Socialism and Nationalism

James Connolly Monument, Dublin, Ireland.
James Connolly Monument, Dublin, Ireland.

By James Connolly


From Shan Van Vocht, January 1897


In Ireland at the present time there are at work a variety of agencies seeking to preserve the national sentiment in the hearts of the people.

These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people.

Nevertheless, there is a danger that by too strict an adherence to their present methods of propaganda, and consequent neglect of vital living issues, they may only succeed in stereotyping our historical studies into a worship of the past, or crystallising nationalism into a tradition – glorious and heroic indeed, but still only a tradition.

Now traditions may, and frequently do, provide materials for a glorious martyrdom, but can never be strong enough to ride the storm of a successful revolution.

If the national movement of our day is not merely to re-enact the old sad tragedies of our past history, it must show itself capable of rising to the exigencies of the moment.

It must demonstrate to the people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising of the past, but is also capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.

This concrete political and social ideal will best be supplied, I believe, by the frank acceptance on the part of all earnest nationalists of The Republic as their goal.

Not a Republic, as in France, where a capitalist monarchy with an elective head parodies the constitutional abortions of England, and in open alliance with the Muscovite despotism brazenly flaunts its apostasy to the traditions of the Revolution.

Not a Republic as in the United States, where the power of the purse has established a new tyranny under the forms of freedom; where, one hundred years after the feet of the last British red-coat polluted the streets of Boston, British landlords and financiers impose upon American citizens a servitude compared with which the tax of pre-Revolution days was a mere trifle.

No! The Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its behalf.

To the tenant farmer, ground between landlordism on the one hand and American competition on the other, as between the upper and the nether millstone; to the wage-workers in the towns, suffering from the exactions of the slave-driving capitalist to the agricultural labourer, toiling away his life for a wage barely sufficient to keep body and soul together; in fact to every one of the toiling millions upon whose misery the outwardly-splendid fabric of our modern civilisation is reared, the Irish Republic might be made a word to conjure with – a rallying point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of departure for the Socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom.

This linking together of our national aspirations with the hopes of the men and women who have raised the standard of revolt against that system of capitalism and landlordism, of which the British Empire is the most aggressive type and resolute defender, should not, in any sense, import an element of discord into the ranks of earnest nationalists, and would serve to place us in touch with fresh reservoirs of moral and physical strength sufficient to lift the cause of Ireland to a more commanding position than it has occupied since the day of Benburb.

It may be pleaded that the ideal of a Socialist Republic, implying, as it does, a complete political and economic revolution would be sure to alienate all our middle-class and aristocratic supporters, who would dread the loss of their property and privileges.

What does this objection mean? That we must conciliate the privileged classes in Ireland!

But you can only disarm their hostility by assuring them that in a free Ireland their ‘privileges’ will not be interfered with. That is to say,  you must guarantee that when Ireland is free of foreign domination, the green-coated Irish soldiers will guard the fraudulent gains of capitalist and landlord from ‘the thin hands of the poor’ just as remorselessly and just as effectually as the scarlet-coated emissaries of England do today.

On no other basis will the classes unite with you. Do you expect the masses to fight for this ideal?

When you talk of freeing Ireland, do you only mean the chemical elements which compose the soil of Ireland? Or is it the Irish people you mean? If the latter, from what do you propose to free them? From the rule of England?

But all systems of political administration or governmental machinery are but the reflex of the economic forms which underlie them.

English rule in England is but the symbol of the fact that English conquerors in the past forced upon this country a property system founded upon spoliation, fraud and murder: that, as the present-day exercise of the ‘rights of property’ so originated involves the continual practice of legalised spoliation and fraud, English rule is found to be the most suitable form of government by which the spoliation can be protected, and an English army the most pliant tool with which to execute judicial murder when the fears of the propertied classes demand it.

The Socialist who would destroy, root and branch, the whole brutally materialistic system of civilisation, which like the English language we have adopted as our own, is, I hold, a far more deadly foe to English rule and tutelage, than the superficial thinker who imagines it possible to reconcile Irish freedom with those insidious but disastrous forms of economic subjection – landlord tyranny, capitalist fraud and unclean usury; baneful fruits of the Norman Conquest, the unholy trinity, of which Strongbow and Diarmuid MacMurchadha – Norman thief and Irish traitor – were the fitting precursors and apostles.

If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.

England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.

England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had betrayed.

Nationalism without Socialism – without a reorganisation of society on the basis of a broader and more developed form of that common property which underlay the social structure of Ancient Erin – is only national recreancy.

It would be tantamount to a public declaration that our oppressors had so far succeeded in inoculating us with their perverted conceptions of justice and morality that we had finally decided to accept those conceptions as our own, and no longer needed an alien army to force them upon us.

As a Socialist I am prepared to do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful heritage – independence; but if you ask me to abate one jot or tittle of the claims of social justice, in order to conciliate the privileged classes, then I must decline.

Such action would be neither honourable nor feasible. Let us never forget that he never reaches Heaven who marches thither in the company of the Devil.

Let us openly proclaim our faith: the logic of events is with us.

‘They think it’s all over… It is now!’

Every Picture Tells A Story

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein meets Prince Charles Battenburg Windsor, heir to the British throne
Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein meets Prince Charles Battenburg Windsor, heir to the British throne – Tuesday, 19th May 2015, Galway, Ireland

Remember the days when the highest honour for any republican leader was to shake the hand of a fellow revolutionary or to lay the wreath at the grave of a leader of his people?

Martin McGuinness  and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein meet ANC leader Nelson Mandela
Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein meet the ANC President and legendary leader of his people Nelson Mandela
AdamsLaysWreathArafatGrave
Gerry Adams lays a wreath at the tomb of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah, West Bank, Occupied Palestine
Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, IRA Funeral
Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, IRA Funeral
Gerry Adams, IRA Colour Party
Gerry Adams, IRA Colour Party
Martin McGuinness, IRA Colour Party
Martin McGuinness, IRA Colour Party

 

 

 

 

Adams & Morrison, The Ballot Box & The Armalite
Adams & Morrison, The Ballot Box & The Armalite
His Marty Meets Her Maj
His Marty Meets Her Maj
Shaking The Queen's Hand
Shaking The Queen’s Hand
Her Majesty is very 'handy'
Her Majesty is very ‘handy’

 

Latuff-sinn-fein-meet-queen

From this...
From this…
adamscharles3
… to this.
Latuff-sinn-fein-to-meet-the-queen-2
Brazilian revolutionary artist Carlos Latuff was so outraged by the decision to shake the hand of the British Monarch that he penned this epitaph for Sinn Fein in 2012

History was made yesterday…

Malcolm+HoChiMinhYesterday marked a historic event in world politics; two great heroes of the revolutionary struggle – Ho Chi Min, who led the Viet Cong forces to victory over American imperialism in Vietnam; and Malcolm X, who defined the struggle of Black America against oppression – shared a birthday, separated by 35 years, on 19th May.

We remember them both with pride and awe.

 

adamscharles3Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, also met Prince Charles Battenburg (Mountbatten) Windsor, the heir to the British throne… 19th May, 2015, Galway, Ireland.

 

Malcolm X describes the difference between the ‘House Negro’ and the ‘Field Negro’…

Transcribed text from audio excerpt.

“So you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called “Uncle Tom.” He was the House Negro. And during slavery you had two Negroes. You had the House Negro and the Field Negro.

“The house Negro usually lived close to his master. He dressed like his master. He wore his master’s second-hand clothes. He ate food that his master left on the table. And he lived in his master’s house–probably in the basement or the attic–but he still lived in the master’s house.

“So whenever that house Negro identified himself, he always identified himself in the same sense that his master identified himself. When his master said, “We have good food,” the house Negro would say, “Yes, we have plenty of good food.” “We” have plenty of good food. When the master said that “we have a fine home here,” the house Negro said, “Yes, we have a fine home here.”  When the master would be sick, the house Negro identified himself so much with his master he’d say,  “What’s the matter boss, we sick?” His master’s pain was his pain.  And it hurt him more for his master to be sick than for him to be sick himself.  When the house started burning down, that type of Negro would fight harder to put the master’s house out than the master himself would.

“But then you had another Negro out in the field. The house Negro was in the minority.  The masses – the field Negroes were the masses – they were in the majority.  When the master got sick, they prayed that he’d die. [Laughter] If his house caught on fire, they’d pray for a wind to come along and fan the breeze.

“If someone came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” naturally that Uncle Tom would say, “Go where? What could I do without boss? Where would I live? How would I dress? Who would look out for me?” That’s the house Negro.  But if you went to the field Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” he wouldn’t even ask you where or how. He’d say, “Yes, let’s go.”  And that one ended right there.

