Sunday, 7 August 2022

Fresh Strikes in August on Trains and Boats and Planes

Strike action is being planned for dates in late August across rail, London Tube trains and buses as well as at the container port at Felixstowe. In Germany, pilots for the airline Lufthansa are also planning to strike.

On Monday August 8th Ryanair Spanish cabin crews plan four-day strikes every week for the next five months.

On Friday August 12th EasyJet Spanish pilots to strike through to Sunday 14th.

ASLEF Train drivers are striking on Saturday August 13th, at the following rail companies: London Overground, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER, London Northwestern Railway, Southeastern, West Midlands Railway, Avanti West Coast, Crosscountry. Rail service covered by those railway companies will come to an abrupt halt.


The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) have also announced new days of strike action involving London Underground and Overground staff on Thursday August 18th and Friday 19th.

On Thursday August 18th and Saturday August 20th RMT workers will be striking at rail companies Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) are also considering strike action over pay, jobs and conditions. The train company Southeastern, which is wholly owned by the Department for Transport and runs train services between London and Kent, as well as parts of East Sussex, will be hit by the TSSA strikes. Major stations potentially effected include London St Pancras, Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as Dover Priory, Ramsgate, Ashford International, Dartford and Sevenoaks.

Over 1,600 London bus drivers are also set to walk out. The drivers, who are members of the Unite union and employees of London United, are set to strike on Friday August 19th and Saturday August 20th.

Public transport in and around London in this period will be severely disrupted and business will most certainly not be as usual in the capitol.

Also on Friday August 19th EasyJet Spanish pilots in SEPLA union to strike through to Sunday 21st.


Meanwhile, workers at the UK's biggest container port in Felixstowe also intend to strike for eight days in a dispute over pay. Around 1,900 members of the Unite union will walk out on August 21st after rejecting a 7% pay offer from Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company. The strike will be from Sunday August 21st until Monday August 29th.
Around half of containers brought in to the UK are transported via the port at Felixstowe.

Airline pilots working for the German airline Lufthansa have voted in favour of potential strike action over pay. They would be taking action during the peak of the summer travel season. The Vereinigung Cockpit union is calling for a 5.5% pay increase this year and an automatic adjustment for inflation starting next year.

Saturday August 27th EasyJet Spanish pilots in SEPLA union strike through Monday 29th.

There is also the growing possibility of British Airways pilots going on strike, with negotiations ongoing. Royal Mail staff have voted to back a strike but there are no dates set yet

The momentum for strike action is significant and the idea of strikes as a means of resistance continues to grow amongst larger groups of workers, spreading to non-unionised sectors such as Amazon, but things will have to escalate further and direct action must be applied if workers are to create a crisis for the capitalist class.



Friday, 5 August 2022

Wildcat Actions Breakout at Amazon in the UK


On August 4th between 700 and 1000 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Tilbury, Essex took wildcat action in response to a pay increase offer of only 35p-per-hour increase.

The Tilbury warehouse is one of Amazon’s largest in Europe. One worker at the warehouse said Amazon treats them “like slaves”.
The actions started on Wednesday 3rd and escalated by Thursday 4th.

Workers also took action at the Lyon's Park Amazon warehouse in Coventry with about 100 workers occupying the canteen. 

Similar actions happened at Dartford in Kent as well as depot in Belvedere, Hemel Hempstead, Chesterfield and Coalville, Leicestershire.

On August 3rd scores of Amazon workers also took wildcat action at Rugeley Amazon Fulfilment Centre in the West Midlands. That strike was over a 50p-per-hour pay rise offer.
There was also wildcat action at Amazon’s massive warehouse in Bristol. Only a week before the Amazon strikes, on the 28th of July, a wildcat strike happened at Cranswick Continental Foods in Pilsworth, Bury. Over 100 workers were involved in the action that was about pay and conditions. One worker said: "People are tired, exhausted, and just want to have proper breaks - drink, rest".

