Libcom.org publishes interview with Egyptian Anarchist

5 02 2011

Libcom.org has published an interview with an Egyptian Anarchist that provides a different perspective on the unrest.  Well worth a read.

2) The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However, due to the internet being cut, information was difficult to find. Can you tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it look like from your perspective?

The situation in Egypt is so crucial right now. It began with an invitation to the day of rage against Mubarak regime on January 25th. No one expected an invitation to a day of rage from a loose group, a Facebook page, not really organized, called “we are all Khalid Said”.

Khalid Said was an Egyptian youth who was killed by Mubarak police in Alexandria last summer. It was that Tuesday which started everything, it was the spark for the whole fire. On Tuesday big demonstrations were in streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday began the massacre. It began with trying to finish the sit-in in Tahrir square on Tuesday late night, and continued in the following days, especially in Suez town. Suez has special value in every Egyptian heart. It was the centre for resistance against Zionists in 1956 and 1967. In the same district that fought Sharon’s troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak police carried out a massacre, at least four people killed, 100 injured, gas bombs, rubber bullets, fire guns, a strange yellow substance thrown above people (maybe mustard gas). Friday was called the Jumu’ah of Rage. Jumu’ah is Arabic for Friday, it’s the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries also, it’s the sacred day in Islam, because there are the big prayers on this day, called Jumu’ah prayer. It was planned for demonstrators to go on a march after this prayer, at noon. The police tried to prevent the marchers, with all of their power and violence. There were many clashes in Cairo (downtown, in Mattareyah (east of Cairo)), and all over Egypt, especially in Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla (in the delta, one of the centres of the working class). From noon to sunset people marched in Cairo downtown, to a sit-in in Tahrir till the removal of the Mubarak regime, chanting one slogan, “The people demand the removal of the regime”.

At sunset, 5pm CLT, Mubarak declared a curfew and brought the army into Egyptian towns. This curfew was followed by a planned escape by police, letting out the criminals and thugs which called Baltagayyah, and police planned a great escape of criminals in many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt. With no police, many army troops couldn’t control the street. It scared people, and it was followed by a news jam on Egyptian TV channels, radio and newspapers, about Luddites in many towns, about thieves firing at people. People organized “people committees” to secure every street. It was welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in the country, but it was also a point we could start from to build workers’ councils.

3) As of Wednesday, there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak people. Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the “Mubarak supporters”? How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average working class Egyptians?

It’s absolutely wrong to call it clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak. The pro-Mubarak demonstration consisted of many Baltagayyah and secret police to attack the protesters in Tahrir. It only began after Mubarak’s speech yesterday, after Obama’s speech too. Personally I think Mubarak feels like a slaughtered ox that tries to throw its blood over its slaughterers; he feels like Nero, who wants to burn Egypt before his removal, trying to make people believe he’s a synonym for stability, safety and security. In this way he has really made some progress. The holy national alliance now has been formed against Tahrirites (Tahrir protesters) and Commune de Tahrir.

Many people are saying, especially middle class people, that the demonstrations must end because Egypt has been burned, famine has begun, and it’s not true at all. It’s only an exaggeration. Every revolution has its difficulties, and Mubarak is using fear and terror to stay longer. Personally I’m saying even if the protesters were responsible for this situation, even if this is so, Mubarak must

Read the whole interview here.

American Rosa Novarro talks about her arrest and how she and her friends were pressured by the military to confess to being journalists or spies.  It seems the latest tactic of the regime is to circulate conspiracy theories reagrding foreigners and spies infiltrating the protests.

Check out the terrible BBC coverage of the latest protests which put the numbers of demonstrators at “more than 100,000″ which is rather underestimating the turnout.  Additionally, preference and emphasis was given to Obama’s repeated speech instead of the continuing protests.  I wonder if the BBC haved decided enough is enough.





Greek Government removes protective mechisms from anti-terror laws

2 10 2010

“The government has completely removed the protective mechanisms within the previous Anti-Terrorism law, mechanisms which protected political and Trade union activity, even those including violence, from criminal charges of “terrorist acts”…In this way even minor offences (such as property damage, bodily damage, disruption of transport, etc) carried out by an organized team of demonstrators can be arbitrarily characterised as terrorist activity…According to new amendments to the secret Anti-Terrorism law, it is no longer compulsory for a witness to reveal his identity to the courtroom, even if it is asked by those directly affected, i.e. the accused!”

