The Acorn is an info bulletin produced by our friends at Winter Oak, which we are sharing on this site. The Anarchist Action Network is not responsible for the content.
In this issue:
- Growing revolt on UK streets
- Spirited resistance to G7 capitalists
- Fracking liars are targeted
- Fighting capitalism’s domination of our lives
- Nasa people fight for “the liberation of Mother Earth”
- Technology out of control
1. Growing revolt on UK streets
A growing mood of angry defiance of the capitalist system has been in evidence on the streets of the UK in recent weeks.
The latest instance took place in Brighton on Saturday June 6, where a large anti-austerity protest in the city culminated in the storming of the former Barclays bank at Preston Circus.
A new radical alternative community space is being created there – “a space for organising actions to challenge all recent and ongoing political events”. The wish list includes camping stoves, cutlery, cups, plates, bowls, pans, duvets, sleeping bags, sofas, mattresses, books and clothes.
In another recent incident, far right-wing politician Douglas Carswell (UKIP’s only MP) was targeted by what he laughably described as a “murderous lynch mob” during anti-capitalist protests in London on Wednesday May 27.
Protesters succeeded in breaking through police cordons during the protests in Westminster against the Queen’s Speech announcing the latest neoliberal government agenda.
Carswell told the corporate press: “Out of nowhere a mob, over 100 strong, and it got incredibly nasty. I mean this was a lynch mob on the streets of London. It was an incredibly violent nasty mob and I was shocked”.
Hundreds also took to the streets of Liverpool on the same day. They held a sit-in protest on the Strand, bringing rush-hour traffic to a standstill, then demonstrated outside the Capital Building in Old Hall Street, before blockading the entrance to the Queensway Tunnel – leaving cars stranded underground – and over-running the main terminal at Lime Street station.
Local media reported that the protesters included “anarchists” and people “wearing Guy Fawkes masks”.
The next big anti-austerity protest in London is on Saturday June 20 assembling at 12 noon outside the Bank of England in Queen Victoria Street (Bank tube station).
The Rabble anarchist website notes: “If a Tory government prompts more people to join us on the streets, we say it’s a good thing”.
Spirited resistance has been taking place against the neoliberal G7 jamboree in the German Alps over the last few days.
A measure of the protests’ success was that delegates were all brought in to the remote rural venue by helicopter, rather than by road as had been planned.
The demonstrations began on Thursday June 4, with a massive 35,000-strong demo in Munich against the G7 and the neoliberal TTIP trade treaty.
By Friday, police were setting up road checks around the protest camp near the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the summit venue of Elmau Castle. More than 20,000 cops were deployed to protect the leaders of the capitalist world from the public.
Some 400 people demonstrated against militarism and the NATO-linked George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, burning a cardboard tank.
On Saturday, a 7,500-strong demo in Garmisch Partenkirchen was attacked by the police. According to paramedics at least 60 people were injured by pepper spray and several people suffered baton blows to the head, neck and face – four of them had to be taken to hospital.
Said a spokesman for the Stop G7 alliance: “The brutal police attacks were unjustified. The responsibility for the escalation clearly lies with the police! Police attacked people who were sitting down.”
Sunday saw the Sternmarsch (star march), as various groups of protesters walked towards the summit venue from different directions.
300 people managed to get out of the protest camp and block the B2 road north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but were attacked by police and forced to turn back. A smaller blockade on the road between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Kaltenbrunn was cleared by the police.
Hundreds of protesters reached the fence around the venue and tried to find a way through towards the castle – with “cat and mouse” games with cops in the woods. But the sheer numbers of police prevented any serious breach.
While some argue that the time for anti-summit protests is over, the alternative is to allow the likes of Cameron, Merkel and Obama an unopposed platform for their propaganda.
The sight of thousands of people prepared to stand up to them – and being brutally attacked by mercenary thugs for daring to do – is in itself a powerful statement.
