Bristol Anarchist Bookfair just around the corner!

1964969_723463394352616_105588308_nThe 6th annual Bristol Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday 26th April at the Trinity Centre from 11:00AM. Bristol Anarchist Federation will once again have a presence at this year’s bookfair.

As well as our usual stall, where we will have copies of the latest issue of Organise! along with a selection of our pamphlets and other propaganda (hopefully including the new edition of Role of the Revolutionary Organisation hot off the press!), we will be involved in two workshops throughout the day.

BristolAnarchistBookfair-BartThe first workshop starting at 12:30PM in the Bookfair Assembly Room on the first floor is called: “Is Bart Simpson an Anarchist?” and hopes to answer some important questions raised by this year’s poster design:

We felt some of Bart Simpson’s calculations on this year’s bookfair poster were at best debatable and at worst problematic. Does Work minus Bosses, or Money minus Bankers really equal anarchy? What do we mean by the term “Work” anyway? And can money really have a role in an Anarchist society?

We’ll also be taking part in the “Solidarity in Bristol” workshop directly after that at 2:00PM with Bristol Solidarity Network, Acorn Bristol, IWW, Bristol SolFed, and Bristol Refugee Rights:

Solidarity is a central idea which we organise round but how does it work in practice – especially across social and political differences? People actively showing solidarity with workers, migrants, claimants, and local and international struggles discuss what has been productive and challenging in their solidarity work.

Members of Bristol Anarchist Federation will be stationed at our stall throughout the day so if you have any questions or just want a chat come and say Hello!

Don’t forget the Bookfair Afterparty this year taking place at The Red Lion in St. George. Confirmed acts so far include Hazel Winter, Public Order Act, MC Amalgam, QELD and Ash Victim. The festivities start at 8:00PM and all proceeds go towards the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective to help them do the same thing again next year!

We hope to see you all there!

The Rich Sip Champagne While We’re Left To Starve!

toast the richThe Huffington Post reported yesterday that the Houses of Parliament have spent increasingly large amounts of money on champagne under the current Coalition government. That should come as no surprise considering that there are eight bars serving alcohol to an extremely exclusive clientèle. But the fact that MPs are spending more and more money of bubbly while millions of people rely on food banks for survival, is sickening if not outright disgusting.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that staff at Westminster spent £275,221 buying in more than 25,000 bottles of champagne since the coalition took over in May 2010. The House of Commons currently has 582 bottles of champagne in stock, at a total worth of £6,513. What’s even worse is that the many bars frequented by these toffs are subsidised by tax payer money, meaning we have to pay so they can enjoy a cut-price pint!

Meanwhile the Trussell Trust, the leading charity behind the country’s almost 300 food banks (with three new ones opening every week), said they fed at least 346,992 in 2012-13 and the price of alcohol keeps on rising. Pints now cost 20 times more than they did 40 years ago, but of course that doesn’t bother somebody who lives off a tidy £66,396 of taxpayers money a year (and they have the audacity to claim about “benefit cheats”!).

While the rich sip champagne the poor are left to starve. The only solution is to supersede the state and start organising to meet our own needs. No party will ever give us what we need, because they are first and foremost a party of the rich, and the interests of the rich and powerful will always be against the needs of the working class. Voting won’t change anything, only direct action will!

In the words of Emma Goldman:

“Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.”

I say let us toast the rich this year, with our choice of cocktails!

Thatcher is still dead, but Thatcherism lives on

Margaret Thatcher's death divides opinion across the UKExactly one year ago today the working classes of Britain woke up to some of the best news of the year. The Iron Lady has finally bitten the dust! Margaret Thatcher was dead! Jubilant scenes were witnessed across the country as the people celebrated the passing of one of the most despised Prime Ministers in living memory. People literally danced in the streets with joy and despite the right-wing media’s attempts to demonise the revelers nobody with half an ounce of decency could fault them.

In Bristol a street party on Chelsea Road in Easton attracted hundreds of people and lasted until the wee hours of the morning. The celebrations were cut short however when the Avon & Somerset Police decided to turn up in riot gear without warning and beat the party-goers down the street, sparking a mini-riot that lasted for several hours.

Those involved in the riot claimed that this was: “one more battle in the ongoing class war that Thatcher escalated. It won’t be the last,” according to the Bristol Post who spoke to two of them anonymous in an article published a couple of days after the event.

class-war-thatcherAnd heeding the decade old call from Class War for a “Party in Trafalgar Square, Saturday after Margaret Thatcher Dies” thousands more descended on the square, the scene of the Poll Tax Riots in 1990, to celebrate despite the rain.

article-2310307-195853AD000005DC-794_634x657Probably the most impressive display was in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire. A former mining town, devastated by pit closures, the hatred for Maggie was strong. An effigy of Thatcher was paraded through the town in a coffin before being burned on a bonfire. Former miners turned out National Coal Board clothing and celebrated the death of the person responsible for the demise of the mining industry in Britain, and with it the livelihoods of thousands of people.

We cannot let the death of Thatcher be confused with the death of Thatcherism though. Several of her policies are still alive and well today and we still suffer the consequences of her neo-liberal regime. Maggie may be long gone but she lives on through her spiritual successors like Cameron and Osborne who are more than happy to carry the torch for their lost hero.

The working class communities decimated by Thatcherism are still under attack through austerity and the cuts; workfare and benefit sanctions; privitisation of the NHS and Royal Mail; rising living costs and stagnant wages; increased policing and the gradual eroding of our rights. And with UKIP’s recent success in the polls pushing the political discourse to the right, we are likely to see a string of policies so bad they’d make the Milk Snatcher herself blush.

