Herrschaftsfreie Basisgewerkschaft – Österreichische Sektion der IAA

Call for mutual aid!

In English, Feminismus, International, Solidarity on 6. August 2021 at 23:26

Support local Afghan anarchists!

Dieser Artikel auf Deutsch

The WAS participates in the international campaign of our Pakistani comrades to bring anarchists from Afghanistan into safety. At the moment, money is the best way to show solidarity from Europe. Therefore we call for as much money as possible, which we will send to Pakistan and coordinate the transfer to Peshawar, as we are in direct contact with the syndicate there via the IAA (International Workers‘ Association). Here is the full story:

Our new comrades from the Workers Solidarity Initiative WSI have been active in Pakistan for over two years. This young anarcho-syndicalist union has grown considerably and is currently active in ten Pakistani cities. Right now there are well established syndicates in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. This is why the WSI has increasingly been appearing as the “Workers Solidarity Federation” WSF. Just like we did this year, they are planning to change their status from „Friends of the IAA“ to full membership next year, and will apply to join our worldwide union federation as a section.

Multi-ethnic state of Pakistan and the situation in Peshawar

WSI/WSF

The syndicate in Peshawar, in the north-western border region to Afghanistan, has direct contacts with anarchists in Afghanistan. This is not surprising, since the language is the same and there are already around three million Afghan refugees in the region. Peshawar is a two million city like Vienna. Unfortunately, it is also the area where most of the Islamic fundamentalists are active. The area is considered a retreat for the Taliban, and the support of the Pakistani army and the secret service for the Afghan clerical fascists should be well known by now. Nevertheless, the local syndicate is trying to advocate for libertarian socialism and to organize with many workers. As one can probably imagine, they’re currently doing this under the most adverse circumstances. The Islamists are demonstrating on the streets every day, the Pakistani army has currently closed the borders completely and – apart from the Taliban – does not let anyone in or out, cell phone masts are being shut down every day, and stable internet access is always a game of chance.

The current situation and goals

The syndicate in Peshawar now urgently wants to get our comrades out of Afghanistan. The primal goal is to get them to Pakistan as soon as possible, before Taliban governance can solidify. The Anarchists are currently stuck in Afghanistan and their situation must be viewed as potentially life-threatening. They must leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. We strive to enable them to live in the region, but to permanently remove them from the Taliban’s access and threat. This also costs a lot of money. It is a manageable group of people who are all personally known. It is important for us to emphasize this, since it is a direct mutual aid in the most original sense of worker solidarity. We are not talking about a vague “donation campaign” or an impersonal charity campaign. We are speaking of direct action by our comrades who want to get their people out of there and save them!

In case there will still be money left, the secondary goal is to support the workers who are already living in the region and who came as refugees from Afghanistan. These are not members of the WSI / WSF, but workers who have to live in extreme poverty. Everyone is anti-Taliban and the goal is not to leave the field to the fundamentalists in the area, but to support the workers directly.

Situation and financial coordinate system

Reproduction costs of a simple/poor person in Pakistan are about 120 Euro a month. A low-income worker’s monthly wage starts at 100 Euros. A liter of milk costs 0.6 Euros in the supermarket, bread 0.5 Euros. In most areas the purchase power factor is likely to be 1: 5 in relation to Austria. One Euro brings in at least five times as much on site as in Austria. But one can do a lot with little money – as long as it is a matter of simply continuing to exist. The assessment is that with 50 Euros a workers survival can be ensured for one month.

Hand over the cash

So we decided to not only to support the WSI / WSF’s call for donating money to Pakistan as WAS and send as much as possible ourselves, but also to publicly ask you – the interested public – for your contribution, for several reasons. On the one hand, we want to impress a young union with a shining example! 😉 On the other hand, it is particularly important in areas that are not shaped by the West to strengthen structures that are free of domination. Anarchists in Afghanistan and Pakistan are really fundamentally very remarkable and can serve as models for other oppressed people of the Global South and with imperialist experience of oppression, and bring the advantages of anarcho-syndicalism closer. Also we think that nothing compares to direct help from workers to workers.

Since we are in direct contact with Peshawar, we coordinate the transfer for the German-speaking area. We collect the money and make sure that it arrives in Pakistan. For this we can lean on a reliable network in the International Workers‘ Association. We also recently had a detailed phone call with Australian comrades who are very deep into the matter and have already established a secure method of transferring money. The aim is to keep the local syndicate under radar and to not draw the authorities or local Islamist’s attention by a large amount of money sent their way. For example, some western banks have to report transfers to Pakistan generally to the authorities, who then do “anti-terrorism investigations”. What a mockery, considering how easily the Taliban can operate in Pakistan and how their money flows unhindered …

Nevertheless, we are currently also taking care of direct transfer options, as we want to keep the fees as low as possible and are reluctant to send money around the globe.

And how?

In Vienna We propose that you give cash directly to the syndicate member you trust. You are also invited to come to any open meeting. Every Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Ottakring. If you are outside, just contact us by email or phone, and we will tell you how we organize the money handover. A SEPA account is also available. Or you can send us an (anonymous) letter with cash in the old-fashioned way.

The French comrades of the CNT-AIT have also created the common “Internet click option”, which we, if necessary, can also pass on to you. However, we advise against it, firstly for data protection reasons and secondly because of bad experiences with money that is then not released. In addition, the fees are exorbitant and outrageous, and we want to make life easier for Afghan anarchists, not American corporations!

And then?

We will continue to be in direct contact with the WSI / WSF in the future and will endeavor to publish updates and news as far as the security situation allows. However, we would generally prefer to also achieve a level of organization in Austria that does not even need such public appeals. A federation that can simply transfer an appropriate contribution itself and that would not need any “marketing” or “attention economy in the Left Spectacle”. Where everyone naturally works together as a working class purely based on solidarity. With regard to this pious wish, we can still learn a lot from the WSI / WSF, which is progressing under far more violent circumstances and has grown considerably in a very short time. Not to mention the Afghan comrades, whose fight indeed a matter of life and death.

But first let’s get them out of there together. And then we will see.

Feel free to spread this appeal across all channels.


Update September 3, 2021

They’re male and female anarchists! As we have learned on the 2nd of September, they are anarchists of both sexes from Afghanistan. We must have misunderstood the information from the IWA Asia Pacific Subsecretariat. Although we checked the article before it was published and first sent it to WSI / WSF in Pakistan to approve it, we do not want to blame the comrades who are currently under enormous pressure. We incorrectly emphasized that it would be only about Afghan women in the first version of the article from August 21st. We apologize for this mistake!

There is already a first positive feedback from Peshawar, the first 6 anarchists (men and women) have been brought to safety from Afghanistan! More are to follow shortly. We also expect a report from the WSI / WSF.


WAS-IAA
Wiener ArbeiterInnen-Syndikat
Österreichische Sektion der Internationalen ArbeiterInnen-Assoziation
Gewerkschaft für ArbeiterInnen aller Berufe und sonstige Ausgebeutete!
Internet: https://wiensyndikat.wordpress.com
Email: wien.syndikat@riseup.net
Tel.: 0664/874 34 34
Postanschrift: WAS, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Wien

Article published on 08/21/2021 on the WAS blog. Copying possible with reference to the source. Images: WSI/WSF.

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