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Direct Action Spring 2011 - web version

Direct Action Spring 2011 - web version

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Spring 2011 • three dollars

PUblication of the industrial workers of the world - australian ROC
In this issue:
A friend of mine in the States emailed
me recently, asking me what I made
of the current political climate and
what was to be done about the state
of the world. She complained about
Obama's betrayal of working people
but was worried that if people didn't
vote for him again in 2012 that the
Republicans would get in and then
things would really be bad.
When I replied to her I said that I
didn't think it mattered who got in—
not just because of Obama's way of
handling the so-called crisis over the
national debt in particular but be-
cause of the way that the system of representative democracy is set
up. I argued that representative democracy provides us with the illusion
of choice to the extent that we vote for one party or another—who most
of the time are impossible to tell apart anyway—to govern on behalf of
big business. I argued that the way that Obama caved to the Republi-
cans on the issue of cutting things like Social Security instead of taxing
the rich only brought this into greater and more stark relief.
It's a truism that Australia follows the United States, and is there
any reason to believe that sooner or later we won't follow suit in this re-
gard as well? It's hard to believe not. As the example of the United
States shows, when push comes to shove the owners of capital and
their political representatives on all sides of politics will gladly sacrifice
the health and wellbeing of the rest of us— not to say our freedom—in
order to safeguard their own ill-gotten privileges. We can already see
this in things such as the GST, a regressive tax that hits the poor hard-
est, the ABCC, which exists only to persecute unions in the construction
industry, safeguarding the profits of corporate fat cats while undermin-
ing safety and workers' rights, and in neoliberalism generally. Numer-
ous examples abound.
So, class warfare is directed at us from
on high, particularly in the form of auster-
ity measures directed at the poor while
the rich enjoy socialism in the form of
massive taxpayer-funded bailouts, and all
political parties participating in represen-
tative democracy can be relied on to de-
fend the interests of the very rich
because ultimately the machinery of
state controls those who wield it rather
than the other way around. Surely this sit-
uation makes revolutionary unionism as
relevant as ever—if not more relevant
than when the IWW was founded over
100 years ago at Chicago.
No doubt some will regard the IWW as an antiquated organisation
with no relevance to the world of today. They will say that our class war
outlook is obsolete, a relic of a bygone era that went into the proverbial
dustbin of history with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Given the facts re-
ferred to above one might argue that an organisation such as the IWW
is more relevant than ever in a day and age when attacks on workers
are so commonplace as to be normal. One might argue that the class
war rages as mercillessly as always, and that it exists independently of
whether we choose to fight back or not.
It was after all none other than the second richest man in the USA,
Warren Buffett, who was quoted in the New York Times as saying,
‘There’s class warfare, alright, but it’s my class, the rich class, that's
making war, and we're winning.' The IWW exists because we do believe
in fighting back, even though it’s a truism of the world we live in that
the powers that control and bore us only call it class war we when we
do. We believe in fighting back because we believe in economic liberty
for all, not just the rich, and there's nothing anachronistic about that.
Regional Organising Committee
P.O. Box 1866
Albany W.A. 6331
Melbourne GMB
P.O. Box 145 Moreland 3058
Delegate: Ben 0418 670 239 or
Melbourne fellow Workers meet
on the last Sunday of the month
at 670 High Street, Thornbury.
New South Wales
Sydney GMB
Coffs Harbour
Matthew mjd@almatech.net.au
Post Office Box 703,
Stones Corner,
Queensland 4103
Western Australia
Mike Ballard
Mike P entropy4@gmail.com
2 Direct Action
NewS IN bRIef 3
abCC 7
fRaCkINg 9
StUDeNtS IN StRUggle 11
wealth Of NatIONS 14
CONSeRvatISm 17
the mOlOtOv 23
Workers at the BBC went on 'indefinite' work
to rule following a 24 hour strike at the end of
July. The strike action was carried out in
protest after the BBC made 3 members of
staff compulsorily redundant.
Another staff member, who was also a
member of the National Union of Journalists,
was also made redundant after participating
in strike action despite sitting and passing a
test for an alternative job.
An internal memo told BBC workers that
"an indefinite work to rule will begin across the
BBC from 00.01 on Tuesday August 2nd im-
mediately following the 24 hour strike."
According to corporation sources, working
to rule could be more effective at causing dis-
ruption because many staff on the BBC News
Channel "act up" to cover more senior posi-
tions during busy news days.
Meanwhile, BBC management has agreed
to meet all the broadcasting unions on 11 Au-
gust to discuss the corporation's stance on re-
Palestinian quarry workers at an Israeli settle-
ment in the occupied territories have gone on
strike over unpaid wages.
The strike began last month at Salit Quar-
ries in Mishor Adumim, in occupied East
Jerusalem. The workers demands included a
pay raise, and end to the withholding of pay,
arranges pension provision and signs a collec-
tive agreement with the workers.
The action is supported by WAC-Ma’an, an
independent trade union based in Israel that
states that is aims to unite “workers regard-
less of nationality, religion, gender or the color
of their skin.” The strike began on June 16th
after quarry management failed to attend a
meeting organised to discuss a collective bar-
gaining agreement.
The Israeli-owned Salit quarry are em-
ployed to break rocks down to gravel. Tens of
thousands of Palestinians work in similar con-
ditions in Israeli-owned businesses, rarely with
any form of union organisation.
Four female workers, unfairly fired and victims
of workplace abuse, have caged themselves
and sewn their lips shut as they launch a
hunger strike and threatens to burn herself
alive in a dramatic protest against the multi-
national corporation Samsung,funded by Ko-
rean capital which is currently constructing a
plant for the extraction of natural gas in the
Mexican port of Manzanillo, in the state of Col-
Madaí Díaz Rodríguez, Sandra Gómez,
Lourdes Zamora y Elvira Orozco worked in the
kitchen of the Ingeniería Civil construction
company, subcontracted by the multinational
and whilst working were victims of constant
abuse and mistreatment which escalated to
daily verbal and physical violence from their
Korean bosses and foremen. To these facts
there can also be added multiple instances of
arbitrary treatment and labour abuses such
as the imposition of 12-hour days, with no pay
for the extra hours which were their legal right.
This situation is a daily reality for the hun-
dreds of workers who lend their services to
the aforementioned company.
We ask all organizations to declare their
demands through the sending of commu-
niqués to the following:
C. Mario Anguiano Moreno
Gobernador Constitucional
C. Gustavo Adolfo Buenrostro Cabello
Presidente Municipal
(Sample letter reproduced below)
In the name of our organization,
(___________), we wish to communicate that
we have been made aware of the difficult sit-
uation of conflict that confronts the workers
Madaí Díaz Rodriguez, Sandra Gómez, Lour-
des Zamora and Elvira Orozco, who are cur-
rently on hunger strike in protest at the
unwarranted dismissal and the abuses to
which they have been subjected by the busi-
ness Civil Engineering and, through this, by
the transnational business Samsung.
The extreme measures to which the dis-
missed workers have been forced are, accord-
ing to our information, due to the situation of
generalized violation of their human and
labour rights that they have suffered, the
same that has arrived at acts of violence, ha-
rassment and other aggressions and that is
also suffered by the workers employed in the
construction of the gas plant in the Port of
By these means we hereby declare our
most emphatic solidarity with the compañeras
and their protest, as well as our rejection of
the illegal practices to which they and their fel-
low workers have been subjected. For such
motive we request your immediate interven-
tion for:
·An immediate and satisfactory solution to
the workers' demands.
·The cessation of all violation of human
Direct Action 3
news in brief
and labour rights of the workers concerned
and of all those working in the aforemen-
tioned companies
·Legal redress for those responsable for
the aggressiones to which we have made ref-
erence; and,
·Above all, and as a matter of urgency, that
you act to ensure that this situation does not
end tragically and affect still further the phys-
ical integrity and health of said workers.
In the expectation of receiving a swift and
positive response from yourselves to that laid
out above, we remain attentively yours,
(Name of official and organisation)
Please send a copy to:
Centro de Investigacion Laboral y Asesoria
Tabasco 262 Planta Baja, Colonia Roma, Del-
egación Cuauhtémoc
México, DF CP 06700
Tel/Fax: +52 (55) 5207 4147
+52 (55) 5514 7675
Visit libcom.org for updates.
Labor protests calling for better financial con-
ditions continued in several cities on Sunday,
with demonstrators blocking main roads in As-
siut, Luxor and Cairo.
In Assiut, farmers blocked the Assiut-Cairo
highway, protesting against increased fertilizer
prices. They clashed with police and pelted
them with stones, forcing them to withdraw
from the area.
In Luxor, residents blocked the Luxor-
Aswan highway, protesting against the local
authorities cutting off utilities from their
homes, while Governor Khaled Fouda said
their houses were unlicensed.
Meanwhile, in Cairo, workers from the
Egyptian Radio and Television Union staged
protests on the Maspiro Corniche, demanding
better wages and the dismissal of Information
Minister Osama Heikal.
Six antifascist are currently being detained
and one is on bail after being found guilty of
"conspiracy to commit violent disorder". The
first trial, of 11 of the 22 activists facing this
absurd charge, ended on 28th June 2011
with four people being acquitted, four sen-
tenced immediately to 21 months in jail, two
others sent to prison awaiting sentencing, and
the other released on bail pending sentence.
A second trial of the 11 other activists is
threatened to start on 12th September 2011.
The incident that led to police raids across
the country and 23 arrests occurred on 28th
March 2009 when a number of antifascist ac-
tivists travelled to Welling in south-east Lon-
don to protest against a neo-Nazi "Blood and
Honour" skinhead gig at the Duchess of Edin-
burgh Pub. No fascists have been arrested or
charged or have even appeared as witnesses
in the court case and in the absence of any
evidence forthcoming from the fascists the
Police and Crown Prosecution Service spent a
vast amount of time and resources to press
charges which are tantamount to a thought
crime and if widely applied would in effect
make it illegal to organise protests against fas-
cist events. The use of "conspiracy" charges
against large groups of activists — charging
them for things that might have thought about
rather than charging them for anything they
have actually done is clearly being done to suit
a political agenda which involves the dracon-
ian repression of progressive activists, no
doubt intended as a "deterrent" to others.
While at the same time real corporate criminal
conspiracies are covered up and swept under
the carpet, contrast the treatment of the ac-
tivists with the kid-glove treatment by the
state of the Murdoch media crime family, as
the collusion between powerful media, cor-
rupt police and the political establishment is
further exposed.
The double standards of the establish-
ment could not be more stark as when you
contrast the number of state operations
against protests which have resulted in mur-
der, actual bodily harm and violent disorder
being perpetrated by the Police against pro-
testers, and how many times sections of the
Police force have been charged with "conspir-
acy to commit violent disorder".
Prison addresses for the antifascists are
given below. Please write to them or send
them a card. Please enclose a stamped self-
addressed envelope if you would like a reply.
You can also send them cash, Postal Orders
(made payable to ‘The Governor’), and sta-
tionery. For advice on writing to prisoners
please see the Leeds ABC website.
A solidarity fund has been set up to sup-
port the prisoners in jail and upon release. If
you would like to contribute to it please send
a cheque (made payable to ‘The Cable Street
Society’) to Leeds ABC, 145-149 Cardigan
Road, Leeds, LS6 1LJ. Details for bank trans-
fers are: The Cable Street Society. Account
Number: 33333334 Reference: 0827/704
169 523. Sort Code: 07 00 93.
Andy Baker (21 months)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Thomas Blak (Unsentenced)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Sean Cregan (21 months)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Phil De Sousa (21 months)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Ravinder Gill (21 months)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Austen Jackson (Unsentenced)
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
Thousands of prisoners across California have
been on hunger strike for nearly 4 weeks now
in protest against the use of solitary confine-
ment following a call by prisoners in the Peli-
can Bay Secure Housing Unit (SHU). Though
Pelican Bay prisoners have ended their
protest following a number of concessions by
the California Department
of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), pris-
oners in three other Californian state prisons,
CCI Tehachapi, Corcoran and Calipatria,
continue to refuse food.
