Inequality… in a road network?

Nikki Ray, from London, has been serving as a human rights monitor in the West Bank for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. She has been writing about her first hand experiences and how Palestinians are affected every day by the Israeli occupation Palestine. Freedom is glad to be collaborating with Nikki to bring her accounts of life in Palestine to our site.

Recently the British Parliament made a historic vote, with the majority of 274 votes to 12, to recognise a Palestinian state. The vote was a symbolic one but affirmed the need for a Palestinian state whilst Israel is still occupying Palestine in the West Bank and blockading Gaza.

Whilst serving as a human rights monitor in the West Bank with EAPPI I have seen first hand the oppressive polices of the Israeli occupation which are present in ever aspect of daily life for Palestinians, including the road network.

My team based in Yanoun recently visited Beitin, a village of 2,500 people located about 2 kilometres east of the edge of Ramallah. Like many other villages we have visited in the West Bank Beitin experiences similar problems of settler violence from neighbouring illegal Israeli settlements and incursions into the village by the Israeli army. However unlike many of the other villages we cover Beitin highlights the inequalities present in the road network through the West Bank. Continue reading

Interview with The Restarts

Our Music editor Tim Forster brings us another great interview, this time with left-wing punk band The Restarts!

Photo by Joschi Herczeg

Where would you place The Restarts politically? You started in the mid 1990s, has your politics changed over… Continue reading

Oliver Law & The Spanish Civil War

Oliver Law

On July 19 1936, General Franco, with the backing of Hitler and Mussolini, led a coup against the democratically elected Government of Spain. It kick started the Spanish civil war which saw a viscous fight between right wing… Continue reading

An Anarchist Perspective on UKIP

Photo: Geoff Pugh

Like many on the Left I was very troubled and puzzled by the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) strong showing in the Local and European elections, and then alarmed again by their doing so well in the 9-10-14 by-elections. Were these protest… Continue reading

From The Land of Proudhon

 

Social revolution is a term associated with anarchism. The ideological background is that a political revolution does not extend much beyond redecoration or reoccupation of institutional dominance. This is precisely what anarchists contest. The question is: to remain in the social struggle, even if it is the wrong direction as in Spain in 1938? Many anarchists would not have the heart to give up the fight. Dealing with the process towards the lost revolution is the book of Daniel Aïache , La révolution défaite , Les groupements révolutionnaires parisiens face à la révolution espagnole (The Lost Revolution , Parisian Revolutionary Groups With Regard to the Spanish Revolution , Paris, 2013).

 

What type of organization did Bakunin have in mind for the struggle for social change? He drew the lines in his ” Revolutionary Catechism ” (not to be confused with the ” Catechism of the Revolutionary” by Serge Netchaïev ). Revolutionary catechism is one of the two chapters of Bakunin’s Principles and Organization of the International Revolutionary Society (1866). The French edition (Éditions du Chat Ivre, 2013) is accompanied by a comprehensive introduction of the French philosopher and anarchist, Jean-Christophe Angaut. Continue reading

Interview with Santa Semeli & The Monks

Photo by Ben Buchanan.

Love, Life and Happy Endings?

Santa Semeli and the Monks are eclectic, impossible to pigeon hole they veer between European avant garde and punk, echoes of Henry Cow, Nick Cave and ‘Cabaret’ sit alongside full on rock! Their lyrics confront and engage with the human condition, the real lived experience that each of us uncomfortably recognizes, dealing with hope, disappointment, love, lust and our own inconsistencies. Full of honesty and warmth their album is like listening to the soundtrack of you life-not your Facebook life your real life-evoking memories that make you smile and wince. In a pub near Camden Semeli Economou and Haraldur Agustsson agreed to an interview with Tim Forster.

Q: How long have Santa Semeli and the Monks been a musical entity? How did you meet and decide that you wanted to collaborate musically?

S: We got together as a musical entity in September 2013. We studied together at the same drama school, but we are a few generations apart. We actually met in December 2012 when I cast Haraldur in my short film The Burning Bush. Here’s a funny little anecdote: I got hold of Haraldur’s phone number to ask him if he was interested in playing a part in the film. I called a few times and left some messages to no avail. Eventually someone on a bus who sounded like a young kid and drunk picked up the phone. I asked if he had time to act in my film. ‘What’s the part then?’ So I started telling him all about the abstract nature of it…’Do you know Kokoschka?’ ‘Nah what’s that?’ I then asked if he was free to shoot on Saturday ‘Nah I’ve got school.’ ‘What on a Saturday?’ ‘Yeahhh’ We eventually hung up the phone. I thought he was the rudest guy ever. I told some people about it and they couldn’t believe it…Long story short I was given the wrong number. Haraldur could not be more different than the guy I’d spoken to. Thinking about it makes me laugh! Who did that poor kid think I was? A secret admirer? A prankster? Hahaha!!!