So now you have a twentieth-century-type of house Negro.  A twentieth-century Uncle Tom. He’s just as much an Uncle Tom today as Uncle Tom was 100 and 200 years ago. Only he’s a modern Uncle Tom. That Uncle Tom wore a handkerchief around his head. This Uncle Tom wears a top hat. He’s sharp. He dresses just like you do. He speaks the same phraseology, the same language. He tries to speak it better than you do. He speaks with the same accents, same diction. And when you say, “your army,” he says, “our army.” He hasn’t got anybody to defend him, but anytime you say “we” he says “we.”

Our president,” “our government,” “our Senate,” “our congressmen,” “our this and our that.” And he hasn’t even got a seat in that “our” even at the end of the line. So this is the twentieth-century Negro.  Whenever you say “you,” the personal pronoun in the singular or in the plural, he uses it right along with you. When you say you’re in trouble, he says, “Yes, we’re in trouble.”

But there’s another kind of Black man on the scene. If you say you’re in trouble, he says, “Yes, you’re in trouble.” [Laughter] He doesn’t identify himself with your plight whatsoever.

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “The Race Problem.” African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.

“Death To Fascism – Freedom To The People!”

Stjepan_Filipovic1Drugovi, smrt fašizmu – sloboda narodu!

By Lilium & Adnan MgI

”She will be neither Serbian, nor Croatian nor Muslim. She will be Serbian and Croatian and Muslim.”

These words, said on 25th November 1943, marked the recognition of the Bosnian state and the journey of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) as equal in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

On that snowy night in 1943, Bosnian anti-fascists from all across the country came to the town of Mrkonjić Grad to participate in the first Anti-Fascist Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Anti-fascist comrades (Croats, Serbian, Bosniak and others) all agreed that Bosnia is a fraternal country of all ethnic groups and that their equality is guaranteed.

Now, 71 years later, Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided more than ever, more even than in the 90’s. All this has a reflection on sport also. We have pro-Bosnian, pro-Serbian and pro-Croatian clubs. But all the clubs have one thing in common, they are on the edge of survival.

The Premier League, the top Bosnian football league, has 20 clubs. From that number, 2 or 3 clubs are financially stable. Others struggle for (financial) survival every season. In the first league play clubs from both entities. Other, lower, leagues are divided by Dayton (an agreement about proportionality and ethnic representation). The lines marked by politics now determine Bosnian sport. Our clubs participate in the qualifications for Champions and Europa league, and it’s a success if clubs make it to the third or, in some rare set of events, to the fourth qualifying round. Let’s not mention the state of stadiums in the league, or attendance at matches. There was even ‘national key’ at who will win the league. To explain, it means if last season the champion was a pro-Bosnian club, than this season it has to be ether pro-Croat or pro-Serb club. Insane right? Well, welcome to Bosnia. Where logic ends, Bosnia begins.

BFF=Mafia2 Looking at the past, we did have some bright moments. Back in 2006 one group of fans, BH-Fanaticos, who follow the Bosnian national team declared war on Bosnian Football Federation. Most ultras groups in Bosnia stood by them. The fans had enough. They wanted politics out of football. They wanted a normal football federation with one president and members chosen by knowledge and skills. The fans wanted the football mafia out of Bosnian football. And they fought for their cause. There were protests, banners, pyro, and there was police brutality, arrests, intimidation.

BHFprotesti _13_For years, national team matches were interrupted by pyro. Flares were thrown on to the pitch, because it was the one way that  ‘we’ could make sure that the money from the football federation doesn’t stay in pockets of its members. The money went for fines to UEFA and FIFA. And then, even UEFA had enough. The Bosnian Football Federation (BFF) was instructed that it must organise like all other football federations or Bosnia is out off all competitions.  A ”Normalisation Committee” was founded, with the legend Ivica Osim as chairman of the Committee, and the mafia was kicked out of the Bosnian Football Federation. Its former secretary is now in jail for corruption and money embezzlement.

A success story? Well, not quite.

BFF=MafiaThe mafia is gone, we have one president, but nothing else has changed. Yes, the work of the BFF is more transparent but still everything else is the same. Our football is still determined by politics. Members of lower league football federation are still the same people who supported the last, criminalised, leadership of our federation. This is probably one of the reasons our league can’t make progress.

The bright side of our football is the Bosnian national team. Many anti-fascists will probably make a face reading this about a ‘national’ team. However, the Bosnian football team is the one thing that unites people here. Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs and others play together, sweating tears and blood, celebrating and most important of all demonstrating that when we all come together, we can make great achievements. Just like the anti-fascist grandparents that I mentioned at the beginning of this article, did. So our national team isn’t reserved only for nationalists, anti-fascists follow the national team with the same passion.

BHFprotesti _15_As always, we don’t deal with causes, we deal with consequences. Attendance in the league is poor. The only ones that follow the league football are the ultras groups. And the football federation wants to deal with hooliganism. They decided they wanted to make the lives of ultras hard. How they deal with it? Repression, no away fans allowed, away fans entering 15 minutes into the game and leaving the stadiums 10-15 minutes before the game ends, to prevent clashes …

And there are the ultras. Some apolitical, some far right-wing and one group left-wing. The right-wing groups are full of nationalism (among other things), mostly pro-Serbian and pro-Croatian.

The Bosnian & Herzegovina tifo scene is, like most of Balkan tifo scene, reputable in world tifo.  A few ultras groups stand out. These are ”The Maniacs” fans of F.C. Željezničar, ”Horde Zla” – F.C. Sarajevo, ”Lešinari” – F.C. Borac Banja Luka, ”Ultras Mostar” – F.C. Zrinjski Mostar, ”Robijaši” – F.C. Zenica čelik, ”Fukare” – Sloboda Tuzla and ”Red Army” – F.C. Velež Mostar.

The origins of the Bosnian fan scene is back in the ’70’s, but well-organized fan groups were formed in the ’80’s.

RAMzeljvelez08-09_(3)First organized fan group was the ”Red Army”,  fans of Mostar club Velež.. Velež Mostar is a club with a long anti-fascist history.  Their ultras group was formed in 1981, and with ”Torcida” Split and ”Grobari” Partizan, this is the oldest ultras group in the former Yugoslavia.

‘The Maniacs”, ”Horde Zla”, ” Robijaši” , ”Lešinari” and ”Fukare” were formed in 1987/88, and that year represents the awakening of the ultras movement in Yugoslavia.

In the beginning, the groups were anti-fascist, in the spirit of socialism/communism.

The groups had diverse structures, from ethnic and religious to national.

Unlike Croatian and Serbian ultras groups, Bosnian ultras groups in the beginning of the ’90’s stayed true to socialism and anti-fascism. They were for the united Yugoslavia, ’till the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia.

After the war on and in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992-1995, most groups became nationalistic.

29Lešinari, before the war called themselves the ”Vultures”,  an English name.  After the war they changed the name of the group to the Serbian language. The group is right-wing, even neo-nazi symbols were seen on the stadium in Banja Luka.’ ‘The Maniacs” and ” Horde Zla”, ultras groups from Sarajevo, kept the diversity. Most members are Bosniac (Bosnian Muslims), but they have Orthodox, Catholics and atheist members on the stands.

Both groups are apolitical, neither left nor right. The only thing that matters for these groups is love for the club and love for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the war ended, these two groups didn’t have banners or songs that associate to fascism, neo-nazism or hatred directed to another national, ethnic or religious group.

In the territories controlled by Croats, at the end of the war, a few groups were formed. These groups are ”Ultras Mostar”, fans of Zrinjski (club that was banned in former Yugoslavia, because of fascist history). The initials of the group ”UM” are associated to ”Ustaška mladež” (Ustaše youth fascist formation during WWII in Croatia) and fans of Široki Brijeg, so-called ” Škripari”.  The group got the name for Ustashe formation in the WWII.  Both groups are ultra-national, right-wing and Croatian oriented.

''The south cheers for you on top of the voice, the pride of the city working class''
”The south cheers for you on top of the voice, the pride of the city working class”
Former main sub-group of Robijasi – Josip Broz Celik
In honor of anti-fascist Yugoslav President Tito

The only groups that kept their anti-fascist heritage are Robijaši Zenica, Fukare Tuzla and Red Army Mostar. With time, Robijaši and Fukare became apolitical, even though the group kept its diversity, and were always against nationalism, fascism and chauvinism.fukare-tuzla

At the beginning of the football season this year, Fukare Tuzla sang an anti-fascist song and the ref. threatened to end the game. Absurd ? We call it Bosnia.

RAMzeljovelez04-05_5Red Army Mostar, so-called ”Rođeni”, are city rivals to Ultras Mostar. Mostar is the divided city. The only city with a real, visible line (River Neretva) that separates the west part of the city (the Croatian part) and the east (Bosnian/Bosniac) part of the city. The members of Red Army are mostly from the east side. But it’s worth mentioning that until the war Velez Mostar was the only football club in the city of Mostar.

