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The Vilification of Jeremy Corbyn 19:26 Dec 12 0 comments
The relevance of the ICU of Africa for modern day unions and liberation movements 14:58 Dec 12 0 comments
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ireland / britain / migration / racism / non-anarchist press Thursday December 12, 2019 19:26 byLeo Panitch
The vilification of the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, as an antisemite has intensified in the run up to the December 12 election in Britain. What makes this especially troubling, not to say bizarre, is that since he first became a member of parliament in 1983 Corbyn has been the most consistent campaigner against all forms of racism.In fact, while still a local councillor in London in 1977 Corbyn had already organized a defense of the Jewish population of Wood Green from a neo-Nazi march. A recent compilation of the number of early day motions he advanced in Parliament to defend Jewish people, alongside other public stances he took to tackle antisemitism – to denounce Holocaust deniers, to commemorate Jewish resistance to fascism, to pressure the police to do more to protect synagogues against vandalism – came to well over 50. And he did all this not only in support of Jewish communities in the UK but also in Iran, Turkey, France, Russia and Eastern Europe. Indeed, the recently retired Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, himself Jewish, unreservedly expressed his belief that Corbyn was in no way antisemitic, having in their 22 years in Parliament together “never detected so much as a whiff of anti-semitism” about him.
Indeed, there is no way that the antisemitic charge can be made any sense of except as a means of deflecting Corbyn’s support of Palestinian rights against actions by Israeli governments. The smear campaign has mainly involved pointing to intemperate language of others who spoke beside Corbyn at meetings about this over the decades. Scraping the barrel for anything he said himself, one comment Corbyn made about pro-Israeli government hecklers at one meeting not getting his “English irony” has been highlighted.
Given the weak reed this provides for the personal attack on Corbyn, attention has been focused on his allegedly not having done enough to weed out “institutionalized” antisemitism in his party, even though a parliamentary committee report on Antisemitism in the UK found “no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.”
To be sure, there are instances of antisemitic tropes (mainly on the ‘rich Jews’ theme) in some Labour-related social media circles, but much less than in parties of the right. In any case, Corbyn has done more to address this than any previous leader of any party.
Under his leadership, Labour grew to over 500,000 members; yet of some 1100 complaints of antisemitism the party received between April 2018 and January 2019 almost half were found to have nothing to do with the party, while another quarter were lacking in any basic evidence.
In Corbyn’s Own Words
In his leaders’ speech to the 2018 Labour conference, Corbyn spoke directly
“to all in the Jewish community: This party, this movement, will always be implacable campaigners against antisemitism and racism in all its forms. We are your ally. And the next Labour government will guarantee whatever support necessary to ensure the security of Jewish community centres and places of worship, as we will for any other community experiencing hateful behaviour and physical attacks. We will work with Jewish communities to eradicate antisemitism, both from our party and wider society. And with your help I will fight for that with every breath I possess.”
Later in the speech, when dealing with Labour’s foreign policy, he added:
“And let me next say a few words about the ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people. Our Party is united in condemning the shooting of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces and the passing of Israel’s discriminatory Nation-State Law. The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage. We support a two-state solution to the conflict with a secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state.”
Rather than being traduced, Corbyn deserves to be praised for making it so clear that principled support for Palestinian rights does not preclude principled opposition to antisemitism.
southern africa / history / opinion / analysis Thursday December 12, 2019 14:58 byWarren McGregor (ZACF)
The history of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU), formed in South Africa in 1919, is replete with lessons for today's movements. The ICU, which also spread into neighbouring colonies like Basutoland (now Lesotho), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Southwest Africa (now Namibia) was by far the largest protest movement and organisation of black African and Coloured people of its time. Influenced by a range of ideas, including revolutionary syndicalism, the ICU had both amazing strengths and spectacular failings. This piece explains.
The relevance of the ICU of Africa for modern day unions and liberation movements
Presentation at the launch of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU) Centennial Exhibition, William Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
“…although its initials stood for a fancy title, to us Bantu, it meant basically that when you ill-treat the African people, I See You. If you kick them off the pavements I See You. When an African woman with a child on her back is knocked down by the cars in the street, I See You. I See You when you kick my brother. I See You.”
Thus the ICU exhibited many aspects of a highly politicised unionism – not the political unionism we see today, where the union outsources politics to a party and chases state power. It aimed at fundamentally transforming relationships of ownership and control for oppressed black and working class people. It saw itself as a transformative organization; an organisation that would be at the forefront of challenging domination, oppression and exploitation.
Despite some members and leaders having “dual” membership, including in the ANC and CPSA, the ICU had tenuous, mostly informal links with political party, and nationalist formations. I wold argue that it did not see political parties, nationalist formations or state power as the vehicles for social transformation. I think this is vital to any present and future reading of the ICU.
It engaged the state, to be sure, for example, attempting to leverage its position by utilizing Native Advisory Boards in the townships, or even running court cases and appearing at government commissions. It engaged with other organisations that were claiming leadership of African, black and workers struggles, including parties and other unions. But it never saw parties and state power as the primary loci of transformation.
RELEVANCE FOR UNIONS AND MOVEMENTS TODAY
There are many lessons trade unions and oppressed people’s movements can learn via a critical reappraisal of the ICU, not only what pitfalls to avoid, but also by understanding that many circumstances confronting organizations today were faced by the ICU in the first half of the 20th century.
The ICU organised in what organisers and activists have always considered difficult terrains. Its rural base, particularly by the later 1920s in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in the 1930s, was substantial, and at times militant in thought and deed. This allowed the ICU to articulate and develop a profound response to the land question, which included union ownership schemes, through which it espoused the aim of eventual collective, de-colonised and de-commodified working class and black ownership.
