October 1999

UN referendum in East Timor in 1999 leads to massacres


ONCE AGAIN this small little area of the world has been front-page news as the horror of mass murder and genocide of the Timorese people is being witnessed. What was supposed to be a safe referendum carried out under the auspices of the United Nations has led to thousands of East Timor people being gunned down in cold blood and hundreds of thousands of these brave people are now displaced and being held in West Timor. This part of the island remains a media black hole - and the Indonesian forces are allowing no one in or out of the area so we can only fear for the lives of the people there.

The SDLP, Raytheon arms manufacturer and East Timor


LAST SUMMER, the Irish News ran an article titled 'SDLP slams Britains record in East Timor'. (August 6th). SDLP assembly member Carmel Hanna rightly criticised the British government for continuing arms sales to Indonesia. She even went so far as to describe Britain's role in relation to East Timor as "sordid" because of this.

Quite right, but...

Organise! dissolve and fighting partnership - For starters WS 58


Irish syndicalism - WE HAVE LEARNED with regret that the Irish section of the International Workers Association, Organise!, has decided to dissolve itself. Although we had political differences with this anarcho-syndicalist group - in particular with their approach of trying to build new revolutionary unions - we welcomed their existence as offering another option to those interested in anarchism in Ireland.

That's capitalism WS58


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is spending about 11 cents a day per refugee in Africa. Some refugee camps hold as many as 500,000 people and have just one doctor for every 100,000. Up to 6,000 people there die each day from cholera and other public health diseases.1


In the ten years from 1987 to 1997 (the first decade of 'social partnership') the share of 26 county earnings going to wages, pensions and social welfare declined by 10%; from 69% to 59%. The share going to profits, rents and dividends rose by 10%; from 31% to 41%.2

Set backs for the pro-choice movement in 1999


OVER THE SUMMER there were developments in the long struggle over women's rights to control their own bodies. Most of them have not been good. In the North a group known as Precious Life succeeded, following a campaign of intimidation, in closing down the Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association. The association had been in existence for 20 years. They took the decision to close their doors following picketing of the homes of their councillors, who were all volunteers. Their head office was broken into and a fire was started.

Remembering the 1974 Revolution in Portugal


ON APRIL 25TH 1974 a radical faction within the Portuguese Armed Forces, the MFA, revolted against the government. Until that day Portugal had been under a fascist dictatorship for over half a century. Whether the MFA was left or right wing inclined was unclear at the time. The military revolt created a space where people could effect change in their lives and the opportunity was grasped eagerly.Left-wing activists began returning from exile, and new political parties sprouted up. The parties all used the situation to gain political power in the government. Ordinary folk, in contrast, used the situation to improve social conditions in their communities and workplaces through new autonomous organisations. It was here that the true revolution was fought and is of most interest to anarchists.

Ireland's immigration Bill 1999


BORD FAILTE, the Irish tourist board, sells an image of Ireland as being a very friendly place to visit, a place where you are guaranteed a huge "Cead Mile Failte" (a hundred thousand welcomes). Tell that to the group of nine Polish tourists whose friendly welcome in mid-June consisted of spending a night in Mountjoy prison before being dispatched back to Poland unceremoniously because "they didn't have enough money". Or to the Japanese academic who wanted to come to Ireland for the Bloomsday celebrations, also in mid-June, but was refused permission to land in the State.

Ye shall be known by the friends you keep!


PART 1 - Last year WSM members participated in a number of pickets, organised by the Anti-Racism Campaign, on the constituency clinic of Dublin Fianna Fail TD Ivor Callely. This was in response to comments made by Callely when he criticised the numbers of asylum seekers coming to Ireland. At the time we said that his comments would lead to an increase in racism, and would provide people who have an openly racist agenda with a cover for their activities.

