Edinburgh Green Anti-Capitalist Front
Fuck Your Capital Issue #001
The Green Anti-Capitalist Front are an alliance of groups and individuals, united by a belief that capitalism is the core cause of the environmental crisis threatening us all. If we do not act soon, it is the poor and the powerless who will suffer most in an era of escalating crises. Capitalism is an economic system based on infinite growth on a finite planet. This logic renders capitalism - whether “green” or neoliberal - fundamentally at odds with those of sustainability that liberal groups such as Extinction Rebellion seek to adopt. We must develop a concept of what a different future may look like, outside of both fossil fuels and the constraints of capital. Hence, the Green Anti-Capitalist Front are calling for a broad anti-capitalist environmental movement based around the following points of unity.
CAPITALISM IS THE CRISIS 1. A global economic system reliant on capitalists and the inconceivable wealth that they hoard cannot be trusted to effectively combat climate change when doing so threatens their profits. We must make the link between capitalism and environmental degradation explicit, and critique the role of the state in facilitating this.
WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM While the imminence of climate change requires that we put pressure on the state and capital in the short-term, we must develop a long-term plan which replaces these outdated and corrupt institutions to solve the systematic problems that have allowed this crisis to come about. It is imperative that we centre this new system around the concepts of (a) international class solidarity, (b) collective power, (c) a diverse range of tactics, and (d) horizontal, bottom-up structures of organisation.
INTERNATIONAL CLASS SOLIDARITY We must be internationalist in our scope, and ensure that victories for workers in the Global North don’t merely force environmental problems onto workers in the Global South. We must take a hard stance against nationalism in an increasingly globalised world.
BUILDING COLLECTIVE POWER Any action we take, any struggles we link up for, should leave us stronger, not weaker. Win or lose, each action and campaign should leave us more aware of the world around us, more confident in our collective power, and more experienced in our ability to self-organise.
DIVERSITY OF TACTICS We must develop a diversity of tactics that is not dependent on the actions of politicians or corporations developing a conscience to achieve its goals. We must avoid any socalled victory that relies on the ‘good will’ of a politician or the ‘expertise’ of a nongovernmental organisation.
HORIZONTAL, BOTTOM-UP STRUCTURE We cannot replicate the corrupt and outdated structures that we have seen do not work. Our movement must be horizontal and autonomous in structure, enabling us to represent the interests of those that the capitalist class consider expendable. Everybody knows the statistics. Shock factor alone won’t solve the crisis. Join or set-up your local GAF today.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
Anarchism in 300 words
In mainstream political discourse, ‘anarchy’ is used as a snarl word, associated particularly with chaos. The reality is very different. Anarchism can be understood in terms of what anarchists oppose, what anarchists advocate, and how anarchists seek to transform the world. Anarchists seek to dismantle social hierarchies such as white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, transphobia, ableism, and the state, and to replace these hierarchical social forms with horizontal organisation. Anarchists oppose these hierarchies because they place arbitrary restriction on the exercise of valuable human capacities for self-directed activity. Under capitalism, we lack control over our workplaces and communities; we don’t have a say in the decisions that affect our lives, and this lack of a say in the decisions that affect our lives has all sorts of negative impacts on us as human beings. It damages our mental health and we internalise the self-destructive idea that we do not deserve to live in a free society. Anarchists advocate non-hierarchical forms of organisation. Historically the most significant example of anarchism in action would be during the Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939, in which millions of people participated in establishing workers’ control over the economy (see Frank Mintz - Anarchism and Workers’ Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain for more information). Another example would be what is currently taking place in Rojava, where anarchistic ideas such as democratic confederalism have been implemented. We advocate non-hierarchical forms of organisation because they allow human beings to develop into self-determining people. Anarchists are revolutionaries. We hold that the non-hierarchical society we seek to build cannot be handed down to us from above but must be created directly by the autonomous action of the united, international working class. By participating in the revolutionary social process, we change ourselves as individuals as we organise selfdetermined actions, and this makes us fit for the society we deserve.
