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The Belgrade Six - Serbian Anarchists Arrested for 'International Terrorism'

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AndyCarloff
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Dec 15 2009 22:49
The Belgrade Six - Serbian Anarchists Arrested for 'International Terrorism'

The Belgrade Six:

Serbian Anarchists Arrested for
'International Terrorism,' 2009

By Punkerslut
Dec. 12, 2009

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly, affects all indirectly."
--Martin Luther King Jr, 1963
"Letter From a Birmingham Jail"

On Sept. 3rd, 2009, the Serbian district attorney arrested five Anarchists, seeking the charge of International Terrorism. [*1] A sixth person who was sought was eventually arrested. Potentially facing three to fifteen years imprisonment, they are being accused of throwing two burning beers bottle that injured nobody and did insignificant property damage. They are also being accused of graffiti art. One of the arrested is Ratibor Trivunac -- the General Secretary of the International Workers Association, a ninety year-old federation of Anarcho-Syndicalist trade unions. The other five are Tadej Kurepa, Ivan Vulovic, Sanja Dokic, Ivan Savic, and Nikola Mitrovic. They are all members of Sindikalna konfederacija Anarho-sindikalisticka inicijativa; or, "Union Confederation Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative."

The Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Greek embassy, striking a window and causing only minor damages. Crni Ilija, or "Black Sun," have claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was committed in solidarity with Thodoros Iliopoulos (often spelled Theodoros Iliopoulos). In December of 2008, Thodoros was brutalized by riot police and the state attorney fabricated a charge of throwing a Molotov cocktail. [*2] The Greek citizen was attacked by the police during the December Revolt, a series of anti-police demonstrations, protesting the police shooting and murder of a fifteen-year old teen, Alexandros Grigoropoulos. [*3]

On July 10 of 2009, Thodoros Iliopoulos has gone on a hunger strike. After 49 days of a hunger strike, and massive support from the global, Anarchist community, Iliopoulos was freed from prison. Quoting from OccupiedLondon.org, "On the eve of Thursday, 27.8, Thodoros Iliopoulos was ordered free by the Council of Misdemeanors. His detention has been replaced by restrictive orders including a ban on exiting the country and the obligation to appear to a local police station twice a month." [*4]

On September 4th, 2009, the Belgrade District Court ruled that the six Anarcho-Syndicalist suspects will be held for thirty days. They have been prohibited from communicating with the outside world, except their lawyers and family. [*5] And on December 7th, the six were formally indicted on charges of International Terrorism by a Belgrade court. [*6] At the earliest, their trial will come in the Spring, 2010. The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative has released a statement after the decision to hold their organizers for thirty days. On September 5th, their statemente said...

"We use this opportunity to remind the public once again that these methods of individual political struggle are not methods of anarcho-syndicalism, quite the contrary – we proclaim our political positions publicly and through our work we seek to bring masses to the syndicalist movement and all the libertarian and progressive organisations.

[...]

"Given the fact that we do not support the acts of now famous anarchist group 'Crni Ilija' (Black Iliya) we still cannot characterise what happened as 'international terrorism', because terrorism, by definition, entails threats to the lives of civilians, whereas in this case no one was even hurt and only symbolic material damage was done.

"It is clear that this state produced farce is just one way of intimidating anyone who decides to point out the injustice and hopelessness of contemporary society." [*7]

On September 14th, 2009, the group known as the Network of Anarcho-Syndicalists staged a protest at a public square in Croatia, in solidarity with the imprisoned, Serbian Anarchists. [*8] One of their members has released a statement saying...