It had many ideological influences, including Garveyism, social democracy and Christian millenarianism. However, its ideas for organisation and social transformation, and its stress on the centrality of unions, not parties, also signify its revolutionary syndicalist roots and influences. It imagined, and saw itself as a One Big Union, and this union seen as the most strategic tool for anti-capitalist and anti-colonial struggle. The syndicalist impulse cannot be ignored because it saw in the union the instrument of working class and black liberation in southern Africa.
I will conclude by saying that a re-examination of the ICU reveals a broader imagination of what a union can be, and its potential role in transforming society. It had a somewhat pre-figurative politics, aiming to build tomorrow today; this was developed in relation to an Africa that was being transformed by colonial domination and racist capitalist development.
It was not simply the product of external ideological influences and socio-economic pressures, but also made by its rank-and-file, and by its internal organizational imperatives and pressures. It was able to use its organisation and its struggles to develop its own repertoire of ideas, politics and action, prefiguring a new social order by developing independent working class organisation bent on transforming society.
I would propose that as you consider the ICU you shift your analytical eye from the more usual national and nationalist lens and personality narratives that I mentioned earlier – with their focus on individuals and contestations for individual power, their triumphalist story of the rise of the ANC and CPSA, and their narrow views on what unions can or should be.
I would advise a focus on the modes of ideological, political and organisational development as dialectical processes informed by the cries, demands and actions of the working class and peasant rank-and-file and their communities. Thus considered, it is not that difficult to see the ICU not just as a union, as we know them now, but a creative rebellion. Its experiences offer rich lessons, to be visited through honest analytical re-appraisal, which are relevant to modern day unions and liberation movements – if they choose to learn these. The ICU fought for the possibility of a better world…we can redevelop this imagination by learning from it and our collective pasts.
Βολιβία / Περού / Ισημερινός / Χιλή / Λαϊκοί Αγώνες / Ανακοίνωση Τύπου Wednesday December 11, 2019 19:43 byΑναρχική Ομοσπονδία Σαντιάγο
Πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε τις κινητοποιήσεις και να ενδυναμώσουμε τις οργανώσεις της τάξης μας, τις τοπικές συνελεύσεις, τις οργανώσεις για τα δικαιώματα των γυναικών, τα έμφυλα και φεμινιστικά παραβατικά υποκείμενα, τις συνελεύσεις, τους συντονισμούς της υπεράσπισης της γης και του νερού, τις οργανώσεις των αυτόχθονων πληθυσμών και να ενισχυθεί ο πρωταγωνιστικός ρόλος του λαού στα συνδικάτα, τις ομοσπονδίες και τα μαθητικά κέντρα.Τέταρτη ανακοίνωση της Αναρχικής Ομοσπονδίας του Σαντιάγο για τις κοινωνικές εξεγέρσεις στη χώρα
Ένας μήνας έχει περάσει από τότε που οι άνθρωποι που ζουν στην περιοχή που ορίζεται ως «Χιλιανό κράτος» ξεσηκώθηκαν και αγωνίστηκαν με αξιοπρέπεια ενάντια στις ευτελιστικές και επισφαλείς συνθήκες που τους επέβαλε η αστική τάξη, συνθήκες που αντιμετωπίστηκαν με μία κοινωνική έκρηξη, ο απόηχος της οποίας παραμένει αισθητός μέχρι σήμερα.
Η θέληση της καταπιεζόμενης τάξης παραμένει ακλόνητη, μέρα με τη μέρα, βδομάδα με τη βδομάδα. Η αντίσταση και η αυτοοργανωση ειναι εμφανή παντού στις πλατείες, στις γειτονιές, στους δρομους.
Οι κινητοποιήσεις συνεχίζονται παρά την προδοσία των συνήθων οπορτουνιστών, που κάθισαν ξανά στο τραπέζι της μπουρζουαζίας για να κάνουν συμφωνίες που αφορουν τις ζωές μας. Οι άνθρωποι έδειξαν σε αυτά τα παράσιτα πως είναι αχρείαστοι, πως ο αγώνας συνεχίζεται παρά το πισώπλατο χτύπημα τους και πως η αντίσταση είναι ακυβέρνητη και θα συνεχίσει για όσο υπάρχει το κεφαλαιο και η πατριαρχία.
Η καταστολή από το κράτος και τους λακέδες του εχει αποβεί αιματηρή.
Η κρατική τρομοκρατία έχει εφαρμοστεί με ολοκληρωτική ατιμωρησία και με τη συνενοχή διαφόρων θεσμών, που είναι και ο λόγος πίσω από τους διαρκώς αυξανόμενους αριθμούς: μέχρι σήμερα, περισσότεροι από 6000 άνθρωποι έχουν συλληφθεί, 222 άνθρωποι έχασαν τα μάτια τους από την καταστολή, 30 άνθρωποι έχασαν τη ζωή τους, περισσότεροι από 2400 τραυματίστηκαν, εκατοντάδες υπέστησαν βασανιστήρια και φυλακίστηκαν και δεκάδες άνθρωποι έχουν γίνει θύματα βιασμού, επιβεβαιώνοντας πως η κατάσταση εκτάκτου ανάγκης έχει μονιμοποιηθεί και ότι η πολιτική του πολέμου ενάντια στις καταπιεζόμενες τάξεις είναι το καλύτερο μάθημα που διδάχτηκε στο «Escuela de las Américas». Ακόμα, έχει ξεκινήσει η ποινικοποίηση των ανθρώπων που συνεχίζουν να αντιστέκονται στους δρόμους και η στοχοποίησή τους με εφόδους, ψευδή στοιχεία και κατηγορίες με βάση τον πινοσετικό αντιτρομοκρατικό νόμο περί ασφάλειας της χώρας.
