The Tories Are Back in, Here Are Your Choices (Or: Ten Ways They Will Screw Us over and How We Can Fight Back)

Cameron remains in Downing Street, now with a majority (having successfully cannibalized his former LibDem partners). A lot of people are understandably depressed by this, and now to top it all off Farage hasn’t even resigned. FFS politics, give us a break.  We don’t have much say in what policies they try and force upon us – after all we had ‘Vote Tory for capitalism and austerity’ and ‘Vote Labour for the same, only a bit less and our heart isn’t really in it’. What we DO have a say in, is how we react to them.

Reaction One: Voter Apathy
11115600_691068424349519_1959285971672980873_nNon voters are often accused of apathy, but if after going to the ballot on the 7th you are planning to sit back and do nothing for five years than you are being truly apathetic. Of course the same is true if ‘not voting’ is the sum total of your protest against the system.  Maybe to kill time before the next general election you can try to change Labour from the inside, or help the Greens get half a dozen MPs early next decade. If you’re really inspired maybe you could put your energy into reforming how we vote for our ‘representatives’. Although many countries use other systems and they still aren’t socialist utopias yet either. Lets get one thing clear though, would Ed Milliband be screwing us over aswell? Hell yes.

Reaction Two: Fight for What We Have, Fight for What We Needreal change - 8 hour day
We are often presented a doctored version of history. One where the oppressed asked the government nicely for reforms, where they appealed to their ruler’s reason and conscience, or simply voted in nicer leaders.

A closer inspection reveals a very different narrative, where everything we have was fought for tooth and nail. Where workers faced down the army for the right to have the evening off rather than work 14 hour days, where women bombed pavilions and learnt martial arts before they were recognised as capable of decisions, where people faced down battalions of police who were trying to force a fascist march through the east end of London. It is the latter telling of history that should inform how we react today.

Everything we have we fought for, and everything we fought for they want back.  As soon as we stop fighting – in our work places, in our communities, in the streets and in the fields – we will lose everything. The good news? If you want to take action there are plenty ways to do it. Here are just a few based on some Tory policies.

1. The Tories will ruin the lives of disabled people ATOSNot without a fight from the likes of DPAC! In Bristol, we at AFed were key in organising demonstrations and protests against ATOS, right up until they dropped the contacts for ‘work capability assessments’ and ran. We have also helped individuals through the interview process to ensure they keep the support they need.  Nationwide those fighting against the DWP and Maximus (the replacement for ATOS), will need to redouble their efforts for the next five years, and need all the support and solidarity we can muster.

2. The Tories will repeal the Hunting Act 477806The sad truth is the hunting act didn’t stop the hunters anyway. Whilst I’m sure they would celebrate were hunting to be made legal, they’ve been out trying to kill foxes, hares, mink and deer the whole time. Where the law failed, Hunt saboteurs succeed. Every week throughout the hunting season they save lives. You can join them in the field, donate to them, or support their work, and there are groups all over the country.

3. The Tories will force the poor from their homes AnonymopusPeople have the power to make evictions unworkable. Bristol SolNet has already helped families who were threatened with being kicked out onto the street – Direct Action, Protest and Solidarity gets real results. It also builds up our confidence in what we can do ourselves – and dents the confidence of the state, big business and their agents! Another great strength is the power of organising collectively on housing, London leads the way here with both individual campaigns and growing sucess in linking them together.

4. The Tories will cull badgers Badger Cull in Somerset, protestors on patrolThey will certainly try. Last year they barely completed one of their two trials due to the resistance of a few hundred individuals over two months.  Imagine how far they’d get if they were being blocked by a few thousand or the hundred thousand people who signed petitions against the cull!  Navigators, Drivers, Planners, Fundraisers, Hi-Vis Wounded Badger Patrols, Black Clad Cull saboteurs, Back Office Communicators, Pixies, Press liaisons, Cooks and First Aiders… there really is a way for everyone to contribute.

5. The Tories will force the young and the unemployed onto Workfare marriotAnyone who has been following our exploits will know how much we have achieved on this one! Enough for the Department for Work and Pensions to list us as a threat to the whole workfare scheme along with, of course, Boycott Workfare.  Protest and Direct Action has been forcing companies off of the workfare scheme one by one – from Holland & Barett and Wilkos to Homebase and Superdrug! There is also an upcoming Welfare Action Gathering in London on the 30th May.

6. The Tories will curtail our rights at work unionThe good news is these rights never really came from parliament, they came from the struggles of the organised working class. In recent years work places lack organisation, and a lot of mainstream unions lack bite. That’s not true of these two though, if you want to teach the Tories and your boss a lesson, find your nearest SolFed or IWW branch!

7. The Tories will criminalise dissent abcbanner1A strategy of all governments facing resistance. There aren’t protesters, there are ‘trouble makers’. There isn’t a meeting of people, there is a ‘cell of domestic extremists’. Often the state resorts to acting outside its own rules in an effort to put us trouble makers behind bars. That is where groups such as Bristol Defendant Solidarity come into play, supporting those facing arrest or court. The best legal defence in the world won’t stop some of our comrades from ending up inside though, but the Anarchist Black Cross ensures they continue to be supported.

8. The Tories will read our emails and track our movements! webBannerTrans2The revelations of Edward Snowden confirmed what many had already suspected. Our ‘democratic governments’ spy on their citizens on a massive scale, snooping not just on people they deem criminals but anyone who wants to change the status quo. You don’t have to let them get away with it though! Tech Tools for Activism will guide you through securing yourself online, and in June Hacktion Lab will be hosting Barn Camp. Think of it as a festival with hackers,  tinkerers, and geeks instead of music. Also theres often some music too.

