as well for boosting the land rights movement, still fighting in Australia to do this day.

4: b - Vincent Lingari came to Sydney to publicise and call for solidarity. During his visit he met Fred Hollows who noticed he had an easily curable eye disease that causes blindness. Hollows set up a 'barefoot' clinic in the outback, and made the operations himself, while gathering a team together and training aboriginal opthalmologists to follow in his footsteps. The project has since spread from Australia to Nepal and Eritrea.


BlackFlag212.pdf (12.94 MB)



9 months 1 week ago

Submitted by Fozzie on July 8, 2023

PDF added.