Το κυνήγι μαγισσών ξεκίνησε και το κράτος ετοιμάζεται να εκτονώσει την επιθετικότητά του. Απόδειξη γι' αυτό είναι πως η κυβέρνηση ανακοινώνει μία σειρά από νόμους που στοχεύουν άμεσα στην καταστολή των κοινωνικών αγώνων. Ένα σημαντικό στοιχείο αποτελεί και ο ρόλος των Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων. Αυτός ήταν εκτελεστικός με την έννοια ότι έπαιρναν αποφάσεις αυτόνομα τις τελευταίες εβδομάδες. Αυτό φαίνεται στο γεγονός ότι την Τρίτη, 12 Νοεμβρίου, στο πλαίσιο της μαζικής απεργίας που εξαπλώθηκε σε όλες τις περιοχές, η κυβέρνηση, με την ουρά ανάμεσα στα πόδια της, σε μία συνάντηση στην La Moneda ζητά για ακόμα μία φορά βοήθεια από τις ένοπλες δυνάμεις, στις κατασταλτικές δράσεις ενάντια στην τάξη μας. Όμως οι ένοπλες δυνάμεις ζήτησαν να τους δοθεί εγγύηση ατιμωρησίας για τα εγκληματα ενάντια στην ανθρωπότητα που είναι έτοιμοι να διαπράξουν ενάντια στους αγωνιζόμενους ανθρώπους. Αντιμέτωποι με τον φόβο της πολιτικής ευθύνης που συνεπάγεται κάτι τέτοιο, η κυβέρνηση αποφάσισε να μην παρέχει ατιμωρησία στις ένοπλες δυνάμεις, οι οποίες τελικά δε βγήκαν στο δρόμο, αφήνοντας τον Πινιέρα και το γελοίο συνάφι του να καλέσει συνταξιούχους αστυνομικούς για να συνεργαστούν μαζι τους στα κατασταλτικά τους σχέδια.
Όχι μονο αυτό δεν φάνηκε αστείο σ' εμάς αλλα το θεωρούμε ακραία ανησυχητικό, όταν βλέπουμε τις ένοπλες δυνάμεις να λαμβάνουν αποφάσεις αυτόνομα, με το πολιτικό τους εγχείρημα να σχετίζεται με τον παρόν σενάριο, ένα εγχείρημα που αποπειράται να εντοπίσει την ανικανότητα της παρούσας πολιτικής κάστας να επιβάλει την τάξη στο πρόσωπο της κοινωνικής έκρηξης, ξεκινώντας από μία πολιτική λύση και φτάνοντας στην βίαιη επέμβαση για την επαναφορά της τάξης με χρήση των όπλων και του εξεφτελισμού των ανθρώπων.
Καλούμε όλες τις κοινότητες του αγώνα να είναι σε επαγρύπνιση για την πιθανότητα επιστροφής της στρατιωτικής τρομοκρατίας στους δρόμους, αλλά αυτή τη φορά με μία πιο ριζοσπαστική επέμβαση.
Η σάπια πολιτική κάστα του πρώην εθνικού κογκρέσου προέβη σε διάφορα διαβήματα προς την επίτευξη πολιτικών συμφωνιών για να προχωρήσει σε ένα νέο σύνταγμα. Τα κόμματα του κατεστημένου, από αριστερά μέχρι δεξιά, έδωσαν τα χέρια σε ένα διήμερο διαπραγματεύσεων στο πρόσωπο της πιθανότητας μίας στρατιωτικής επέμβασης που θα έδινε μία γρήγορη πολιτική λύση στην κρίση.
Από τα δωμάτια της χλιδής γεννήθηκε η γνωστή «Συμφωνία για την Κοινωνική Ειρήνη και το Σύνταγμα», ενώ οι κοινότητες του αγώνα τιμούσαν τη μνήμη του Camilo Catrillanca που πέθανε στα χέρια του κράτους πριν από ένα χρόνο στο Wallmapu. Από τα παράθυρα του παλατιού έβγαινε καπνός, που αποσκοπούσε να θολώσει την όψη της καταπιεζόμενης τάξης, με μία συμφωνία που έχει πάνω της κηλίδες από το αίμα των νεκρών μας, των φυλακισμένων, των βασανισμένων, των βιασμένων και των κατακρεουργημένων σωμάτων των αγωνιστών μας. Προσπάθησαν να φιμώσουν την άσβηστη αντίσταση των ανθρώπων του αγώνα, προσπάθησαν να κάνουν μία συμφωνία στο όνομα αυτών που αντιστέκονται, χωρίς την παραμικρή αντιπροσώπευση των συμφερόντων των καταπιεσμένων.
Η συμφωνία τους για ένα νέο σύνταγμα δεν είναι κάτι περισσότερο από αυτό που έχουμε ήδη καταδικάσει στην προηγούμενη επιστολή μας, ως ένα μέσο να δώσει οξυγόνο σε μία σταγόνα δημοκρατίας για να μπορέσουν να τεθούν τα θεμέλια για ένα νέο κράτος που θα συνεχίσει να εκπληρώνει τον ιστορικό ρόλο της καταπίεσης των κοινοτήτων που παλεύουν ενάντια στην αστική τάξη και το σύστημα που της επιτρέπει να κυριαρχεί.
Όποιος κι αν ειναι ο μηχανισμός που θα χρησιμοποιηθεί να αλλάξει το σύνταγμα, αυτός απλά αναδομεί το κράτος, το ζήτημα όμως δεν είναι αυτό της συμμετοχικότητας αλλά αυτό της ταξικής πραγματικότητας. Αυτή η διαδικασία συμβάλλει υποστηρικτικά προς την αστική τάξη η οποία έχει διαβρωθεί από την πινοσετική της κληρονομιά και μέσω αυτών των ανακοινώσεων προσπαθεί να αναγεννήσει μία νέα κοινωνική συμφωνία βασισμένη σε μία παραπλανητική συμμετοχή των πολιτών, η οποία εξυπηρετεί ως «μάρτυρας πίστεως» στη διαδικασία αναδόμησης του αστικου συνταγματικού πλαισίου.