Fan riots in Mostar are often caused because of the ideological differences between these two groups.

Croatia

Hajduk - White BoysThe most famous groups in Croatia are ”Bad Blue Boys” (BBB) – Dinamo Zagreb, ”Torcida” – Hajduk Split, ”Armada” – Rijeka, ”Tornado” – Zadar, ”Kohorta” Osijek… The tifo scene in Croatia is right-wing, from nationalistic ultras groups to far-right groups. It’s gone so far that some groups and clubs are ashamed of their antifascist history and try to cut loose with it. Hadjuk Jugend

BBB Nazi Salutes
Bad Blue Boys – Making Nazi Salutes and besmirching the Scottish Saltire

For example Hajduk Split released the calendar for 100 years of the club with a photoshoped club emblem (logo). They removed the red star in the club logo. Neo-nazi symbols are often seen on the Croatian terraces and all ultras are proud Croatian nationalists.

BBBHowever, one good moment in the BBB’s history was the fight for the name of Dinamo. The first Croatian president renamed the club as ”Croatia Zagreb” in the ’90’s, because Dinamo is considered to be a communist word. The fans fought against the president and politicisation of the club name and returned it to the original Dinamo. However, even with this achievement, most Dinamo fans are right-wing, they sing fascist songs and neo-nazi symbols are seen on the stands.

White Angels Antifa Zagreb
One ‘new’ group, fans of F.C. Zagreb, the White Angels are anti-fascist. Most are members of Anti-Fascist Action, but the group is still small and has little influence on the Croatian tifo scene. But there is hope.

Serbia

Ivan Bogdanov - Chetniks North Nazi
Ivan Bogdanov – Chetniks North Nazi

Like in Croatia, the Serbian fan scene is right-wing. Some clubs have an anti-fascist history or were even formed by anti-fascists (i.e. Partizan Belgrade), but most fans will deny that fact. Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) fans are now saying that their club was formed by the anti-communist movement (in 1945).

Grobari - fascist ultras at Partizan
Grobari – fascist ultras at Partizan

 

Unlike Croatia, in Serbia the clubs didn’t remove the red stars from logos. The biggest groups in Serbia, ”Grobari” Partizan and ”Delije” Crvena Zvezda are both right-wing with strong nationalist, neo-nazi, fascist and racist symbolism.

 

''United Force'' - F.C. Rad are also extreme right-wing.
”United Force” – F.C. Rad are also extreme right-wing.

 

A group with lots of potential is ''Firma'' Vojvodina Novi Sad, with quite a few anti-fascists in and around the stands. The city of Novi Sad was known for its ethnic and national diversity before the Balkan wars. One of the things that holds the group down is the friendship with Borac Banja Luka fans and its right-wing pro-Serbian group ''Lesinari''.
A group with lots of potential is ”Firma” Vojvodina Novi Sad, with quite a few anti-fascists in and around the stands. The city of Novi Sad was known for its ethnic and national diversity before the Balkan wars. One of the things that holds the group down is the friendship with Borac Banja Luka fans and its right-wing pro-Serbian group ”Lesinari”.

 

 

 

 

Chetnics North – Italy v Serbia
Chetnics North – Italy v Serbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both in Serbia and Croatia ultras follow the national team. Most of them bring neo-nazi and nationalistic symbols to the games of national teams. The national team games then become festivals of fascism.

 

 

 

 

Absurdistan

Conclusion

What have we learned from the past? Have we learned anything at all? It’s a tough question and an especially tough question for Bosnians to answer. I use Bosnians, knowing it will piss off the nationalists. I use Bosnians because we are the only ones who are making sure that this country is neither Croatian, Serbian or Bosniak. We are here to remind them that Bosnia & Herzegovina is a fraternal country of all ethnic and religious groups. Our grandfathers fought fascists in the war, now we must fight them in peace.

* Drugovi, smrt fašizmu – sloboda narodu!

This is an anti-fascist Partizan saying from WWII, it means:

Comrades, death to fascism – freedom to the people!’

** Bosniak has become the name for Muslim Bosnians. From ’92 they got named Bosniaks. (historic name of Bosnians)

 

Football Fans & Police Death Squads (Brazil)

corinthians-fans

By Palmeiras Fan

A few considerations for those who don’t understand the Brazilian football system. First,  the season here starts late January and ends in mid December. Second, as Brazil is a very big and very poor country, our first national leagues started in the late 1950’s and were only consolidated in the 1970’s. Before then, we just played local leagues. The biggest ones were the State Leagues and the one from São Paulo State, or Campeonato Paulista, is one of the oldest leagues in the country, founded in 1902. Corinthians and Palmeiras are the most successful and traditional clubs in this league (also in the national league). State leagues go from January to May and national leagues from May to December. Copa Libertadores da América, Copa Sulamericana and Copa do Brasil are played all over the year.

Sunday April 19, Palmeiras met Corinthians in the semi-final of the São Paulo State league in the stadium where Brazil played against Croatia last World Cup.  After a 2-2 draw, Palmeiras won on penalties. As a Palmeiras fan, I celebrated like hell, because the club has been in a 15 year long internal crisis that turned us, once the biggest club in Brazil, into an average one. But this victory on the pitch had been given a shameful side, because the night before, 8 Corinthians fans were shot dead inside Pavilhão 9‘s fanhouse.

It’s not only recently that Brazilian football has a history of violence. Hooligan violence, police violence, sponsor violence, ticket price violence, media violence and ‘black tie’ violence, among others. The point is that everything that goes wrong is put on the fans’ bill by the media, the federations, the sponsors and the police. The weakest part of the chain is always the one that breaks first.

I can talk about the CBF’s corruption and how they sold our national team – the one that has won five World Cups – to Nike, or how they sold our league to Globo Television, or even how they turned our ancient stadiums into shopping malls. How tickets are expensive now, how TV talks about football and still turn into gods players like Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, David Luiz and Oscar, but who managed to lose 7-1 at home to the brilliant team Germany had at the last World Cup. They deserved to win, that’s true, but not by that much. These are all reflexes of something bigger that is happening over here and it is something that you know very well in Britain: the ‘Thatcherization’ of football. This is the context. Now, let’s get back to the murders.

Brazil1Eight Corinthians fans were found dead inside their club house the night before the match against their biggest rivals for the semi-finals of Campeonato Paulista. The first media impulse: “Blame the fans! The rivals. Well, they have been fighting each other on the streets for almost a hundred years. Blame them.”

Let’s be honest.  Some fans from both sides have died in fights between the rivals, facts that no-one should be proud of. But yes, it already happened. One guy was shot and died on the way to the hospital. Another one was thrown from the top of a bridge. Lots were stabbed. But never in the history of hooliganism in Brazil you could ever see such a brutal thing: eight dead bodies inside a fanhouse. They were painting a flag inside their place. No hooligan invades another one’s fanhouse. That’s pretty much suicide.

Another signature, one that is evident from the picture, is that they were probably on their knees before they got shot. One bullet each in the back of the neck.

At the match, I talked to a few troublemakers I know in Palmeiras’ biggest hooligan group: Mancha Verde. All of them gave me the same answer: “It was not us.” They also took a flag to Corinthians stadium saying: “We are football supporters (Somos Torcida)” and an anti-gun badge (see picture below).

Brazil2That was the Sunday afternoon, 19th April. On the Monday morning, the media tells us that one of the dead was in prison in Bolivia two years ago for a football-related offence during Libertadores 2013. Someone in Corinthians away crowd in Bolivia, against San Jose for the group phase, lit a firecracker (which was thrown) in the direction of the Bolivians. It was a naval firecracker, a very strong one. Unfortunately, it hit a 14 year old boy named Kevin, a fan of San Jose. No-one never found out who did that, but a few Corinthians fans were arrested after that match and spent a few months in prison in Bolivia. Based on the information that one of the lads who was murdered had spent some time in prison as a suspect, the press speculated further: “Ok, maybe not Palmeiras fans. Maybe other Corinthians trying to right the wrong from Bolivia,” reflected the media and the powers that be.  Wrong again. That’s definitely not a hooligan signature.

Later the same day, the media starts releasing news that it was a crime or a fight between drug traffickers. Sounds like a better version. But still naïve for those who know the reality in Brazil, especially in São Paulo. The most populated and richest state of the country has also the greatest levels of police violence. Only in this state do the police kill more people per year than the entire US police forces combined. And let’s be honest, the US police is not well known as an institution that respects human rights. So, guess how it is in Brazil? Police over here are called Military Police. They’ve got a full bloc of their own politicians in Congress. Since the days of military dictatorship our public security system has not been reformed. The death squads who killed during those dictatorship times are still killing people at night,  especially in poor neighborhoods. They stop the victim as if it was a police check, put the victim on their knees and shoot them in the back of the neck. There are hundreds of thousands of stories like this. It has been going on since the 1960s.

