Issue of the London-based anarchist magazine Black Flag from the 1990s.
Longer articles are linked. Shorter articles below. Complete contents in PDF below that.
With thanks to Kate Sharpley Library for providing a physical copy to scan.
- May Day on the Tube
- Rosemary Nelson
- Friends of the Garvaghy Road
- Victory for Full Sutton 'mutineers'
- Parcel of Rogues: The Next Generation - on the scottish parliament
- Brown Dawn Over the Black Soil - The Case of The Krasnodar Three
- May Day in Prague
- Turkey, Ocalan and the Kurds
- No easy answers: looking at the Balkans war
- Italy - Striking Against the War
- Bad Behaviour in Greece
- Get on the Bus! - The story of LA's Bus Riders Union
- Exterminate all the Brutes! - the origins of welfare as a means of social control
- Prison Harassment of Mark Barnsley
- Revolutionaries Do Not Support State Executions - Ali Khalid Abdullah
- Prisoner and prison news
- Italian Syndicalism and fascism
- Miguel Herberg's Story: A Native of Gijon who wormed his Way into the Pinochet Camp
- How Wrong Can They Be? (More on Green Anarchist)
- Dancing With the Devil - on the politics of Green Anarchist, again!
- Book review: The Committee by Sam McPhilemy
- Book review: No Gods No Masters book 1 edited by Daniel Guerin
- Letter / Reviews / Anarcho-quiz
The country we live in is currently waging war on another. Many of us areopposed to the war. How many of us feel anything we say or do makes anydifference?
The majority of Kosovar Albanians support NATO because they see no otherforce able to defend their interests. NATO, meanwhile, has bombed Belgradewhile the Yugoslav army shells those fleeing ethnic cleansing and active KLAunits in the region, completely without NATO response. Western interventionin Bosnia was done to suppress democracy, partition the country and propupMilosevic. This time round, the best money is on a partitionist solutionagain.
We feature here an article by a member of International Workers Aid, whichattempts to answer the question of "what can we do?" In Greece, there havebeen blockades of NATO troops, and in Italy, people have attempted to stormthe airbases from which the bombers fly.
The anti-war movement's lack of presence here cannot be divorced from theabsence of a militant, politically independent working class movement. If weare serious about opposing the agenda of Blair and Clinton we have to rebuildthe tradition of class struggle anarchism in the UK. This means building amovement that deals with everyday realities like supporting prisoners,fighting for better services, providing solidarity with refugees. Our movement talks a lot about building communities of resistance. Rhetoric,though, does not change a thing. The first step to rebuilding a working classanarchist movement has to be recognising why one does not now exist. A numberof articles here address that task
Friends of the Garvaghy Road
The Good Friday Agreement is supposed to create a level playing field in thesix counties, with freedom, justice and equality seen as rights for bothcommunities.
Rhetoric, though, is little protection against the contained violence ofLoyalist paramilitaries. The nationalist community in Belfast has beensubjected to repeated kidnap and murder attempts by Loyalist gangs. Recently,John Brady and Jackie Dixon were abducted and savagely beaten while walkingthrough the Whiterock Estate. Over thirty Loyalists armed with bricks andpetrol bombs rampaged through the Parkside area of North Belfast on April26th. There remains, as Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly noted, "aconcerted, planned, sectarian campaign of intimidation by Loyalistorganisations against Catholics."
Residents of the Garvaghy Road have suffered more than most. As one residentputs it, "In Portadown, being a catholic is almost as conspicuous as a blackskin amongst white supremacists. There are numerous give away signs - a name,address, your school, where you socialise, what direction you are walkingfrom or to. Robert Hamill was kicked to death because he was walking awayfrom a Catholic social club towards a nationalist estate." Portadown isIrelandıs Alabama. Since July 1998 there have been over 170 Orange ralliesand marches in Portadown, the vast majority around the Garvaghy Road. Afurther 50 are planned between April and July this year. Portadown towncentre has become a no go area for Catholics. In August 1998 several hundredLoyalists forcibly expelled Catholic families from the shopping mall whilethe RUC stood by. Seventeen families have been driven out by Loyalist mobs inthe last ten months.
A London Support Group has been set up. Contact Friends of the Garvaghy Road,PO Box 3923, London NW5
Parcel of Rogues: The Next Generation - on the scottish parliament
Scotland finally has its own parliament, nearly 300 years after a "parcel of rogues" decided to throw in their lot with the English dominated WestminsterParliament. We do not expect any major changes to occur because of it but afew interesting results were recorded during the election.
The rebel Labour Candidate Dennis Canavan won a stunning victory in FalkirkEast. Canavan, the Westminster MP for the constituency, stood as anindependent after he was rejected as Labour's official candidate list by theBlairite "control freaks" who run the party. This was in spite ofoverwhelming popular support in the local party and area. Given that NewLabour has taken over Thatcherite policies, it comes as no surprise that theyhave also taken over her love of centralism and top-down rule. Free markets,strong and centralised state (which makes Peter Lilley's comments on thecentralising nature of Blairism even more ridiculous -- was he awake between1979 and 1997? Obviously not).
This, and the results in Wales, goes to show that Blair cannot taketraditional Labour votes for granted. Which is a good sign, in its own way.
Canavan is joined, thanks to PR, by two other rebel MSPs -- Tommy Sheriden ofthe Scottish Socialists and a Green. According to Sheriden, the ScottishSocialist Party is now the fifth party in Scotland and was here to stay. Wehave to wonder, however, if this success and the commitment to stand in everysingle constituency in Scotland next election will have the samederadicalising effect on the SSP as it had on German Social Democracy in thelast century, the Labour Party in this one or the German Greens in the 1980s.
All these parties started off as radical (and in the case of the GermanSocial Democrats, Marxist and revolutionary, just like the Socialist Partyclaims itself to be). However, years of working in Parliament paid off andthey became just another mainstream party. Perhaps SSP members and votersshould ponder these (somewhat summarised) words of Alexander Berkman: "[Atthe start, the Socialist Parties] claimed that they meant to use politicsonly for the purpose of propaganda. . . and took part in elections on orderto have an opportunity to advocate Socialism.
"It may seem a harmless thing but it proved the undoing of Socialism. Because nothing is truer than the means you use to attain your object soonthemselves become your object . . . [So] there is a deeper reason for thisconstant and regular betrayal [than individual scoundrels being elected] . .. no man turns scoundrel or traitor overnight.
"It is *power* which corrupts . . . Moreover, even with the best intentionsSocialists [who get elected] . . . find themselves entirely powerless toaccomplishing anything of a socialistic nature . . . The demoralisation andvitiation [this brings about] take place little by little, so gradually thatone hardly notices it himself . . . [The elected Socialist] perceives that heis regarded as a laughing stock [by the other politicians] . . . and findsmore and more difficulty in securing the floor . . . he knows that neither byhis talk nor by his vote can he influence the proceedings . . . His speechesdon't even reach the public . . . [and so] He appeals to the voters to electmore comrades. . . Years pass . . . [and a] number . . . are elected. Eachof them goes through the same experience . . . [and] quickly come to theconclusion . . . [that] They must show that they are practical men . . . thatthey are doing something for their constituency . . . In this manner thesituation compels them to take a 'practical' part in the proceedings, to'talk business,' to fall in line with the matters actually dealt with in thelegislative body . . . Spending years in that atmosphere, enjoying good jobsand pay, the elected Socialists have themselves become part and parcel of thepolitical machinery . . . With growing success in elections and securingpolitical power they turn more and more conservative and content withexisting conditions. Removal from the life and suffering of the workingclass, living in the atmosphere of the bourgeoisie . . . they have becomewhat they call 'practical' . . . Power and position have gradually stifledtheir conscience and they have not the strength and honesty to swim againstthe current . . . They have become the strongest bulwark of capitalism."[What is Communist Anarchism?, pp. 78-82]
Will history repeat itself? It did with the German Greens in the 1980s. Wedoubt that the SSP will be immune to the corroding effects of electioneering-- but, of course, every party that stands for elections assumes that it is.And Marxists call anarchists utopian, a-historic and idealists! Talking ofhistory, those of us in the Poll tax campaign will remember Militant (whatlater became the SSP) arguing that standing anti-poll tax candidates wouldsplit the Labour vote and let the Tories in. We wonder what has changed inthe last ten years. Or does standing Socialist candidates not split theLabour vote?
On a more positive note, Anarchists in Glasgow have produced a "Declarationof Autonomy" concerning devolution and the issues it raises. The declarationcorrectly argues that to claim that devolution or independence could "'tame'capitalism and significantly alter our lives" is "leading people up thegarden path." They also point out that real independence andself-determination is impossible within capitalism:
"To invest our hopes for the future in political change, confined to thelevel at which we are governed and taxed, without a clear approach to theeconomic dynamic of capitalism, which continues to ravage the planet andexploit us all for profit, is frankly misguided. Independence andself-determination is an illusion within capitalism. No amount of fervour fora Scottish republic can escape this reality. We cannot take our desires forreality within the world as it is." Rather, we must work in a wide variety ofworkplace, community and environment struggles in order to create real changeby the only effective means we have -- direct action, solidarity andcollective struggle. The "declaration" is well worth reading and presents theonly real alternative to both electioneering and the current system -- namelyanarchism.
