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Iran

See also chronology December 2018 back to August 2014

1/12/19:

Guardian report on the movement in Shiraz

““Everyone took to the streets, I was really hopeful that things would change,” one of the recordings to Alinejad said. “For two days Shiraz was under the control of the people, but nothing bad happened. There was complete peace. It was such a great thing that people had the control over the city. I could see how the country would look like if we take power.””

This text, although coming from a ridiculously clichéed  Marxist-Leninist angle,  constantly repeating their mantra of the necessity of the vanguard party to seize state power, has some interesting facts about the movement of 1978-9

“On 8 September 1978 (Black Friday) troops killed thousands of demonstrators in Teheran. In reply, the workers went on strike. That strike was the spark which ignited the dynamite which had been building up all over the country. On 9 September 1978, the Teheran oil refinery workers issued the call to strike to express solidarity with the massacre on the previous day and against martial law. On the very next day the strike had spread like wildfire to Shiraz, Tahriz, Abdan and Isfahan. Refinery workers went on strike everywhere. The economic demands of the workers were rapidly transformed into political one: “Down with the Shah!”, “Down with Savak!”, “Marg Ber, American imperialism!” Then the Ahwaz oil workers went on strike, followed by non-oil workers in Khuzistan who joined the strike at the end of September. It was above all the movement of the oil workers—the so-called privileged section of the working class in Iran—that decisively undermined the regime. As the rhythm of the strike movement was intensified and prolonged its character also changed. Ever newer sections were being drawn into the struggle: workers from the public sector—teachers, doctors, hospital workers, clerks, postal workers, telephone and television, and employees from transport, railways, domestic airports and banks all joined the mainstream. White-collar workers with little or no experience of struggle were also drawn into the general movement. The strike of the Central Bank of Iran was particularly effective. This followed the burning of hundreds of banks by the enraged masses. When the bank clerks went on strike, they revealed that in the last three months $1,000 million had been spirited abroad by 178 members of the ruling elite, including the Shah’s relatives. Now busy making preparations for a comfortable exile, having sent his family abroad, the Shah had transferred $1,000 million to America (this was in addition to the $1,000 million or so which was held in banks in Bonn, Switzerland and other parts of the world). The Iranian treasury had been plundered by the autocracy and its watchdog, the hated Savak. The tidal wave of strikes paralysed the state machinery; the civil servants were on strike. But it was the magnificent 33 days oil workers’ strike that crippled almost everything. This fact alone showed the colossal power of the Iranian proletariat: a single strike of the oil workers caused the government losses of no less than $74 million a day in lost revenue. Oil workers cut the main artery of state revenues… Day to day there were continuous demonstrations and mass mobilisation which went far beyond the limits of ordinary life. The masses attacked the embassies of Britain and America and burned thousands of American flags. Effigies of US President Jimmy Carter and the Shah were hanged a thousand times over on every street corner of every Iranian city. The Shah came to symbolise both the hated existing order and the Savak’s bloody repression…

An article in the American magazine Newsweek commented on an angry mob which had gathered on Jaleh Square reacting against the imposition of martial law by shouting slogans against regime: “When they came close, the armed forces ordered the demonstrators to disperse but instead of retreating, the demonstrators disobeyed the order and went on to cross the warning line, slowly choking from teargas fumes, but unwilling to go back. Finally the troops raised their guns, firing bursts into the air, but even then the mob edged closer to the ranks of the troops. And the troops lowered their sight and, when the crowd kept coming, sprayed the demonstrators with round after round.”

… When thousands of mourners marched to the gate of Teheran’s Besheste Zahra cemetery shouting slogans against the Shah attacked an armoured car, a major came out and shouted: “We have no intention of killing you! You are our brothers!” and offered his weapon to the mob: “Here, take my gun and kill me if you wish!” The mourners cheered and shouted slogans of unity against regime. There were other such incidents. Several conscripts shot their officers or committed suicide on being ordered to open fire on demonstrations. On other side, many deserters and mutineers were executed by the Savak.

A US Army Officer interviewed in Newsweek said of the Iranian army: “I would not put a lot of faith in their reliability, we do not know where their breaking point would be.” An Iranian official was also quoted as saying: “The longer the Shah keeps his army on the streets, the greater the danger of contamination”… on many occasions when soldiers and junior officers refused to open fire on the demonstrators…

By the time Khomeini returned from his Parisian exile on the first of February 1979, the battle against the Shah was effectively over. The old state had already completely disintegrated and power lay in the streets, waiting for somebody to pick it up. Although the old cleric had played no real part in the Shah’s overthrow, there were people who were anxious to give him a leading role. Consequently, he was met by officers who promised him the support of the key units of the armed forces. The army elite was anxious to reassert control and “order”. All over the country desertions were occurring daily, and when Shah Pur Bakhtiar used the army police and the Imperial Guard against a mutiny of air force cadets, fighting erupted. Insurgency spread all over military units. One section of the National Front led by Mehdi Bazargan, Khomeini’s Militant Wing and some ultra-left groups (the Fedayeen and Mujahidin), joined with the insurgents. Within a short space of time they smashed much of the Shah’s war machine capturing weapons factories, military bases, television stations, prisons and the parliament. The top officer corps was paralysed. Shah Pur Bakhtiar went underground and Bazargan, whom Khomeini had declared prime minister, took over.

In the process of the revolutionary mass strikes, the working class organised the shuras (soviets) and other embryonic independent organs of power. These were similar to the workers’ soviets which first appeared during the mass strikes of the Russian Revolution of 1905…

…the potential for workers’ power was present…At their inception, however, all that the soviets are is extended strike committees. There were already elements of dual power in the situation. Management could not pursue its “normal” functions without the permission of the workers, and neither could the administration. Thus, representatives of the Isfahan Steel Mill had to negotiate with the railway workers requesting the latter to carry the coal they required from Kirman to keep the plant’s boilers heated. A similar agreement was reached between oil workers and the railway workers to carry the fuel necessary for domestic consumption when all other production was at a standstill. These were already the elements of a rudimentary form of working class social administration.[6]

In December and February, the people took control of a number of cities and towns, particularly in the Northern Azeri and Caspian Sea provinces, including Zanjan, Orumich, Salmas, Ardabil Maraghel and Ajabsheer. The very idea of the shuras came from the direct and immediate experience of the workers themselves. … Three days after the insurrection, on the 14 February 1979, Khomeini ordered all workers to return to work. But the resistance of the oil workers forced Khomeini to resort to threats: “Any disobedience from, and sabotage of, the provisional government will be regarded as opposition to the genuine Islamic revolution.”[7] Despite these threats, the movement continued unabated. In the very first month after the provisional government came to power in February at least some 50,000 workers went on strike. This industrial unrest was fuelled by the radical transformation in the workers’ consciousness that had occurred in the course of revolution and particularly after the insurrection. The workers demanded the payment of delayed wages and resisted lockouts and layoffs.

In a number of northern areas the people formed shuras in order to run their day-to-day affairs. For the same sort of administration, shuras were also formed after the insurrection the in air force—the shuras-e-home faram (councils of air force servicemen). These workers’ organisations and factory shuras which had sprang up after the revolution persisted for some time, fighting stubbornly for survival under difficult conditions…. As soon as the new state had consolidated itself, a national campaign of intimidation, harassment and terrorism began against the workers’ shuras. After the invasion of Kurdistan and the gradual restoration of the government’s policy of management from above, the elements of workers’ power in the factories were brutally suppressed. After this setback, there was a general downturn in the worker’s movement….”

More on the shuras of ’78-’79

28/11/19:

Movement involves at least 180 cities across the country, with at least 450 killed

27/11/19:

Interior ministry, invariably minimising extent of revolt, says that protesters destroyed at least 50 police and army centers, 140 government centers, 183 police vehicles, nine seminaries, 731 state-affiliated banks and 70 gas stations

24/11/19:

Iran, Tehran: students protest poor living conditions & massive security measures171 cities now involved in uprising

“Iran protests against fuel price hike continued in various cities on Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, 2019, including in Tehran (Tehranpars district), Malard and Fardis in Karaj, southwest of Tehran, Urmia, Isfahan, Sirjan, Shiraz and the areas surrounding the Port of Mahshahr.”

Of course, if the Iranian organisations linked to on this page ever got to power on the backs of this uprising they’d obviously just be a more modern, perhaps subtler, version of the obnoxious mullahs.

More here

23/11/19:

Iran: clashes continue in Fardis, Orumiyeh, Shiraz, Quds, Saveh and Mahshahrcall for arms by the Anarchist Union of  Iran and Afghanistan

This call also says that they’ll fight with the largely bourgeois opposition parties (the ones that almost certainly have the arms or the means to get them), even though they must realise that they’ll be used as cannon fodder, that  the hierarchies of these organisations will  very much control who and how the arms are used, making sure that, should the revolution succeed, the anarchists, at best, will be speedily disarmed, if not shot, and the situation will become a modernised version of  capitalist misery.

22/11/19:

Iran: 165 cities now involved as death toll rises to 251

21/11/19:

Iran, Shiraz: movement forces state forces to retreatvideo of people attacking Revolutionary Guards base while chanting, “Mullahs get lost”youths build roadblocks in Isfahan, banks and admin buildings torched in TeheranInternet partially  back on; government was ready for this uprising

“On Wednesday, a number of state-run media outlets ran stories highlighting the damage the blackout was doing to Iran’s economy. Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi was quoted as saying that online business transactions “have fallen by 90 percent” while Chamber of Commerce member Ali Kolahi said the blackout was impacting exports. “We have no idea where our shipments are,” he told conservative news agency ILNA… speeds were so slow that videos could not be uploaded…The process of cutting off access to the internet was one of the most complex ever tracked by NetBlocks, and one expert told VICE News earlier this week that the government would have been planning this move for a long time.  “In every round of domestic unrest they have experienced over the last decade, the Iranian government has done some evaluation of their strategies and their responsiveness and they have learned lessons” Sanam Vakil, a senior research fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House, told VICE News on Tuesday. “What we are seeing today is that they were prepared for these protests because we immediately saw the presence of law enforcement on Iranian streets, and the internet blackout was a signal that they were ready. One of Iran’s most prominent political activists close to the reformist faction, Abulfazl Ghadiani, issued a statement blaming Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has thrown his weight behind the gas increase policy and effectively shut the door to any reconsideration.”

144 towns effected (videos and links)

“The mayor of Shiraz, where clashes have been severe, said on Wednesday that transportation infrastructure in four of the city’s districts have been destroyed. The owner of a popular hypermarket, Refah, the Iranian equivalent of Walmart, said shops in three of its locations had been ransacked.”

More on the political manoeuverings and gambles behind the price hike

20/11/19:

Iran: somewhat economistic but informative report on the last 2 years of struggles

 

19/11/19:

Haiti: a report

Iran:  map of cities and towns involved in movement (124 so far) and torched government buildings (42 so far), and cities where protesters have been killed (27 so far)Some Iranian state propagandaTwitter feed

The twitter feed is for information only – lots of would-be rulers and their supporters waiting in the wings to swoop down should this movement succeed in ousting the current archaic form of capitalism there.

Youths torch 3 State Security Forces’ vehicles – report on other aspects of the day…More here

18/11/19:

Iran:  officer refusing orders to shoot protesters, kills 2 other officers who’d given him the order… and more

“…protests have spread to 107 cities in most of Iran’s provinces. The regime has killed at least 61 protesters… two IRGC commanders in Fajr Garrison in Shiraz were shot and killed by another officer when they ordered the IRGC to open fire on protesters…. Protesters set on fire the office of the Supreme Leader’s representative (a notorious mullah) in Sadra, a district of Shiraz…Iranian protesters torch security forces booth…Shiraz, south-central Iran – The city is falling into the hands of protesters. Members of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) are acknowledging that the situation is now a “crisis.”
I  should point out that the link is from  a usually disgusting (e.g. often pro-Trump) and invariably  bourgeois reformist organisation which , nevertheless, provides useful information (there’s also a leftist site here, though it seems to be updated almost invariably well after events have developed).

“Islamic Republic, say hello to your end.”

3 state “security” scum stabbed to deathIraqi Protesters Deliver Message of Solidarity to Iranian Counterpartsdozens  reported killedincluding 37 Kurds

17/11/19:

Iran: 100 cities & towns involved in protests

“The semiofficial Fars news agency, close to the Guard [ie the state’s version of events], put the total number of protesters at over 87,000, saying demonstrators ransacked some 100 banks and stores in the country…Iranian internet access saw disruptions and outages Friday night into Saturday, according to the group NetBlocks, which monitors worldwide internet access. By Saturday night, connectivity had fallen to just 7% of ordinary levels. It was mostly unchanged on Sunday. NetBlocks called it the most severe shutdown the group had tracked in any country “in terms of its technical complexity and breadth.” On Twitter, NetBlocks said the disruption constituted “a severe violation” of Iranians’ “basic rights and liberties.” The internet firm Oracle called it “the largest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran.”