Έπειτα από ένα μήνα αγώνα, έχουμε κερδίσει πολλά, έχουμε αναπροσδιορίσει τους εαυτούς μας ως μέλη μίας τάξης καταπιεσμένων, ως ο κοινωνικός ιστός που εξαλείφθηκε τα αιματηρά χρόνια του Πινοσέτ κι έχει ξαναγεννηθεί, έχουμε ανακαλύψει ένα κομμάτι των ζωών μας. Όμως, η επισφάλεια της καθημερινότητας παραμένει άθικτη, γι αυτό έχει τεράστια σημασία να συνεχίσουμε τις κινητοποιήσεις για να έχουμε κάποια αποτελέσματα σύντομα, τα οποία θα ανεβάσουν το ηθικό στον κόσμο του αγώνα, επιτρέποντάς του να ζήσει σε πιο αξιοπρεπείς συνθήκες. Γι΄ αυτό είναι σημαντικό να συνεχίσουμε να παλεύουμε για να παραλύσουμε την κυβερνητική νομοθετική ατζέντα, στην οποία εμπεριέχονται το TPP-11, ο νόμος κοινωνικής ενσωμάτωσης και η κατασταλτική ατζέντα που πρεπει να καταργηθούν άμεσα. Από την άλλη, παλεύουμε για επαναφορά των κοινωνικών δικαιωμάτων, μέσω της κατάργησης του AFP, την απόσυρση του νόμου για το νερό, την διαγραφή του εκπαιδευτικού χρέους, φρένο στη μόνιμη μείωση βασικών υπηρεσιών, την μείωση των εργασιακών ωραρίων και την αύξηση του βασικού μισθού.
Στεκόμαστε αλληλέγγυοι με τους συντρόφους μας που έχουν υποφέρει από την σκληρή καταστολή, ιδιαίτερα αυτούς που τώρα βρίσκονται φυλακισμένοι αντιμετωπίζοντας σύνθετες κατασταλτικές διαδικασίες με την εφαρμογή των πιο τομακτικών νόμων της αστικής τάξης. Τέλος καλούμε τον κόσμο του αγώνα να μην παρασυρθεί από τα κόπλα των κομμάτων που θέλουν να διατηρήσουν την τάξη, να μην διαπραγματευτεί με τους δολοφόνους και να μην πιστέψει την ψεύτικη ειρήνη τους. Πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε τις κινητοποιήσεις και να ενδυναμώσουμε τις οργανώσεις της τάξης μας, τις τοπικές συνελεύσεις, τις οργανώσεις για τα δικαιώματα των γυναικών, τα έμφυλα και φεμινιστικά παραβατικά υποκείμενα, τις συνελεύσεις, τους συντονισμούς της υπεράσπισης της γης και του νερού, τις οργανώσεις των αυτόχθονων πληθυσμών και να ενισχυθεί ο πρωταγωνιστικός ρόλος του λαού στα συνδικάτα, τις ομοσπονδίες και τα μαθητικά κέντρα.
Ας πολλαπλασιαστεί και θωρακιστεί η αντίσταση με οργανωτικά που θα οδηγήσουν στην απελευθέρωσή μας!
Ας συνεχίσουμε τον αγώνα!
Για να χτίσουμε μία οργανωμένη κοινότητα! Να ριζώσει ο αναρχισμός!
Να φτιάξουμε οργανωμένες αυτόνομες κοινότητες!
Ζήτω οι αγώνες των λαών!
Άμεση απελευθέρωση των κρατουμένων της κοινωνικής επανάστασης!
Αναρχική Ομοσπονδία Σαντιάγο
19 Νοεμβρίου 2019
Σχετικός σύνδεσμος: https://enoughisenough14.org/2019/11/20/fourth-statement-by-the-federacion-anarquista-santiago-on-the-social-uprising-in-chile/
Μετάφραση: το μαύρο berry.
aotearoa / pacific islands / crime prison and punishment / opinion / analysis Wednesday December 11, 2019 15:08 byPink Panther/AWSM
A critique of recent anti-gang proposals in Aotearoa/New Zealand.When politicians want to come across as tough on crime they will announce a crackdown on gangs. Criminal gangs make an easy target because (quite correctly) few people like them or want, them in their midst. Simon Bridges, the Leader of National Party, is no different. On October 30th, 2019, it was reported in the Stuff article National Party say they ‘hate gangs’ and would block benefit access that:
“National wants to block gang members from receiving a benefit if they are unable to prove they don’t have illegal income or assets.
“The plan is part of National’s Social Services Discussion Document, which was released on Wednesday and states: ‘National hates gangs. They peddle misery in our communities and are responsible for the scourge of drugs in New Zealand.’
“National Party leader Simon Bridges told Stuff the move was prompted by the exponential increase in gang numbers and if elected next year, National would crack down hard on gangs.”
This increase in gangs refers to the upsurge in the numbers of patched gang members and prospects by as much as 1400 that the Police Association referred to at their conference held in October 2019. As part of their plan to crack down on gangs it was reported in the same article that:
“National will also compel government agencies to share information about gang members and their families so they are supported to be violence and drug-free.
“Bridges believed most New Zealanders would not think he was heartless for implementing the policy.
“’Right now they are working hard, paying taxes, while gang members double dip getting the benefit and having their ill gotten gains from their crime. It is beyond the pale.