When you examine all of this, you start to suspect the involvement of cops. Of course, I cannot say if it was them or not. I am not an investigator. This is just my impression and associations to what happened to the Brazilian reality. Maybe it had to do with drug trafficking? Yes, maybe. But we should be aware that the ‘war on drugs’ is the main excuse to maintain this public security system which treats the people as an enemy.

* A serving police officer and a former policeman have been arrested on suspicion of the murders of the eight Corinthians fans.

Filling The Vacuum – 20 Years On…

farage

In the aftermath of another Tory election victory and the very real prospect of the break-up of the UK state as a result of the sweeping victory of the SNP in Scotland, which took 56 out of 59 seats, it is perhaps appropriate to revisit the position put forward by Red Action members within Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), some 20 years ago. This 1995 document – Filling The Vacuum – followed the BNP’s decision to abandon the streets. The document addressed the changing nature of the British far-right and the BNP’s abandonment of the street fighting strategy in favour of electoralism in particular.  Today, in England, the name of the BNP might just as easily be replaced with that of UKIP and C18 replaced with that of the EDL, but the same tactics apply in terms of the need to build at a grassroots level in order to challenge the ideas of reaction in working class communities. The arguments contained in this document, discussed internally in AFA branches, led to the creation of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA)

In November 1990, at a public meeting in east London, AFA declared that the “working class is the natural constituency of socialism, not fascism. Racism and socialism are incompatible. One only exists at the expense of the other. The success of the Far-Right is due to the fact that the Left are not seen as a credible option. AFA are committed to creating the space in which one (a credible alternative} can develop.”

Three years later, addressing a meeting in south-east London, an AFA spokesperson returned to the theme: “While the initial aim must be to root out the organised racists/fascists ­the motive force behind the attacks – and throw down a challenge to those that provide them with facilities, the long-term solution must be to create communities of resistance. By creating some space, perhaps in time a real working class alternative to the lying bullshit that now passes for politics in this country can emerge. The entire Left has failed the working class, black and white alike, though many prefer to believe that the working class has failed the Left. We are here today, not only because they (the Left) are bad socialists but more specifically because they are bad anti­fascists”.

In 1994 in a widely distributed expose of the Anti-Nazi League [Don’t Believe the Hype], AFA was even more specific. “The BNP can be stopped and on many occasions up and down the country AFA has physically stopped them. However we are not blind to the fact that the fight is political, and accept that the resurgence of support for the Far-Right is a symptom of a deeper malaise. We do not see it as our job to campaign for Labour. It is not AFA’s role to argue that change is not needed. The function of anti-fascism is not to see the electoral threat from the Far-Right beaten back so that Labour and the middle-class Left can, as happened between 1982-92, turn their backs on both the social causes and their own collaboration in the political betrayal that gave rise to the NF and the BNP in the first place.”

The ambition of militant anti-fascism is not simply to see the Far-Right defeated and removed from working class areas: the ultimate solution is to see them replaced there. The BNP’s attack on Labour is from the Right and is racist, ultra-conservative and anti-working class, Our primary role is to guarantee that a successful challenge to Labour comes only from the Left. Furthermore, and purely from an anti-fascist point of view, as the best insurance against any nazi renaissance, it would be the duty of militants to offer protection and encouragement to any genuine [anti-­Labour] working class revolt.

When AFA was relaunched in London in September 1989 it was accepted that while AFA was still organised around the single issue of anti-fascism, “AFA propaganda must contain a class message” in order “to negate the efforts by the fascists to present AFA as a bunch of middle-class outsiders, part and parcel of the Establishment, working in the long-term interests of the status quo”.

Much has changed since 1989, not least the fact that AFA is now a national organisation with over forty branches organised in four main regions each with the physical ability to forcefully implement AFA’s founding statement on the streets. In addition other organisations such as the ANL, ARA and YRE have jumped on – and off – the bandwagon.

The early nineties also saw the return to electoral prominence of the Far-Right not just in Britain but throughout Europe. The success of AFA on the streets also led to the birth of the wannabe paramilitary grouping C18.

In another tribute to AFA’s militant strategy the BNP declared in April 1994 that there would be “no more marches, meetings, punch-ups “ A year on, this declaration must now be regarded as a serious change of strategy, something other than a temporary electoral ploy or an effort to court respectability. There appear to be at least two crucial reasons for the change of strategy. One, undoubtedly, is that since their resur­gence to national prominence, AFA have fought the BNP to a standstill.

In 1991, Scotland was regarded by the BNP leadership as its highest growth area and the area with possibly the greatest potential. Today the BNP no longer visibly exists. Literally beaten into the ground by anti-fascist militants.

In the North West the BNP organisation and morale has all but been destroyed. A similar pattern is emerging in the Midlands. In the South East the fascists have been constantly harassed. Apart from the east and possibly south east they are practically invisible in London.

In many of these areas the politics of the BNP undoubtedly have a resonance, but they are unable to take advantage of the latent support due to the logistical problems caused by the constant possibility of attack and their own profile as ‘a party of strength’. One way to resolve the problem would be to recruit, but they cannot have open recruitment for fear of infiltration. In addition the fear of physical violence means that they are unable to bring their more articulate middle class supporters onto the streets for fear of losing them entirely.

The situation in Europe would also have played an influence. Here the fascists, particularly in Austria and Italy, have recognised that with the demise of the support for the communist parties there is no need for a visibly menacing counter threat. If there is no physical danger, fascists do not need to hide behind a sinister private army. The battle for control of the streets need not be fought if control is not being contested. If the end can be achieved without the traditional means there is no need for the rough stuff. In Britain, with the absence of any tangible political threat to their adopted working class constituency the argument for a physical force movement to contest the streets becomes not only void but instead represents a serious impediment to their own political ambitions – only!

Since their meteoric climb in 1990 in not one area of the country, despite significant sympathy on the ground, have they for more than one day at a time been able to control the streets; Bermondsey, Bloody Sunday and the Isle of Dogs being the exceptions. More often than not in regard to the large set pieces they have been humiliated. And even when they have won, the victory has gained them nothing except a confirmation of what already sustains them; that Labour and the Left are increasingly alien to working class people. So in a sense for them simply to continue with the strategy of “marches, meetings, punch ups” only provides an enemy that has already lost the fundamental arguments – Labour/ANL/Trotskyism, etc. (or in the case of AFA which has failed to put an argument) – with a legitimate political excuse/focus, ie: anti-BNP. The BNP policy of open swaggering aggression also affords an organisation like AFA a legitimate opportunity to answer in kind, and in doing so physically destroy the BNP’s political prospects by crippling its infra-structure. With AFA having no polltical prospects of its own they are on a hiding to nothing.

It takes two to tango, so what of AFA’s reason for being if the BNP decide that they don’t want to play anymore? Certainly in London, AFA has only been able to seriously damage the Far-Right once recently. If this is a permanent change of plan there is a serious danger that AFA, without the physical challenge for which it was designed, will itself begin to lose direction and begin to atrophy.

The flip side of the coin is that C18, who have no electoral ambitions either, don’t do anything but ‘play’. The ideal solution for both the State and the Far-Right would be for AFA to get locked into a clandestine gang war with C18, thereby allowing the State to select candidates of their own choosing for periods of lengthy incarceration. That done, the now entirely legal BNP could go about their lawful business like their European counter­parts, articulating ‘genuine racial concerns’ unhindered.

Furthermore, if the BNP operation is made entirely legal and if AFA physically opposes them, then our operation is de facto illegal. The BNP then might reasonably expect, in return for their collaboration with the forces of law and order, that the tactic of summary arrest be employed against AFA on a consistent basis. Circumstances are changing and AFA needs to adapt.

Fascism is the vanguard of reaction. It is at once the manifestation, the contributory cause and principle beneficiary of society’s decomposition. Unlike the rest of the anti-racist Left, AFA’s emphasis has always been on the political danger represented by fascism, while others such as Searchlight and the ANL have laid the emphasis on their violent and criminal tendencies. In addition they refuse or are unwilling to recognise that anti-fascism is by definition a rearguard action and that fascism is the consequence, rather than the cause, of the Left’s failure. Inevitably the strategies adopted to combat fascism carry with them the germs of the strategies that caused fascism, invariably leading to compound failure. So while it cannot be denied that the ANL’s media campaign focused public attention on the problem, it also proved to be a distraction in regard to the solution.

One of AFA’s strengths in its formative years was its limited platform; the ‘single issue’. This concentration weeded out or repelled the sectarians, the ‘tough talkers’ and the dilettantes. However, during the Isle of Dogs campaign, the ‘single issue’ exposed AFA’s limitations. AFA had to nothing to say on the principle business.

