It only takes one spark…

At the moment, there’s a lot of fuss being made about the English Defence League’s threatened march through Tower Hamlets. So far, there’s only one aspect of the story which has really caught my attention, which is the threat by tube workers to close Liverpool Street Station if the EDL attempt to gather there. This is a brilliant example of what effective anti-fascist direct action from below can look like: it doesn’t have to be macho or intimidating, the important thing is that it needs to rely on the collective power of ordinary people, rather than encouraging the idea that Theresa May, Boris Johnson or the Met should be allowed to decide what we can and can’t do. Elsewhere, Nadine Dorries will be trying to amend the Government’s controversial plan to fuck up the NHS to include her own attempt to increase the number of unwanted children, as beautifully skewered by the Daily Mash. There’s not much to take heart from here – if Dorries’ anti-abortion amendment fails, which looks likely, or the whole health bill is defeated, which looks a bit less likely, it won’t be because of any real pressure from below, and it certainly won’t be because of the TUC’s incredible plan to save the NHS by lighting some candles. But, away from the headlines, some genuinely inspiring stuff has been happening lately.
First of all, militant migrant cleaners in London have just won another wildcat strike, making the list of recent victories in this sector even longer. When anarchists insist that taking determined strike action outside the control of union bureaucrats is a good way to win, it’s not just some piece of abstract dogma, it’s actually true, as these examples demonstrate.
Secondly, Adam Ford reports on the Sparks, a new grassroots organisation emerging among electricians fighting back against attacks on pay and conditions across the construction sector. I don’t really have anything to add to his article, other than to note how exciting it is to see a move back towards the kind of mass picketing that actually makes life hard for scabs, and away from the polite, ineffective token picket lines that’ve marked pretty much every strike I can remember. And to note how interesting it is that both the cleaners and electricians seem to be in dispute with Balfour Beatty – not living in London, or being a cleaner, or an electrician, there’s pretty much no impact I can have on this situation, but if the two groups started making links, the results could be pretty spectacular.
And finally, there’s the ongoing battle against evictions: both the well-publicised fight against ethnic cleaning of travellers from land they own at Dale Farm (I’m no fan of private property rights, I think the idea of anyone owning land is a bit silly, but it does demonstrate the sheer insanity of the law that it can both recognise the traveller’s legal right to own the land and the council’s right to demolish their homes), and the campaigns against councils across the country trying to evict anyone connected to the recent riots. There’s less in the way of concrete success to report in this area so far, but there’s no need to give up hope, because this is one area where it’s very possible to make a difference: it’s hard to take any kind of direct action that’ll really affect a government or a multinational corporation, whereas to stop an eviction all you need to do is make it impossible for the bailiffs to get in. These are struggles we can definitely win. They’re also struggles we need to win.
Finally, looking abroad, there’s a massive wave of university occupations in Greece, the Israeli social justice movement is talking about abandoning its tents and moving towards a new stage of struggle. I can’t say where the movement will go next, so there’s not much point in speculating, but the talk about starting to squat empty state-owned buildings is encouraging, as is the fact that sections of the movement refused to back down in the face of a national security crisis. Our main enemy is always at home, and it’s really good to see that at least some of those shaking up Israel recognise this.

Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies

A protester holds up a sign saying "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies"

A protester holds a sign saying "Bibi exploits his poor and bombs the neighbors' poor. Stop Bombing in Gaza"

A protester holds a sign saying "Bibi exploits his poor and bombs the neighbors' poor. Stop Bombing in Gaza"

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Internationalism, Protests, Racism, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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