A charred police station that was set ablaze by protesters in the central city of Isfahan on November 17, 2019.

Twitter used to  get round internet blackout …though it’s not clear how.

For some information about the struggles in Iran less than a year ago see this.

16/11/19:

Iran: cop killed, police station stormed in Kermanshah

“The attack on the police station in Kermanshah was not an isolated incident, as the protests sparked by a surprise gasoline price hike apparently grew increasingly violent. A footage obtained by RT Arabic shows a transport police headquarters in the city of Karaj, located just west of Tehran, burning, after it was supposedly stormed by violent protesters…the Iranian authorities said that one person was killed in the southeastern city of Sirjan. Sirjan’s acting Governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi also told journalists that some violent elements within a largely “calm gathering” damaged public property, including fuel stations, sought access to a local oil company’s major fuel depots and even set them on fire.”

Brave woman unveils herself and gives speech attacking regime on bridge over motorwayAllah removed Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran torched in Behbahan clashes spread to over a dozen towns and cities

“State news agency Irna said there were clashes with police when protesters attacked a fuel storage warehouse and tried to set fire to it. Several more people were injured. A protester also died in the city of Behbahan. Other cities were also affected including the capital, Tehran, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karadj, Shiraz, Yazd, Boushehr and Sari. In several cities, dozens of angry motorists blocked roads by turning off car engines or abandoning vehicles in traffic. Videos posted online purportedly showed motorists in the capital, Tehran, stopping traffic on the Imam Ali Highway and chanting for the police to support them. Another clip shows what appeared to be a roadblock across the Tehran-Karaj motorway, hit by the season’s first heavy snowfall.”

Details of the fuel price rise and rationing here. More here

X writes: What were the Iranian theocrats thinking of? Their two areas of  greatest influence are already boiling with discontent over corruption  – of which Iran itself is also heavily freighted – and they think they  can get away with a snap austerity move without first conducting a  propaganda camaign to justify it (here of course the Americans, Saudis  and Israel always come in handy since they are almost aways doing  something that can be construed as provocative).

15/11/19:

Iran: clashes in 6 cities as Mullahs pour petrol on troubled waters

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

German army trains China’s PLA

German army trains China’s PLA

“Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong urged Germany on Sunday (Nov 17) to stop military training assistance to China after its troops appeared in the protest-hit Asian financial hub, a German daily reported. Speaking to the top-selling Bild newspaper, Wong said: “It makes me furious that the German Bundeswehr is apparently helping to train Chinese soldiers. Given the riots in Hong Kong, the defence ministry should have ended this programme long ago.”

Given that Joshua Wong’s main political stance is support for democracy and a desire to seek help for Hong Kong from Western states, he clearly has to denounce this complicity in order to give some semblance of coherence to show to those who would potentially vote for him. But as with Trump’s complicity with Beijing, and the UK cops helping the Hong Kong cops, seeking help from various states, democratic or otherwise, has no coherent basis whatsoever. But then Wong is a politician, so what can you expect?

Above: the Bundeswehr

Below: the PLA

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministers of China and the USA meet to develop “pragmatic cooperation”. “Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe met the United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper here Monday, with both sides reaching the consensus to deepen mutual trust so as to make bilateral military relations a stabilizer for the China-U.S. relationship, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson Wu Qian said here on Monday. The meeting is “positive and constructive”, with both sides agreeing that “the China-U.S. military relationship is an important part of bilateral relations, and developing a healthy and stable bilateral military relationship would benefit not only China and the United States, but also regional and world peace and stability,” Wu said.” (18/11/19)

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Lebanon

Lebanon

Originally published as part of the “Social Revolt in Iraq and Lebanon” post, now named “Social revolt in Iraq”

See this Crimethinc article for a long critical account of the situation (published 13/11/19)

Beirut, 21/10/19

“Mocking Lebanon’s political dynasties and handing-down of power from father to son, one protester held up a sign that read: “Electile dysfunction.” Others criticised the heavy-handed response of security forces on the first two days of protests, with one banner reading in English: “Don’t throw tear gas,  we can cry by ourselves.” – here

26/11/19:

A combination of the return of manipulated sectarian clashes and genuine conflict as movement seems to break with pacifism

25/11/19:

Beirut: clashes as demonstrators block main bridge

“Demonstrators want to see the entire ruling class gone from power…Supporters of Hezbollah and Amal waved the groups’ flags. Earlier, they had chanted: “Shia, Shia” and slogans in support of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. On the other side, demonstrators chanted: “Revolution, revolution”… fighting apparently broke out when Hezbollah and Amal supporters blamed other demonstrators for making offensive comments about Nasrallah…The ground was strewn with rocks. A motorcycle was set on fire.”

22/11/19:

Another interesting report on assemblies in Beirut

” We hope that through the revolution, we will be able to get back this property and turn it into public space for discussions and gatherings without security constraints or physical appearance concerns or class-based distinctions.”

Sure, the limitations of this take are pretty obvious, but…See entry for 15/11/19 for more information and comments.

19/11/19:

Twitter feed

Graffiti from Beirut:

Right side: “Iran on our mind”

Left side: “From Baghdad to Beirut.. One revolution that won’t die”

15/11/19:

Interesting Al Jazeera report about assemblies in private parking lots reserved normally for the rich

“These private parking lots lie in the heart of the upscale Beirut Central District run by a private corporation, Solidere, which has effectively transformed the heart of the Lebanese capital into an island for the rich. On any normal day, Solidere private security guards do not allow street vendors, let alone any sort of public political gathering or performance, in the manicured district. But now the security guards are nowhere to be seen as thousands flood the streets daily. It is not just the occupation of this “private” space by average citizens that is extraordinary, it is the unprecedented discussions and open public forums taking place under dozens of flimsy tarps. In one tent, a debate is raging over whether protesters should return to blocking highway traffic (as they had done in the first two weeks of the now month-old uprising), or whether children should be allowed to boycott schools and join the protests. “We are a war generation, we used to go to school under the bombs,” said one middle-aged woman, standing on the sidelines holding a microphone. “Our kids are learning the best civic education here, they are cleaning the streets, they are recycling, things they never learn in schools.” She then took aim at the minister of education, who called for schools to reopen after weeks of road closures. “We don’t have to listen to you minister, you have to listen to us now.” The crowd erupted in applause as one man shouted “Bravo, Bravo” clapping enthusiastically. …”We don’t need these Zuama [tribal chieftains],” she continued. “Not the Sunni, Shia, Druze or Christian ones, and I’m for blocking the road.”…New groups are organising in Lebanon, not around party ideology or sectarian dogma, but around everyday issues …”The people are the source of power today – not the ministers, not the members of parliament, not the zauma,” said another woman to applause…The calm discussions are suddenly drowned out by heated arguments in another tent. One man shouts, urging the protesters to retake the nearby downtown highway. “Is this a revolution or is it an activist movement?” a middle-aged man posed. “If this is a revolution, everything is allowed, there is no need for a discussion. We don’t have to ask for permission to occupy streets or attack ministries.” The moderator disagrees: “We are here to discuss tactics and all voices should be heard.”

Judging from some of my own experiences in France, this hints at  aspects of the problem of ideologies of horizontalism and direct democracy. Whilst a certain horizontal form is necessary in certain respects it can also just become a brake on putting ideas into action – endless discussions without consequence. Fetishised, horizontalism is a critique of dominant forms of organising without a critique of the content and aims of organising. But effective struggle needs to unite form and content – you can’t fight alienation by alienated means but you also can’t fight alienation with petrified content. The guy at the end of the above quote – “We don’t have to ask for permission to occupy streets or attack ministries.”  is essentially right – and if I was in his situation I’d have gone off and organised with those people who were in agreement with what I wanted to do rather than hang around to interminably try to convince others so as to get a majority. Descriptions of other discussions later on  in this article show  that there are lots of specialised activists, aiming to change the nature and image of the state without seriously confronting it (some of whom will become part of the future ruling class), very present in these discussions. But the moderator is also partly right – discussion is necessary to develop both the reasons for such actions and the tactics needed to carry them out, though given the fact that state spies may well be in the crowd a certain discretion would clearly be necessary.

Protestors ask “security” forces to spray them with water so they can have a shower

13/11/19:

Roads blocked again…

 President Michel Aoun told the nation in a televised address Nov. 12 that Lebanon will descend into a “catastrophe” if protesters do not return home and allow Lebanon to work normally again. Protesters, however, took to the country’s streets soon afterward, blocking roads with burning tires in various parts of Lebanon and marched toward the president’s Baabda Palace on Nov. 13. Security forces blocked demonstrators from reaching their destination, and closed the highway leading to the president’s residence….Amid gasoline shortages, limits on cash withdrawals at banks and threats to salaries and many critical imported goods, workers from a variety of industries in Lebanon had gone on strike prior to Aoun’s speech to protest a wide swath of issues related to the continuing economic crisis….Earlier in the day [Nov.11th], strikes took place as employees from Alfa and Touch, Lebanon’s two state-owned mobile network providers, demanded salary guarantees, and bank employees left work to protest after some workers were exposed to violent threats after bank branches limited the amounts of money consumers could withdraw. A general strike called for Nov. 12 also included roadblocks across the country, and marches by students to state institutions after schools had been closed.”

after first fatality directly linked to movement the previous day 

On Wednesday, protesters blocked major highways with burning tires and other debris, saying they will remain in the streets despite the president’s appeal for them to leave. Schools and universities were closed and banks remained shuttered…Highways linking Beirut with southern and northern Lebanon as well as other roads in major cities and towns were also closed on Wednesday. In Nahr al-Kalb north of Beirut, protesters closed a tunnel by parking their cars inside it while a nearby highway was filled with debris. In Khaldeh, on Beirut’s southern entrance, tires were set on fire and sand barriers closed a vital highway. Black smoke billowed from several locations in and around the city on Wednesday. Near the country’s only international airport, travelers were seen dragging suitcases as they continued on foot to the airport, after protesters blocked the highway. The place where the first fatality in the protests, Alaa Abou Fakher, was shot in the Khaldeh area was decorated with roses and a Lebanese flag was placed nearby. He was the first to be killed in direct shooting related to the protests, though there have been four other deaths since the demonstrations began.”

7/11/19:

Informative detailed history and analysis of current situation written by an academic

“The Lebanese people started their protests against the entire ruling class. These include militia leaders Walid Jumblat, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, formerly a client of the Syrian regime and since 2005 a client of Saudi Arabia and the U.S.; and Samir Ja`ja`, leader of the Lebanese Forces party, which started as an Israeli surrogate militia responsible for the worst war crimes of the civil war and is now aligned with the Saudi regime. Others include the financial moguls of the militias: Najib Miqati, a billionaire from Tripoli who made his fortune in Syria and Lebanon from telecommunication monopolies and Muhammad Safadi, a billionaire member of parliament from Tripoli with Saudi connections.  Displays of lavish lifestyle by members of the ruling class — who celebrate million-dollar weddings in the south of France and flaunt their private jets, yachts and mansions (in Lebanon and abroad) — have recently deepened the anger of people living paycheck-to-paycheck.   The resentment of the populace was so wide that for a while it suppressed the sectarian divisions that has long plagued the Lebanese people (and the rulers often stoked those tensions in order to suppress class resentment and mobilization across sects)…The infiltration by the mass base of traditional political bosses loyal to the Saudi regime into the demonstrations (especially the bases of Jumblat and Ja`ja`) may have been intended as a way to divert the protests in a direction favorable to the U.S.-Israel-Saudi alliance.  It is up to the protesters to stay vigilant and exclude from their ranks those whose only wish is to protect the ruling class and its interests.”

29/10/19:

Central Bank Governor says that Lebanon just days away from collapse of economy

“Today there is no economic activity in the country,” said Salame. “Imports are getting difficult to channel because the banks are closed, and opening letter of credits is more difficult than it was before.” The governor, who has held office since 1993, also warned that the country risks defaulting on its ballooning debt. Lebanon has one of the highest debt-to-GDP ratios in the world.” In a world dominated by money, particularly in the currrent form of neoliberal capitalism dominated by finance and fictive capital, it’s invariably those at the bottom of the hierarchy that pay for an economic collapse. Without a movement that goes further by seizing the total social product in order to redistribute what’s useful and necessary whilst destroying what’s useless oamongst the products of this “wealth”, the masses of individuals are trapped by an abstraction that’s materialised in the form of the need for money.  Until they go further and block not only the roads but seize all of social space and  try to connect directly to international movements, it’s like smashing Dr.Frankenstein’s science lab  without attacking the monster itself. Without such an aim, an aim which was at least understood by a significant section of the working class over 100 years ago, movements will almost always try to find a “good government” which turns out to be just as bad as the last.

