International Anarchist Statement in Solidarity with Zimbabwe's Treason Trialists

When Mohammed Bouazizi set himself alight he unwittingly ignited a wave of popular uprisings and rebellions that have spread like wildfire across North Africa and the Middle East, the heat of which can be felt as far afield as Zimbabwe where, on Saturday 19th February, 46 pro-democracy activists including students, workers and trade unionists were arrested in Harare. According to police documents they were arrested for plotting an Egypt-style revolt to overthrow Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, at a meeting to discuss the fall of Hosni Mubarak and events in North Africa and the Middle East. The arrested, who represent the Zimbabwean Federation of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZNSU) and the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), had just watched documentary news footage on the uprising in Egypt and, according to state prosecutors, were there to "organise, strategise and implement the removal of the constitutional government of Zimbabwe ... the Egyptian way".

At least eight of the people arrested, who the state considers to be ringleaders, are reported to have been beaten and tortured in custody. Amongst those arrested were HIV-positive women, who were denied treatment. One of the women arrested also had major brain surgery last year, and was beaten in police custody as one of the alleged leaders. Another broke her leg trying to escape when they were being arrested.

After spending four nights in Harare Central Prison the 46 appeared in court on Wednesday 23 February where, in addition to being charged with plotting to overthrow the government through unconstitutional means, which can carry a penalty of up to twenty years in prison, they were also charged with treason - the penalty for which could be the death sentence.

African Liberation Month

By Ajamu Nangwaya

We are now in February and for Africans in North America it is a significant month. It is usually observed as Black History Month.

It is taken as an opportunity to acknowledge African people’s struggles, achievements and commemorate significant moments in the fight against white supremacy, capitalism, sexism and other forms of oppression.

Some of us use this month to reflect and rededicate ourselves to the revolutionary or radical African political tradition.

In the spirit of collective self-criticism, are we at the point where Black History Month is due for a name change and focus?

Names are quite important to resistance. It was no accident that the enslaved Africans who were taken across the Sahara Desert ended up with Arab names and those who went by way of the Atlantic Ocean had European names imposed on them.

Denying a people their name is a classic method of colonization and cultural imperialism. It is used to weaken collective consciousness, which is critical to building a resistance culture.

Black History Month started out as Negro History and Literature Week in 1920 by the fraternity Omega Psi Phi. Carter G. Woodson was the guiding influence behind this development and he changed the name to Negro History Week in 1926. That year is generally acknowledged as the official start of this political observance.

In 1976, Negro History Week was transformed into a month-long celebration and reborn as Black History Month.

Black History Month has since become more about cultural puffery than the politics of emancipation.

Trade unions, school boards, corporations and even government agencies are, for the most part, comfortable with the current toothless, non-challenging thrust of this month.

Malcolm X and Anarchism: For Black History Month

[b]“There will Ultimately be a Clash between the Oppressed and Those Who do the Oppressing”[/b]

[i]In the U.S., February is Black History Month. This is a good time to review the life of Malcolm X, one of the great leaders of the Black Liberation movement of the 60s. Anarchism, as an overall theory, is well-known to be rather loose and eclectic. Therefore anarchists have taken a great deal from other schools of thought, such as Marxism, feminism, Queer theory, ecology, radical psychoanalysis, post-modernism, etc. In my opinion, revolutionary anarchists also have much to learn from the life and thinking of Malcolm X.[/i]

By Wayne Price
[i]Written for www.Anarkismo.net.[/i]

One weekend in the 70s, during a demonstration in New York’s Central Park, I sat at a literature table for my radical group (then the Revolutionary Socialist League). A fellow with a picture of Mao pinned to his cap came to the table and glanced at a pamphlet we were selling (written by me, actually), titled, “Malcolm X: Revolution Knows No Compromise.” He sneered, “That’s anarchist!” and stalked off.

