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Atlanta Anti-Police March Nov. 21

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Tonight, Atlanta’s campaign against the police continues.

An ongoing campaign to stop the police, who have been murdering Atlantans at an increasing rate recently, and who have been repressing Occupy Atlanta demonstrators, had a march today to commemorate the 5th year after the murder of 92 year old Kathryn Johnston. Demonstrators also remembered 19 year old Joetavious Stafford, killed by a MARTA cop on his way home from homecoming just last month, and Dwight Person who was executed by police in the service of a fraudulent no-knock warrant just 5 days ago. Demonstrators also cried the names of Oscar Grant and Sean Bell and reminded each other of the ongoing repression in Oakland, Seattle, Chapel Hill, Boston, New York, Cairo, Greece and around the world. The narrative of this growing campaign has been explicityl anti-police, as a mechanism of control. Calls to fight “police brutality” have been marginal as well as calls for “justice” or “accountability” – the marchers and literature have focused almost exclusively on the police as an apparatus and on how much “fuck” them all.

By 8:30, the park was filled with almost 100 people who had shown up for the march. Roughly half of them had shown up en bloc – black hoods, pants, gloves, flags and goggles were seen en masse. Additionally, street kids with red and blue bandanas were out showing colors and ready to throw down (hostility between street gangs has been, for a few, suspended in favor of fighting the police and growing Occupy Atlanta). With over half of the soon-to-be-marchers masked, a group of anarchists began passing out stacks of anti-cop fliers (which totaled 2,000) and insisted that people distribute them however they see fit during the march, whether by tossing them or passing them to bystanders. A large banner was unfurled reading “Cops, Pigs = Murderers” an a bass drum inscribed with a red Circle-A on its side began picking up a beat. Many of these faces were new and many of them were obscured by goggles, tied shirts, bandanas, and ski masks.

At one point, someone called for the demonstrators to meet by “the big tree” to discuss the route of the march. Immediately following the call to meet-up, I overheard a kid wearing a red bandana yell “Man, fuck!” to his other friend in red. I asked him what the problem was and he looked at me and said, “These people always out here talking ‘solidarity-this’, ‘solidarity-that’ but as soon as a cop kills someone all I see are these black masks, red masks, and blue masks.” I told him I knew what he meant but that at least he now knew who was down. He agreed.

After a few brief reminders about the details of the murder, which amplified the palpable anger of the march, a man asked if the march was going to remain “non-violent”, to which nobody responded at all. This man would later be seen run up to cops with both fingers in the air screaming “fuck the police.” I guess everything changes rapidly in the streets.

Marchers began chanting “Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons” and made their way to the police station located immediately across the street from the park – we were gonna take the fight right up to their shit. The march spilled across the street and up to the glass doors and windows of the station and demonstrators began chanting into the station at the police officers inside who stood confused and surprised. As fliers rained down on the crowd, the march wound its up up to Peachtree Street, going toward the Five Points MARTA station. Chanting “Cops,Pigs, Murderers” and “No Justice, no peace/fuck the police” the march entered the station. Our voices reverberated off of the walls all around the terminal which quickly filled with police. In response, the demonstrators turned their backs to the police with their hands up chanting “Shot in the back/there’s no excuse for that” and “Hey hey/ho ho/ what did you do to Joe?”.

“Shot in the back/There’s No Excuse for That!”

At this point, fliers were blowing everywhere and several citizen-cops began picking them up off of the ground feverishly. When one kid donning a red bandana asked a peace police officer named Daniel, in a truly inquisitive tone, why he was doing that, he responded that the kid needed to “shut the fuck up, you pussy-bitch.” Quite violent rhetoric coming from one of the neo-Gandhians. Coupled with the violence of actively censoring the political outreach of demonstrators, I would say this kid and those who share his intense hatred of freedom are pushing the limits of absurdity.

Rather then wait around for the police, the march wound its way back into the street headed toward Mitchell. At this point, protesters who had at previous demonstrations always remained on the sidewalks spilled into the street. Citizen-cops who had urged us to stop using “violent” language against the police just a few weeks ago began leading chants such as “Fuck the pigs, we don’t need ’em all we want is total freedom”. Something really is happening in this city.

Turning left onto a one-way, the marchers headed toward the Pryor Street police station. Upon arrival, there was a “mic-check”. While blocking traffic, a demonstrator reminded everyone of the magnitude of the struggle and encouraged us to, again, remember Kathryn Johnston, Joetavious Stafford, Dwight Person, and Troy Davis who was unjustly murdered by the state recently for allegedly killing a cop in 1989.

As a few chanted “Atlanta – Oakland – Egypt – France: Fuck the pigs and fucking dance” the march continued to make its rowdy way up the street back toward the park.

Upon arrival to the park, the march decided that it would march up Peacthree Street toward the business district – the “neighborhood of the 1% in this city” as one demonstrator phrased it. Although in retrospect, maybe the march should’ve ended here, at the time it seemed like a good idea: spirits were high and the march was still ready to roll out.

After several blocks of blocking traffic in all lanes going both ways, and a few minutes of rowdiness in a Suntrust Plaza, the march continued up Baker street and made the first right onto another one-way. After a few blocks in this direction, it was brought to the attention of the march by friends driving around the block that riot police and busses had stationed themselves at Courtland and Auburn, just a few blocks away from our current location and right where we were headed. Following a brief and impromptu assembly, the marchers decided that, rather than face-off with the boys in blue, tonight they would call the march a victory and seize full control over the terms of engagement. With a few welps of joy and advice on how to disperse the march into small groups of friends walking in multiple directions, the march ended on a high note.

No arrests, no injury and an overwhelming presence of masked protesters who maintained the anti-police discourse over the liberal “police brutality” narrative. The masked protesters also maintained an open and impromptu public discourse over the trajectory the march should take, encouraging those who dissented with the majority to go through with their plans anyway autonomously – the element of social management was broken down completely during the march except for the few citizen-police picking up leaflets at the beginning off of the ground.

The march, which was roughly an hour and a half, was larger then any of the other marches that have happened in the last 2 weeks and more broadly participated in. Several people, at different points, even ran off of the sidewalks to enthusiastically join the march.

Afterword, many radicals, including mostly anarchists but also several Marxists, gathered at a local house to celebrate the event (a ritual we agreed to continue going forward) and the birthday of one of the participants. Gathering around a fire (start off tee-pee, transition to log cabin to allow the flames to breath), many discussed their feelings about the march and their surprise at the overwhelming force that we have become at these marches. We also revelled about anti-nazi street battles that we’ve heard about in other places (particularly in Trenton and Phoenix) and discussed prison revolts and the general state of prisons in Georgia (the jails are run by the guards, the prisons by the prisoners).

The struggle goes on.

Solidarity with our comrades in Chapel Hill who also marched tonight against the police.

The text of the leaflet distributed (2,000 were thrown into the air and passed out to bystanders):

Background:

Fuck

The

Police

Foreground:

Atlanta’s Cop Problem

Kathryn Johnston – November 21, 2006

Police murder 92 year old Kathryn Johnston – undercover cops raid the house with a “no-knock” warrant and shoot 39 times.

Atlanta Eagle Bar – September 10, 2009

SWAT raids gay bar with no probably cause – with guns drawn, officers make homophobic/transphobic slurs to club patrons and illegaly detain eveyrone in the club for an excessive period of time.

Brian Kidd and Shawn Venegas – January 2011

Police pull over two men in broad daylight and perform illegal cavity searches by the side of the road and sexually molest the men by groping their genitalia.

Roxanne Taylor – May 27, 2011

58 year old woman shot and killed by APD after allegedly stealing from a drug store.

Minors Molested by APD – September, 2011

Several minors sue City of Atlanta for being illegally strip searched in public and suffering groping and molestation by APD – som claims of anal penetrations with police batons.

Joetavious Stafford – October 15, 2011

19 year old shot by the MARTA police 3 times – twice in the back as he lay face down – as he comes home from a homecoming football game. Initial reports that he was armed are denied by eyewitnesses.

Dwight Person – November 17, 2011

54 year old veteran, and father of 2, is shot to death in his East Point home by APD.

