Critical Mass a world wide movement, a Tour de Force

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In  London tonight Critical Mass takes to the streets in its monthly action to highlight and protest  at the rising number of  deaths of cyclists on the roads in London. The meet up also highlighted issues during the Olympics which led to mass illegal arrests. Critical Mass actions happen all over the world and have become a powerful symbol of protest.

On January 31st, 2008,  some 30 protesters participated in a Critical Mass bicycle ride in Tel Aviv to protest the siege of Gaza. During the protest, plainclothes police arrested  Jonathan Pollack because they recognised him from previous protests, and as they claimed in court , assumed he was the organiser of and figurehead for the event. Jonathan read this before his sentencing.

“Your honour, once found guilty, it is then customary for the accused to ask the court for leniency and express remorse for having committed the offence. I find myself unable to do so, however. From its beginning, this trial contained practically no disagreements over the facts. As the indictment states, I indeed rode my bicycle, alongside others, through the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the siege on Gaza. And indeed, while riding our bicycles, which are legally vehicles that belong on the road, we may have slowed down the traffic slightly. The sole, trivial disagreement in this case revolves around testimonies heard from the police detectives who claimed I played a leading role throughout the protest bicycle ride – something I as well as the rest of the defence witnesses deny.

As said earlier, it is customary at this point of the proceedings to sound remorseful, and I would indeed like to voice my regrets regarding one particular aspect of that day’s events: If there is remorse in my heart, it is that, just as I argued during the trial, I did not play a prominent role in the protest that day, and thus did not fulfil my duty to do everything within my power to change the unbearable situation of Gaza’s inhabitants and bring to an end Israel’s control over the Palestinians.

His honour has stated during the court case, and will most likely state again in the future, that a trial is not a matter of politics but rather a matter of law. To this I reply that there is hardly anything to this trial except political disagreement. This court may have impeded the mounting of an appropriate defence when it refused to hear arguments regarding political selectiveness in the police’s conduct, but even from the testimonies that were admitted, it became clear that such selectiveness exists.

Both the subject of my alleged offence and the motivation behind it were political. This is something that cannot be sidestepped. The state of  Israel maintains an illegitimate, inhuman, and illegal siege on the Gaza Strip, which is still occupied territory according to international law. This siege carried out in my name and in yours as well, sir – in fact in all our names – is a cruel collective punishment inflicted on ordinary citizens, residents of the Gaza strip, subjects without rights under Israeli occupation.

In the face of this reality, and as a stance against it, we chose on 31st January, 2008, to exercise the freedom of speech afforded to Jewish citizens of Israel. Yet it appears that here in our one-of-many faux democracies in the Middle East, even this freedom is no longer granted, even to society’s privileged children.

I am not surprised by the courts decision to convict me, despite having no doubt in my mind that our actions on that day correspond to the most basic, elementary definitions of a persons right to protest.

Indeed, as the prosecution pointed out, a suspended sentence hung over my head at the time of the bicycle protest, having been convicted before under an identical article of law. And Although I still maintain that I did not commit any offence whatsoever, I was aware of the possibility that under Israeli justice, my suspended sentence would be imposed.

I must add that if His Honour decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza’s inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts it’s vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.”

 

         Jonathan Pollak

 

Statement taken from Anarchists Against the Wall

http://awalls.org/

http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk/main.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19023104

My grandparents shot Fascists. Now I see them protected

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The face of fascism is forever changing but the ideology is the same. There are no visible signs or battle lines drawn. It is fast becoming our system, the government, the police, the military, the corporations. When growth of private powers have in themselves become bigger and stronger than the democratic state that is fascism. The lust for money and power combined regardless of a person’s race, class, religion, cultures, regions, or nations and the use of violence and oppression against these to reach their goals is fascism and those who in case of conflict put money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly millions of fascists. The people of the world are the puppets to these fascist puppet masters and this has to change. To be united in this fight against fascism we have to be realistic as to how hard and continuous this bloody war has to be. The revisionism of the Antifascist by the right wing media is a dangerous one and we will not let them define us. To do this and be successful the antifascist movement must separate themselves from those who belittle its principles.

