The Accused

FIRST THE FACTS. On May 1 a benefit for a Czech anti-fascist, at the time on remand for shooting a fascist in self defence, was arranged by the North London Solidarity Federation and an AFA speaker surprisingly invited.

On duly turning up at 9pm she was confronted with an individual in the company of the organisers, who had recently been expelled by AFA for taking a personal grievance to the 'federalies '.As a result a charge of ABH had been proffered against a personal friend of some of the other AFA members present, who had turned up with her (it was to have been her maiden speech, aaah...) in good faith to support the event. Not only had some of these same AFA members been forced to personally given evidence on behalf of the defence in the subsequent trial but the (extremely minor incident) that led to the charges had been caused by the personal insecurities of the complainant himself.

Though eventually acquitted the defendant who is of frail mental health and certainly no 'street-fighter ' faced the distinct possibility for eleven months, of not only going to jail on a trumped up charge, but as his family feared of 'never coming out again '. Twice over the last few years he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act so such an unwarranted tragedy was more than probable . A reality which despite repeated representations to these fine revolutionaries, one of whom incidentally is a trained social worker (you know the people who steal your kids) the Solidarity Federation as whole managed to regard the affair with stoic indifference.

So on the evening in question, following a very brief consultation the AFA speaker was withdrawn, and shortly afterward the chief witness for the prosecution also left the pub under some duress it must be admitted. Now any social group must have some moral code. It couldn't function without some form of sanction. Even Rotarians must I am sure detest a grass. Neither is ignorance any excuse. Even from programmes like The Bill it is made abundantly clear that in working class culture only a 'nonce ' is regarded as lower in the food chain. An abhorrence of violence at the same fund-raiser for someone accused of murder, albeit in self defence (although he did shoot him more than once apparently), sits a little strangely with middle class indignation at witnessing what is afterall a perfect example of 'proletarian ' justice taking it 's natural course you would have thought? But in eyes of North and East London Solidarity Federation being a grass, and a lying one at that, is clearly socially acceptable while giving the same a couple of slaps, (which is all it amounted to incidentally), is it appears deserving of international condemnation no less. As twisted priorities go, a more luminous example is hardly imaginable. (And as an illustration of where the Left generally has gone wrong, further comment is is I sincerely hope entirely superfluous).

Furthermore, within days of the initial incident, one of their organisers evidently in a bad case of funk made a cap in hand approach (actually the message was by phone but you get the drift) to AFA through an intermediary indicating that they 'didn 't want any trouble blah blah ' and insisted that they intended to write to AFA with a view to making good what he acknowledged was 'a diplomatic blunder '. However no letter arrived. Instead of a grovelling apology, some half wit came up with the type of scheme even Baldrick might have knocked back with a derisive "Bollocks!"

'Why not kill two birds with one stone ', the twerp suggested 'and explain away the financial embarrassment ( the AFA contingent bringing, temporarily, the crowd to over double figures) down to drunken intimidation by Red Action thugs instead? ' And so they did. And decided to take collective responsibility for it. After all nothing like spinning an enjoyable smear against a detested enemy to raise morale. Just so long as the golden rules are scrupulously observed: a) make sure Red Action don 't hear about it b) make sure the source of the rumour is concealed, and c) leave plenty scope to pin the blame on somebody else, ie. never sign, or put anything in writing) In this case all three were well and truly flouted.

When made aware that the moggy was well and truly out of the valise, (rumours of the 'Red Action rampage ' had been picked up within only a matter of days incidentally, first in Hackney housing benefit section if you must know? then Birmingham, Manchester and later amongst the Irish Republican diaspora), a letter dated June 28 duly arrived on London AFA 's desk a full ten weeks after the event delivering the results 'of their inquiry '. Bad enough LAFA, like the cuckold husband, was the last to know, for it had already had been widely broadcast within anarchist circles, formally and by word of mouth, but not satisfied, they also declared their firm (I use the word loosely) intention to give the 'scandal' full international exposure.

Meanwhile for good measure a senior member of RA was threatened that 'the nature of AFA 's reply would determine what further action might be taken '. Oh dear.

Reproduced from RA Vol 4, Issue 2, Aug/Sept '99