The "Declaration of Autonomy" can be got from
CI (The Anarchist Circle)c/o 28 King Street Glasgow G1 5QP Scotland
May Day in Prague
Since 1990 Strelecky island in the centre of Prague has been the traditionalvenue for anarchists from all over the Czech Republic to commemorate May Day.However, this year, the growing Czech neo-nazi movement organised a publiccounter-demo with the slogan "Smash the Reds". Blood and Honour were alsoinvolved in organising this legal demo, for which permission was granted bythe authorities.
Officially, the nazi demonstration was against comunnism and capitalism, butone of the organisers said,"relations between skinheads and anarchists havebeen quiet and calm.. now it is time to change this situation".
The antifasicist demonstration began at 11am, the same time as the fascistdemonstration, a mile away. Before this, a group of antifascists blocked theentrance to the island. Then at 10.45 the police attacked the 100-strongblockade and violently removed antifacists from the bridge above StreleckyIsland. Unfortunately the split within the antifascist movement meant therewere only a hundred antifascists on the bridge and others at the island.After several speeches there, by Antifascist Action, Czechoslovakia AnarchistFederation and Federation of Social Anarchists, 400 marched off to the end ofthe bridge.
The police blocked the bridge, so everyone quickly moved through the city tothe other end of the bridge and sat down on the road from there to the city.
Although the neonazis had not sought permission for a march, the policestarted to clear a way for them by attacking the crowd with tear gas,truncheons and horses. In defence, molotov cocktails were thrown. Ninepolice were slightly injured and 21 antifascists were detained, four of whomwere charged.
An article from the Czech paper, Hospodarske Noviny, described the events asthe police "protecting skinheads right to demonstrate," ironic given that thenazis had claimed they would wipe the anarchists out of Prague on this day.
The paper reported that the skinheads wanted to cleanse society of "liberaldemocratic dirt" and "imported multiculturalism."
Brown Dawn Over the Black Soil
The Case of The Krasnodar Three
On November 28, 1998 at the railway station in Krasnodar, southern Russia,the police stopped and searched several young anarchist punks. Someexplosives were found in the bag of Gennady Nepshikuyev. Police arrested himand two others, Maria Randina and Jan Musel, a Czech. Jan was released aftera while on the insistence of the Czech consulate, Gennady and Maria remainedunder arrest.
Little is available on what happened between their arrest in November andFebruary 2nd, when two more flats were searched by the FSB (successor to theKGB) in Moscow and a third person, Larisa Schiptsova, was arrested. Questions directed at the anarchists included asking about the "nationalpolicy of Kondratenko".
Nikolai Kondratenko is the governor of the Krasnodar region. He isnotoriously chauvinist and anti-semitic, and openly supported nazis in theRegion. (Russia's largest fascist party, Russian National Unity, RNE,operates legally in Krasnodar). Southern Russia is a fertile ground forRussian nationalism, featuring right wing Cossack militias, who are usuallyracist and anti-Semitic, who are trying to arm themselves and get legalstatus as a paramilitary police force.
The paranoid governor and his lackeys are presenting the case as an attempton his life. The plot to assassinate Kondratenko will become just anotherminor detail of his own policy to blame everything on Jewish and otherconspiracies.
For the Krasnodar anarchists it should have been little surprise that theircomrades became the targets of Kondratenko's paranoid search for enemies.Kuban Anarchist Federation (FAK) was almost the only political group in theregion to have the guts to openly demonstrate against his nationalistpolicies and the thugs of RNE. Local anarchists had fought with the Nazis andconstantly received death threats. Maria Randina herself had resisted theestablishment of the nazi-controlled University police in Krasnodar, forwhich she was thrown out of the Krasnodar University. For a few yearsKrasnodar anarchists have been under close surveillance by the regional FSB,because of their active anti-fascist stance.
Although the three are formally charged with transportation and possession ofexplosives, and no charges of terrorism and establishing a criminal groupwere presented, the regional papers controlled by the governor reported thatan attempt to kill him was prevented.
THE SITUATION OF THE KRASNODAR 3
Some serious difficulties have already emerged for the three - while theusual cases of carrying explosives are investigated by the local police, theKrasnodar 3 received special treatment. They were put into the regional FSBprison and the case is being conducted by the regional procurator's officeand the Krasnodar FSB.
Larisa Schiptsova is suffering physically the most since she is 5 monthspregnant (as at May 99) and the food in the FSB prison is appalling - a plateof watery soup with just a little cabbage and potato once per day. After 3weeks of imprisonment her gums were bleeding and doctors found some problemsin the foetus' development.
Larisa's lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, also attracted attention from theinvestigators. Other anarchists interrogated at the end of February werequestioned not only about the case, but also about where Markelov comes from,etc. It is no coincidence that searches in Krasnodar were carried out in theflats of people whom Markelov met when he was in town, even those who are notactive anarchists and have no relation to the case. (Markelov also acted forAndrey Sokolov, a young Stalinist sentenced recently for blowing up amonument to the Russian royal family. His case was reconsidered in mid-March,got softer sentence for vandalism, not terrorism, and was released fromprison.)
Maria Randina was initially pressured into taking a lawyer recommended by theinvestigator, but a new lawyer has now been found.
Gennady Nepshikuyev, in whose bag the explosives were found, seems to havebeen too talkative and his words form the only evidence against the othertwo. It is believed that he tells the investigators what they want to hear,naming people, who cannot even be connected with the accused. Unfortunately,the FSB keeps his testimonies secret and there is no detailed information onthat. Some anarchists believe that Nepshikuyev was either used by theauthorities or is too willing to co-operate with the investigators now.
PROTESTS AND MEDIA BLACK OUT
On March 30th anarchists and human rights activists picketed the FederationCouncil (upper houses of the Russian parliament) demanding the release ofMaria Randina and Larisa Schiptsova. The protestors handed out leaflets, heldlarge posters against the police state and called for the release of thearrested anarchists. On the same day pickets were organised in Yekaterinburg,St.Petersburg and Berlin.
There were very few reports of the case in the Russian media and now, withthe war in Yugoslavia raising nationalist passions in Russia, there is evenless chance that it will be picked up in the media. Not one journalist showedup at the demo on March 30.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Spread this information as far as possible. Demonstrate at Russian embassiesand consulates. Send petitions to the Russian ambassadors.
Please, send protests to governor Kondratenko and the regional procurator'soffice, investigating the case:
Nikolai E. Kondratenko, governor of Krasnodar region 350014 Krasnodar, ulitsaKrasnaya, 35 Tel.(7-8612) 62-57-16, fax (7-8612) 68-35-82 & 68-45-38
Krasnodar regional procurator A.N.Shkrebets Fax (7-8612) 68-30-95
Donations to cover legal and other expenses are welcome. People in NorthAmerica can send checks and money orders (both of which can be made out toM.Laskey or S. Hyland) to: WE DARE BE FREE / INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITYCAMPAIGN PO Box 390085, Cambridge, MA 02139 (please indicate that yourdonation is for the anarchists arrested in Krasnodar.)
INFORMATION AND CONTACTS
You can contact the Moscow Group for counteraction against politicalrepression at the following addresses: [email protected] 113208, Moscow,m-208, P.O.Box 80, Vladlen Tupikin (please, don't write the name of the group, just a person's name on the envelope).
All of the information available on the "Krasnodar case" can be found at www.ecoline.ru/actions/bomba/ Most of the information is in Russian, butthere are German and English sections as well. The site also features photosof Maria and Larisa, as well as photos from the demos in their support heldin Moscow.
Source: AN-Press, [email protected]
Bad Behaviour in Greece
Since last November, a wave of school occupations and pupils' mobilisationshas shaken Greece. Pupils are taking action against the application of"2525/97 act", which connects directly education to the needs of the economy."2525/97 act" had been announced as a "broad reform of the education system".In the eyes of the pupils, it means intensification, rivalry and total lossof their free time. The pupils' reaction was spontaneous, and massivealthough somewhat delayed, as "2525/97 act's first application happened ayear ago. Then it aimed to spread rivalry among the unemployed teachers. Thereaction of the latter culminated last June, with four days' clashes in manycities in Greece. In these clashes, there was a very small pupils'participation. During these clashes, anarchist Costas Mitropetros wasarrested. Last November he was imprisoned until his trial . In the middle ofDecember, over a thousand schools were occupied throughout Greece. Thegovernment hoped that the pupils' mobilisations would end during X-masvacations. On January 11th, by the end of vacations , 800 schools throughoutGreece were occupied. The government threatened to prosecute pupils whoparticipated in the occupation of schools. A wave of terror and threatsstarted to spread.