The importance of the event for the G7 leaders is mainly symbolic and resistance challenges them on that important symbolic level.
The 2016 summit is due to be held in Japan and the 2017 one in Italy.
Professional liars working for the fracking industry were targeted as part of the Reclaim the Power day of action on Monday June 1.
The London offices of Edelman and Media Zoo PR were targeted by activists, with seven arrests made at the latter agency, according to shocked corporate website PR Week.
The campaigners occupied the lobby of Media Zoo offices in Imperial Wharf with a banner reading: “Fracking is shit. You can’t polish a turd”.
The protests were among 18 carried out on the day across the UK. Other highlights included the blockade of the neoliberal Institute of Directors in London, which was hosting a conference on coal, and a protest on the steps of the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Fracking firm Cuadrilla was also targeted, as were investment management sharks Invesco and nuclear industry PR whores Camargue.
There is a full report on the Reclaim the Power website.
by Collectif Faut pas pucer, France (radical shepherds and shepherdesses)
Capitalism’s domination of our lives has to be fought on at least two fronts. One of these is today clearly seen and understood by more and more people – it’s opposing all those infrastructure projects which manage areas so that commodities can circulate and various industries can function.
This means the construction (or the extension) of high-speed rail lines, airports, power stations (whether nuclear, solar, wind or biomass…), commercial centres, the mass production of toxic foodstuffs, the sinking of fracking wells. In a very obvious way, all this destroys the countryside and covers farmland and forests with concrete.
But there’s also another front which hasn’t been clearly identified and activated by enough people yet: opposing the colonisation of our lives by hi-tech devices. PCs, tablets, iPods, iPads, iPhones and the networks that support them cause colossal amounts of pollution and energy consumption, which put the effects of industrial agriculture in the shade.
Pollution through microwaves, pollution through manufacturing and disposal, power consumption by the devices, by search engines, by data centres…
We would need Zads [anti-industrial protest camps] in China, Africa and Bolivia to stop the extraction of rare earth metals needed to manufacture all the wonders of technology. We would need Zads in Ghana to stop the burial of all our junk made of plastic and toxic metals – last year’s novelties discarded with the arrival of the latest new product.
We would need Zads in Mali and Niger to fight against the mining of uranium to feed the nuclear industry (which in turn feeds the internet in France).
We feel a sense of solidarity with all every one of those Zads… even if, unfortunately, they don’t exist!
Extract taken from the book Sivens sans retenue: Feuilles d’automne 2014.
There is a review of the book on Paul Cudenec’s blog site.
It is far too easy , from a European point of view, to imagine that the main struggle against the global capitalist system is taking place right here, in the heart of what used to be called Western Civilization.
But, of course, people all across the world are constantly hacking away at the tentacles of the neoliberal octopus, below the radar not just of the corporate media but also of sites like this one.
For instance, indigenous groups from the southwest of Colombia have been clashing with police over the past few weeks in a long-running battle over land, reveals colombiareports. com.
The Nasa indigenous people are fighting back against private ownership of their ancestral homeland and have been occupying land in Corinto, northern Cauca, since December.
This latest initiative is part of a broader “liberation of Mother Earth” undertaken against the state-authorised theft of large swathes of land in Colombia by the likes of Incauca, an agro-industrial sugar cane company
“They are ancestral lands and we are demanding that the government hand them over to us,” explained Nasa rebel, Feliciano Valencia.
The Nasa have bravely resisted massive operations by the National Police to try and dislodge them – tanks, helicopters and riot police have descended on the rural municipality to uproot what has been described by the Colombian state as an “illegal occupation of private property”.
The police have destroyed many of the Nasa crops in the area and burned their sacred meeting place.
Police claim that the Nasa have armed themselves with improvised explosives and have used gas masks to resist attempts to evict them, but the Nasa point out that the real violence comes from the police, the state and the capitalist system itself, starting with the original theft of land on which its wealth and power is based.
