Author Archives: glasgowchiapassolidaritygroup

Counter-protest to SPUC demo in Edinburgh Sat. 28th Apr. 11am

On the 44th anniversary of the Abortion Act, SPUC will be holding “kerbside vigils” against reproductive rights in towns and cities across the UK. One of these vigils will be held in Edinburgh, so we’re going along to counter their lies and propaganda.

Meet at exit to to Princes Exchange car park on the corner of Lothian Road and Lauriston Place (http://g.co/maps/q8xbw) for an 11am start. Bring banners, SPUC supporters haven’t confirmed exactly where they will be holding their vigil, but they will be heading out from a church on Lauriston Place at 11am, so this will provide us with a lookout point to see where they set up their “pro-life chain”.

SPUC and other pro-life groups oppose abortion, as well as certain types of contraception, pre-natal testing, IVF, and the use of foetal cells in medical research. They often distribute false information, for example, telling women that an abortion will increase her risk of breast cancer or mental illness, despite the fact that this has been disproved by numerous studies.

Worldwide, it is estimated that around 20 million women will seek an illegal abortion every year because they cannot obtain the procedure legally, and 80,000 of them will die as a result of the unsafe conditions these are carried out in.

Support women: keep abortion free, safe, and legal.

Facebook Event Page:

http://www.facebook.com/events/209220922527170/209773802471882/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_mall_acti

Omar Ibrahim Anti-Cuts Prisoner Update

The good news is that Omar will be released in 11 weeks and will have only served half of his 18 month sentence. He will doing a useful DIY workshop soon and is getting on well with everyone.

A link to his most recent blog post ‘Let There Be An Afghan Spring’ can be found below. Please continue to write to him. You can also find his contact details on the blog.

http://bangedupforprotesting.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/let-there-be-an-afghan-spring-2nd-april/

Glasgow evictions campaign: protest at UKBA, Sat. 21 April

Glasgow evictions campaign: protest at UKBA, Sat. 21 April
RALLY & PROTEST
at Brand Street UKBA Reporting Centre
Saturday 21 April
11am
Stop the Evictions
End Destitution
Housing is a Human Right

At a meeting on Tuesday night, attended by numerous organisations, it was agreed unanimously to continue the campaign against the eviction and enforced homelessness of refused refugees by calling the above rally and protest at the UKBA offices in Brand St, Govan.

YPeople housing protest

Supported by:

FBU Scotland
Glasgow City Unison
Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees
National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
Unity Centre
Defend Glasgow Services
Stop the War
Right to Work Campaign
Coalition of Resistance
Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts

The statement below was agreed at the rally at the Red Road on Thursday 12 April.

Up to 140 Glasgow asylum seekers are to be evicted by their landlord, Ypeople, in the next few weeks, and left without home, and without access to work or any benefits or state support whatsoever.

These people have had their claim for asylum refused even though most are unable to return to their countries because they are too dangerous. They include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe and others.

Ypeople, a charity funded to provide accommodation to vulnerable people, claims they have to do this before handing over the housing of asylum seekers to Serco, a giant multinational making money for its shareholders out of running prisons and detention centres. The hand over period runs to November yet Ypeople have decided to evict everyone right now. Community groups say they will not be able to cope.

We call on Ypeople to act with humanity towards these extremely vulnerable people and on Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to step in and stop this disaster before it happens. What kind of city and what kind of Scotland are they governing that allows this kind of humanitarian outrage to occur?

Finally we call on the British government to honour its international obligations in the spirit as well as the letter by granting protection and the right to work for all people seeking sanctuary.

Come and support the demonstration on Saturday. Bring friends, family, workmates, trade union branches, churches and other organisations, banners, placards etc.

If you wish to add your organisations name to the list of supporters of this demonstration, please reply to this email.

Please circulate this message round your networks.

Independent and Free?