On January 15th, demonstrations took place almost in every city of Greece.The pupils were rather angry than scared. Clashes broke out in variouscities. In Athens, 14 persons were arrested. Two of them, Arban Belala, a17-year old pupil -emigrant from Albania- and Vasilis Evangelidis, a 30 yearsold anarchist and unemployed teacher, were charged with heavy offences. Therest were set free, facing lighter charges. Two more pupils-emigrants fromAlbania- were arrested during clashes in Thessaloniki and were later setfree.
On January 16th, V. Evangelidis was brought to the interrogator. Vasilisdeclared the following: "I deny all charges. I inform you that I participatein the mobilisations against "2525/97 act" since it became law of the state.As a graduate of the School of Philosophy and an unemployed, I participatedin last year's struggle of the unemployed teachers. That struggle todaycontinues with the pupils' movement, to which I declare my solidarity, alsoas an anarchist. As one of the 25.000 people who took part in Friday'sdemonstration. The charges against me are fabricated, I refuse them and Iprotest". The interrogator, with the agreement of the public prosecutor,ordered Vasilis' imprisonment until his trial.
On January 18th, Arban Belala was also brought in front of the interrogator.He denied the accusations. He was also imprisoned until his trial.
On January 19th, Vasilis Evangelidis announced that he started a hungerstrike: "I don't beg for anything. From this day on I am on a hunger strikeagainst my imprisonment, which was decided by the repressive machine of theState. They are putting me in jail (at the city of Chania, Crete) because Iam charged, among other things, with an arson attempt. This accusation isfabricated, based on fake evidence. I deny all charges and I demand myfreedom. I declare my solidarity with the pupils' movement, with theuneasiness of the pupils in resistance. Their struggle is closely tied to thestruggle for the abolition of the system of exploitation and oppression. Theschools are fencing the youth, in order to produce deprived of passionservants, human machines who give away their lust for freedom. When thestruggles go beyond passivity, compromise and trade-unionism, then the systemreveals its real face: terrorism, violence, repression. In such moments, onlysolidarity from the other oppressed and exploited can deter suppression andslander. Therefore, what is most important today is the continuation of thestruggle, the solidarity with the occupied schools, the coming together andthe communication of all people in struggle".
Solidarity with schools' occupations! Freedom for the imprisoned comrades!
The afternoon of the same day, another big demonstration took place inAthens, accompanied by minor clashes.
On 21 January, demonstrations against "2525/97 Act" took place in many citiesof Greece. Clashes took place in various cities. More than 40 people werearrested.
THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR SOLIDARITY! It' d be mostly helpful, ifdemonstrations or any other kind of protest were organised in front of thelocal Greek consulates and embassies. The whole situation has to be given theutmost publicity, which could surely encourage our struggle here. Wed also expect solidarity e-mails and/or faxes for our imprisoned comrades at:+(3031) 257364 or [email protected] and we'll pass them further to them. Ofgreat importance would be the overfaxing of the Ministry of Justice:+(301)7796055 Keep us informed about every action of solidarity.
THE CASE OF COSTAS MITROPETROS The anarchist Kostas Mitropetros was arrestedduring the clashes of June, 18th and was charged with heavy accusations.After 3 days of continuing clashes, a troop of the neo-nazi band "Chrisi Avgi(Golden Dawn)" attacked 3 students-members of a left wing group and causedsevere injuries to all three of them. The reaction was rather mild, as farthe leftists are concerned, but a group of about 30 comrades attacked thepolice and cameramen with stones and molotov cocktails. K. Mitropetrosparticipated at the demonstration and had to pay the price as the only onewho was arrested. His main crime had been his anarchist beliefs, along withhis solidarity with groups of immigrants, pupils, teachers and all groups whoresist nowadays.
Self-managed Social Centre NAUTILUS, Thessaloniki.
For more info on these prisoners contact Athens ABC
Italy - Striking Against the War
On Thursday 13 May, important sectors of workers took part in the strike against the war organised by the rank and file unions. Over 100,000 people demonstrated in more than 40 cities, and 1 million workers went on strike.The strike was significant despite its explicitly political nature, the media silence, the scanty support of many political and union forces who have declared themselves against the war, the sabotage of public administration sand employers' threats.
10,000 people, almost all of them workers, demonstrated in Milan. More than5,000 demonstrated in Rome, while thousands took to the streets in Florence,Turin, Bologna and other cities. In Florence, the police set about provokingdemonstrators, firing tear gas canisters at head height. In Turin theadministrations' sabotage was massive, and the media silence deafening.Despite this, the strike and demonstration were complete successes.
These facts allow us to conclude that:
- opposition to the war is broader than it seems, and seeks precise occasionsto manifest itself;
- the self-organisation of struggle is the principal way to construct aneffective opposition to war beyond Italy's borders, and to that which withinItaly is being waged against workers through taxes, the reduction of rightsand conditions, the limitation of political and union freedoms;
- this opposition must extend itself, strengthen itself, enlarge itself, andis in need of places to meet and further ground itself;
- the initiative must be kept and pursued with new mobilisations, decidedupon collectively.
For example, the Initiative Centre against the war in Turin called for acoordinated effort by all those forces which stand for:
- radical opposition to the war; - the refusal of all forms of nationalism; -international solidarity between workers; - rank and file direct action.
This was backed by the CUB (a ranka nd file union), the Base Committees andthe Anarchist Federation.
Get on the Bus!
The story of LA's Bus Riders Union
When you mention Los Angeles, its not usually its public transport whichcomes to mind. Yet there has been a grassroots campaign ongoing there forseveral years around this theme. The experience of the Bus Riders Union(BRU) in fighting for a better deal for passengers in Americaıs mostcar-dependent city tells us a lot about the differences between organisinghere and there.
It might seem surprising to someone used to our congested roads andunreliable, privatised trains to find that the BRU is fighting AGAINST aproposed rail scheme, the Pasadena Blue Line, and for expanded bus services.This might seem crazy from an ecological point of view, but makes sense onceyou look at the geography of Los Angeles. Unlike most English cities, LA hasno centre as such. There is a Downtown, which is full of office blocks andcould be compared to the City of London as a financial and commercialdistrict. However, patterns of daily travel - to work or college - do notfollow any particular pattern. Someone might work in Hollywood, live inInglewood and do a course in Long Beach - all miles from each other and verydifficult to connect by public transport. A rail scheme would make sense ifeither the infrastructure was already there, in the form of old abandonedlines which could be rebuilt or re-routed, or if the pattern of movement wasfrom several points to one central district.
The reason any of this is an issue is because for the last 15 years or so,the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has been planning and building lightrail systems, of which there are currently 3 in LA. They were very expensiveto build and various construction companies made a lot of money out of them.At the same time, the MTA built itself plush new headquarters Downtown. Allof this is funded by a proportion of Californiaıs state sales tax. At thesame time, the bus fleet has been run down and fares were proposed to go upin 1994. Which is where the Bus Riders Union comes in.
It doesnıt take a genius to realise that in a city like LA, a car becomesmuch more of a necessity than in most other places. So, what of those peoplewho either canıt afford one, or canıt drive? Well, they have to get on thebus. Angelenos are served by a surprisingly extensive network of bus routeswhich criss-cross the cityıs grid. The trouble is, there arenıt enough ofthem, theyıre not integrated, they break down a lot and are overcrowded.
The BRU was organised after the intervention of the Labor/Community StrategyCentre, which was itself formed out of the Coalition to Keep GM Van Nuys Open(a General Motors plant in north LA), and is a coalition of working classcommunity activists struggling for "regional planning from below". It hasbeen involved in the emergent movement for environmental justice and againstenvironmental racism.
Since 1993, the BRU has been fighting against the MTA. Its members are drawnfrom multiracial working class communities throughout LA. In 1994, the MTAwanted to eliminate the monthly bus pass. The BRU took a civil rights lawsuitagainst the MTA, arguing that the Red Line and Pasadena Blue Line light railsystems were eating up the dollars allocated to MTA.
In most cities in the world, buses are the transport of the poor, and theirstatus reflects that. Bus passengers are overwhelmingly poor blacks orLatinos. A much higher proportion of the light rail passengers are white. Andbecause this is America, where discrimination on grounds of class is legal,but not on grounds of race, this fact became one of the key areas the BRUorganised around. The BRU fought this campaign (and subsequent ones) againstwhat it termed "transit racism". The overwhelmingly white users of the LightRail lines are subsidised much more than the overwhelmingly black and Latinobus users. This is patently unfair and amounts to racism. The suit in 1994won, and stopped the MTA eliminating the monthly bus pass. Further strugglesand legal battles in 1996 got the price of the monthly pass reduced to $42, anew $21 two week and $11 weekly pass introduced (particularly useful forthose too poor to buy a monthly), and a new 75 cent off peak fare. The BRUthen was recognised in negotiations with the MTA, and in 1997 stopped cuts tolate night services.
The struggle over what was to get the tax dollars was eventually dealt withby the legal system, and a consent agreement was signed between the BRU andthe MTA. In it, the MTA agreed to four conditions; to reduce fares, set up ajoint committee, dramatically reduce overcrowding and expand the bus service.The former have been addressed, but the latter two havenıt. The BRU hasbrought proposals to deal with these, which total $2 billion. The cost ofconstructing the Pasadena Blue Line alone totals $1 billion - before anyrolling stock or equipment is bought.