Seething anger amongst workers could result in this form of militant direct action spreading. Wildcat strikes are feared by bosses and union officials because they show how people can act outside the control of the mediating role of trade unions. Wildcat strikes also can spread like wildfire, especially in distribution industries. 

This current set of actions by Amazon workers has the potential to go global.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Strikes: Towards a Summer and Autumn (Winter and Spring!) of struggle!

We are entering a period of heightened class struggle. The so-called Cost of Living Crisis has seen significant sections of the working class refuse to meekly accept pay offers that are way under inflation and therefore wage cuts. And the unions have been forced to make moves, militant noises and call strikes. And the idea of striking is proving popular. There is talk of a General Strike ( see www.anarchistcommunism.org/2022/06/21/why-a-general-strike-is-better-than-a-general-strike/ for our thoughts on generalizing the strikes).

UNISON Local Government workers in Scotland have voted for strike action in response to the ‘final’ pay offer of 2%, with nine local authority branches exceeding the required 50% turnout threshold required by the Trade Union Act. It remains to be seen if the unions will be able to avoid calling a strike.
Unite Subway (underground railway) workers in Glasgow have voted to strike, calling days when their action will impact Scottish Premier League football. A UK wide ASLEF train driver’s strike is scheduled for July 31st whilst BT workers in the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have taken action this week, and postal workers in CWU look like they will be going out on strike shortly.


Aside from the ongoing, though presently fragmented, pension fight, the University and College Union (UCU) are preparing to ballot on the 3% pay offer (effectively a serious pay cut) which has been rejected by all Higher Education (HE) unions. UNISON in HE are balloting, but there remains the possibility that despite the rejection, not all unions will take action together thereby weakening the fight.
The RMT and the ‘white collar’ transport union, TSSA, are to strike in August for two days. Like with the July 27th RMT strike, the rail system will be severely impacted.


But let’s not get carried away. RMT’s leader Mick Lynch has indeed exposed the combination of ignorance and malice that the various government representatives embody, but he is part of a union bureaucracy that has to work within the confines of legality and in a way that will not ultimately jeopardize the union’s seat at the table. 


There is anger, there are masses of workers who are ready for mobilisation and action, but there is almost no significant rank and file organization in most TUC affiliated unions so workers are dependent upon their national officials. Some are more left than others, but the fight will remain in their hands unless the rank and file take control.


There is the possibility of spreading strike action to non-unionised sectors, the strike at Cranswick Continental Foods in Bury by a multi-national super exploited workforce was organised without a union. This inspirational self-organised strike has the potential to be replicated as momentum builds and workers gain in confidence. 


But there remains a crucial need to create rank and file bodies that will control the struggles from below and extend them to ever wider groups of workers.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

'The Idea' A new book on anarchist communism

Photo: Ottorino Bonati, anarchist marble quarry worker in Carrara, Italy.

Just Books in Belfast are running a crowdfunder to publish The Idea by the ACG’s Nick Heath.

About this project.

Help us to publish this timely new work in English on Anarchist Communism from long-term activist and historian Nick Heath. This work weighs in at around 370 pages with a full index. Proof-reading, layout, isbn are all in their final stages. We just have to add a barcode. Then once the funds are secured its straight off to the printers.

Anarchist communism often hides in the shadows in the general works on anarchism available, only clearly emerging when the ideas of Kropotkin, Reclus and Malatesta are discussed. All too often, apart from the worthless speculations on various philosophers outside of the historic anarchist movement, anarchist communism is rejected as a poor relation to the mass movements launched by anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary syndicalism. Others state that the accommodation of anarchist communism to syndicalism, made it a simple variant of anarcho-syndicalism, that it failed to discover the causes of the counter-revolution initiated by the Bolsheviks, and that it died as a credible current with the aftermaths of the Mexican and Russian Revolutions and that it was absorbed or replaced by anarcho-syndicalism. This book will seek to counter these assertions. 

