From Charlottesville to Melbourne: Unite to fight the far right

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group has endorsed the mobilisation called by the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism against the “Make Victoria Safe Again” rally.

11:30 a.m. Sun 17 September

State Library
328 Swanston St
Melbourne 3000

See the following link for details:

https://www.facebook.com/events/157897641434932/

As it cannot be guaranteed that neither the police nor the Fascists will engage in violence, please come prepared, be aware of your security and look after the safety of yourselves & other comrades at the mobilisation and as you disperse.

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The ‘Boiketlong Four’

Call for Solidarity

The ‘Boiketlong Four’ and the Criminalisation of Poverty and Protest:
Freedom for Dinah and Sipho, Justice for Papi!

The Boiketlong Four

In February 2015, four community activists from Boiketlong in the Vaal, south of
Johannesburg, were sentenced to 16 years in prison each following a community protest.
This is a very severe sentence and the conviction was based on shaky evidence. The
‘Boiketlong Four’ were arrested for allegedly attacking the local ANC ward councillor and
setting fire to her shack and two cars during a community protest. They were convicted of
assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson and malicious injury to property.
This is an example of a terrible injustice perpetrated against black working class activists
and could have dangerous repercussions for future struggles of the black working class
and poor in South Africa if it is not fought. People need to be aware of the facts and take
action to demand justice and to fight the criminalisation of poverty and protest.
Evidence presented by the prosecutor in court was shaky and state witnesses either
couldn’t identify the four accused or place them at the scene at the time. To convict them
the state used the 1973 apartheid law of so-called ‘common purpose’, meaning they were
found guilty simply because they were leaders of the community; even though no evidence
conclusively connecting the four with the burning of the councillor’s house or cars was
presented. At least one of the four, Dinah Makhetha, was not even present at the time.
The key witness willing to testify that Dinah was not present at the councillor’s home at the
time it was razed, Papi Tobias, disappeared under mysterious circumstances in February
2016 and has not been seen since. He is believed to be dead.

In June 2015, the Boiketlong Four applied for bail and for Leave to Appeal both the
conviction and the sentence. Leave to Appeal the conviction was granted, but not to
appeal the severity of the sentence – meaning that if their appeal of the conviction failed
they would have to serve the full 16 year term in prison. Bail was also denied.
To apply for bail and to petition for full Leave to Appeal were High Court processes which
placed a huge financial and emotional burden on the poor working class families of the
accused. A fundraising committee was established to raise money from within the
community in order to pay for legal and related expenses.

After 9 months in prison the four activists were released on bail in October 2015.
Then, on 19 June 2017, two of the four were arrested again and thrown back in prison –
where they currently remain. We urgently need to demand they be released on bail
immediately and to have the conviction overturned.

Neoliberalism, corruption and the criminalisation of poverty and protest
The Boiketlong Four were leading community activists in the struggle for housing,
development in the township and for what the ANC government has been promising them
– and the black working class and poor across South Africa – for over 20 years. That,
being poor and struggling to change their conditions and uplift themselves and their
community were their only ‘crimes’. It is believed that they were targeted in a politically
motivated move by the state, at the behest of the local ANC, to suppress and criminalise
their activities as activists because of their role in opposing the anti-poor policies of the
neoliberal ANC government and exposing and challenging the corruption of local political
elites. They are not criminals, they are political/class struggle prisoners.

They were unfairly charged due to their role in community protests that are caused by
unfair treatment, corruption and maladministration. The black working class in South Africa
has had enough of suffering the brunt of poverty and inequality but when we take to the
streets we suffer the repressive might of the state and police brutality. The politicians
supposedly put in power to serve the community quickly forget about doing so because
they are living the life of luxury.

Our brothers and sisters who take up the fight for justice should not be the ones punished
for these actions. The 1994 tripartite regime said it would not do what the National Party
did to the black working class in South Africa, but over twenty years later we are
experiencing almost the same treatment. The enemy has proven to be the ruling party and
the private capitalists.

Like so many townships, rural areas and poor communities across South Africa, the black
working class and poor community of Boiketlong has long suffered from the broken
promises of the ANC government. Since the first multiracial elections in 1994, the ANC has
repeatedly been re-elected on the backs of empty promises of service delivery, job
creation and to develop and upgrade townships and other underdeveloped areas that have
long suffered a lack of access to decent and affordable sanitation, water, electricity and
housing as well as education and health care etc. as part of the legacy of colonialism and
apartheid capitalism.