For more resources on anarchism, go to greenanticapitalistfront.org/media/
The police, disruption, and “getting away with it”
A fundamental way in which GAF diverge from XR is in our attitude to the police and legal system. We fully support the idea of organising disruptive mass actions, but argue that we should be aiming to cause maximum disruption and get away with it, rather than voluntarily putting activists through the ordeal and expense of arrests, court cases, etc. Co-operating with the police by telling them about our plans in advance only serves to make it easier for them to limit the very disruption we aim to cause – allowing them to re-route traffic, reschedule events and so on. The simple reality is that the ultimate function of the police is to defend the status quo, while we aim to topple it. Our aims could not be any more opposed from those of the police. Although some in XR argue for compassion, saying the police are “just doing their job” when they drag people away to put them in cages, it must be remembered that in the destabilised future we face it is they who will be teargassing climate refugees desperately fleeing over razor wire - as they already do in many parts of the world. “Just doing their job” – of defending the state and capital above all else. History (and current events all over the world) shows that those in power will use the police to smash social and environmental justice movements if they are allowed. While the police might have been relatively nice to many XR activists so far, as we increase pressure on the system we can expect them to adopt the sort of tactics used to suppress the miners’ strike in the 1980s, the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland, the suffragettes and many, many other groups over the years. With that in mind, GAF Scotland offer the following tips for staying safe in an era of mass surveillance and increasing repression of our movement:
Planning actions and security culture
• Whenever possible, plan illegal actions with a small affinity group of trusted friends
• When talking in person is not viable, only use encrypted apps such as Signal for discussing plans, but still follow a policy of keeping written details to a minimum and not naming specific individuals
• It is vital to understand that if someone doesn’t need to know something about an action that involves greater risk, they are much better off not knowing it - both for their sake and that of the group
On an action
• There is no such thing as an “innocent chat” with the police – do not engage with them
• Don’t bring illegal items (prohibited knives, drugs)
• Make sure your phone can only be unlocked with a pin code
• Bring water, snacks and enough money to get you home
• While not always appropriate, covering your face can be very important on more militant actions and has literally kept people out of jail on many occasions
• Even a peaked cap and sunglasses can help to keep you anonymous when masking up is not the best option
• Watch for signs of physical and mental problems in yourself and others. Cool down others who exhibit panic behaviour
• If possible practice the buddy system - pair up with a friend and stick with them for the duration of the event. Plan for how to re-contact your comrades if separated
For further important information on good practice regarding security culture, the What Is Security Culture? article by Crimethinc is highly recommended - available on crimethinc.com
Your rights when dealing with the police Stop and Search
• Generally, the police have no right to search you - unless they suspect you of drug or theft offences or if you have already been arrested
• Officers can only search your outer clothing in the street
• If it is not a mandatory search, you can refuse
• The police must inform you under which law you are being searched
• You have the right to be searched by an officer of the same gender as you identify
• You can also be searched if a Section 60 order has been put in place. This is sometimes implemented in an area if the police anticipate a crowd will become violent. It also prohibits concealing your identity. If stopped under section 60 you do not have to give any personal details, show ID or your phone to officers
If you get arrested
• If arrested, you will be searched and your possessions taken away once in the station
• You only have to give the police your name, address, date and place of birth and nationality – NOTHING else. For everything else answer “no comment” – this is by far the safest strategy
• The police are there to gather intelligence and establish evidence to bring charges. They are not a court - their role is NOT to establish innocence, but evidence of guilt
• You have the right to have a solicitor and a friend or relative contacted • If you are under 16 the police WILL contact your parents or guardian
• You have the right to see a doctor if you are sick or hurt • The police can photograph, fingerprint you and take a DNA sample without your consent
• You have the right to vegan, halal or kosher food • You have the right to a translator if English is not your first language
• You will either be released with a date for a future court date or held overnight for a court appearance the next working day
• Stay calm, stay quiet, and you’ll be out soon