AFA has long recognised that once the Far-Right is allowed to mobilise, is allowed to set the agenda, and has passed a certain point, they begin to control their own destinies – and their opponent’s. Once that point is reached it would be useless and possibly counter-productive to rely upon a purely anti-fascist stance, primarily because people look to politics for solutions. It might be clear what you stand against, though their understanding of what you stand for will effectively determine their overall response.

As the activities of the ANL on the Isle of Dogs demonstrated (despite blanket canvassing the BNP vote actually rose by 30%), an anti-fascist message on its own would find little favour with working class people, even those repelled by the BNP, if they suspected that it was simply a spoiling tactic, carried out by allies of the local Labour establishment in an effort to maintain the status quo. AFA has never fought to maintain the status quo, but, even at their most effective, anti­fascist militants can never hope to achieve anything more than to maintain that vacuum. There is little doubt that the vacuum has been successfully maintained but now, in the absence of any other suitable candidates, it is incumbent on the anti-fascist militants to help fill the vacuum themselves.

The working class is increasingly alienated from Labour, the BNP’s strategy is entirely reliant upon this alienation: ‘they really hate Labour’ etc. The total ineptitude and the tangible contempt that exists in some areas between Labour and its former constituency has locally and nationally begat the BNP. And fascism begat anti-fascism. In straight­forward language, it is the politics of the Labour Party that has created the BNP.  So by acting as campaign managers for Labour, the ANL are are prostituting anti-fascism, and instead of being identified with a radical, pro-working class position, anti-fascism is seen to be defending the status quo, thereby practi­cally forcing people who want change to vote BNP, out of sheer desperation. They are literally driving people into the arms of the fascists. Up to now it is entirely due to the cutting edge of AFA that the passive support has remained just that. But it is unrealistic to expect that vacuum to be maintained indefinitely.

Nor as working class militant anti-fascists can we stand on the sidelines, wringing our hands hopelessly. We have to take a stand. And we have to take that stand against Labour. Not simply in a theoretical sense, but in an organisational sense. It is vital that the working class on the estates, seriously alienated from Labour, are provided with an alternative to the BNP.  The election of a Labour government will be a massive shot in the arm for the Far-Right. It is also very possible that in the subsequent local elections the Isle of Dogs scenario could be repeated on a national scale, and all our good work in the last decade would be undone at a stroke.

What is needed is a new organisation. In all probability the impetus of the Clause Four controversy will cause a realignment on the Left that will give it birth. It is not being suggested that AFA disband and become this organisation. It is as vital as ever, that AFA maintains its own structures and agenda. Nor is it being suggested that AFA create this new organisation. This would hardly be possible in any case. What must be recognised is that it will happen with or without AFA. AFA contains the best working class militants in the country.  It is absolutely vital that in order to shape the organisation in its own image,  AFA is in from the very beginning.

To shape it in AFA’s own image would mean stipulating from the outset that it be:

a) a democratic structure, built from the bottom up rather than from the top down;

b) rather than appeal to a mythical ‘labour movement’ the strategy requires an orientation to, and an accommodation of, the working class proper;

c) non-sectarian. This does not mean being forced to work with everybody; it means working alongside others towards a common goal, but making no apology for a refusal to collaborate on any project for which you have no enthusiasm, or with those with whom you fundamentally disagree.

In any case it must be obvious that to stand aloof would be an unmitigated disaster. That would allow the middle classes once again to set the agenda. AFA has been dealing with the consequences of their agenda for over a decade. It would be criminally negligent to allow our adversaries to fill the space we have created and maintained in that time. This is an opportunity to add a string to AFA’s bow. It will be a complement to, rather than a deviation from, vigorous anti-fascist activity.

Even on a limited tactical basis the benefits of an independent working class organisation operating alongside AFA would be immediate and widespread. AFA could, for the first time, campaign for something instead of merely campaigning against something – and campaign legally.

AFA could be pro-active as well as reactive. There would be no breathing space for the likes of the BNP. And, for as much as an embryonic association might welcome AFA’s physical presence, the situation demands that AFA avails itself of a wider political platform than was hitherto considered either necessary or available. For the first time since the thirties militant anti-fascism would be associated with solutions rather than simply violent actions and threats.’ For the first time, too, involved with setting the agenda rather than clearing up the political mess left by someone else.

Ultimately the challenge for AFA is not only to destroy the BNP in working class areas but to replace them there. So the political message, to have resonance, will have to be deeper and more comprehensive. A straight forward anti­fascist parable, a simple refutation of the ‘radical’ in nationalism will, on its own, prove unsatisfactory.

If AFA’s efforts are to culminate in victory we must seek to replace them, but to replace them we must not only out­-violence them, we must also out-radicalise them.

 

[original note which accompanied the article:] This article is a strategy document that was endorsed by London AFA in May 1995. It is currently being discussed by other AFA groups around the country, and has already been agreed by the Midlands Region and the Northern Network. Discussions are taking place with other organisations with regard to setting up an independent working class organisation.

John Maclean’s Speech From The Dock – 9th May, 1918

maclean3 Speech from the Dock

by John Maclean


Delivered: At the High Court, Edinburgh, May 9, 1918


It has been said that they cannot fathom my motive. For the full period of my active life I have been a teacher of economics to the working classes, and my contention has always been that capitalism is rotten to its foundations, and must give place to a new society. I had a lecture, the principal heading of which was “Thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not kill”, and I pointed out that as a consequence of the robbery that goes on in all civilised countries today, our respective countries have had to keep armies, and that inevitably our armies must clash together. On that and on other grounds, I consider capitalism the most infamous, bloody and evil system that mankind has ever witnessed. My language is regarded as extravagant language, but the events of the past four years have proved my contention.  Maclean2

He (the Lord Advocate) accused me of my motives. My motives are clean. My motives are genuine. If my motives were not clean and genuine, would I have made my statements while these shorthand reporters were present? I am out for the benefit of society, not for any individual human being, but I realise this, that justice and freedom can only be obtained when society is placed on a sound economic basis. That sound economic basis is wanting today, and hence the bloodshed we are having. I have not tried to get young men particularly. The young men have come to my meetings as well as the old men. I know quite well that in the reconstruction of society, the class interests of those who are on top will resist the change, and the only factor in society that can make for a clean sweep in society is the working class. Hence the class war. The whole history of society has proved that society moves forward as a consequence of an under-class overcoming the resistance of a class on top of them. So much for that.

I also wish to point out to you this, that when the late King Edward the Seventh died, I took as the subject of one of my lectures “Edward the Peacemaker”. I pointed out at the time that his “entente cordiale” with France and his alliance with Russia were for the purpose of encircling Germany as a result of the coming friction between Germany and this country because of commercial rivalry. I then denounced that title “Edward the Peacemaker” and said that it should be “Edward the Warmaker”. The events which have ensued prove my contention right up to the hilt, I am only proceeding along the lines upon which I have proceeded for many years. I have pointed out at my economic classes that, owing to the surplus created by the workers, it was necessary to create a market outside this country, because of the inability of the workers to purchase the wealth they create. You must have markets abroad, and in order to have these markets you must have empire. I have also pointed out that the capitalist development of Germany since the Franco-Prussian War has forced upon that country the necessity for empire as well as this country, and in its search for empire there must be a clash between these two countries. I have been teaching that and what I have taught is coming perfectly true.

maclean-johnI wish no harm to any human being, but I, as one man, am going to exercise my freedom of speech. No human being on the face of the earth, no government is going to take from me my right to speak, my right to protest against wrong, my right to do everything that is for the benefit of mankind. I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot.

In connection with the “ca’ canny” question at Parkhead Forge, I wish to take up some of the particular points first of all before I deal with the revolution. It is quite evident that it was in connection with a report in the Forward that reference was made to David Kirkwood. It was reported that Kirkwood had made a record output. Now David Kirkwood, representing the Parkhead Forge workers, at the end of 1915, when the dilution of labour began, put forward a printed statement for the benefit of Mr Lloyd George and his colleagues, the first sentence of which, in big type, was—“What you wish is greater output”. He said that the Parkhead workers were then prepared to give a greater output and accept dilution if they, the workers, had some control over the conditions under which the greater output would accrue. That was his contention. Since he was got into position he seems to have boasted that he has got a record output. The question was put to me. Was this consistent with the position and with the attitude of the working class? I said it was not consistent with the attitude and the position of the working class, that his business was to get back right down to the normal, to “ca’ canny” so far as the general output was concerned.