28/10/19:

Demonstrators barricade roads

“Lebanese demonstrators set up barricades and parked cars across key roads on Monday to protest corruption and press their demands for a radical overhaul of the political system. The protesters defied pleas from top leaders and sought to keep Lebanon on lockdown for the 12th consecutive day by cutting off some of the main thoroughfares, including the main north-south highway”

25/10/19:

Protests resume in all cities and villages; banks & schools closeHezbollah tries to intervene against protesters (more on this here)

20/10/19:

Government reforms fail to dampen movement

“Euphoric crowds partied deep into the night Sunday, leaving political and sectarian paraphernalia at home to gather under the cedar-stamped national flag, dance to impromptu concerts and chant often hilarious anti-establishment slogans.They were back in front of the houses of government and on the main Martyrs’ Square on Monday to listen to Hariri’s announcement, which was broadcast on loudspeakers. The crowd erupted into shouts of “revolution, revolution” when Hariri finished his address. “We want the fall of the regime,” they went on. “This is all just smoke and mirrors… How do we know these reforms will be implemented?” asked Chantal, a 40-year-old who joined the protest with her little daughter and a Lebanese flag painted on her cheek…Hariri detailed some of the measures taken by his fractious cabinet, including a programme of privatisations, a decision to scrap new tax hikes and halving the generous salaries of ministers and lawmakers….Schools, banks, universities and many private businesses closed their doors Monday, both for security reasons and in an apparent bid to encourage people to join the demonstrations.”

Al Jazeera take on this

“There are a few key ways in which these latest protests differ from those in 2005 and 2015. As in 2015, but unlike in 2005, they are part of a genuine grassroots movement that has not been directed by any political party. They are cross-sectarian in a broader sense than those of 2015. They are taking place across Lebanon, rather than only in Beirut. And they are demanding the fall of the government from the outset, while criticising political leaders from every sect. Although the number of people on the streets was much higher in 2005, the current protests are much larger than those of 2015. They are also taking place in regions where such public action used to be considered impossible, particularly in southern Lebanon where people from the Shia community have been publicly denouncing traditional Shia leaders, including Nasrallah. The government’s response to the current protests has been its usual carrot-and-stick approach: walking back on proposals to increase taxes while cracking down on the protests through violence. Neither has deterred the protesters, who have vowed to stay on the streets until the government falls. For the first time, people are demanding accountability from the leaders of their own sects as well as from the government at large, and protesters in Sunni strongholds like Tripoli are expressing solidarity with protesters in Shia strongholds like Tyr. Civil society groups involved in the protests are also devising tactics to counter the violence and facilitate mobilisation (one group offered free scooter rides to protest sites) and creating a reform roadmap for the Lebanese state. For the first time, the protests are a condemnation of the political status quo that has, since even before Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, been largely recycling the same faces (or their relatives and descendants) in parliament, the cabinet and high-level positions in the civil service and military… The protests have only been taking place for a few days but the protesters already show a growing awareness not only of the governmental tactics typically used to try to diffuse popular movements but of their own needs as citizens, regardless of class or sect. This alone is a revolution in a country where the political system is, for the most part, a modern version of feudalism. “

 

19/10/19:

More mass demonstrations

“The people want the fall of power!”,  “Revolution! Revolution!” There were tens of thousands of Lebanese in the streets across the country Saturday, for a third day of mobilization against the political class accused of corruption, an unprecedented movement since a long time in Lebanon. Despite … heavy intervention by the police on  Friday night and dozens of arrests, the ranks of protesters have continued to grow, especially in… Beirut and Tripoli, the second largest city in the country. Saturday, during the day and even in the evening, unlike the two previous nights of clashes between rioters and police, the Lebanese were gathered in a good-natured atmosphere. Only a small clash between protesters in front of the mosque al-Amine was reported late evening…gatherings also took place in Akkar, where clashes with the security forces left three wounded, and in Zghorta in North Lebanon, Baalbeck in the Bekaa, Jal el-Dib in the Metn but also in Zouk in Kesrouan. Several roads were blocked by barricades of burning  tires and dumpsters erected by protesters . In the morning, the army reopened highways, while volunteers cleared the city center which yesterday had been turned  into a battlefield. Many shop fronts were destroyed, some were burned, dumpsters and burnt tires littered the ground….”They must leave, all of them” In front of the mosque al-Amine, young people were gathered during the day, they brandished a banner. “My message is our banner, they must leave, we want our children to have a future, we do not believe in their promises, we will stay until they leave,” says Roula…Some politicians were enormously insulted, and in the crudest terms, by the protesters. Essentially Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of the CPL, as well as Speaker of Parliament and Chief Amal, Nabih Berry. The wife of Berry was also the recipient of  unflattering slogans … Though Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, was also targeted, the slogans were not so  massively taken up

18/10/19:

Massive clashes  in Beirut (videos and links)

17/10/19:

Lebanon: clashes on anti-austerity demonstrations throughout country 

“Protesters in the capital blocked the road to the airport with burning tyres, prompting a heavy deployment by security forces. Near government headquarters in central Beirut, violent confrontations broke out between protesters and security forces as demonstrators tried to storm the building. Security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters, after the Internal Security Forces (ISF) said clashes wounded 40 of its members. Protesters also sparked a large blaze near the Mohammad al-Amin mosque in Downtown Beirut…Besides the capital Beirut, protests erupted in the southern city of Sidon, the northern city of Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley, before spreading to other areas..Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Choucair said that the government had reversed its decision to tax calls on messaging apps following the unrest.”

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Catalonia October 2019

16/10/19 :

Spain, Catalonia : an example of the confusions of this epoch Videos and links about 4 towns (mainly Barcelona, but also Gerona, Tarragona and Lerida)

See Homage to Catatonia, on this site (from 2 years ago) See also this from 15/10. And this from 14/10.

Apparently those protesting in Catalonia have been influenced by Hong Kong – Hong Kong is exporting its protest techniques around the world. But there are significant differences between the mentality of youth and local history in the 2 places beyond the obvious. Catalonia has had a rich history of proletarian struggle against austerity as recently as 2014, and that’s apart from having been the area of the world of one of history’s most advanced revolutionary movements (climaxing in the years 1936-37). Hong Kong has no equivalent history and for this reason they could be forgiven for their naivety about democracy and for their localist nationalist ideology (which, is not to ignore the enormous problems such attitudes pose), which has the merit at least of being partly understandable because of the threat posed by the world’s most totalitarian state, which reinforces illusions in ‘independence’. Catalans have no such excuse and the fact that some people who called themselves anarchists have now taken on a regionalist independentist ideology is unforgiveable.

This reproduction of 3 texts about the situation is informative. But is too scared to seriously confront the obvious contradictions. It talks of  “The parties… suppressing the anti-capitalist objectives that used to characterize the movement”, without at all informing us of these “anti-capitalist objectives”, of which I’ve heard nothing. It says “Hats off to the anarchists and other anti-authoritarian activists who have spent the last two years spreading non-statist, non-nationalist perspectives and analysis relating to this issue and creating the autonomous, horizontal spaces that have cropped up in this movement since 2017” without providing any details or links to examples of what this has been. In the absence of such evidence it comes over as  wishful-thinking or, at best, a parallel anarchist ideology that avoids confronting  illusions in “Catalonia” for fear of being considered purist or something like that.  “Take your desires for reality” doesn’t mean pretending to yourself that reality conforms to your desires, that the movement will magically transform itself from Catalan nationalism into  a general anti-capitalist struggle. Abstractly, everything could, of course, but without an explicit attack on self-determinist ideology, and the fantasy community it fosters,  and the implicit submission to  an alternative capitalist hierarchy against the one in Madrid, just confronting the cops etc. does not – through some activist fantasy – lead to anywhere other than becoming the ‘violent’ wing of Catalan nationalism. Fascists also fight the cops in certain situations, and often in “horizontalist” ways, without obvious leaders (eg some of the most violent participants in Maidan in the Ukraine in 2014).  Just as you cannot fight alienation with alienated means so the opposite is also true. “Anarchists” who uncritically join this movement  cannot fight capitalism whilst hiding their aims under what is a capitalist content. The whole history of class struggle internationally over the last 100 years or more show that form and content cannot be separated. How  you struggle cannot be separated from what you struggle for.  Whilst independent action could lead to a perspective where proletarians throughout Spain recognise themselves in such independent action it can only do this by asserting as publicly as possible such an aim against localist nationalism. Without this it could equally lead to another method of intensifying the divisions amongst proletarians.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Social revolt in Iraq

Received from a contact (followed by links to various recent events in both countries)

Originally entitled “Social revolt in Iraq and Lebanon”, this text basically concentrated on Iraq. I have now moved all the information on Lebanon to here

SF note: There’s a tendency to minimise the problems and contradictions of these movements (eg patriotism and flag-waving; “citizenist” ideology in Lebanon which ignores class differences; etc.), which nevertheless doesn’t by any means  mean that they’re not significant and that they don’t have a welcome spontaneity and independence.

Demonstrators gather at a protest during a curfew, Baghdad,  October 3, 2019.

At the moment there are significant socio-economic protests in Iraq and Lebanon. From a social-revolutionary perspective, this is a major event in the Middle East. These protests are organized through social networks and are of a leaderless nature. Their participants have managed to overcome sectarian barriers: Sunnis and Shiites have joined the protests.

The movement covers mainly Shiite areas: Baghdad and the southern cities of Iraq. But Sunnis and some Kurds have also spoken of their desire to join. Youths have raised the slogan: “Shiites and Sunnis are brothers!”. The main reason for the protests is related to 40 percent youth unemployment. In addition, in Iraq, social services are poorly functioning, there are not enough doctors, there are failures in the supply of electricity. The main problem is drinking water. Last year, 100,000 residents of the southern city of Basra received infectious diseases due to the fact that they drank dirty water (the entire population of Basra is 2 million people). The protesters are demanding the provision of work, basic public services and they fight against all politicians.

Iraq is incredibly rich. Iraq is the fourth largest oil exporter in the world, exporting 4.5 million barrels per day. But at the same time, Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. A giant inefficient government sector of the economy and private foreign companies that control oil production are appropriating all profits.  Iraqis say: “Politicians get everything, people get nothing!”.

Previously, the government actively used the factor of sectarian division of the country, directing Shiites against Sunnis or Arabs against Kurds.  But currently, mainly Shiite parties are in power, while Shiites make up the majority of protesters. It is therefore difficult for the government to exploit sectarian division. In addition, the core of the protesters are young people (Iraqis aged 15 to 25 make up 8 million of Iraq’s 39 million inhabitants), and they are less dependent on sectarian religious leaders and politicians.

The movement is somewhat reminiscent of the Yellow Vests [SF note: can’t see it helps clarify anything to make this comment]. They attack government offices, shouting slogans against all parties. In the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, youths set fire to the headquarters of all political parties and then chanted : “Nasiriyah has become free of political parties!”

The Iraqi authorities and Pro-Iranian militias were able to weaken this movement by using teams of snipers and other assassins: 163 protesters were killed and 6,000 wounded. However, two days ago, a very similar movement broke out in Lebanon, covering not only Beirut but also the cities in the South.

Today [19th October] is the Shiite Holy day, Arbaeen, and 20 million [sic] pilgrims from Iraq, Lebanon, Iran are gathering in the city of Karbala in southern Iraq and the protesters want to use it.

Recent events

10/12/19:

More on the movement

8/12/19:

Road blocks and massive strikes continue despite massacres

Road blocks and massive strikes also disrupted work in Hilla, Amara, Diwaniya, Kut and the shrine city of Najaf.