Local Elections - bring on the dancing horses


ANARCHISTS ARE NOT against democracy. We are in favour of the idea but we sure as hell disagree with the way it's currently practised. Fine cases in point were the local elections. These were the first local elections in the 26 counties for eight years. Indeed the government decided it might just as well be the wisest thing for all concerned to offer the sitting incumbents up to £20,000 to feck off and retire rather than having to put us all though the process of reminding us how great they were. Thankfully many of them did.

Crisis in Indonesia - end of Suharto


WHEN ANARCHISTS TALK about change, they inevitably come around to the subject of revolution. Anarchists argue that the present social system is incapable of real reform - that a complete overhaul is needed if we're to change the fundamental wrongs in this society. But, as most people know, revolution is not an everyday occurrence. Revolution is about a large number of people coming together at the one time. The aims of a revolution are often radical and far reaching.In contrast to a period of reform, the agenda for social change expands rapidly during a revolution. Suddenly unobtainable aims come within the grasp of ordinary people. Revolutions are great opportunities to re-organise society. As such they're not to be squandered.

Globalisation: the end of the age of imperialism?


IT HAS BECOME increasingly fashionable to use the term globalisation as a description of the international economy and international political relations. Globalisation is meant to have taken over from imperialism, when a handful of large states openly and directly ran most or the world. [In Spanish]

Brief history of anarchism in Japan


TODAY JAPAN BRINGS to mind high tech corporations, stressed out primary school students and a gruelling work ethic that demands loyalty to the company. One hundred and thirty years ago it was a very different place, predominantly agricultural and ruled over by a fuedal elite. In 1868, these rulers decided to industrialise the country and create a highly centralised state. For this reason, the Japanese experience of capitalism is different from that in many European countries.

Russian workers beat off armed attack on occupied factory


SOVIETSKY, Russia - On July 9th 1999, eighty masked, uniformed gunmen accompanied by the local prosecutor and other officials tried to storm the Vyborg Pulp and Paper Mill, under occupation by its workers for the past eighteen months.One special police unit, normally used to put down prison riots, is reported to have been particularly vicious. At the same time, another private armed militia linked to the mill owners captured the workers elected director Vantorin and tried to force (and offered him a substantial bribe) him to call off the strike. He stood firm and the workers, using the mill's own alarm system managed to mobilise enough people, including local residents who support their struggle, to beat off the attack. However, the fighting was fierce, and two workers are seriously injured.

Spike Lee doing the right thing for the ruling class


SPIKE LEE, famous for his film about Black American radical Malcolm X, is often thought of as some sort of a 'radical'. This cleverly cultivated but insubstantial image has taken a big knock. Lee has decided to help the US military recruit young black men and women.

International news shorts WS58


"FU AEEU LEADERSHIP" said Dagenam and Enfield members in September. Following Amalgamated Electrical & Engineering Union leader Ken Jackson's 'partnership' fantasy comments about a "strike free Britain" at the Trade Union Congress, workers showed him what they thought of his 'roll over and play dead' attitude by walking out as part of pay negotiations at the AEEU represented Ford car works.

Source: Anarchist Trade Union Network, Britain


Anarchist Science Fiction - The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin


THE DISPOSSESSED is a classic of science fiction, and also one of the few novels, of any description, which deals honestly and openly with anarchist ideas, and, for this reason, is one of the most oft-cited influences on anarchists today. To be honest, I wouldn't bother reading this review, if I were you, I'd just go out and read the book now.

Irish Workers Worth Double Their Wages Says Employers' Study


IRISH WORKERS are undervalued by 50% according to an international study published earlier this year. By comparing wages and productivity in 28 different types of job throughout all 15 European Union countries it found only Portuguese workers did more and received less.

Life in Northern Ireland - The more things change, the more they stay the same


AS THIS ARTICLE is being written, George Mitchell has flown in to Belfast and begun a round of meetings with political parties in the North in a supposed "review" of the Good Friday Agreement. Needless to say this "review" is unlikely to address any of the fundamental flaws in that agreement. Nor are we likely to witness an outbreak of concern for the working class people of the 6 Counties from any of the participants in this review.