This is a call-out to the Anarchist community in the UK to get involved with the building anti-cuts movement. We call for anarchists and other more militant/radical members of the left to start a campaign of direct action, demonstrations, outreach and civil disobedience against the cuts and the state as a whole.
The foundations of a major anti-cuts movement are already in place with campaigns, groups and alliances forming across the country with particular activity in the south west and north east of England.
In Bristol and Bath the unions and the mainstream left have formed anti-cuts alliances. We should not seek to create a separate parallel campaign to these groups, on the contrary we encourage the Anarchist and radical community to have a visible (and vocal) presence at all their meetings and demos.
We must work together towards our shared goals while at the same time bringing with us our own politics, tactics and ideas.
If we do not act now to establish ourselves as a viable part of a movement which has all the hallmarks of something not seen in the UK since the Poll Tax, then we risk being smothered by union bureaucracy and those who seek to use this opportunity to seize power for their own means.
A large proportion of Anarchist activities are based around single issue campaigns. We see Anarchists Against The Cuts as a banner these groups and individuals can unite under to form a visible and uncompromising part of the fight against the cuts. We do not have a membership, we do not have a fancy logo, we do not have formal meetings, we do not have newspapers to sell or a Facebook group to like. We are simply a campaign with one aim “No Cuts, No Compromise, By All Means Necessary!”
We should not waste energy to duplicate efforts already made by other groups. It you want to know what is going on and what you can do please attend the meetings of your local anti-cuts alliance or IWW branch meeting. (If there is not a group near you, form one). We are encouraging as many groups as possible to post their events and meetings on Indymedia.
Anarchists against the cuts are looking however to produce some straightforward jargon free literature.
We encourage Anarchists to attend the arranged meetings and demos, get involved with the campaign, distribute your own (or other groups) literature and take autonomous actions against the cuts.
See you on the front line & see you in the meeting room.
Bristol Anarchist Federation / Anarchists Against The Cuts.
On April the 22nd, the Media Circus came to Bristol’s Arnolfini for the second ‘Leaders Debate’ – in so far as you can call it a debate – under a thin veil of secrecy, to discuss personalities and policies that could never serve working class interests. Streets were closed, barriers erected, and hundreds of police shipped in – some on horses, some with dogs or riot shields and some with machine guns – so that three would be leaders could discuss very carefully selected issues posed by members of a carefully selected audience.
Bristol residents – including members of Bristol Anarchist Federation, Class War, the IWW, Stop the War Coalition, Fathers for justice and various community groups – decided to make a noisy and energetic stand against this democratic facadé and to show that the working class isn’t willing to be ignored. Even Bristol’s very own munter crew had managed to get themselves upright and vaguely coherent long enough to come along.
The Anarchist contingent numbering around 40-50 gathered in a park near the Arnolfini for the evenings debate and the FIT Team were quick to turn up and get some video footage in the hope one of the munters would fall over and they could get £250 off You’ve been Framed.
The anarchist contingent were slow to get themeselves together and move off, with so many different groups collecting together it seemed that everyone was waiting for someone else to make the first move. Soon a group of about seven EDL members – who who claimed to be protesting the debate too – arrived in the park to practice a couple of numbers for their Britain’s got Boneheads audition.
Most did not want to waste their energy on confrontation at this stage so chose to ignore them. Some attempted chants of “An-ti-fa” and “Fascist Scum” but sadly these people seemed to be all mouth and no trousers.
The cops escorted the EDL away, strangely, to a bar next door to the debate venue itself and the assembled crowd of anarchists and the like split into smaller groups and headed out the park. As the cops blocked off routes towards the Arnolfini some protesters were left aimlessly plodding around the park waving their placards at picnicking students and passing cyclists.
The police, as usual, had decided the protest was to be held on their terms, away from the sight of the politicians. We passed a feeble attempt from mounted police to make us turn back to the designated protest area and a crowd of around 200 protesters gathered on the narrow strip of land between the water and the river grille next to the Arnolfini housing about 10 EDL members. One line of cops preventing access to the Arnolfini and another standing between us and the EDL who’s chants were shouted down.