The police, protectors of this social order, security guards of the 1% who control us, are everywhere. Their control, their violence, is everywhere that nothing happens. All adventure, managed;all desire; disarmed: all passion, sated; all fires, extinguished — but in us is a fire that never goes out.

There can be no dialogue with the terrorists in blue. As they run over our comrades with motorcylces, abduct our friends from the city sidewalks and quarantine our loved-ones inside their prison walls, they fan the flames of our discontent.

In Seattle, Chapel Hill, Greece, Chile, Bahrain, Egypt, Oakland, Denver, Moscow the struggle against the police grows. Inside Pelican Bay, the memory of Attica lives.

Fire to the prisons and the society that created them. (A)

Several hundred other leaflets where distributed as well:

The back: OCCUPY EVERYTHING! DON’T FUCK WITH ATLANTA

The front:

Occupy Everything! (Really)

In a crisis, it does not make sense anymore to beg. Though it is certainly no longer possible, many of us do not year to “go back” to the golden-age of our grandparents generation – a Keynesian control that resulted in the complete flattening out of any adventure, on the one hand, and the real subsumption of product into an every-expanding, ecologically perilous, global factory on the other. The age of austerity, which we face today, is a necessary result of the so-called “responsible capitalism” of the last few decades.

Although we are active in the current “Occupy Together” movement, many of us are distressed by the presence of those for whom the seizure of public parks and plazas represents a forum in which to “voice grievances” to Power – as if anyone was listening anyway.

The point of an occupation is not to “send a message” to Power, nor is it to demand to Power this-or-that resotration of normalcy. The occupation is a commoning, if you will, of resources and tools. The occupation must expand to all other spheres of social life as a necessary consequence of what it is: we must take over more shit so we can share it!; communization of this sort does not need to wait for the proper structures or the “right time” just as we do not need to go to culinary school before planning pot-luck dinners with our friends and neighbors. It is this sense of urgency that brought us into the parks int he first place – when so many in the established “activist” milieu remained skeptical, we came together to act outside of the political script to create something that was frankly unimaginable in scope just a few months ago.

The precedent has been set, and eveyrone already feels it on the tip of their tongues anyway:

To move forward, we have to start taking over buildings.

In Oakland, as well as in Chapel Hill, the landscape of struggle is being questioned altogether – that is to say, the struggle over landscape is being addressed for the first time in a meaningful way: how are we supposed to defend a park from police violence? how are we supposed to stay warm in the winter?

The answer is obvious to many of us.

This question, the question of weathering abuse as well as the question of expansion, is not a new one. Many of us occupiers have spent the last several weeks buildings relationships with houseless people – ask them how they live through the winter. more than likely, there are vacant buildings all over your city and most, if not all, of them can be used in new and exciting ways. Or perhaps the city is littered with buildings begging for a new content – universities come to mind as does city hall.

“Stop taking orders – Start taking over.”

Our comrades in Europe have been taking over buildings for decades now. Abandoned buildings everywhere have been transformed in “social centers” that serve as matrices of struggle and activity in the face of global capitalism which would render the buildings lifeless. Perhaps the “Occupy Together” movement can learn some lessons from the autonomous movements of decades past in the European context and expand on it for the American landscape.

-some scheming anarchists.

Reproduced from libcom.

Can we break walls with dialectics? (1.)

Attila József as a child

The history of the Hungarian workers’ movement after the “II. World War” has been committed to paper almost exclusively by Bolshevik-social democratic Marxists, therefore they regarded all the major manifestations of the class movement as successes of their own party line, while usually they were writing disdainfully about the more radically leftist groups and – beyond leftism – the anti-democratic anarchist-communist groups and phenomena, and called them traitors. But there had been some militants about whom the party-historians had to speak, because, for instance, their activity in the workers’ movement had become inseparable from their literary activity, so it was impossible to remain silent about them. The press also couldn’t afford not the make capital from a newly discovered proletarian poet or working-class writer for a while. Here we would like to say some words about one of the most controversial figures of the movement in Hungary, Attila József, whom our introduction fits very well. In addition, we can witness now in Hungary a falsification, the aim of which is to make from this proletarian poet a bourgeois poet.

After the crushing of the revolution in 1919, during the twenties, in the Café Blau in Vienna, a small anarchist circle around Erno Weiler met regularly. The latter considered himself a communist, but he had taken a loathing to the Bolshevik “party discipline” and made sabotage acts in Vienna together with his comrades while living the life of the vagabonds. Attila József had traveled to Vienna in order to study, and here he contacted Géza Forgács, a member of the ‘Bund der Herrschaftslosen Sozialisten’ anarchist circle, which published a periodical. The young poet heard a lecture of Pierre Ramus, and there he made acquaintances with Weiler and his comrades. However, their ways separated. In this period Attila József met the Bolshevik elders of the Vienna emigration, György Lukács and Béla Balázs, and they held him a very talented proletarian poet. After the short stay in Vienna, Attila József arrived in Paris in 1926, here he made acquaintances with A. Dauphin-Meunier (who had written his book about the proletarian revolution in Hungary, La Commune Hongroise et les Anarchistes, not long ago, in 1925). Shortly after his arrival, Attila József got in touch with the Anarchist-Communist Union, which was discussing about individualist anarchism versus collectivism and anarcho-communism in this period. There are no memoirs from which we could know whether the young proletarian poet had somehow participated in the debates, and we are also not informed whether he met the Platformists around Makhno. For him, it was more a period of inquiry and immersion than of serious commitment. But the new influences had shown through his revolutionary poems written in those days – it’s enough to mention the excellent Szabados dal (‘Emancipated Song’). Soon he starts to deeply study the works of Marx, and, among others, this helps him to become one of the most brilliant revolutionary poets, the poems of whom step out from the usual medium, penetrate into the factories, workshops and workers’ flats and hardly strike. The poet had become a member of the Bolshevik party, but he was expelled later because of his unreliability and anti-Stalinist views. Marx in lyrics – so we can characterize his most important and best thought-out poetic works. Attila József was one of those few in the Hungarian class movement whose historical materialist approach hadn’t become a peculiar grotesque self-justification which makes one drown in Marxist orthodoxy. His class-struggle poems (he wrote a big number of them while living in the deepest proletarian misery) are tantamount to any high-standard communist analysis, and they are also first-class bases for agitation. Later some of his poems and essays suffered for the fact that the poet hadn’t found his comrades and moved towards social democracy, and with his united frontist views drifted apart from the revolution. His journal contributions and studies are less meaty, but we can see in them the vague picture of a lost serious ‘communist theoretician’ (see A szocializmus bölcselete [‘The Wisdom of Socialism’] from 1934, for example). In 1937, being 32 years old, Attila József committed suicide, not having found his place either in civil life or in the movement, so he decided to let the train destroy his young body which had suffered many privations. We charge also this to the bourgeoisie’s account. Sure it is…

State Repression

Immediately after the uprising of December 2008, the state attempted to restore its wounded prestige and re-establish a funereal social peace, fearing riots and unrests that could erupt in anticipation of the economic recession. It targeted Exarchia, mainly as a place of social iniquity, and imposed a military-style police occupation. In the meantime, the state sought to strengthen its legal arsenal in order to better control the social sphere, either by ordering – through prosecutor Sanidas – searches in hangouts and squats, or by applying the koukoulonomos (hood-wearing-law) in demonstrations. At the same time, a sustained effort to remove the university asylum status began, with the police guarding the Propylaea in December ‘09, continuously violating it in the Thessaloniki and Athens campuses.

The state sought to reorganize public order, increasing the number of cops and creating new units, such as the mechanized units “Delta” and “Dias”. Meanwhile there was a considerable increase of police presence around all neighborhoods. In March 2010, in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki, there was a flux of 2000 motorcycles of the newly created bike unit “Dias”, in an attempt to shift the police-state existing in the center of Athens throughout all neighborhoods. The government is trying to project the only image they can offer to society, that of the alleged safety of citizens. Thus, the cops-bikers will ride daily their motorcycles, which cost around half a million euros.

All these actions set up the background of the doctrine of zero tolerance, which applies to all social protests attempting to break the silent consensus to democracy: a police force acting preventively, bringing in protesters, invading free social spaces, (Resalto, Giannena), forcefully suppressing demonstrations that become progressively more militant (with arrests, beatings and chemical weapons). Indicative are the marches in Nikaia and Byronas protesting the state murders of Mohammed Kamran Atif (after torture in a PD) and Nikola Todi (on the street during a cops’ shootout).

