SIGNS OF LIFE?

Comment:

This is a must-read not because we agree with the call to violence but because people need to be made aware of the coming temptation to violent Zealotry. There has been a huge upswing in the numbers of people more than hinting that they want violently to fight the forces of greed. They are angry, with cause. However, they must overcome temptation to do physical violence for selfish sake. They must overcome the illusion that they can do physical violence for the sake of what is right. It doesn't work. It leads to hell.

At the same time that these people are stepping up their calls for shedding inhibitions against violence (hypocritically calling for anti-war protesters to turn into violent revolutionaries: War-makers not peacemakers), there has also been in upswing in the numbers of people turning to pacifism. Many people, including those within the U.S. military, have been moved to search for the answers. Many have correctly found the answer in the divisional message of peace from Jesus Christ. They have decided to spiritually separate themselves to God and from the pursuit of worldly evils.

That is the right approach and not this call to violence.

The Peace Movement has not failed. It correctly predicted the mess in Iraq. The polls are reflecting the numbers of people who have been awakened to the evils of Empire building. The momentum is on the side of those calling for peace.

This is all about the separation: Sorting the lambs and sheep from the goats. Whose side are you on? Are you with the forces of darkness calling for death and destruction or are you with the forces of light calling for life (real life) and wholeness?

[The following is the complete article:]

Although the situation here in Britain and internationally appears quite bleak in terms of prospects for radical change, a number of recent events and circumstances point to a possible quickening.

Defending free spaces against 'social cleansing'

The first of these events was the fierce resistance to the closure and demolition of the Ungdomshuset occupied social and cultural centre in Copenhagen, which led to social unrest and expanded from the activities of a few 'marginalised' punks to draw in much broader sections of Danish society. The police eviction involved two sequences of the fiercest rioting that Denmark has ever known. These riots show that:

* 1. Relatively minor incidents can galvanise fairly large numbers of people, like a spark ignites a brush fire, and that social unrest is widespread and can come bursting to the surface quite unexpectedly. These events could very easily be repeated in any European centre, or anywhere else in the world.

* 2. One of the key neo-liberal policies of many governments is 'social cleansing'. In London this coincides with the Olympic Games of 2012 as an excuse to push large numbers of working class people out of East London. In Copenhagen it involved the Ungdomshuset (The 'Youth House') and the probable attacks on the nearby 'self-governing' independent neighbourhood, Christiania (see Resistance 93). The social cleansing of the inner cities includes attacks upon the destruction of centres of opposition. In Denmark the government was able to use a right-wing Christian group as its cat's paw. This tactic, involving reactionary and fascist groups, may well be employed more widely throughout the West in the next few years.

Wildcat strikes and 'sick-ins'

Another important development of radicalism is the proliferation of wildcat strikes and other radical forms of struggle. From Vietnam to France, Germany and the Channel Islands, wildcat strikes have been employed by the working class more frequently. In the United States teachers recently used a mass 'sick-in' (phoning in sick) when strike action was banned, and this has already been used around the world on a number of occasions. Strike action outside the control of the unions has been a regular tactic of British postal workers, and to a lesser extent of firefighters, over the last few years.

In addition, workers are prepared to carry out solidarity actions with other workers. British Airways workers in 2005 came out in support of workers in the outsourced airline catering companym, Gate Gourmet. In the following year Catholic and Protestant postal workers were prepared to strike and to demonstrate together in Belfast.

Capitalists have increasingly moved their industries into the developing world and away from the old centres of working class militancy. The destruction of manufacturing industries in Britain continues apace and indeed it has increased its tempo under Labour after it was initiated by the Thatcher regime.

The development of great factories in the Far East has meant that large numbers of people have moved from peasant life in the countryside to hard conditions in the towns. Vast numbers are now working between 60 to 80 hours a week in these new factories in China, Vietnam and India and other Asian countries. But at the same time fierce struggles, often involving wildcat strikes and mass unrest, have been a regular feature of resistance to this industrialisation. In China, as well as industrial struggle, resistance is taking place in the countryside in opposition to landgrabs, forcing of peasants off the land, and to other government initiatives like the building of huge dams. This has involved fierce fighting and the intervention of the armed forces.