Somehow, it just sums it all up – technology, the motivation behind technology, the total expendability of human flesh in the brave new robot world…
This video of a ‘self-parking’ car ploughing into two journalists has apparently “gone viral”. It is quite funny, given that they weren’t badly hurt, but is also rather telling.
The incident happened, it has emerged, because the car did not have the “pedestrian detection” feature installed. This, of course, according to capitalist logic, is an optional feature that you have to pay extra for.
A regard for human life is not built in to the technology that dominates our world. This technology only exists because of somebody’s desire to make money. At any cost.
And once it has been created and programmed, there is nothing inside a machine that will make it think twice about crushing any living creature that inconveniently gets in its way.
A street party against the gentrification of part of London has been called for Saturday July 11. Says the call-out for The Fuck Parade Strikes Back: “The heart of Camden is being ripped out, pubs are being converted to luxury flats no one can afford, the market is flogged off to be a casino (and yet more unaffordable flats) Rents are rising… fast. Soon this community will be an unrecognisable, bland, yuppie infested wasteland with no room for normal (and not so normal) people. Camden is a unique place and worth defending against this onslaught of dog-eat-dog economics. Music will be provided by 12v bike sound systems and merriment by the Camden massive. Meet outside Camden tube station from 7pm.”
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A national anti-fracking protest is being held in Preston on Tuesday June 23, with coaches being laid on from all over the country. On that day, Lancashire County Council will be deciding on whether or not to approve two of the biggest fracking tests ever contemplated in the UK. If allowed to happen, each site would have 4 horizontal wells, producing tens of millions of gallons and radioactive and toxic waste and opening the door to thousands more wells to be drilled across Lancashire, and the rest of the UK. Lancashire County Hall will be the focus of a show of solidarity and resistance. Details of how to book coach places and accommodation are available online.
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Rebels in Oakland, USA, have responded with defiance to a curfew on protests imposed by local authorities in the face of increased levels of resistance, announcing an ongoing series of “Fuck the Curfew” demos. An article on the Fireworks website – Anarchist Counterinformation Project for the Bay Area – says: “In the face of the collapse of capitalist civilization, over the last few years in the Bay Area resistance has been brewing. From occupied universities to blocked freeways, and from massive assemblies in plazas to wildcat strikes and blocked ports. It is not only the riots that those in power want to smash, but also the collective confidence that grows from within a generation of young people who are faced with no future and have begun to get organized and strike back.”
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“Government plans to enact a ‘domestic extremism’ law, announced in the Queen’s Speech, threaten to make thought criminals of all who challenge the established order. At risk are campaigners, protestors, journalists and all who dissent from Britain’s neoliberal corporatocracy.” Thus writes Donnachadh McCarthy of Occupy Democracy in an article in The Ecologist. See also our piece on “democracy” in Acorn 9.
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Rioting, indigenous struggles and insurrectionary feminism – these are some of the contents of an excellent new magazine from Canada. Wreck is a print-based anarchist publication from Vancouver, BC (Coast Salish Territories). It declares: “Because capital consumes our lives and leave us in the ruins when the damage is so complete we have no profit left to give. Because this world gnaws at our spirit and shatters our being. Because this system has nothing we are interested in taking and nothing we are interested in saving. Because we see a day when this colonial ship, its project, and legacy that surrounds us, is only wreckage on the beach. Because that is the only thing left for us to do – reduce the world to shambles to open up possibilities of something new.”
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Acorn quote: “So we now have an emergent robot state, which I have called the cybernarchy. It is as if a new mega-individual has evolved somewhere in the gap between political leaders and people, and it is pursuing a course of self-perpetuation regardless of any other consideration. This mega-individual is a feltwork of flesh and micro-chips, looking after itself at the expense of people”. Kit Pedler (creator of “Cybermen” on Dr Who TV show), The Quest for Gaia: A Book of Changes
(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)
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