This harsh political repression is strengthened by the media and other mechanisms of mediation, such as political parties and trade unions, which assume the role of changing the perception on facts and execute ideological attacks on protesters. A typical example is the attempt of criminalization of the anarchist movement through offering bounties, imaginary scenarios on its relationship with “criminal offenders”, armed groups etc.

Simultaneously, a very good level of cooperation between Greece and Turkey in the area of repression has been fostered. Lately, an upgrade to the software of the weapons systems is taking place, in order to link with those of Frontex deployed along the borders, in the air as well as in others. Meanwhile, the government agencies are using the flights of aircrafts of their colleagues, presenting them as “violations”, as it has been found in the past an effective means to use the “external enemy” to deal with internal crises, such as the current financial plight. It is no coincidence that the threat is always appearing when the local rulers feel uneasy in their position.

source: contrainfo

Permanent crisis, fascist hordes, war against us

First of May: Not holiday but struggleday. Struggle for the red May, struggle for the new Hungarian Council Republic!

Due to the antagonism of capital and labour, the general crisis of capitalism manifests itself steadily in the form of different social upheavals. It’s true even if the bourgeoisie is able to find ephemeral solutions for certain partial problems. We know these „delectable salves” very well: unemployment, disguised or open war against us, etc. In 1929 a further symptom of the crisis of the capitalist system occurred, over and above very sharply. From the end of 1928 (and from 1929 still more) the main creditor of Europe, the US detained its credits. The liquid export of capital of which value in 1928 was more than one milliard dollars, decreased to 200 million dollars during 1929. It was dangerous even in itself since the indebted Central-, and East-European countries were able to pay their extinction mainly only from further credits. Thus the economy crashed. In this situation none of the capitalists wanted to start new investments, so the amounts applied to investments decreased materially world-wide. There were no orders for the industries producing capital goods, they stopped the production and fired great masses of workers. At the end of 1932 there were 15 million unemployed workers in Europe. Until 1932, when the crisis touched its bottom, the world-production of constructional trade, compared to the summit before the crisis, decreased with 40%. The world-production of coal-mining, of iron-, and steel industries decreased with 60%. The decrease of the employment decreased also the absorbing capacity of the market, so the crisis spread to the industries producing consumer goods. The demand decreased materially and this abated the prices. The prices of agricultural goods started to collapse, the price of the grain on the world-market decreased with 58% between 1929 and 1932. The agrarian working class was starving, the urban working class was living in penury. In 1933 there was general famine for instance in Ukraine, in the North-Caucasus, etc.

The effect of the general crisis of capitalist production spread to Hungary, too. Due to the decrease of the prices of agricultural goods in fact the Hungarian agricultural export broke down. The inflow of capital, which had been considerable during the prosperity, stopped. The western creditors of the Hungarian bourgeoisie suddenly reclaimed their money, thus the Hungarian bourgeoisie was running into debt more and more. They tried to solve this problem by increasing the expolitation of the working class. The wages in general decreased with 50-60%, the number of the unemployed workers increased from approximately 250000 to 600000. The poor peasants, owning small lands, were running into debt, lost their lands which were bought by the peasant proprietors. The set-back in the field of the industry occurred mainly in the iron industry and metallurgy, in mechanical engineering, building-trade as well as in food industry. Until 1932, when the crisis touched its bottom, the number of the workers employed in these industries decreased with 30%, the wages in general decreased with 25-30%. All these meant the pauperization, and in several cases, the real famine of the working class. In Hungary there was no unemployment benefit, thus the system of the so-called starvation work was established. It meant that in exchange for some kind of labour service a wageworker got as much money that he or she could creep home in order to sleep, and on the following day back to the workplace. In this period, due to the general misery, the movement of the unemployed workers strengthened, the incensed proletarians were demonstrating throughout the country.

At the end of 1929 and early in 1930 when winter came, the unemployed workers also arrived to the streets of Szeged, Debrecen, Miskolc, Hódmezovásárhely, Eger, Pécs, Nyíregyháza. In Szolnok the hungering demonstrators were attacked by the police and the scuffle ended with flatling. The hungering proletarians demonstrated in Szegeden, Gyula, Járokszállás, Hódmezovásárhely, Orosháza, Kiskundorozsma. They shouted as follows: „Here is the revolution, down with the masters, let’s go there where the food is!”, and attacked the police which scattered the mass by beating them with gun-stock. A lot of people were arrested. The actions, however, didn’t spread to other districts and because of their detachedness, afterwards everything was going in the same groove. In several cases it was the „calm” and pacifist, counter-revolutionary attitude of the social democratic party which prevented the masses from acting as real class-militants. To attain this, naturally, at the workers’ hand it was necessary to pin their faith upon the party. Above we wrote that the lef-wing parties of the bourgeoisie didn’t have a great influence on the argrarian working class. It was true in general, but they were able to put pressure on the working class when it was urgently required for the ruling class. The publications and the leaflets of the social democrats could suddenly appear in the critical areas to pour balm into the workers’ wounds. For this it was necessary that the hungering masses who were unable to organize themselves seriously, had democratic illusions and co-operated with the social democrats.

During the period of the crisis the ground-men easily left their non-existent workplaces, so the proletarians of the cities and of the neighbourhoods took part together in the demonstrations. On the 1st of September in 1930, when the proletariat was fighting on the streets of Budapest, hundreds of proletarians were demonstrating in other cities, for example in Gyula, Szentes, Szeged, Debrecen, etc., but the clashes didn’t form a great and strong insurrectional wave. The causes are well-known. There was bungling in every region, the lack of organization and the lack of pespective dominated everywhere. Many people thought – and they were absolutely wrong! – that the agrarian proletariat „was fighting with the feudal latifundia” and the urban proletariat opposed the world-bourgeoisie. Seemingly they were fighting against different enemies, but in reality there was not a shadow of difference between them. The smallholders and the day-wage men sought the sources of their problems near at hand, while the ruling class profited from their exploitation. So the agrarian workers could be manipulated easier by anti-Semitism and be instigated against the towns, because of the backwardness of the countryside, what we detailed above; the urban workers vegetated on higher living standards, thus the witch-hunt was successful. Today the Hungarian nationalism also uses the same methods: it’s enough if we look at the slogan of the revision of the frontiers which is very popular today, or at the very active Christian Churches interlocked with the far-right. On the other hand, it’s much cheaper for the Hungarian bourgeois to employ the workers of Romanian, Ukrainian origin, so they try to embrace this fact on the field of xenophobia. It’s the same problem like then: we are confined into different regions or isolated by the huge distances. There is no direct class-militant connection between the struggles of the Brazilian land-retakers and of the Polander miners, just like in the case of the rural-, and the urban proletariat then. The bourgeoisie is usually able to solve the „micro-problems” confined into regions from their point of view satisfactorily.

In spite of the manipulation, violent retorsion and the peaceful promises the proletarian actions were continuing in the thirties, too. „We are living in penury and starving. Count Teleki is jollifying and pay the costs from the blood pressed out from his landless peasants” – wrote a Bolshevik leaflet in the early thirties. Early in 1932 the masses demanded work and bread in Makó, Szeged, Mindszent, Nagymagócs, the ground-men were on strike in Battonya. In February a firm in Pesterzsébet called jobs, a few workers were accepted and the others, the unemployed workers attacked the office. In March the proletarians demostrated for work and bread in Debrecen, they joined battle with the police, 54 proletarians were arrested. There were demonstrations in Csongrád, Békéscsaba and in several other places. The government financed the social democratic party and the trade unions in order that they could control the discontented voices. In April, due to the pressure of the masses and of the left-wing inner opposition, the social democratic party went to the streets in order to demonstrate its existence for both sides. In Balmazújváros and in Nyírtura, however, the masses attacked the gendarmerie, they used stones and sticks, finally the gendarmerie opened fire on them. The streets were covered with proletarian blood, several proles were arrested and during the interrogation they were beaten. The organ of the party, the Népszava was banned for a short time. Both the MSZDP and Bolsheviks dealt a lot with the conditions in the countryside, so they „perceived” that „the question of the ground-men is firstly the question of the land”, thus the land reform has to be conquered on political field. During the period of the crisis the Bolsheviks, to some slight extent, also strengthened. At the end of 1932 the party center had connections with several cells (from Kecskemét to Gyor), but more and more activists were arrested (193 activists were put under arrest in 1933). The social democratic party was unable to organize among the agrarian workers securely and effectively. It didn’t know the local conditions well enough and sank into its electoral campaigns.