“The gangs were known and there were a raft of touch points between gangs and agencies, so MSD would be tasked to administer the policy, he said.”
Not surprisingly for a social conservative, Bridges assumes that gang members are on a benefit while simultaneously living off the proceeds of crime. While it might be a popular stereotype there is no way to confirm this because the Ministry of Social Development does not keep records of whether or not their clients belong to a gang.
The response from the government was swift and showed that the measures being proposed to deal with the gangs by the National Party had pretty much been implemented. As was reported in the same article:
“Police Minister Stuart Nash said it was ‘desperate political grandstanding’ on the part of Bridges who seems to have only just realised that gangs had a presence in New Zealand.
“‘Gang numbers started growing when the Rebels Motorcycle Club from Australia established a foothold in 2011, under the previous government. The following year, police numbers fell by 150. Criminals began to be deported from Australia in even greater numbers in 2015. His government responded by freezing spending on police.’
“Sanctions against those with undeclared income were already enforced, he said.
“Police, Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development already went hard on benefit fraud and tax fraud – whether or not someone had a patch on their back, he said.”
In passing, this highlights the fact that essentially Labour has nothing different to distinguish itself from National. There may be the occasional technical differences or bits of fine tuning here and there, but often they share the common ground of trying to out tough each other.
On November 26th, it was reported in the Stuff article National Party’s war on gangs could ban patches, create ‘Strike Force Raptor’ police that:
“The National Party wants to ban gang patches and insignia in public places and create an Australian-style “Strike Force Raptor” police unit to crack down on gangs and Other proposals to crack down on gangs included revoking parole for those who associated with gangs and creating a new sentence for violent gang crime.”
A gang patch ban is a gimmick and such bans are already in place in much of the country. For the most part the gang patch ban has either been circumvented by gang members tattooing their gang patches on their faces, arms or back or mocked by simply turning the jacket with the gang patch inside out.
More intriguing, though, is their plan to set up a Strike Force Raptor-type anti-gang police unit modelled on the New South Wales gang-busting unit. While this would appeal to many people who want to see a tough stance taken it is worth mentioning that the performance of the police unit National wants to emulate has come under fire.
In the article Lawyer alleges stalking, intimidation by members of police taskforce targeting bikies that was published in the June 4th, 2019, Sydney Morning Herald it was alleged:
“A NSW solicitor has called for an investigation into members of a high-level police taskforce targeting bikies after officers allegedly stalked and intimidated him.
“Greg Coombes, a lawyer in Grafton in the state’s north, was due to represent a client associated with the Gladiators bikie gang last Tuesday when members of Strike Force Raptor allegedly began to follow him from his home.”
This is only one of many criticisms levelled against this police unit. Former New South Wales detective Mike Kennedy was quoted in a Radio New Zealand website article on November 27th, 2019, as saying:
“He needs to pull his head out of whatever it’s stuck in because … [gangs] exist. They’re always going to exist. They just go underground.
“I’m not a bleeding heart liberal,” he said. “But [the zero-tolerance strategy has] just been a disaster.”
The article went on to state:
“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are unregulated, so how would you know?” he said. “They’re not required to pay a fee … and register with government. So any suggestion that the numbers are down is just nonsense.”
Kennedy said the problem had just been driven underground.
“People don’t stop being members of groups just because they’ve been arrested. They go into jail, they reinforce themselves, they come out, [and] they get more of a reason to remain in the group they’re in.”
Police officers needed a working relationship with communities, including gang members, so they would cooperate with investigations, he said.
“You need this community to trust you so that when things need to be brought into line, the police are able to go in and speak to people and find out who’s … behaving really badly, and who needs to be put in jail,” Kennedy said.
“If you want those families to help the police … then you can’t just tar them all with the same brush. And that’s what Raptor does.”
When even former police officers from New South Wales are saying that such task forces don’t work then notice should be taken. Its worth remembering what the Police Minister said. Much of the increase in gang numbers in New Zealand was the result of the Australian police – including the Strike Force Raptor – deporting gang members to New Zealand. In short, the Strike Force Raptor hasn’t especially reduced gang numbers but has essentially merely exported them.
A Stuff article (29/11/19), reported that experts in crime and gangs were less than impressed by the claims made by the National Party.
“Apart from the headline-grabbing gang issue, the 43 proposals feature a mix of nuanced ideas and proposals without substance, they said.
It has raised questions among police sources about Bill of Rights issues and whether the proposals could ever actually be enacted.
Experts have also highlighted that much of the document contains areas where policy already exists and questioned whether the tactics to suppress gangs could even work.
There are already 12 government agencies which cooperate with information sharing about gangs through the Police Gang Intelligence Centre and the Government has already proposed Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs) to keep guns out of the hands of gangs – something the National Party said it wants to implement.
The Government has provided additional police to specifically work on organised crime and Police Minister Stuart Nash is considering new police powers, through a review of the Crimes Act and proceeds of crime laws, targeting gang hierarchy and organised crime.”
Again, this underscores the point that really there is often little to separate the political parties. They share a desire to legitimise their control over society, to give police more power and to use crude crackdowns on gangs as their pretext. They disagree on the details, some policies and public relations messaging of this but not the fundamentals.
While the politicians of all kinds and law enforcement argue among themselves over how they should deal with the gangs it has been the Police Association – an organisation hardly noted for having liberal tendencies – that has concluded that the gang problem is the result of societal issues and the increasingly lucrative drug trade.
The article What’s going on with gangs? Influx of organised criminals is ‘destroying families’ (Stuff, October 16th, 2019) stated:
“The UN estimates the illicit meth market in Australia and New Zealand is now worth $11.1 billion, partly because of high wholesale and retail prices.