Anarchist communism, as opposed to anarchist collectivism, is the only anarchist current that specifically argues for the end of the market economy and of exchange value. It has survived down to the present day and features as an important current in Russia, France, Latin America, Ukraine, China and Japan amongst other countries. This book seeks to rehabilitate the current of anarchist-communism and make it better known and understood; and to renovate and modernise it. It offers a prehistory of the idea, its origins in the First International and extensive chapters on the history of anarchist communism in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. As such it will be the first comprehensive work on anarchist communism, one where it is not side-lined or where it ends up as a footnote. As Brian Morris has correctly asserted, anarchist communism has been the main current within the body of anarchism and this book aims to stress that and to bring it out of the shadows.

https://startsomegood.com/just-books-publishing-the-idea?fbclid=IwAR0KuqyVssQy7DgzBkUJiGPaGHLYSvV5i4Fy4Gjgtn5zVBrhVvZG122Od0w

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Ukraine: neither NATO nor Moscow!


The Western media is pounding the drum for a conflict between Putin’s Russia and the Western powers over Ukraine.

Let us be clear. Vladimir Putin leads a gangster regime in Russia, sometimes referred to as a kleptocracy (rule by thieves). He runs an oppressive regime and as an ex-high up in the Russian secret police, the KGB, he has extremely close relations with its latest incarnation, the FSB (Federal Service Bureau of the Russian Federation). He has come down heavily on any form of opposition, and the anarchist movement in Russia has suffered, with anarchist militants, arrested tortured and given heavy prison sentences. The Putin regime is massing large numbers of troops on Ukraine’s borders for a number of reasons. The domestic situation is far from healthy and the Covid pandemic has aggravated this. Putin is wary of growing discontent and hopes that his belligerent attitude will unite the Russian masses behind him and make them forget their economic woes. This is a gamble, as the Russian masses are in general not keen to engage in warfare with their fellow Slavs in Ukraine, and remember the disastrous consequences of the war in Afghanistan, when Russian troops sent in to save the pro-Russian regime there were bogged down for years with massive casualties.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of republics emerged that had separated from the Russian Federation. Among these was Ukraine, the largest in terms of landmass and the most important in terms of industrial development, an industrial development that had reached its climax under Stalin and his successors.

The fall of the Soviet Union seriously weakened Russia but thanks to rising oil prices coupled with the rise to power of Putin, it began to re-assert itself. It was determined to control and influence the surrounding countries on its borders, both for defence reasons and to re-affirm its control over those regions which it had established after World War Two.

The political-military alliance it had established with its satellites, the Warsaw Pact, was dissolved. However, the corresponding political-military alliance developed by the United States and the Western European powers, NATO, was not wound up and remains an instrument of both the USA and various component Western countries. In fact, NATO sought to increase its influence and has intervened in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. Despite promising the Russian regime that it would not expand its influence east of what was East Germany, it has invested its forces in the countries surrounding Russia, including the Baltic States.

NATO is an aggressive military machine, not a body there to passively defend the West. It has intervened in Libya, in Afghanistan and Iraq. It actively seeks to recruit not just former Soviet republics like Ukraine and Georgia into its alliance, but also so called neutral countries like Finland and Sweden, both very close to Russia. It demands that each component country of NATO spends at least 2% of its Gross Domestic Product on military expenditure.

At home here, Johnson and the Tories have attempted to divert attention away from the whirlpool of scandals that is pulling them down. The British spook agency, MI6, has claimed Russia is preparing to install a puppet regime in Ukraine. The Labour Party of Keir Starmer have joined in with the sabre rattling.

However, NATO itself is unstable. The predominantly Slavic countries of Croatia and Bulgaria, who have membership of NATO, have indicated that they would send no troops into any possible conflict in Ukraine. Germany, and to a slightly lesser extent France, have shown a reluctance to be involved in this.

As for the government in Ukraine, it contains several far right ministers keen on reviving reactionary, fascistic and anti-Semitic sentiment in that region.

No taking sides in this conflict. Neither the Putin regime nor the NATO military machine and the reactionary Ukrainian government. Mobilisation against any war moves. Our real enemy is the class enemy, the ruling classes, whether in Washington, Whitehall, Moscow or Kyiv.

P.S.