"Due to the unusual course of action of the police and prosecution in this case, the arrested are suspected of having committed a crime of international terrorism. That act, in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia, is treated in the same group with the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes against the civilian population, organizing and encouraging to commit genocide and war crimes, the conduct of aggressive war, etc." [*9]

September 11th: Anarcho-Syndicalists in Sydney, Australia, protested at the Serbian Consulate, demanding the release of the political prisoners. [*10] September 18th: anti-state Greek activists held a protest at the Serbian embassy in Thessaloniki, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. [*11]

On October 7th, In France, Comrades of the CNT-AIT, the French Anarchist Federation affiliated with the International Workers Association, occupied the Serbian Cultural Center of Paris. In a statement to the public, they have said, "The characterization of graffiti as a terrorism act, in a country that has experienced recent population cleansing, bombings and civil war, would be a grotesque trick..." [*12]

On November 23, a member of the Slovenian group, Federacija za Anarhisticno Organiziranje, or the Federation for Anarchist Organizing (FAO), gave an interview concerning the developing conditions in Belgrade. When asked the kind of support the political prisoners were receiving, they replied, "Many kindred organizations have expressed solidarity with the comrades and also public figures (film directors, journalists, writers, etc.)." When asked about other anti-government groups, they replied...

...the Serbian state has very repressive policies. One of the most active struggles today is anti-fascism and one of the few where all organizations are quite united. This is so because fascism is very strong in Serbia, including in the parliament.

Notably, the fascist movement tends to focus its campaign against the anarcho-syndicalism. For example, just a couple weeks ago when they made a strong campaign against the ASI. I would dare to say that Serb fascism does not focus their struggle against liberal anti-fascism. Its real enemy is anarcho-syndicalism, demonstrating, and I never get tired of repeating it, the great work ... done by the ASI. [*13]

In December, Serbian presses already have started publishing fictitious accounts, allegedly by the accused, describing how these six union organizers threw a molotov cocktail at an embassy. [*14] However, not all middle-class response towards the Anarchists has been negative. Also in December, a group of intellectuals have released a open letter in support of the accused. According to one news report, it "states that the Public Prosecutor's Office on November 3, 2009 characterized the alleged throwing of 'two burning beer bottles' at the Greek embassy as the most serious crime, charging the six 'proven anti-fascists' with international terrorism." They also went on to say...

"We live in a country where there are no guarantees that a person inciting racial, religious and national hatred will be tried. Members of clero-fascistic organization Obraz, which has been working smoothly since 1993 and Serb National Movement 1389 which represents itself as ‘patriotic’ while having close contacts with the Russian fascistic organizations, have not been held responsible for the threats, attacks and the beatings of the members of LGBT [Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transexual] community over the years.

"Keeping in mind Article 10 of the European Human Rights Bill, we do not hesitate to express our opinion that all this leads to a conclusion that the court process against these six young people is essentially political. Therefore we are demanding dismissal of these absurd charges." [*15]

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative had organized workers' resistance in an upper-class, Serbian restaurant, in June, 2006 -- where a violent boss was refusing to issue final paychecks to dismissed workers. The Anarchist federation had introduced unionism to a nation where there are virtually no unions in the private sector. [*16] In November, 2006, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative had organized a 600-strong, student occupation at the University of Belgrade. They were resisting neoliberal reforms, which would've increased tuition significantly and would give unequal education to Serbian students. [*17]

Other member unions include Konfederatsiya Revolyutsionnikh Anarkho-Sindikalistov in Russia, Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina in South America, and the Awareness League in Nigeria, with Anarcho-Syndicalist unions in Italy, Slovakia, Serbia, Colombia, Chile, Norway, and Portugal. [*18] The International Workers Association has released the following statement about their imprisoned comrade...

"Although one of the accused, General Secretary of the IWA Ratibor Trivunac clearly and publicly declared that he knew nothing of the action, he was arrested. It is not the first time that authorities have come after him or his comrades for no other reason than the fact that they are radical critics of the state." [*19]

The CNT section of the IWA have started collecting donations for lawyer fees for the detained revolutionaries. [*20] The Croatian group Network of Anarcho-Syndicalists, or MASA, has also started collecting donations for legal fees. [*21]

The Belgrade Six are still held in custody by the state today, awaiting for their trial, completely isolated from the entire world -- a precaution of the anti-terrorist law, so that the six might not communicate to other beer bottle-throwing terrorists. There can be nothing quite so revolting as to be aware of the injustice of authority, but to be surrounded by its walls, bars, and its guards. Those six are suffering in an inhumane, degrading, and also ridiculous situation -- for acting on the ideal of a free humanity, they have been picked up and locked away by the government.

