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
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
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
The following is a report from one of the Bristol AFed members at UWE, originally written at the end of November:
The University of the West of England (UWE) goes to great lengths to profit from death. They have close links to the MOD base situated next to it, working together in designing and sponsoring new technologies for use in weapons. Over the last couple of weeks staff, students and local activists have been raising awareness of an Arms Fair taking place on campus, or as the university called it “a procurement of defence projects conference”.
On the eve of the arms fair several dozen students marched through campus to the building holding the arms fair. They were able to disrupt people from setting up exhibitions by shutting the main doors and blocking the others. Many flustered business men dropped their precious supplies, or quickly rushed back out the car-park. Despite it being the coldest night of the year so far they managed to disrupt the setting up for several hours.
At 8am on the morning of the Arms Fair, even more students and other anti arms trade activists arrived. Angry with the idea of the conference still going ahead, Quickly they decided to stop cars coming into the university grounds. People holding banners took up position on the road, blocking the entrance, which caused tailbacks all the way into the centre!
The one flustered cop, who apparently hadn’t been expecting anything, tried pushing people off the road. As he was feeling brave he came up behind the smallest person on the demo and pushed them in the back. When the protester put their arms up to balance themselves, and refused to budge an inch the copper flipped and decided that the protester had assaulted him. 20 people jumped to their comrades defence, causing a scuffle sending the rozzer’s hat flying and knocked the radio out of his hand when he tried to call for back up. The 5 minute tug of war held up the traffic for longer and meant more people joined in on blocking the road. Shortly afterwards the gates were shut, with protesters sitting on top.
The protest was a massive success with over 60 people opposing the Arms fair… oops “defence project procurement conference”. The conference was delayed by 4 hours, with many displays and attendees failing to arrive at all. Peering through the glass windows the building looked like a ghost town, few stalls had been set up, and those few suits inside were just wandering about aimlessly. A small group of activists managed to get inside the conference building, making lots of noise, staging a die in and disrupting those few talks that were still taking place. A Video of that action was posted onto facebook.
At this point the Vice Chancellor Steve ‘its not an arms fair’ West decided to harass the students that pay his £250,000 pay packet by calling in scores of riot police.
Students were harassed everywhere they went with police ‘evidence gathers’ following them with cameras and making threats. By 1pm, about 20 riot vans had arrived , and the students decided to call it a day, agreeing that their aim of effectively disrupting the Arms Fair had been achieved..
During the Vice Chancellors time at the Uni, staff pay has been cut, jobs lost, modules, courses and contact time with lecturers reduced, all whilst the Uni has continued to turn a massive profit. There is plenty of money for huge conference buildings that benefit businesses more than students , shiny new stadiums and arms research projects. Everyone is fucked off that the top management at the university has become cosy with the MOD, without even asking the staff and students what they think.
Meanwhile Vice Chancellor Steve West, creams off the top, enjoying a pay rise and bonuses, along with his own on site mansion “cottage” including a gym and walled garden. UWE is just one example of how universities are being turned from institutions of learning into just another business. They no longer focus on education but instead on making money for those at the top. This weeks protest has shown that we are not ready to give up and roll over just yet!
Hatred of the enemy, so strenuously fostered in training days, largely faded away in the line. We somehow realized that individually they were very like ourselves, just as fed-up and anxious to be done with it all
Much of the media discussion concerning WW1 over the last few years has been centred on the Courts-Martial and executions of so-called ‘cowards’ from the British Infantry between 1914-1918. This debate has been focussed on getting pardons for those who were shot (often in front of their comrades) on the basis they were ‘shell-shocked’ or suffering from ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ rather than being ‘cowards’. This victim-orientated narrative (there were 300 posthumous pardons issued by the state in 2006) implies that on the whole the issue of desertion and disobedience was limited to relatively isolated incidents. Arguing about those who ‘refused’ the slaughter of WW1 on the basis of ‘cowardice’ or ‘mental illness’ provides both an exception to the rule (of supposed generally good discipline) and takes away the agency of soldiers, instead presenting the few miscreants as either embarrassing ‘gibbering weak-willed wrecks’ or deserving our sympathy as ‘damaged lunatics’. In contrast, very little attention has been paid to the mass of mutineers, strikers, agitators, shirkers and skulkers who were consciously and actively refusing and/or avoiding front-line combat and the war in general.
Mass refusals, disobedience, mutinies, strikes and out-right rebellion were all part of the British armed forces experience in WW1These were all fairly explicit events and to a certain extent these hidden narratives are becoming part of the historical record despite the attempts of contemporary military censors and government ‘D’ notices on the press as well as the 100 year rule in suppressing military documents. Subsequent post-war collective memory loss related to dominant patriotic ideologies served to smother these events even further, but in the 1960s/70s a critical historical reappraisal of WW1 began, marked in the cultural sphere by the biting satire of the musical ‘Oh What a Lovely War’. This reassessment of WW1 led to a series of historical and sociological examinations of the ‘life in the trenches’ in the succeeding decade. Some of these works provide a new and interesting angle on the subterranean (but at the same time mass) collective tactics British (and German) soldiers used for avoiding combat.
“The Unite members were ready to fight and their union could have organised an occupation to prevent the dismemberment of the plant, but they did not and will not. Independence will not change that.”
One thing is sure, which is that the number of people who are poor remains at record levels. Despite claims of a million new jobs since this Government weren’t elected… Read more on the void