What is the solution? Get organised! Only through the collective action of the working class can we hope to make life better for ourselves and each other. Life under capitalism will only get worse unless we stand up and say otherwise. But don’t just ask for reforms, don’t settle for a slice of the pie, demand the whole damn bakery!

By working together we can bring down this whole corrupt system and finally put Thatcherism where it belongs: in the ground with the rest of the neo-liberal ideologies. Its time to build a new world, a better world, built on the foundations of community, mutual aid and solidarity. We’re already working towards that world every day, why don’t you join us?

Rust In Pieces Maggie Thatcher
13th October 1925 – 8th April 2013

Just remember, only the good die young!

“Full Employment”? Tory Party’s Hilarious Early April Fool’s Prank

aprilfoolsGeorge Osborne today promised us “full employment” during a speech in Essex. Has Osborne had a turn of cheek and abandoned his Thatcherite politics in favour of the long march to socialism? You’d think so, if it wasn’t for the fact that he refused to define what exactly he meant by “full employment”. One thing is for certain though, “full employment” in this case, does not mean jobs for everybody. Nor does it mean the government is going to create jobs for people.

What he has actually promised us is his commitment to securing the “fullest” possible levels of employment by cutting taxes for businesses. Surprise, surprise! The Tories grand scheme to make our lives better is actually a way to make life easier for the capitalists. Hands up if you didn’t see that coming? Didn’t think so.

He must have made a mistake and put his clocks forward a whole day instead of one hour because April Fool’s Day isn’t until tomorrow! Nobody cared to tell George that when he let slip his hilarious joke. “Full employment”? “Caring about working people”? Tell me another one!

Osborne’s carefully chosen words were obviously an attempt to muscle in on traditionally Labour territory. Though what is important to remember is that no party can promise us full employment, not under a capitalist system. Capitalism relies on a surplus of unemployed workers to keep wages and conditions down. The constant threat of unemployment is used to keep workers under control and to prevent us for fighting for better conditions. We’re constantly reminded that there are an army of people out there waiting for the chance to steal our jobs, so we better stop complaining and get back to work!

What does full employment mean though, in its most literal context? Jobs for everybody? More like wage slavery for everybody (but the rich). We are forced into work to pay for the things we need to survive yet it is we who create everything in the first place. Just think, when you go to do your shopping, who do you think picks the vegetables, stacks the shelves or sits at the check outs everyday? It isn’t the bosses, that’s for certain. It’s working people like you and me, and its working people who receive the smallest cut of the economy.

Full employment is a scam, dreamed up by politicians to try to lull us into a sense of better days to come. When in fact full employment wouldn’t result in any meaningful increase to our living conditions. Only a new society, based on mutual aid, where people are free to consume and produce what they want. Where we don’t need bosses to tell us what to do. Where we receive the full fruit of our labour and don’t need money to survive. That world is called anarchist communism, and it’s what we are fighting for.

The Syrian Revolution: Anti-Authoritarian Perspectives

Bristol Afed will be hosting an evening at Kebele Social centre, with guest speaker Tahrir-ICN co-founder, and human rights activist Leila Shrooms. Find out about grass-roots organising and resistance in Syria and everything else you don’t hear about in the news. We kick things off with a winter warmer Soup and refreshments at 7pm (small charge/donation) followed by the presentation and Q&A. By all accounts the talk was a hit at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair, our member who attended raved about it so much that we invited Leila to come and speak in Bristol

No excuses for being bored this weekend!

Four actions in under 24 hours this Friday & Saturday!#1312 5

Things kick off (as in start that is, not, you know, kick off) with the Anti-Police harassment demonstration 6.30pm, Assembling at Newton Park, Old Market going to  Trinity Police Station (MAP) Bring noise, banners, lanterns etc.

A little later in the evening some of us will be taking the short walk to the central fire station to support the FBU members who are staging a four hour strike as part of their fight to prevent the raising of their retirement age.

On Saturday at 12.30pm, the ‘Save Our City’ coalition of anticuts groupings in Bristol are organising a demo against George Ferguson and his plan to cut 1000 jobs, they’re making it a personal and will be protesting outside the Tobacco Factory bar/cafe that he owns and uses as his central bristol base. Facebook Event.

Finally, just down the road from the anti cuts demonstration over in East Street, our friends at Sol Fed have organised a picket of Santander beginning at 2.30pm. This is part of an international campaign of solidarity with a CNT member in Spain who was fired from his job at Santander for union organising, facebook event!

Hope to see you in the streets, let us know if you attend all four and we might give you a cookie.

Love & Rage,
Bristol Anarchist Federation

Taking a stand against Police Harassment

No Justice, No Peace, Erase the Police with your giant novelty stationary

No Justice, No Peace, Erase the Police with your giant novelty stationary

In recent months Avon and Somerset Police have drastically increased their attempts to harass and intimidate local activists. Using the excuse of a recent arson attack to launch a campaign against people they know had no involvement. This is part of a growing trend across the UK to clamp down on dissent and resistance.  In the South West activists have been questioned without rights under anti-terror laws, harassed over the phone, followed round their own uni campuses, been visited at home and had friends/family/employers contacted by the police.

Its time we took a stand, in the streets, and showed that we are in solidarity with each other and will not be intimidated into silence. It is a time we can remember ALL those who have been on the receiving end of police harassment and violence.

Join us for a candle lit demonstration outside Trinity Road Police Station. Continue reading