A Glasgow anarchist’s take on Scottish independence

One way or another, the political landscape in Scotland and Britain as a whole is going to change after 2014 and it’s difficult to say what course this will take. Although polls consistently show the SNP-led Scottish Government has a long way to gain majority support for independence, it’s quite possible that they could bring about a swing in opinion. But even were they to fail in achieving full independence it seems inevitable that Scottish institutions will take on more powers and that the process itself will have a lasting impact on Scottish society. As committed internationalists, anarchists oppose nationalism in any form. Rather than simply repeat long-standing principles, however, we need to articulate some kind of an analysis and ask ourselves how potential state reorganization will affect us and the wider class struggle and what exactly we should be doing and arguing as the independence debate increases in intensity. This requires collaboration and discussion among anarchists in Scotland but also with comrades elsewhere and so here I only offer a few of my own opinions on the question.

We don’t deny that Scotland is a nation but that nations are not something communists can support. They are always in some way defined by and tied to the state and are a means to bring about cohesion and identity across classes. Although often termed the ‘stateless nation’, the different cultures, regions and classes of Scotland were given an imposed unity by the pre-1707 state which was thereafter maintained from above through the continuance of a number of institutions and a semi-autonomous bourgeoisie and, contradictorily, from below by resistance to British centralized power and cultural uniformity. When the benefits of empire had declined after the Second World War and oil wealth was discovered off the north east coast, there was a stronger capitalist case for increased autonomy but also growing popular disillusionment with centralized British state provision – underlined by Thatcherism’s attacks on the social wage and traditional heavy industries. Together they coalesced into a resurgence of national feeling which culminated in devolution at the end of the 20th-century. This has only increased the momentum of Scottish national feeling and nationalism: more state power, in this case, encouraged and required the emphasis of the national entity and vice versa.

The SNP has been following a balancing act. Firstly, it appeals to the working class through social democratic policies well to the left of any Westminster party. In an independent Scotland, they claim that the British nuclear arsenal would be removed from the country, Scottish troops would no longer be sent to fight in places like Afghanistan, the government would prioritize renewable energy and the welfare state would be defended. At the same time, they pander to any businessperson willing to back them, aim to cut corporation tax and make Scotland more competitive (i.e. intensify the exploitation of labour) and, despite their environmental image, fully support the expansion of the oil industry through potentially disastrous deepwater drilling. This contradiction is summed up by Alex Salmond posing as he listens sympathetically to community campaigners and then hobnobbing with the likes of Brian Souter, Rupert Murdoch or Donald Trump (before that blew up in his face).

What should anarchists be doing? I’ve been involved in a few ‘don’t vote, organize’ campaigns in past elections but there isn’t much of a case for actively campaigning against independence – especially since it’s unlikely that an open Scottish border would impede cross-border solidarity. To do so would be to de facto support the Unionists and it needs to be emphasized that each side of the debate represents a different nationalism. In truth, I don’t feel strongly about people voting in the referendum. If they think it’s worth the chance of, for example, finally getting rid of the nukes, rather than buying into nationalism, then I can understand that. As anarchists, we obviously shouldn’t argue for voting but nor should we fetishize the act of not voting. Of far more importance is that we are outside of the narrative and critique all political managers.

The Unionists (Labour, the Tories and LibDems) already come across as a crowd of imperial stormtroopers offering nothing but more of the same. However, especially since the left are unequivocally backing Scottish nationalism, there’s been little in the way of a challenge to the pro-independence camp’s claims or rhetoric of offering a social democratic alternative. Are we to believe the SNP will be different from other politicians and live up to all they promise? An independent government will have a substantial debt and still face the wider economic crisis; it will therefore have to rationalize its budget, drop promises and make cuts. We need only look at their current record to see this in action: although Scotland under the SNP has frequently been described as a safe haven for the welfare state in comparison to England there have been considerable cuts in NHS Scotland and an appreciable rundown in the service hospitals provide. Similarly, the SNP have been involved in cuts to services in councils across the country. This is, of course, what political managers have to do.