The military mire

Alongside these developments have been the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq the situation under the US-led occupation is appalling and has led to the Bush regime being forced to increase its military strength there. The situation in Afghanistan is hardly much better for the US, and casualties in both fields of operation have mounted.

The British military has found itself swamped in these two countries. Whilst the government has appeared to have made a decision to start a gradual withdrawal from Iraq, it has become more committed to increasing its military strength in Afghanistan. To do this, it has been forced to pull most of its forces out of the Balkans where the current wave of so-called humanitarian wars began. This indicates how tightly stretched British military strength is, and how much more difficult it is for these forces to operate on the international level. The British administration's policies in Iraq point to an attempt to slightly distance itself from the US, and to reposition itself between Europe and the US.

Short of a complete withdrawal from the mire they have helped create, casualties will continue to mount for both the US and Britain. The anti-war movement in Britain brought huge numbers out in the streets, but the determination of the Blair administration to continue with its war offensives successfully demobilised this movement. A contributory factor to this was the effort of the Liberal Democrats, the Socialist Workers Party and others to keep these huge demonstrations strictly legal, with no attempt to foil British war efforts through direct action, blockades, and mass civil disobedience. However, the continuing punishing war in the Middle East with more and more soldiers being brought home in body bags may resurrect anti-war movements in both Britain an the USA. When and if this happens, there must be a clear break with the commitment to legalism because these tactics have proved so demobilising and ineffective. Revolutionaries will have to argue strongly for more robust means of countering the military adventures of 'our' governments.

From despair to dissent

The massive defeats of the working class in Britain in the 1980s with the crushing of the steel workers, dockers, miners and printers has left a long term legacy of pessimism, dejection and apathy. The demobilisation of the anti-war movement, after millions had poured out on to the streets, seems to have aggravated this situation. Now, there are some signs that this mood is slowly changing, both here and across Europe and the world. This change is already being seen and may manifest itself in further and hopefully larger actions in the workplace, taking on the form of an irregular war of wildcats and other new forms of action, outside the control of the trade unions. It may also demonstrate itself in outbursts of civil disorder, as with the recent Copenhagen riots.

Another spur for radicalisation may be the increasingly widespread awareness of the huge toll that capitalism has taken on the planet. The unwillingness of the Bush regime to take any form of action, the pious platitudes and lack of action of other governments, may impel more and more people to take more radical actions. In Britain, this may coincide with a struggle against the British government's decisions to renew its nuclear power programme. Another factor of growing discontent is anger at a surveillance society that is steadily tightening its grip. Adding to all this, dissatisfaction over the new norms of work - constant assessment and target setting, casualisation and temporary contracts - rides alongside the deep unhappiness within a society geared more and more to consumerism, banality, boredom and mediocrity. This unhappiness and alienation should not be underestimated as it had a key importance in struggles of the last few decades.

To sum up then, this new radicalisation might involve a number of discontents converging and sparking off simultaneous or overlapping revolts: around opposition to war, against ecological devastation, against nuclear power, against surveillance, around workplace unrest and dissatisfaction with the consumer society. The last great radical wave in the 1960s saw new combative cultural developments, characterised as "counter-cultures" and "youth sub-cultures". In remains to be seen whether these will develop again. If they do develop, it will be one indicator that the deathly grip of defeat and apathy on the mass of the population is beginning to become weaker. Whatever happens, anarchist revolutionaries must continue to underline the need for resistance and struggle. Without any illusions, in a cool analytic way, it must revitalise the message of hope that was originally the vital spark of the revolutionary movement when it emerged in the 19th century.

Originally by Tim from recent articles | ukwatch.net on July 15, 2007, 3:33pm

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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