International

International News: Workers Solidarity #55 1998

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Australian dockers' strike ends

BOTH THE DOCKERS' trade union and the bosses are claiming victory in the Australian waterfront strike we reported in our last issue. The owners of Patricks, the major dock firm, had sacked all 1,400 employees. Their aim was to smash the Maritime Union of Australia and reduce pay rates. The government backed Patricks to the hilt and Patricks spent $100 million on their union busting operation.

Massive strike shakes Denmark

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ALTHOUGH YOU WOULD hardly know it from the media, the end of April and the start of May saw a massive strike wave in Denmark. Almost half a million workers went on strike, including almost all industrial workers and most workers in transport and building. It was so powerful that the police and other emergency services had to ask the unions whenever they needed petrol.

Remembering the anarchist resistance to fascism

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On February 3rd 1931, Italian police arrested Michael Schirru in a hotel room in Rome. He was Italian by birth but had become a US citizen. He had returned to Italy with one purpose, to kill Mussolini. Schirru was just one of many anarchists in the pre-war years who put their lives on the line in the fight against fascism.

Mujeres Libres

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Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational. Their example shows how the struggle against women's oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.

As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930's feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for 'equality of women within an existing system of privileges'. They argued "We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It's necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don't we'll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves".

Dockers are fighting back internationally - Liverpool passes the baton to Australia

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The Liverpool dockers were forced to end their dispute after 28 months in January of this year. But they were unbowed, the letter explaining to their supporters why they had ended the dispute ended with a quote from Jim Larkin "Who is it to speak of defeat? I tell you a cause like ours is greater than defeat can know. It is the power of powers".

That's Capitalism: Workers Solidarity #54 1998

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'Social partnership' gets better and better. In 1987 the lowest paid tenth of the workforce paid 3.14% of their earnings in direct taxation. By 1995 this had risen to 11%.1

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In Dublin, Mexican ex-president Carlos Salinas was quizzed by French officials over drugs money linked to his brother, but an Irish judge ordered a media blackout on the case - which was obeyed by all the papers.2

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International News Shorts

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Irish Mexico Group peace camp attacked in Chiapas

THE MEXICAN state of Chiapas has seen further violence, with large-scale military invasions into indigenous communities who sympathise with the Zapatista rebels. In particular, the army and police have focussed on removing foreign human rights observers from the region. 15 people were deported in April. Three of them were taken from the Irish-run peace camp of Diez de April.

Whatever Happened to the Anarchist Workers Group?

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For many years the experience of the Anarchist Workers Group in Britain was used to smear ‘platformists’ as some sort of authoritarian tapeworm within the body of anarchism. It was claimed that our politics leads people out of anarchism and into Leninism.

The emergence of the Anarchist Workers Group at the start of the 1990's was something the WSM welcomed. Most of the people involved initially came from the South London branch of the Direct Action Movement. At least one founder member of the ACF was also involved. They also had branches in the North of England with people from Manchester, Huddersfield and Liverpool.

Oscar Wilde's socialism

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Paris has had its fair share of famous people die in it. Most of them have ended up in the Pere La Chaise cemetery and Oscar Wilde is one of them. Of all the people buried there, that was the one grave I had to see when I entered that cemetery on a brisk March morning. I admire him because he was the master of that Irish pastime of extracting the Michael.

Beware the Bolsheviks

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80th anniversay of the Russian Revolution....
 

IN 1922, after seeing the product of the Russian revolution first hand, the anarchist Emma Goldman described how "Soviet Russia had become the modern socialist Lourdes". Eighty years after the revolution in Russia a reflection on that period has more than just historical value. Many left wing organisations still hold up this era as the model for future revolution. In order to challenge this Bolshevik conception of organisation and revolution we look at what the consequences of this model were.

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