In October 1998 the MTA voted to buy 2095 new buses, the first 1200 of whichwill run on natural gas (LA does have a slight pollution problem, afterall!). These buses will be low floored, with ramps for wheelchair users.
The BRU researched the overcrowding, or load factor, and identified two mainproblems - the age of the buses and the fact that there werenıt enough ofthem. Based on a model of the dispersed development of LA, the BRU alsobrought forward four proposals to expand the service. These are to have afreeway network of buses, thereby using the quickest and most direct route;to set up a rapid bus network; to have "stations" to change from longdistance to local bus services; and to establish community circulators -shuttle buses that go around certain communities linking them with other busroutes.
Both these plans now sit before the court, as the MTA flagrantly ignores theagreement it signed. This is one of the things that is most striking aboutthe BRU - it is similar to a union - it organises collectively, tries toenter into agreements with the other side, but is not at all surprised whenthe bosses (in this case MTA) try to ignore the agreement.
The BRU has responded by escalating, and is now running a "No Seat No Fare"campaign against overcrowding.
The first observation that needs to be made from here about the BRU is thatthe US system is very different, not least because, unlike the failingprivatised British public transport system, the Americans recognise the needfor subsidies - their argument is about how those subsidies are spent. The"End Transit Racism" slogan only really has meaning in an American context -if there was such a thing as class discrimination in the US legal system itwould be called what it really is. Buses are undervalued everywhere becausethey are used by poor people first and foremost. The fact that the MTA hasentered into agreements with the BRU and is now breaking them means that thecourts can be used. It is unlikely that anything similar would happen here.
But if we look at where money is spent on public transport in Britain, it canbe seen to follow the same pattern of investing in high profile capitalprojects like the Jubilee Line extension, where the same money could havebeen used to create a bus priority system for all of London.
So, can we learn from the BRU and apply its lessons here? My answer would beyes. For a start, all the official passenger liaison committees have provedto be toothless in the face of bus and rail privatisation and the destructionof many services. This is hardly surprising - they are based on a fewpassengers "representing" their fellows in meetings with the transportauthorities. Instead, a passengers union could involve all in fighting forbetter services. It would also be a very useful organising tool for Reclaimthe Streets to look at - many people use cars because of how bad publictransport is. RTS have already recognised that in their support actions forstriking tube workers - perhaps the next step is to organise passengersunions. There are so many simple demands that would create a resonance withthose of us who have to use the trains/buses/tube every day. The BRU won adecrease in fares - every year fares here go up more than inflation, and thewhole fare system is a maze of complexity designed to protect the likes ofVirgin and Stagecoachıs profits. Fare cuts are a first step - the aim shouldbe the abolition of fares and the redeployment of ticket collectors to guardsand station attendants to make stations and trains safer. Buses should getpriority at traffic lights and in busy streets and there should be more ofthem - more routes and more buses.
Prison Harassment of Mark Barnsley
Prison Harassment of Mark BarnsleyMark writes "With the repatriaiton of Irish POWs , political activists inBritish prisons are more isolated than ever". Throughout his imprisonment,before and after his trial, Mark has experienced harassment such as ghosting[being suddenly moved] and having legal documents destroyed and phone callsmonitored. 5 of 8 letters posted in February were stopped including oneletter t othe Socialist newspaper concerning Taj and Roberto, two men jailedfor defending themselves in a racist attack. [see BF 216]. The campaign forMark held pickets in december including one at the Sheffield Star newspaper -hich after printing sensationalist personal avuse about Mark in the past didnot even mention the picket on their doorstep. There were other pickets inDublin, Belfast and London and expressions of solidarity from as far afieldas Greece and Malta.
A "convoy for justice" in London" is planned for September. Call Chris on(01453) 753909 for details of this. Contact: Justice for Mark BarnsleyCampaign c/o 145-149 Cardigan Road, Leeds, LS6 1JL. [email protected]
Revolutionaries Do Not Support State Executions
Ali Khalid Abdullah October 1998
In speaking with various prisoners abut their political views, beliefs and theories, I have found that there are a lot of very ignorant prisoners when it comes to the issue of $tate executions, aka "death penalty" murders.
To my shock I've discovered (in the Michigan death kkkamps) there are so-called "revolutionaries" and "Black Nationalist" prisoners who are in support of $tate executions when it comes to the $tate executing white supremacists, skinheads or nazis. They've also expressed their acceptance of $tate executions for child molesters, rapists and for crimes against the elderly. However, what they have failed to realise is that $tate executions are unjust because the $tate is unjust. These prisoners have overlooked the fact that, on the percentage, more non-whites have been executed by the $tate than whites, and that today more non-whites are sitting on death row than whites. They also do not realise that innocent people have been murdered by the $tate. That police officers, detectives, prosecutors and judges have allowed fundamental rights of the accused to be trampled over, evidence to be covered up, and have allowed inadequate $tate-appointed attorneys to railroad people in prison(death kkkamps) by giving them substandard legal representation. And that, due to the Effective Death Penalty Act and similar legislation (such as the Anti-Terrorist Act) passed by $tate and federal government officials, these inadequacies will affect death row prisoners rights even up to the appeal process.
These people who support $tate executions do not think of how many prisoners on death row have been denied judicial due process and have suffered/are suffering such violations as suppression of the U.$. Constitution's first amendment rights; take for example Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black man on death row in Philadelphia, who is accused of killing a white police officer and is articulating the wrongs done to him and hundreds/thousands of others by prisonkkkrats and the U.$ "injustice" system.
These so-called revolutionaries and Black Nationalists, who support $tate sponsored executions for certain groups of people who've committed the acts I mentioned earlier in this piece, have not studied history and noted in the U.$. those on death row are predominantly poor people, the uneducated, mis-educated, the chronically unemployed or those employed at substantial slave wage jobs often earning less than $7,000 a year. Or they are those who stand on the left side of the nation's ultra-conservative political sociological and religious spectrum. These are the ones who wind up on death row and are executed by the $tate.
They have obviously not taken into account that this system is corrupt and inadequate to properly administer JUSTICE - because justice in Amerikkkan kkkourts has many false faces. The judicial system is controlled not by the people, nor does it represent the people, but is controlled by big business, by the giant corporations who lobby politicians and spend multi-millions of dollars to support their lying campaigns for political re-election, professing to be "tough on crime" but in reality seeking private aggrandizement. They have become the dictators of political interests, seeing to it that heir own private and kapitalist interests are always represented. The politicians, in turn, run up huge taxpayer bills and advertise smear campaigns against other corrupt politicians, all of them trying to gain political position and power to do the nasty bidding of their corporate-kapitalist masters.
The media has successfully influenced not only the working class but also the prisoner class that languishes in prison death kkkamps as a result of the "lock 'em up" mentality that has this country in a frenzy for more cops, more $tate control over the lives of the people, more judges and more prison death kkkamps. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, coming form corporate-kapitalist control but suffering, corruption, lies and cover-ups, excessive spending, war plans for Third World nations and more zeal for power and dominance.
With this understanding, how can we justly support the $tate's claim of administering justice, especially when it takes the lives of falsely accused citizens? We can't, when we see that law enforcers (police, detectives and prosecutors) and the kkkourts themselves are negligent of the laws that are supposed to govern this society.
I am appalled that any person could or would dare support $tate executions regardless of whom the $tate has seen fit to murder. And it is even more shocking when Black prisoners and non-prisoners can stand up in support of a system full of racism, homophobia and the imbalance of justice. If we are going to talk about the administering of justice, then we must change the system all together and not reform bits and pieces of the system. The system can not be so simply reformed. We must have the existing order destroyed and then rebuilt by The People and let there be PEOPLE'S JUSTICE! No government or political leaders should make determinations of who lives or dies for the simple fact that government and political leaders do not have the interests of the people at heart. Not to mention the fact that the government and politicians are engaged in widespread global murders.
People, and especially those who have been and are vitimized by the $tate, should get out of the thought/habit of believing any form of $tate murder is justifiable, even if it is carried out against a particular person for committing what might appear to be a justifiable act. The mind-set should be that WE THE PEOPLE must administer justice, supervising and consenting to our own laws and rules. Any person who claims to be for revolution or autonomy for a particular group and who then turns around and claims support for any form of $tate execution/murder, is not a revolutionary.
Victory for Full Sutton 'mutineers'
January 1997 saw the biggest concerted act of revolt to date against thepersistently claustrophobic and brutal regime at Full Sutton maximum securityprison. In May this year eight prisoners were acquitted of Prison Mutiny.
1995 saw huge change in the prison system. Using the Whitemoor and Parkhurstescapes as a pretext, security and harassment were massively stepped up. Atthe same time the divide-and-rule Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme andprisoner compacts were introduced and it was announced that Full Sutton wouldhost the pilot for the pin-number phonecard system, whereby prisoners have toregister numbers they wish to phone and have them cleared by security beforethey can call them. (This is now being brought in across the system.) InNovember 1995 prisoners on E wing staged a three-day work-strike against thenew measures. This peaceful protest was broken up by riot squads and up to60 prisoners shipped out to other gaols.