6/12/19:

Baghdad: 20 people mowed down, but still they refuse to give up and go home

5/12/19:

Baghdad: further clashes

2/12/19:

Report on student strikes

“Since October 25, university and school students across Baghdad and Iraq’s south have defied the government and gone on strike to support protesters’ demands…”There are barely any jobs out there, even if you’re a university graduate,” he told Al Jazeera. “So, what’s the point of going to class now and then being unemployed a few years later.”…Most of those boycotting classes have been university-level students but school teachers and students have also taken part. After the Iraqi teachers’ syndicate called for a nationwide strike from October 28 to November 7 to mark the beginning of school walkouts, most schools in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces shut their doors..”During the official strike, we saw 100 percent adherence at most schools across Baghdad and the south,” .. when the education ministry tried to end the strike by threatening to blame the syndicate for any measures it takes against striking teachers, the body fought back… 50 to 75 percent of school students in Baghdad and the south were on partial strike or attended protests after school hours. The ministry of higher education has warned that if university students continue to strike it may cancel spring break, while the army has warned it would detain administrators who keep schools shut as part of its fight against “terror””

1/12/19:

Najaf: Iranian consulate burns again

30/11/19:

Report on day’s events

29/11/19:

Informative Guardian report

“…an eerie howl from a brass trumpet breaks the uneasy silence. This is the signal for a group of young men to re-congregate for a night of personal and targeted action: burning the homes of local officials, politicians and militia leaders…In the capital, sit-ins and strikes by students have symbolised the hopes of a young generation yearning for a post-sectarian politics. But in the south, where Iran-backed militias are either stronger than the state or are the state, and where a party or a militia can dominate a single security apparatus, the rage and anger has been more personal and more vengeful….In Ammara, for instance, a crowd burnt the headquarters of a powerful Iranian-backed militia. Guards opened fire, and during the ensuing clashes protesters pulled the militia’s injured commander from an ambulance and killed him…”…when local people heard the bullets and saw their young getting killed, they left their houses. It became a matter of honour and shame. We decided to liberate our cities from these parties.”…The anger towards the militias and political parties, activists say, began with the defeat of Isis, when young men returned from the frontlines to find that their commanders had turned into warlords, accumulating wealth and business contracts. …“So many politicians and officials come from here, and yet this a very poor town in a very poor province,” says Mohamed, a human rights activist and a vocal anti-corruption campaigner. “During the elections the politicians give people blankets and a few phone cards, hire a few men to the police, pave a road … that’s how they win votes. After 16 years of Shia rule, the Shia kids are now saying that things were better under Saddam.”

27/11/19:

Najaf: Iranian consulate torched (videos and links)

Iranians support the action

25/11/19:

Dhi Qar: state tells riot cops to withdraw after they kill 13

“Several roads remain blocked by protesters in Basra, as well as bridges and roads in Najaf. Elsewhere in the south, protesters had previously cut roads leading to Umm Qasr, the country’s main commodities port, halting all trade activity. Security forces cleared the area of protesters on Thursday, with at least two protesters killed. The al-Shayeb border crossing has been reopened for people traveling from Iraq to Iran, the border authority announced on Monday…The closure, at the request of the Iranian side, was caused by protests in Iran. The Iraqi News Agency also reported that a group of “outlaws” targeted security forces with hand grenades and Molotov cocktails in the Hafez al-Qadi area in Baghdad, injuring 11.”

24/11/19:

13 people killed in oil-rich South of country

“Demonstrators outraged by rampant government corruption and poor services burned tires and blocked main road arteries…seven protesters were killed in the southern province of Basra, near the Umm Qasr port…Earlier in Basra, which accounts for nearly 85 percent of the country’s crude oil production, protesters burned tires in the city center cutting main roads. Officials said four protesters were killed in Nassiriya province, and one killed in both Najaf and Diwanieh provinces. One security official in Basra said it was “one of the worst” days since the start of the protest movement. At least 150 protesters were wounded. At least 342 people have died since demonstrations began October 1…The leaderless uprising seeks to overthrow the political establishment. Security forces appeared to have fired live rounds at protesters near the Umm Qasr port, killing three …Protesters had cut roads leading to Umm Qasr, the country’s main commodities port, halting all trade activity. Security forces cleared the area of protesters on Thursday.”

23/11/19:

Clashes continue in Nassiriya & Baghdad

21/11/19:

Baghdad: 8 die in clashes particularly concentrated on 3 bridges

20/11/19:

Karbala: heavy clashes

17/11/19:

Baghdad: Heavy clashes as protesters hold 3 bridges leading to Iraqi government’s Green Zone

16/11/19:

More clashes in  Baghdad (videos and links)

14/11/19:

Movement re-closes port

12/11/19:

And so it continues (videos & links)

9/11/19:

Movement not weakening as death toll reaches 300 (videos and links)

8/11/19:

The fight continues

“In the southern city of Basra, security forces dispersed a sit-in outside the local government headquarters…Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shia-majority Iraq, held security forces accountable for any violent escalation and urged the government to respond as quickly as possible to demonstrators’ demands… Protesters, some of whom view al-Sistani as part of the political and religious system they say is the cause of many Iraqis’ misery, took little solace from the scholar’s words. “He says he’s supporting protests and that we should keep going, but he hasn’t helped. The speech won’t make a difference either way,” said one woman protesting in Baghdad whose son was killed in recent clashes…In Basra, at least five protesters were killed in confrontations on Thursday and early Friday, with security forces trying to reopen roads blocked by sit-ins, medical officials and state media said. For a week, protesters have cut access to Basra’s Umm Qasr port, which brings in most of Iraq’s food and medical imports. In Baghdad, six people died facing off against security forces Thursday”

7/11/19:

4 killed as battle to close port continues; state says port closure has cost $6bn

“Demonstrators block gates to Umm Qasr port in southern Iraq, hours after services resumed following days of closure…Iraq‘s security forces shot dead at least four protesters in Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said, as weeks of deadly unrest showed no signs of abating. Another 35 people were wounded in clashes near Shuhada Bridge as mass demonstrations continued for a 13th straight day with thousands thronging central areas of the capital. The protesters were trying to remove barriers near two bridges that lead to the western bank of the Tigris River and provide access to the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies. Now all bridges leading to the Green Zone have been blocked by security forces…Protesters, mostly unemployed young people, blame a political elite that has ruled Iraq since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in a 2003 US-led invasion, and demand a complete overhaul of the political system…In southern Iraq, protesters forced the closing of the country’s main port hours after services had resumed following days of closure. The short-lived reopening of the Umm Qasr port, which houses a vital oil terminal and is an entry point for food and basic goods, came a day after the military called on the protesters to stop blocking roads and ports. But shortly afterwards, dozens of anti-government protesters – including relatives of a demonstrator killed during weeks of violence – returned and started burning tires and blocking the road to the port. Cargo-carrying trucks came to a standstill and the port shut down again. The country is beginning to feel the fiscal pinch of weeks of the unrest, which started in Baghdad and quickly spread to southern cities. The new stoppage of operations at Umm Qasr port in the south is likely to compound financial losses a day after the government said a weeklong halt of operations had cost more than $6bn…Internet returned briefly in most parts of Iraq on Thursday but went out again after 1pm local time (10:00 GMT). Authorities have heavily restricted internet access during the protests. The government said it is enacting reforms but has offered nothing that is likely to satisfy most protesters. Stipends for the poor, more job opportunities for graduates, and pledges to punish a handful of corrupt officials have come too late for those demanding an overhaul of state institutions, a flawed electoral process, and system of governance that has fuelled endemic corruption, many Iraqis say.”

6/11/19:

Protests shut down oil field

“… the field’s 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production have been shut in for several days because road blockades in Basra are preventing tanker trucks from bringing crude to the Khor al-Zubair port. ” More here “Protests in Iraq shut down the country’s key port at Umm Qasr on Wednesday morning, as demonstrators took control of entrances into the facility days after thousands successfully blocked off the highway leading to the port.Protesters have also cordoned off the road to Iraq’s key Majnoon oil field near the southern city of Basra, while police have closed the road leading to the nearby Iranian consulate.Protesters have focused their rage on symbols of the Islamic Republic in recent days, attempting to torch the consulate in Karbala on Monday while calling for the end of Iranian meddling in domestic politics. …Six people have been killed in Basra in the past 24-hours as security forces fired rounds of live ammunition and military-grade tear gas grenades in an attempt to disperse crowds…Demonstrations showed no sign of abating in the capital, with one protester killed by smoke inhalation and at least 20 more injured after security forces opened fire on protesters attempting to cross the Al-Shuhada bridge. Three other bridges have been shut down in an effort to quash the rallies, paralysing traffic in the capital. Protests have been centered in Tahrir Square, on the eastern bank of the Tigris, as demonstrators have attempted to reach the heavily-fortified Green Zone which lies on the other side and houses government offices and foreign embassies. Two more protesters were killed in renewed clashes in Karbala on Wednesday, as the holy city becomes a flashpoint of the anti-government demonstrations.”

5/11/19:

Umm Qasr & Shatrah – protesters seize armoured vehicle as 3 die whilst state tries to re-open port blocked for 3 days; internet shut down

“After the clashes in Shatrah, protesters set fire to the homes of three local members of parliament, according to protesters and media reports. Other protesters said there were clashes between demonstrators and security forces on Tuesday night in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, where protesters attacked the Iranian Consulate earlier this week…In Baghdad, protesters crossed a Tigris River bridge on Monday and clashed with security forces near the headquarters of state-run TV and the office of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. At least five protesters and a member of the security forces were killed, and scores were wounded. The protesters set tires and trash containers ablaze within 500 meters (yards) of the offices, sending huge clouds of black smoke into the sky. Netblocks, a group that monitors worldwide internet access, reported a major shutdown by Iraqi authorities overnight, with usage in Baghdad and southern Iraq dropping to 19% of normal. It said the internet was partially restored early Tuesday, but that “some networks are still offline and social media and messaging apps remain blocked or degraded.” Authorities shut down internet access and blocked social media sites several times during the protests in October, but Netblocks said the latest shutdown was the most severe yet.”

Karbala warzone video

4/11/19:

Clashes continue – 5 dead (videos and links)

Mainstream (Al Jazeera) report

“The young generations no longer believe in political parties and leadership. Instead, they have increasingly resorted to trade unions and professional syndicates to voice their opinions… Groups that are far removed from any political parties were responsible for organising the demonstrations. “

3/11/19:

Iraqis block roads throughout Bagdhad as movement develops throughout country

“Roads closed by order of the people,” read a banner in a road that was blocked with burning tyres and barbed wire. University-age demonstrators, meanwhile, stopped traffic by parking cars in the middle of main thoroughfares, as police officers manning nearby checkpoints looked on without intervening. Other students took part in sit-ins at their schools, while the country’s national teachers union extended the strike they launched last week. Engineering, doctors and lawyers’ syndicates have all backed the demonstrations. Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Baghdad, said the day was “anything but a typical start to the work week”. “Teachers are on strike, [classes] in Baghdad and other cities are cancelled,” Ghoneim said, adding that students were later expected to stage a protest in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad. “In the eastern portion of Baghdad, the roads are an absolute mess. Protesters are blocking many major intersections, they are lighting tyres on fire making it difficult for people to get to work. As a result, various government offices and businesses have been closed.” Demonstrators also blocked roads in the country’s south, as schools and government offices closed for the day. South of Basra, they blocked the highway leading to the Umm Qasr port, after security forces attempted to disperse a sit-in a day earlier. In the eastern city of Kut, Tahseen Nasser, a 25-year-old protester, told AFP news agency: “We decided to cut the roads as a message to the government that we will keep protesting until the corrupt people and thieves are kicked out and the regime falls…We’re not allowing government workers to reach their offices, just those in humanitarian fields,” including hospitals and police officers, he said.” Police officers – humanitarian? Though trying to stop cops would likely lead to a shoot-out, there’s no need to justify avoiding this by claiming that cops are somehow “humanitarian”, especially after the massacre of over 200 people over the last month.

2/11/19:

Important port near Basra blocked while riots continue

“Port operations, which receives the vast majority of Iraqi imports of grains, vegetable oils and sugar… have been completely paralyzed since Wednesday. Protesters first blocked their entry a day earlier, preventing trucks carrying goods from entering or leaving the facility and causing some International shipping lines to stop operations there”

1/11/19:

Massive protests continue as state uses military-grade teargas  Morehere

31/10/19:

1 killed during further clashes

“We want a total change of government, we don’t want one or two officials fired and replaced with other corrupt ones. We want to completely uproot the government,” said protester Hussein, who did not give a last name, in Tahrir Square. “They think we will protest for one or two days then go home. No, we are staying here until the government is uprooted.” Protesters from across Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divides thronged the centre of Baghdad in a show of fury at an elite they see as deeply corrupt, beholden to foreign powers and responsible for daily privations and shambolic public services. Protests also took place in seven other provinces, mostly in the southern Shi’ite heartland. Thousands gathered in Nassiriya, Diwaniya and oil-rich Basra while hundreds hit the streets in Hilla, Samawa, and the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf.”

29/10/19:

At least 14 killed in Karbala

The deaths in Karbala come after three people died on Monday in the southern city of Nasiriyah from wounds sustained in earlier protests, according to medical sources. Security forces also used tear gas to disperse hundreds of school and university students who joined the protests in Baghdad on Monday. Two soldiers were reportedly seen beating high school students with batons in the Iraqi capital, actions that were condemned by the Iraqi Defense Ministry, which said the soldiers did not represent the Iraqi military as a whole. In an attempt to quell protests, a curfew was introduced in Baghdad on Monday.”