The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
coalition has called for outside supporters to
continue pressure on the Prison and State au-
thorities to keep to their promises and to con-
tinue negotiating with the prisoners and their
representatives. This is essential given the
hostile CDCR statement announcing the end
of the Pelican Bay hunger strike, where
they rehearsed the same lies about the
protests being ordered by prison gang leaders
and adding that hunger strikes 'are a danger-
ous and ineffective way for prisoners to at-
tempt to negotiate.' This statement
deliberately ignored the Tehachapi, Corcoran
and Calipatria hunger strikers and carried an
implied threat of retribution against those who
have taken part in the protests so
See prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.word-
press.com for more info.
4 Direct Action
IWW Cleaners Score Victory in
Guildhall Dispute
Cleaners at the Corporation of London, Guild-
hall have achieved a significant victory in a
dispute with their sub-contractor Ocean Con-
tract Cleaning London Ltd. Organised in the
London IWW Cleaners and Allied Industries
Branch (IU 640) this has been a major
achievement for the workers and the IWW as
a whole.
The Guildhall was built between 1411
and 1440 as a symbol of the English ruling
elite – many of its labour policies remain
stuck in its medieval past. The workers who
maintain the splendour of the Guildhall are
on a miserable £5.93 per hour, they receive
no sick pay or pension. They are hired
through Ocean Contract Cleaning. A com-
pany also with a long history worthy of a me-
dieval establishment - in 2006 London
Citizens uncovered that workers employed by
Ocean at a London University were being
commonly under-paid or not paid at all.
Those cleaners recovered £50,000 in unpaid
At the Guildhall the cleaners found them-
selves in a similar situation of being repeat-
edly underpaid in their wages going back
months. Some waited two to three months
to get wages they were owed. They even had
the Public Holiday for the Royal Wedding de-
ducted from their holiday leave. To add insult
to injury the workers who are overwhelmingly
migrants, from Latin America, Asia and Africa
are subjected to management abuses now
common place in the cleaning industry, petty
bullying, and disciplinaries for next to noth-
ing. If you are five minutes late you are sent
home, if you are late again you are fired.
IWW members have reported being threat-
ened with dismissal for being two-minutes
The cleaners fight back
The cleaners however have matched the
management’s arrogance with militant direct
action. The thirty four cleaners at the Guild-
hall got organised – on Tuesday 14 and
Wednesday 15 June they arrived for work –
however without any guarantee of actual
wages they remained in the reception for the
duration of the shift until they were given
clear assurances they would be paid their
wages for their work!
Despite the assurances of Ocean that
the workers would be paid by 20 June they
were still left with an average of two weeks
wages unpaid. The workers raised a collec-
tive grievance submitted by the IWW which
also failed to resolve the situation.
The IWW cleaners responded by stepping
up their campaign calling a day of action on
Friday 15 July. Once again the cleaners re-
fused to provide free labour to clean the
Guildhall without being paid the wages they
are owed in return. This time the cleaners
protest called by the IWW Cleaners Branch,
was joined by a demonstration in solidarity
supported by the IWW London General Mem-
bers Branch, with support from cleaners in
other workplaces, UCL and SOAS workers
and students, Colombia Solidarity Campaign
and members of RMT, NUJ, UCU, UNISON
and UNITE. Over sixty people demonstrated
in solidarity from 5:30 AM at the Guildhall,
the protest assisted by the Vicar David Par-
rott from the nearby Church who provided tea
and coffee and the Church facilities.
Cleaners secure their objectives
Workers painted their hands with ‘Stop
the abuse’ and chanted slogan such as ‘No
pay, no work’, the old IWW anthem ‘Solidar-
ity Forever, For the union makes us strong’
echoed around the Guildhall which is so used
to hymns of praise to the Lords of capital!
It was only as a result the IWW members
at Guildhall stepping up their campaign that
the Guildhall management intervened – invit-
ing our union to meet with them and their
sub-contractor Ocean. A delegation of com-
posed of Alberto Durango Secretary the Lon-
don IWW Cleaners Branch, Chris Ford, of
London General Members Branch and a
three IWW members from the cleaners at
Guildhall then met with the Guildhall man-
agement and the Ocean Contract Cleaning.
To facilitate the negotiations, and with
the approval of the cleaners we agreed to re-
locate the demonstration from the Guildhall
Yard – allegedly we were on private property
even though the City Police had twice given
permission to demonstrate there. The
bosses were clearly irritated by the demon-
stration and repeatedly tried to trick the IWW
to accept their offer of a room for the workers
to wait whilst negotiations continued. Wage
slaves we may be – fools we are not!
Under pressure, and with the Guildhall
management openly arguing with the Ocean
management – the IWW secured agreement
of immediate payment of wages owed and a
review of the wages over the last sixth month.
After five hours of protest action IWW se-
cured written evidence from Ocean HR de-
partment that a CHAPS the payments to the
cleaners had been made before ending
The 15 July protest alongside the previ-
ous actions in June has resulted in the clean-
ers achieving their demands at the Guildhall
– it has been a significant victory. All the
IWW members at Guildhall and in the Clean-
ers Branch are to be congratulated for what
has been inspiring campaign.
Direct Action 5
around our union
Veiled threats and Next Steps
On several occasions the management
at the Corporation of London’s Guildhall have
challenged the IWW that the action of the
cleaners is illegal industrial action. Unlike
the traditional unions, the IWW is not running
scared of the anti-trade union laws intro-
duced by Thatcher to stop workers from tak-
ing effective industrial action. The IWW does
not disown or refute the actions democrati-
cally decided upon by members to advance
their interests. When it was muted that dis-
ciplinary action may be taken against the
cleaners, the IWW made clear to manage-
ment that our union will mount a campaign
to defend any IWW member victimised for at-
tempting to secure wages that they are fully
entitled to receive.
However contrary to what the bosses
have said and some web-sites unrelated to
the IWW, the IWW did not need to call a strike
at the Guildhall – instead what arose has
been tantamount to a virtual lock out against
the cleaners by their employer. Far from the
cleaners taking illegal action it has been the
employer who repeatedly failed to fulfil their
contractual obligation to pay wages properly
payable to workers in return for their labour.
These workers on the minimum wage are not
providing charity.
We will make these views clear on Thurs-
day 28 July when the IWW will be meeting the
Managing Director of Ocean Contract Clean-
ing. The IWW Cleaners Branch will now be
taking forward the next steps in a campaign
to improve the conditions of the members at
the Guildhall. Amongst the key objectives
1. Recognition of the IWW. Almost all
cleaners at the Guildhall are members in the
Industrial Workers of the Work, the independ-
ent workers union. Instead of trying to un-
dermine the IWW, as the new contractor
Sodexo is seeking to do by holding one-to-
one ‘consultations’ with cleaners – the em-
ployers need to face the reality the union is
here to stay.
2. A Living Wage now. IWW members
have decided to campaign for the London
Living Wage which is currently set by the GLA
at £8.30 p/h. The cleaning contractors see
wages as burden on their profits, which for
months they have been boosting by no pay-
ing the proper wage rates. For workers the
wage rate is the price of survival, with a rising
cost of living and worsening recession the
current £5.93 p/h is worse than poverty pay.
The Guildhall can claim it is not respon-
sible for the cleaners – it is up to the sub-con-
tractor Ocean and from 1 September the new
contractor Sodexo. However as the saying
goes – ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’.
It is the Guildhall who decided to contract out
their cleaning; it is the Guildhall who sets the
terms of the tender. The Guildhall could
bring the contract in house and put cleaners
on the same conditions as other staff, it
could only give contracts to those who pay a
living wage and recognise trade unions.
Whether the Guildhall employs it cleaners di-
rectly or through a sub-contractor the IWW
demands justice for cleaner now!
Cleaners Know Your Rights
The IWW will be hosting a briefing for
cleaners who work at the Guildhall after your
shift end at 08:00, the date and venue to be
announced. The IWW has arranged for an
Employment Rights Solicitor who will provide
an outline of your rights as a worker, covering
your contract of employment, wages, holi-
days and rest breaks, discipline and griev-
ance, redundancy and much more. Spanish
and French language translation will be pro-
English Language Classes
Employers have been using workers
knowledge of the English language as a
means to exploit and abuse them. Whilst the
IWW is arranging for literature in Spanish and
French to assist members we are also ar-
ranging for free English language classes for
IWW members to be held in the near future.
IWW Starbucks Workers Union
Declares Global Week of Action
against Starbucks Union Busting
in Solidarity with the Chilean Star-
bucks Strikers
NEW YORK – Monday, July 25th, the IWW
Starbucks Workers Union launched a Global
Week of Action in support of their separate
but sister union El Sindicato de Trabajadores
de Starbucks en Chile (Starbucks Workers
Union in Chile).
Over 200 baristas and shift supervisors
that work in the 32 Chilean Starbucks loca-
tions went on strike on July 7th. They are
striking in an effort to have their de-
mands met. Their most crucial demand
is earning a higher wage. Currently
baristas at Starbucks in Chile make
$2.50/hr. while the drinks are still sold
for US prices, and they haven’t received
raises in 8 years. The baristas are also ask-
ing for a lunch stipend in order to eat during
their shifts, this is something managers in
Chile are provided.
Two weeks, to the day, after the strike
began a New York City barista and mother of
two young children was fired for announcing
her membership in the IWW Starbucks Work-
ers Union. The company gave no official rea-
son for her termination but did fire her when
she refused to meet with higher ups without
her attorney and union representative pres-
ent, which was a previous agreement be-
tween the union and management. Tiffany
White-Thomas has worked at the
Canal/Broadway Starbucks for over two
years. She was up for a promotion when her
store manager, Rafael Fox, told her that,
being a mother, she would not have the time
necessary to dedicate to the company so he
would not be promoting her. A letter given to
Tiffany’s managers made reference to the
collective efforts of the IWW Starbucks Union
and the Chilean Strikers. Both unions feel
that that this solidarity across borders is
seen as a threat to the company and is, in
part, what led to Tiffany’s termination.
In New York City, the first solidarity action
will be a press conference and picket in front
of the Canal and Broadway Starbucks loca-
tion, 405 Broadway between Walker and
Canal St., starting at 12pm on Monday, July
25th. The IWW is demanding full reinstate-
ment of Tiffany White-Thomas and that Star-
bucks negotiate in good faith with their
brothers and sisters of El Sindicato de Traba-
jadores de Starbucks en Chile.
Similar actions in support of the Chilean
Strikers are expected in various cities
throughout the US and the world throughout
next week.
The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a
grassroots organization composed entirely of
current and former Starbucks employees
who have fought for respect, security, afford-
able health care and a living wage since
2004. Working together, SWU members have
improved working conditions for Starbucks
employees and won legal victories against
unfair labor practices.
6 Direct Action
Direct Action 7
Hooray! The ABBC will soon be dead – but long live the ABCC! The Rudd Labor Government kept
the extreme Laissez-faire Howard Liberal Government’s Anti- building worker legislation.
ow in response to the
continued outrage over
ordinary workers being
liable to be locked up where
the ABBC decides they haven’t
answered an ABCC interroga-
tion question to the ABCC’s sat-
isfaction, the Gillard Labor
Government has decided to
‘scrap’ the ABCC in name only
whilst shifting the Stalinistic
powers of the ABCC into a new
sub department of ‘Fair’ Work
(For the folks that don’t
know, the ABCC equals the
Australian Building and Con-
struction Commission).
Unfortunately, the entire
history of workers in Australia has been Boss seeking to stuff over
worker - sometimes directly, such as the various Masters and Ser-
vants Acts of the 1800s, where workers such as Fellow Worker Monty
Miller, as a young indentured apprentice, could not legally chose to
seek either to end his apprenticeship or to seek another occupation.
It should be known that the beatings and general cruel treatment
dished out by his master caused the 14 year old Monty to rebel
against his Master and start a new life of always being a workers
rights activist, from Eureka in 1854 to the great anti-IWW crackdown
of 1917. That’s right – Monty was still fighting for worker’s rights well
in his 80s!.
So now, what of the ABCC? A few years have gone past from when
Howard the complete douche of all Australian history for so many rea-
sons introduced the ABCC to bust the militant CFMEU construction
union after he so pathetically failed to bust the militant Maritime
Union Of Australia. Howard is long gone, but the ABCC remains,
thanks to the Australian ‘Labour’ Party.
The ABCC is still chipping away at the edges of the CFMEU – with
less of the blatant licence to union bust, but still the ABCC has been
out to totally stuff over the safety and conditions of CFMEU members
– the very hard working tax paying fathers, mothers, wives and hus-
bands that these workers are - in order to seek to score political
points at the bequest of sensationalist media controlled by billionaire
businessmen and women, through seeking to fine the CFMEU and
other construction industry unions such as the ETU, the CEPU and
others right out of existence.