As the letter of the Serbian intellectuals had stated, there are many racist and bigoted organizations that attack minority groups. But the state has pardoned them, and taken up the Anarcho-Syndicalists as "the greatest threat to public security." This situation has produced another proof, that the state cannot protect its people -- it only makes itself into another one of the wolves of the people, side-by-side with church and capitalism. As Anarchists, me must organize for the emancipation of our falsely-accused comrades. Anarchism will suffer if these bright souls are smothered.

"My book about the Spanish civil war, Homage to Catalonia, is of course a frankly political book, but in the main it is written with a certain detachment and regard for form. I did try very hard in it to tell the whole truth without violating my literary instincts. But among other things it contains a long chapter, full of newspaper quotations and the like, defending the Trotskyists who were accused of plotting with Franco. Clearly such a chapter, which after a year or two would lose its interest for any ordinary reader, must ruin the book. A critic whom I respect read me a lecture about it. 'Why did you put in all that stuff?' he said. 'You've turned what might have been a good book into journalism.' What he said was true, but I could not have done otherwise. I happened to know, what very few people in England had been allowed to know, that innocent men were being falsely accused. If I had not been angry about that I should never have written the book."
--George Orwell, 1946
"Why I Write"

Punkerslut,

*1. "Belgrade: anarchists arrested; state attorney seeks international terrorism charge," Libcom.org, Sep 4 2009 16:25, http://libcom.org/news/belgrade-anarchists-arrested-state-attorney-international-terrorism-04092009
*2. "Thanks to solidarity mobilizations, Theodoros Iliopoulos is free at last!" Anarkismo.net, August 27, 2009, http://www.anarkismo.net/article/14239
*3. "Nikos Tsouvalakis: the forgotten hunger striker in Greece," Athens.Indymedia.Org, http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1068728
*4. "#78 | Thodoros Iliopoulos is free!", After the Greek Riots: Irregular Updates and Articles on the Situation in Greece, in English, http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2009/08/27/78-thodoros-iliopoulos-is-free/
*5. "Financial help needed for Serbian anarchists," Libcom.org, Sep 17 2009 14:39, http://libcom.org/news/financial-help-serbian-anarchists-17092009
*6. "Belgrade Six Formally Indicted, To be Kept in Remand," Libcom.org, on Dec 8 2009 04:28, http://libcom.org/news/belgrade-six-formally-indicted-be-kept-remand-08122009
*7. "Statement of Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative on Arrests of their Members," LibCom.org, Sept. 5, 2009, http://libcom.org/news/statement-anarcho-syndicalist-initiative-arrests-their-members-06092009
*8. "Zagreb: Solidarity action with Serbian anarchists," Sep 14 2009 22:54, http://libcom.org/news/zagreb-solidarity-action-serbian-anarchists-14092009
*9. "Financial help needed for Serbian anarchists," Libcom.org, Sep 17 2009 14:39, http://libcom.org/news/financial-help-serbian-anarchists-17092009
*10. "Free the Belgrade anarchists : Protest in Sydney," September 13th, 2009, SlackBastard, http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=7652
*11. "Protest at Serbian consulate in Thessaloniki linked to Belgrade attack," 18. September 2009. | 05:17, Emportal.rs, http://www.emportal.rs/en/news/serbia/98968.html
*12. "France, Occupation of the Serbian cultural centers of Paris," 06 Nov 2009, CNT-AIT Paris, http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/newswire/display_any/45466
*13. "Free the Belgrade Six," Indymedia.uk.org, 13.12.2009 17:55, http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/12/443403.html?loc=interstitialskip .
*14. "Belgrade Six Formally Indicted, To be Kept in Remand", LibCom.org, Dec 8 2009 04:28, http://libcom.org/news/belgrade-six-formally-indicted-be-kept-remand-08122009
*15. "Anarchists' terror trial is political," 10 December 2009 | 17:50 | Source: B92, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2009&mm=12&dd=10&nav_id=63665
*16. "Serbia: Report on the first successful independent union action of ASI," 20 Jun 2006, http://www.inicijativa.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=Report+on+the+first+successful+independent+union+action+of+ASI ; also published by anarchosyndicalism.net, http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/newswire/display_any/308 .
*17. "Student protest in Serbia," Nov 27 2006, Libcom.org,
http://libcom.org/forums/anarcho-syndicalism-101/student-protest-in-serbia; "Serbia: Students protest and occupy," anarchosyndicalism.net, 17 Mar 2007, http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/newswire/display_any/6419
*18. International Workers Association website, http://www.iwa-ait.org/?q=sections
*19. "Political Arrests in Belgrade - Freedom for Anarcho-Syndicalists," http://www.iwa-ait.org/?q=node/14
*20. "Serbia: The Belgrade 6 charged with 'international terrorism'," A-Infos: Anarchist News Service, Date Wed, 04 Nov 2009 14:04:52 +0200, http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos23273.html
*21. "Financial help needed for Serbian anarchists," Libcom.org, Sep 17 2009 14:39, http://libcom.org/news/financial-help-serbian-anarchists-17092009