Pittsburgh rallies to support locked-out Hamilton Steel Workers

On Jan. 29th, 2011, at 1pm, two cities showed that workers' solidarity
cannot be confined by national borders. While the steel workers of
Ontario's Local 1005 and thousands of their supporters held a march and
rally to protest US Steel for locking them out of their jobs, their fellow
workers and allies held a protest at the US Steel Headquarters in
Pittsburgh, PA.

The rally in Downtown Pittsburgh, organized by the Northeastern
Federation of Anarchist-Communists (NEFAC), brought 20-30 people to brave
the cold in front of the U.S. Steel Tower. Those present included union
workers, students, anarchists from various groups, the IWW, and others.
The picketers sipped hot coffee as they held signs, which read "Workers
Unite: Solidarity is our Weapon," "Steelers Fans for Pension Plans," "US
Steel: End the Lockout," "Steel City Supports Steel Workers," "Working
Class Power," and "Springsteen: The Only Boss I Listen to."

Buses, taxis, and cars honked in approval. Picketers handed out
information about the lockout to the unusually high number of
passers-by--many of whom were brought to the area by a local radio show
contest--Downtown on a frigid Sunday afternoon.

Protesters vowed to continue to put pressure on US Steel and act in
solidarity with Local 1005 until the company allows the workers to return
to their jobs, with their pensions intact. Pittsburgh NEFAC extends their
congratulations to workers of Hamilton, Ontario for their successful
demonstrations.

Local 1005: Pittsburgh stands behind you!

In the struggle for better lives for workers and their families, in
Hamilton, in Pittsburgh, and everywhere else. In the struggle to
build an international workers movement capable of making the rich pay for
their own recession!

Fascists of a feather flock together

By Alex Balch

On the evening of January 11th, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) hosted an event at the Toronto Zionist Centre, at which Stephen Lennon, leader of the English Defense League (EDL) – a far-right extremist organization responsible for a string of violent anti-Muslim rallies in the UK – spoke to supporters via videoconference. Lennon, who goes by the pseudonym “Tommy Robinson”, is a former British Nationalist Party (BNP) member currently facing charges for assaulting a police officer at an anti-Muslim demonstration this past November. For their part, the JDL has painted him as an unjustly persecuted political dissident, targeted by the British government for his brave and courageous stance against Islamic extremism.

The JDL is recognized as a “right-wing terrorist organization” by the FBI, owing to their involvement in a series of terrorist attacks carried out in the United States – including the 1985 assassination of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee director Alex Odeh and the attempted assassination of American-Arab US Congressman Darrell Issa shortly after the events of September 11th, 2001. They have also repeatedly faced criticism from mainstream Zionist organizations for their unapologetic use of extreme violence and their undisguised anti-Arab racism. In 1994, JDL charter member Baruch Goldstein opened fire on a crowd of unarmed Palestinians in a Hebron mosque, killing 29 civilians and injuring 125 more. Despite deadly riots in the West Bank and an outpouring of shocked anger from mainstream Israeli society, the JDL refused to condemn the attack, even going so far as to rationalize the heinous massacre as “a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews.”

Global Peasant Movement Left Seeing REDD

by Chris Bisson

At the close of 2010, delegations from 184 governments assembled in Cancun, Mexico for the 16th gathering of the “Conference of Parties” (COP) under the banner of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This gathering of the global political class under the guise of climate change mitigation produced an agreement much heralded by bureaucrats, CEOs and journalists alike.

Though this agreement set a maximum cap of 2 degrees Celsius average global rise in temperature, it involves no binding agreements and relies almost entirely on market mechanisms to accomplish this. Most nefarious of all, the primary mechanism opted for is the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD) programme – which is basically a system whereby rich industrialized countries bribe poor developing countries into cutting back on deforestation.

There are currently no specific details on where this money will come from, though theoretically it is supposed to be generated through a mixture of carbon markets and government funding. This combination, unoriginal to the continuous neoliberal colonization of the Global South, is sure to exacerbate levels of repression and dispossession of the world’s poorest, because there is no doubt where the money will be going; it is common knowledge that aid and foreign investment almost invariably ends up in the hands of multinational corporations and resource extractors. REDD’s only difference is that it doesn’t even try to hide this fact.