In the state of the general upheaval the want for pacification strengthened among the bourgeoisie. It led to the reinforcement of the government’s far-right opposition. Bethlen resigned and after Gyula Károlyi’s prime ministership, in 1932 Gyula Gömbös became prime minister. Thus the fascist orientation, revisionism and anti-Semitism strengthened and Gömbös, in long-term, was working on the formation of a dictatorship similar to the Italian one. By this time, however, the total building-up of the fascist system didn’t came about yet. Since the yeasty promises, demagogism (new workplaces, reformation of capitalism under the aegis of romantic anti-capitalism, anti-Semitism), and the fictitious decrees (benefit for the medium-holders, taking over of one part of the smallholders’ debt by the state, etc.) were enough to abate the discontent of the working class. Hordes shouting anti-Semite slogans were on the hike throughout the country and influenced easily certain groups of the unconscious workers who wanted land, work and better living conditions. In 1937 the Kaszáskeresztes Párt (‘Scythe-Cross Party’) tried to organize an army from the most exploited workers of the villages, which would have attacked Budapest in order to capture the power and form a government (in the event of victory, the party promised 20 acres land per head for all the members of the army). The racialist groups reached also the world of the homesteads in the southern Alföld, the agitators of the Nemzeti Szocialista Magyar Munkáspárt (‘National Socialist Hungarian Workers’ Party’), of the Nemzeti Radikális Párt (‘National Radical Party’), of the Nyilaskeresztes Párt (‘Arrowed-Cross Party’), of the Alföldi Brigád (‘Brigade of Alföld’), of the Kettoskereszt Vérszövetség (‘Double Cross Blood-Alliance’) were present there. Moreover, several journals like the Nemzetor (‘Militiaman’), Nyilas roham (‘Arrowed Assault’), Nyilas harc (‘Arrowed Struggle’) and different brochures propagated the racialist thoughts, dulled the workers. After the occupation of Austria by the Germans in 1938, this course intensifyed, since due to this the Arrowed movement strengthened. Gömbös, however, didn’t have a unitary fascist mass-movement, and the buliding-up of such movement was contradictory both to the interests of the capitalists and that of the great landlords. After the first period of the pacification, the ruling class didn’t need an omnipotent leader. Now Gömbös tried to enlarge the power of his government upon the economy and with his permanent social demagogy was instigating the agrarian workers against the great landlords. Both the groups of the capitalists and of the great landlords disapproved of this, so they tried to push the fascist groups back.

The bourgeoisie was still unable to restore order, in the midst of the inner struggles of the ruling class the proletarians continued the organization. In summer, 1934 there was a demonstration in Sarkad and others followed it in December, in Debrecen and in Nyíregyháza. In Korösladány the proles marched to the town-hall and shouted as follows: „We are dying of hunger!”. In 1936 the harvestmen went on strike in the Pallavici manor. In several cases the isolated communists and the Bolsheviks also took part in the organization and launching of the strikes, but without the support of the masses their activity was not very effective. It was also added to the strike movement which livened up in the late thirties that the urban proletarians, who were in direct connection with the countryside, also fought for higher wages and as casual workers took part in several cases in the demonstrations of the agrarian proletariat. Due to the effect of the industrial proletariat’s movement the workers went on strike at the sugarworks in Mezohegyes, the platelayers went on strike in Kisbér, the textile workers in Szony, etc. From the pieces of news they got several agrarian workers felt a kindly interest toward the Spanish proletarian revolution. The farm-hands blustered at their landlords as follows: „Take care what you do, because we are going to make it warm for you, like the Spanish peasants made with their landlords and priests in Madrid”

Meanwhile the government started to reorganize the economy in order to stabilize its position. To get through the crisis they decreased the state costs, increased the taxes and took up loans. They encouraged financially the agricultural export, so they ameliorated the competitiveness of the Hungarian products. Moreover, thanks to the political-economic orientation towards Italy, Germany and Austria there were new markets for the increasing export. The government succeeded in decreasing unemployment by encouraging the elekctricity supply and the aluminium production. Gömbös planned to establish an obligatory corporate system which would have been very similar to the Italian corporative system. He wanted to eliminate the strikes and demonstrations in this way, that is, to solve the „workers’ question”. Gömbös, however, mobilized the fascist groups to no avail, he failed to take over the helm against the rival bourgeois groups. They were against the exaggerated control of the state over the economy and the instigation against the great landlords, as well as against the quick political-economic orientation towards Germany, since in long-term they were afraid of the loss of their autonomy. Thus, due to the opposition of the capitalists and of the great landlords, Gömbös was not able to entirely practise his social demagogy and without an adequate mass-movement he didn’t succeed in carrying his plan into execution even till 1938.

Due to the war preparations of the fascist powers, which were gaining ground and livening up from the mid thirties, the Hungarian industrial-, and agricultural exportation to these countries increased. The economic-political bonds strengthened more and more so these supported the strengthening of the Hungarian fascist forces. As natural continuation of the always stressed revisionism, Hungary also began to war preparations in 1939, which, thanks to the considerable capital investement and to the development of heavy industry, gave a new impulse to the economy. The formerly huge unemployment decreased, the wages which had been previously minimized, icreased (mostly in the heavy industry), the living standards of the working class, compared to the former years, changed for the better. The agricultural production also livened up due to the increasing inner consumption and broadening export. At the same time the government tried to gain direct control over the economy. Several factories were pronounced to ordnance factories and were put under military leadership. The government could control the production and the operation of the factories, thus it centrally increased the labour-time and the intensity of labour. The men between the age of 14 and 70 as well as the adult women could be called up for work of home-defense at any time. So, the exploitation of the working class was intensifyed already from this time. In this period the government introduced the so-called Jewish-laws which defined the maximum percentage of people of Jewish origin in certain ways of business, so the bourgeoisie hastened to discard the workers of Jewish origin and fired them in great quantities. When they became unemployed the police interned them soon after under the pretext of that they were labour deserters, thus they made a living certainly with illegal means.

In 1941 Hungary joined the „World War II”, thus the functioning of the war economy and the extension of war altered the conditions of the working class for the worse. Due to war prosperity the unemployment mended, but with the increment of the wages there was a huge increase in prices (until 1943 the prices increased more than 300% compared to the pre-war price-level) and because of the shop-shortage a lot of basic goods were non-available or were much more expensive than usually. The state tried the decrease the wages and the home consumption by means of adjusting prices and wages, and afterwards both rationing and obligatory surrender of agricultural goods were introduced. Due to that Hungary gradually became ancillary to the German war machine the deficit of the state estimate increased materially. This problem was solved by inflation of the currency and continuous extension of labour-time, so the living standars of the working class were continously decreasing. In addition the bourgeoisie tried to liquidate all forms of resistance and organizational efforts. In September 1943 – for instance – 5000 workers went on strike at the Weiss Manfréd factory demanding 40% wage increase, but the army intervened and crushed the strike. The state repression, the police control were intensifyed at the workplaces in order to maintain the uninterrupted production: in case of absenteeism the workers were fined, sent to the front or were interned. Meanwhile the army was mobilized tens of thousands of workers were sent to the front in order that they would fight and die for bourgeois interests. So the bourgeois war against us was becoming total more and more on all sides.