The country has been exploited by the capitalist in every sphere, to get the toilers to work harder to bring victory. I said at the commencement of the war that while this was being done, and while assurances were being given that at the end of the war the people would get back to normal, I said that circumstances would make such a return impossible. Now I have ample evidence to support that belief; I have used it at my meetings at Weir’s of Cathcart—that they were asking the workers to work harder and harder, because there is going to be “the war after the war”, the economic war which brought on this war. You see, therefore, the workers are brought into a position where they are speeded up, and they are never allowed to get back again. They are speeded up again and again. What is the position of the worker? This country is not a free country. The worker is deprived of land or access to the land; he is deprived of workshops or access to the materials and tools of production; the worker has only one thing to do in the market, and that is to sell his labour power. The capitalist purchased that labour power, and when he gets the worker inside the workshop, his business is to extract as much of that labour power out of him as possible. On the other hand, when it comes to wages, then the employer applies the principle of “ca’ canny”. “Ca’ canny” is quite justifiable when it comes to the employer giving wages to the workers, and we have seen it since the commencement of the war. Prices rose right away from the commencement of the war while the workers’ wages were kept at the old normal. Their wages were kept low. The purchasing power of the workers’ wages was therefore diminished. They were therefore robbed to that extent. At the same time the workers were asked in the name of the country to work harder. “But,” said the employers, “we will not give you any more money, although the money you are getting is purchasing less in the way of food, etc.” That is the position.

The employers are changing their opinions now as a result of experience, but in the past they considered it in their economic interest to pay as low a wage as possible. On the other hand the position of the workers is to give as little of their energy as they possibly can and to demand the highest wage possible. If it is right for the employer to get the maximum of energy and pay the minimum of wage, then it is equally right for the worker to give the minimum of his energy and demand the maximum of wage.  MacleanTshirt

What is right for the one is equally right for the other, although the interests of the two classes are diametrically opposed. That is the position, and in view of the fact that many of the workers have over-worked themselves and have had to lie off through overstrain, and considering the treatment they get when thrown on the scrapheap—kicked out like dogs when they are no longer useful—they are compelled to look after their own welfare. The worker has therefore in the past adopted the policy of “ca’ canny”, and I have in the interests of the working class advocated the policy of “ca’ canny” , not because I am against the war, but, knowing that after the war the worker will have the new conditions imposed upon him, I hold still to the principle of “ca’ canny”. I accede to that.

So far as Parkhead Forge is concerned I also pointed out that none of the great big guns had been made for some time prior to the great offensive. When the offensive came, Gough, the friend of Sir Edward Carson, the man who before the war was going to cut down the Irishmen, retreated and lost so many guns, and then the Glasgow workers had to give over their Easter holiday in order to make those guns. We have, therefore, Beardmore and others responsible for shortage of certain material, and we know from further disclosures that millions of shells have been useless, and perhaps that has been due to the fact of over-speeding, so that even over-speeding may do nothing for the advancement of the war. Furthermore, if big reserves of material are going to be built up, and the Germans are to be allowed to get them, that is going to be to the advantage of the Germans, and not to the advantage of the British.

With regard to the next point, “down tools”, so far as Glasgow is concerned, I do not think I told the workers to “down tools”. I am of the opinion that I said, “Now that you are determined to ’down tools’ it is of no use standing idle; you must do something for yourselves.” As a matter of fact my statement was based on a resolution that had been passed by the ASE in the Clyde area, the official Engineers’ Committee. It met, and it determined to down tools against the introduction of the Man Power Bill.

At the same time that was supplemented by unofficial effort at Geddes’s meeting in the City Hall. There a resolution was put up by the workers and carried virtually unanimously, that if the Man Power Bill was put into operation, the Clyde district workers would “down tools”. It was unnecessary for me, therefore, in light of these official and unofficial statements, to urge the “down tools” policy.

As a matter of fact, we were told that the government had dismissed many munition girls just immediately prior to the great offensive, so that if the workers are guilty of stoppage of output of munitions, the government is likewise responsible in the dismissal of those thousands of girls.  TrampTrustUnlimitedJohnMacLean

Now then, food and farms. I pointed out to the workers that what was necessary if they stopped work was the getting of food. There had been a shortage; the government had held up the supplies, for several reasons probably—perhaps to get this rationing passed, in order to have a tight hold on food, and also lest the people get out of hand in reference to this Man Power Bill. I know that there was plenty of food in stores in Glasgow, and that the farmers had food stored up in their farms. The farmers have used the war in order to make huge profits for themselves, and then the government assisted them in connection with the potato regulations; and latterly, at the end of last year the Corn Production Act was passed not in the interests of the farm labourers, but in the interests of the farmers.

When the demand for more food production was made, the farmers said they would do their best, and the government refused to give the farm labourers a minimum wage of 25s to 30s a week—25s at that time being equivalent to 10s in normal times. The farmers were going to get extra as a consequence of the Corn Production Act. I therefore pointed out that if the workers went to the farmers and did not get the food stored up in the farms, they should burn the farms. We as socialists have no interest in destroying any property. We want property to be kept because we want that property to be used for housing accommodation or other reasons, but I specially emphasised about the farmers for the purpose of drawing attention to this particular point.

In the same way, when it came to a question of seizing the press, I suggested that when the Daily Record was seized, the plant should be broken up. I did not say that in connection with the Glasgow Herald. I said so in connection with the Record not that it is a good thing to break up printing plant, but in order to draw attention to the Harmsworth family and to the Rothermeres and so on, and their vile press which seems to be an index of the culture of Britain. I mention that particularly here, that I said the Record plant should be broken up, in order to emphasise the disgust of the organised workers with regard to that particular family of newspapers.

So far as Ireland and America are concerned, that was mentioned particularly for the purpose of getting food from the St Lawrence, food from the United States, and food from the Argentine. What was needed was food in order to hold our own, for, as the Glasgow Herald pointed out, when the Bolsheviks first came into power, Britain was withholding food from Russia, in the expectation that frost and famine would overthrow the Bolsheviks. That is to say, they were anxious to murder women and children inside Russia, as well as men. The suggestion I made was in order to draw attention of the workers to the need of having plenty of foodstuffs to keep them going.

So far as the government’s responsibility for the murder of women and children is concerned, the reason for my statement is perfectly obvious. They have been accusing the Germans of killing women and children in this country. Perfectly true. Of course bombs dropped in Germany have not killed women and children, marvellous to say! But that apart; we had the government getting hold of the food supplies immediately prior to and immediately after the New Year, and creating a shortage. The government was therefore responsible for the queues.

Women were standing in queues in the cold, and women had died of what they had contracted during their standing in the queues. The women had died therefore in consequence of the action of the government, and I threw the responsibility upon the government—and I do so still.  JohnMaclean'sFuneral

We know that women and children—human material—have been used up inside the factories, and the housing of the working class in this country has been so bad, and is so bad today, that the women and children of the working class die in greater proportion than the women and children of the better-to-do classes. I have always pointed out that the death rate among the working classes has always exceeded that in the better-to-do districts.

I also pointed out that the British government had sent Russian subjects back to Russia to fight, and had given their wives 12s 6d per week and 2s 6d for each child. Now, when I was functioning as Russian Consul, two deputations of Russian women came to me and they told me sorrowful tales of depression, disease and death in consequence of the fact that they had received 12s 6d per week and 2s 6d for each child. I wrote to the Secretary for Scotland in regard to that, and I received no reply. The children ought not to suffer because their fathers have been taken, but those children have suffered. There is not a Lithuanian family in the West of Scotland but has trouble today as a consequence of the starving of these people. These women and children of the Russian community have died as a consequence of the meagre supplies given to them by the British government, and I seize this opportunity for the purpose of making my statement public, in connection with these women, in the hope that the public in general will press the government to see that these women and children are attended to at least on the same scale as the wives and dependants of British soldiers.

With regard to the Yankees, I said, and I say today, that the Yankees are out for themselves. The British press—the British capitalist press —sneered and jeered at the Americans before the Americans came in, and pointed out how the Americans were making piles of profit out of the war, but were not participating in this fight for so- called freedom. Those insults were offered to America, and when Mr Woodrow Wilson said that America was too proud to fight, then that was used venomously. Therefore, if I erred, I erred on the same side as the capitalist class of this country. I made the statement on American authority, not off my own bat. My authority is Professor Roland G. Usher, Professor of History at Washington University. I think his statement in Pan- Americanism is one of the finest, showing the moves throughout the world leading up to this war, and Usher has his bias in favour of Britain.

What I wish to particularly refer to are his two books, Pan-Germanism and The Challenge of the Future. In Pan-Germanism he surveys North and South and Central America. He takes the Atlantic first, and explains what will be the consequence of the war as regards South and Central America whichever side wins, and then he takes the Pacific. He works it out from a material and economic point of view, his purpose being to get Central and South America to work in with the United States. In his later book he modifies that position—that is to say in The Challenge of the Future. He points out that America is still today economically dependent, that is to say she has got to pay interest to financiers in France, in Britain, and therefore America cannot afford to carry out the bold schemes referred to in his book Pan-Americanism.