Continue reading

Liam O’Flaherty: Leader of a Four Day Revolt

Liam O’Flaherty is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest writers of the 20th century, but before he rose to literary prominence, O’Flaherty led a little known and short lived occupation of the Rotunda Concert Hall in Dublin city just days after the formation of the Irish Free state in 1922. Born on the Aran Island of Inis Mor in 1896, O’Flaherty served with the Irish Guards during World War I. After experiencing severe shellshock in Flanders he was discharged with a disability pension and led a somewhat nomadic life for the next few years.

O’Flaherty’s travels took him around the Mediterranean, South America, Canada and North America. O’Flaherty had long held left wing values but, during these travelling years his left wing ideals swelled and he brought such political convictions back home to Ireland with him in Christmas 1921. He became involved in left wing politics in Dublin city and became a fixture on O’Connell street where from a small news stand he gave out political pamphlets and sold The Workers Republic newspaper. It wasn’t long before he gave up that role in order to lead a small working class revolt just a few yards up the street in the Rotunda hall. On Monday January 16th 1922, the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State was announced and two days later approximately 200 unemployed men, made up mostly of unemployed dock workers, marched into the Rotunda Concert Hall and Pillar room which is now the Gate Theatre and occupied it. O’Flaherty was at the head of this band as the chairman of the Council of Unemployed in Dublin and ordered garrisons be divided into companies and red flags be hung out the windows. This act of defiance by O’Flaherty and his army of unemployed happened during a time when Ireland was adjusting to the outcome of the War of Independence, it was a time when society across Ireland was slowly falling into a state of anarchy. Workers strikes no longer had any impact because the social atmosphere in Ireland at the time demanded something more, and this is why ordinary strikes transformed into workers flying the red flag and taking over their place of employment through occupations. O’Flaherty admired workers like those in Limerick and Cork who took over workplaces to set up their own soviets and he sought something similar with his occupation of the Rotunda concert hall. Continue reading

The Badger Cull: Not Just About Badgers

September 8th marked the start of another season of Badger Culling, a practice deemed by most to be both unwanted and unnecessary. Last year’s pilot was an unmitigated disaster for the Government, whose attempts to appease dairy farmers and the NFU led to an eight week extension which still only resulted in 39% of the total number of badgers to be culled making the cut. This was a result of direct action in the killing fields of Gloucester and Somerset, where Hunt Sabs and a collection of badger enthusiasts organised effectively for months to fight for the rights of British wildlife to remain unanswerable to the whims of the Countryside Alliance.

However, despite the high cost of policing (£4000 per dead Badger), the need for an extension, the rise in badger populations after the cull and the complete lack of scientific evidence to suggest that badgers are the major contributor to the spread of Bovine TB in cattle populations,  the Badger Cull has been given the go ahead to continue its proposed 4 year stint in Gloucester and Somerset once more. Plans to roll out the Cull across the country have been put on ice, for the time being. Continue reading

Interview with AFem 2014

Freedom News is delighted to bring to you an interview with one of the organisers of the Afem 2014 Conference. Held on October 19th, 2014 at Queen Mary University of London, there is still time to get involved for those interested!

 

How are you organising the conference- have you started from scratch or are you modelling its organisation on tried and tested methods such as the Anarchist Bookfair?

 

We are organising the conference in strands, with a goal of various sessions/workshops/meetings to be held within each strand. Strands include: International Anarchafeminism, Sexism within our movement, Workplace organisation, Control of our bodies, Anti-fascism, People of Colour, Sex work, and Gender. We’re still confirming meetings and speakers within these strands so if anyone has an idea for a discussion that they’d like to propose please get in touch! We are certainly building off of the bookfair, although also hoping to improve upon the model in some ways! We all feel strongly that a robust safer spaces policy is needed and are working on putting one together which we will be using during the conference. I think many of us have had unfortunately had bad experiences with misogynist manarchists at the bookfair and are looking forward to having our own conference where they are not welcome. Continue reading

Green Anarchism: Towards the Abolition of Hierarchy

Freedom presents an essay by contributor Corin Bruce, intended as an  introduction to ‘green anarchism’ and the ways in which it can challenge hierarchies.

In the last few decades new forms of activism have begun to emerge that concerned not merely the fate of human society, but of the non-human world – including non-human animals and the environment – as well. In their most radical forms, these struggles culminated in what has been termed by some as ‘eco’ or ‘green’ anarchism. Green anarchism can be taken to consist in any political doctrine that takes some of the key components of anarchist thought – whatever these are deemed to be – and applies them towards critiquing the interaction of humans with the non-human world. This definition is a good start, but is perhaps like many definitions of anarchism unsatisfactorily vague. This essay will propose a more specific definition of green anarchism, which will later be explained as the political doctrine that strives for the abolition of hierarchy in general. Continue reading