Horthy and his associates seeing the German military defeats, however, tried to withdraw from the war. In reply to this, at the same time with the occupation of Hungary by the Germans, fascists assumed power with the collaboration of the Sztójay government on 19th of March, 1944. The Gestapo was more effective in repressing the workers than the former military powers were, more and more labour camps were established for the refractory proletarians. The ghettoization, deportation and sending of workers of Jewish origin to the front was started soon after, and these were enthusiastically carried on by the Arrowed movement (when we are writing these their successor organization – the Magyar Gárda [Hungarian Guard] – is just being established in Hungary) after their rise to power in October, 1944. Hundreds of thousands of workers of Roma-, and of Jewish origin, communists and those who were condemned as „lumpen persons” were killed. The Bolsheviks and the left-wing social democrats made common cause with the Soviet Union and gathered into an antifascist front against Hitler in order to fight back: they put forward the slogan of „independent, free, democratic Hungary”. The popular front organized the antifascist resistance, they demanded wage-rise, better alimentation and the decrease of labour-time. In 1944 in Pécs the workers in the coal-mines celebrated May Day with work stoppage, on 10th of July in Békéscsaba leaflets („Let’s sabotage! Join the partisans! Don’t join the army! Down with the war! Beat those who hold with the Germans!”) were spread by unidentified persons. In September about 2000 workers from the Diósgyor ironworks marched to the management’s office and demanded the withdrawal from the war. In October Gömbös’s statue on Döbrentei square and afterwards a bookshop maintained by the Arrowed movement were exploded by partisans from Marót group. There were also sabotages, the Demény group and the Deák-Mayer group spread leaflets in Sashalom, Kispest, Soroksár, etc. and they organized attempts against the Arrowed movement, but kept closely in the shade of the Soviet Union. The popular front established its bases also in the countryside, the Bolshevik party tried to act the role of the great leader but it walked into a rival organization, the Parasztszövetség (‘Peasants’ Alliance’) which was founded in 1941. There were antifascist demonstrations and assemblies for independence, a few corps joined the Soviet army or the partisans in order to fight by the side of Bolshevism. The revolutionary traditions of the proletariat did not appear on the scene, in this region there was no opposition to the common insanity of triunity of fascism, nationalism and Bolshevism.

In June, 1944 a group, calling itself anarchist, gave a sign of life during its action in a small town in North-Hungary. They had entered into a totally false (self-liquidating) alliance with the Bolshevik partisans already from the beginning, but afterwards they had a row with the Stalinists who wanted to direct the events more and more, and who finally delated them for the fascists. Those members of the group who survived, split into fractions, some of them joined the Bolshevik party, the others performed direct actions. They attacked two warships from the Hungarian river fleet and afterwards exploded a fuel depot in the Buda Castle. Members of the third part of this movement were shot dead when they attacked a nazi residency. When Budapest stood a siege they organized sabotages, 200 activists of them were killed. After this they decided, except Korsakin who didn’t agree with his fellows, to stop their activity till Hungary became part of the Soviet zone and would see what is to be done later. Till that time they were working in work detachments and in hospitals. In June, 1945 the movement held a meeting where the representatives of all the three wings were present. One of the wings, signed with P. M. monogram (he was a student), wanted to co-operate with the Bolsheviks and hoped that after finishing with the bourgeoisie they would finish also with the Bolsheviks. The other wing led by Torockói wanted to make the movement legal, while Korsakin’s group aimed at continuing the struggle against the state and the Russian troops. They decided this question democratically and all of them stressed the they would accept the decision taken by the majority. The majority was on Torockói’s side so the movement became legal, they established a printery and started their propaganda activity. Then the movement consisted of 500 active members. Afterwards they had a conflict with the Bolsheviks again, who eliminated the hostile group when they got an opportunity (it happened under the Stalinist era when there was a strike in a factory in Csepel). So their inorganization, democratism, the lack of a clear common program doomed to self-liquidation their far-leftist, popular frontist, class collaborationist attempt. Finally the so much wished Red Army arrived and continued the exenteration of the working class just as the Arrowed movement did it before. They broke everything, looted the flats of the workers, raped the women and girls who came their way, those who tried to resist were shooted down. The soldiers captured by them were deported, executed, a lot of workers became „guest” of the Gulag for long decades. From the entire population which consisted of 14,6 million people approximately 340000-360000 soldiers and 600000 civilians (mostly workers) were killed during the triumphant campaign of the bourgeoisie. The „new era” meant nothing positive for the working class, when it came out from the shelters only got the future of misery and exploitation within different bourgeois framework. The next chain-link of capitalism was the bolshevization, then the original version of monopol capitalism was renewed. We, however, still have only one task which is not easy: to liquidate the class society in order that we could sit down to drink a beer in such a way that we didn’t need to look at the prices and at the time. There is the cold beer… can you see it?

Working class and proletariat

At the middle of the twenties, more than 20% of the workers worked longer than 10 hours per day, in Kőbánya, 12-13 years old working-class children grubbed 12 hours a day, they carried bricks for a monthly wage of 7 pengos. Because of workplace casualties, approximately 3000 – 4000 workers died or became disabled every year. In 1926, the average rent of a fusty, buggy flat was equal to 217 pengos, hence there were a lot who – in order to be able to pay the rent – had to hire out some sleeping places for night. A lot of worker families starved, in Budapest, 51% of the workers could not eat three times a day. Epidemics ravaged in the working-class districts. Kispest, Ferencváros, Pesterzsébet, Angyalföld… The tainted piped water did its part. There were a lot of suicides, one from every 2000 inhabitants of Budapest committed suicide (the reason was usually the blind-alley life of the working class member). „The radio speaks loudly far and wide, the writers write, the play-actors play, the movie goes on. At the same time, the inhabitants of the house in Visegrádi street 20-24. are sitting in their rooms and kitchens, wearily and bitterly, in most cases, at the light of paraffine lamp, they are sleeping, gaze into space, maybe quarrel with each other. And if they have a lot of free time, they may bethink theirselves of the fact that their fate is much better than that of the Abyssinian natives, because they live in culture, and a well organized bourgeois society keeps guard over their material and spiritual goods. And those who are totally possessed by this beautiful thought, fall asleep earlier than the others, only to go with fresh force to penury labour in the morning.” (György Bálint)

At the end of the twenties, the members of the working class slowly and gradually started to confront the flagrant crisis of capital, they experienced directly that the capitalists shifted their losses upon them once again. In 1929, mainly Bolshevik activists started a hunger strike in the prisons, which was probably organized by the illegal Bolshevik party. Misery and the lack of any perspectives brought the working class to the streets again and again but those were not the real interests of the proletariat which were standing behind the demonstrations and strikes, which had become regular since the spring of 1930 – these were merely the democratic actions of the workers floundering in the train of the social democratic and Bolshevik parties. In 1929, already 75000 industrial workers were jobless. Various movements of the unemployed were formed, with the fuss of the trade unions’ in the background. There were demonstrations in Kispest, Szeged, Debrecen, Gyöngyös, Pécs and other bigger towns. At 26th of January 1930, on a demonstration in Budapest organized by the KMP, the demonstrators confronted the police on the Rákóczi street, one policeman was knocked off. But these demonstrations were quickly disarmed by promising various subsidies and by negotiations. It was time for the working class to face the fact that it can expect absolutely nothing neither from its leftist functionaries, who had been using the masses for the sake of their own ambitions, nor from the government which gave only so much aid which was barely enough to avoid dying of hunger, this way securing the possibility to put them to work at any time. The left-wing parties used tactics and threw their slogans to the masses according to the actual balance of forces. At this time, the 7-hours working day and 40-hours working week was on the agenda of the reformist workers’ movement. These had been borrowed by the social democratic movement from its western relatives in 1931. The organized workers were organized by the reformist left-wing political forces, and the unorganized were often scabs, so capital preferred to employ the latter. Just like today, the bourgeoisie was good in exploiting the division of the working class. The „foreign workers” often confronted the local ones, the right-wing raised his word against the non-Hungarian workers, demanded their firing and deportation (the characteristics of nationalism has been the same up until today). Some social democrats sometimes put forward the same demands (the social democrats from Gyor in 1931, for instance). The jobless often clashed with those employed – there were not even the palest signs of class solidarity.

But still, the proletariat in Hungary was breathing, moving, organizing. At 1st of September 1930, a gigantic demonstration took place in Budapest.