robot's picture
robot
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Dec 15 2009 14:43
Quote:
Today, it is still an Anarcho-Syndicalist coalition of national unions all over the globe. Member unions include the Spanish CNT-AIT, with 35,000 union workers, [*19] the French CNT-F, with 8,000 union workers, [*20] the British Solidarity Federation, with thousands of members, [*21], and the German Free Workers Union, with several hundred members. [*22]

Would you please erase those absurd figures from the text? Most of them have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

MT
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Dec 15 2009 18:17

i only wonder why people write about things they know nothing about...

akai
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Dec 15 2009 21:22

Come on, there are too many meritorical mistakes in this article, as well as some wierd logic. This really should be removed and the author should be PMed with corrections.

On the other hand, it is perhaps very nice to know how huge the CNT sections in France and in Britain are. smile I actually checked the link to SolFed to see if the author somehow misread something. smile))

Hope this article is iced so that some crazies don't repost it.

AndyCarloff
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Dec 15 2009 21:41

Greetings,

For the most part, as I put in the log, I submitted this as an overall, catch-all for information regarding the case. Nothing new, just an amalgamation of old information.

Meritorical mistakes? According to Webster's, that's "Meretorious." I pretty much have no idea what's wrong with this piece, and nobody has tried to give me a clue. But, by all means, remove it if it's offensive.

Andy Carloff,

akai
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Dec 15 2009 21:46

Well, received a response from the author of the article who claims that all of his information is citations and implies that I need to click on the links to find out the truth.

I think this is probably comes from the US and maybe they have bad information there since there is no IWA section. smile

Or maybe the IWW is an IWA section with 50,000 members - I keep confusing things.

AndyCarloff
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Dec 15 2009 21:53

Actually, if you look at the citations, most of the information comes from LibCom.

Thanks!

[Note: Checking the citations should've been your first bet.]

martinh
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Dec 15 2009 22:10

Hi Andy,
I think the problem here, as was pointed out by Robot above, is that you've grossly overstated the memberships of the various IWA sections. In the case of SolFed, we don't make hundreds, let alone thousands. The French CNT split a number of years back and the section that remains in the IWA has a few hundred members. The split, known as Vignoles, have maybe 2000. The Spanish CNT count their membership in the 3-8000 range (depending on who you ask).
The problem is that people will read these basic errors, which aren't backed up by the citations, and then wonder if the rest of the article is wrong. Given the lies that the Serbian state is spreading, aided by the passive media in that country, it is important not to put out any information which gives our enemies ammunition,

Regards,

Martin

AndyCarloff
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Dec 15 2009 22:30

Hello, Martin,

The CNT-F's numbers ? Provided by .... the CNT-F. The IWA? Again... another LibCom reference. The CNT in Spain? Provided by Anarcho-Syndicalist Review. The only questionable reference is over the German section, which only has a few hundred members, and the reference is Wikipedia. But, it's the smallest of all the numbered unions.