With the coup against Rudd,
‘Red’ Gillard – supposedly a
‘lefty’ according to her worst crit-
ics and many of her supporters,
has been seeking to simultane-
ously appease the left of the
ALP-and-beyond - and the most
hardcode of Howards Right -
through down-talking the
ABCC’s powers to destroy the
lives of ordinary workers caught
in up in the cogs of the ideolog-
ical spat between the far right of
the Liberals and the Right of the
Now, the very next step of this
insidious and weak spirited
compromise to stay in power
through trampling any non-bil-
lionaire group compromise is to shift the akin to anti-terrorism (Yes,
this is true!) powers is to have the ABBC shopfront shut down and to
shift the ABCC blockheads ‘next door’ to a branch of Fair Work Aus-
This was disclosed on the 27th of July on a Radio Interview with
ALP Parliament member and former AMWU President Doug Cameron.
The disclosure was made during an interview where Doug had
outlined his sincere efforts within the ALP to have the ABCC abol-
ished. Thanks to Doug’s efforts, it was found that perhaps all of the
ABCC Act ‘section 52’ documents it relied on to investigate construc-
tion workers were invalid. Under the ABCC’s obscenely coercive pow-
ers, workers are issued with a section 52 notice when the Australian
Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is planning to force
them into cooperating with investigations.
Amazingly, it turns out that the case may be that all of the ABBC
section 52 notices were approved by the deputy commissioner when
he was not legally entitled to do so! So much for the proficiency of
billionaire big business and the Government!
So Fellow Workers in the IWW and beyond: let’s step up the call
to have the ABCC, or the ABCC division of Fair Work Australia,
scrapped and gone for good! ABCC: Construction workers one day –
child care workers and nurses the next! Only the workers united can
do it - we clearly cannot trust or even expect any political grouping to
do it for us! Solidarity forever!
abCC goes to fair
work australia
by FW Bruce Campbell
8 Direct Action
he Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) today expressed con-
cern that while FMG Chief Andrew Forrest admits the cost of native
title delays can be ‘extraordinary’, the company remains unwilling
to return to the negotiating table. The group's concerns were heightened
by new CEO Nev Power's statement earlier this week that "setting aggres-
sive targets is a really important part of (FMG's) culture".
YAC executive officer Michael Woodley said that it seemed like Yind-
jibarndi people have become just another target of Fortescue’s ‘aggres-
sive’ corporate culture. “Mr Power’s throw-away comment about YAC
‘trying to exercise power over the whole deal’, a deal that FMG has nego-
tiated on the side with the Wirlumurra breakaway group, ignores YAC as
the legal owner of property rights that will be affected by that ‘deal’. Wirlu-
murra have no authority or standing to negotiate such an agreement, and
no other land owner could be kicked aside like FMG did to YAC.”
Contrary to statements made by Mr Power, Mr Woodley said “Fortes-
cue does not have all the legal clearances it needs to proceed with
Solomon. FMG is still awaiting the decision of the Full Federal Court as
to the validity of three crucial mining leases, and the decision of the Min-
ing Warden about the grant of a fourth mining lease and several other
tenements that are important to the development of the Solomon Hub.”
Mr Woodley also responded to comments made by Mr Power about
‘mining welfare’. “The comments about ‘mining welfare’ are demeaning
and out of touch with reality. As the corporate trustee of the Yindjibarndi
People, YAC rejects the whole concept of ‘mining welfare’. ‘Mining wel-
fare’ is what Fortescue is offering the Wirlumurra breakaways in exchange
for getting FMG’s proposed agreement signed off. The reality of FMG’s
‘deal’ is that $3 million in cash will be given each year (no strings at-
tached) to members of the breakaway Wirlumurra Aboriginal Corporation
– even though it is not a party to the agreement; and another $1 million
a year will be put into a charity for Yindjibarndi elders. The remaining $6
million is really about providing jobs, the kind of training and staff-housing
benefits that are regularly offered by mining companies to attract em-
ployees to remote locations and keep them.”
Mr Woodley said he was astounded by Mr Power's comments that he
would never agree to a royalty because it is ‘not good for our community’.
“Mr Power wants to go back to the dark ages of Aboriginal paternalism
by dictating and controlling how Yindjibarndi use any benefits. Who is An-
drew Forrest or Neville Power to decide what will work for the Yindjibarndi
People? What the Yindjibarndi People deserve is the right to decide the
kind of future our grandchildren will inherit.”
In response to Mr Power’s assertion that “YAC was seeking to fix Roe-
bourne's social problems with money alone”, Mr Woodley said, “Nothing
could be further from the truth, and Fortescue knows this, because we
have written to them about how we would use royalties. We want to invest
in self development for the long-term, not just commercial, but in com-
munity benefit businesses that support both our independence and the
survival of our precious Yindjibarndi culture.”
Mr Woodley said that Yindjibarndi people had already paid a terrible
cost as a consequence of Fortescue’s aggressive drive to become the
‘lowest cost producer’ of iron ore. “The company has created a deep
chasm in our community by convincing some of our members that we will
lose all entitlement to compensation if we do not take FMG’s offer. This
is false and misleading. FMG is, and will remain, liable for compensation
under both the Mining and the Native Title Acts for the loss of the use of
Yindjibarndi land and its resources, and for all social disruption caused
by FMG through its mining project.”
Mr Woodley said that to be successful and lasting, community devel-
opment needed to be Yindjibarndi-owned and adapted to goals and
needs that the Yindjibarndi people identified, rather than be forced from
the outside. He stressed, “The longer this dispute is dragged through the
Courts, and the longer it takes to reach a formal land access agreement,
the worse it is for FMG, the Yindjibarndi people and the state of Western
Australia. Mr Power’s first decision should be to return FMG to the nego-
tiating table.”
the dark age of
Across Australia cashed-up mining companies packing teams of lawyers, anthropologists and
‘Indigenous Land Access Managers’ are buying off and dividing impoverished Indigenous
groups that refuse to sign away their country. One of the worst offenders, Twiggy Forrest’s
FMG, is currently pressuring the Yindjibarndi community (Pilbara, WA) into signing over control
of their native title lands on open-ended, blank-cheque terms that will steal from generations
of Yindjibarndi people. While governments turn a blind eye, FMG’s assault is intensifying as it
pushes for unfettered land access for its Solomon Hub project – at the terrible cost (collateral
damage!) of a bitterly ruptured community.
Direct Action 9
ith rising demand for gas due to environmental concerns
and rising fuel prices, the use of non-conventional gas ex-
traction such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is expanding
rapidly in Australia. Fracking involves fracturing the coal seam to re-
lease the gas, by pumping a mixture of water, chemicals and sand at
into it at extremely high pressure.
Gas has been promoted as an environmentally friendly alternative
to coal, with supposedly up to 70% less emissions. However these
emissions do not include leaks during extraction, transport and en-
ergy loss during processing (20% when converted to liquid natural
gas). Total greenhouse emissions caused by fracking have been es-
timated at 33.6 tonnes of CO2 per gigawatt hour which is 62% more
than for diesel or petroleum. An independent study by Cornell Profes-
sor Robert Howarth has shown that fracking of shale gas can lead to
total greenhouse footprint of over twice that of coal on the 20 year
horizon and 20% more on the 100 year horizon. It is likely that frack-
ing coal seam gas will have a similar footprint.
Fracking also involves extremely high risk of groundwater contam-
by FW Ema Teapot
As those who have seen the documentary ‘Gasland’ will know, hydraulic fracturing or fracking is
a big industry in the United States. Its advocates say that gas provides an environmentally friendly
alternative to coal. However fracking involves the use of hundreds of poisonous and carcenogeninc
chemicals and poses numerous environmental dangers including the contamination of ground-
water. The use of hydraulic fracturing is expanding rapidly in Australia. FW Ema Teapot reports on
this disturbing trend.
10 Direct Action
ination. There are dozens of chemicals used
in the fracking prosess, many of these are ex-
tremely toxic and fracturing can cause these
to leak into aquifers. Also 30% to 70% of the
water used returning to the surface, further
contaminated by chemicals in the coal seam.
This often cannot be recovered and is left in
storage dams, which also have a high risk of
leaking into groundwater.
Currently there are plans to build 40,000
gas wells in Queensland by 2030, with 3000
already having been built. Already companies
have committed $31 billion to developing
CSG in Queensland, with a 2nd $35 billion
dollar project having been granted approval.
Many of these will be located on prime
agricultural land in the Darling Downs, with
each taking a mini-
mum of one hectare of
land. Already around
140,000 hectares of of
farmland has been
bought up by gas com-
panies. With these
properties being used
for waste-disposal and
likely contamination of
groundwater and soil it
is unlikely that they will
ever be used for farm-
land again.
While some farm-
ers have signed up vol-
untarily, many have
been tricked or forced
into having wells
placed on their land.
Farmers were often not
given full plans for
what would be built on
their farms and were given incomplete and
out of date information on health risks. There
have been complaints of loss of groundwater,
contamination and gas leaks. Wells,
pipelines and roads have been built without
consent and some farmers have been locked
off their own land. This infrastructure also
drastically reduces property value and
makes getting mortgages or insurance diffi-
cult. In some cases farmers have been com-
pensated as little as $250 per year for each
well, while the companies make an esti-
mated $1 million per year per well.
There are also fears that the Great Arte-
sian Basin could be severely damaged. In
Queensland most CSG is extracted from the
Walloon Coal Measures which is an aquifer
of GAB, and in NSW gas companies are look-
ing at the Pilliga Sandstones which is part of
the Southern Recharge area of the GAB. The
Queensland Department of Agriculture esti-
mated that up to 216,000 mega litres annu-
ally will be extracted for CSG mining in
Queensland. Water levels in the Walloon Coal
Measures will not even begin to recover until
70 years after extraction has ceased, The
Springbok and Precipice sandstones will take
more than 200 years to recover and the Hut-
ton Sandstones make take 1000 years.
An independent study by JP Morgan in
2010 found that there were significant risks
to water from CSG fracking in the region, cit-
ing 6 main concerns reduction in the water
supply to towns and landowners, reduced
quality, gas migration to water bores and the
safe storage of salt. They also found risk of
large-scale uncontrolled gas emissions which
would cause risk to public health and safety.
There are even plans for exploration
drilling in residential areas in St Peters in
Sydney. Dart Energy has an exploration li-
cence covering most of the Sydney basin,
and plans to begin test drilling in a vacant in-
dustrial site in St Peters in September this
year. The drilling will involve underground
horizontal drills that would extend for 3.8km
from the site, which means drilling under sev-
eral suburbs.
Meanwhile the City of Sydney has devel-
oped a plan to reduce emissions in the CBD
by 70% using a network of gas trigeneration
plants, which will produce electricity as well
as heating and cooling for some of the CBD's
most carbon intensive areas. The council
claims that these plants will eventually tran-
sition to using bio-gas produced by wastes.
However at current production rates the plan
would use up all of Australia's bio-fuels. While
it is likely that bio-fuel production will in-
crease in the future, with demand also grow-
ing it is unlikely that the council could ever
acquire all the bio-fuels needed to run the
plants sustainably.
The City of Syndey has passed a motion
opposing CSG mining and issued a briefing
note claiming that "Trigeneration cannot run
off coal seam methane as this contains dam-
aging trace elements which would destroy
the trigeneration engines...". However, gas
companies do believe that using CSG with tri-
generation systems is feasible. Maquarie En-
ergy has said that it was seeking to establish
a partnership with the City of Sydney as part
of it's trigeneration plans. And Dart has
stated that it “continues to progress discus-
sions with industry leaders for the provision
of technology for small (co / tri-generation)
to medium scale power plants that, in the
fullness of time, can provide cleaner energy
sourced from CSG to local and regional com-
CSG developement is also going full
steam ahead in other states. In WA fracking
along with further exploration is occurring in
the Canning Basin which
covers the West Kimber-
ley and extends to the
North East Pibara.
Fracking is occuring
across the Perth Basin
which runs from Gerald-
ton down to Windy Har-
bor and exploration is
rapidly expanding. There
is also exploration going
on in a number of other
places around WA.