Faced with increased discontent and protest in response to its own lack of political will and
its inability, due to the anti-working class neoliberal policies it has adopted, to even begin
to fulfill its promises and implement wide-scale development, upgrading of townships, land
reform, service delivery and job creation across the country the ANC government is
increasingly responding with the criminalisation of protest – and the poor – in order to
suppress and contain social struggles and working class resistance.

This is because of two major processes the political elite is involved in: using the state for
private accumulation and enforcing neoliberal policies designed to redirect wealth
upwards, away from the black working class and poor to the ruling class – made up of
white, and now black, private capitalists as well as politicians and state managers. This is
2in order to recover profitability and maintain profits by transferring the costs of the
economic crisis onto the working class, particularly the black section. It does this through
commercialisation and privatisation, the flexibilisation of labour, austerity budgeting and
cuts in social spending, outsourcing and aggressive cost recovery measures etc.
At local level outsourcing has led to contracts and tenders for housing, service delivery
and infrastructure development being handed out to politically connected individuals and
company owners, particularly the new BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) elite,
resulting in nepotism, corruption and patronage becoming widespread. In order to make as
much profit as possible through these contracts these BEE ‘tenderpreneurs’ cut costs by
exploiting workers, using the cheapest available materials and cutting corners in terms of
safety and standards. This is why so many RDP houses are cracking and falling apart and
why service delivery in black working class townships is so terrible.

The political elite at local, provincial and national levels – both ANC and, in some areas,
the DA – uses its access to and control of state resources to accumulate private wealth
and entrench their power and control of the state and its resources. This is what
“corruption” means, and it is done at the expense of the black working class and poor –
who get nothing but shoddy housing, poor service delivery and state repression if they rise
up.

In the context of the global capitalist crisis and dwindling state resources there is an
increasing struggle between political elites to hold onto power and access to limited
resources. It is this competition for access to state power and resources for self-
enrichment that has led to the factional battles that we are currently witnessing between
the two main rival factions of the ANC – those around Jacob Zuma and those around Cyril
Ramaphosa.

However, under the smoke and mirrors, both of these factions and the two wings of the
ruling class – state managers/political elite/politicians, on the one hand, and private
capitalists/economic elite/bosses, on the other – both depend on exploiting the working
class and poor and on the model of cheap black labour, part of which involves massive
underspending on townships.

This can only be ended by consistent and independent class struggle and resistance and
that is exactly what the ruling class fears – and why the state and political elite that
controls it are increasingly resorting to the criminalisation of poverty and protest to
suppress working class resistance.

The ANC government wants to make an example of the Boitketlong Four in order to send
a strong message to the poor, the unemployed and the marginalised youth leading and
participating in struggles for land and housing, jobs and service delivery. The message is
that if you dare to organise or engage in social struggles in pursuit of your rights, to expose
or simply speak out against the rampant corruption of the political elite, you will be dealt
with swiftly and harshly. The heavy sentences handed down to the Boiketlong Four and the
denial of bail and Leave to Appeal are all intended to intimidate and deter others from
independent working class resistance and protest.

It is therefore of utmost importance that class struggle militants do everything within our
means to campaign to have the conviction and sentence overturned – because if we don’t
the state will use this case as a precedent in order to further criminalise poverty and
protest and more and more people will be thrown in prison on so-called criminal charges
and slapped with harsh sentences for protesting their poverty and fighting for their rights.

Justice for Papi Tobias

On the evening of 6 February 2016, Papi Tobias left his home in Boiketlong to go watch
soccer at a local tavern. He was last seen leaving the tavern in the presence of Sebokeng
Police Station commander Brigadier Jan Scheepers.

Papi, a father of three, was also a leading community activist in the struggle for housing
and development in the township and was often at the forefront of service delivery
protests.

He was also one of the people on the committee tasked with raising funds for the
Boiketlong Four’s legal expenses. Six days before his disappearance Papi had attended a
heated community meeting, called by the local mayor, in which he criticised the fundraising
committee for misusing the money raised for the Boiketlong Four’s defence. He also
reportedly said that the community was “threatened and lied to” by the committee, that it
had “in fact elected itself because it is not ours, the people’s” and that “the wrong people
were arrested”.