“’High-level Mexican drug cartels are now targeting New Zealand because selling drugs here is so lucrative. In the last year alone New Zealand police seized one and a half tonne of meth and an increased volume of cocaine,’ [Police Association President Chris] Cahill said.”
“In the past 10 years police had gone from single kilo drug imports justifying significant resources, to now, 100 kilo imports being almost commonplace, he said.
“’However my biggest concern is the rapid growth in gang numbers and the effect this will have on the lives of New Zealanders.’
“’What does it say when young people are increasingly considering gang membership as their future? Our members see disconnected, angry, confused and unloved young people turning to gangs as a ‘family’!’”
This sentiment is shared to some extent by the Mongrel Mob, one of the largest gangs. In the November 27th, 2019, NZ Herald article Simon Bridges should target poverty if he wants to tackle gang problems – Mongrel Mob Kingdom it was reported:
“Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom president Sonny Fatupaito said the party’s law and order proposals reprised old policies which had “failed miserably” and “terrorised Māori … for generations”.
“Fatupaito said his gang chapter was formed “out of the ashes of poverty” and that gangs were the most marginalised people in the country.”
“The gang president questioned the success of the Strike Force Raptor Unit in Australia, which has absorbed significant resources while failing to stem the rise of gang members or gang-related crime in the country.
“He noted the Australian Ombudsman’s finding that the unit disproportionately targeted non-gang citizens and Aboriginal citizens.
“Fatupaito said he predicated an Australian-style crackdown in New Zealand last year because of the influx of “501s” or Australian deportees from motorcycle gangs, who had led to a rise in gang numbers, drug crime, and violence here.”
Leaving aside Fatupaito’s misleading attempt to link gangs with other marginalised groups, he is right about National’s plans to deal with gangs being a re-tread of old policies that have failed here and overseas.
What the politicians and others who have spoken about the gang problem have all touched upon, but often failed to address, is that the gangs are the product of both socio-economic failures within society and the failed war on drugs. Gangs are a misanthropic and deeply misdirected attempt to deal with real problems that exist for those at the bottom of society. They are a pathogen an unhealthy society produces.
In the late 20th and early 21st Century technology has done away with thousands of jobs. A factory doesn’t require thousands of workers on a production line to produce goods. It can be done by a small group of people sitting behind computers and big screen monitors. There’s no need for filing clerks because there are no paper files any more. They’re all on screen. Even farms no longer need as many workers to harvest crops because a machine can do it more efficiently. Working class people, especially in rural areas, and Maori people have been disproportionately disadvantaged by such changes.
In addition, though by its nature this is difficult to prove, I would argue there is cronyism and nepotism in much of New Zealand when it comes to jobs. There is also the absence of opportunities caused by the lack of educational qualifications, appropriate work experience and skills for the local job market and long standing bigotry against Maori and the poor which paints them as lazy, drug-addicted criminals despite no evidence to back such stereotypes.
With so few opportunities in the legitimate job market this has led some into the drug trade.
Despite the risks involved the drug trade is lucrative. The Australian and New Zealand drug trade in total is worth $11.1 billion a year. This is now attracting the attention of drug cartels in Mexico and elsewhere. As the September 20th, 2019, Radio New Zealand article The Detail: New Zealand’s rampant drug culture reveals:
“The prices that we pay for it here are much higher than the rest of the world and basically trans-national organised crime groups, cartels in Mexico and South America as well as the more traditional organised crime groups in China and Southeast Asia, have cottoned on to this.”
“A kilogram of meth can be produced in Mexico or China for just a few hundred to a thousand dollars. That’s probably worth $5000 in Mexico or the US if it gets to the border.
“You bring that same kilogram here and the market price for a kilogram is anywhere between $180,000 and $350,000.”
Basically, with a waiting base of buyers willing to pay $100 for 0.1 grams of meth – New Zealand is an attractive proposition for smugglers.
“I’ve been in this organisation for 36 years … and I never thought I’d see these types of numbers,” says Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry.
Drugs are also risky. 64 people were found to have died – at least in part – as a result of methamphetamine related toxicity over slightly less than five years, according to inquest reports released under the Official Information Act. The risks associated with P are seen as very minor compared to the money that can be made from it and this is a key factor as to why the gangs are growing. In a society where a lot of young people, especially among Maori and Pacific Island communities (and increasingly Asian as well), are being shut out of the legitimate economy they are joining the gangs to get into the drug trade to make money. This has happened particularly in Northland where it was reported in the March 13th, 2018, article Getting hold of meth in 20 minutes or less that
“There’s so much unemployment in the Far North, there’s very little transport, you’ve got a widely distributed population and the gangs easily take advantage of people,” said Whangarei defence lawyer Kelly Ellis, who frequently interacts and represents meth users.
The one thing that is self-evident is that there are no easy solutions to dealing with the gangs, certainly not within the system that currently dominates. These groups are largely the product of a dysfunctional society and an economy where an underclass of people have been shut out.
As has been stated above the gang problem won’t be solved by grandstanding politicians demanding getting tough on them. Nor will the use of brute force by dedicated anti-gang task forces like the New South Wales Strike Force Raptors achieve any long-term solutions. In most cases where gangs have been cracked down on human rights abuses, extra-judicial killings and homicide rates have increased dramatically, especially in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and the Philippines, as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported many times.
In my view there are two ways in which the gang problem can be better dealt with:
The first is possible as a reform within the current system. Deny the gangs their key source of income: money from drugs. The easiest way to achieve this would be the legalisation of all drugs. If the legalisation of drugs follows the same pattern as the legalisation of prostitution did, the immediate short term result would be the flooding of the local market with cheap drugs in the hope they could get more customers. When the anticipated increase in demand does not meet the actual demand the bottom will fall out of the drug trade and take down most of the gangs with it. Those that survive will need to regroup and look for alternative sources of revenue. Even though there will still be gangs they would be seriously knocked back for a while at least.