Informative report on  recent events 

28/10/19:

At least 2 killed as movement continues

“At least two anti-government protesters were killed and 105 were wounded in clashes with security forces in central Baghdad on Monday as thousands of students took to the streets in defiance of a government order and tear gas from security forces. The students skipped classes at several universities and secondary schools in Baghdad and across Iraq’s majority-Shiite south on Monday to take part in the protests, despite the government ordering schools and universities to operate normally. It was not clear how many students were among those killed and wounded. The demonstrations are fueled by anger at corruption, economic stagnation and poor public services. “It’s a student revolution, no to the government, no to parties!” demonstrators chanted in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests. Protesters have camped out in the central roundabout and volunteers have brought them food, hoping to recreate the revolutionary atmosphere of similar rallies held across the region during and after the 2011 Arab Spring….At least 72 protesters have been killed since nationwide anti-government protests resumed on Friday, after 149 were killed during an earlier wave of protests this month.”

Videos and links here

26/10/19:

Over 60 killed as protesters torch dozens of provincial government buildings, party offices and offices belonging to factions of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force

25/10/19:

Clashes begin as scheduled (links and videos) – 2 killed so far

Thousands of young Iraqis have again amassed in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, shouting “they’re all thieves” on Friday, 25 October. Security forces tried to disperse them with tear gas and warning shots. Two protesters were killed in the morning, according to the Government Commission for Human Rights. “According to preliminary reports, they were hit in the face with a tear gas grenade,” Ali Al-Bayati, a member of the Commission, told AFP, adding that nearly 100 demonstrators and members of the security forces order were injured.

21/10/19:

Troops on alert as protesters prepare for more demonstrations on 25th October

20/10/19:

US troops withdrawing from Syria are going to Iraq

SF note: there’s a certain irony amongst those denouncing the “genocide” of the Kurds in Syria (roughly 150 have been killed – certainly horrible but so far not at all genocidal, despite Trump saying the Turks needed to have a swath of Syria “cleaned out” after battling with Syrian Kurds there) whilst largely remaining silent about the 150 people who have been  killed recently in the protests in Iraq. And now we see one of the reasons for this withdrawal – not just to give the green light to Turkey but to suppress the movement in Iraq.

6/10/19:

Iraq: clashes continue (videos and links)

5/10/19:

Iraq: death toll reaches 100 as clashes continue in Baghdad and southern part of countrythis says 8 soldiers amongst those killed

“On Saturday morning the curfew was lifted in Baghdad, where over a dozen demonstrators were killed, and 40 more were wounded. Focal point Tahrir Square remains closed to cars. A witness claimed that army units tried to stop police from firing on protesters, but the military eventually retreated. Masked gunmen attacked several media outlets, including the offices of NRT, Al-Arabiya, Al-Hadath, Fallouja TV, Al-Ghad Al-Araby, SkyNews Arabia, Al-Sharqiya and Dijlah TV.“…HQs of 6 political parties torched “The mainly young, male protesters have insisted their movement is not linked to any party or religious establishment and have scoffed at recent overtures by politicians. On Saturday, demonstrators in the southern city of Nasiriyah set fire to the headquarters of six different political parties. Thousands also descended on the governorate in the southern city of Diwaniyah” See also this chronology of events from November 2018 back to July 2018 . See also this “Iraq’s wobbly democracy relies on the support of the Shia majority. The protests, though, have erupted in Shia areas and attracted the support of mostly young Iraqis, many of whom are unemployed. They are fed up with the government’s perceived incompetence and corruption. Despite increased oil revenues and relative peace after years of civil war, jobs are scarce and services are poor…There have been big protests before. In 2016 thousands of Iraqis stormed the then-fortified Green Zone, the seat of government in Baghdad, and demanded political reforms. The current protests are more spread out. There have been rallies in provincial capitals across the south and smaller, more violent protests in the suburbs. They are too numerous for the security forces to control. In Baghdad young men have cut off the airport road and set fire to the offices of the ruling Shia parties. The Green Zone, which was opened to the public in June, has been resealed. The timing of the protests seems to have caught the government off-guard. Normally they take place in the summer, when water and electricity are scarce. But the rains this year have been good and electricity production is at a post-war high. The government’s coffers are fairly flush thanks to record oil production. Still, it has been unable to deal with high poverty rates, and with youth unemployment that stands around 25%. The anger intensified after the security forces beat up new graduates seeking public-sector jobs last month. Scenes of them destroying homes built without planning permission further inflamed public sentiment… Masked men have smashed the offices of anti-Iranian satellite-TV stations that aired protest footage. Hundreds of activists have been arrested. Others have been killed in their homes. The government is also in disarray. Mr Abdul-Mahdi has unveiled a raft of measures aimed at calming the protesters, such as land distributions and increased welfare payments. But the speaker of parliament, Mahmoud al-Halbousi, has broadcast his own list of measures, including financial support for over a million low-income families… protesters… have… ignored appeals for calm from the chief Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who also warned the government that it must heed the demands of the protesters or things will get worse. Iraq’s young democracy, no stranger to tumult, may be facing its most dangerous moment yet. ”

3/10/19:

Iraq: death toll rises as state shuts down internet on 3rd day of protests More links and videos here

2/10/19:

Iraq: 10 dead, including 1 cop, as riots against corruption, lack of electricity, water & work spread to 8 different towns (videos and links)

“A curfew is in effect in the Iraqi capital Baghdad after a second day of clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces. The restrictions will remain in place until further notice. Curfews had already been declared in three other cities as protests over lack of jobs, poor services and corruption escalated. The violence has left at least seven people dead and hundreds wounded. Social media platforms and internet access have been blocked in some areas. The nationwide protests, which appear to lack any organised leadership, are the largest since Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi took office a year ago.here. More here. Video here explaining situation.

1/10/19

Iraq, Baghdad: 1 killed in protests against corruption, lack of water, of electricity and of work (videos and links)

See also entries for 21/12/18, 15/12/18 & 14/12/18 here and Iraq 2018 

And also these texts on this site:

Kamikaze Kapitalism (2003) On the Iraq war 2003 and aspects of its real and false opposition

Kurdish Uprising On the Kurdish uprising following the 1991 Gulf war

gulf war 1991: the daily horror (1991)

*******

 

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

fare dodging was never like this! (Chile, October and onwards, 2019)

Worth reading: an account, and an interview with an anarchist participant in the movement

See comments boxes at the bottom of this post for links to other texts

“…for the majority of people the revolt has put a smile on their face (not something you see often in Santiago)…”

See also “Chile” on this site (a chronology over the last year, plus some extra links)

 What’s beautiful is not how we see ourselves but this fire we have in our heads

Love 68 copy

Left: Chile November 2019                                   Right: Paris, May 1968

9/12/19:

Concepcion: clashes and barricades

Depressing lack of hardly any struggle and solidarity amongst copper miners

How to disguise yourself during a riot

4/12/19:

Anarchist critique of  capital’s Left-wing

Al Jazeera report on state violence

30/11/19:

Mapuches begin expropriation of expropriators

Whilst it’s obvious that the Mapuches have been possibly the most significant victims of state violence, it’s vital not to just accept their culture, and the hierarchical elements of their culture,  as an uncriticisable given. But I need to discover more about them.

Report out by anarchists covering events 10th November to 21st November

29/11/19:

Sad news for the president

” Pinera’s approval rating has slumped to 12%…It’s tough on a billionaire accustomed to success.”

as capital’s left-wing hope to ride to the rescue on our behalf

“The only long-term solution is a Constituent Assembly. This is the only way that the legitimacy problem can be circumvented.” A Constituent Assembly was Germany’s social democratic solution to the revolution that ended WWl, using the fascist Freikorps to repress the most revolutionary sections. The German working class, having occupied the factories,  effectively had most of the power of the economy in their hands but handed this power over to Social Democrats who’d already helped send them to the slaughter of the trenches. As “long-term” solutions go, we can see the long term results of this Constituent Assembly – Hitler’s eventual ascent to power and WWll.  Today, anyone with intelligence and the  will to determine their own lives knows that the only solution globally to the crises of austerity, of the emptiness of daily life and of the impending destruction of the planet is the global suppression of the commodity economy, not some Constituent Assembly.  The affirmation of the masses of individuals against the materialised  alienated power that’s been stolen from us aims for nothing less. But many are far too easily distracted into reforms of this, that and the other that can only, at best,  offer temporary relief from the disaster; at worst, merely a mirage of hope that evaporates as soon as you approach it.

28/11/19:

Chile: clashes, barricades and looting in 7 cities

Peso falls to new low 2 days running

Union bureaucrats meet with murdering government  to discuss crisis of their respective forms of organisation

New text

In the last few days, a new form of social organization has emerged. The masses stop traffic, drivers must get out of the car and dance with the people if they want to get through. On Sunday afternoon, a U.S. Citizen in the middle of one of these demonstrations fired his weapon in front of the protesters, demanding a “legitimate defense”. Since then, the state has condemned the spontaneous manifestation as psychological torture. They call it a “fascist practice”, a form of humiliation to take away your dignity, to tell you, “you do not own your life, we control it and will tell you what you have to do.”

27/11/19:

Anarchist report on this day

Santiago: shopping mall enveloped in fog from fire extinguishers set off by demonstrators

General statement by anarcho-feminist group in Chile

26/11/19:

Offices of newspaper torched (San Antonio); luxury hotel also torched (La Serena) and other news

Rioters relax with a can of beer on deckchairs, in front of the Hotel Costa Real de La Serena, while it burned after being ransacked

At night, hooded men ransacked and burned a luxury Costa Real hotel and a public office in the city of La Serena, while a supermarket was robbed in Iquique, and the newspaper El Líder de San Antonio was burned. In Valparaíso protesters installed barricades and caused fires. Earlier in Santiago, thousands marched in the context of a strike that ended with hooded people rioting,  shattering the gates of the Republic Station of Metro Line 1 to build barricades….
Meanwhile, thousands of other people gathered to demonstrate in Plaza Italia, in downtown Santiago, where riots occurred. …After more than a month of protests, 67% of the population expressed their support for maintaining these mobilizations.
a barbecue of looted goods

Antofagasta

Sofa so goooood

State boosts military and cop powers

“Pinera.. now wants to change the law so the army can be deployed to “control infrastructure, including essential public services and police activities” without the need to declare a state of emergency. It would allow the military to “monitor and patrol our streets,” he enthused.”

Which brings to mind this quote from Chilean anarchists: “… the government, with its tail between its legs, in a meeting at La Moneda asks the Armed Forces once again for help in the systematic repression of our class, however, the latter asked the government for guarantees of impunity for the crimes against humanity they would carry out against the peoples in struggle, and in view of the liberal fear of the political responsibilities associated with this decision, the government decided not to guarantee such a request, so the Armed Forces decided not to go out into the street, leaving Piñera and his ridiculous entourage in a National Chain where the braggart had to call retired cops to collaborate in the repression. Far from seeming funny to us, it seems worrying, the Armed Forces are deliberating and making decisions for themselves, therefore their political project takes on relevance in the current scenario, a project that will look for the impossibility of the current political caste to establish order in the face of the social outburst starting from a political solution, to intervene violently in the situation, in order to re-establish the bourgeois order at the point of bullets and humiliations. We call on the communities in struggle to be alert to the possibility of military terror returning to the streets, but this time from a more radical intervention.”

25/11/19/:

Ally of president says rights abuses necessary

Dockworkers in Chile paralyse ports ahead of broader strike

“Members of the Chilean Dockworkers Union began a 48-hour strike on Monday morning, paralysing operations at 24 ports up and down the country’s 6,435km (4,000-mile) Pacific coastline. Education, health, transport, public sector and other labour unions are scheduled to strike on Tuesday…”We’re on strike because of the injustice in the country,” said Walter Inestroza, a spokesperson for the local branch of the dockworkers union in Antofagasta ..”There is so much inequality,” Alberto Mamquepan, an indigenous Mapuche dockworker in Antofagasta, told Al Jazeera. “The system is rotten.” Compared to most jobs in the city, dockworkers make good money, but dockworkers also have parents and grandparents with miserable pensions, said Mamquepan. The protests cannot be pinned down to any single issue, he said. “It is … everything. It is not one single thing. That is why things exploded,” he said. “This affects us all.”…Government officials estimate arson, looting and property destruction over the past five weeks have caused $3bn in property damage.

