No Pride in the Arms Trade

The following is a repost of an open letter we have signed, the original is hosted here.

If you would like to add your name to this open letter – please fill in this google form.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn Bristol Pride’s acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus for this year’s Pride, and demand that they ditch Airbus as a sponsor.

We want an apology from Bristol Pride, a commitment to never again accept money from those who profit from war crimes, and for them to understand that our community does not exist to be used to pink-wash the arming of oppressive regimes.

Police, dispersing Pride Parade in Istanbul

Solidarity is an action not empty words. For Bristol Pride to claim “we are with” LGBTQ+ activists in Istanbul, who bravely marched despite the ban on Pride, while accepting blood money from a company who supply Turkey’s military is gross hypocrisy. Last week LGBTQ+ activists marching at the banned Istanbul Pride were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests and brutalisation; and the AKP government, led by Erdoğan, is deeply homophobic. [1]

Aircraft that Airbus supply to the Turkish military include the CN235 Maritime Patrol Craft, and the A400M multi-role transport aircraft. [2] The latter has its wings assembled in Filton, Bristol. [3]

Turkey has been invading Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish region in North Syria/Rojava, since January this year. There is strong evidence that Turkey has been employing former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion and occupation. In an interview with The Independent, a former ISIS fighter revealed that “most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics.” [4]

Made in Bristol! Turkish Military Transport

In a recent statement, the Rojava Democratic Autonomous Administration Women’s Coordination condemned the abuses of the invading Turkish armed forces and their mercenary allies, saying:
“Erdogan and his mercenaries have occupied Afrin and forced people to leave their homes while at the same time changing the demography of the region. Turkey is also settling mercenaries and their families into the homes of the residents of Afrin”.
“The atrocities against the people of Afrin carried out by the Turkish army and their mercenaries are happening every day under the silence of the international community: women abduction, rape, forcing Ezîdîs to become Muslim, plunder.” [5]

The acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus is also a specific attack on the Bristol queer community. Anna Campbell, a Bristol-based lesbian, was killed in Afrin, north Syria/Rojava, by a Turkish air strike in March. After going to Rojava to learn from, and support, the women’s revolution; and to fight against ISIS with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), she went to Afrin to help defend it against the invasion by Turkey. She was killed with two YPJ comrades, Sara Mêrdîn and Serhildan, while protecting civilians who were evacuating Afrin.

Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell)

Airbus, along with BAE and Leonardo, also build the Eurofighter jet which they supply to Saudi Arabia, [6] who have used it extensively in their bombing campaign against Yemen. [7] Currently one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen. [8] Saudi Arabia has one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world, with homosexuality criminalised. Being gay or trans in Saudi Arabia means risking fines, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty. [9]

We call on Bristol Pride to have some integrity and ditch Airbus now!

See More (including signatories)

 

More about our views on Pride:
pride stickers
Battle for the Soul of Pride

Ps.
Don’t think we haven’t noticed you, Babcock, just because you’re a smaller arms company with a smaller sponsorship deal. So small you kind of have to squint to read your name on the promotional material.

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Bristol Anarchist Bookfair This Saturday!

This Saturday, May 12th, is the Tenth Bristol Anarchist Bookfair! This year it’s taking place over two neighbouring venues, The Black Swan and BASE (formerly Kebele).

There’ll be a kids space, Vegan BBQ, three rooms of talks and workshops, evening meal, massive after party, and of course dozens of stalls featuring a variety of political campaigns, collectives, authors, papers and distributors.

We hope you can join us there, bring your friends, bring your family, invite that person from work that you are 90% sure wants to overthrow capitalism. Pick up some merch, attend a workshop, chat to your friends, read a leaflet, and plot that overthrowing of capitalism thing with your colleague.

For more in depth information, see the website or facebook event.

Bristol Set for a VERY active couple of weeks

We were just about to bang away on the keyboard listing all of the demonstrations, festivities and events coming up in the fortnight. However, we spotted that our friends over at Bristol IWW had just done the same, and we hope they won’t mind us coping their homework. Cheers comrades!

Make it to as many of these as you can – we’ll certainly be there!

This Saturday, the 9th of September, there is an IWW contingent joining the anti-austerity march and rally called by Bristol People’s Assembly and Bristol Labour Party on College Green. Facebook event here. Look for the IWW banner [and the AFed one, probably next to it]

Sadly on the 10th of September, fascists will be descending upon our city from outside Bristol attempting to whip up Islamophobia and hatred. This time we’re dealing with Tommy Robinson front group ‘Gays Against Sharia’ who will be attempting to use the LGBT community to peddle known fascist speakers such as former BNP youth activist Jack BuckbyPaul Weston of Pegida UK/Liberty GB, figurehead of the EDL’s deluded LGBT grouping Tommy Cook aka Tommy English and wingnut fash-favourite, UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters. Bristol Queercaf have already called a counter demonstration and Bristol IWW encourages all members and supporters to go along. Fascist groups have never had much success at organising in our brilliant city but we need to keep opposing until they finally get the message. Again look for our banner or check Loomio for on the day plans.

