troops out of afghanistan!

editorial of The Commune

The withdrawal of the last UK combat troops from Iraq at the end of May 2009 has only served to heap more attention on the ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan.

afghantroops

In April 2006 the then Labour Defence Secretary John Reid told the House of Commons that British troops would preside over Helmand province and leave “without a shot being fired”: yet day-by-day the tally of the dead increases. Over two hundred British soldiers, many of whom were recruited to the Army as mere teenagers, desperate to get out of sink estates, have been killed: the number of Afghan civilian dead, largely ignored by the mainstream media in this country, now stands in the tens of thousands. Continue reading “troops out of afghanistan!”

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the commune issue 7 – out now!

The September issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

thecommune7cover

troops out of afghanistan! – editorial of The Commune

wildcats show how to fight royal mail bosses – by Paul Haste

government pressure on civil service: crunch time for pcs left – by Steve Ryan

wind turbine occupation ends, but struggle continues – by Gerry Emmett

purnell’s new ‘old labour’ is just new ‘new labour’ – by David Broder

resisting redundancy and recession: reappraising the tactic of occupation – by Gregor Gall

amey struggle: burn your bridges, save your dignity – by Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marin

latin american migrants: organising against racism and exploitation – by an Ecuadorian migrant worker

exposed: soas unison, rmt and unite cleaner activists in the pay of the bosses – by Chris Kane

update on the activities of the commune around britain

afghan women bear brunt of hypocritical ‘war on terror’ – by members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

yes, chris ann, obama is punking us – by Ernie Haberkern

beyond props for capital – by Allan Armstrong

liberalism, citizenship and democracy – by Mark Ellingsen

the workers’ self-management alternative – by Chris Kane

review of the july/august left press – by Nathan Coombs

building from below: the case for working in residents’ groups – by Dave Spencer

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras – by Roberto Sáenz

demo stops IDF propaganda meeting in london, 29th january

Report and photos by Jack Staunton

On the evening of Thursday 29th January a 100-strong demonstration took place outside a building hosting a meeting  addressed by Israeli army (IDF) colonel Geva Rapp. The colonel had planned to come and advertise a pro-war book, tell stories of his military career and preach “unity among Israelis”, but anti-war activists stopped the event going ahead.

The turnout – overwhelmingly young people – was quite impressive given that the protests were organised with just a few hours’ advance notice of the meeting taking place. The IDF propaganda rally had not been publicly advertised, but a leaked circular email explained:

“London Jsocs will be hosting Colonel Geva Rapp, the head of the ground operations in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead)! This talk should be extremely interesting and valuable. However, please do not talk about this event on facebook due to security concerns and current high tension surrounding the conflict.”

True, the organisers were exaggerating somewhat the role of Geva Rapp in the war: but nonetheless succeeded in displaying their enthusiasm for the attack on the Palestinians and furthermore no doubt their “editorialising” helped attract more people to the anti-war demonstration. Some (blurry) photos and comments on the action below: Continue reading “demo stops IDF propaganda meeting in london, 29th january”

photo-report of 24th january london gaza demo

by David Broder

On Saturday 24th took place the last of the major London demonstrations against the war in Palestine, after almost four weeks of embassy pickets and mass marches. Coming a few days after the end of the war but with a continuing siege of the Palestinians, the protest attracted around 2,500 people. Three people were arrested after clashes with police FIT squads (i.e. cops taking pictures of demonstrators’ faces).

This leaflet was distributed by a network of anti-capitalists who have worked together on Palestine solidarity. Some photos and comments on the day appear below. Continue reading “photo-report of 24th january london gaza demo”

report of 17th january palestine demo in london

After last week’s massive march to London’s Israeli embassy in opposition to the Israeli state’s attack on the people of Gaza, a much smaller set of regional actions was called for Saturday 17th by the leaders of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition. In London, a rally in Trafalgar Square was followed by a “women and children only” protest at Downing Street.

However, as an eyewitness who spoke to The Commune reports, not everyone was happy with such conservative ideas of how to protest:

The rally in Trafalgar Square attracted a few thousand people. There were the usual speeches: Tony Benn called for the RAF to drop humanitarian aid over Gaza… When the women and children’s march headed for Downing Street at about 4 o’ clock we tried to go with, but a steward kept repeating “You are neither a woman nor a child!” and held me back. Around one to two thousand people were left in the square.

At the same time, a few dozen people started heading down Cockspur Street, planning to go to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington but the police ‘kettled’ them [ surrounded them] right there and told them they couldn’t leave the square. People from the rally swarmed round them, breaking the police ‘kettle’ and freeing them. There was then a contingent of about 400 people, itself surrounded by police on horseback and with dogs… but this police line was also only one deep, and another group of 200 protesters broke through. Continue reading “report of 17th january palestine demo in london”

activists disrupt israel’s pr operation – report and video

Activists disrupted the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London on the morning of Tuesday 13th. The lobby group’s media centre, which is playing a key role in Israel’s public relations operation during the assault on Gaza, was shut down as protesters occupied the building.

Photographs of civilian casualties from Gaza were pasted on to the computer screens of public relations executives, phone lines cut off to halt the organisation’s media rebuttal unit and leaflets thrown out of window on to the main road and handed out to staff pressing them to confront the truth about the human cost of Israeli aggression. Continue reading “activists disrupt israel’s pr operation – report and video”

occupations for gaza in london! get down to lse!

In our report on Saturday’s demonstration, we urged students to occupy university buildings.  A leaflet which some of us helped to distribute also called for university occupations.  With demonstrations outside the embassy dwindling, and the PSC seeking to demobilise the movement with their latest (sexist) call for a “women’s and children’s march” following another mind-numbing rally at Trafalgar Square, occupations are vital to take the movement to the next level.

Students at SOAS have already occupied, and the university has agreed to grant several of their demands (including banning the military from campus, and allowing the student union to run a series of events for Gaza there during the week).   Tonight LSE students have embarked upon their own occupation.  We need to support these!  Get down if you possibly can, student or not, and help to make every occupation a centre of discussion and organisation!  Find more about the occupations here:

SOAS occupation

LSE occupation [Map and travel instructions]

These occupations pose a question of social power – i.e. who runs the institutions that make up society – and doing so while raising the banner of Gaza. Street mobilisations alone will burn us out without posing these questions of power, and leave us with no alternative centres of organisation apart from the PSC and the STWC which are already trying to demobilise the movement. Isolated actions – such as the disruption of BICOM on Tuesday morning – are broadly positive, but don’t provide an organisational centre to counter the national NGOs, and don’t do anything to link the situation in Gaza to broader questions of politics and power. Occupations can also be centres of learning and organising, they are exactly what needs to happen. Their potential will be defined by the number of people who attend and commit to them.

If you are at another university, consider organising your own occupation.  We also need to think about how these occupations can become a space, not only for students, but for the broader community of activists and demonstrators who have taken action over the past two weeks.