In Victoria ex-
ploration licences from
various companies
cover most of Gippsland
as well as sites in the
Ottways and Western
Victoria. There are also
plans for an Under-
ground Coal Gasification
(which involves setting
fire to an underground coal field and extract-
ing the gas that is produced) project in Gipp-
These developments have not come with-
out opposition. Lock the Gate Alliance, which
was formed in November 2010 is a grouping
of over 100 organisations, has been organ-
ising protests and meetings in communities
affected by CSG. The Moree Plains Shire
council has put a total ban on exploration in
response to farmers concerns. In the com-
munity of Tara the Western Downs Alliance
residents have prevented work on CSG devel-
opments with an ongoing blockade which
began on March 11. The NSW government
has responded to public pressure by calling
a parliamentary inquiry and a moratorium on
fracking that will last until the end of the year,
however this is unlikely to result in a ban. If
we want to avoid a situation like what has oc-
curred in the US and already in parts of
Queensland it's important to act now before
coal seam gas becomes really established in
Direct Action 11
by FW JS
StUDeNtS make a
ShOw Of StReNgth
irect Action isn’t only a concept rele-
vant to the workplace, this was proven
by a quite remarkable turn of events
at my school, Melbourne High School earlier
this year. Previous to this year, the school
canteen was run by the school, primarily by
the parents association, without profit as a
concern, providing decently priced meals to
students. Without widespread consultation
amongst the student body, the right to run
the canteen was leased out to a national
conglomerate, Metro Canteens. We returned
to school to find prices jacked up exorbitantly
amongst other things. A few of us noted the
widespread discontent and decided a stand
must be taken.
Via facebook, notice was put out that a
mass meeting of students would be held in
the school courtyard to compile a list of griev-
ances and take a democratic vote of the stu-
dents there about what kind of action, if any
should be taken. As a mark of just how much
anger there was out there, 200 students
quickly gathered into this suddenly insuffi-
cient area and speeches were made.
Amongst the clamour of voices it was ascer-
tained that the major problems that needed
to be tackled were; the fact that they were
charging for tomato sauce, the price of the
daily ‘specials’, and the $1.50 price rise for
items such as hamburgers, hot dogs and
chicken burgers. It is worth noting that as
Melbourne High is a ‘closed campus’, the
canteen is our only option for a hot lunch,
rendering us essentially a captive market. It
was clear that the students felt they were
being treated unethically by this faceless cor-
poration, whose only interest was profiting
out of them. When the time came for a vote,
the overwhelming response was that a boy-
cott of the canteen should be undertaken
until we got the chance to talk to canteen
Over the next few days, looking into the
canteen from the outside, it was clear that
patronage was way down, and that not much
food was being shifted. It wasn’t a long wait,
the ‘Student Action Committee’, as we were
now known, were summoned to a meeting
with the CEO of Metro Canteens to discuss
our grievances. It became clear from the
start of the meeting that the school had a
contract with Metro that couldn’t be broken,
so we decided to press on with our material
demands. We were told that over the course
of the boycott, canteen patronage had
dropped 55%, an outstanding show of collec-
tive strength by the students. During this
meeting, in exchange for an end to the boy-
cott, we were able to negotiate, a price drop
on ‘staple’ lunch foods, free tomato sauce,
and prior notification of any future price
rises, which were considering an astounding
success. The ‘Student Action Committee’
was retained, with its main aim currently con-
structing an effective ‘student union’ of sorts
for Melbourne High students.
It was said by members of staff that in all
their years of teaching, they had never seen
anything like this. Students had got together,
democratically decided on a set of demands,
and set out with a plan of direct action to
achieve them. Many numbers of the students
have indeed enjoyed this taste of collective
power and are looking forward to using the
democratic structures formed as a result of
this struggle to press on with other demands,
such as loosening the ‘closed campus’ policy,
and loosening the strict uniform standards. It
bodes very well for the future.












- Warren E. Buett, second richest man in
the United States, in The New York Times,
26 November 2006. http://nyti.ms/jcqlBR
14 Direct Action
Why do the Industrial Workers of the World call for the abolition of the wage system? Is the
IWW proposing that workers NOT get paid? Aren’t the capitalists giving us our jobs? How does
the IWW propose to get the good things of life without working for wages? Why don’t socialists
ever talk about abolishing the wage system?
by FW Mike Ballard
age-labourers are alien-
ated from the product of
their work. The fact that
10% of Australian households own
45% of Australia's wealth while
50% of Australian households own
only 7% of Australia's wealth is in-
formation which is unknown to
most Australian workers. The
wealth wage-labourers produce is
not theirs to control or own. What
wage-labourers own is their power
to work at some task. Labour
power becomes a commodity for
sale under regimes of wage-labour.
The wealth which wage-labourers
produce becomes commodified.
Thus, wealth is primarily for sale
and like all commodities, its sale
benefits its seller-owners. It be-
comes useful to them.
Money is also a commodity.
Trading on money markets is common today. Most times though, money
is found useful for trading one commodity for another, thus facilitating mar-
ket movement and sale. The market is buyers and sellers meeting to ac-
quire and relinquish commodities using money, the universal equivalent
for all commodities. A buyer uses the money-commodity to trade it for
some good or service he or she finds useful. A capitalist buys labour power
when it becomes useful to do so, which is when there are potential buyers
for the goods and/or services which the capitalist’s hireling wage-slaves
can produce. Thus, the capitalist employs workers’ skills to do a job for
wages. Again, the wages the employer pays the worker for the use of his
or her skills over a certain agreed upon period of labour time is based on
what that worker’s abilities to do the job, not on the amount of wealth the
worker in the division of labour with other workers will produce as a whole.
Also, it should always be remembered that a workers sells the skills to do
this or that job to an employer, the skills being purchased aren’t necessarily
the highest skills which the worker possesses, abilities which might fetch
a higher price in the marketplace for commodities because of their greater
value. Value is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour time
embodied in a commodity. This applies to labour power as much as it does
to canned tuna fish, oil or electric power in short, any good or service which
is being sold. Sometimes a person with a doctorate ends up selling abilities
to drive a taxi. “You can’t always get what you want; but sometimes you
get what you need” and what highly skilled individuals need is sometimes
just to make a living when the market for their particular skills is saturated.
So, they sell themselves into wage-slavery for a lower price.
We workers are in one class
within a division of labour, even out-
side our immediate work areas and
our class is employed by members
of the capitalist class to produce
the wealth of nations. As such, cap-
italists are dependent on workers
and workers are dependent on
each other to do their parts within
the division of labour. The capital-
ists are dependent on the working
class to get the wealth of nations
out into the marketplace for sale. A
doctor depends on other workers to
provide useable means of trans-
portation, quality food and even
health, among thousands of other
goods and services which make up
the wealth of nations. The future
generation depends on the stu-
dents being trained to become doc-
tors, engineers and truck drivers in
various learning places and schools. The working class is an inter-locking
wealth producer. However, it should be understood that under the wage
system, a worker who has spent time learning more complex skills will gen-
erally fetch higher wages on selling those skills on the labour market than
a worker who has spent less time developing his or her skills or who has
had less experience at doing the job the employer needs doing. It always
has to be remembered though that this commodity must be sold on the
labour market and like any other commodity, if the market is flooded with
these skills, its price will plummet and sometimes be left unbought, unem-
ployed. Such are the contingencies of making a living in a commodified
society of buying and selling.
I maintain that the left lost its way sometime after 1910, fishing in the
vote getting markets of liberal reformism and shutting out the revolution-
aries who spoke of common ownership of the collective product of labour
and the abolition of the system of exploitation known as wage labour. In
the aftermath of WWI, the official Marxist-Leninist and Social Democratic
left replaced any talk of the 'abolition of the wage system' with liberal re-
formism i.e. with accepting, 'a fair day's wage for a fair day's work' all in the
name of being ‘realistic’ of 'borng from within' the business unions and the
established political States, sometimes running a left-wing version of a
wage system for the employing class. Like pure and simple reformism,'bor-
ing from within' was meant as a reasonable tactic; but soon it became the
strategic goal of leftists, to get pre-selected then, elected to bourgeois or
Marxist-Leninist institutions of political power over the wage slaves of the
world. To historically examine the degree that this point of view triumphed
the wealth of nations:
class divided
Direct Action 15
is to appreciate the political amnesia which
struck the workers' movement. Forgetting that
the abolition of wage-labour was the goal of the
social revolution, along with common ownership
of the collective product of labour, has gotten
workers’ movement from a revolutionary position
to where it is today i.e. with a left composed of
radical liberal moralists waiting for a Castro (or
fill in some other messiah) to save them, a left
that has lost all sense of being a radical subjec-
tive part of a social revolution made by them-
selves and their fellow workers, for themselves
as a class.
As Marx and Engels put it in THE COMMU-
"When, in the course of development,
class distinctions have disappeared, and
all production has been concentrated in
the hands of a vast association of the
whole nation, the public power will lose its
political character. Political power, prop-
erly so called, is merely the organized
power of one class for oppressing another.
If the proletariat during its contest with the
bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of
circumstances, to organize itself as a
class; if, by means of a revolution, it
makes itself the ruling class, and, as such,
sweeps away by force the old conditions
of production, then it will, along with these
conditions, have swept away the condi-
tions for the existence of class antago-
nisms and of classes generally, and will
thereby have abolished [hebt auf
(aufheben is actually translated more
closely with the English term ‘sublation’)]
its own supremacy [Herrschaft, rule] as a
Class distinctions disappear as soon
as the need for classes has disappeared.
The need for classes is related in Marx’s mind to
history, class consciousness and the develop-
ment of the means of production, the means to
satisfy the needs of a society and society’s com-
prehension of what constitutes it needs. This
historical process would vary in accord with the
uneven development of the means of production
and class consciousness in the world at large.
But what would replace the wage system?
Here’s a relevant dialogue which took place be-
tween Daniel DeLeon and some curious workers
of pre-WWI America:
"How will the Co-operative Commonwealth
determine the income of each worker?"
In order that the answer to the question be
understood, two things must first be grasped,
and kept in mind. One is the factor which deter-
mines the worker's income today; and that in-
volves the worker's status under Capitalism. The
other thing is the worker's changed status in the
Co-operative Commonwealth; from which status
flows the factor which will then determine the
worker's income.
How is the worker's income determined
today, under Capitalism?
The income of the worker is his wages. That
which determines the wages of the worker today
is the supply and demand for Labor in the Labor
market. If the supply is relatively large, the price
of labor-power, that is, wages, which means in-
come, will be relatively low. If the demand is rel-
atively large, then the income, that is, wages, will
rise. As the Law of Gravitation may be, and is,
perturbed by a number of perturbing causes, so
with the Law of Wages: -- combinations of work-
ers, on the one hand, may counteract an exces-
sive supply of Labor in the Labor market, and
keep wages up; on the other hand, capitalist out-
rages, such as shanghaing, not to mention innu-
merable others, may counteract a small supply
of Labor in the Labor market, and keep wages
down. In the long, run the perturbing causes
cease to be perceptible factors, and the Law of
Supply and Demand re-asserts itself.
It follows that, under Capitalism, the status
of' the worker is not that of a human. His income
being his price, and his price being controlled by
the identical law that controls the prices of all
other articles of merchandise, under Capitalism
the worker is a chattel. In so far as he is a
"worker" he is no better than cattle on the hoof -
- all affectation to the contrary notwithstanding.
What, on the contrary, is the worker's status
in the Co-operative Commonwealth ?
"Co-operative Commonwealth" is a technical
term; it is another name for the Socialist or In-
dustrial Republic. He who says "Co-operative
Commonwealth" means, must mean, a social
system that its advocates maintain flows from a
previous, the present, the Capitalist regimen ; a
social system that its advocates maintain is
made compulsory upon society by the impossible
conditions which the Capitalist regimen brings to
a head; finally, a social system which its advo-
cates maintain that, seeing it is at once the off-
spring of Capitalism and the redress of Capitalist
ills, saves and partakes of the gifts that Capital-
ism has contributed to the race's progress, and
lops off the ills with which Capitalism itself can-
cels its own gifts. The issue of wages, or the
worker's income, throws up one of the leading ills
of Capitalism.
The Co-operative Commonwealth revolution-
izes the status of the worker. From being the mer-
chandise he now is, he is transformed into a
human. The transformation is effected by his
pulling himself out and away from the stalls in
the market where today he stands beside
cattle, bales of hay and crates of crockery,
and taking his place as a citizen in full en-
joyment of the highest civic status of the
The means for the transformation is
the collective ownership of all the neces-
saries for production, and their operation
for use, instead of their private ownership
by the Capitalist, and their operation for
sale and profits.