Read the rest at Libcom.org





Greeks Protest Austerity Measures

2 05 2010

Compare and contrast,

this from the BBC:

Greek riot police have used tear gas to disperse angry protesters in Athens, during a march against government cuts to tackle the country’s crippling debt.

Clashes erupted at the finance ministry and a state TV truck was petrol bombed. A tense stand-off continues, with protesters hurling bottles and rocks.

Thousands of Greeks are taking part in May Day rallies called by trade unions and left-wing parties.

Ericos Finalis, who was taking part in the march, described the planned government cutbacks as “the biggest attack on workers for centuries”.

“They want to return us to the 19th Century – this is not going to be a battle but a war that will last for months or even years,” he was quoted by AFP as saying.

Another protester, Marina Yotis, told AFP: “Nobody knows what really is going to happen but people know that there is no other way than to come down into the streets and protest.”

During the protests, a prominent hotel was vandalised in the central Syntagma square.

There were reports of similar scenes in the northern city of Thessaloniki as youths attacked banks and business premises with iron bars.

and this from the BBC’s correspondent who witnessed the demonstrators fire-bomb a state media truck:

I’m outside the University of Athens where a Greek state television truck is on fire.

Anarchists who were marching past saw that it was standing there and it is a symbol of the state and so they smashed the windows and somebody put a petrol bomb inside and set it on fire.

The fire brigade is now here and has put out the flames, the riot police have chased off the anarchists and there is a terrible searing taste of tear gas in the air.

With this from LibCom:

Labour May the 1st has erupted in pitched battles in Athens with many arrests and two people seriously injured.

Labour May the 1st (May Day) is a day for token trade union parades in greece, but the IMF related austerity measures that have cast their long shadow on the country made sure no one was expecting a peaceful demonstration today.

Four different demos had been called in Athens, reflecting existing class and political differences. One by PAME, the Communist Party controlled trade union umbrella, gathered at Syntagma square and marched to the American embassy. A second, by GSEE, the private sector trade union umbrella controled by the ruling Socialist Party, staged a protest concert in Klafthmonos square. A third, by the Radical Left Coalition and extreme-left groups gathered at Victoria square and marched to the Ministry of Labour. And the forth, by anarchists and autonomous grassroots unions, gathered outside the Archaeological Museum and marched to the Parliament.

The first signs of unrest appeared when the anarchist-autonomous march numbering around 4,000 people reached Klafthmonos square chanting slogans against GSEE like “Scum, filth, union-bosses” and attacked the concert scene with red and black paint interrupting the performances. Upon reaching the Parliament and attempting to march towards the EU offices, the protesters were confronted by riot police forces and clashes broke out. Protesters attacked the prestigious ruling class hotel “Great Britain” with the clashes spreading across Panepistimiou street where banks and shops came under attack. Reaching Propylea, protesters torched a State TV van, and closed against the ex-president of the Parliament who happened to be on Korai square. The senior PASOK politician took refuge to a cafe while heckled and was rescued by strong police forces. At the same time, the General State Accountancy came under attack by protesters. The march proceeded towards Omonoia square where upon meeting up with the march of the extreme left returning from the Ministry of Labour it came under brutal attack by motorised police forces. In the battle that ensued many protesters were injured and many more detained, while hundreds of protesters took to a barricaded retreat into Exarcheia and the Polytechnic from which more clashes ensued. As a result of the clashes some 10 people are reported arrested (with people gathered outside the National Police Headquarters demanding their liberation), and two men are reported as injured, one with serious cranial wounds. Meanwhile, journalists are accusing the police as not allowing them to film, and one journalist was reported as being detained. The police claims seven of its officers were injured.

At the same time, more limited clashes erupted in the May Day protest march in Salonica with many banks and shops attacked. Protest marches also took place in many smaller cities and towns like Heraclion, Patras, Rethimnon, Corinth and Ioannina.

It’s also worth mentioning here, that the mainstream media in Greece are loathed by Anarchists for failing to report stories that involve them accurately and favouring police and government in their reports.  When 15 year old Alex was murdered, the State media failed to investigate and report what had actually happened, supporting the police involved.  Even when a youtube video was released that disputed police claims at having been attacked by 30 hooded youths throwing molotov cocktails, one mainstream news outlet added sound bites consistent with riots and the sound of exploding molotov cocktails breaking.





Iran

21 06 2009

Iran.  Everybody’s talking about Iran.

The mainstream media are up in arms, political demonstrations are being held in cities around the world in solidarity to the protesters, and you can just tell politicos are bursting with the urge to throw their support behind the protest movement — so long as they’re after democracy.