The second is a longer term, deeper and more difficult one…the abolition of Capitalism. This would eradicate the wasteful economic system that has decided that thousands of people are worthless because their experience, qualifications and skills are of no use to bosses and those who do their bidding. In the grey and black economies those same people dismissed as useless have often found themselves in useful tasks such as building fences, mending heaters or fixing bikes for neighbours in return for cash in hand or cultivating and harvesting marijuana crops. It would be better if those currently in the Mongrel Mob were running a hemp co-op or repair business instead.
Without the poverty the system we currently live under creates, gangs wouldn’t be able to recruit members because there would be no attraction. Without poverty children will be raised in safer and stable environments so by the time they enter society they would be equipped with the necessary social skills to cope in whatever type of world they enter. Such young people don’t join gangs because they don’t need substitute families, promises of flash cars and nice homes or any of the other gimmicks that gangs use to lure people into their ranks.
A society based on democratic community control of resources, where there are no extremes of wealth and power would act to take the oxygen out of the growth of parasitic organisations such as gangs and governments. Lets be honest, we may never reach the point where they are eliminated entirely, but we can and should try to head in that direction since the alternative proposed by the current political establishment has little meaningful to offer.
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / repressão / prisioneiros / opinião / análise Wednesday December 11, 2019 10:23 byBrunoL
Há um tema delicado, uma forma de gerar o medo e criar factoides sem fim, vindos do Palácio do Planalto, durante o desgoverno de Jair Bolsonaro e Paulo Guedes. O tema dos decretos de Garantia da Lei e da Ordem, além de ser uma herança maldita e esdrúxula da ditadura, é também uma imposição no texto constituinte, assim como a defesa interna atribuída aos quartéis - outra excrescência do governo da Arena de Sarney com o PMDB e sob tutela ainda da milicada – é uma tentação permanente de autoritarismo.Bruno Lima Rocha, 10 de dezembro de 2019
Há um tema delicado, uma forma de gerar o medo e criar factoides sem fim, vindos do Palácio do Planalto, durante o desgoverno de Jair Bolsonaro e Paulo Guedes. O tema dos decretos de Garantia da Lei e da Ordem, além de ser uma herança maldita e esdrúxula da ditadura, é também uma imposição no texto constituinte, assim como a defesa interna atribuída aos quartéis - outra excrescência do governo da Arena de Sarney com o PMDB e sob tutela ainda da milicada – é uma tentação permanente de autoritarismo.
Mentecaptos como o atual presidente, cuja carreira militar foi patética, indicam essa necessidade como se isso fosse resolver alguma crise de segurança pública. Caso alguém seja curioso na área, convido a observarem a situação no Rio de Janeiro, em termos comparativos, antes e depois da Intervenção do Carnaval de 2018. Não foi a primeira e pelo visto não será a única. E de que serviu? Nada a não ser ajudar a contaminar ainda mais os quartéis pelo convívio com a economia politica do tráfico e do crime em geral.
GLO e “mexicanização”
Tal fenômeno, o de emprego interno das Forças Armadas para resolver problemas de ordem interna, ganha o neologismo de "mexicanização" graças ao governo neoliberal de Felipe Calderón (PAN, 2006-2012). Este oligarca, eleito através de apuração fraudada, tomou como sócio majoritário ao Cartel de Sinaloa e declarou guerra aos Zetas, que por sinal estava em guerra contra seus ex-patrões do Cartel do Golfo, e havia conflito coletivo contra o Cartel de Juárez e também de Jalisco (antes do Nueva Generación).
O resultado foi uma mortandade absurda muito devido à aplicação de uma lei semelhante ao excludente de ilicitude habilitando as Forças Armadas, e em especial a Marinha como braço armado da SEDENA (o Ministério da Defesa do México) a matarem sem prestar contas de seus atos. Com isso o país teve a parcela norte de seu território dizimada e a corrupção avançando como forma de enriquecimento complementar de militares de carreira.
Como já se sabe, a experiência histórica não serve nada para Bolsonaro e seus asseclas. Isso é fato. Não sei se o Alto Comando do Exército brasileiro vai aceitar o embarque em mais uma aventura. Porque esta, caso possa ser decretada GLO sem passar pelo Congresso ou sem o pedido de governos estaduais, então poderia ser aplicada a todo instante e momento.
Não deixa de ser irônico. Um ex-oficial militar de passagem medíocre e final melancólico como castrense pode vir a executar um ato que nem a ditadura conseguiu ou quis fazer.
GLO e factoides sem fim
O que me parece algo sempre válido é considerar a possibilidade de emprego de uma GLO através de factoides. Nunca podemos nos esquecer do Plano Cohen do fascista Olympio Mourão - ele mesmo, o da coluna dos tanques que saíram de Minas em 1964 - e o efeito que pode gerar uma comoção interna. Por exemplo, o presidente eleito teve uma campanha mais que conturbada. Imaginemos um ataque cometido em um mesmo dia com protestos massivos do tipo “Ele Não!”. Seria plausível supor que uma situação assim pode implicar no motivo alegado para o acionar de uma GLO.
O emprego do momento pós golpe parlamentar de 2016 foi quando dos protestos contra a votação do segundo turno da Reforma Trabalhista na Câmara Federal, em maio de 2017. O ainda presidente da câmara baixa Rodrigo Maia considerou algo a respeito e na mesma tarde o GSI de Etchegoyen colocou as garras de fora e obteve o decreto de GLO para uma semana no DF, operando a partir da Esplanada. A medida foi suspensa antes do prazo, até porque as caravanas para Brasília retornaram aos seus estados de origem, sendo impossível manter uma luta de médio prazo sem bases territoriais.