The worker's collective ownership of
that which, being stripped of under Capi-
talism, turns him into a wage-slave and
chattel, determines his new status. The
revolutionized status, in turn, determines
his income.
Whereas, under Capitalism, the very
question whether the worker shall at all
have an income depends upon the judg-
ment, the will or the whim of the Capital-
ist, whether the wheels of production
shall move, or shall lie idle, -- in the Co-op-
erative Commonwealth, where the worker
himself owns the necessaries for produc-
tion, no such precariousness of income
can hang over his head.
Whereas, under Capitalism, a stop-
page of production comes about when
the capitalist fears that continued produc-
tion may congest the market, thereby forc-
ing profits down, and never comes about
because there is no need of his useful articles, -
- in the Co-operative Commonwealth, use and
not sale and profits being the sole purpose of
production, no such stoppage of production,
hence, of income, is conceivable.
Whereas, under Capitalism, improved meth-
ods of production have an eye solely to an in-
crease of profits, and therefore are equivalent to
throwing workers out of work, -- in the Co-opera-
tive Commonwealth, use and not sale and prof-
its, popular wellbeing and not individual
richness, being the sole object in view, improved
methods of production, instead of throwing work-
ers out of work, will throw out hours of work, and
keep steady, if they do not increase, the flow of
Consequently, and finally --The Co-operative
Commonwealth will not determine, the Co-oper-
ative Commonwealth will leave it to each worker
himself to determine his income; and that in-
come will total up to his share in the product of
the collective labor of the Commonwealth, to the
extent of his own efforts, multiplied with the free
natural opportunities and with the social facili-
ties (machinery, methods, etc.) that the genius
of society may make possible.
In other words -- differently from the state of
things under Capitalism, where the worker's fate
is at the mercy of the capitalist -- in the Co-oper-
ative Commonwealth the worker will himself de-
termine, will himself be the architect of his fate.
Excerpt from the pamphlet
"Fifteen Questions About Socialism"
by Daniel De Leon (1914)
As Karl Marx appealed to German Social De-
mocrats in his “Critique of the Gotha Pro-
gramme” about what first emerges from a social
“What we have to deal with here is a com-
munist society, not as it has developed on its
own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it
emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in
every respect, economically, morally, and intel-
lectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the
old society from whose womb it emerges. Ac-
cordingly, the individual producer receives back
from society -- after the deductions have been
made -- exactly what he gives to it. What he has
given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For
example, the social working day consists of the
sum of the individual hours of work; the individ-
ual labor time of the individual producer is the
part of the social working day contributed by
him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from
society that he has furnished such-and-such an
amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the
common funds); and with this certificate, he
draws from the social stock of means of con-
sumption as much as the same amount of labor
cost. The same amount of labor which he has
given to society in one form, he receives back in
“Here, obviously, the same principle prevails
as that which regulates the exchange of com-
modities, as far as this is exchange of equal val-
ues. Content and form are changed, because
under the altered circumstances no one can give
anything except his labor, and because, on the
other hand, nothing can pass to the ownership
of individuals, except individual means of con-
sumption. But as far as the distribution of the lat-
ter among the individual producers is
concerned, the same principle prevails as in the
exchange of commodity equivalents: a given
amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an
equal amount of labor in another form.”
Note the terms “individual quantum of labor”
and how commodities are exchanged for equal
values. In this sense, the old capitalist system
has left its birthmark on a new classless soci-
ety’s social relations. So and so many socially
necessary hours of labour are embodied in some
use value and traded for another use value on
the basis of how many socially necessary hours
are contained in it. Value has to be equivalent
to be traded as a commodity. The important
matter settled after a social revolution is that the
separation of the product from the producer has
been abolished with the abolition of wage-labour
because wage-labour is the mere price of the
producer’s labour power on the labour market,
which is for sale like any other commodity and
not connected to the amount of wealth being pro-
duced as commodities for sale on the market,
commodities owned by the employing class. The
total of socially necessary labour hours equals
the total sum of the society’s wealth. Wealth in
the lower stage of communism is distributed ac-
cording to the socially necessary labour time put
in by each producer.
As Marx pointed out labour vouchers are not
“On the basis of socialised production the
scale must be ascertained on which those oper-
ations — which withdraw labour-power and
means of production for a long time without sup-
plying any product as a useful effect in the in-
terim — can be carried on without injuring
branches of production which not only withdraw
labour-power and means of production continu-
ally, or several times a year, but also supply
means of subsistence and of production. Under
socialised as well as capitalist production, the
labourers in branches of business with shorter
working periods will as before withdraw products
only for a short time without giving any products
in return; while branches of business with long
working periods continually withdraw products
for a longer time before they return anything.
This circumstance, then, arises from the mate-
rial character of the particular labour-process,
not from its social form. In the case of socialised
production the money-capital is eliminated. So-
ciety distributes labour-power and means of pro-
duction to the different branches of production.
The producers may, for all it matters, receive
paper vouchers entitling them to withdraw from
the social supplies of consumer goods a quantity
corresponding to their labour-time. These vouch-
ers are not money. They do not circulate.”
CAPITAL Volume II, chapter 18, page 358
Contrary to official Trotskyist doctrine, com-
munism can be organised in one country, if that
country is as industrialised as the USA was in
1905 or Australia is today. Lots of countries
today could be socialist. None of them are.
Here's Marx again on using labour time as a
means of distribution:
"The total product of our community is a so-
cial product. One portion serves as fresh means
of production and remains social. But another
portion is consumed by the members as means
of subsistence. A distribution of this portion
amongst them is consequently necessary. The
mode of this distribution will vary with the pro-
ductive organisation of the community, and the
degree of historical development attained by the
producers. We will assume, but merely for the
sake of a parallel with the production of com-
modities, that the share of each individual pro-
ducer in the means of subsistence is determined
by his labour time. Labour time would, in that
case, play a double part. Its apportionment in ac-
cordance with a definite social plan maintains
the proper proportion between the different
kinds of work to be done and the various wants
of the community. On the other hand, it also
serves as a measure of the portion of the com-
mon labour borne by each individual, and of his
share in the part of the total product destined for
individual consumption. The social relations of
the individual producers, with regard both to
their labour and to its products, are in this case
perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with re-
gard not only to production but also to distribu-
from CAPITAL volume I, chapter one
In future, as the classless industrialised so-
ciety matures, the need for measuring an indi-
vidual producer’s time doing socially necessary
labour disappears and free access to the social
store of goods and services becomes the norm.
As Marx puts it:
"In a higher phase of communist society,
after the enslaving subordination of the individ-
ual to the division of labor, and therewith also
the antithesis between mental and physical
labor, has vanished; after labor has become not
only a means of life but life's prime want; after
the productive forces have also increased with
the all-around development of the individual,
and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow
more abundantly -- only then then can the nar-
row horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its
entirety and society inscribe on its banners:
From each according to his ability, to each ac-
cording to his needs!"
from the Critique of the Gotha Programme
“Humans are subjects who make history.
Subjects create objects which in turn affect sub-
jects. Objects include ideas. Human subjects
who are, by force of circumstance, obliged to sell
themselves into wage-slavery in order to make a
living are in bondage in both mind and body. But,
the desire for more freedom drives social rela-
tions at the same time. Capital is the creation of
wage-labour, although most workers are not re-
minded of this relation in their daily lives. Where
there is wage-labour, there is Capital. Capital is
a social relation of unequal power, of one class
subjecting another to its rule and the ideas
which underpin that rule in order to reap the
lion’s share of society’s wealth. Thus, Capital is
a systemic political power over its employees
based on wage labour, a system for extracting
wealth from producers and legalising its appro-
priation by the employing class through laws
passed by pre-selected politicians, workers elect
to run the political State. When we become con-
scious of this relation between ourselves and
what we create, we take the first step toward
freedom from rule by others; we start to shed the
social psychology of authoritarian character
structure which stamps our minds with the label
“subaltern”, a label which translates into accept-
ing ‘TINA’. There is an alternative to capitalism.
It involves the abolition of the wage system and
common ownership of the collective product of
labour under the auspices of a free association
of producers.
“The alienation of the subject and object is
fundamental to class society, to exploitation of
the many by the few. Any proposition for ending
wage labour has to deal with the alienation of
the product from the producer and include a
plan for the sublation of Capital, a plan which
does not replicate the old social relations which
alienate socially generated wealth from its pro-
16 Direct Action
Direct Action 17
he brutal massacre perpetrated by the Norwegian right winger An-
ders Behring Breivik has been met with shock and puzzlement, not
least amongst pundits struggling to come to terms with a terrorism
not committed by Muslims, but by a vehemently anti-Muslim rightwinger.
It is not enough to dismiss Breivik as a 'madman', or a 'nut'. His was
a carefully planned, reasoned and executed strike. Moreover, it was a
thoroughly political act, politically motivated and with political content.
Breivik's rationale was not born in a vacuum, nor was it a post-hoc ratio-
nalisation of his actions. It is telling that psychological explanations are
reserved for white terrorists, wheras the rhetoric of jihadis is taken at face
Breivik's thinking is part of an identifiable current, and he says as
much, calling it the “Vienna school of thought” in his 1500 page “mani-
festo”, A European Declaration of Independence, 2083.1 When he refer-
ences Robert Spencer and Melanie Phillips, he nails his colours to the
flag of a new right-wing movement; an international conservative move-
ment which has been gestating for the past decade, facilitated primarily
by the internet. Since then, it has exploded onto the streets in the form
of the English Defence League, and entered parliament in the form of
Geert Wilders.
While the media, when critical, is content to describe this school of
thought as far-right, it stumbles when it encounters the fervent public de-
nunciations of Nazism and biological racism that are a hallmark of this
strain of rightism. Leftists, too, frequently cannot articulate what they're
about without falling back on the label of “fascist”. This isn't enough.
In this article, we attempt to articulate the premises, ideology and
composition of this new, radically right-wing movement. For the purposes
of argument, we call it Integralist conservatism..
Why 'integralism'?
We have already stated that it would be a mistake to define the pol-
itics of the groups under discussion as fascist. However, the movement
we describe is expanding by filling an ideological gap on the far-right,
which has been left open by an outmoded and unpalatable fascism re-
liant on biological racism and anti-semitism. By replicating enough of fas-
cism's basic assumptions and tenets – primarily it's fixation on an
essential “nation” corrupted by both leftism and a vilified ethnic-religious
group – it supercedes it in the task of providing an organisational space
for an anti-cosmopolitan, anti-'modern'2 and anti-immigration reaction.
Importantly, it has concocted a far-right ideology which is not reliant on
outmoded racial nationalism. The political toxicity of anti-semitic conspir-
acy theories based is certainly intact, but similar conspiracy theories can
be freely applied to Muslims, and frequently are in semi-mainstream po-
litical discourse and in the pages of mass-circulation newspapers like the
Daily Mail.
Similarly, students of fascist thought will sense a disturbing familiarity
with the kind of argument which blurs together Marxism, a sinister eth-
nic-religious 'enemy' and, sometimes, finance capital as an existential
threat to the nation. They will also see obvious comparisons between
proto-fascist antisemites such as Edouard Drumont, author of La France
the new integralist
Jon Gaynor provides an introduction to the right-wing current of thought which encompasses
groups like the English Defence League, anti-Muslim bloggers and authors, and populist politi-
cal parties.
18 Direct Action
juive (Jewish France), which claimed an ongoing
conspiracy by Jews to subjugate France, and
contemporary rightists who paint nightmarish
pictures of an imminent Sharia-dominated,
Muslim Europe. Paranoid themes of national
decline as a result of cosmopolitan decadence
and mass immigration obviously echo the prop-
aganda of fascism through the years.
However, there are significant differences
with classical fascism which sets such thought
apart. Biological racism is invariably rejected.