I may now state that today the businessmen of this country know perfectly well that the Yankees are boasting of their independence. Therefore when you see references to American independence, that means that she no longer needs to pay interest to investors from outside and that her policy will be modified in consequence of that new phase. This gentleman points out that as a consequence of American dependence she must say which side she will take. This book was printed prior to America entering the war. Woodrow Wilson’s policy works in admirably with the suggestions in that book of Professor Usher, The Challenge of the Future.

We know quite well, too, that the United States of America prevented Japan in 1915 getting economic and political control over North China. Twenty-one articles were imposed on China after the Japs had released their grip of the Germans there. America, alive to her own interests, getting to know of these twenty-one points, forced Japan to withdraw. America was there working in her own interests.

Japan has been, I think, incited to land at Vladivostok in consequence of the Russian revolution, and in order to crush the Bolsheviks. The allies on both sides are united to crush the Bolsheviks. America did not take that course. America early on began to back up the Bolsheviks because America was afraid that, if Japan got half Siberian Russia, that would give her a strategic control of Siberia, and it would mean a closed door to American contact across the Pacific with Russia proper. America therefore has been looking to her own interests, and for that reason I contend that the Yankees, who have been the worshippers of the mighty dollar, are looking after their own interests in the present war; and as to the great boast they have been making about what they are going to do, and their inadequate returns—that, I think, shows that America has not been over-anxious to plunge right away into this war and made all the sacrifices she has said. I know, of course, that America has had her own troubles at home, racial troubles, and also troubles with the workers. Numerous strikes have taken place in America since the commencement of the war, not only in consequence of the war, but also in connection with the economic position.

Now then, I come to the doctors. The doctors I referred to were the prison doctors. When I was in Peterhead it was plain sailing until the middle of December, and then the trouble began. I was fevered up, and being able to combat that, I was chilled down. Two men came to see me at the end of December, a prominent lecturer in this country, and Mr Sutherland, MP, and to them I protested that my food was being drugged. I said that there was alcohol in the food lowering my temperature. I know that potassium bromide is given to people in order to lower their temperature. It may have been potassium bromide that was used in order to lower my temperature. I was aware of what was taking place in Peterhead from hints and statements by other prisoners there; that from January to March, the so-called winter period, the doctor is busy getting the people into the hospital, there breaking up their organs and their systems.

I call that period the eye-squinting period, because the treatment then given puts the eyes out of view. Through numerous expedients I was able to hold my own. I saw these men round about me in a horrible plight. I have stated in public since that I would rather be immediately put to death than condemned to a life sentence in Peterhead. Attacks were made upon the organs of these men and also upon their nervous systems, and we know from the conscientious objectors that the government have taken their percentage of these men—some have died, some have committed suicide, others have been knocked off their heads, and in this way got into asylums. The very same process has gone on here. Mrs Hobhouse has done a good service to mankind in registering the facts, but, unfortunately for Mrs Hobhouse, she does not know how the results have been obtained. I experienced part of the process, and I wish to emphasise the fact that this callous and cold system of destroying people is going on inside prisons now.

Whatever is done to me now, I give notice that I take no food inside your prisons, absolutely no food, because of the treatment that was meted out to me. If food is forced upon me, and if I am forcibly fed, then my friends have got to bear in mind that if any evil happens to me, I am not responsible for the consequences, but the British government. If anything had happened to me when I was last in prison, it would have been attributed to John MacLean, not to those who are working in the interests of the government. I have been able to lay down my principle and policy, not from mere internal and personal experience, but from objective experience. I studied the matter carefully, I combated the evils that were going to be perpetrated by the government by reducing my food to the minimum, and the present Secretary for Scotland knows that when I was in Perth I wrote to him asking for more food because of my reduced weight. I was about eight stones in weight at the time, and the doctor after weighing me had to grant me more food. The food, however, was of no use to me. I threw it into the pot. My position is, therefore, that I take no more government food, that I will not allow any food to be forced in upon me, and if any food is forced in upon me I am not responsible for it, but when the government can launch millions of men into the field of battle, then perhaps the mere disposal of one man is a mere bagatelle and a trifle.

So far as Russian freedom and British slavery are concerned, I wish to draw attention to the fact that an article appeared in The Scotsman the other day about Bolshevism, and I have a feeling that that article was written especially for this trial, to create a feeling against Bolshevism. The statements m that article are a travesty. Inside Russia, since Lenin and Trotsky and the Bolsheviks came into power, there have been fewer deaths than for the same period under any Tsar for three hundred years. Capitalists have been killed perhaps, officers have been killed perhaps, because they have not submitted to those who have come to the top—the majority of the people—in the name of Bolshevism. Some may have been put to death.

When there was a shortage and disorganisation of the food supplies before the Bolsheviks came into power, there may have been individuals who, in their scramble for food themselves, have gone to excess, but the crimes of individuals cannot be charged to governments. No person would hold the government responsible for the action of those individuals. The Bolshevik government has not given orders to kill men. They have to imprison men until a complete reconstruction of society has come about. It may be news to some of you that the co-operative movement in Russia has grown more rapidly than in any other part of the world, and since the Bolsheviks have come into power, co-operation has been growing more and more rapidly. The universities have been used during the day, and in the evenings, to train the working classes in order that they may manage the affairs of their country in an intelligent manner. The schools have also been used in the evenings, the music halls have been used, and the theatres, and the picture houses, all have been used, not for the trivial trash which is given to the people of this country—but all for the purpose of organising the production of food and the work inside the workshops and factories.

We saw that prior to our comrades in Russia signing their treaty, when the Germans made their advance into Estonia, Lithuania, and so on—the border countries between Germany and Russia—the capitalist class in the respective towns had lists of men who were members of the soviets, and those members of the soviets were taken and put against a wall, and shot at the instigation of the propertied class of Russia. They have been responsible for more deaths than the soviets. Our Finnish comrades, the Red Guards, have pointed out that the ordinary procedure of war has not been acceded to them, that as soon as the White Guards, the capitalist class, take any one of them prisoner, they immediately put them to death. It has been said that our comrades over there in Russia were working hand in hand with the Germans, and the proof of this was that the Germans allowed Lenin to pass through Austrian territory. Our comrades have stood up against Germany as best they could, and the capitalists—the so-called patriots of Russia—have been working hand in hand with Germany in order to crush the people of Russia. That has been done in the Ukraine. It has been done in the various states stolen by Germany from Russia.

The Lord Advocate pointed out here that I probably was a more dangerous enemy that you had got to face than in the Germans. The working class, when they rise for their own, are more dangerous to capitalists than even the German enemies at your gates. That has been repeatedly indicated in the press, and I have stated it as well. I am glad that you have made this statement at this, the most historic trial that has ever been held in Scotland, when the working class and the capitalist class meet face to face. The Bolsheviks got into power in October, and the people wished peace, and they were doing their best to get peace. The Bolsheviks wished peace throughout the world. They wished the war to cease in order that they might settle down to the real business of life, the economic reorganisation of the whole of Russia. They therefore got into negotiation with the Germans, and they and the Germans met at Brest Litovsk.

Towards the end of December there was a pause in the negotiations for ten days, in order to allow the British and their allies to go to Brest Litovsk. Ten days were given. The last day was 4 January of this year. Great Britain paid no attention to this opportunity, but on 5 January Lloyd George, in one of his insidious speeches, seemed to climb down as it were. He was followed by Mr Woodrow Wilson. But a speech by Mr Lloyd George on the 5th was of no use. It was mere talk. It was mere camouflage, or, a better word still, bluff, pure bluff. Why did the government not accept the opportunity and go to Brest Litovsk? If conditions absolutely favourable to Germany were proposed, then Britain would have stopped the negotiations and plunged once more into the war, and I am confident of this, if Germany had not toed the line and come up square so far as peace negotiations were concerned, that the Russian workers would have taken the side of Britain, and I am confident of this, that the socialists in all the allied countries would have backed up their governments in order to absolutely crush Germany, and we would at the same time have appealed to the socialists of Germany to overthrow their government.

Great Britain did not do so. On the other hand, they came on with their Man Power Bill, and also with their factor of short food. All these things must be considered in their ensemble, before you can understand the position taken up by myself. When this universal peace meeting was held at Brest Litovsk, then Trotsky played a very, very bold game. He knew the risks he ran. He and the Bolsheviks spread millions of leaflets amongst the workers of Germany in the trenches – the German soldiers – urging them to stop fighting and to overthrow the Kaiser, the junkers, and the capitalist classes of Germany. They made a bold bid by trying to get the German workers on to their side. Great Britain has been doing the very same thing since the commencement of the war. Great Britain has been trying to bring about, and hoping and urging for a revolution in Germany, in the hope that the working class would overthrow the autocratic class there and give us peace.