9. The Tories will scapegoat and target migrants img_8365A strategy as old as the idea of borders, with resistance that goes back nearly as far.   The working class in Bristol has often seen through the false divisions our ‘leaders’ place between ‘natives’ and ‘immigrants’.  From the movement to abolish slavery, to the bus boycotts and in more recent years Bristol Refugee Rights and Dignity for Asylum Seekers. The struggles continue to be hard, but with nationwide movements against Detention and Dawn Raids there are countless opportunities to stand together against our racist government.

10. The Tories will Frack up the countryside Fracking protestCompanies only want to Frack for one reason, profit, and anti-fracking protesters can make the whole process very very costly. There is a network of groups across the UK confronting Fracking and other forms of extreme energy, including in Bristol. There is also a weekend action camp – Reclaim the Power – at the end of the month.

All of this and more militant workers Destroying the NHS, scrapping the Human Rights Act, selling off our public spaces, forcing millions into food banks… The array of attacks can seem overwhelming. However every single one of those attacks relies on us, relies on our compliance, relies on a decision to let the government have a quiet easy life. That’s not a decision that we’re going to take!

We must make ourselves ungovernable, that is a strategy accessable to all. It can be carried out everywhere. From our homes, our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, our communities to their places of business, their halls of power, their wealthy avenues, we are already everywhere.

Already people are linking up and fighting back, creating opportunities for different movements to show their strength, to grow and to act in solidarity with each other (and hopefully avoid the pitfulls of condemnations of ‘bad protesters’ from ‘good protesters’)!

Here are some dates for your diary if you want to join us on the streets:
Wednesday 13th of May (Bristol) – No To Austerity Demo
Wednesday 27th of May (London) – March on the State Opening of Parliament (NCAFC & Class War)
Saturday 30th of May (UK Wide / London) – UK Uncut Day of Action
Saturday 20th of June (London) – End Austerity Now (Peoples Assembly)

If any of this has inspired you to take action, get in touch with us!

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10 comments

  1. Jay weeky

    42 years old never paid rent or voted in my life spent years squatting and living on site now have a family and living on the river in London just want to be involved and get more informed.

    Like

  2. Milan Rai

    This is great. I have put a very slightly condensed version into the June-July Peace News – including ‘(and hopefully avoid the pitfulls of condemnations of ‘bad protesters’ from ‘good protesters’)’.
    I hope this republication okay with you.

    Like

  3. JohnConstantine

    I’m interested in anarchy but I have a question specifically regarding so-called communist anarchy or anarcho-communism.

    With the essence of anarchy being no government, ie: the irradication of any monopolisation or legitimation of force (bar self defence), how does one propose to achieve the common ownership of all resources knowing that it would take a lot of force, oppression and war to do so?

    What is meant by that is that those who own property and resources aren’t simply going to give it up — and the idea that all people would conform to communism as an ideology of their own free will is false.

    Anarchy allows only for the free and voluntary associations between groups. Forced support of war, career politicians, obscene bureaucratic super-states, bailouts and so on are therefore nullified within this system.

    But for there to be a reallocation or redistribution of resources all those involved would have to be complicit — otherwise I think we’re back to the same cycle of theft and violence.

    Like

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      Sorry for the late reply – We’ve been a bit lax with blog maintenance of late, that should be changing now!

      The essence of our attitude towards common ownership is that it takes a state and the use of or threat of force for an individual to maintain control over property they do not themselves use or own. For a landlord to ‘own’ dozens of houses, for an aristocrat to own huge tracts of fields and forests for a capitalist to own factories they have never toiled away in.

      It is the removal of this coercian that creates the possibility of common ownership. For workers to be the ones who have a say in how their work places are run (from offices and hospitals to fields and factories) for communities to shape their environments, and for no one to be told their home can be taken away – because they have not given a huge cut of their wealth to some distant landlord or bank.

      The society we strive for – one where resources are freely shared, and their use is decided in common – is not one that CAN be forced upon unwilling participants. Anarchism allows for people to drop out in a way that state control or capitalism do not. If you want to go farm your own plot of land in the distant countryside with a small group or you want to live in the forest, or just stay home and barely interact with the town around you, so be it! As long as you do not oppress or exploit others there is no reason for their to be a quaral.

      Learning to live like this is not something that can be done through an education of books, speeches or documentaries. It is not something that can be expected to happen on the eve of revolution or on the day following the downfall of the state. Is a culture that can only be realised through our shared struggles. When we unite with fellow workers or our neighbours to win victories against the capitalists and the bosses we strengthen our bonds. When we stand in solidarity with others attacked, and see others come out to stand with us, we recognise our common interests. When we organise our own fights for ourselves, win or loose, we find new ways of sharing our resources and of collective decision making. We live in a world where scarcity should be a thing of the past, our advances in technology have created a time where there is enough labour to do anything we could put our minds to, enough food to feed everyone, enough medicen to treat everyone, enough empty houses for every homeless family. Once we realise a world without scarcity – a world currently kept from us by a corrupt economic system – the nature of human relations can change in the economic sphere. Become more like it is in our personal and intimate social relationships.

      Ofcourse, it would be naieve to think that confronted with a wilful populace that those at the top of the pile, those currently reaping the benefits of this system would stand by as we tear it down and build a new one in its place. However the violence necessary to overthrow our old rulers pales in comparison to the violence the system they protect inflicts on people every day – war, famine, poverty, environmental devestation, institutionalised oppression.

      Like

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