Papi had also said to Brigadier Scheepers, to the attorney then dealing with the Boiketlong
Four case, to a paralegal at the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre and at public
meetings that he was willing to testify that Dinah was not in the vicinity of the councillor’s
house when it was set on fire and that she and the other three were wrongfully accused.
It is alleged that one of the fundraising committee members suspected of misusing the
funds, a local ANC leader and member of the ANC-dominated Boiketlong Concern Group,
is behind Papi’s disappearance; and that he told the family that Brigadier Scheepers knew
as to Papi’s whereabouts shortly after his disappearance. It is suspected that, in addition
to the committee member, Brigadier Scheepers and the Mayor of Emfuleni Local
Municipality, Simon Mofokeng, are also implicated in the kidnapping.

Shortly before his disappearance Papi’s dog was killed and a member of the Boiketlong
Concern Group said they had heard rumors that Papi’s life was in danger prior to his
disappearance.

Papi has been missing for well over a year now and is believed to be dead. His
disappearance and suspected murder are almost certainly politically motivated and linked
to his role in struggling for service delivery, housing and development in the township and
for exposing the mayor and fundraising committee members for alleged corruption or
misusing money raised for the Boiketlong Four’s legal expenses.

The police investigators handling the case appear to have made little effort to establish
Papi’s fate or whereabouts and no investigation seems to be underway. To date nobody
has been arrested or charged in relation to Papi’s disappearance.

Freedom for Dinah and Sipho

Since being released on bail in October 2015 one of the accused, Pulane Mahlangu, has
skipped bail and disappeared. Another, Dan Sekuti Molefe, passed away in December
2016. He had been ill prior to his arrest and it is sure that the stress of his conviction, the
violence and suffering of 9 months in prison and the prospect of spending another 16
years there helped kill him.

On 6 June 2017, a Leave to Appeal hearing for the remaining two accused, Sipho Sydney
Manganye and Dinah Makhetha, took place at the North Gauteng High Court to appeal the
16 year sentence. The application was dismissed and they were ordered to hand
themselves over to the Sebokeng Regional Court on 19 June.

On 15 June, Dinah and Sipho met with their advocate from Legal Aid SA, who told them he
was going to apply for an extension of their bail at the Sebokeng Regional Court on 19
June. However, the Magistrate refused the extension of bail because the application
should have been brought at the North Gauteng High Court as that is where bail was
initially granted. Dinah and Sipho were re-arrested and thrown back into prison.
Dinah and Sipho’s pro-bono legal representatives, Legal Aid SA, should have applied to
the High Court to extend bail pending the petition being heard at Sebokeng but this doesn’t
seem to have been done and the accused have now been languishing in prison, for the
second time, for over a month.

While previously out on bail Sipho seems to have been co-opted by the local ANC elite,
who gave him employment in a development project in the township – a tactic regularly
used by local political elites to co-opt activists and draw them away from activism and
struggle in order to neutralise the threat they pose both to the dominance of the local
political elite and their opportunities for accumulating wealth through their access to state
resources and tenders. Sipho, perhaps out of desperation, reportedly began singing
praises for the mayor and saying that he cares for the people. He no longer seems to be
interested in social struggle and community activism.

That certainly doesn’t mean he should be left to go to prison without support, though, but it
seems he was fooled into thinking that the ANC and local political elite would help him if he
stopped his involvement in community struggles.

Sipho’s defence, unfortunately, is also not as strong as Dinah’s and the advocate has not
been able to find grounds to challenge his conviction on two of the four counts against him
– assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm and arson. This means that, even if
the advocate is successful in appealing the other two counts against him he could still face
10 years in prison.

Dinah, a long-standing community activist and former member of the now defunct Anti-
Privatisation Forum (APF), however, has remained unflinching in her commitment to social
justice and working class militancy and, despite what is effectively an apartheid-era
banning order preventing her from attending community or political meetings, protests etc.,
she remained involved in community organisation and activism while out on bail.
Dinah’s defence is also very strong and the advocate has found convincing grounds on
which to challenge all four of the counts she was convicted of.

It is vitally important that we do everything in our power to show immediate solidarity and
support for both Dinah and Sipho and to ensure that they are granted bail while awaiting
Leave to Appeal their conviction and that the charges against them are withdrawn and they
are declared innocent.