Similarly. rather than promulgating anti-semi-
tism, Zionism and strong support for Israeli for-
eign policy is the order of the day amongst this
new right, logically leading to a rejection of
Palestinian aspirations and often the idea that
they exist as a 'people' at all. Attempts to form
centralised, programmatic parties are rare;
rather Integralist conservatives attempt to
make their ideas the dominant ones within
right-wing discourse. When economic policy ex-
ists, it is invariably a form of idealistic neoliber-
alism, as opposed to the monopolistic
corporatism of fascist capitalism. Most impor-
tantly, the idealised, essential 'nation' being de-
fended from the Muslim-Marxist threat is not
the romantic, pre-industial racist fantasy of neo-
Nazis, but liberal democracy before the advent
of mass immigration in the late 1950s. These
new rightwingers frequently make much of their
anti-Nazi credentials, identifying Western Civili-
sation before the current fall with the western
democracies which took part in the second
world war.
For this reason, we argue here that this new
right should be defined on its own terms. We
call it 'integralist conservatism'. The rationale
for this is twofold. Firstly, it has its origins in the
fringes of the mainstream right, rather than fas-
cist circles (although it is successfully penetrat-
ing and supplanting classical fascism within the
far-right, especially online). It's tenets are the
subject of bestselling books by the likes of
Robert Spencer and Melanie Phillips, it's Mus-
lim-baiting is mirrored in the pages of the Daily
Mail and Express. Secondly, we use 'integralism'
not in the sense of fascist economic integral-
ism, but rather the viewpoint which sees an es-
sential, unitary nation corrupted by external
conspiracy. In the case of fascism, this was an
alliance of Jews, Marxists and cosmopolitan po-
litical elites . The new right finds this alliance in
Muslims, multiculturalists and leftists.
Integralist conservatism is not a moniker
that has been used by any of the groups or
thinkers under discussion, nor is it likely ever to
be, but it is an appropriate enough term to de-
scribe the politics of the movement.
As with classical fascism, the new integral-
ist conservatism has no central codification in
the writings of a founding intellectual, and its
lack of enshrinement in party platforms (with
limited exceptions) means that there is no writ-
ten set of tenets to refer to. However, it exists
as a recognisable body of thought, and was
identifiable enough to Breivik as the “Vienna
school of thought”. Its basic assumptions and
propositions are:
* Identification of a monolithic 'Islam' as an im-
mediate and existential threat to 'the West'.
* Clash of civilisations thesis.
* Belief in an ongoing Islamification of Western
culture, as both a conscious effort by Muslims
and a result of Muslim immigration.
* Opposition to multiculturalism as the facilita-
tor of Islamisation.
* Inability to explain the explain the advent of
multiculturalism without recourse to conspiracy
theories about Marxist seizure of academia and
political institutions (as opposed to, for in-
stance, the precedent of communalism in the
British Empire).
*Hostility to Marxism, in both its real and per-
ceived manifestations.
* Where an economic outlook exists, it is invari-
ably a form of laissez-faire neoliberalism
We will next outline the actual composition
of this movement.
The integralist axis: rightist authors, Defence
leagues, the populist parties
Modern integralist conservatism exists pri-
marily as an internet-facilitated axis between
rightwing authors and bloggers, street-based,
hooligan-orientated street outfits such as the
English Defence league, and the rightwing pop-
ulist parties and politicians espousing it's
tenets. Primary amongst these parties is Geert
Wilders' Party for Freedom in Holland.
We will here provide short briefings on
these actors:
1. Rightist authors
Robert Spencer. The American founder of
the Jihadwatch and Dhimmiwatch websites,
and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to
Islam, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Sub-
verting America without Guns or Bombs and
The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Ad-
ministration's War on America with Pamela
Geller (see below) amongst other texts. Founder
of Stop the Islamisation of America and Free-
dom Defense Initiative with Pamela Geller. His
core argument is that Islam is monolithic, inher-
ently violent and is engaged in a conspiracy to
Islamise the West. Quoted extensively by mass
murderer Anders Breving Breivik in his mani-
- Pamela Geller. American author, founder
of the Atlas Shrugs blog, co-founder of Stop the
Islamisation of America and co-author of The
Post-American Presidency: The Obama Admin-
istration's War on America with Robert Spencer.
Best known for her role in whipping up the con-
troversy around the so-called “ground zero
Mosque”, an Islamic community centre two
blocks away from the World Trade Centre. Ar-
gues that Muslims are actively imposing Sharia
law on the United States. Strong supporter of Is-
raeli foreign policy, claims that Palestinians do
not exist, advocates annexation of Gaza, the de-
portation of anti-war and civil rights activists
from Israel, etc. Supports the EDL and mur-
dered South African white supremacist Eugene
Terrre'Blanche. Has connections with the US
Tea Party and the “birther” movement, contin-
ues to claim Obama is not an American despite
the release of his long-form birth certificate, etc.
- Gisèle Littman, aka Bat Ye'or. Egyptian-
born British writer, author of eight books. Cen-
tral focus on the condition of non-Muslims in
Muslim-majority countries. Founder of term
'dhimmitude', ubiquitous amongst the conser-
vative integralist movement and used in refer-
ence to the supposed aim of Muslims in the
west to subjugate the 'native' populations under
Sharia law. Similarly the originator of the term
'Eurabia', which she claims is a conspiracy be-
tween European and Arab establishments to
isolate Israel and contend with the United
States; however it is also frequently used in in-
tegralist conservative circles to refer to the sup-
posed immediate future of a Europe dominated
by Islam.
- Oriana Fallaci. Deceased Italian journalist
who authored a number of stongly anti-Muslim
books after retirement, claimed that Europe
had already become “Eurabia”, paints Euopean
Muslims as dangerous parasites on the body of
Western civilisation, foreign Muslim populations
as engaging in a seige of Europe and calls for
Western governments to enact harsher policies
against “Islamofascism” frequently defined as
Islam generally.
- Other writers popular amongst Integralist
Conservatives include, Ibn Warraq, Bruce
Bawar, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Daniel Pipes, Melanie
Phillips and Christopher Hitchens (his later, pro-
war and anti-Islamist writing).
Street Movements
- English Defence League. Loosely-organ-
ised, street-based “counter-Jihad” movement.
It has no formal membership structures, and
has been organised almost entirely through the
internet, primarily using Facebook. It has a self-
appointed leadership, with “Tommy Robinson”
- a.k.a. tanning salon proprietor Stephen Yaxley-
Lennon - at it's head. The EDL generally claims
membership on the basis of users of its Face-
book group and forums, but actual attendence
at its national demonstrations does not appear
to have ever exceeded 3,000. Considerably
smaller numbers have appeared when it has
called simultaneous local demonstrations with-
out national mobilisation in advance.
The EDL has no clear policies or positions
on anything other than opposition to “Islamic
extremism”. However, it's website and spokes-
people nearly always present a monolithic
'Islam' as the problem.4 Thinly-veiled Muslim-
baiting forms the basis for most of their activi-
ties, and they present everything from the
existence of British-Pakistani drug dealers, the
targeting of white teenagers for grooming by
Asian sex offenders, the serving of halal meat
at some fast food outlets and hit-and-run
deaths by Asian drivers as part of a Jihad
against the UK.
Their demonstrations have frequently led to
rampages through Asian areas, and attacks on
local residents. An EDL march in Leicester led
to an attack on a local fast food restaurant
called Big John's, which was filled with terrified
dining families5, and other Asian-owned busi-
nesses6. Asian taxi drivers, and even passing
Direct Action 19
motorists have been on the receiving end of
mob attacks by EDL demonstrators.
The EDL are also increasingly taking an
agressively anti-leftist stance, initially it appears
as a response to the ubiquitous counter-demon-
strations by the SWP front group Unite Against
Fascism, but now taking the form of opposition
to a conspiratorial alliance between 'commu-
nists' and Islamism.7 This has also led to the
EDL carrying articles attacking trade unions
and the labour party as part of an ongoing and
covert “Marxist” campaign against Britain.
This opposition to the left has manifested
itself in a number of violent attacks on left-wing
and anti-racist events. In the wake of the stu-
dent protests of 2010-2011, which saw the oc-
cupation of the Conservative party's Millbank
offices in November 2011, Yaxley-Lennon
threatened that further student
protests would be opposed by the
EDL. This opposition did not appear.
However, EDL groups have organ-
ised attacks on smaller, softer tar-
gets instead. April saw an attack by
40 chanting EDL supporters on an
anti-racist meeting in Brighton,
though they were unable to force the
doors. In May 2011 EDL members
threw bricks at the windows of a
community centre in Barking while
an anti-racist meeting took place in-
side. June saw them attack an anti-
racist gig in Leeds, while in July
2011 EDL plans to attack a Sre-
brenica Massacre memorial event in
Manchester were foiled partly due to
the police noticing its public organi-
sation on Facebook, as well as mili-
tant antifascist opposition from
Manchester Anti-Fascist Alliance and Irish Re-
publicans on the day.
However, none of this is to gift them the
'hard man' image they desperately desire. On a
number of occasions they have come seriously
unstuck when dealing with militant anti-fascist
groups and other physical opposition. They were
driven off in their aforementioned attack on the
Rage against Racism event in Leeds, with a
leading Bradford EDL 'celebrity' requiring urgent
medical attention. A marauding group of of EDL
members ran into difficulty in Bristol last year
when they mistook militant anti-fascists for UAF
members, and were forced to seek sanctuary
behind police lines and in the back of ambu-
lances. On numerous occasions the EDL have
not fared well when they come up against de-
termined opposition by local Asian youths.
The EDL have also attempted to cultivate
links with loyalist terrorist organisations in
Northern Ireland, as well as with Ulster Loyalism
in general.8 This has led to increased interest
in them from Irish republican groupings.
- EDL splinter groups.
Partly as a result of internal power struggles
between local “top boys” and the self-appointed
EDL leadership, and partly as a result of conflict
between more classically racist elements in the
EDL and those who want to promote a multira-
cial image, a number of splinter groups have
been set up in the north of England which have
an uneasy relationship with the EDL 'main-
stream'. Members also go by the moniker 'UAF
hunting club'.
The main groups are the North West and
North East Infidels. They are more openly vio-
lent and racist in their public posturing, but it is
yet to be seen whether they have the capacity
to back this up with actions. They have fewer
reservations about working with openly Neo-
Nazi elements, and members have been impli-
cated in the relaunch of the notorious Redwatch
Due to the EDL having no formal member-
ship structure, the 'infidels' still attend EDL
events and demonstrations, leading in some in-
stances to infighting between factions. This was
the case during their botched demonstration in
Blackburn in 2011.
-Other 'defence leagues'.
Following the success and publicity enjoyed
by the EDL, there have been attempts to set up
copycat organisations in various European
countries. None of these have seen any suc-
cess, partly because of concerted opposition
from the get-go. The first event organised by the
Norwegian Defence League, for instance, saw
overwhelming opposition from anti-Fascists less
squeamish about physical confrontation than
Unite Against Fascism.
The EDL have also attempted to cultivate
links with elements within the right-wing Tea
Party movement in America. The orginal 'de-
fence league', the far-right, terrorist Jewish De-
fence League have also voiced support for the
European Right-wing populism
The third element of the integralist conser-
vative axis is an increasing section of populist
right-wing parties in Europe. In an atmosphere
of anti-Muslim populism manifested in bans on
minarets and veils, fertile space is being cre-
ated in the mainstream for Integralist conserva-
tive politics. Far-right parties with roots in
classical fascism, such as the BNP, are moving
over to a much more marketable Conservative
Integralist position. Due to the shades of influ-
ence such thinking enjoys in various parties in
different countires, we will only concentrate on
the leading example here.
- Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom
Geert Wilders has rapidly become a figurehead
and talisman for Conservative Integralists. Bre-
vik described Wilders' party as the only one fit
for conservatives, while the EDL have organised
solidarity demonstrations with Wilders,
The flamboyant Wilders has built a career
around his crusade the halt the “Islamisation of
Europe”, and his positions have become the
bread and butter of contervative integralist
thought: a ban on the Koran, a halt to the build-
ing of Mosques, and the end of immigration
from Muslim countries. In as far as his policies
are shared throughout the movement, his
canny opposition to the traditional Eurofascist
right and its leaders such as Jean-Marie Le Pen
and Jorg Haider has been replicated in the pub-
lic distancing of the BNP by the EDL, despite
many hushed-up links between the
two.10 The success of Wilders' Party
for Freedom, which is now the third-
largest opposition party in Holland,
may well be a glimpse into the future
for other countries.
In discussing the advent of what we
call here “integralist conservatism”,
the obvious point of what we want to
achieve by doing so arises.