A experiência de Brasília não foi boa para quem atua na esquerda. O mais preocupante é supor que possa haver algum grau de coordenação entre forças federais e forças estaduais. Se isso acontecer o nível da política de extermínio durante uma GLO em vigência pode ser ainda maior, ainda mais se junto vier o pacote do excludente de ilicitude.
Mas, por mais alarmantes que possam ser os fatos, há algo de confusão na internet brasileira. Não vejo uma ditadura perto nem nada por estilo. Mas sim, reconheço que é incompatível o neoliberalismo com qualquer forma de democracia - da liberal burguesa à direta e participativa - e também que para as populações indígenas, quilombolas, da luta do campo e a maioria afro descendente dos territórios de periferia, a maior parte desta parcela da população, em especial sua juventude, muitas vezes sequer tem os direitos civis assegurados. Logo, com ou sem GLO, o Estado já é o campeão absoluto em execuções extrajudiciais e crimes derivados de abuso de autoridade policial ou negligência dos governos constituídos. A chacina nos dois bailes funk da comunidade de Paraisópolis infelizmente não é novidade alguma.
As periferias vivem uma autêntica "tirania dos casos isolados"!!!
GLO e os riscos reais
O terceiro e último aspecto que gostaria de analisar diante das ameaças de projeto de lei de emprego de GLO por decreto e sem consulta aos governos estaduais, medida essa agravada por tentativa de legalizar a matança com ou PL este sobre excludente de ilicitude e6o colapso das Forças Armadas.
Vamos observar bem. O Estado através do governo central conta com algumas forças aptas para o combate urbano, ou algum tipo de modus operandi não convencional. Se formos comparar, o acionar de tipo BOPE da PMERJ - hoje somando mais de três batalhões na verdade - supera em "eficiência" ao destas unidades.
Imaginemos o emprego permanente de soldados profissionais - ou o desgoverno Bolsonaro através de "análise" do GSI cogitou enviar conscritos?! - como o batalhão de Forças Especiais o contingente profissional da Brigada Paraquedista, ou o Batalhão Tonelero do Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais? Quem sabe o conjunto da Força de Deslocamento Rápido (FDR) do Exército? Ou porque não a unidade de elite e salvamento da Força Aérea? Para que? Para patrulhar vielas e becos e atirar em jovens inocentes saindo de bailes da comunidade?
Vai ter então emprego de munição letal na repressão a supostos atos de protesto como as jornadas que ocorrem no Chile e Colômbia? Logo vai ter o emprego de tanques e carros de combate e as forças sociais manifestantes serão dizimadas por tiros de ponto 50 disparadas por um cabo de cavalaria que deu muita sorte e engajou depois do primeiro ano de serviço? Ah então o "jênio" do Planalto vai aplicar as Forças Armadas no policiamento ostensivo e anti-motim? Assim vai triplicar o contingente da PE, da Polícia da Marinha e da Polícia da Aeronáutica?!
E se no meio dos supostos conflitos sociais uma parcela do comando resolver recuar, como ocorreu em 2019 no Chile, em especial com a Infantaria da Marinha (fuzileiros chilenos) ou as medidas forem em parte contestadas pelas autoridades do Comando do Exército, como também ocorreu no Chile?!
Vejam bem, não estou dizendo que a vocação dos militares brasileiros seja a do combate profissional e a não ingerência interna. Longe disso, ainda mais com essa aventura ridícula de se somarem ao desgoverno de um tenente que reformou como capitão. Não. Mas também afirmo que a mesma "agilidade" que a geração de quatro e três estrelas liderada por Eduardo Villas Bôas - aquele que manda recado ao STF pelo Twitter - e do falastrão de loja maçônica Hamilton Mourão (o vice cujo titular não queria, mas aí apareceu vídeo do "príncipe"...) teve para entrar na política pela porta dos fundos, pode ser usada para escapar pela janela de serviço.
Assim, pendurado no próprio delírio e com cadáveres na conta - mortes “contábeis” porque seriam de militantes e não de jovens inocentes sem representação política - como ficaria o governo de quem assinou o famigerado decreto?!
Sinceramente não creio nem em profissionalismo militar - a adesão ao Bolsonaro é a prova viva da sandice - e menos ainda no patriotismo dos oficiais generais das três armas. Mas creio sim, e muito, em seu instinto de sobrevivência. Já com o núcleo duro dos olavianos do Jair, tudo é possível, tudo mesmo, mas sempre levando em conta que para oportunistas de ocasião e delirantes compulsivos - vide as pastas das relações exteriores, educação e as políticas culturais - nem o inferno é o limite. Já no meio do caos, se este vier, a turma da especulação financeira faz um "desinvestimento" e volta a se dedicar plenamente "apenas" a jogatina financeira, mudando de lugar no balcão para seguir assegurando que quase nada saia do lugar.
GLO com decreto presidencial sem pedido do governo local e com excludente de ilicitude é o melhor caminho para o fim do desgoverno e seus asseclas oportunistas. O problema é que nada disso é comédia ou meme, têm vidas reais e muito sangue no meio. Espero que possamos derrotar este absurdo antes que a sociedade organizada tenha de confrontar a excepcionalidade de frente e na rua.
Bruno Lima Rocha é pós-doutorando em economia política, doutor e mestre em ciência política; professor universitário nos cursos de relações internacionais, direito e jornalismo. Para acessar textos e contato:
www.estrategiaeanaliseblog.com (textos) e www.estrategiaeanalise.com.br (arquivo); https://www.facebook.com/estrategiaeanaliseoficial/ (todo o acervo audiovisual, com participações em mídia) / t.me/estrategiaeanalise (grupo no Telegram para receber áudios e vídeos) e email@example.com (para e-mail e Facebook).
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