Solidarity to my brothers and Sisters that are fighting fascism everyday. Special shout out to those comrades in Europe after Nazi groups chose November 9th to hold rallies because it was the 75 year anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass,” a two day series of pogroms that initiated the holocaust.

http://revolution-news.com/anti-fascists-embarrass-neo-nazi-groups-world-nov-9th/

Crisis at Christmas. Come Join me.

This is a reblog so to speak. I wrote this after volunteering for Crisis over the Christmas period last year. It was shared around a lot and people said that after reading it they would consider volunteering this Christmas. So I would like you to read about my experience and consider that again. It was a Christmas that changed things for me and I hope it does something to you……..Image

Since working with Occupy and other groups and observing the success of social movements through time, I have learnt that the change has to begin with us. Most organisations are best when working at grass roots level and seem to lose all use and effectiveness when entering to main stream politics. A side effect of main stream politics is marginalisation. What this says to me that local politics are the way forward.  So this year to carry on from what I have learnt  and taking it out into the community I decided to volunteer for Crisis. I volunteered on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, I wasn’t quite ready to give up my Christmas day.

On arriving at Crisis all new volunteers were taken into a room where we were given an Induction explaining the work of Crisis, the running of that particular centre, the referral system, the type of guests we were likely to be encountering, the things that may take place and what we may or may not have to do depending on ourselves and our own comfort zones (we were told on numerous occasions we did not have to do anything that we were not comfortable with). We had the key workers introduced and the housekeeping covered. The induction showed great organisation, passionate and caring people and an atmosphere of “doing”.  The deal was to treat the guests with compassion and respect and to oblige them almost anything . The Centre allowed drinking as most guests were dependent, but they offered every opportunity for the guests to talk to an agency regarding their problems and ran AA meetings and had support groups there. They had Volunteer  Doctors, Chiropodists, Hairdressers, Opticians. They had changes of clothes and computer facilities. They ran a football tournament and took the boys training. And they had 24 hour sleeping area and food whenever it was needed.  They set out to make the life of these people as comfortable and as safe as possible over the next few days and make sure there was someone there for them to talk to about anything.  At the end of the Induction it was advised that at the end of the 8 hour shift all volunteers  go back to the room for a debrief and to talk about anything that they had found particularly upsetting and they didn’t want anybody going home upset.

 Now the guests I met all had stories to tell. Some of them true some of them not. But even the stuff that wasn’t true had become real by telling the story so many times they believed it themselves .So in fact they seem to suffer from their own creations.

My first encounter was “A”. I was put on duty in the sleeping area were a  small old West Indian lady was curled up in the camp bed nearest to me. Her hair was a mass of locks where it hadn’t broken off and her right arm and fingers in a bandage. She lay in bed with all her clothes on surrounded by her bag of medicines and creams, food and soft drink cartons. Soon after my arrival she awoke. When I went to her it was hard for her to get up and walk as she had been hit by a car a couple of weeks earlier and damage had been done to her arm, broken fingers and her leg. The driver did not stop and of course she did not go to the hospital. Her bed was wet and so were her clothes. Nobody had been able to get her to do anything and she definitely had a slight whiff going on. Her clothes and her blankets were wet and she had slept solid for 14hours since her arrival.  So I proceed to get her up a strip her bed, get clean blankets, but there was no way I was going to get her to change.  “A” went back to bed for a while and continued to sleep. I was then moved on  to the arts and crafts corner where I spotted a young girl drawing a dragon, turns out she is younger than my daughter and has already been on the street for 3 years.  We chatted about music and films and life. I fetched drinks I made stars and decorations, we matched colours and we decided we both weren’t that keen on Garage or Grunge. She didn’t tell me her story.