Community Open Letter Denouncing the Jewish Defense League’s Rally in Support of the English Defense League

On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, the Jewish Defense League of Canada (JDL) will be hosting a rally in support of the Islamophobic English Defense League (EDL) in Toronto. The JDL is hosting an online address from Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL. Both groups have a history of violence aimed at Arab and Muslim people. We are community groups that work daily to fight racism. We have come together to condemn the Jewish Defense League for their Islamophobia and for their support for the racist English Defense League.

[b]Who is the English Defence League (EDL)?[/b]
The English Defence League is a far-right extremist organization that was founded in 2009. Their organizing principles are to oppose the ‘spread of Islam’ in the United Kingdom. The EDL has organized violent street marches that target Arab and Muslim people.They operate in the UK, but have been reaching out internationally to make links with extreme-right groups in Sweden, the United States, Canada and Israel. They are part of the alarming rise in fascist, racist and neo-Nazi organizing in Europe over the last few years, including attacks on Muslims, immigrants and Roma people.

[b]Who is the Jewish Defense League (JDL)?[/b]
The JDL is a far-right, pro-Israel organization that was founded in the 1960s by Meir Kahane, an extremist who advocated violence against, and even the mass-murder of Palestinians and Arabs. The racist, violent ideology advocated by Kahane, and embraced by the JDL, has motivated hate crimes against Palestinians and other Arab people. An FBI report has identified the JDL as “a right-wing terrorist group” and Kach and Kahane Chai – two groups associated with the Kahanist movement – were even banned in Israel for their extremism.

Algonquins of Barriere Lake - Fight for Self-Determination and Environmental Protection

On December 13, 2010, over a hundred community members from Barriere Lake, along with supporters from Montreal and Toronto, drove through the snow to get to Parliament Hill to demand the government take back section 74 and restore their customary rights.

For more information:
http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org
http://www.ipsmo.org

Labour Chasing Fool's Gold, Austerity and class struggle

by Ajamu Nangwaya

[url=http://basicsnews.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4463:l... Issue #23 (Nov / Dec 2010)[/url]

[i]“Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”[/i]
– Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

The above quotation could have been referring to the affection for Keynesian economics by the bureaucrats in Ontario’s trade unions (organized labour).

Keynesianism is a fiscal policy approach that believes the state’s management of the overall injection of spending into the economy by government, businesses and consumers is critical to achieving full employment and economic prosperity.

The government is seen as the key player in encouraging the required level of “aggregate demand.” It does so through its own spending and power over taxation, interest rate and the money supply.

Marx also said that “the tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”

This quote captures the burden of organized labour’s post-war engagement with Keynesian economics and the way that it tries to resurrect it like old Lazarus, in the face of the current crisis in capitalism.

The brain trust at CUPE Ontario has been trumpeting an alternative economic response to the wage freeze proposal of the McGuinty Liberals.

I, for one, was looking for a transformative document that would be guided by a working-class informed position on political economy and the class struggle.

Neoliberalism and home care

By Scott Neigh

"If your Mom didn't take care of you [when you were a child], would you be able to go to work?"

Those are the words of trade union activist, graduate student, and single mother Laurel O'Gorman. They are her way of neatly capturing the idea that without the massive amounts of unpaid work done in the home, primarily by women, capitalism would grind to a halt.

And through the neoliberal changes of the last thirty years -- paid work that has become more precarious and more poorly paid, governments that have radically scaled back support for people in need, different groups of workers increasingly subjected to different rules -- the burdens of unpaid work have increased significantly. Yet many unions and community groups are still in the early stages of figuring out how to recognize and respond to the central importance of unpaid caring and domestic labour.

[b]Women's Work and Invisibility[/b]

"Women's labour is often the most exploited," according to Sharmeen Khan, an organizer and spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network that put together much of the infrastructure that groups used for protesting the G20 summit in June. Pressure that gives women fewer options other than to engage in work that is underpaid or unpaid "is a strategic way of maintaining profit for a few... The unpaid labour that is often invisible is strategic in that."

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