National strike prelude to general strike tomorrow

24/11/19:

Cops get advice from cops in  France, the UK and Spain

22-23/11/19:

Santiago: Bank looted; 7 police stations attacked throughout country

Violence continued on Saturday in Chile… with the pillaging of a bank near Santiago, the looting of shops and  attacks on police stations, and dozens of wounded and arrests…A protest Friday in Maipu, in the suburbs of the capital, escalated into violence all night long. One group took the opportunity to storm a bank and leave with 150 million pesos (about 190,000 dollars), 16,000 dollars, 3,800 euros and two weapons…Following a massive new protest on Plaza Italia in Santiago, the epicenter of the social movement, shops, supermarkets and offices were ransacked in the city center. Two shopping malls and a cultural center were set on fire by people wearing hoods…Protesters also attacked seven police stations across the country, in the capital and in the towns of La Calera (center), Bulnes and Los Angeles (south). Saturday’s violent day resulted in 127 injuries among civilians and law enforcement officials, and nearly 300 arrests nationwide

22/11/19:

Furious protests continue

“The death toll from violent unrest in Chile rose to 23 on Friday as the country entered its fifth week of social unrest. Looting and demonstrations took place in cities across the South American nation, and an agreement on a political roadmap that will see Chile draft a new constitution has halted neither the anger, nor the bloodshed…”We cannot ease up. We have to keep expressing ourselves because we have not achieved anything, because the repression continues and also (the government) keeps signing fake agreements, like the peace deal,” Claudia Ortolani, a young protester, told AFP…in Quilicura, north of Santiago, a shopping center was set on fire and looted by a crowd while in Puente Alto, another working-class area, a gas station, a police headquarters and businesses were attacked. In the northern city of Antofagasta, a motorist injured five people when he ran down protesters, while a supermarket was ransacked. Looting, barricades and fires were also recorded in the port of Valparaiso and the city of Vina del Mar, and in Concepcion in the south.”

21/11/19:

Clashes in 3 cities (videos and links)…anarchist report on the day

19/11/19:

Santiago: secondary school students barricade main avenues

Translation of the 4th Communiqué of the Santiago Anarchist Federation

“…on Tuesday, November 12, in the context of the massive strike that spread through all the territories, the government, with its tail between its legs, in a meeting at La Moneda asks the Armed Forces once again for help in the systematic repression of our class, however, the latter asked the government for guarantees of impunity for the crimes against humanity they would carry out against the peoples in struggle, and in view of the liberal fear of the political responsibilities associated with this decision, the government decided not to guarantee such a request, so the Armed Forces decided not to go out into the street, leaving Piñera and his ridiculous entourage in a National Chain where the braggart had to call retired cops to collaborate in the repression. Far from seeming funny to us, it seems worrying, the Armed Forces are deliberating and making decisions for themselves, therefore their political project takes on relevance in the current scenario, a project that will look for the impossibility of the current political caste to establish order in the face of the social outburst starting from a political solution, to intervene violently in the situation, in order to re-establish the bourgeois order at the point of bullets and humiliations. We call on the communities in struggle to be alert to the possibility of military terror returning to the streets, but this time from a more radical intervention.”

Walmart seeks police protection after the burning &/or looting of over 120 of their supermarkets during the movement 

This represents about a third of their total retail outlets. According to some, about an eighth of the country’s supermarkets were wrecked &/or looted.

This gives higher figures: “The company has experienced 1,200 episodes of lootings and fires at 128 of its nearly 400 stores, with 34 supermarkets being set on fire, and 17 of them being destroyed”.

Christmas shopping comes early

18/11/19:

Interesting bourgeois report on situation in South America

“In Chile, it was sparked by a minor increase in the capital’s subway fare. In Ecuador, it was the end of fuel subsidies, and in Bolivia, a stolen election. Latin America, which a decade ago harnessed a commodities boom to pull millions out of poverty and offer what many saw as a model of modernization, is in revolt. It’s not another pink tide, nor is it a lurch to the right; the movement is more a non-specific, down-with-the-system rage. Furious commuters are looting cities, governments are on the run, and investors are unloading assets as fast as they can…”

Protests continue as ruling class hope to derail it with referendum on new constitution and a few reforms More on this here (Trotskyist site)

“Throughout the weekend, demonstrators responded to these maneuvers by again filling the streets of Santiago, Valparaíso, Antofagasta and other major cities to protest the agreement. On Sunday, a media stunt by the former presidential candidate for the Broad Front, Beatriz Sánchez, who received over 20 percent of the vote in 2017, failed when demonstrators chanted for her to leave the main plaza of Santiago calling her a “traitor.”…Across the major “popular assemblies,” within the trade unions, and through its online publication La Izquierda Diario, the Revolutionary Workers Party (PTR) has played a key role in legitimizing the PCCh and Broad Front and channeling all opposition behind them. It has claimed that these assemblies run by tested and tried officials loyal to bourgeois rule are a necessary step toward “popular self-organization.” PTR leader Nicolás Bustamante said at a rally in Buenos Aires on Saturday organized by its Argentine partner PTS, that the PTR created one such assembly “from the Colegio de Profesores [teachers’ union]…with the goal of expanding this organism to the rest of workers organizations, form dockworkers to miners, and the most organized neighborhoods.” Their assembly has so far voted for “a campaign against repression” and “demanding that the trade-union bureaucracy of the Social Unity Roundtable…again demand ‘Out Piñera’ and a general strike to achieve that.”

17/11/19:

Mapuches reject constitutional bullshit

15/11/19:

State pins hopes on ”100% democratic” new constitution to end movement

14/11/19:

Santiago, Valparaiso, Temuco: clashes, barricades, motolovs & some looting  on 1st anniversary of murder of Mapuche Indian (videos and links)

Lasers & molotovs force military armoured vehicle to retreat

13/11/19:

Peso hits record low

12/11/19:

Antofagasta: video of some actions

Unions strike in support of ongoing protests

11/11/19:

Talca: offices of UDI (pro-Pinochet party) torched (7 others having been torched beforehand) Videos and links

Wikipedia article on this party

10/11/19:

Chile (Renaca et Punta Arenas): rioting and looting  (videos and links in Spanish)

8/11/19:

Santiago: Jesus helps out on the barricades

“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions”

– Karl Marx, “Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Below:

I wonder if these anarchists were thinking of Bakunin’s suggestion during the 1849 Dresden uprising that the artworks of the museum be looted and put up on the barricades to slow the advance of the troops whose generals would value art above human beings…? In a Catholic country for troops to shoot the Virgin Mary would result in permanent excommunication.

(see also entry for 26/10/19 below)

Inspired by Chopin’s “Revolutionary Étude”?

University torched

This university was private, strictly for the children of the bourgeoisie – ie the future bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, it’s not only the obvious institutions for the training of the future elite that need subverting: ” The University has always been… as fundamental an aspect of class society as has been the dominant media: a society in which the ruling class speaks to, and tries to convince, itself and society generally in order to ever-perfect its forms of social control. Whilst academia’s differing illusions of “objectivity” and “neutral” acquisition of knowledge have changed and developed, along with its intake, over the centuries, its fundamental prop for this miserable world has always remained….There will be no more reason to retain the University in a free society than to retain banks, police or supermarkets. The University is, as always, a product and producer of the hierarchical division of labour, and must disappear if we’re ever to free ourselves from the alienations of class society: in the only possible future which does not involve barbarism, education shall be everywhere, the educators shall be educated and those who have specialist knowledge will share this knowledge with whoever they want (and not just in the future, but also now). In the present, with the increasing imposition of debt-inducing fees, in many countries the University’s intellectual specialisation is increasingly open only to the children of the elite, but even where such fees are being successfully resisted, there is no reason to support such an ideology-factory. In manufacturing ideas separate from their social consequences, it is an arm of separate power, of class power. There is no such thing as a Free University, an Open University or a People’s University, any more than there could be such a thing as a Free Bank, an Open Bank or a People’s Bank (or a Free Police, an Open Police or a People’s Police). The abolition of the commodity economy and the abolition of specialised intellect necessary to justify and reinforce it entail the end of both universities and banks. Just as banks are an expression of the mediation of life by value and the relatively arbitary hierarchies it produces, so universities are a symptom of the hierarchy of brain over body, thought divorced from its social consequences, the production of words and insights resulting at best in “interesting ideas”: entertainment or half-truths easily used by our enemies.” – here

More here

“This is going to be the longest march in history and not because of its length, but because we are not going to leave the streets. The people of Chile are tired,” Jorge Salinas, a 62-year-old worker, told the EFE Agency…The protest in Plaza Italia took place peacefully, however there were also some moments of confrontations with riot police, looting and isolated riots….In one of the corners of the square, a historic building of the Pedro de Valdivia University was attacked by hooded people who looted…The property, dating from the early twentieth century, was set on fire. The same fate was met by the Civil Registry of the Providencia neighborhood of the Chilean capital. In addition, there were several  barricade attacks and fires in the city streets…The violence of recent weeks led Piñera to convene on Thursday the controversial National Security Council (Cosena) to take action against “vandalism.” The body was created during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and is made up of the presidents of the congressional chambers and the commanders of the armed forces, among others…The sociologist Octavio Avedaño considered the call of Cosena as a “provocation” by Piñera and a sign that he is “totally disconnected” from the demands of the people. “Instead of delving into the social agenda he had set, he decided to put out the fire with gasoline. I predict an intensification of the protests

7/11/19:

Concepcion: destruction of right-wing party HQ

“The office of the Independent Democratic Union [party whose origins are linked to Pinochet; it opposes abortion and other minimal freedoms for women] was destroyed after unknown people looted and burned it. This was also the headquarters of the senator and party president Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe and her brother Enrique Van Rysselberghe, a deputy from the same district.”

More clashes etc

“…once again the commune of Providencia was the scene of barricades and looting during the afternoon of Thursday, on a new day of demonstrations.  The calls to protest…caused barricades and clashes with police in various intersections of Providencia Avenue, such as Lyon, Sweden, Pedro de Valdivia, Holland, Old Guard and Miguel Claro, in addition to other interior streets. Looting was also recorded at the Casa & Ideas store near Sweden, where violent people stormed the premises and took out various items to set them on fire and disrupt traffic. An attack was also reported against a local Pronto de Copec [petrol station].

State moans about estimated $1 billion worth of damage caused by movement

Money is very violent: it robs, kills and walks free

6/11/19:

Santiago: 2 banks looted, government buildings attacked, as riots spread to rich part of town and state tries to buy off movement with increase in minimum wage

Hundreds of demonstrators marched towards the Costanera Center, South America’s largest shopping mall and a complex that includes the region’s tallest building — a symbol of the economic expansion that has made Chile one the region’s most stable countries. A phalanx of riot police stopped the demonstrators, firing water cannons and launching tear gas to disperse the crowds that gathered at the mall.The demonstrations then spilled into the wealthy Providencia neighborhood, the hub of Chile’s financial sector, where protesters lit fires, battled with police, looted a pharmacy and at least two banks, and damaged government buildings…Separately in Renca, a working-class neighborhood in northern Santiago, a small crowd attacked a police station leaving five officers injured. And truckers and car drivers blocked highways protesting the increase in road tolls…, on Wednesday [Pinera] signed a law guaranteeing a minimum monthly wage of some $467.” More here ” ”I came here because it’s an iconic place for the whole economic model,” said Gonzalo Campos, an intern, as he banged a saucepan on the street. “This is where all the posh people live and there are never demonstrations here. They have to learn how much discontent there is and the only way is to come here and protest in their faces.” In the streets around him a few hundred demonstrators played cat and mouse with police who deployed water cannons and tear gas to move them on. Protesters quickly picked up the tear gas canisters and threw them in the San Carlos canal that runs through the neighborhood. Towering over the protest was Latin America’s tallest building, a symbol of Chile’s modernity and progress that sits on top of the Costanera Center shopping mall. On Tuesday, welders had installed barbed wire and metallic shutters around the mall. Workers in the nearby offices and buildings sites had left early and tried to make their way home through the tear gas on the streets. Some local residents clapped the protesters from their window. …A plethora of groups from students to unions are pushing for improvements to wages, pensions, health care, education and transport, as well as a new constitution. So far, social concessions granted by the center-right government of President Sebastian Pinera have failed to appease them. “There isn’t one single struggle,” said Javier Pino, a student at the University of Santiago in the protest. “There is population-wide discontent about the low wages and the high cost of living.”” More here In Renca, a popular neighborhood in northern Santiago, about 20 people attacked a police station. Five policemen were injured. Lorry drivers and motorists have also blocked several roads.