However, I did misread the SolFed numbers, because they use the phrase "they" when stating "sections with over 1,000's of members." The others look reliable, though. Except maybe the German section.

Thank you,
Andy Carloff

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robot
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Dec 16 2009 04:56
Quote:
In the case of SolFed, we don't make hundreds, let alone thousands.

Damn! And I really hoped someone would prove me to be wrong and that it were the latest analysis of Brighton SolFed that made workers over there flock into the Brighton local by thousands! wink

AndyCarloff
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Dec 15 2009 22:33

Okay, numbers section has been removed. But just a note, except for SolFed, the other numbers seemed to have semi-reliable sources.

Thanks again,

Andy Carloff,

AndyCarloff
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Dec 16 2009 00:17
Quote:
i only wonder why people write about things they know nothing about...

Could you be more specific?

akai
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Dec 16 2009 08:55

1, The anarchists were NOT arrested on Aug. 24. They were arrested in Sept.

2. Your article, which links to a news piece I posted (link 14) claims that the Serbian press claims the anarchists threw a bomb. They do not; they claim that they threw Molotov cocktails. Although in English these are sometimes referred to as petrol bombs, the word you use is misleading. In any case, we tend to use the word "beer bottles" and avoid the "b" word - it doesn't help the arrested to bring this word into the discourse and even the Serbian media did not do it.

3. The CNT-F, to whom you gave a link, is not a section of the IWA.

The other problem I have with this is are choices made on what to accent, what not.

Also, I would question your choice to give a link to the anarchist-bashing ANA instead of an anarchist source of information about things like the action in Thessaloniki.

For example your choice to include KRAS, FORA and Awareness League as first examples of member unions, (BTW, Awareness League has been non-existant for years and is out), with an example of a much larger unions (USI) in the later note, together with Colombia and Chile. I think this gives a rather wrong impression, although of course you just took this info from the internet and have no way to tell if you are not aware of which sections function as unions and which not.

Further, about money - I think this is misleading information. The main collection of money is done by ASI, but money is also collected by other groups, including CNT-AIT in France, FAU, SolFed, ZSP, Priama Akcia... MASA collected money at benefit concerts but didn't publish any bank account information for collection. You have linked to an article indicating that the CNT in France is collecting money, but in your article here you are not specific which section is collecting money and some people can assume money is being collected in Spain. You have also linked to an article about the collection of money in Serbia but claim that this is organized by Croatian MASA.

I think this is confusing and it just would have made more sense to print the bank account number for the central collection of money by ASI.

In terms of solidarity actions, there have been about 40 so far, not counting benefits. While it is true that the three actions you have chosen to highlight did occur, I can only wonder whether somebody who knows nothing about this case could think that only these 3 actions occurred - as opposed to the much larger amount that actually happened around the world. This is what I mean by questioning the choices of what you have chosen to accent, what not.

Also I would say that you should consider what you have linked to. For example, you link to an article from the infamously anti-anarchist ANA about the demo in Thessaloniki, instead of to anarchist source. Your source has two pieces of questionable information - that the demo was small and the implication that the arrested were the culprits of the act. Instead of sending people onto a link from an anti-anarchist source, why not link to something positive? Also, if you wanted to single out any protests for any reason, why not single out the protest in Athens with 150 people?

Sorry, i didn't mean to be discouraging towards people who want to contribute towards the solidarity campaign.

AndyCarloff
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Dec 16 2009 12:21

About the use of the word "bomb" -- a Molotov Cocktail is called a "petrol bomb" in Britain. But, I'll change it.

The money thing is definitely confusing. SWIFT transfers? I haven't done any SWIFT ever, so I decided just to publish the anarchist links that showed groups organizing fundraising efforts. (i.e. it's a lot easier for a lot of people just to write and mail a check, which is what the CNT in Spain was doing.) I wasn't able to find any other information about fundraising, but I'm interested in it.

