Anarchist Communism in the Midlands

Happy new year – maybe, maybe not? But we are still here and there has been a good amount of interest in anarchism and the AF in the Midlands area recently, both East and West. So if you are interested in saying hello or meeting up, do get in touch. The best email address to contact us on is midlands [at] afed [dot] org [dot] uk  and there is also a Twitter feed @afedmids so feel free to follow and pass us any interesting snippets of action or forthcoming events in the region.

Here are a couple of bits of local news and comment.

Leicester AF are holding libertarian discussion meeting each month on a Wednesday so if you are interested, let us know via the midlands address. Next one is on the 22nd Feb and the venue is a very short walk from Leicester train station so it’s easily reachable for an evening visit from other Midlands towns.

It was great to see so many people out on the streets for the recent anti-Trump state visit demos around the country including the rally in Nottingham having close to 1000 at it, something we’ve not seen for quite  while. Combatting anti-migrant discourse is really important, as appealing to patriotism and nationalism continues be a potent way of dividing and ruling over the working class, so it was good to see this as a major theme of the rally.  The new sense of anger against government here and elsewhere will create the seeds of a badly needed movement whose goal is equality, freedom and adhering to the idea of No Borders. Hopefully the new wave of enthusiasm will not end up merely as a vehicle for pro-Corbyn/Labour Party building such as happened when Notts Save Our Services was nipped in the bud in favour of the so-called People’s Assembly.

The main AF website is being updated with new articles so do take a look!

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Resistance paper #161 Autumn 2016 online – Grass roots struggles show the way

You can now download the latest 12 page free issue of Resistance #161 Autumn 2016 from the AF website, also out in print at the London Anarchist bookfair:
https://afed.org.uk/grass-roots-struggles-show-the-way-resistance-bulletin-161/

The latest issue of Organise! will also be out at the bookfair and to order online or direct from us: https://afed.org.uk/organise-magazine-issue-87-winter-2016/

Editorial

What with Brexit, Tory backstabbing, a new Prime Minister, Corbyn being elected Labour leader (again!) and a US presidential election it seems the pantomime of parliament has never been livelier! In our opinion far too much attention has already been paid to the political manoeuvring of our so-called leaders, across untold pages of papers and websites. We’ve spelled out our own position very clearly in previous copies of Resistance, and recommend you pick up those if you want to see yet more pictures of politicians. For this issue we instead put the focus where it belongs, on grass roots struggle – on the strikes, occupations and protests that are winning real change for workers across the UK and beyond. It is these actions that win real concessions for ordinary people. The politicians only ever play catch up. If they’re offering us something good, it’s usually only out of fear we’re going to take something better if they don’t! If, like us, you don’t trust any political party further than you can throw it, these pages should serve as a how-to guide for causing trouble and scoring victories by standing together rather than looking to the higher power of parliament.

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Organise #86 and Resistance #160 publications both free online

You can find the PDFs of the Anarchist Federation’s latest publications from the following links…

Resistance #160 is a special issue about migrant struggles and includes an article about the EU referendum (written before the Leave result): http://www.af-north.org/afed/res/resist160.pdf

Our magazine Organise! (Summer 2016 issue) is focussed on The Commons and is also available for free online as follows: http://af-north.org/afed/org/org86.pdf (file size around 17MB)

Note: printed copies can be purchased from AK Press http://www.akuk.com or Active Distribution http://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/

The contents of Organise! #86 (Summer 2016) is:

  • Editorial: A Victory for the Commons,
  • The City is Ours! Fight for the City – Part 3,
  • A Radical Alternative to Airport Expansion,
  • They Walk By Night – 13th Century Nightwalker Statutes,
  • Psychogeography and Public Space,
  • Taking Up Space – Social Centres in the UK,
  • The Commons in Pre-Modern Thought,
  • Unpicking ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’,
  • International Gathering in Crete – An important Step in Building a United and Effective Anarchist Movement,
  • Call for an all-Britain class struggle anarchist conference in 2016,
  • Cuban Anarchism Reborn: An interview with Mario from TLAL,
  • Culture Feature – Henri Cartier-Bresson,
  • Book Reviews – The Failure of Nonviolence; Communal Luxury; Cities Under Siege.