5/11/19:

Clashes continue (video of Santiago riots)

4/11/19:

More heavy clashes (videos and links)

3/11/19:

More demonstrations. Includes video

“All governments – left or right wing – have stolen from us” – protester

2/11/19:

What seems (from this distance)  like a trade union initiative bordering on recuperation but maybe with potential to go beyond that

“Chileans have installed some 200 “Self-Convened and Open Town Councils” to maintain the independence and strength of their collective action….the Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) presented to the citizens a weekend protest program which includes the performance of a “Super Monday” with mass mobilizations throughout the country. On next Monday Chilean workers will march at 12:00 to the Congress, which is located in Valparaiso city, to demand right-wing lawmakers to stop the debate of the government’s bills. At 5:00 p.m., people will gather at the cities’ main squares carrying posters with their demands. In Santiago, the concentration will take place in the Italy Square where the population will remind Piñera that the collective struggle seeks to reach a new Constitution, a minimum wage of US$675, a retirement pension equivalent to the minimum wage, cheaper basic services, free public transportation for senior citizens and students, among other demands. On Saturday and Sunday, workers will go to neighborhoods across the country to support the “Self-Convened and Open Town Councils,” which do not obey the dialogue strategy whereby Piñera tries to disrupt the people’s independence and strength…citizens have created about 200 open town councils in recent days, which has mobilized some 10,000 persons to authentic dialogue processes where people discuss the country’s problems and how to solve them.” Maybe I’m reading too much into this, since it all seems very tame. However, even such intitiatives can be pushed further by those who offer some more radical analysis and/or practical suggestions to these kinds of public discussions.

1/11/19:

And it continues Videos and links

Sample quote: In Iquique, in the north of the country, at least four unidentified people carried out an incendiary attack on the cathedral, which suffered some damage to its facade. In the same city, a group of hooded men ransacked, destroyed and burned several toll booths”

Report on more horrors – “On those arrested during the October revolt”

Nice denunciation of reformist demands expounded by experts

Graffiti on Cumbres Hotel, Santiago, where a room costs 115 euros a night

“Hotel and tour groups have seen 40% of reservations for this spring and summer canceled in the past few weeks as the violence mounted, according to the Federation of Tourism Companies. “In all my years in the industry, I haven’t seen anything like this,” said Helen Kouyoumdjian, executive vice-president of the Federation. “And this is still in development. We don’t know what is going to happen.” The Principado de Asturias hotel in Santiago was attacked, the lobby destroyed, its windows smashed and guests forced to flee early on in the protests. Later the Mercure hotel in the center of the city was ransacked, and then badly damaged by fire.”here

29/10/19:

From Chile: An Anarchist Analysis of the Revolt and the Repression

Includes some of the more horrific aspects of the repression.

“…In the current context, the repressive arsenal of the Chilean State has materialized into: … Physical, psychological and sexual assaults and tortures against detained people in public thoroughfares, vehicles and police stations. Kidnapping of people using police and civilian vehicles. Images have been circulated of people being locked in the boots of police vehicles.  Shots fired from behind in the street at people who are given the false impression of escaping from arrests.  False permissions given by police and military to loot supermarkets that end in arrests and murders that are later reported as deaths caused as a result of the riots.  Fires in large commercial premises caused by repressive forces so that companies can collect the associated insurance. In some of these fires burnt corpses have been found.  Throwing people from moving police cars and then shooting them.  Hanging of the bodies of people killed in vacant lots and of living people in police barracks. The massive use of social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook has allowed for the immediate circulation of innumerable audiovisual evidence of the situations described above, which is being disseminated by “alternative” dissemination groups linked to the struggles, breaking the communication strategy deployed by the government and supported by the official media historically servile to power….”

Another 24-hour strike by workers at the world’s largest copper mine

“The popular rejection of the Chilean political elite continues to expand as over 2,500 workers from the mining company Escondida, the world’s largest copper deposit, begin a 24-hour strike today…In the last 24 hours, in turn, looting of shopping centers and fires in government offices have been reported in several Chilean cities.” More here “Fresh protests and attacks on businesses erupted in Chile Monday despite President Sebastián Piñera’s replacement of eight key Cabinet ministers with more centrist figures and his attempts to assure the country he has heard calls for greater equality and improved social services. Thousands of protesters crowded again into central Santiago, and one group set fire to a building that houses a fast-food restaurant and stores. Firefighters were battling the blaze. …Other looters attacked a pharmacy, and there was an attempt to set a subway station on fire…At least a couple dozen glass storefronts were smashed and graffiti cursing Piñera and calling for revolution was sprayed on virtually every building….“Chile has changed and the government must change,” Chile’s president said. However, his government announced no policies Monday aimed at addressing 10 days of protests over deficient social services and the high cost of living in one of Latin America’s most prosperous and modern nations.“A new Cabinet isn’t enough, we need real changes in health care, education, pensions,” said Omar Soto, 34, who runs a cellphone shop.”

28/10/19:

Mass expropriation of the expropriators continuesVideos & links here

26/10/19:

Valparaiso: who says the church has no further use?

Church broken into in order to use benches as barricades

Worth remembering that on  10th November 2017, in Aracunia in Chile a bus was torched in Mapuche territory in protest against the Pope’s visit

Hooded activists in Chile have burned a bus and scattered pamphlets in protest of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis to a southern region claimed by the Mapuche indigenous group as its ancestral territory. …The pamphlets read: “Fire to the churches. Pope Francis: You’re not welcome here in Araucania.””

religion cross corkscrew2
Our Market Who Art On Earth.
Hallowed Be Thy show
Thy State Power Come
Thy Will Be Done
On The Streets As It Is In Work.
Sell Us This Day Our Daily Lie
And Justify Us Y/ourProperty.
As We Submit To Those
That Assert Property
Relations Against Us
And Lead Us Anywhere But
Into Autonomous Temptation
But Deliver Us From Anti-Hierarchical Initiative
For Ours’ Is The Stagnation,
The Cop And The Celebrity
Forever Or Never?
Amen.
(from here)

25/10/19:

Further clashes

24/10/19:

More clashes (videos & links)

23/10/19:

General Strike declaredas Trade Unions do their usual pretense of opposition so as to collaborate with the ruling class

“Tens of thousands of Chileans marched in Santiago, the capital city, as well as elsewhere in the country on Wednesday.  Students and trade union leaders headed the demonstration, which took place even though President Sebastian Pinera announced a series of social reforms in a bid to quell days of violent protests. Protesters waved banners and national flags and shouted “Chile has woken up.”…Some protesters erected flaming barricades and clashed with riot police. Police deployed water cannon and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters. Two supermarkets were set on fire in the north of Chile, and a hotel was looted near Italia square in Santiago, broadcaster 24 Horas reported….Codelco, the Chilean state mining company, had to shut one mine and drastically reduce operations at a smelter, after workers joined the strike. Six of Codelco’s eight divisions were carrying on with the “majority of their operations,” the company said in a statement. The Copper Workers Federation (FTC), which unionizes workers from Codelco, announced late on Tuesday that its workers would join the strike…Later on Wednesday the FTC trade union called off the strike. They agreed to meet with government officials to improve workers conditions. On Tuesday the FTC and the National Grouping of Fiscal Employees, among other unions, had continued to back the strike, even after Pinera had announced a social reform package. The trade unionists who called the two-day strike initially wanted Pinera to discuss the proposed social reforms with grassroots organizations and for him to remove soldiers from the streets. Reforms announced by Pinera on Tuesday include an increase in the monthly pension, raising the minimum wage and canceling a 92% rise in electricity rates due to take effect next month.”

Protesters get fired up and blaze a trail for the future:  a supermarket on fire in Antofagasta

(“ladrones” = thieves in Spanish)

“It is the game of dare that shatters the vulnerable veil separating the dispossessed from the “wealth” this world has to offer, at the same time shattering the ideology of exchange that separates people from each other; looting is a collective activity that unites us on the basis of an immediate break with our habitual submission to space & things….shopping keeps us apart, making everyone the policeman of their own encounters, reducing everyone to the banality of shop assistants and customers, workers and consumers, enervating queues and digits on a till. Products of competing businesses… shops perpetuate the nonsensical degrading form of organising things, the commodity form, which not only insults everyone’s imagination and dignity, but is also bureaucratic, inefficient and wasteful. Any proletarian with an ounce of audacity rightly goes out and liberates them on the basic class recognition of a simple re-distribution of wealth.”

here

22/10/19:

Videos and links related to several towns,  mainly in Spanish (19 – 22 /10/19)

President tries to buy off movement with increases in pensions, minimum wage, rescinding of electricity price rises and tax rises for the rich

21/10/19:

Santiago: gas bottles looted  

Valparaiso: burning barricades etc. during state of emergency

20/10/19:

Valparaiso: newpaper building torched

19/10/19:

Chile: protests spread to Valparaíso (where curfew was also imposed), Coquimbo, Concepción and Temuc

“Fire, smoke and sirens. Santiago looks like a post-war city. … young people…protest against the political and entrepreneurial class of Chile, whom they hold responsible for the price increase and their miserable income. …Those who complain about social injustice make noises with pans, or hit the ground and lampposts with hammers and sticks on the ground. …Trade suffers a wave of looting. From food to large televisions, vandals destroy everything…”

“Until the proletariat seizes and transforms the economy, pillage will always be the minimum expression of life. Looting implies mass communal direct power, unmediated by buying & selling, by cops & specialists: it is the necessary ‘chaos’ through which we must pass in order to organise the distribution of things on a rational and playful human basis. Theft, particularly mass theft, gives you the chance to re-invent the use of a thing beyond the resigned individuals’ normal submission to the insult of its market value the use to which the Economy demands the individual sacrifice himself to, for which degrading irrationality all the Property Laws are the tedious justification.” – here

Videos and links here

President reverses fare increase as unrest continues

 

18/10/19:

Fare-dodging, 2019: Santiago

Chile, Santiago: State of emergency declared as youths riot in response to cops getting heavy over mass fare dodging against fare increases (and other reasons) 

“The latest protests follow grievances over the cost of living, specifically the costs of healthcare, education and public services. Unsatisfied by partial reforms following widespread education protests in 2011, the metro fare rise has proved the spark that has awoken Chile’s formidable student body…The entity that controls the Santiago Metro network has already confirmed that there will be no service over the weekend, and the Chilean student federation has called a nationwide strike for Monday.”

…More here “…as night fell, the Enel utility building and a branch of  Banco Chile, both in the city center, were set on fire. … no employees were injured…A nearby supermarket was also looted and several metro stations were attacked with Molotov cocktails…Before the metro stations were closed, calls to get on the trains without tickets had circulated, protesting against the increase in the price of metro tickets, from 800 to 830 pesos (about $ 2) during rush hour , after already a first increase of 20 pesos last January. “The entire network is closed due to riots and destruction that prevent the minimum security conditions for passengers and workers,” the metro manager said on Twitter, after attacks against almost all 164 stations where many gates and turnstiles were destroyed.  …The Santiago Metro, the largest (140 km) and most modern in South America, which carries about 3 million passengers per day, is expected to remain closed this weekend and could reopen gradually next week. Many Santiago residents have had to walk home, sometimes traveling long distances, resulting in scenes of chaos and despair.   In various parts of the city, protesters erected barricades and clashed with police, who used water cannons and tear gas, the most long-standing street battle scenes in the Chilean capital…President Sebastian Pinera called the protesters delinquents. “This desire to break everything is not a protest, it’s criminal,” he said in a radio interview.  Thursday, 133 people had been arrested for damage in the metro stations, where the damage amounted to 400 to 500 million pesos (about $ 925,000)”. More here“The campaign erupted when secondary school students began to jump barriers in groups following a fare rise on 6 October, which put Santiago’s metro among the most expensive in Latin America at 830 pesos ($1.17) during the rush hour. Bus prices also climbed as part of the changes…The demonstrations have spread across the city, leading to violent clashes between protesters and police, who have used teargas to disperse crowds on concourses and platforms. Protesters have vandalized barriers and electronic turnstiles, and pulled emergency brakes on trains, affecting the more than 2.5 million passengers who use the metro each day. Police have made dozens of arrests and two officers were reportedly injured.” …More here “The state of emergency will initially run for 15 days and restricts freedom of movement and assembly. Due to the emergency, the National Football Association has suspended matches this weekend. General Iturriaga said the military would patrol major trouble spots in the city of seven million but would not impose a curfew at present.”

Video here

View of Macul Metro station set on fire by protesters during a mass fare-dodging protest in Santiago, on October 19, 2019.  Santiago’s underground network is the longest and most modern in South America.

“fare-dodge and destroy” – the burnt-out electricity company building

For information on the class struggle in Chile under Allende, see this.

And on Pinochet’s coup of September 1973, see: “Strange Defeat”, written in October 1973

Below: “Capitalism is the most respected genocide in the world”

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Hong Kong state planning a massacre to be blamed on protesters?

On 14th October, cops claimed this:

“A homemade, remote-controlled bomb intended to “kill or to harm” riot control officers was detonated as they deployed against renewed violence in Hong Kong over the weekend, police said Monday, in a further escalation of destructive street battles gripping the business hub. The “loud thud” Sunday night close to riot officers who had been clearing away a protester-built road block was the first known use of an explosive device during protests that started in June over a contested extradition bill and have snowballed into an anti-government, anti-police and anti-China movement. “It exploded less than 2 meters) away from a police vehicle. We have reason to believe that the bomb was meant to target police officers,” Deputy Commissioner Tang Ping-keung said at a news conference, speaking through a translator.”