Dinah and Sipho are political prisoners of the capitalist state, which wants to make an
example of them. Their fate will help determine the fate of many more community activists
and poor township residents that engage in social struggles and protests to come. If their
conviction and sentences are not overturned more working class militants and people
arrested during protests could face equally harsh sentences.

Dinah and Sipho will be appearing at the Sebokeng District Court on Wednesday 26
July to have their application for extension of bail heard. A demonstration at the
court is being planned for the day and we call on our comrades, allies and all
freedom and justice loving people worldwide to do whatever they can on, before
and after Wednesday 26 July to show solidarity with Sipho and Dinah and to
demand justice both for them and Papi. We should also demand that a date be set
for their appeal of the conviction and sentence to be heard by the Supreme Court of
Appeal as soon as possible and appeal to you and your organisations to organise
solidarity actions and activities and show support for Dinah and Sipho leading up to
and on the day of their appeal. We will communicate the date for the appeal once it
has been set.

FREEDOM FOR DINAH AND SIPHO! JUSTICE FOR PAPI!
STOP THE CRIMINALISATION OF POVERTY AND PROTEST!
DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ASSOCIATION
AND PROTEST!

What you can do:
• Picket and demonstrate outside South African Embassies abroad on Wednesday 26
July;

• Email and fax the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development demanding
Sipho and Dinah be given an extension of bail on Wednesday 26 July;

• Disseminate this call for solidarity on social media and in your organisations,
networks and movements;

• Write letters and articles about the case and publish them in alternative and, where
possible, mainstream newspapers, magazines etc.;

• Discuss the case and the call for solidarity on podcasts and community radio, at
student/worker/community meetings, at demonstrations etc.;

• Take photographs of solidarity activities and actions, or of yourself or your
organisation holding placards with messages of support or demanding Sipho and
Dinah be released on bail and that their conviction be overturned and publish them
on social media with the hashtags and handles below;

• Write letters of support to Dinah, Sipho and/or to Papi’s family and email them to
zacf[at]riseup.net and orangefarmadvicecentre[at]gmail.com to have them given to
the recipients;

• Put pressure on Legal Aid SA to prioritise the case by phoning them, sending them
emails and faxes to put pressure on them constantly to ensure that they are
prioritising the case;

• Make the South African government know that this case is in the international
spotlight by phoning, emailing and faxing the Presidency and the Department of
Justice and Constitutional Development to demand the conviction be overturned, the
charges dropped and a full scale investigation into the fate of Paps Tobias be
launched.

On social media use the hashtags #Boiketlong4Solidarity #Boiketlong4
#FreedomforDinahandSipho #JusticeforPapiTobias and the Twitter handles
@PresidencyZA @GovernmentZA @EmfuleniLM @DOJCD_ZA @LegalAidSA1
@ZabalazaNews

CONTACT DETAILS
The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 12 300 5200
Fax: +27 12 323 8246
Email: president@presidency.gov.za
Office of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
Tel: +27 12 308 5316
E-mail: Deputypresident@presidency.gov.za
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
Tel: +27 12 406 4669
Fax: +27 12 406 4680
E-mail: ministry@justice.gov.za
Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development
Tel: +27 12 406 4854
Fax: +27 12 406 4878
E-mail: deputyminister@justice.gov.za
Legal Aid South Africa Head Office
Tel: +27 11 877 2000
Legal Aid SA Pretoria Justice Centre
Tel: +27 12 401 9200
Fax: +27 12 324 1950
Legal Aid SA Vereeniging Justice Centre
Tel: +27 16 421 3527
Fax: +27 16 421 4287

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No Pride in Hate Anti-Fascist Mobilisation

https://www.facebook.com/events/1293061844125483

Neo-Nazis are planning an ‘Australian Pride March’ on Sunday 25 June.
Their focus is refugees, Islamophobia, the African community, trans people and the Left.
The Australian flag is their symbol for ‘traditional Australian morals and values’.
This means White Australia, genocide of First Nations, workers’ power destroyed, women ruled by patriarchs, and LGBTIQ people back in the closet.

We cannot give fascists the streets.
We can’t let them recruit and grow.
Join us in stopping them.
Our strength is our unity, diversity and numbers.
Our ‘No Pride in Hate’ rally will start at 10.30am, before the far right rally.