If it isn’t the Iranians ingenious use of twitter to get the word out, or their daring in demanding democracy from a government that has been made out to be the devil over the last decade, the subject of Iran has been slapped on the front page of newspapers throughout the world.

I’m not complaining.  The images of Iranians taking to the streets to protest their government are inspiring, but there are some horrible truths stirring in the background.  The C4SS has already pointed out that politicians hate change, and while Obama and other politicians have express their support for the mass in Iran, the silence from most political leaders has been deafening;

It’s also interesting to watch the reactions of politicians elsewhere. Incipient revolution, regardless of its ideological content or where it takes place, gives politicians the willies. It keeps them up nights, or else causes them to bolt awake with the irresistible urge to make sure the world outside their windows still believes it needs them.

From the perspective of a man in Obama’s line of work, the worst of all possible outcomes is the “failed state” — a state where the political class experiences “loss of physical control of its territory or a monopoly on the legitimate [sic] use of force.” Such a situation is always pregnant with possibility: The possibility that the dying state will be replaced, even temporarily and provisionally, by something other than a new state.

Six days a week and twice on Sunday, a Barack Obama will support any state — liberal democracy, communist dictatorship, Islamist theocracy, doesn’t matter — if the plausible alternative is no state. After all, if one country can manage itself without overhead in the form of his counterparts, people are bound to notice, and next thing you know he might find himself looking for real work instead of running a successful franchise of the Big Con.

While the “leaders” of other states might be willing to accommodate, might even wish for or be willing to tentatively support, a more “liberal” regime in Iran, they’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs if they foresee any risk at all that Iranians might take their lives into their own hands and dispense with the state altogether, even if only for a day.

Change, true change, scares politicians.  If you can find a better, more successful method of doing something, such as looking after your daily life without outsourcing most of the thinking to an old man a few thousand kilometres away, then you don’t need them.  But still, this observation, while totally apt, doesn’t seem to be quite right given the coverage Iran has received in the media.  One could be forgiven for believing that there was nothing else worth reporting, another point which has been made elsewhere;

Iran, Iran, Iran. You would think this was the only news in the world. Odd isn’t it?

What is so unique about unrest in Iran? Isn’t there unrest everywhere? Sure there is!
Aren’t there protests everywhere?
Yup, there are!
Look at the G-20 protests. The coverage that was given served to portray the protestors in a negative light and law enforcement as doing their job to keep the peace. Even when the death of an innocent bystander resulted, Ian Tomlinson at the hands of head bashing police officers, the main stream media stayed quite quiet. Apologies I stand corrected, quiet, except for the smear campaign that was launched against the victim after the police brutality was exposed! Apparently, Ian Tomlinson liked to drink. As if that justified his murder at the hands of law enforcement…

In Iran, it is a different story.
The police trying to control some extremely unruly crowds are portrayed as ruthless and “videos of police beating demonstrators hit hard at the emotions”
Unusual for western media to be sympathetic to unruly protestors.

If protesting is legitimate in Iran for an election, it surely should be at the G-20 protests, when issues affecting the world populace are being discussed and decided upon by elites behind locked gates. Gates that ensure the masses are left out in the cold.
But if the G-20 protests aren’t relevant in your mind.
Let us look at another country. Georgia.
There have been many protests there.
Did you know that? Most people don’t.
Why is that? Well there hasn’t been much western mainstream media coverage of it. Certainly not the wall to wall, 24/7, coverage Iran has garnered.
Yet, in Georgia on June 15th/09, guess what was going on?
Protests! Along with police beatings!

To add to the author’s posts, let me also point out that Greek Anarchists have been in struggle since last the shooting of a 15 year old boy against the Golden Dawn, the riot police that they work with and attempts by the Greek government to conduct a pogrom of immigrants inside Athens.  Shock horror!  Nationalist groups seek racial purity inside the birthplace of democracy and all that is good and holy?  Surely that would make a great story, one of passion, struggle and deliverance.

Sadly, no.  And the only thing to be said about the affair so far is that a while back some terrorist groups shot a cop.  Hell, even the Gold Dawn fascists have been described as ‘Right-Wing Anarchists’ in the media on occasion.

I don’t want to appear as if I’m engaging in conspiracy theories, but might all this have something to do with Iran not particularly malleable when it comes to American and Western interests?  Perhaps its easier to foment rebellion and destabilise the country than saddle up to go to war for the first time in a new presidency, particularly if North Korea keeps playing up and bullets start flying in that region.








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