The final straw
More and more petty, soul-destroying restrictions were brought in anddiscontent among Full Sutton prisoners grew. On the afternoon of 20 January1997 Dessie Cunningham was taken to the segregation unit, which was alreadyfull of prisoners there on spurious pretexts. Dessie, who died tragically on31 December 1998, was a popular prisoner and when he was dragged away for noreason and beaten all the way to the block, the tolerance of prisoners on hiswing finally snapped. When C wing was unlocked that evening some prisonerssmashed up showers, TV rooms and other communal areas. The wing wasbarricaded and fires started.
B wing - the Inside Story
'Such was the pent-up anger that it really was like a dam bursting and it wasappreciated from the start that unless the destruction was near total wewould simply be locked down for a month.' - Full Sutton prisoner
The revolt on B wing began later the same evening when prisoners were orderedto bang up 40 minutes early and a far greater disturbance then took placethere, resulting in the wing being entirely destroyed. It was a matter ofhours before the flagship dispersal was being jubilantly referred to as HalfSutton.
Prisoners began to congregate in the association area. Two prison officerswere in the cleaners' office, and when two masked prisoners came towards themand began hammering on the perspex windows with mops and buckets, they beat ahasty retreat out the back. The rest of the staff quickly abandoned thewing, leaving it completely in the hands of the prisoners, who quickly put upbarricades, expecting an imminent attack by the riot squad. When it didn'tcome, they realised the wing was theirs to render unfit for continuedincarceration. Fires were lit and massive damage done to doors, gates,windows and even concrete walls. Months and years of frustration were takenout on the very fabric of the prison.
'Access to the exercise yard was gained by battering down the steel gate witha wooden door. A large fire was quickly lit out here. The Fire Brigadeattempted to extinguish it by shooting water over the roof but this was soonstopped by a salvo of door handles thrown from the exercise yard and over theroof to the outside. With the iron gate from the exercise yard it was nowpossible to quickly gain access to the rest of the wing. All the files andpapers were seized from the screws' offices and the offices gutted. We knewthat we'd all be shipped off to blocks all over the country and might not seefriends for some time. Resigned to this, an impromptu barbecue party was heldon the exercise yard, with cooking done on smouldering prison files anddecisions made on what to do.'
'The tactics of guerilla warfare are hit and run and the circumstances weresuch that by that point little would have been gained by confronting the riotsquad. So, eventually we banged up two or more to a cell, to defendourselves better against the brutality we expected to come. But it didn't. The screws were badly shaken by the scale of the damage. We could hear themsaying incredulously "Where did they get the tools from to do this? Theycan't have done it with their bare hands." 'As the tortoise of shields movedslowly round the landings - "one, two, advance" - it sounded comical. We wereexpecting a good kicking but I remember lying on the bed in the cell, howlingwith laughter. There was still an atmosphere of defiance and celebration. People shouted out abuse to the screws and jokes to one another. We werekept locked up all day and late in the afternoon they started to move peopleout one at a time. The screws were in full riot gear but they lookedterrified.'
Prisoners from the two wings were moved to prisons across the country. Masses of prisoners' property was deliberately destroyed by vengeful screwsand the Prison Service is still dealing with outstanding civil claims fordamage.
In May 1998, after a lengthy police 'investigation', 13 men were committedfor trial. William Edmonds, who the authorities were trying to finger as amain instigator, had been released on bail, attended the committal but didnot turn up for the trial. On 27 August three C wing prisoners were convictedof prison mutiny and later sentenced to five years additional imprisonmenteach. This year the remaining nine defendants, all of whom had been on Bwing, stood trial at Newcastle Crown Court. There were seven acquittals andonly two convictions. Paul Lyons and Michael Guest were sentenced to threeand five years and both plan to appeal. Most of the seven acquitted were menthe Prison Service wanted to settle old scores with: Mark Gillan had been inthe Risley uprising, Patrick Francis, the only black prisoner to stand trial,had been at Strangeways and Stewart Bowden at both Strangeways and a'mini-mutiny' at Full Sutton in 1992. Another defendant had previouslyescaped from Frankland and tried unsuccessfully to have the Prison Serviceaction in holding him at that prison during the trial declared unreasonableand unlawful.
Many of our readers will be aware of the case of John Perotti, barrack roomlawyer and rabble-rouser who has fought the prison establishment all the way,even trying to organise a prison union a few years back.
The following is from a letter John Perotti wrote dated: Feb. 26. 99.
... It's been quite a while, but I've been fighting depression over the 10year set back by the parole board. Also they now have me in the hole andrecommended for transfer to the Super Max. Prison. However, I retained alocal attorney who has filed a motion to attempt to get me probation for drugdependency - where I would be released to a drug rehab. center. We alsoobtained an affidavit from Mark McAllister (the former inmate who said Istabbed him 10 years ago) saying I didn't stab him and should be releasedfrom prison. So, we've filed a motion for a new trial as well.
It is extremely critical that I get letters of support sent to this judge asthey look at outside support as being one of the major features in granting arelease....
John goes on to say...
"If this doesn't work I'm about out of ideas. I have a lawsuit against theParole Board, but that will take years and at the Super Max they (prisoners)haven't access to property..."
Please send letters as soon as possible to the Judge supporting John'srelease. Below is a sample letter. In your letter please raise the samepoints as in this sample letter but put it in your own words. It's importantthat letters are polite and that you don't make 'demands' for John's freedomas it wouldn't do John's chances of release any good if you piss the Judgeoff.
John W. Perotti - 1724 St. Rt. 728 # 167712 - Lucasville, Ohio 45699-0001,USA
Judge Lytle Court of Common Pleas Scioto County Courthouse 602 7th StreetPortsmouth Ohio 45662, USA
Re: Request to grant Conditional Probation for Mr John W. Perotti asrequested in STATE v PEROTTI. CASE NUMBERS CR 85-91/ 88 - CR 262.
Dear Judge Lytle,
I am a friend of John W. Perotti # 167712 who is presently incarcerated atthe Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in your county.
Pending before the Court is a motion for Conditional Probation due to MrPerotti's drug dependency. Mr Perotti has served 17 years on his sentence,more than enough time for his conviction. He is not able to receive any typeof treatment for his Chemical Dependency, even though he has been foundguilty by the Prison's Rules Infraction Board over the years for consumptionof intoxicants. He has a problem that needs treatment not more punishment.
I have known Mr Perotti ____ years. During his incarceration he attendedcollege, majoring in Sociology and was awarded a Scholarship by the MarionDavis Scholarship Fund, which he used to obtain a Degree in ParalegalScience. He has made numerous achievements even though confined to a prisoncell.
Mr Perotti admits he has a Chemical Dependency problem and has attempted toobtain treatment for this, to no avail. He was Chemically Dependent at thetime of his offences and maintained that dependency even in prison. He haspaid his debt to society, Seventeen years in prison for a non-capitoloffence, or heinous crime is three times more than the average prisoner. Alot of this is because he has been successful in changing conditions inprison and won Civil Rights Actions illustrating the beatings and retaliationhe has received by officials there. I believe that maintaining him in prisonnow is counter productive as well as expensive to the taxpayer.
Thus I request that you grant Mr Perotti's motion placing him on Probation Chemical Dependency Treatment.
On May 1st, after a call by the Collective Against Expulsions, about 40 people occupied the Hotel Ibis in nantes, France. Ibis is part of the ACCORgroup, who have been co-operating with the deportation of sans-papiers (immigrants without documents). Notably, they have allowed their premises inthe Charles de Gaulle airport to be used as a detention centre. [email protected]
Miguel Herberg's Story
A NATIVE OF GIJŪN WHO WORMED-HIS WAY INTO THE PINOCHET CAMP
Miguel Herberg Hartung had a ring-side seat in the military coup that broughtdown Salvador Allend's constitutional government in Chile on 11 September1973. This reporter and film-maker, a native of GijŪn, wormed his way intothe lower reaches of the coup plotters in the months leading up to the armyrevolt and got wind of the preparations made for the uprising that was tocrush Chilean democracy; he was also a witness to the national andinternational connivance that made the military revolt possible.
Miguel Herberg's tape-recordings in the concentration camps in Atacamaenabled Amnesty International to identify and secure the release of upwardsof 400 of the 'disappeared".
Film-maker Miguel Herberg recorded self-incriminating confidences from someof those implicated in the civilian and military ramifications of the revoltagainst Salvador Allende's constitutional government, witnessed the influx ofmoney used as a slush fund in order to create a climate of destabilisationand, from the fifth floor of the Hotel Carrera watched the bombing of the LaMoneda palace and the introduction of a regime for which the price was 3,197victims - 2,095 lives lost and 1,102 citizens disappeared.