Touch One, Touch All.

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MAY DAY 2017

Origins

The first May Day was a workers’ strike and demonstration in Chicago in the United States in 1886. They were fighting for the eight hour day. Police killed several workers. At a protest meeting a few days later, someone threw a bomb. Seven police and four workers died from the bomb or the following police gunfire. Eight Anarchist union officials were framed and four were executed. The campaign for the exoneration of the Haymarket Martyrs and the release of the survivors led to May Day now being celebrated around the world as a day of working class solidarity.

The Current Time

Economically, the advanced countries of the world are descending into stagnation. Despite years of record low interest rates, they cannot get out of low, even zero, growth. Meanwhile, the condition of public finances across the advanced countries ranges from poor to ruinous. In the Third World, the situation isn’t as bad, but it is still not as good as before the Global Financial Crisis. The political fallout is alarming. Leaving aside the intractable imperialist wars ravaging West Asia, we see the rise of Fascism in most advanced countries. There is even the possibility of a Fascist being elected President of France. And in many of the larger Third World countries (e.g. Egypt, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey) far Right governments are introducing unprecedented reactionary policies or brutally repressing dissent.

The Current Struggle

Not all the news is bad. Workers continue to struggle in China, driving up wages. The election of Donald Trump in the United States has sparked widespread resistance, with varying degrees of militancy. The workers of Brazil have just pulled off a magnificent general strike, the biggest in a generation. And even here in Australia, the movement to defend penalty rates is continuing to grow. What is necessary is for workers’ struggle to break out of its narrow national confines, so that the power of transnational companies is met by the international solidarity of workers. We need a global picket line.

The Future

On May Day we commemorate the past, but we also look to the future. There is no reason to be confident in capitalist economic recovery. There are many reasons to struggle against the horrors of oppression, unemployment, environmental devastation and war that capitalism dishes up. Workers can solve these problems for good. We can make a revolution and, as we do, the mass democratic workers’ organisations we create will be the basis of the new society, worldwide. In this new society, each will contribute according to their ability and each receive according to their need. We will have no need of a State apparatus to enforce the dictates of a privileged elite. We will live a life of peace, freedom and equality. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056 1 May 2017
https://www.melbacg.wordpress.com
macg1984@yahoo.com.au

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WAR

World War I

WWI was a crime against humanity, with two rival imperialist alliances fighting it out to redivide the colonies, markets and resources of the world. The lives of soldiers, Australians included, and civilian populations were sacrificed to the power and profits of their own ruling classes. After a debacle on a Turkish peninsula near Istanbul in 1915, the ANZACs were sent to the Western Front. There, they became raw material for the war machine of the British Empire. They died in their tens of thousands. The war’s death toll on both sides was at least 15.5 million. The carnage was eventually brought to an end by revolution breaking out in Germany.

Today

Though imperialism remains, much has changed in the intervening century. The military forces of imperialist countries are in much less danger than the civilians of the countries they invade. War is waged as much on a country’s civilian infrastructure as on its military. The imperialists wage a coward’s war, raining death from the skies, while safely ensconced on high in F-16s or even piloting a drone from an office in the US. The imperialists’ wars on Third World countries may cost fewer lives of their own citizens, but they are as evil as ever.

Wars

The United States, the world’s greatest imperialist power, is openly at war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. President Trump is adding Somalia to the list. The US also intervenes indirectly and/or through drones in Yemen, Ukraine and Libya. Other imperialist powers, including Britain, France, Russia and Australia, are also intervening in one or more of these wars. In none of them are the imperialists telling the truth about their motives and objectives, nor about the civilian casualties they cause. In every case, imperialist intervention has a reactionary effect. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but the invasion of Iraq in 2003 has worsened conditions for people there. Similarly today, imperialist intervention, even against the monstrous Daesh in Iraq and Syria, will have reactionary effects. In West Asia, only the oppressed masses, centrally the working class, can produce a progressive alternative to the sheiks, generals, Islamists and Zionists who rule there today.

