Austerity (or cuts as most of us think of it) is a hard pill to swallow. Services are closed or run into the ground with ‘efficiency savings’, jobs are lost, and benefits cut. Still, it’s a necessary cure right? Us ordinary folk can’t continue to have luxuries like care for the elderly. The state needs every penny to help pay off the national debt. You know, that one that got built up by bailing out the bankers. After all, those bankers need to maintain the bare necessities of life, like their multi-million pound salaries and private yachts.
Surely after six years it must be working? Well… Continue reading
Good news, everyone! Bristol Anarchist Federation has been running its monthly discussion nights for an entire year. Over the past twelve months, we have covered a range of subjects from ‘anarchism and violence’ and ‘revolutionary women’, to ‘mental health under capitalism’ and ‘a world without money’. The talks have been consistently popular, with most meetings seeing about 40 people attending – although, over 200 people showed up for our talk on mental health! We have met lots of new people, some of whom have gotten involved in anarchist organising in Bristol and helped to develop our ideas and actions. Continue reading
This Saturday see the eighth incarnation of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair! For those who haven’t been before, it involves over a thousand people listening to talks and participating in workshops from a variety authors, editors, activists, historians and local and nationwide campaign groups. It will cover everything from Mental Health & the NHS, to a world without borders, money and prisons via environmental campaigning and the housing struggle. There will also be an Art Area (and an exhibit straight out of Dismaland), kids space, vegan cafe and over 50 stalls with all the books, badges, T shirts, Patches, zines, guides, papers and information you could want!
There will also be a fundraising after party hosted with Bristol LadDIYfest kicking off at 7.30pm at the Stag & Hounds and featuring bands and DJs playing Folk, Punk, Hip Hop & Party Anthems.
On Sunday we will be celebrating May Day! The first of May is a to often forgotten celebration of international workers struggles, it is where we can remember those who have fought and died for a better world, and where we can stand in solidarity with each other as we continue that fight today.
This year local Trade Unions have organised a March from Castle Park followed by a rally at Trinity. We will be joining in as part of the Radical Workers Bloc! We need as many people to join us to help bring a message of radical resistance to proceedings – and to help participate in an action we have planned on the day. Just look for the Red & Black flags on the day. The meeting point is 11.30am in Castle Park, with the march setting off shortly after.
If this isn’t enough for you, there’s also a protest against George Ferguson and the policy of housing shortage and homelessness that he has presided over. Its kicking off outside the Tobacco Factory at 5.30pm on Saturday and marching to college green.
All this after a week that has seen both Library and NHS workers out on strike and demonstrating, and a fortnight that has seen action taken against the flogging off of much-needed council homes.
Rebellion is in the air of Bristol again!
A couple of weeks ago we hosted our most popular discussion to date, on the above subject. Somewhere between 150 and 200 people showed up barely squeezing into our emergency ‘bigger than the bookshop’ meeting space. It seems the subject really struck a chord with people.
Our own experiences, and the media, tell us we are in the middle of an ‘epidemic’ of mental health issues. Yet the standard response is to treat and talk about them as if they are solely individual issues (or failings) rather than looking at the situations we find ourselves in and the material conditions and wider culture of day to day society.
Many people present were keen to continue to meet on the subject, to that end we have set up a mailing list (click here to subscribe). What form this new group will take will be decided by its participants – information sharing, mutual support, campaigning and skill sharing were all ideas on the night.
There were some great contributions from AFed folks and from many folks who came, who covered a wide spectrum of society including many people who have issues with their own mental health, study it, work in the field, or have extensive experience supporting others or using services themselves.
For those who are interested the full minutes are online. We hope to compile them into a more easily readable form and into a video in the near future.
While we’ve got your attention there are a few more events coming up in the near future:
Saturday 5th March: March for the NHS!
Linking the struggles of the Junior Doctors against their unsafe working conditions being forced on them, the removal or bursaries for student nurses, and the moves by the local clinical commisioning group to open up the running of NHS services to tax avoiding corporations! Meet 1pm at the Fountains. Facebook Event.
Wednesday 9th March: Support the Junior Doctors Strike!
Junior doctors will be holding a 48 hour strike beginning at 8am. Get down to the picket lines for 8 if you can, or join later in the day! Picketlines will once again be at the BRI and Southmead. We all need to support them in their stand against further destruction of the NHS. More info from the British Medical Association.
Tuesday 15th March: Is JC Really our Savior?
The next of our discussion evenings. This time the topic is Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign building around him. How do we, as grass roots activists engage with this? Critical support? Utter indifference? Active involvement? Hydra Books 7pm Facebook Event.
Tuesday 19th of April A world Without Money?
A talk and discussion looking at why our world could and should work without money. It’s often one of the hardest ideas of Anarchist Communist to first get our heads around, as it is so opposed to the way our current society works. The idea that money is essential to a functioning society is constantly re-enforced, but who’s doing the re-enforcing..? Hydra Books 7pm
Saturday 30th April: Bristol Anarchist Bookfair!
Our cities largest radical event is back again at Trinity from 10-6 Website
Sunday 1st May: May Day
International workers day has come around again, this year the local trade unions are organising a march in the centre, and we’ve some fun ideas of our own!
On Sunday the union representing Junior doctors, the British Medical Association, held its second march through Bristol ahead of strike action this Wednesday morning. Once again Bristol AFed and scores of other supporters marched with them, and the response from others in the streets was universally positive.
The BMA’s message is simple, the government is attempting to push through ideologically driven changes to their contracts that will negatively affect not only junior doctors but the level of care they are capable of providing. Junior Doctors can already be called upon to work 70 hour weeks, often in extremely challenging and stressful roles and at nights and weekends. The Tories are seeking not only to cut their pay (whilst they continue to be burdened with an average £100,000 in university debt) but weaken their contracts, forcing unsafe working patterns on essential NHS staff. Continue reading
We recommend reading the following two articles, although its not required! Anyone looking to fight the cuts or learn more is welcome, whether or not you consider yourself an Anarchist.
Poking a Future Monarch with a Stick
A critical analysis of the anti-cuts movements against the ConDem coalition written by a Bristol AFed member.