Herberg secured permission to enter the concentration camps in Pisagua andChacabuco in the Atacama desert, where he filmed and recorded the testimonyof the inmates. His film, made available to the Bertrand Russell Tribunal andAmnesty International, was not merely an indictment of the mass detentionmethods used by Augusto Pinochet's regime, but amounted to a safe conductpass for more than 400 inmates whom the Military Junta were thereby preventedfrom adding to the sinister list of the "disappeared". The film gave a voiceand a face to the nameless.
Herberg made seven separate trips to Chile. At the time he was working forthe Italian state broadcasters RAI. Prior to that he had worked for RTF inFrance. He had reported on Vietnam and had already managed to film a reportin the former German Democratic Republic. He was drawn to Chile by theAllende experiment and the rumours of sabre-rattling in Santiago. He arrivedin the company of Roberto Rossellini. "He was very highly regarded incultural circles out there.
"1 started by making contacts among the Chilean right. I passed myself off asa television producer. I was trying to make contacts that might help me tofind out what was in the offing", he now recalls. With an old Nikon, a Nagrasound-recording system and a 16 millimetre Arri-flex camera with direct sound(and with which he shot 135,000 metres of film) he started doggedlycollecting testimony on the basis of which he was going to piece together thehistory of the coup.
"Pinochet a stooge"
"Nobody wants to know the truth, as I see it. It looks as if the only desireis to see the buck stop with Augusto Pinochet and nobody else. But Pinochetwas merely a stooge. Other people laid the groundwork for the coup.
And Herberg contends: "The key men were General Alfredo Canales and a CIAagent by the name of Federico Willoughby MacDonald who acted as his liaisonwith the USA. But nobody mentions their names. Alfredo Canales was presidentof the far-right paramilitary group that set the preparations for the coup inmotion. Canales and MacDonald set up the chain reaction that was toprecipitate the coup. It was Pinochet who spearheaded it at the last moment,with the blessing - as my film testifies - of the Chilean archbishop SilvaHenriquez."
Miguel Herberg is 55 years old. He has just travelled to Asturias fromMadrid. His stay will be brief. He is to return to Madrid and thence to hishome in Rome. With him he carries the very same Nikon that he has carriedhalf way round the world. In Llanes he is to revisit his teenage haunts. Heis acting as guide to a young Madrid man looking for locations for his firstfull-length film. The sea off Cantabria is calm, but Chile is a churningocean. A quarter of a century on, Chile cannot forget. It is an open wound.The furious mass of Pinochet supporters taking to the streets to registertheir protest against Spain run into the lately emboldened masses of thepersecuted and the relatives of the disappeared, frenziedly hoping now to seethe General placed the dock.
But Miguel Herberg reckons that that is not enough. That the revolt thatclaimed Allende's life and those of his compatriots - and some Spaniards - in1973 was not the handiwork of just one man nor the product of a single will.
"There were two coups in Chile. The first was the Tacnazo, so called becauseit emanated from the barracks in Tacna. That revolt was engineered by GeneralViaux. But the highest-ranking figure in the Chilean armed forces at thetime, General Schneider, set his face against it and proclaimed his loyaltyto Allende's lawful government. Viaux ordered him murdered. The actual kllerswere two paramilitaries, Ivan Alverar and Erwin Robertson. I have the filmedconfession of both killers and of General Viaux from when they wereimprisoned in Santiago in Chile. They thought that I was one of their own. Ihanded the film over to Allende and it was used to bring them to trial. Ihave photos of Alverar and Robertson in their offices, with photos of Hitlerand France and Falangist symbols on the walls."
The sit-in at the Odeon
Herberg's life has been an extraordinary rag bag of adventures. He was borninto a well to do family, but from an early age was active on behalf of"social" disquiets. He lived in SomiŪ, in Llanes and in Madrid before Parisopened up a different vista to him. He admits that he is as much of ananarchist today as he was in his teenaged years and in his carriage and dressthe mark of his youthful rebellions remains: he was active in the anti-Francostudent movement, being arrested several times over by the Social-PoliticalBrigade, dodged military service in the 1960s and in May '68 helped occupythe Odeon in Paris.
"The second coup, with Pinochet at its head this time, came three monthsafter the Tacnazo. Viaux was let out of jail and moved to the Chilean embassyin Argentina, where he orchestrated the Condor Plan to arrest Chileanrefugees there and Argentinian refugees in Chile. Up until the 11 September1973 bombing of the La Moneda Palace, Herberg mingled with the far rightcircles conspiring against Allende. "I was winning their trust. There were nobig secrets between us. 1 am trusting you when I tell you all this, eventhough we have never met before now.
It was the same in Chile. You make connections that open up other connectionsto you. The only ones aware of my true intentions were Salvador Allende, hisdaughter Isabel and one of his co-workers, Rodrigo Rojas, who was alsokilled. "In June 1973, three months before the overthrow, SergiŪ OnofreJarpa, speaker of the Chilean Parliament, advised me to stick around in Chileuntil late August or early September because, he said, that was when thedefinitive blow would be struck. I have his words on tape. So Pinochet wasmerely the instrument of all the people promoting that coup."
Herberg's ambition is to get the magistrate Baltasar GarzŪn to include hisevidence as proof of the guilt of General Augusto Pinochet AND hisaccomplices.
"I have nothing left to say now. My weapons are my cameras and what I filmed.I have done my bit. I did my bit 25 years ago in Chile. My documents are atthe disposal of the courts. But Pinochet, I must insist, is not the problem.The real problem is where the courts refuse to venture. If the documentationliable to incriminate not merely Pinochet but others as well is rejected,then there is no real desire to get to the truth, to the nitty-gritty of theconspiracy. By my reckoning, all this fuss is just a way of drawing a veilover it all. There is no talk any more of what that regime was like. All thetalk now is exclusively of Pinochet."
The TV news is on and the talk is of Chile, Pinochet and GarzŪn. On to thescreen comes US secretary of State Madeleine Albright, stating her country'sdetermination to de-classify some secret papers on the Chilean dictatorship.But she speaks with caution and with reservations. "Nations have to striketheir own balance between justice and reconciliation", she states. MiguelHerberg Hartung is sceptical. "is anyone really going to dare to put formersecretary of State Henry Kissinger on trial? Kissinger, President RichardNixon, ITT, the copper multinationals like Anaconda or Kennecott, areimplicated in the coup. I have photocopies of documents wherein the UStelecommunications corporation ITT asks Nixon to sponsor the coup and a copyof a text from Nixon to Eduardo Frei, the then president of the ChristianDemocrats, telling him that a coup must be prepared. But no one wants that tocome to light. It is very easy to go after Pinochet. And of course whathappened has to be denounced. But Pinochet did not act alone."
He goes on: "It is very easy to go after the general in his dark glasseswithout disclosing the true scale of the conspiracy. Today there are Spanishfirms in Chile managing interests that at that time were being managed by USmultinational companies. And then there is the Church's part in the coup.Today the Spanish Church too has a strong presence over there. And thenthere's the US's involvement in the coup. I took photos of striking truckersprotected by the Carabiniers and how the Chilean hauliers were paid off tokeep the strike going and bring the country to a standstill. I tookphotographs of the dollar payments arriving in trunks from the USA at amilitary airport, unloaded by night. And I saw for myself how, in order tofuel inflation, the Hertz offices were offering up to 2,500 escudos against adollar when the exchange rate was one for one. Can we really expect the USAto show us its records on this? That would amount to self-incrimination."
What was it about Allende that made him so unpalatable to these factiousauthorities and to those segments of Chilean society that egged on the coup?"Allende wanted social change. His plan was almost Christian Democrat,although that term won't fit as he was an atheist. But no way was it arevolution. Allende was a doctor. He knew how to treat people. He had animpressive charisma. His charisma was his humanity. He had great powers ofpersuasion and an innate ability to explain things and make them understoodin a very straightforward way. Allende was not like Fidel Castro; he did notneed nine hour speeches to win people over. In 1972 1 had organised aninterview between Allende and Roberto Rossellini. Rossellini at that time wasa god. Allende spelled out his political programme to him. I filmed theirconversation.
In 1973 1 spoke with Allende at his home a several nights. I warned him, asdid lots of others, that the coup was in the offing. I even showed him therecorded testimony of those who had let me in on the preparations for theoperation. But he told me that I was a dreamer. 'We're not Spain', hesaid,'The Chilean army has upwards of a hundred years of democratictradition.'
Allende was never forgiven for his pledge that every Chilean child would havea half a litre of milk every day. That was the root of it. Unless that isunderstood, the rest is pointless. But these days nobody - not even Isabel,Allende's daughter - remembers these minor details which are crucial to anyunderstanding of what happened. Only two days after Allende made that pledge,LeŪn Villarin, the hauliers' president and another one of the couporganisers, halted every truck in the country so that the milk could not bedistributed. That was a very heartless decision.
Miguel Herberg watched the bombing of the La Moneda palace from the CarreraHotel opposite, where he was staying. Some carabiniers opened fire on thehotel windows where we photographers had stationed ourselves. Any photos ofthe outside of La Moneda were taken from there. I have on tape the testimonyof some of the pilots who bombed the presidential palace. And it has to besaid that they did a great job because they bombed the right floor. Given thealtitude at which they were flying that must have taken a lot of training."