Peace

War is integral to imperialism. We can’t end war without ending imperialism and we can’t end imperialism without ending capitalism, because imperialism is not merely a policy, but the set of international relationships in capitalism for over 100 years now. We don’t have to send young men and women overseas to kill brown people and we don’t have to allow a US base at Pine Gap to guide both nuclear missiles and drones. To change direction, though, means eliminating the capitalist system that brings us these horrors. The working class needs to unite internationally and make a revolution to abolish it. We need to replace capitalism with the only possible alternative – libertarian communism.

END WAR: END CAPITALISM

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

http://www.melbacg.wordpress.com macg1984@yahoo.com.au
PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056 25 April 2017

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PRESIDENT TRUMP

This article was published as Vol 6, No 1 of The Anvil, March-April 2017

Against majority expectations, last November Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. He was inaugurated in January with the most reactionary Cabinet in living memory. While, considered individually, almost all of his choices (i.e. excepting Steve Bannon) would fit into a government of his Republican rivals, as a whole they represent an attempt to implement a radical shift of US public policy.

Trump has since come under strong pressure from elements within the State to change course. These elements are aligned either to the Democratic Party or to the old guard of the Republicans, the people Trump shoved aside to get the nomination. Such dynamics have dominated the media reportage of Trump and the way he has been going about governing. While they are significant, the MACG believes that there are two far more important considerations. The first is the reason why Trump won and the second is how to build effective opposition to Trump and the forces he has unleashed.

Why Trump Won

Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” struck a chord that the Business As Usual platform of Hillary Clinton did not. It should be noted at the outset that this was setting the bar very low. Clinton was foisted on the Democratic Party membership by a party machine armed with an immense war chest of Wall St money. The Democrats also took for granted a range of US states where the working class was being kicked in the teeth by them, and yet union officials were still expected to deliver their votes. The result was a collapse in the Democrat vote, so that Trump won, despite collecting fewer votes than any Republican this century.

So why did “Make America Great Again” strike that chord? What had changed in the United States so that a candidate who previously would have been disqualified on many counts could actually be elected? Why were some sections of the US capitalist class prepared to break ranks and support Trump?

US Decline

Trump’s campaign resonated because he said out loud that the US is declining in power and he promised to change that. Trump’s slogan combined three different issues into one compelling vision. The first issue was the huge social changes in the US in the last forty years. Demographic change such as the changing ethnic composition of US society, the rise of working women and the increasing acceptance of LGBTIQ people threatens traditional social hierarchies and lifestyles.

The second issue was the dominance of neoliberalism in the US over that time. The consequences included stagnation of real incomes for most people, loss of opportunity for social advancement for many and monopolisation of the fruits of economic growth by a tiny minority referred to these days as “the 1%”.

The third issue was the declining power of the United States on the world stage. It became necessary to wage frequent, inconclusive and increasingly endless wars to defend the world order which the US created but which now seems to benefit other countries more than the US. That is why a large minority of the US electorate and a crucial minority of the US capitalist class decided: that America is no longer great like it used to be. Emergency action is required to Make America Great Again.

Trump is offering the illusion that he can turn back the clock. He can force other countries like Mexico and China to do what Uncle Sam tells them. He can bring back secure jobs to workers impoverished by decades of neoliberalism. He can roll back decades of social change by making America White again. This is not conservatism – it is reaction. It is impossible to achieve and even the attempt will require massive amounts of State violence.

In foreign policy, Trump proposes a radically different approach he is calling “America First”. He believes that the system of alliances which the US has built up over the past years has outlived its usefulness to the US. It carries a heavy overhead cost, without giving the US anywhere near enough benefit. Some people believe that Trump will tend more to isolationism and refrain from fighting so many wars to defend the current order, but they are wrong. Trump’s vision doesn’t lead to fewer wars, but different ones. Trump’s wars will be direct raids for booty, while allies will be asked, “What have you done for us lately?” The question will be asked regularly. It remains to be seen, though, how thoroughly “America First” will be implemented.

What is to be done?

There is already massive opposition to Trump’s presidency in the US and around the world. There are different currents to this opposition, and the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group believes it is essential to distinguish between them in order to advance the interests of the working class. First, it is necessary to distinguish between Trump’s government and the pre-existing Alt-Right movement which he has energised. Second, it is necessary to distinguish between the elements in the anti-Trump resistance which are fundamentally establishment and conservative and those elements which have something to offer the working class, even if some of their offerings are flawed. Finally, it is necessary to understand the best division of labour between movements inside and outside the United States.