First of September, 1930

„In Pest, on the pavestone,
Flows the blood of the prole,
Noises of machine-guns and rifles
Are not quiet as yesterday
Red Tomorrow is awakening!
Our song about the revolution”

The events in September did not surprise the authorities, the quickly worsening economic conditions during the world-wide economic crisis led to a densification of strikes which showed the growing combative mood of the proletariat. The social democrats called the masses on the streets on 1st of September, but the proletarian-killers wanted to see a silent demonstration of the sneaky mass. The KMP spoke to the masses in a more radical tone, it called for a loud, militant demonstration – which could show the power of the party. A mass of 150 thousand people marched on the Andrássy boulevard and in its surroundings, the army of demonstrators flowed on the streets shouting „Down with Horthy!”, „Down with Bethlen!”. The slogans were still moderate, they demanded „Work and bread!”. On the corner of the Andrássy boulevard, the policemen blocked the road and attacked the mass, which clashed with the hirelings of the state shouting „Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat!” and „Down with the government!” A politician from the opposition tried to soothe the angry proletarians who reacted by burning his car. The social democratic leaders desperately recognized that the hell had broken loose, and that it was only the help of the police which had saved them from having been killed. The revolt had already reached the Városliget (City Park), in the city there were overturned trams, cars, scattered pavestones everywhere. „Let’s beat the policemen to death!” – the cry spread on the squares, but the police volley-firing killed a 22-years old comrade. The empty-stomached proletarians of the street became even angrier. The city center turned into a battlefield, but except of several well-organized actions at which the cordons were broken through, the will of the masses was not uniform in respect to the means of reaching the concrete aims. They clashed with the armed forces of the state, they distributed the leaflets written by the blinding light of the paraffine lamp, the International could be heard several times, but they did not manage to generally revolutionize the working class. The proletarians confronted the armed forces of the ruling class in the countryside, too. The proles of Miskolc, Gyor and other towns fought their street battles separately. The series of events at 1st of September could have been a turning point in the life of the proletariat, since such huge masses had not been on the streets since the proletarian revolution. But the weapon of mass strike and the raising of barricades didn’t prove to be enough to escalate the struggle. The demonstration remained defensive, no concrete program or idea were put forward, also nothing about the question how the struggle had to swing further. The revolt was also not coordinated with the members of the working class living in the neighbouring countries. Some voices of solidarity emerged in the movement press, but generally the Stalinists monopolized the evaluation of the events, the majority of the world proletariat didn’t even hear about what happened.

Bangladeshi strike wave rolls on; rocks, papers and cloth

SOC: Although this article is dealing too much with corruption citing capitalist media, still it is a good material as a report on the latest developments in the Bangladesh strike wave, and on the other hand it shows perfectly how that fearsome primitive accumulation is working in practice.

Labour unrest continues[1] in diverse areas, including rock mining and the garment industry.

The garment industry

In the Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector, regular outbursts of wildcat strikes, riots, roadblocks and attacks on factories continue…

Kanchpur area, Narayanganj District, central Bangladesh – Tuesday, May 25th; fierce clashes occurred between police and garment workers; at 5.15pm workers left factories and began demonstrating, barricading the main Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Chittagong highways. A police box was set on fire and several vehicles attacked. As police arrived, workers threw bricks – cops replied with baton charges and shotgun fire to regain control. 50 people were injured, including 10 cops.

What seems to make this more than just another run-of-the-mill clash over pay, arrears or conditions of work – similar to those occurring bi-weekly in the garment sector – are the demands of the workers. These are reported as that “house rent in Kanchpur industrial area and the adjacent neighbourhood be lowered and supply of gas and water ensured.” Recognising that the nominal working wage is only one part of the equation in measuring class exploitation, these demands (along with growing generalised demands for a living minimum wage) suggest a process whereby workers are beginning to use their workplace power as producers to express wider demands of their class as a whole and to challenge the totality of their conditions of existence as proletarians. That is ‘class consciousness’ in practice.

8 * 8 * 8

Hard rock mining

Dinajpur, far north-western Bangladesh, Rangpur Division – Wednesday May 26th ; Miners of Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Ltd (MGMCL) have called off their four-day-old indefinite strike. The 292 strikers agreed to return to work after their union negotiated a promise that workers’ demands – for ending casualisation by granting permanent employment status and for payment of wage arrears – would be met within the next year.

The strike began on Sunday morning. The next day, workers locked 100 management officials (including the Managing Director) in the residential complex and cut off electricity and water. Some officials were released to attend negotiations with the union on Tuesday night, leading to the agreement on Wednesday.

8 * 8 * 8

“I either want less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.” (Ashleigh Brilliant)

The Maddhapara mine has a history typical of all that is corrupt and inefficient in the Bangladeshi economy – symptoms that inhibit economic expansion. Constructed by a North Korean company and opened in 2008, it has the capacity to produce daily thousands of tons of high quality granite. The government planned that the rock would be sold both commercially and also used in public works infrastructure projects by state agencies such as the Roads and Highways, Bangladesh Water Development Board and the Bangladesh Railway.

Bangladesh had long been dependent on Indian imports of granite and the new mine is able to undercut the imported rock price by more than half. It was estimated the mine could

…produce 1.65 million tons of hard rock annually, thus saving more than US$ 360 million of foreign exchange. Moreover, according to experts, if the production of the project could be diversified in establishing a plant to cut and produce high quality granite tiles, it would meet the local demand as well as open a new vista of opportunity for Bangladesh in getting huge income from the export trade. (http://www.globalpolitician.com/24884-bangladesh)

But this did not please the local rock import/export traders on both sides of the border, who have bribed bureaucrats to ignore government directives to supply public works projects with the cheaper source of local rock.

‘Service contractors, engaged by the public-sector organizations for their work such as the protection of embankment or construction of road, as well as private-sector organizations depend on imported rocks to siphon off money by evading taxes or by buying low-quality rocks,’ said a Petrobangla source.(ibid.)

They were aided in this by Bangladesh’s biggest media empire, known as the “Star Group” (owned by the Transcom trading conglomerate). Owners of leading English language paper the Daily Star, various Bengali publications and a radio station, its founder-owner Latifur Rahman has used the media arm of Transcom to promote his business interests, represented by the industrial sectors of Transcom, and to discredit economic rivals. The Maddhapara mine has been a target of Transcom’s smears since it was under construction.

Rahman began his career in the jute mill industry, once the country’s leading industry. As the jute sector declined in the 1990s Rahman closed his mills and ran off without paying thousands of his employees. He also ripped off the Central Bank for several longstanding loans.

But Rahman was soon back in business, able to secure millions of dollars in funding from his wife’s cousin, Anup Chetia, businessman and leader of ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom – a separatist group from Assam, demanding liberation of several north-eastern Indian states). Gaining a franchise as sole distributor of Nestle brand milk products in Bangladesh, Rahman rapidly built up Transcom by diversifying into various business interests, acquiring ownership of Pepsi, Phillips and several large industrial enterprises along the way. Smuggling is rumoured as another major area of operation.

It’s also claimed Rahman has turned a crafty profit supplying public infrastructure projects with inferior materials;

‘Everyone knows the news about cracks in Jamuna Multi-purpose Bridge in Bangladesh. But, possibly no one knows the fact that the main reason behind such cracks was due to use of a particular brand of cement, which in the name of Portland Grey Cement is in fact fly ash mixed lowest grade cement. And, this inferior quality of cement went into various high cost projects in Bangladesh just because; chairman of the company producing and marketing this brand is none but Transcom´s Latifur Rahman. (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/64216)%5B2%5D

There have been several dangerous faults and collapses of building projects in the country – with corruption often at every level, quality and safety are quickly sacrificed.

“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” (Simon Cameron)

Since 2005, as the mine’s opening approached, the Daily Star began publishing articles falsely claiming that the mine’s granite would be more expensive than the imported variety. Defending it’s own business interests, it produced a steady stream of stories designed to discredit the mine’s economic viability;

‘It is learnt that, some vested interest groups, including importers of stones and stone-chips from India, Myanmar and Malaysia are patronizing such media terror by Star, thus attempting to sabotage country´s most prospective project, which not only is already saving millions of dollars, but, also is set to turn into a huge prospect of earning millions of dollars from export of world-class Granite Tiles. (ibid.)

One of the cruder attempts at misinformation appeared on the Star’s front page in 2008. Commenting on ‘Nam-nam’, the North Korean contractors who built the mine, the Star showed its geo-political ignorance;

In this report, Daily Star wrote, “Nam-nam is now operating the mine with 65 South Koreans under a one-year service contract due to expire on May 27. As it did not fully transfer the South Korean technology to the MGMCL, it will get yet another year’s service contract, the sources said.”