After the coup, Miguel Herberg went back to Chile again. This was to filminside the concentration camps and collect testimony regarding therepression. They let me in because they thought that I was trying to show howhumanely they were treating the prisoners. This was the camps in Piagua andChacabuco, army camps with huts in the middle of the desert, in 60 degrees ofheat.
In one of the films he made at that time Chile '73 o La historia se repite(Chile '73 or History Repeats Itself), Herberg interviews the militarycommanders in charge of the Atacama desert concentration camps which wereconverted from some old abandoned nitrate works by the labour of a largenumber of prisoners.
"The Atacama desert is the nearest thing to the Moon", the Asturian filmmaker notes. "The Pisagua camp was designed by a Jewish engineer who hadsurvived the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and went on to specialisein building prisons. Escape was impossible. Their only way out was to swimthe ocean or cross the nitrate desert, which ends up burning you. All Iwanted was for the inmates to give me their names and to film as many as Icould so as to get the film out of the country and they could not claim thatthese people had simply disappeared. There were journalists there, andpeasants, workers, Allende's ministers, his personal physician DaniloBartulin, leftwing militants .. It was the Iast thing I did. After that Imade myself scarce."
He is reluctant to state how he left the country and who smuggled him out ofChile. Then he relents somewhat, but still gives no names and insists thatnone of this be made public. "I had been a war reporter for twelve years andhad learned something about how to protect myself. Once the generals woke upto the fact that I was on the other side they sentenced me to death for"betraying the trust of the Military Junta'. I made sure for the next threeof four years that I took some security measures."
Back in Europe Herberg circulated his film and handed the pictures over toAmnesty International and the Bertrand Russell Tribunal. From the BBC inLondon he interviewed Pinochet live. The general denied that anyone had beenthrown into concentration camps.
"History" - Herberg says - "is always repeating itself: people trying toforce others on to their knees and people who refuse to bend the knee."
Article by Javier Cuartas in Nueva EspaŅa of 7 December 1998, reprinted inBicel,(organ of the FundaciŪn Anselmo Lorenzo) No 8, March 1999, Madrid
No Gods No Masters book 1
edited by Daniel Guerin
Overall, this is a book I would recommend, but it does require a previousknowledge both of what anarchism is, and of history over the course of itsdevelopment. It is most useful as a guide to the progression of anarchistideas, starting with the much-maligned Stirner, through the equally malignedProudhon, to Bakunin and Kropotkin.
My main complaint is the inaccurate transliteration of Russian names, thusNechaev becomes Netchayev and the Marxist stooge Utin becomes Outine. Bothare perfectly understandable to French speakers, but to someone in Indonesia,say, reading this with only Marxist texts as background, this might not seemimmediately obvious.
As an anthology of writings, the advantages are that debates can beillustrated from both sides, for example the debate over communism orcollectivism in the Jura Federation, or the inclusion of Marx on the Commune.
As well as the four well known thinkers, the book also gives flavours fromothers less featured, particularly in English translation, such as Guillaumeand Schwitzguébel, both important figures in the Jura Federation. Mostimportantly, Guerin puts these people and their ideas into a historicalcontext in the shape of the great proletarian upheavals of 19th centuryFrance - 1848 and 1871.
The French bias is only to be expected - Iım not sure if Book 2 correctsthis, but large and significant areas and important thinkers are left out.While I have no great quibble with leaving out the English liberals sobeloved of the professorial school of anarchism, such things as the HaymarketMartyrs and the period of propaganda by deed are omitted.
However, the class emphasis is one of the strengths of the book. Guerinobviously spent some time arguing with Marxists, as Book 1 provides plenty ofammunition against Marx himself, rather than the much easier target of Lenin.The material around the break up of the First International gives a muchclearer illustration of the mean-spirited side of Marxıs character, andGuerin goes out of his way to be fair to him.
At £12, it's a bit pricey, particularly as it's one volume of a two book set,but get your library to order both, and if you're a bit weak on history readup on some of that first so you get more of a feel for the book.
Acquttal at Full Sutton Trial
The trial of the defendants charged with taking part in the Full Sutton uprising of 1997 are taking place at Newcastle Crown Court as we go to press. Since 1995, the regime has been constantly tightening with restrictions on phone calls, the amount of personal possession allowed in cells and cuts in privileges. This is the situation which led to a 3-day work strike in the jail back in November 1995. Prisoners called to testify have been faced with intimidation from screws in the run-up to appearing. According to one, "the treatment of defence witnesses here (HMP Durham) is a clear attempt to punish us for supporting those who the state and prison service are trying to fit up." The latest we have is that one defendant has been acquitted. Source: abc bulletin
Satpal in Segregation (Again)
Satpal Ram has been put into segregation (after another altercation with a screw) in Belmarsh prison. He is asking supporters to send a fax to the Governor of Belmarsh. You can copy and fax the short model letter below:
Fax no 0181-317 2421 For the attention of John Knight, Governor, HMP Belmarsh
Dear Mr Knight, I am most concerned that Mr Satpal Ram E94164, has been put into segregation after he refused to be moved from a single to a double cell. Putting Mr Ram into segregation is extremely harsh punishment for what is a very small matter. I would kindly ask you to return Mr Ram to normal location in a single cell and that as soon as possible he is returned to HMP Frankland.
see http://burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/prison/satpal.html for more details.
On 23rd February the CPS announced their decision not to prosecute anyone for the "unlawful killing" of Alton Manning, a black prisoner in the privately run Blakenhurst Prison. Alton, 33, of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, died in December 1995 after being restrained by seven warders, one of them holding him in a neck lock, whilst removing him from his cell at the jail near Redditch. Indifference
Initially the death of Alton was met with the same indifference by the state as was faced by Stephen Lawrence's family. The Manning family like the Lawrences, found out quickly that if they wanted justice for their son's death they would have to campaign for it. Demonstrations were held outside Blakenhurst prison, marches took place in Birmingham and local MPs also got involved. It took two years and three months of constant pressure by the campaign, before the case got to the Coroner's court. In March 1998, after 15 days of evidence an inquest jury returned a unanimous verdict of unlawful killing. Immediately after the decision, seven warders were suspended.
CPS do nothing
It took the CPS another 11 months of doing nothing to announce that they were going to do nothing. The CPS said that there was "no realistic prospect" of obtaining manslaughter convictions against officers allegedly connected with the remand inmate's death. Why then couldn't the CPS charge the 7 warders with "joint enterprise"? It seems to work quite well with black people. This decision by the CPS, once again shows that when a black person dies in a prison or police cell or on the street, it will not be taken seriously. Racism is not only institutionalised within the police force, it is the same in the armed forces, the prison service and the very state itself. The "Campaign for Justice for Alton Manning", though disheartened, are not giving up. Inspired by the perseverance of the Lawrences, the campaign will continue to fight for justice.
Woodhill gets scrutinised
The battle of 4 cons against the regime at Woodhill reached the High Court in January. Woodhill prison was opened in 1997 as a new control unit designed to break "trouble-makers". The regime was trying to break active resistance against the prison system by putting cons on what is called the "continuous assessment circuit" - being ghosted around every 28 days from one segregation unit to another, if it is felt you are not towing the line. This includes being banged up at Woodhill. Rifat Mehmet and Sean O' Conner are among those who have recently been on hunger strike at the prison.
The court heard how prisoners have been confined in their cells for 23 hours a day "in a brutalised and coercive regime ... [which] forces prisoners to use cardboard mattresses and go without books and other personal possessions". Warren Slaney is one of the other defendants at the trial who is still fighting back and shouting his innocence even louder. After his move to Wakefield he was beaten up by screws then charged with the usual - assault. Not to be defeated he ripped up the charge sheet in front of them and shoved it down the only decent place for it - the toilet! Since the recent quashing of the judicial review, Warren has been returned to Woodhill. He is about to go on dirty protest so we are sure he would appreciate any messages of support:
Warren Slaney J82574 HMP Woodhill Tattanhoe Street
All Burned Out!
On 15th February, the North wing of Haverigg prison in Cumbria went up in smoke as 109 cons took control of the wing for three hours. The prison called in the MUFTI squad from every prison in the surrounding area - details are sketchy, and we have no further information other than all prisoners involved have been moved to prisons around the north of England. The last disturbance at Haverigg was in October 1993 with a similar uprising.
Rafa Ballarin Released
Rafael Ballarin, sent down in 96 for defending himself from a fascist attack in Madrid, has been released from prison. The authorities in Spain have been bombarded with letters from all over the world.
Bent Cops - Prison News
In issue 215 we ran an article about police involvement in drug dealing.0n19th March former London detective Duncan Hanrahan was jailed for 8 and ahalf years after admitting 11 charges of corruption in the first of a seriesof prosecutions of bent Met officers.