The Alt-Right

Donald Trump is a racist populist with a dangerous authoritarian streak. To call him a Fascist, however, is a dangerous mistake. Trump’s government, nasty as it is, operates within the norms of capitalist democracy. Calling Trump a Fascist obscures the danger of the actual Fascists who are now mobilising under his banner and attempting to build gangs of genocidal thugs. The only Fascist in Trump’s Cabinet is Steve Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart.

On the ground, however, all sorts of Fascist and even neo-Nazi groups are emerging to support Trump and push him to fulfil his most extreme rhetoric. At the same time they are engaging in extreme violence against their opponents and are planning vastly more. People like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos are key figures in the attempt to crystallise an emerging Fascist network, though as yet they have had limited success in making the transition from keyboard trolls with genocidal fantasies to a cadre of genocidal stormtroopers.

The appropriate response to Right wing populists who operate within the parameters of capitalist democracy is a political mobilisation. The appropriate response to the Fascists attempting to organise in Trump’s reflected glory is reasonable force in self defence. This means that public events organised by or giving a platform to actual Fascists (defined clearly so as to distinguish them from mere Right populists) should be shut down and the participants dispersed. In this case, self defence encompasses pre-emptive force because their violent intent is not open to reasonable doubt and it is impractical to follow Fascists around waiting for them to attack their intended victims.

Resistance

Large sections of the US ruling class believe that Trump is pursuing dangerous policies in a dangerous way. Perhaps the most notable evidence of the depth of this disaffection is the stream of leaks coming out of the CIA and FBI. The wide variety of activities in the anti-Trump resistance, however, have only two strategic orientations. One is essentially conservative and aims to keep Trump within the bounds of capitalist legality and to build electoral support for the Democratic Party. The other is radical and aims to build a movement with the social power to prevent Trump implementing his program, regardless of its legal status. Such social power can only be based on the working class. Attempts to build this movement based on forces other than the working class have insufficient power and will be dominated by the conservative Democratic Party.

The conservative anti-Trump resistance, while impressive in scope, will fail for two reasons. Firstly, its organisations act to demobilise and disempower grassroots activists, while remaining silent on the areas of continuity between Trump and previous presidents. The Democratic Party has no strategy to deal with Trump’s policies if they are upheld by the courts. Democrats will find it difficult to support anti-deportation actions when Barack Obama himself earned the title of “Deporter-in-Chief” by deporting more immigrants than any previous US president. Secondly, and more fundamentally, the conservative anti-Trump resistance cannot address the reasons why Trump came to power in the first place. It has no answer to the ever-growing disparity between rich and poor, no answer to the decay of industrial towns in the mid-West and no answer to the gradual erosion of US primacy in world affairs. Its policies have produced the first two phenomena, while there is no answer to the third. The resistance of the Democratic Party, therefore, is built on sand.

Mobilising effectively can only be done through the working class. The airport mobilisations, while inspiring, stopped with the limited court victories. If airport workers had occupied their workplaces, the challenge to Trump would have been stronger. A few hundred coppers can clear a terminal of protestors, but they cannot find a scab workforce to handle baggage, check tickets, or re-fuel and re-provision planes – let alone fly and staff the planes. The working class has the social power to turn Trump’s Executive Orders and his laws into mere pieces of paper.

Two conditions must be met before the working class will mobilise against Trump. First, there must be a program that is clearly in their interests that they can fight for. It is only in the context of the struggle for higher wages and better conditions for all that white workers can be broken from racism and won to the principle of “Touch One, Touch All”. Only in the course of struggle will white workers recognise that their racial prejudice is an impediment to their victory. Fighting racism and all other forms of special oppression is an essential part of building the strength of the class sufficient to win.

Second, there must be a recognition of the obstacles on the road – principally the union bureaucracy. In most industrialised countries, and the US in particular, union officials are wedded to conservative industrial and political strategies that guarantee death to unionism. This was displayed to great effect in the US last year when the union bureaucrats, almost to a person, supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, despite her program being manifestly inferior to Bernie Sanders (who, himself, was unsupportable, though this is a different topic). For workers to mobilise to fight Trump, rather than merely voting against him, will require rank and file networks capable of rolling over the opposition of union bureaucrats. These networks must begin to take the dimensions of a parallel and unofficial union movement outside the control of the officials.