Scottish nationalists of all stripes claim that independence will represent a dramatic extension of democracy. Needless to say, ‘we’ will not have control over our own destiny if Scotland were to gain independence. Talk of Scots ruling themselves and of self-determination is an appealing rhetoric which masks the continuity of the class system: the working class will not suddenly become empowered but wealth and power will remain concentrated in the hands of a few. It is possible that independence will allow for social movements in Scotland to have a greater degree of influence but there will also be new opportunities for these movements to be co-opted. The decision-making power of the Scottish state itself will always be subject to the vagaries of global capital, the movement of transnationals, the bullying of London and controlling eye of the EU and IMF. More importantly, having a smaller nation state won’t lead to ever smaller democratic units and it won’t replace representative democracy with participative, direct democracy. To suggest otherwise is simply naïve, and misunderstands that working class people can only gain power for themselves through struggle.

The democratic myth is a large part of leftists’ justification for supporting an independent state. The Scottish Socialist Party sees it as a means for rejuvenating their brand of parliamentary socialism which, relying as it does on electioneering and the state, is basically a vision of Old Labour in a Scottish context: nationalization, progressive taxation etc. Capitalism, as always, isn’t actually threatened, it’s accepted with the hope of greater state intervention and welfare. One of their platforms, the Republican Communist Network, bends over backwards to argue that Scottish independence is part of a strategy for ‘internationalism from below’. In this view, secession would be a significant attack on British imperialism. But British imperialism is a pale shadow of its former self, probably doesn’t require Scotland and isn’t of intrinsic importance to capitalism anyway.

Simply put, there is no reason to believe that in an independent Scotland libertarian socialist organizing would be in real terms any easier or that because of its existence we would see an upsurge in class struggle. Having the political class closer to home doesn’t necessarily make replacing them any more difficult. If anything, the intensification of the nationalist project championed by all apparently ‘progressive’ opinion could have a significant effect in mystifying power and class relations and undermining the self-organisation of the working class in favour of its passivity and support for new forms of failed ideas. The best way we can put our case across is not through debate of abstract beliefs but through our ideas being embodied in actually existing organization and having the ability to achieve small changes through direct action and build on them. The success of workers’ solidarity in Scotland will be vilified equally by nationalists of both sides of the debate but supported by militant workers in England and the rest of the world.

Lastly, I mentioned that Scottish national identity was in part maintained from below. What I mean by this is that the working class did experience cultural and political oppression as well as economic exploitation and that in Scotland they often reacted to this by relating it to concepts of national difference. Throughout modern Scottish history, workers’ movements have used the idea of a Scottish nation, some form of home rule, or even a socialist republic as a means to advocate their own power, cultures and meanings in opposition to centralized control. For anarchists, this was an alienated resistance which could never have challenged the real basis of their oppression in class society. Instead of writing off these movements, however, we can recognise that wrapped up in the rhetoric is a genuine aspiration for self-determination. We need to argue against Scottish nationalists or anyone who pushes state solutions from co-opting the term ‘self-determination’ because it could only ever truly mean workers’ directly democratic control of society.

St Imier – Upcoming International Anarchist Festival – Glasgow Talk Thurs. 19th Apr. 6.30pm

St Imier 140th anniversary – Talk and News On Upcoming International Anarchist Festival.

Public Event By Glasgow Anarchist Federation And Friends

Thursday, 19 April 2012

18:30 – 21.00

Room 407, Boyd Orr Building,

University Avenue,

Glasgow, G12 8QQ

 

In August 2012 anarchists from all over the world will be gathering in St Imier, Switzerland for a week of events to mark the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist International- a major split with the authoritarian international of Karl Marx.

This split represents a fundamental divide between those who believe that communism can be imposed from above, and those who believe that we can only have true communism if we have freedom as well. How we get where we want to go is as important as where we want to go.