Hanrahan admitted conspiring to steal a seized supply of 40,000 ecstasytablets to be resold, on the understanding that the proceeds would be sharedwith the officers who'd originally confiscated them. Hanrahan became aprivate detective after leaving the force and acted as a go-between betweenhis criminal connections and serving officers on the take.0n arrest, Hanrahantouted on over 50 of his former colleagues.
Our argument then, that the police's role is to keep the middle classes safefrom crime by physically containing criminal activity within working classareas, so that crime becomes something the poor do to each other, and thatwithin working class areas, police involvement in dealing of drugs is seenas a lucrative spin off of the job, still stands. Have a nice time inside,Duncan
1. Who sang ‘So come back Emma Goldman, Rise up old Joe Hill, the barricades are going up, they cannot break our will’?
a: Patty Smith
b: Steve Earle
c: Bruce Springsteen
d: Michael Franti
2. Who wanted to ‘shoot the pig and behead the sheep’, and what was political about it?
a: The Levellers - to end the 'cash crop' farming
b: Pink Floyd - following Roger Water's departure, in rejection of the politics in his songs.
c: The Chinese boxer rebels - to fight off western influence in China.
d: Durruti - as a punishment to landowners who refused to communalise their land.
3. The word ‘politics’ is not just something hateful to anarchists in its sense of ‘affairs of state’. What other word derives from politics that we hate just as much?
c: Poll (as in election)
4. In his book, Fathers and Sons, Russian novelist Turgenev coined which descriptive political term?
The wild man of country rock, Steve Earle, in his song Christmas in Washington.
The Chinese boxer rebels in 1900. The Pig was Christ and the Sheep were Christians. The Boxer rebellion was an attempt to fight off western influence over China. It was bloodily suppressed by all the Western powers, who, a few years later would be fighting themselves.
The word police originally meant the civil administration of a city. It was first used in its current sense for the Marine Police set up in 1798 to protect merchandise in the Port of London.
Nihilism. Many scholars believe he based his nihilist character Bazarov on Bakunin, whom he had met.
EN CE NUMÉRO DE BLACK FLAG:
p.2 - editorial au sujet de la guerre et l¹incapacité du mouvement ouvrieren Grande Bretagne.
p.3 - Le Premier Mai dans le Tube (metro de Londres). Une analyse del¹action de la groupe "Reclaim the Streets" (Réclamez les rues) qui a essayéà faire les liens entre les luttes pour transportes publiques, contre laculture de la voiture, et en solidarité avec les travailleurs du Tube. Tresinteressante.
p.4 - articles breves au sujet de un réunion anti-raciste à Douvres, deuxactions du mouvement contre la monarchie, un red de sindicilistesanarchistes, et un appel d¹aide pour un militante des années 70.
p.5 - un article au sujet de l¹assassination de Rosemary Nelson, avocatcatholique du nord d¹irlande, qui avait spécialisé aux droits humaines. Lesforces sécuritaires sont implicées. Et il et a un autre article au sujet desAmis de Garvaghy Road. Garvaghy Road est une rue à la ville de Portadown enle nord d¹irlande, où les suprémacistes protestantes qui s¹appelent "Orange"essaient à marcher.
P.6 - un article au sujet des elections au nouveau parlement d¹Ecosse.
P.7 - tres articles, un au sujet de la resistence en un prison, un court ausujet de un victorie d¹un militante contre un official beaurocratique de susindicat, et un au sujet d¹un réunion anarchiste à Glasgow.
P.8 - La lutte de tres jeunes anarchistes et anti-fascistes, a la cité deKrasnodar, en Russie.
P.9 - un reportage des confrontations à Praga le 1 mai, entre lesanarchistes et les fascistes et leur amis, la police. Aussi, un homme quicherche pour le droit d¹asil est tué par les forces de l¹Etat, en Autriche.
P.10 - Un article au sujet de Turkey, les Kurds et le chef du PKK, Öcalan.
P11. - Les anarchistes tcheques Vaclav Jez et Michal Patera sont libres! etaussi, un article court au sujet d¹un militant d¹ETA qui a commis suicide,avec l¹aide de l¹etat espagnole!
P.12 - est au sujet de la resistence en Grece.
P.13-5 - est par Bob Myers, affilié à Workers Aid (Aide de travailleurs),qui travaille avec les organisations du mouvement ouvrier en ex-Yugoslavie.
P.16 - au sujet de la grève contre la guerre en Italie.
P.17 - actions contre la guerre en grece - - (connaisons bien qu¹il n¹yont beaucoup des actions en grande Bretagne!)
p.18. - un article au sujet du sindicat de passagers en Los Angeles, quilutte contre le racisme de la autorité de transportes metropolitain (MTA).
P.19 - tres articles courts
p.20 - article loin au sujet de la assistence social, ces origenes et lanature de ses utilisation en la guerre des classes.
P.24 - du prisonnier anarchiste Mark Barnsley, un appel pour solidaritérevolutionnaire, no seulement la que est rhetorical ou liberal.
P.25-7 - autres nouvelles de prison.
P.28 - le écrivain americain Bob Black a dit que les sindicaliste italiensavaient embracés fascisme. Ce n¹est pas vrai. Cet article examine ses sourceset declare leurs arguments invalides.
P.31 - une traduction de Bicel, au sujet de Miguel Harburg et ses actions enChile en 1973.
P.32 - contre les menteurs de Green Anarchist (anarchiste vert)!
P.33 - un article au sujet du credo des Green Anarchists et ses mentorsamericains, le primitivisme. Nous ne l¹aime pas!
P.36-9 - tres pages des revues et breves.
P.39 - des addresses des anarchistes anglais, irlandais, ecossais et galois.
EN ESTE NÚMERO DE BLACK FLAG:
p.2 - editorial sobre la guerra y la incapacidad de la movimiento obrera enBritanica p.3 - El Primero Mayo en el Tube (el metro de Londres). Un analisis delaccíon del grupo Reclaim the Streets (Reclama las Calles) que ha intentado deunirse las luchas por transportes publicos, contra la cultura del coche y ensolidaridad con l@s trabajador@s del metro. Un articulo muy interesante. p.4 - articulos cortos sobre un mitin anti-racista en Dover, dos accíonesdel movimiento contra la monarquia, un red de sindicilistas anarcistas, y unllamada de apoyó para un militante de los años 70. p.5 - un articulo sobre el asesinato de Rosemary Nelson, abogada catolicadel norte de irlande, que ha se espicialado en derechos humanos. Las fuerzasaramdas son implicados. Y un otro articulo sobre l@s Amig@s de Garvaghy Road.Garvaghy Road es una calle en la cuidad de Portadown en el norte de irlande,donde los Naranjas (supremacistas protestantes) han intentados a marchar. P.6 - un articulo sobre las elecciones al nuevo parlamento de Ecossia. P.7 - tres articulos, un sobre la resistencia en un prisión, un corto sobreun la victoria de un militante contra un burocrato de su sindicato, y unsobre en encuentro anarquista en Glasgow. P.8 - La lucha de tres jovenes anarquistas y anti-fascistas, en la cuidad deKrasnodar, en Russie. P.9 - un reportaje de las confrontaciones en Praga en 1o Mayo, entre l@sanarquistas y los fascistas y sus amigos, la policia. Tambien, un otro quebusca asilo ésta asesinado para las fuerzas estatales, en Austria. P.10 - Un articulo sobre Turkey, los Kurdos y el chef de PKK, Öcalan. P11. - Los anarquistas checos Vaclav Jez y Michal Patera son libres! Ytambien, un articulo corto sobre un militante de ETA que hiciade suicido, conapoyo del Estado! P.12 - es sobre la resistencia en Grecia. P.13-5 - es un articulo de Bob Myers, affiliado a Workers Aid (Apoyo detrabajadores), que trabaja con las organisaciones obreras a apoyar l@sobrer@s en ex-Yugoslavie. P.16 - sobre la huelga contra la guerra en Italia. P.17 - accíones contra la guerra en grecia - - (sabemos que no hay muchasacciones en inglaterra!) p.18. - un articulo sobre el sindicato de pasajeros en Los Angeles, quelucha contra el racismo de la autoridad de transportes metropolitano (MTA). P.19 - tres articulos cortos p.20 - articulo lengua sobre la asistencia social, sus origenes y la naturade sus utilisacion en la guerra de clases. P.24 - desde el preso anarquista Mark Barnsley, una llamada para solidaridadrevolucionario, no solamente rhetorico o liberalismo. P.25-7 - otras noticias de presos. P.28 - el escritor norteamericano Bob Black ha dice que los sindicalistasitalianos han embraciado el fascismo. No es la verdad. Este articulo examinesus fuentes y declara sus argumentos invalidos. P.31 - una traduccion desde Bicel, sobre Miguel Harburg y sus acciones enChile en 1973. P.32 - contra las mentiras de Green Anarchist (anarquista verde)! P.33 - un articulo sobre el credo de los Green Anarchists y sus mentoresnorteamericanos, el primitivismo. No os gusta! P.36-9 - tres paginas de reseñas y cartas. P.39 - direcciones de anarquistas ingles, irlandes, ecosses y gales.