Firstly, tactical knowledge is impor-
tant. We can expect to be confronted
by these people; EDL activists are now
attempting to press the left and anti-
fascists in a way similar to NF activists
in the 1970s. They have made it clear
that socialists of all kinds and anti-
racist organisers are now targets, as a
result we will need to actively defend
ourselves. We need to be clear who we are deal-
ing with, especially to inform propaganda, as it
is not enough to shout 'Nazi' at an opposition
who are overwhelmingly not Nazis.
Secondly we can expect this mode of
thought to be at the leading edge of any reac-
tionary movements which may emerge in the
near future. Given the stated hostility of the
EDL, for example, towards strikers, trade
unions, anti-cuts and student protestors we can
expect these people to be the unofficial street
wing of reaction should any large scale strug-
gles arise.
Lastly, these ideas are nowhere near as far
from the mainstream as, for example, the fas-
cism of the National Front. Hostility to Muslims
permeates political discourse, the official
enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan is Muslim, the
terrorist we are supposed to be constantly vigi-
lant against is always presumed to be a Muslim,
the examples are countless. In a climate of re-
action, we should not be surprised to see these
kinds of ideas to form the ideological cover for
a general assault by capital, with the enemies
of 'freedom' in the unions, the 'Muslim commu-
nity' and the left taking the role of public enemy,
and the working class divided on communal
20 Direct Action
The practical everyday activity of wage-workers reproduces wage
labor and capital. Through their daily activities, "modern" men, like
tribesmen and slaves, reproduce the inhabitants, the social relations
and the ideas of their society; they reproduce the social form of daily
life. Like the tribe and the slave system, the capitalist system is neither
the natural nor the final form of human society; like the earlier social
forms, capitalism is a specific response to material and historical con-
ditions .
- Fredy Perlman
Workers are human beings, and human beings are sexual beings.
Thus sexuality forms an aspect of social reproduction. Yet frequently
when sexuality is discussed on the left, recourse is made to theories
which date, at best, from the 1960s, as if there have been no histor-
ical developments in the intervening decades.
The repression thesis: Reich, and Brinton
Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) was a psychoanalyst who fused Freud
with Marx, before going a bit batshit and claiming to have discovered
a 'primordial cosmic energy' called 'orgone' that caused weather
events, the colour of the sky, gravity and the formation of galaxies.
And orgasms. Reich's earlier work was repopularised during the
1960s, primarily by Solidarity member Maurice Brinton's pamphlet
'The Irrational in Politics' (I'm using '60s' figuratively here in the collo-
quial sense for the period 1968-72, rather than literally. This pamphlet
was published in 1970). Solidarity's introduction to the pamphlet de-
scribes its central thesis as follows:
...an attempt to analyse the various mechanisms whereby modern
society manipulates its slaves into accepting their slavery and - at
least in the short term - seems to succeed. It does not deal with 'po-
lice' and 'jails' as ordinarily conceived but with those internalised pat-
terns of repression and coercion, and with those intellectual prisons
in which the 'mass individual' is today entrapped (...) It looks at the
family as the locus of reproduction of the dominant ideology, and at
sexual repression as an important determinant of social conditioning,
resulting in the mass production of individuals perpetually craving au-
thority and leadership and forever afraid of walking on their own or
of thinking for themselves.
Consequently Reich linked the predominant sexuality with the pre-
dominant social relations, and saw the mechanism for this linkage as
being sexual repression; the behaviours promoted by traditional
Judeo-Christian morality - monogamous marriage, kids disciplined for
wanking etc. The prevailing material relations of society - in particular
the family - were seen to produce certain ideas - in particular craving
authority - which in turn reproduced authoritarian society in a dialec-
tical interaction. This idea had an obvious resonance with libertarians,
who saw a clear political implication; the Man doesn't want you to have
fun, so fun is subversive in itself and you can fuck your way out of cap-
italist society. The most hilarious contemporary example of this comes
from the lifestyle anarchist group CrimethInc, who in their article
"washing... and brainwashing" list the first of "eight reasons why cap-
italists want to sell you deoderant" as:
Body smells are erotic and sexual. Capitalists don't like that be-
cause they are impotent and opposed to all manifestations of sensu-
ality and sexuality. Sexually awakened people are potentially
dangerous to capitalists and their rigid, asexual system.
While this is only the most ridiculous example, these sentiments
are not restricted to lifestylist muppets, and crop up during many dis-
cussions with class struggle anarchists too, attracted by the libertine
slogan 'it is forbidden to forbid.' For example an article by the Anarchist
Federation concludes that:
When people are really being sexually honest, some weird shit can
start to happen. And that, in its own way, can be quite revolutionary.
by Joseph Kay
This article is partially the product of ongoing discussions within the Solidarity Federation (UK
sister organisation of the IWW) over the relationship of 'Anarchy, Sex and Freedom,' but also
the reliance among the wider left on dated theories from the 1960s whenever the question of
sexuality is raised. The following is a speculative attempt to fill in some of the gaps.
aND SexUal
Direct Action 21
There are two reasons this is problematic;
the first is the speculative nature of Reich's
theories in the first place, the second is the
massive social changes that have taken place
since 1960s which would render them of pri-
marily historical interest even if the theories
themselves were shown to be sound. How-
ever, for the purpose of this blog there is one
thing we can take from Brinton; the thesis
that prevailing sexuality and prevailing social
relations are not independent phenomena.
Before leaving the 60s, we should consider
the theories of Mariarosa Dalla Costa and
Selma James, who addressed this question
from the point of view of housewives.
The power of women... and the subversion of
the community?
Dalla Costa and James adopted a sim-
ilar framework to Brinton, writing that:
The women's movement has gone
into greater detail about the capitalist
family. After describing how women are
conditioned to be subordinated to men,
it has described the family as that insti-
tution where the young are repressed
from birth to accept the discipline of
capitalist relations-which in Marxist
terms begins with the discipline of cap-
italist work.
For Dalla Costa and James, it is
"worth pointing out that women for
whom sexual exploitation is the basic
social contradiction provide an ex-
tremely important index of the degree
of our own frustration, experienced by
millions of women." Unlike the prevail-
ing (Althusserian) Marxist orthodoxy of
the day, they did not set up an a priori
privileging of the economic 'base' over
the socio-cultural 'superstructure,' but
instead set out to critically investigate
the prevailing structures of gender and
class from the starting point of the ex-
perience of proletarian women.
This led them to describe a growing rejec-
tion of sexual relations that were at once
power relations - typified by the lesbian move-
ment which rejected relations with men alto-
gether as inherently hierarchical, at least
under prevailing social relations. They con-
tinue that:
In order to understand the frustrations of
women expressing themselves in ever-in-
creasing forms, we must be clear what in the
nature of the family under capitalism precip-
itates a crisis on this scale. The oppression
of women, after all, did not begin with capi-
talism. What began with capitalism was the
more intense exploitation of women as
women and the possibility at last of their lib-
Consequently, the experiences of women
increasingly challenging the prevailing 'wom-
ans place' in society were situated historically
within the framework of capitalist social rela-
tions. Overwhelmingly at the time, this was
the experiences of housewives, long-ignored
by Marxist theorists busy fetishising their
blue-collar husbands in the vast car factories
that formed the backbone of global value pro-
duction for most of the 20th century (see Bev-
erly Silver's 'Forces of Labour'). From this
point of departure they go on to describe in
much more detail the way in which the hidden
reproductive labour of housewives (cooking,
washing, childcare...) is indispensible to the
reproduction of labour power, and thus capi-
talist production, since without it their hus-
bands could not return refreshed and ready
to work the next day and there wouldn't be a
new generation of workers to replace them
once capital had exhausted their productive
capacities. They conclude that:
The housewife's situation as a pre-capitalist
mode of labor and consequently this "femi-
ninity" imposed upon her (...) So when we say
that women must overthrow the relation of
domestic-work-time to non-domestic-time
and must begin to move out of the home, we
mean their point of departure must be pre-
cisely this willingness to destroy the role of
Leaving the 60s...
Reich/Brinton's thesis is not entirely histori-
cal, nor entirely speculative; one only need
consider Iran where homosexuality is punish-
able by death and all sexual relations outside
marriage are prohibited to see that sexual re-
pression can be used as a form of social con-
trol. It's not just Iran either; abortion remains
illegal in Northern Ireland. Similarly, Dalla
Costa/James' exposition of the indispensibil-
ity of unwaged, domestic labour to the repro-
duction of industrial workers remains a
compelling argument. But what stands out
about Iran (and only slighly less so for North-
ern Ireland wink ) is precisely its status as a
reactionary, religiously backwards anachro-
nism in relation to the contemporary liberal
west (which is my point of reference for this
discussion). Similarly, the arguments about
the housewife-factory worker dyad are a vic-
tim of their own insistence that the role of
women can only be understood in its his-
torical context; the very societies at which
the critique was aimed have since moved
from 70% male-dominated, primary and
secondary industries to over 70% tertiary
sector with an increasingly causalised,
mixed-sex workforce.
To a certain extent, this shift can be seen
as a success of the very rejection of the
role of the housewife Dalla Costa and
James called for. Women have struggled
for legal equality and to a large extent this
has been achieved de jure, although rarely
yet de facto. On the other hand it can be
seen as a reflection of the economic re-
structuring required to maintain capital ac-
cumlation in the face of militant workforces
in the mines and factories of the first world;
these industries were outsourced overseas
(recreating the same contradicitons there
- again Beverly Silver's book is instructive),
and consequently the role of the housewife
became expendable and womens de-
mands to leave the home could be acco-
modated within the new 'post-industrial'
mode of accumulation (the term 'post-in-
dustrial' is problematic because industry
has only gone away in a geographic sense,
but it's workable for dealing with societies
such as our own as entities in their own
right, although their global interconnection
can't be forgotten). Thus the relation between
family structures and class composition is a
dialectical one - there's a feedback loop, but
unpicking causality even retrospectively is a
matter of chicken and egg.
The important thing for the discussion at
hand however is that this shift has occured,
both in the mode of accumulation and the
prevailing family and sexual norms. Conser-
vatives lament the decline of 'family values'
by which they mean the marriage as a patri-
archal, proprietory institution in much the
same way as leftists lament the 'disappear-
ance' of the blue collar working class to whom
their affirmative fetishes of social change
were so closely tied. Consequently, attacking
conservative, repressed religious morality
misses the boat - by several decades. After all
I'd wager far more people queue for clubs on
22 Direct Action
a Saturday night in the hope of a casual fuck
with a stranger than roll into church the next
day to be lectured about such behaviour. The
lesson of the past decades is there's nothing
subversive about who or how you fuck. In fact
promiscuous sexuality provides the perfect
foil to 'tolerant' post-industrial liberal multicul-
tural consumer capitalism, in much the same
way as conservative religious morality compli-
mented a society of factory discipline and nu-
clear families with its roles of the
breadwinner and the housewife.
...And arriving in the present
Just think of the proliferation of gay pride
marches, the pink pound etc. Demographics.
Target markets. Far from being a "rigid, asex-
ual system", if going out on the weekend and
engaging in whatever sexual activity floats our
boat helps us distract/recharge ourselves
ready to return to work on Monday morning,
then capital's all for it. I think the most useful
theorist for the post-60s context is Slavoj
Žižek. Žižek argues that sexual repression
has largely been replaced by 'jouissance' ('ex-
cess enjoyment') in consumer capitalism.
Capital has fully endorsed the slogan 'it is for-
bidden to forbid', and the injunction is now to
indulge to excess (for Žižek the commodity
that epitomises this is chocolate laxatives).
Under the dictum 'sex sells' the universal
commodification that characterises capitalist
development is accompanied by a universal
sexualisation. So we read articles perving
about the 15 year-old Charlotte Church's tits
opposite an article decrying satire of pae-
dophile hysteria as 'sick'; jouissance overleaf
from repression. In fact arguably anti-pae-
dophile hysteria can only be understood as a
product of a society that pervasively sexu-
alises its pre-pubescents (Bratz etc); specta-
cle aghast at its own reflection?