Different tasks in response to the challenge

For the most part, it is only workers inside the US who can take the necessary direct action against Trump. Only they can fight for the program which is necessary to defeat Trump, the old guard Republicans and the Democrats. Direct action against Trump may be possible for some workers outside the US (e.g. workers in US-owned corporations, workers supplying US military bases), but this is necessarily supplementary and guided by the tempo of US events.

Outside the US, the main task will be to continue building resistance to the capitalists in countries where we are. Here in Australia, we must build a movement which can defend wages, jobs, housing and social services, while also consolidating the working class by fighting for Aboriginal rights, refugee rights, abortion and child care rights and the right to same sex marriage. Here in Australia, building resistance means creating a rank and file movement to take on the Laborite bureaucrats who run the unions, but don’t defend them against capitalists’ attacks.

Finally, the role of Anarchists, whether in the US or elsewhere, is to organise to argue in support of a program of this nature and to play an exemplary role in the struggle for it. Hop to it, comrades.

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IWD 2017: CELEBRATING A NEW REVOLUTION

Petrograd, 1917

The women of Petrograd in 1917 made International Women’s Day their day for going out on strike for bread and peace and an end to Czarist rule. They were angry and defiant in the face of the regime, which was consuming society to fight the Great War. Food was becoming expensive. Queues were long and many people were hungry and cold. Corruption blossomed so the rich feasted on delicacies while the poor starved.

International Women’s Day (IWD), had been born in New York in 1909 to commemorate the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. The IWD idea was nourished from year to year, and by 1917 women in many countries had celebrated IWD including Russia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and England. This had become a day each year to join together as working women. By 1917, 8th March was the accepted date for IWD.

What was 8th March in the West was 23rd February in Petrograd according to the locally used Julian calendar. Textile workers abandoned their machines in several large Petrograd factories and took to the streets. Before long the entire city had joined in and there was a mass strike. Ordered to fire on the women, soldiers mutinied. Large crowds joined the women in the streets.

The IWD strike by women workers in Petrograd triggered the 1917 February Revolution in Russia. Change was on its way. A new provisional government was installed and the Czar abdicated. In October of the same year a more thorough revolution brought hope of workers’ control of the country. Over the coming years workers’ control was gradually lost as the Bolsheviks descended into tyranny.

Today

Now on IWD 2017 we remember the hope and passion of those women who began the revolution in Petrograd. Women are still demanding liberty and autonomy, an end to tyranny, an end to war, and demanding secure employment, fair income and secure homes for all. We oppose the fat cats who gloat as their own coffers grow while many women, disabled people, the unemployed, migrants and refugees lose even more of their meagre income. The controllers of the state apparatus celebrate dirty coal and call it clean, supported by a fantastic rhetoric that contradicts the reality of our dire planetary situation.

The subjugation of women is the bedrock of their ugly power, dividing the working class by gender. Present day potentates deny women control over their own bodies, criminalise abortion, stigmatise single mothers, attack women’s incomes, neglect their needs, protect violent partners. They hinder advancement of women in the workplace and silence their voices in the arts and in general discourse. They hope to confine women to their homes or to traditionally female jobs. With women silenced and subjugated, they expect to continue the work of oppression unopposed.

Just like in 1917, the first step towards victory is solidarity. Women of the world unite with each other and with all workers in struggle. How do we win? By going out on strike, by downing our tools and walking out on the corporations. By taking back what is ours: our dedication to our work, our intelligence and our ingenuity. We claim the profits of our labour and take control of our work. Although the workplace today may look different from what it was in 1917, the principles of worker control are the same. It doesn’t matter whether workers are on a factory floor, in a telephone call centre. or home alone in a spare room in front of computer or sewing machine. All workers everywhere must unite to win their demands.

This time around, let’s fight for workers’ control from the start. Let’s create structures with checks and balances that ensure workers keep control. Let us not hand over power to a state that can institute tyranny all over again. We want anarchist communist organisation. Workers’ delegation. Equable procedures. Bottom up organisation.

It is 100 years since women workers began the 1917 revolution. Let’s do it again! The time for global revolution is here!

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

http://www.melbacg.wordpress.com                                                                    macg1984@yahoo.com.au

PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056                                                                                                                                       8 March 2017

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