Was this a bomb planted by the state or was it made by protesters ?

Who knows ? It’s certainly possible that the state is preparing the ground for a bigger bomb which would maybe seem to target cops but in fact kills loads of other people, or some variant on this – eg one that does kill loads of cops, with all its obvious consequences and probably some not-so-obvious ones. It could also have been a bomb made by a protester with no sense of strategy. Who knows ? But speculation is potentially also preparation for such a possible event…

I’ve written far too often before on this possibility.But it should be repeated.

On 11th September, Beijing claimed that there are those in Hong Kong who are planning a 9/11-type terror. Should such an explosion eventually happen, or conveniently be prevented by Hong Kong’s finest in the nick of time, the state will undoubtedly dismiss those who cry “conspiracy!” on the basis of the traditional dismissal of all those who talk of conspiracy (one of the problems with conspiracy theorists is that they reduce all the contradictions of this society to “conspiracy”, and cry wolf so often that, even when the accusation is accurate, nobody believes them). Moreover, the state will probably issue, under false names, loads of conspiracy theories about it that are easily refutable in order to bury the more credible ones under a welter of bulshit. On  20th July HK cops discovered the largest ever cache of high-powered explosives uncovered in the city and then carried out a controlled explosion (see this) . “Police uncovered 2 kilograms of high explosives, 10 petrol bombs, corrosive liquids, weapons and metal poles at the property.The preparation of TATP can easily result in accidental detonation if mistakes are made. Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah, of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said the man arrested was wearing a shirt with the logo of the banned pro-independence group Hong Kong National Front. Rallies are taking place across Hong Kong on Saturday and Sunday, with both pro-government and anti-extradition bill marches scheduled. Li said police were still investigating a possible motive and intended uses for the explosives. He did not say if extra police would be arranged for protests this weekend as a result of the raid.”

On Thursday, the 18th of July, this report was published: “Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force…They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony…The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability…Mainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable…. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.”

Are all these things mere coincidence?

The report above says “A powerful high explosive, TATP was used in the November 2015 Paris attacks, the March 2016 Brussels bombings, the 2017 May Manchester bombing and a failed bomb attempt by an Islamist extremist at the Gare Centrale in Brussels in 2017.”  Is this part of China’s “urgent plan”? Is this a way of luring “the snake from its hole”?

In December 1969, after a massive social movement threatened to turn into an Italian equivalent of France’s May ’68,  fascists in collaboration with a section of the state, planted a bomb in a bank in Milan that killed 17 people; the state blamed it on anarchists.

The Falklands war of 1982, when Thatcher deliberately allowed Argentina to invade so as to manipulate “public opinion” to ensure her re-election, was a direct result of the 1981 riots in the UK, and was designed to ensure her re-election after a massive slump in the polls.

“Terrorism” or war are always methods for the state to distract & divert from (and divide) proletarian subversion.

Undoubtedly I  might be crying wolf yet again, but amongst other ideas to de-rail the movement, these are genuine possiblities.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Hong Kong cop violence – made in the UK

Hong Kong cop violence – made in the UK

Very interesting report, which I’ve just received from a friend. But ignore the stupid recommendations at the end, which don’t make sense given the  obvious involvement of the UK in helping Hong Kong’s cops which part of  the rest of the article focuses on.  The article shows not only how the UK cops directly help the HK filth in their tactics against HK protesters, but also how the experience of HK cops in 1967 helped cops at Orgreave against the miners in 1984 and elsewhere in the UK.  This was published on July 18th 2019. The following are some extracts:

“The HKPF [Hong Kong Police Force] stopped recruiting from foreign services in 1994, but older British officers left over from the handover continue to dominate its senior staff. At the center of the heavily criticized police response to the recent protests are three senior British police officers: chief superintendent Rupert Dover, senior superintendent David Jordan, and superintendent Justin Shave. June 12 saw HKPF officers use rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, and pepper spray on peaceful protesters and riot police beating unarmed demonstrators senseless, on the orders of Dover and others, and in the most infamous incident of all, Shave ordered a tear gas round to be fired at an unarmed approaching legislator…

In 1981, shortly after Margaret Thatcher’s government took office, an unlikely meeting took place …Police in the United Kingdom, widely criticized for their handling of the race [sic] riots that same year, had requested help from Roy Henry, the then-police commissioner of Hong Kong, who ordered one of his most senior officers, Director of Operations Richard Quine, to the U.K. to tell them all he knew.

Some 14 years earlier, the HKPF had brutally suppressed the worst violence in the city’s history, as pro-communist rioters launched indiscriminate bomb attacks against civilians. The British police were eager to hear exactly how it had been done—and to reproduce the same tactics against demonstrators in the U.K.

In 1967, with the Cultural Revolution in China reaching its crescendo, communists inspired by the activities of the Red Guards in the mainland waged a protracted insurgency in Hong Kong against the colonial government. More than 200 people were killed, including a radio journalist burnt alive by communist attackers—with some rioters beaten to death by police. Hong Kong’s status as a colony was exploited by the HKPF as a potential testing ground for new strategies that would be deemed too extreme for use in Britain.

The scholar Lawrence Ho details the police measures as encompassing the “liberal use of force and lethal weapons [and] widespread assault and imprisonment of demonstrators,” coupled with the imposition of oppressive legislation and curfews. Revolutionary new policing techniques widely used across the world today, including “kettling” and the first-ever use of tear gas and short shields by newly instituted riot squads, were first tested in the summer of 1967 by the HKPF…

Quine’s recommendations to British police included instituting dedicated units of officers—“riot suppression units,” each with a particular responsibility to fulfill, such as arresting demonstrators (“snatch squads”), firing tear gas, or crowd intimidation. To this end, Quine proposed initiating a program of 10-week crash courses for officers in techniques including kettling, the use of tear gas, and crowd control, with an eye to rapidly improving the British police’s ability to respond to civil unrest.

The training came too late for the race [sic] riots—but the techniques were on full display in British police violence against miners during the 1984-1985 strike, most infamously in the Battle of Orgreave. These techniques were eventually codified amid total secrecy in a file titled the “Public Order Manual of Tactical Options and Related Matters,” an infamous document that only became public in the aftermath of Orgreave.

The events at Orgreave have been described by the historian Tristram Hunt as “[a]lmost medieval in its choreography, it was at various stages a siege, a battle, a chase, a rout and, finally, a brutal example of legalised state violence.” A total of 4,000 police officers—including hundreds mounted on horseback, hastily ordered in by the police commander at Orgreave, Anthony Clement—charged repeatedly at 10,000 striking miners. Mounted police were immediately followed in by the assembled riot suppression units, which had been modeled on the HKPF’s organization in the intermediary three years since Quine’s counsel.

The police response at Orgreave ran largely on HKPF hardware. A former assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, John Alderson, later stated that the policing strategies used at Orgreave were “a carbon copy of the Hong Kong riot squad.” Meanwhile, allegations continue to swirl to this day about police engineering the entire confrontation to damage and discredit the miners….

The most notorious incident of the events on June 12 was the firing of a tear gas cylinder at Democratic Party legislator Wu Chi-wai, who was peaceably approaching a police unit following brutal scenes of that same unit of officers beating unarmed demonstrators.

A white police officer, initially believed to be Dover but subsequently identified as Shave, could be seen directing a subordinate to fire a tear gas cylinder directly at Wu, who was totally unarmed and clearly identified himself as a sitting legislator. Later footage subsequently revealed that Dover was also embedded in the unit.

Elsewhere, rubber bullets and long-range pepper spray were used on both demonstrators and journalists, resulting in 79 injuries, while in total the HKPF fired more than 150 tear gas canisters over the course of a single day. Tactics first developed during the 1967 riots were again on full display, most notably in the repeated deployment of dedicated riot squads equipped with short shields and batons.”

See also this – British cops help Hong Kong cops, which links to  a mainstream video shown on 7th September which talks of British cops helping HK cops, and provides a transcript of the relevant section of the report.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Extinction Rebellion (October 2019)

12/10/19:

Protests throughout world, though totally lacking in any perspective other than trying to influence the destroyers of the planet not to destroy it  The “Midas Touch” which capitalism has long seen as something positive, in its over 3000-year-old myth was considered as a warning to those who would turn everything into gold, as the king even turned food into inedible gold and eventually turned his son into gold, finally dying of starvation. This is  something that capital is increasingly realising for an increasing majority of people – it’s in the nature of political economy, the power to transform everything into a commodity (already 22,000 kids worldwide die each day because of malnutrition and easily curable diseases, because of  their need for money which they don’t have). Without a vision of destroying commodified social relations, of destroying the need for money through the expropriation of the expropriators, extermination rebellion will break on the rocks of its contradictions. See  below.

3/10/19:

UK, London: Extinction Rebellion  try to cover Treasury with fake blood but bloody themselves (video)

Better targeted spraypaint: graffiti  on cinema mid- 1970s

Re. Extinction Rebellion, see this (from 15/4/19) interesting initiative – an alternative to Extinction Rebellion’s jail-fodder actions Our main route consisted of visiting and blockading various locations with functional significance for capital and resource transactions in London – the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and the Metal Exchange. Along the tour we also stopped off at other points of interest – banks, courts, the church of Scientology – either chosen by particular comrades in the moment, or by the police who, due to not having any idea of our plans, kept running to protect buildings we hadn’t previously considered trying to get into. The flyer they produced for their march-cum-blockade, however, is a typical lowest common denominator of correct line anti-capitalism, coming from the eclectic  mix of its members,  which doesn’t even begin to try to confront the contradictions of ecological ideologies and movements – perhaps for fear of being unpopular. More about them here. Meawhile, this shows clearly the capitalist nature of the leadership of Extinction Rebellion.  And this shows how their phoney legal advisers are a danger to anybody getting arrested on their arrest-fodder demos. And this is a good critique of the Green New Deal. See also “Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need”.

Should also be pointed out that claiming some historical lineage with the Suffragettes’ apparent non-violence is a lie. The Suffragettes were often  “violent ” in society’s terms (ie against things; from the point of view of capital people are mere profane commodities, whilst  property is sacred), and took some very daring initiatives against mainstream culture: “What’s largely forgotten is the excellent violence of the women against private property and against aspects of culture and religion in this movement: Mary Richardson herself was imprisoned in October 1913 for burning down an unoccupied house, and was, with another woman, the first woman forcibly fed under the Cat and Mouse Act against hunger strikers. In 1914, in the seven months before the outbreak of a very convenient war: 3 Scottish castles were destroyed by fire on a single night; the Carnegie Library in Birmingham was burnt; Romney’s “Master Thornhill” in the Birmingham Art Gallery was slashed by Bertha Ryland, daughter of an early suffragist; Carlyle’s portrait of Millais in the National Gallery and a number of other pictures were attacked, a Bartolozzi drawing in the Doré Gallery completely ruined; many large empty houses in all parts of the country were set on fire, including Redlynch House, where the damage was estimated at £40,000 – no precise calculations here – but certainly well over a million quid in today’s money, possibly over £3m. Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire. A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey and in St George’s church where a famous stained-glass window was damaged. There were two explosions in St.John’s, Westminster and one in St Martin in the Fields, and one in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. The ancient Breadsall Church and the ancient Wargrave Church were destroyed. As far as we know, nobody was hurt in these explosions and arson attacks. The Albert Hall organ was flooded, causing £2000 worth of damage….” (here).

suffragette burning of northfield

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

On fires and firebombs – Hong Kong, 7/10/19

On fires and firebombs “Hong Kong fire officials have voiced concern about online instructions for petrol bombs that suggest using a self-igniting material that would make the explosives even more dangerous and unpredictable.”

The fact that such an apparently ‘neutral’ source of information as the fire brigade could warn of potentially frightening consequences of firebombs got me thinking that instead of an obvious terrorist attack (like the fascists’ Piazza Fontana bombing following the Italian autumn movement of 1969 – see also this), the state might try to arrange a fire that kills loads of people. They did this in Athens in May 2010, when young nihilist anarchists firebombed a bank. It was a strike day, and the young guys thought the bank was empty (the doors were locked). In fact, the management had locked employees in – and 3 were killed. There was no fire exit, no sprinklers or fire extinguishing apparatus in the bank (see this and the following posts for details…eventually 3 bank officials were found guilty, though the head of the bank – Andreas Vgenopoulos – the main person responsible – got off scott-free, surprise surprise). I’ve cried wolf so many times over the possibility of a state (or maybe triad) strategy like the Piazza Fontana bombing in ’69, maybe nobody will believe me, but it seems like a real possibility but maybe taking another form like a fire.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

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