Žižek would argue todays 'sexual revolu-
tionaries' are the 'Silver Ring Thing' kids,
since they defy todays injunction to 'be sexual'
in much the same way as 60s sexual rebels
defied prudish 'square' society. Of course
such knee-jerk opposition to social norms is
another example of the slave morality I like to
bang on about on the pages of this blog. And
here's the twist in Žižek. He argues that the
permissiveness of modern society in many
ways represents a more autocratic mode
than good old fashioned prohibition, which
was at least honest about it. He uses the ex-
ample of US Amish communities, who raise
their kids in rural isolation for 18 years then
let them loose in the cities with the flurry of
drugs, sex and rock'n'roll that entails. But the
'permissiveness' of the community towards
its new adults represents a hidden autocracy;
unprepared for urban society, after a few
years of excess most kids return to the com-
fort of the rural community, to raise their kids
the same way in turn. for Žižek this is an alle-
gory of the empty freedom of consumer cap-
Does the allegory hold for contemporary
'liberated' sexuality? Certainly the patriarchal
family seems to have declined in utility to cap-
ital, as mothers are coerced back into the
labour market - where they have become an
essential part of the waged labour force - as
soon as possible. However, government plans
to cement this tendency by extending school
hours have so far come to nothing. It would
appear capital cannot afford to supplant the
family as the basic unit of child-raising, for the
time being at least. Consequently, contempo-
rary sexuality does bear some resemblance
to Žižek's allegory; caught between sexual
freedom and the necessities of child-raising,
the nuclear, patriarchal family no longer oc-
cupies as central a role as it once did as a
plethora of roles proliferate, but yet neither
are gender roles abolished altogether in a
movement to make all concrete labour ab-
Some further speculations
In light of this discussion, certain theoretical
speculations come to mind. The lesson
seems to be that the prevailing sexualities of
industrial and post-industrial capitalism - re-
pressive and permissive respectively - are
mirror images of one another. Both appear to
be based on a separation of physical and
emotional intimacy. Whilst the repressive/in-
dustrial mode, via religious morality frames
sex as simply a procreative necessity, the per-
missive/post-industrial mode presents it as a
pleasurable end in itself. Both separate sex
from emotional content, but in different ways.
Whilst under the repressive mode, sex be-
comes a proprietory right of the husband
(marital rape in the UK was only criminalised
in 1991), under the permissive mode casually
fucking strangers is best practiced in the
manner Žižek describes as "only masturba-
tion with a real partner."
Of course it must be stressed that to re-
duce the breadth of contemporary sexuality to
these two mirrored poles would be to gravely
misrepresent reality. Pre-60s sexual life wasn't
uniformly functional and monogamous, and
post-1960s there hasn't been one long orgy of
promiscuity (at least outside the deluded
nightmares of social conservatives). It should
also be stressed that none of these categories
are making moral judgements, merely analyt-
ical ones. I don't particularly care who or how
you like to fuck, I'm more concerned with how
the construction of dominant sexualities re-
flects and is reflected in the social relations of
which they form a part. Furthermore, the
posited separation of emotional and physical
intimacy on which I speculate these repres-
sive/permissive modes are based is far more
conceptual than actual, as anyone with a rea-
sonably active sex life will tell you. More what
I'm describing is two ideal types that exist as
real tendencies and to some extent express
the dialectical relationship between sexuality
and social reproduction.
So to try and conclude things; this blog is
necessarily speculative, But it does beg sev-
eral questions theoretical and empirical. How
does this cultural reproduction take place, if
not by Reichian repression of childhood sex-
uality centred on the family? By what means
are sexual norms reproduced, and by what
means do they come to reflect - or indeed be
reflected by - the prevailing regime of accu-
mulation? Empirically, do attitudes to sex and
sexual practices (which are not the same
thing) actually reflect the prevailing mode of
accumulation? If hegemonic sexuality does
reflect the needs of the prevailing mode of ac-
cumulation, do sexual counter-cultures there-
fore have revolutionary potential after all? On
this last point I feel confident enough to an-
swer: No. Such counter-cultures simply signify
the inadequacy of the prevailing mode of so-
cial reproduction to guarantee social stability;
they'd need to be a reflection of class struggle
to imply revolutionary potential. For example
a massive growth of the 'Silver Ring Thing'
would signify social production based on
norms of sexual promiscuity is breaking
down, but would pose no threat to capital per
se unless the birth rate fell so low as to
threaten the future reproduction of labour
power. In any case abstinance-only programs
don't tend to reduce the pregnancy rate, for
example according to the American Academy
of Pediatrics’ teen pregnancy policy:
Even though there is great enthusiasm in
some circles for abstinence-only interven-
tions, the evidence does not support absti-
nence-only interventions as the best way to
keep young people from unintended preg-
Consequently, the lesson of the past
decades is that who or how you fuck is in the
final analysis apolitical. While open homosex-
uality is a political (and perhaps suicidal) act
in Iran, this is because it is in contradiction to
a particular mode of accumulation, not capi-
tal accumulation per se. At most, changes in
attitudes to sexuality will accompany up-
surges in class struggle - indeed they must.
But it's only in connection with class struggle
that such struggles can take on a revolution-
ary aspect rather than altering the configura-
tion of capitalist reproduction (not necessarily
a bad thing as Iranian gays will be the first to
tell you); you can't fuck - or abstain - your way
out of social relation based on material dis-
possession. Equally, fun doesn't have to be
revolutionary, and like most things sex is
more fun when you leave the politics out of it.
Read more from Joseph Kay’s blog
at http://libcom.org/blog/1768
Direct Action 23
How did The MOLOTOV get started and what
was the impetus behind getting the band to-
SCART: The MOLOTOV started as a solo proj-
ect really. I hadn't done any serious song writ-
ing for years since my original band, Berzerk
Surgeons, had split. The more the (John
Howard Government took away freedoms,
took part in wars to appease the U.S.A & took
peoples rights away, the more I started get-
ting pissed off & feeling the need to write
things down, which in turn became songs on
different issues. It was mostly me & my guitar
playing over backing tracks at the start, gigs
at parties, rallies, anti-war protests, etc. A
mate of mine, Stef Petrik, then came on
board & we added fem vocals to the writing
on songs like Mother & Terror Nullius. She
left (she had a UK poetry tour & some health
issues that came up) just after Matt  (Bass)
joined, then KT (fem vocalist) found us, then
Stu (drums) & about a year later Dan (key-
boards/guitar) joined us.
Does the fact that Howard is no longer in
power make a significant difference to the
MOLOTOV, or are there reasons for you to
continue tackling the kind of issues in your
songs that you do?
SCART: Howard was just one nasty little
speed bump on the road to a better world &
gimps like him are always going to pop their
ugly little heads up. We had one song about
him (Howard the Coward) but like most of his
kind, once out of power, they quickly become
irrelevant. Although hearing that that mon-
grel in Norway touted him as a "great leader"
for his racist policies did kind of place him in
context. Howard's "Elmer Fudd" protege, Tony
Abbott is nearly as annoying but there's not
enough to him to write a song about really
aside from a few half-witted lines & his knee
jerk populist bullshit. I'm hoping an adult has
taken over the LNP by the time the next elec-
tion rolls up.
Tell us a bit more about the issues you talk
about in your songs and what is it about
them that you consider worth turning into
SCART: I guess we bring up things like the
Iraq War (The Common), the Palestine/Israel
struggle (Mother & Star), the whole Socialism
vrs Capitalism debate (In The Red, Class
Enemy), the media & industries attempts to
control women & the way they think & view
themselves (Doll) & a variety of others includ-
ing racism, war, personal & political freedom.
It's usually a case of whatever we feel
strongly about, whether those ideas are
classed as political, personal or social. Some-
times the topics might be serious but not al-
ways the way we say it. We're not really a
"dead serious band" in a dogmatic sense so
some songs, like Go Back To Sleep, Cannibal
Bar & Grill, ToyTown etc are done with hu-
mour & a good dose of aussie punk irrever-
ence. As we've said before, we intend to rock
the f*ck out & change the world at the same
rom a writing point of view for me, the
truth is it's usually not a conscious "topic
driven" thought like "I want to write about this
issue". It's more a case of you feel strongly
about certain things & your ideas, opinions
& thoughts on it ferment. Sometimes they
start as a line, a riff, a vague idea or some-
times you wake up & the entire thing is fully
formed in your head like "FREE". I can't imag-
ine sitting down with a set idea of a topic
would result in much useful.
Why is it important for the MOLOTOV, indeed
for any band, to comment on political and so-
cial issues?
the molOtOv
by Direct Action
The MOLOTOV are an energetic 5-piece from the Gold Coast, Queensland. Their music invites
comparions with such greats as Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Crass and the
Dead Kennedys while their lyrics offer highly principled perspectives on a range of social
issues. Direct Action spoke to lead singer SCART via email.
SCART: I'll be honest: I don't like Politics. But
the bottom line is that POLITICS is the name
of the system that they use to control us. It's
how they control our lives & our world. If po-
litical & social opinions are only kept in the
narrow & rigid structure that media moguls
like Murdoch, academics & politicians want
so they can control them, then they'd shut
down all real debate in the public. When I
write about workers rights or human rights
it's not abstract, I'm writing about my rights
& about the rights of those around me.
When KT writes about the pressure on
young women to conform, it's not an abstract
idea, it's the reality that's on the front of every
Vogue & Cleo. It's on every anorexia prone
model catwalk & it's there every day.
Musicians, poets, artists, film makers,
etc have always commented, illustrated &
highlighted different social & political ideas
for hundreds of years. I think sometimes it's
our job to bring the emotion back to some of
these dry, formal topics & remind people that
all of these "issues" affect real people in the
real world & have real impact on human be-
ings like ourselves. Without bands & artists
like Dead Kennedys, Rise Against, Rage
Against The Machine, Green Day, Midnight
Oil & the thousands of other artists that bring
a more human lens to some issues & situa-
tions, we'd only have corporate media ram-
ming the opinions of the rich down out
throats every night (masquerading as impar-
tial news), bland pop songs & empty eye-
candy movies.
Having every song as a political or social
message would be equally as dull but without
artists singing about the realities of our lives
& the world around us sometimes, all we'd
have is corporate lullabies to lull us back to
sleep while the machine grinds away.
What sort of sound does the MOLOTOV aim
for? Who do you look up to?
Don't know if we really aim for a particular
sound, it's more an evolutionary process
where bring bring all our influences together
and try to give each song whatever it needs
to work, regardless of it's style or feel,
whether it be metal, reggae, rock, punk, elec-
tro etc. I guess the clearest sound possible
is the best we can hope for. Inspiration wise,
a lot of the music artists I mentioned before
as well as people like Bill Hicks, Diego Rivera,
Arundhati Roy. A lot of the time some of the
most inspiring things can be just seeing nor-
mal people coming together, giving up their
time, money & energy to change things,
protest injustice & stand up for that they be-
lieve. They could be sitting home, watching
the footy, out drinking etc but they choose to
work hard to make a difference in the world.
Then hopefully, they go out for a beer &
watch the footy or a band later, otherwise
they'll burn out.
Describe your ideal gig.
An "ideal" gig would probably be thousands
of people that get what you're saying & are
just rockin their arse off to your music. Gerry
Keaney reminded me not long ago that what
you want, especially with our kind of music,
is a quality audience over quantity. 10,000
people half listening, waiting for the next
band or just not "getting you" isn't worth
1,000 people going off chops, with you %100
and singing along.
Describe your best gig.
We've had a lot of good gigs, love playin Shed
5 & had some good gigs at The Wallaby Hotel
amongst others. The Gold Coast is a hard
place to navigate due to it's  "long footpath
style" of development but we've had some
great crowds here and in Brisbane. Also had
some gigs are more memorable than others.
I once played about 5 songs at an anti-Iraq
war rally in Brissy years back & playing to
people that are bouncing along with a line of
cops standing behind them tapping their
hand-cuffs in time to "Go Back To Sleep" was
kind of surreal.
Future aspirations/goals?
As I said earlier, to rock the f*ck out &
change the world at the same time.To take
the band as far as possible, sound wise,
music & experimentation wise & success
wise. To continue to write, play, record &
reach as many people as possible & start
people thinking about issues like greed, op-
pression, racism, sexism, nationalism, capi-
talism etc. I don't care if people don't agree
with me on different things, as long as they
actually think things through & not swallow
what they're fed. Eventual success and world
domination on our own terms I guess.
Where can we find you?
We're Gold Coast based but we're happy to
accept tour offers down south or up north &
where ever else things take us. Online you
can find our tunes & pics at http://www.my-
space.com/themolotov1 and talk with us on
FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/the-
molotov . We can be emailed at themolo-
tov@scart69.net & called for bookings on

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