So before my next shift I had already decided that “A” was going to be my mission. As soon as she saw me she screamed my name and was genuinely pleased to see me. We chatted about what had been going on since my last shift and she started to tell me about her life. 5 Children and grandchildren and had become homeless after violence in the marital home. Malibu and Coke was her drug of choice but was quite happy to consume anything and everything else she could get her hands on.  As we chatted I persuaded her that we should use the services on offer and slowly but surely I managed to get her to the Chiropodist and we sorted out her feet. Whilst waiting “A” curled up with her body on my lap and I held her and I rocked her and I stroked her hair.  She then ate and slept and once again was soaking wet. When she woke I changed her blankets and still she wouldn’t change her clothes. We talked some more as she scratched her itchy skin (Eczema). I had managed to get some nice drawstring tracksuit bottoms from the clothes store and showed them to her trying to persuade her that they would be very comfy option. And low and behold the flood gates opened. “A” had no bladder control after being raped so violently that the internal damage had required medical treatment, During the rape the men had beaten her breaking her knee cap and her ribs. She cried and cried and cried. The police had arrested the perpetrators and had evidence but the case had fallen by the wayside and she had seen them since. This may have happened for many reasons “A” not turning up to appointment’s with the police, solicitors, courts, it may have been dropped because “A” was  drunk and aggressive and maybe too much like real work but for whatever reasons  the case was not followed through and “A” is still living with the consequences. After this opening up things changed. I took “A” to the wash room and stripped her down and washed her, I creamed her body from head to foot and I got her into nice clean clothes.  Before we got out of the washroom “A” had already wet her tracksuit bottoms, so we started all over again this time I managed to get hold of some incontinence pads and we washed and changed. This had taken me my entire 8 hour shift. I told her I was leaving and that I wasn’t going to see her again but I am quite sure she is used to that. So now it was my time to go.

So what now? The thing that resonated in my head was the bit at the Induction where they wanted to hear any feedback and make sure we weren’t upset about anything or by the guests before we went home. Upset by the guests?  Really? The old quote comes to mind you can tell the state of a nation by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Well I want to go home angry and upset I want to go home with a fire in my belly. I am not upset by the guests or what they said or what they do. I am fucking angry and upset at our Government. I could quote figures of the 65,000 homeless children this Christmas, the 26,000 that died from fuel poverty last winter, I could quote the 32 deaths a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit. But the numbers are irrelevant. One death is enough to make me know it is wrong so wrong. The City of London released it’s accounts last week showing their wealth in Billions. We are one of the richest nations and yet we let these people die and suffer when there is no excuse. Don’t get me wrong I know there is not a one pill fixes all and I know that some people are so damaged there is no fixing. But just because they can’t be fixed doesn’t mean we can just throw them to the wolves it means that we look after them in their broken state.

http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/volunteering-at-crisis-christmas.html

Report on action against Neo-Nazi’s in London

With the EDL in tatters and the BNP a joke, the fall out has left the few sad bastards to try to forge connections with European Fascists. The group was pathetic and didn’t even warrant any police protection and the kids got sent home to their mums. Simple message we are your enemies and we are ready and waiting. You are not welcome here. Great game of Capture the Flag. Well done to all.

London Antifascists

On Saturday 9th November, notorious fascists and neo-nazi has-beens called a demonstration in support of the jailed leadership of the murderous neo-nazi Golden Dawn party at the Greek Embassy in London.

Over 40 militants from the AFN responded in a co-ordinated action to send a strong message to those attending or thinking about attending neo-nazi and racist demonstrations – that they are not welcomed and they will be opposed. The message was spelt out to them with a “frank discussion” before the demonstration. For all their talk of “smashing the reds” not one of the 12 fascists said a word, instead the sense of shear fear on their faces would hopefully make an impression and knock some sense in the younger attendees that were present. Around 5 of the younger fascists were escorted out of the pub onto trains by AFN militants and told to fuck off home.

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