In an interview with The Commoner, the Ukrainian anarchist grouping, Assembly, have stated that:

“It may surprise you, but we know almost no one here who is interested in such news, and even fewer who take it seriously. For the most part, people are worried about exorbitant energy bills that are leading to more and more houses having their heating switched off, and enterprises to working or going into the shadow sector precarising their workers. Ukrainian gas is mostly exported to Europe, while energy carriers for power plants are bought from Russia and the occupied part of Donbass. So you can imagine why we would be sceptical about these horror forecasts from the Western press. It’s true that we are on the verge of social collapse, but it won’t be caused by a military conflict… There is no doubt that Putin’s regime is now playing the same role of a continental gendarme as did Russian Tsarism under Nicholas I. You are also absolutely right that before 1917 there was 1914, when all of Europe thought that a small victorious war would last a couple of weeks, only to result in a world-revolutionary wave ending in 1923. With this in mind, we can see why the imperialist politicians and corporations are wary all the more that a military clash in the very centre of Europe will again lead to a comparable social explosion in their countries (at least in the USA — taking into account the rise of revolutionary struggle there during the last years). So the world leaders intend to divide spheres of influence peacefully and rattle their weapons just to facilitate their negotiations. The pandemic has shown that the modern capitalist order is a Colossus with feet of clay — and the very fact that the world has entered a new era of global repartition confirms this with all clarity.

For example, Ukraine also conducts military exercises on the Polish border and Ukrainian officials glorify those who carried out the genocide of the Poles during the Second World War. So what — do you really think that Ukraine is preparing to attack Poland? Neither do we…”

https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2022/01/29/ukraine-neither-nato-nor-moscow/ 

Sunday, 23 January 2022

New Jackdaw out now!

Issue 10 of Jackdaw, the ACG's free agitational bulletin, is hot off the press and on its way to shops, social centres and ACG groups around the country.

This issue contains the following articles:

  • On whose authority?
  • Lies, corruption and sleaze
  • Covid: Occupational Sick Pay for all!
  • Great Ormond Street UVW strike
  • Refugee crisis
  • Brewery workers: fermenting real change

 Get a free PDF download of Jackdaw here:

https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Jackdaw-10-web-version.pdf

Jackdaw on the main ACG website:

https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2022/01/20/jackdaw-issue-10-out-now/

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Surrey Group meet up in real life again.

Surrey Anarchist Communist Group have now been able to meet up at an actual, real venue. We now have access again to a meeting room in a pub in the East Surrey area. The venue is very convenient in terms of public transport as well as being a large room specifically for meetings. We intend to meet up again in the New Year.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Anarchist Communism Vs Big Tent Anarchism. Audio Recording.

A thirty-minute audio recording of the ACG online presentation on Sunday 5th of September for the Antiuniversity Now Festival 2021.

 

Anarchism is a political tradition that unites a number of different anti-authoritarian currents and is seen as an alternative to the Leninist tradition. However, anarchism itself has been divided historically, to an extent over the ultimate goal, but largely over important issues of political analysis, strategy and tactics. The situation is the same today.

This session will look at the distinct tradition of anarchist communism to explore how it is both similar and different to other currents. Some of these differences are far from trivial and often put our current in opposition to those who have been grouped under what we call big tent anarchism. It is not a question of sectarianism, as we work with a wide range of anarchists in grass roots campaigns and projects, but with how we can best build an effective revolutionary anarchist movement.

Anarchist Communism Vs Big Tent Anarchism on Anchor.fm

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Kill the Bill. Demo. Guildford. July 3rd.

 


Kill the Bill Surrey:

 Next Kill the Bill protest in Guildford date announced. This protest will contain speakers which will be announced soon. Please share on social media and amongst your friends and families - together there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Join us on Saturday 3rd July at Guildford High Street to say no to this Tory government.

https://www.instagram.com/killthebill_surrey/

Surrey group of the ACG will be there.

Fresh Strikes in August on Trains and Boats and Planes

Strike action is being planned for dates in late August across rail, London Tube trains and buses as well as at the container port at Feli...