As part of the process of building up to the summer event, the Anarchist Federation is hosting a series of meetings around the country. The theme of the meetings is the struggle against authoritarianism- from St Imier to today. The following issues will be discussed:

• The background to St Imier and what was involved in the split
• How the struggle against authoritarianism continued in key revolutions such as Russia and Spain
• The debate about human ‘nature’ and why humans do not need authority to flourish
• The role of authoritarian tendencies in struggles today eg the cuts movement, the strikes in the public sector, the student movement and within the anarchist movement itself

http://www.anarchisme2012.ch/

 

Facebook Event Page:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/240919052672305/

Stop the evictions of asylum seekers: Glasgow protest Thurs 12 April

Stop the evictions

No deportations

End destitution now

Rally and protest

Red Road / Petershill Rd

Thursday 12 April 5.00 – 7.00pm

Called by:
- Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees,
- National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns,
- The Unity Centre,
- YPeople Glasgow Residents Association

Up to 140 Glasgow asylum seekers are to be evicted by their landlord, Ypeople, in the next few weeks, and left without home, and without access to work or any benefits or state support whatsoever.

These people have had their claim for asylum refused even though most are unable to return to their countries because they are too dangerous. They include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe and others.

Ypeople, a charity funded to provide accommodation to vulnerable people, claims they have to do this before handing over the housing of asylum seekers to Serco, a giant multinational making money for its shareholders out of running prisons and detention centres.

The handover period runs to November, yet Ypeople have decided to evict everyone right now. Community groups say they will not be able to cope.

We call on Ypeople to act with humanity towards these extremely vulnerable people and on Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to step in and stop this disaster before it happens. What kind of city and what kind of Scotland are they governing that allows this kind of humanitarian outrage to occur?

Finally we call on the British government to honour its international obligations in the spirit as well as the letter by granting protection and the right to work for all people seeking sanctuary.

Come and support the demonstration next Thursday. Bring friends, family, workmates, trade union branches, churches and other organisations, banners, placards etc.

If you wish to add your organisations name to the list of supporters of this demonstration, please email  ncadc@ncadc.org.uk

Glasgow Picket Against Holland & Barrett Workfare Report

Members of Clydeside Industrial Workers of the World, the Anarchist Federation and Solidarity Federation picketed the Queen Street branch of Holland & Barrett at lunchtime on Saturday 31st March. We managed to turn some people away at the entrance. We had placards proclaiming ‘The H&B Workfare Deal, Employ Three, Get One Free’ in the style of Holland and Barrett advertising as Holland and Barrett plan to have a quarter of their workers as unpaid labour. Another placard said, ‘Say No To Workfare At Holland and Barrett’. We gave out 500 leaflets detailing Holland & Barrett use of unpaid labour. A number of people stopped to ask what the picket was about. A member of the Holland & Barrett staff was one of these people on her way in to start her shift. She said that one girl had been on work experience at the store, but that she had got a permanent job. We pointed out generally Holland and Barrett have not given permanent contracts to 80% of people on work experience, their plans to introduce a 1000 more work experience people in the next year and how that could affect the hours of the permanent staff. The manager tried to tell us to move away from the entrance, but we just ignored her. In a final pathetic attempt to show us who was boss she bluffed that the police were on their way, even though there was nothing remotely illegal about what we were doing.

There were over 20 actions against workfare over the weekend around Britain that will be part of an ongoing campaign. These actions were part of a national day of action called by the Solidarity Federation. The actions tied in with the international days of action against austerity called by the International Workers Association that included the general strike in Spain on March 29th, and the M31 European Day of Action Against Capitalism.

 

Glasgow Picket Against Holland & Barrett Workfare Sat 31st March 12 noon St Enoch’s

Glasgow Picket Against Holland & Barrett Workfare

Saturday 31st March

Meet 12 noon outside the front entrance of St Enoch’s Underground Station to move on to the Workfare target – Holland & Barrett 9 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3ED.

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Pop Up Social Centre Glasgow 30th, 31st March, 1st April

 PoP-Up Social Centre

Glasgow Social Centre

30 March at 18:30 until 1 April at 17:00

Pearce Institute. 840 Govan Road. Glasgow, G51 3UU

Stop Nike Cheating Women Workers!

Stop Nike Cheating Women Workers!

Scotland Feminista

Saturday, 31 March 2012

10:30 until 12:00

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