On the 14th of September the IWW have their branch meeting, which will include a workshop with our FWs from the Incarcerated Workers’ Organising Committee (IWOC). Come and find out how IWOC supports prisoners to organise & fight back against prison slavery and the prison system itself. After the meeting we generally go for a drink in a local pub. [For more on the prison abolition movement see the latest issue of Organise! – which you can download for free or pick up from Hydra Books or Kebele Info Shop]

On the 16th of September we’ll be running our usual stall at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair with pamphlets, badges and other merchandise. This year’s event has moved to St Werburghs Community Centre BS2 9TJ

Finally on the 17th of September Bristol Radical History Group will be holding a Radical History Festival at the M-Shed, which looks to be a really interesting event with some contributions from local Wobblies.

Whatever you’re doing have a lovely September and we hope to see you sometime.

 

Worshipping Power?

On Tuesday Bristol Anarchist Federation hosted a talk by Peter Gelderloos on the theories in his latest book Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation.  We packed out Kebele with people eager to hear about it, we certainly weren’t disappointed. Our friends over in Bath also hosted a talk the following day after we got in touch with them, spreading a bit more anarchy to our gentile neighbour.

It is always refreshing to hear history unchained from the often stagnant ideas of mainstream society. However not only did the talk (and book) go into how states first arose, but how they continue to adapt to sustain the power they hold over us. The lessons contained are essential for all of us fighting for a better world – not just the anarchists. One that stuck out most is one of only two characteristics that all states shared upon forming, Patriarchy.  Male domination of both the family and the people that a state would subjugate was universal. It was also actively forced upon societies that were more gender-balanced by imperial powers such as Britain, Spain and France, all seeing it as essential to their control. This is one more nail in the coffin of those who would argue that feminism is any less essential to anarchism than the fight against the state and capitalism.

If you missed it, or if you want a recap, the event hosted by London Anarchist Federation at the Anti-University was recorded here. Continue reading

Never Mind the Ballots: Eight Upcoming Radical Protests & Events

While most eyes seemed to be focused solely on the election and our political ‘leaders’, there are a lot of other events coming up to keep the anarchists and radicals of Bristol (and beyond) busy. Some of these are being organised by us, some by our friends and comrades. Others are just ones we’re going to and you should do everything you can to support or attend as well. Whatever your view on the election, make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the real politics!

Upcoming Events:

Dorset Radical Bookfair
Saturday 3rd June
10:30–23:00
Portfield Community Hall

Dorset’s first ever Radical Bookfair is happening this Saturday! There will be stalls, talks covering a range of topics (including two from us on ‘Capitalism, Anarchism & Mental Health’ and ‘Revolutionary Women’), and films on anarchism, rebellion, and the revolution. And it’s free entry!
To find out more, check out their Facebook event.

 

Hartcliffe Protest! Re-open the Rent Offices!
Saturday 3rd June
11:00-12:00
Symes House

Come on down to Hartcliff on Saturday to stand with residents as they protest the cuts their community has had to face and the closure of council facilities at Symes House. These are cuts we’re facing all over the city, so even if you don’t live in Hartcliff, go on down and show your support. Facebook event.

Continue reading

Essential Online Security: An Anarchist’s Guide for Everyone!

The following is our long-awaited written introduction to online security. It follows on from the workshop we did on the subject in April, as part of our Capitalism: A Survival Guide series. We hope to produce more of these guides, and show how meeting our basic needs feeds in to the revolutionary struggle to kill capitalism before it kills us.

Sometimes it can feel like Ron Swanson has the only sensible reaction to the online world, but we do have some other suggestions that allow you to keep your internet connection going.  We’ve included links to short videos, visual guides, and software downloads – all you need to secure yourself online, with no prior knowledge required.

Continue reading

Capitalism: A Survival Guide

capitalism a survial guide 2 colourEven the most passionate of revolutionaries is forced to admit that, for the moment, capitalism rules the world. While we fight tooth and nail for a truly free society, we’ve still got to survive this one in the mean time. After all, we can’t kill capitalism if it kills us first!

To this end we are hosting a series of workshops that aim to arm us all with the skills and knowledge we need to not only ‘scrape by’ but begin to organise, thrive and fight back. Each one will focus on a different aspect of capitalist society, from dealing with debt or fighting through the bureaucracy of disability benefits to being your own media and discovering if there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

The survival guide workshops will take the place of our usual monthly discussion nights Continue reading