About the use of an anti-Anarchist source, I'll admit that. The only thing is, after many hours of searching, I wasn't able to find an alternative source. Like I said, finding info about this in English is very hard, and I'm trying to put all the details together. I'm willing to include other Solidarity actions, and to get a better source for that one. Listing any others would help. I really wasn't trying to accent one thing over another -- it's just that those actions were most accessible in the media (including through the LibCom publications).

Any other corrections would be appreciated. I just edited and fixed the date and the use of the word "bomb" for petrol bomb with molotov cocktail. (IWA Affiliations have already been removed.) If there's an Anarchist link for the anti-State protest in Greece, I'll change it out.

Thanks,
Andy Carloff

MT
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Dec 16 2009 13:11

Solidarity page with I would say all the important information is: asi.zsp.net.pl

akai
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Dec 16 2009 14:46

About fundraising, etc.,
Checks are widely used by Americans, perhaps people in other countries use them as well, but for people in many parts of Europe, especially E.Europe, an American check is the same as toilet paper. Absolutely no way to cash them. Americans also have problems sending bank transfers. Here, we don't have checks and make bank transfers with ease. We can't assume that people around the world have the same ways of making payment. This is why in general, it is difficult to gather payments in the US unless some person in the US is willing to collect all the payments and then somehow get it to Europe. I can say that if anybody would want to collect money there, I can help getting it here. (PM me on that.)

I do not know that the CNT in Spain is accepting checks. The CNT in France offered to do this. The CNT-AIT is the French section of the IWA. I know that some French banks allow the deposit of checks from other countries - obviously if CNT-AIT can do this, this is easier for people from countries that prefer checks.

As for your claim that finding info on this in English is very hard, I admit that we need to make improvements and make a little better order with the English language texts already available. But when I search this, I find just hundreds of links to anarchist pages in the first place and even if I search for the Thessaloniki protest, I find asisolidarity, asi.zsp. resistance2003 and other anarchist pages in the first place. I think if, in the future, you want to do some similar texts, you can always find these anarchist sources.

Here is a link to the action you were interested in, courtesty of a quick google search: http://asisolidarity.squat.gr/p/615

If you click on the English tag you will get a lot of info, and I think that between that and the link that MT gave, you will find just about everything, although admittedly there is a lot and we have to make some summaries.

Again, sorry if my first reaction was a bit harsh.

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miles
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Dec 16 2009 14:49

The ICC has published a statement from the CNT-AIT in Toulouse, hereon this issue

AndyCarloff
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Dec 16 2009 15:37
Quote:
The article is a botched mix

The article is a botched mix of hard news, personal opinions, incorrect figures and bizarre academic style footnotes that rarely relate to the 'facts' cited.

There was one wrong date, and one misinterpreted figure of the number of SolFed members. These have been corrected.

Also, if you'd like to suggest an alternate citation style, go ahead. MLA? That's a mess. Chicago Style? By all means, footenotes as they have been used for the past 200 years seems sufficient to me. (A number near a statement, and at the end of the chapter or article, the listed numbers showing the resources.) Thank you.

Final few paragraphs as personal opinion? Yeah, because it doesn't relate to the parts that are a rehashing of the facts. It's a conclusion.

Andy Carloff,

AndyCarloff
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Dec 16 2009 15:39
Quote:
I think this is probably comes from the US...

You're right. We're not workers in solidarity. We're nations in opposition.

I've been in discussions with Nazis, I've never heard of the phrase "so and so must be from said country because of this." Glad to have walked into the Nationalist's Club.

Andy Carloff,

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 16 2009 15:41
robot wrote:
Quote:
Today, it is still an Anarcho-Syndicalist coalition of national unions all over the globe. Member unions include the Spanish CNT-AIT, with 35,000 union workers, [*19] the French CNT-F, with 8,000 union workers, [*20] the British Solidarity Federation, with thousands of members, [*21], and the German Free Workers Union, with several hundred members. [*22]

Would you please erase those absurd figures from the text? Most of them have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Yeah, SF has hundreds of thousands of members in Brighton alone!