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Organise! magazine – new issue #85 out

Anarchist Federation magazine - winter 2015 issue - number 85NEW ISSUE #85 WINTER 2015 WAS OUT AT THE LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR 2015. Contents. Editorial: Making space for resistance, Scottish Nationalism, Austerity & Debt, Critisticuffs interview, Fight for the City, Graduation & the class divide, Fossil fuel divestment, Thought: Deleuze & Guattari, Culture: Jules Vallès-Child. Book Reviews: Underground Passages & Franco’s Crypt.

Visit main website to order print copy (or download PDF): www.afed.org.uk

Direct link: https://afed.org.uk/organise-magazine-issue-85-winter-2015/

See also: latest resistance bulletin: https://afed.org.uk/still-angry-not-apathetic-resistance-bulletin-159/

Ordering online from AK Press & Active Distribution

Order in print from Active Distribution or AK Press (soon).

Back issues of Organise! and various pamphlets are also available including Organise 84:

http://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/magazines/3603-organise-84.html

http://www.akuk.com/index.php?_a=product&product_id=7320

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Libertarian Socialist Discussion in Leicester on Tuesday 10th March 2015, 7.30pm

This coming Tuesday 10th March is the second monthly Libertarian Socialist Discussion, which takes
place at 7.30pm at the Swan & Rushes, 19 Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WR.

The topic for this month’s discussion will look at what constitutes useful or harmful actions for socialists to be involved in. One person will start the meeting with a brief talk to set the ball rolling, then it will open up into a wider group discussion.

Minimal prior knowledge is necessary, but a starting point for the discussion might be the old Solidarity statement (1967), which says:

“Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self-activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.”

The function of the libertarian socialist discussion meetings is for those involved to increase their political understanding and to hopefully develop class struggle, libertarian socialist and pro-revolutionary ideas and politics in the Leicester area, over a pint (and a pizza, if you like) in a convivial environment.

See you at the Swan & Rushes this Tuesday!

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Follow the new Anarchist Midlands twitter @AfedMids

Nottingham AF and members in Derby, Loughborough, Leicester and Lincoln (and surrounding areas) have teamed up to form a Midlands coordination of the Anarchist Federation. As part of this we have launched a Twitter account to share info in our region. Look out for more info about meetings, especially in Leicester and Nottingham.

The new Twitter account is called Anarchist Midlands and information about this can be found here https://twitter.com/Afedmids
If you already use Twitter, the account is @AfedMids

If you are further West don’t be put off that we have started off in the East Midlands.

Of course, as anarchists, we prefer horizontal self-organising to following, so if you like what we are saying, do get in touch!

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Something else they are hiding from us!

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a new capitalist agreement between the USA government and the European Union. It gives US business free reign to privatise public services and other regulated industry in the cause of ‘Free Trade’. On the one hand this is another way for big business to take over internationally and for the American capitalist empire to culturally colonise the world. But specifically under threat is whatever is left of nationalised industries and services (not that there is much left of that in England anyway).

The obvious worry here is what is left of the NHS, which working class people are still fighting hard to save. It would also affect food quality by deregulating things like food production and quality, for example by-passing EU regulations about meat quality and the condition animals are kept in. Banking regulations would be undermined. Even the EU admits that jobs would be lost. All the main UK parties (except the Greens) are in favour. Even if there is a EU-referendum, whatever the outcome, this law will overrule.

Similar agreements exist in other parts of the world. A fracking company was able to sue the state of Quebec for lost earnings when it passed and an anti-fracking law. The Philip Morris tobacco company was able to sue the Australia government for its laws on plain-packaging.

TTIP is just the latest in a string of trade ‘agreements’ which have been opposed internationally including by anarchists. In the 1990s NAFTA allowed US companies make money in Mexico and Canada more easily. Meetings of The World Trade Organisation were strongly resisted, not least in London (J18) and Seattle (N30) in 1999. Anarchists need to spread information about this agreement, and we need more mass civil disobedience and anti-globalisation activism at a local and international level to raise awareness and oppose this in practice.

Links:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/what-is-ttip-and-six-reasons-why-the-answer-should-scare-you-9779688.html
http://aftinet.org.au/cms/node/519

Related article: Why opposing capitalism and privatisation does not imply support for state-controlled services: http://afed.org.uk/blog/international/114-private-versus-socialised-healthcare.html

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