From a British point of view, revolution inside Germany is good; revolution inside Britain is bad. So says this learned gentleman. He can square it if he can. I cannot square it. The conditions of Germany economically are the conditions of Britain, and there is only a very slight difference between the political structure of Germany and that of this country at the best. And so far as we workers are concerned, we are not concerned with the political superstructure; we are concerned with the economic foundation of society, and that determines our point of view in politics and industrial action. Our Russian comrades, therefore, did the very same as the British have been doing; they appealed to the German soldiers and workers to overthrow their government.

Strikes broke forth in Italy. The strikes in January passed into Germany, more menacing strikes than have taken place inside the British Isles. An appeal was made from comrades to comrades. Many soldiers in Germany mutinied; many sailors of Germany mutinied, and these men are being shot down by their government. All hail to those working men of Germany who refused at the bidding of the capitalist to go on with this war. Their names will go down bright and shining where those of the capitalist of today and of the past will have been forgotten.

It would be a very bad thing for the workers of the world if a revolution were developed and carried through to success in Germany and no similar effort were made in this country. The German workers’ enemy is the same as our enemy in this country—and if it was their business and

their right and their duty to overthrow their autocratic government, then it will be a duty on us not to allow these men to overthrow their government, and then to allow France, Britain and Italy to march over them and make these German workers slaves at the dictates of the capitalists of the other parts of the world. There was the situation from their point of view and from our point of view too.

It has been pointed out that if we developed a revolution the Germans would come over and, instead of having liberty, we would be under the iron heel of the Kaiser. If I grant that that is true, it is equally true in the other case that the allies would do in Germany what the German Kaiser with the capitalist class of Germany would do in this country. There can only be a revolution when the workers of all the countries stand united and capitalism is crushed, and until then the war must go on incessantly and incessantly. It is not because I am against my own people. My own people are the workers here, and the workers in Germany and elsewhere.

It was not the workers who instigated the war. The workers have no economic interest to serve as a consequence of the war, and because of that, it is my appeal to my class that makes me a patriot so far as my class is concerned, and when I stand true to my class, the working class, in which I was born, it is because my people were swept out of the Highlands, and it was only because of my own ability that I remained. I have remained true to my class, the working class, and whatever I do I think I am doing in the interest of my class and my country. I am no traitor to my country. I stand loyal to my country because I stand loyal to the class which creates the wealth throughout the whole of the world.

We are out for life and all that life can give us. I therefore took what action I did in the light of what was transpiring inside Russia, inside Austria and inside Germany. You have got to bear that in mind when you wish to understand my remarks. I therefore urged the workers of this country that if they were going to strike, mere striking was useless, because they would be starved back into work again, and that if they were going to be against the Man Power Bill, it meant that they were out for peace. And as there was no sign on either side of coming to an amicable constitutional conclusion, then it was the business of the workers to take the whole matter in hand themselves.

War was declared! No matter the motive, no matter the cause, all constitution and order was thrown aside, and in the prosecution of the war the British government found it necessary to throw aside every law in this country and to bring in the Defence of the Realm Act, which means the negation of all law in the country. I have repeatedly pointed out that if the government wishes to get a grip of any individual, they do so under the Defence of the Realm Act. The government have power to do anything they desire. That may be right, or it may be wrong, but the position is this, that the bringing in of the Defence of the Realm Act has thrown aside all law and order as we know it during normal periods.

In the plunge into the war we have the abolition of constitutional methods, and therefore I contended, and I contend today, that if it is right and proper on the part of the government to throw aside law and order —constitutional methods—and to adopt methods that mankind has never seen before, then it is equally right that the members of the working class, if the war is not going to cease in a reasonable time, should bring about a reasonable settlement to the workers in no victory to either side.

If one side or the other wins, then the revenge will come, as France today is seeking revenge after the drubbing she got in 1871. Realising that we, as representatives of the workers of the world, do not wish one side or the other to be the victors, we wish the status quo prior to the war to be re-established. If the workers are going to do that, then it means that they have to adopt methods and tactics entirely different from the methods which would be adopted, or could be adopted under normal circumstances. Abnormal lines of action must be taken such as our comrades in Russia took. The very circumstances of the war forced in upon the Russian workers committees and their national soviets the line of action which they adopted, and the only way we could do it would be to adopt methods peculiar to the working-class organisation in this country in the interests of the workers themselves.

The suggestions I made were intended only to develop revolutionary thought inside the minds of the workers. I pointed out at the meeting on the 20th that representatives of the police were present, and therefore if the workers were going to take action themselves, it would be absolutely foolish and stupid for them to adopt the suggestions I had given them. I only gave out these suggestions so that they might work out plans of their own if they thought fit to take action to bring about peace. I was convinced, and I am still convinced, that the working class, if they are going to take action, must not only go for peace but for revolution. I pointed out to the workers that, in order to solve all the problems of capitalism, they would have to get the land and the means of production.

I pointed out to them that if capitalism lasted after the war, with the growing size of the trusts, with the great aggregations that were taking place, with the improved machinery inside the works, with the improved methods of speeding up the workers, with the development of research and experiment, that we were going to have the workers turning out three, four and five times as much wealth as they had done in pre-war times, and a great problem would arise—a greater problem than ever before—in this country of disposing of its surplus goods on the markets of the world, not only of getting markets for these surplus goods, but of getting the raw materials. We see today in the committees appointed by the government that they are anxious to get control of the markets of the world in order to exclude the Germans.

Our government has already appointed a Land Organisation of the Board of Trade and of the Foreign Office whereby it is going to plant agents here and there throughout the world, so that in a scientific method British products may be thrown on to the markets of the world. This is scientific method applied to commerce internationally as well as nationally. These preparations are being made, it is being said, for the purpose of carrying on the war after the war. Nobody denies that there is going to be a war after the war, an economic war between the Germans and their friends, and the British and the Americans and their friends, and there is going to be a war between the nations and the respective governments will take care that, as far as they can, their capital will be planted in areas over which they have control.

You have, then, the rush for empire. We see that the Americans already have got one or two of the islands in the West Indies, and I understand that America has also got hold of Dutch Guiana. It has also been suggested that Mexico be brought into the American States. Britain herself is looking after her own interests. She has taken the German colonies, she is also in Mesopotamia and in Palestine, going there for strategic reasons, but when Britain gets hold of Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Arabia, she will use them for her own ends, and I do not blame Britain for that. Britain has got many troubles.

We see Japan also on the outlook. Japan has been trying repeatedly to get control of Northern China. She would also like to get a great big chunk of Siberia. Even today we see the tentacles being sent out, all anxious to grab more and more power. We know the secret treaties and disclosures made by our Bolshevik comrades. We know that these nations have been building up their plans so that when the Germans have been crushed they will get this territory or that territory. They are all out for empire. That was absolutely necessary for the commercial prosperity of the nations.

All the property destroyed during the war will be replaced. In the next five years there is going to be a great world trade depression and the respective governments, to stave off trouble, must turn more and more into the markets of the world to get rid of their produce, and in fifteen years’ time from the close of this war—I have pointed this out at all my meetings—we are into the next war if capitalism lasts; we cannot escape it.

Britain has the wealth. Britain did everything she could to hold back the war. That necessarily had to be the attitude of Great Britain, but in spite of all Great Britain’s skill or cunning, there has been war. I have heard it said that the Western civilisations are destroying themselves as the Eastern civilisations destroyed themselves. In fifteen years’ time we may have the first great war bursting out in the Pacific—America v. Japan, or even Japan and China v. America. We have then the possibilifies of another war, far greater and far more serious in its consequences than the present war. I have pointed that out to my audiences.

In view of the fact that the great powers are not prepared to stop the war until the one side or the other is broken down, it is our business as members of the working class to see that this war ceases today, not only to save the lives of the young men of the present, but also to stave off the next great war. That has been my attitude and justifies my conduct in recent times. I am out for an absolute reconstruction of society, on a cooperative basis, throughout all the world; when we stop the need for armies and navies, we stop the need for wars.

I have taken up unconstitutional action at this time because of the abnormal circumstances and because precedent has been given by the British government. I am a socialist, and have been fighting and will fight for an absolute reconstruction of society for the benefit of all. I am proud of my conduct. I have squared my conduct with my intellect, and if everyone had done so this war would not have taken place. I act square and clean for my principles. I have nothing to retract. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Your class position is against my class position. There are two classes of morality. There is the working class morality and there is the capitalist class morality. There is this antagonism as there is the antagonism between Germany and Britain. A victory for Germany is a defeat for Britain; a victory for Britain is a defeat for Germany. And it is exactly the same so far as our classes are concerned. What is moral for the one class is absolutely immoral for the other, and vice-versa. No matter what your accusations against me may be, no matter what reservations you keep at the back of your head, my appeal is to the working class. I appeal exclusively to them because they and they only can bring about the time when the whole world will be in one brotherhood, on a sound economic foundation. That, and that alone, can be the means of bringing about a re-organisation of society. That can only be obtained when the people of the world get the world, and retain the world.

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