[…] … the reporter knows nothing of the project but was writing thing being dictated by vested interest groups. In the same news, while the reporter said Nam-Nam is a North Korean company, how he could discover 65 South Koreans in the project (does he lack the minimum knowledge that North and South Korea do not have any diplomatic relations as yet?). (ibid.)

Unsurprisingly, Bangladesh has one of the weakest infrastructures in the world, with consequences for health, lifespan, transportation, commerce etc. This is how a capitalist think-tank describes the problems of capital accumulation;

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and has struggled to attract foreign investment in a business environment marked by pervasive corruption, cumbersome regulations and an inconsistent and politicised approach to the rule of law. The country has been at or near the bottom of numerous accountability, transparency and corruption indices for several years. Encouragingly, Bangladesh’s 2007-2008 military-backed government implemented a programme of widespread institutional reform and, in an unprecedented move, set out to aggressively tackle the country’s high levels of corruption, resulting in the conviction of corrupt businesspeople, politicians and high-ranking officials. Nevertheless, corruption continues to be widespread at all administrative levels. Companies report inadequate supply of infrastructure as the biggest constraint to investment in Bangladesh, followed by corruption and an inefficient government bureaucracy. The vast majority of companies expect to pay bribes to public officials in order to do business, while just one in four companies perceive the judiciary to be fair, impartial and uncorrupted. (Business Anti-Corruption Portal – http://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/south-asia/bangladesh)

“Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime.” (Olavo de Cavarlho)
The anti-corruption element of the 2007-2008 ‘caretaker’ military-backed government was – surprise, surprise – itself corrupted. Showing the extent of Transcom’s web of power;

Daily Star group managed to send its Executive Editor Syed Fahim Munayem as the Press Secretary to the Chief Executive of the interim government. Even at later stage, when Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) issued notice on Latifur Rahman asking declaration of his wealth and assets, the entire issue was some how put into suppression with the help of Daily Star-Prothom Alo group. (ibid.)

Everything can be bought, and, while it’s for sale, everything will be. Rahman and Transcom have continued to avoid any effective legal investigation of their operations.

NOTES

1) See earlier article; http://libcom.org/news/river-workers-strike-over-deal-struck-strike-wave-grows-18052010

2) For more on Rahman’s empire and his Daily Star’s hostility to the Maddhapara Mine project, see; When the media turns into evil – June 09, 2008; http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/64216

source

Agrarian misery, bondage and struggle

The poor peasants and wagewokers of the villages and farms also lingered on after the defeat of the revolution. The agrarian workers had „fixed labour-time” in the sense that they were working literally day in day out. They were usually on bread and water and ate some onion – this was their repast, which was calmly called lunch break. Their nutrition was „very manifold and abundant”, they ate meat and fruits very rarely, all the more bread, onion, and scrambled soup. In his book Néma forradalom (‘Silent Revolution’) Imre Kovács writes down in detail how the poor countrywomen (afterwards agrarian workers) had killed their children since the period of serfdom not to bear the children into misery, while the ruling class had been treating about the considerable wane of the Hungarian. In Zoltán Szabó’s book entitled Tardi helyzet (‘Circumstances in Tard’) an eleven years old girl of agrarian working-class origin who vegetated in Tard reported on the manifoldness of her diet as follows: “I don’t eat meat, because there is no meat.” Plain answer. (Nowadays the “condemned men” of the Diósgyor carcase-pit can eat some meat because they engorge the city’s carcases of dogs, of cats, etc. Corking repast!). This shocking world is unveiled against us, if we read the works of the Hungarian “narodniks”.3 he social imprint of the feudal-capitalist dirt of the misery: farm-hands, day-wage men sentenced to everlasting grind. The backwardness was reflected by the fact that the agrarian working class was unable even to form trade unions, thus only the social democrats and the Bolsheviks were agitating in the countryside, however they were not too successful. The formerly relatively strong agrarian-socialist movement, however, occurred from time to time and caused watchful nights for the gendarmerie for weeks at a time. The organizational level of our class, however, was not so depressing, as one could conclude from the above facts.

In this period, due to the capitalist transformation of the Hungarian economy, class antagonism became simplified to two antagonistic classes. Therewith the mental forms of feudal backwardness, however, dominated strongly. The landlords remained the same pitty monarchs at their lands, like they had formerly been as landed gentries. In spite of that capitalism had liberalized the economy, it took a whale of a time till the culture of capitalism also entered the old rustic milieu and displaced it from its secular lethargy. The Hungarian rural bourgeoise, with his genteel hobbies, romantic nationalism, and his intense greed, could exploit the wageworkers living there in the most extreme forms. There were genteel sprees (sticking pigs, hard drink and wine, bitches, pipe smoke and headache at dawn…), all these were paid from the exploited work of the farm-hands, day-wage men and ground-men. Meanwhile the arrogant former gentries were gradually becoming bankrupt and they had to abandon their feudal style of living and were under the necessity of acclimatizing to the day-to-day challenges of capital. Their subjects were the ground-men, the day-wage men, the farm-hands and the smallholders who were farming their small lands – the exploited agrarian working class consisted of them. There could be economic differences between them, like a street-cleaner differs from a greengrocer (who functions as the possessor of the means of production but unable to profit from it beyond his or her own living) who uses his or her own labour force and doesn’t exploit alien labour.

„The land reform of the counter-revolution created parcels of 2-3 acres which were unviable, over and above the redemption totally impoverished the new landholders. Since 1920 the number of smallholders increased from 720000 to 912932. Due to this the land reform not only made the distribution of the land even more unbeneficial, but increased the degree of exploitation of the agrarian labour force and caused catastrophic decrease in the wages of the day-wage men. It’s well-known that the smallholder, even within general conditions, was unable to pay his way only by farming his own land. He had to sell his labour force and to work for an other person in order to earn the money required to cover the shortcoming. Actually his interests are the same that of the day-wage man, since both of them, against the employer, try to obtain the highest wages possible. In case of unemployment, however, the smallholder has an advantage over the day-wage man living only from selling his labour force, because the smallholder can gain his subsistence in part from his land. The land reform not only increased the number of smallholders, but at the same time due to the redemption charged them. The smallholder couldn’t dreamt that working on his 1-2 acres’ parcel he would be able to pay both the redemption, the tax and would have enough money for his own living and for his family. He had to snatch with the avidity of despair for every realizable and unrealizable chance to work, for any wages. In fact the land reform opposed the smallholders who got some land to the day-wage men and according to the official data of the Ministry of Agricultural, between 1926 and 1931 decreased the yearly average wage of the agrarian workers from 429 to 227 pengos.” – noted the Marxist István Miklós Stolte in his brochure entitled Az ezer éves per: földreform és telepítés (‘The Thousand Years Old Cause: Land Reform and Settlement’).

Out of the workers exploited in the agriculture the typical wageworker, the day-wage man got the lowest wage, which was approximately 180 pengos per year (it was just enough to avoid dying of hunger) in the early thirties. The farm-hand earned yearly 200 pengos. The day-wage man beyond his beggarly wage got some flare, potatoes, flour, etc. in order that he could avoid dying of hunger and could go to work again. In general there were two gainers in an agrarian working-class family. In 1930 there were 220000 families of farm-hands and 560000 families of day-wage men, approximately. The day-wage men in average worked yearly 120-150 days, they usually didn’t have any work in winter so then the level of unemployment was very high. Out of the workers dragging on a miserable existence a lot of people were analphabet (accoding to certain sources in 1930 the administration „didn’t want to give Bible” into the hands of 433000 analphabets). And if somebody learnt to read, that person „was molesting the administration”, as the following report shows: „András Pethes, as the first member of the family who learnt to read and to write, ascribed unhuman power to the letters. He sent applications and petitions to all of the imaginable powers and listed his charges against the squire. In these he grouped the thousand year old discontents of the peasantry, which broke from his conscience out, with especial excitement. Finally the administration sent him into madhouse, since the father behaved intractably and was reiterating that the land concerns the people.” – wrote Géza Féja.

Against the mass of the agrarian working class stood the rural bourgeoisie (small capitalists and great landlords) as well as the urban aristocrats (of course they were also bourgeois) who possessed estates in the countryside. Since the mid of the 19th century (when the “civil revolution” had swept over Austria-Hungary, together with the industrial revolution) the feudal conditions had been gradually abolished by the capitalist development which commenced also in Hungary. But the level of the capitalist development fixated on a primogenous level of capitalist economy even in the first decades of the twentieth century and only slowly passed yesterday feudalism. The mode of production was transformed, the latifundia were farmed by wageworkers, however the rural provinciality was capitalizing very slowly. As Ferenc Erdei country-researcher wote: “An other feature of the countryside is its backwardness. It means that everything happens sooner in the town, and even the things which happen sooner in the countryside or happen only there, become important according to the town. In the town the newspapers appear, the news arrives sooner, most of the initiatives arise from there and especially the prices are formed there. Rain and hailstorm are the events of the countryside, but also these become a social affair through the price-forming, the news and the standpoints of the town market. And, above all: much or, one might as well say, all of the major events of the bourgeois society take place only in the town, so the countryside can participate in them necessarily only secondly, only as a follower or as a borrower. Now this secondary and backward condition forms either the affirmative acceptance of backwardness or the striving against backwardness as special rural attitudes. The village close to the town follows quickly and tries not to stay out from anything, but the godforsaken village – which hardly can do anything other – forms a principle from its backwardness, or languishes and dies under the burden of backwardness which cannot be remedied or beautified by turning it into a conservative principle.” According to this, the statements of József Révai (who had a sometimes very meaty dialectical critical ability, but who was advancing more and more towards Stalinism) are also valid: “Of course the main power – big capitalism – is in the hands of Budapest, but there is a Hungarian speciality – the dictatorship of the capital over the countryside gets along with the dictatorship of the countryside over the capital. Economically, financially and culturally, the capital is the master, but the countryside takes revenge, and it subjugates the capital in Budapest itself. The class compromise dominating over the life of the Hungarian society since 1867 manifests itself: the upper classes of Budapest borrow the strata, with which they keep both the countryside and Budapest below them, from the countryside. But the synthesis of the big capitalist and feudal forces is not a total fusion but only the ‘unity of the opposites’, that’s why a new unity has to be created – by struggle and bargain – again and again.”

So, this was the basis on which the resistance of the agrarian proletariat developed. Even during the most serious harassments, some agrarian socialist cells gave a sign of life. At the spring of 1921, and illegal cell was created in Endrod, other groups were formed later in Jászapáti and Jászszentlászló, and the organizing efforts manifested themselves also in the growing number of isolated strikes. Arrests and worrying were on the agenda. The Bolshevik fraction in Vienna kept contacts with those Bolshevik groups in Hungary which were regularly leafleting in the area of the Tisza river, cheering the “new proletarian power”. The social democratic party also continued its petty political practices (in the environs of Nagymaros, the party promised several thousand koronas for those who voted for them, but if they didn’t vote they were threatened with unemployment), while the agrarian workers, who were followers of the party, were continuously worried by the gendarmerie. At the 20’s, only a pale shadow remained from the old, powerful agrarian socialist movement, the main problem was that the industrial proletariat and the agrarian proletariat were unable to create their own unified party-cells. At the one hand, the agrarian proletariat had been startled by the practices of the Bolshevik-social democratic party during the Council Republic. During this, they experienced that the old masters had been replaced by new ones or the masters even remained the same, (“The Hungarian agrarian proletariat with its low level of education couldn’t understand that in technical and functioning questions it had to obey the same farm manager who had subjugated and bled it – in the name of the landowner – before the revolution” – remarked Jeno Varga in 1921, dealing with the agrarian critique of the Council Republic), they “hunger for land” had not been satisfied, just like before.

Moreover, such dividing forces as the various smallholders’ and farmers’ parties, associations, federations were present, which promised land reform and which had a strong influence thorough the country. The organizations of the urban proletariat were both numerically and organizationally weak to embrace the whole of the Hungarian working class, and a mere propaganda activity wouldn’t have been enough to revolutionize their fellow sufferers if those were not revolutionized by their immediate reality. The urban and the rural proletariat were dependent on each other, each of them would have had to encounter the bourgeoisie on its “own terrain” while trying to unify their forces. But except for some single events, this did not take place in the given period. Though the agricultural working class counted millions, it was isolated and scattered which enabled the power to keep it in check. The circumstances of the agrarian workers were even worse than those of the industrial workers, since its lack of organization made it naked to the landowner. The risk of the enterprise was partially shifted on them, since if there was a bad harvest, they received less wage for more work, this way unfreely taking over a part of the bourgeois’ loss. And if they tried to stick up for their interests then they could easily become unemployed since there was a considerable redundancy in agricultural workforce throughout the whole period.

Nevertheless, the army of the exploited, which was weakened after the revolution, slowly started to feel its legs. At the summer of 1920, several proles in Sümeg refused to swear an oat at the conscription, and shouting „We don’t swear!”, singing the International, they left the hall. The authorities literally hunted to our comrades at the homesteads, in the villages, in the dusty small towns and also in Budapest. Flatfeet were snooping around, until now this has been succeeded by the technique of universal camera-settings. The same disgusting atmosphere was scragging the agricultural and industrial proletariat, the bourgeois carrion-blow of which we can feel today again in the press, on the streets and squares, on the markets, in the villages and on the trams. Provincialism coupled with nationalist scamming and with the profit-hunting mechanism dictated by the ruling class. In spite of all these, the proletariat’s will to live manifested itself in countless ways – from the refusal of work until the arrests because of movement-organizing activity, from the strikes up until the bloody struggles on the streets. The state organs sorrowfully discovered that at a lot of places, the agricultural proletarians decorated their walls with the pictures of Marx and Lassalle instead of crosses. The series of tortures, interrogations couldn’t break the impetus of the agricultural proletariat’s struggle which was often unorganized but undoubtedly permanent. From the middle of the 20’s the strikes proliferated – in 1926 at the time of harvest the production was paralyzed in several places because the reapers stopped working. At this time there was a walk-out also in Nyírmártonfalva, the strikers were arrested for one month. There were strikes also in Moson, in Mezogyána and other places. Gumshoes and lurkers traveled throughout the country, and bombarded the state organs with their reports. In a report from 1928 we can read: „Unemployment spreads more and more, thousands of ground-men are condemned to inaction and discontent rises more and more. The vital interests of 70000 people who are able to work are in question, who will get into a crucial situation if we don’t help them by creating sufficient job opportunities. There are 5000 members in the ground-men’s contractor co-operative but these also cannot provide job opportunities. One must let the redundant workers to go abroad and the church must also work more on education to ‘fraternal love’ since as less we deal with our working masses as more their private and public life will be driven towards extremities – harmful internationalism and disbelief.” In several places there were imprisoned those workers who started to organize because of the sleazy fare and the low wages. The usually unorganized „labour troubles” were quickly smashed by the authorities, but they were not able to short out the self-organizing agricultural proletariat itself from the world of misery. Much were fired, the strikers were often doomed to prison or penalty (if the comrade was imprisoned at harvest time then its family was doomed to dying of hunger). The wage struggles usually ended with a defeat, and this intimidated the strikers since the bogy of firing and incarceration was hovering over their heads.

The Bolsheviks, thus also the MSZMP (‘Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party’; the legal cover-party of the Bolsheviks which was created in 1925) found out that the struggle of the agricultural proletariat and that of the industrial proletariat had to be swung to the same direction, this was also propagated by them in one of their proclamations distributed in the countryside, in which they urged the unification of the workers of the town and those of the countryside. But our Bolsheviks were not able to slough their elitist skin also in this case. Deeply scorning the agricultural proletariat, they stressed that it is the urban proletariat which is only capable of leading their struggle to victory. This typical, falsely understood vanguard-fudge was later accepted within the ranks of agrarian workers (after the “World War II”, in particular), but until that the Bolshevik agitation had harmed the life of the oppressed of the villages with less efficiency. Certainly, the unification of the forces – on the basis of mutual dependence – would have been important for the agricultural and the industrial proletariat, but this was not realized.