For about 40 minutes the anarchist contingent resisted the cops attempts to push us back using horses, dogs and riot cops and the EDL were finally escorted away. Knowing they would not be successful in reaching the Arnolfini itself some protesters managed to outmaneuver both cops and journalists who had managed to inadvertently kettle themselves between their own security fencing and the socialists, and clashed with the EDL in the city centre. The Police arrived and arrests were made, and unlike some blogs have reported it was mainly the EDL that got knicked (and kicked).
After some individuals took part in pimping out David Cameron’s Tour bus with some handy political stickers they found many protesters positioned themeselves directly opposite the debate venue and in full view of the arriving politicians.
As the leaders arrived they were greeted with jeers and heckles and a selection of banners, all united in the message that politicians don’t represent the working class. And whilst Police lines had attempted to prevent our future leaders seeing the angry face of a class who’ll not take Public Sector cuts quietly the residents of Bristol let them know in no uncertain terms.
Not only did Bristol let the leaders know they’re surplus to requirements, residents also let the EDL – who time after time reveal themselves as racists, looking for little more than a scrap, and offering nothing to the working class – know that they were unwelcome too.
In January this year a group of individuals living in Bristol formed the newest branch of the Anarchist Federation.
The AFed is the largest, national, anarchist group in the UK. It is a network of class struggle anarchists who aim to abolish Capitalism and all forms of oppression to create a free and equal society. A society without leaders and bosses, and without wars or environmental destruction.
As a new group Bristol AF are seeking to assist grass-roots anti-capitalist struggle in Bristol and the surrounding area. We wish to express solidarity with workers and those partaking in working-class struggle and direct action to prevent the encroachment of exploitative multinational corporations into every aspect of our lives. We also seek to lend direct support to single issue campaign groups in the region who share our aims, politics and who promote anarchism as a viable alternative to the state system based on capital and power.
Whilst we wish to be a useful part of, and have a great deal of respect for, the local anarchist movement we formed because we are fed up with the narrow minded arrogance, lack of real equality and hidden hierarchies that exist in that same community.
Some people can feel looked down upon by those who have more experience and more knowledge of the anarchist movement, rather than being supported by them; out articulated by those who have been arranging anarchist events and actions for longer than they have rather than being given guidance; out quoted by those who have studied more anarchist literature rather than being taught by them.
We are fed up that class warfare, to many people, no longer means the empowerment of the working class and the fight for a better quality of life but is instead reflected as the actions and sentiments of some elitist individuals in the past and (unfortunately) present who think being working class means living up to the beer swilling, uneducated, uncaring stereotype created by the ruling classes themselves. We hope the formation of the Bristol AFed this year, Bristol IWW and the re-formation of Bristol Class War last year will go some way to altering these perceptions, we can only wait and see.
We are fed up that environmental destruction is being used by green capitalists to further their greed for ever greater profits, rather than being portrayed as one of the many failings of that same system.
We are fed up with those libertarians who have hijacked the anti-capitalist movement for their own power grabbing ends who would inevitably maintain the very hierarchies we should aim to abolish.
We are fed up of the lack of communication and organisation between anarchist groups at times, due to petty nuances in politics, tactics and organisation or even pettier personal grievances. We seek to work through any differences to form a more effective and coherent movement in Bristol, however we remain faithful to the way anarchist communities function “An injury to one is an injury to all” after all.
We are fed up that “Anarchism” is seen by many within the clique as an excuse to spend their benefits on Ketamine and a new string for their dog, paint circled “As” on billboards and think capitalism will just spontaneously collapse. We do not however seek to put ourselves on any form of pedestal of righteousness but seek to engage people in our work.
Bristol AF hopes that through hard work, mutual aid, communication and collaboration with other Anarchist organisations and grass-roots campaign groups that we can over come these problems and that the foundations for social change can be constructed.
We support anarchist campaigns and groups both local, national and international. We hope to erode barriers and borders in all their forms in order to build a cohesive anarchist community working toward social change.
To this end Bristol AF would like to show its support for:
Kebele Social Centre and its collectives
Bristol Space Invaders
All those producing radical, independent and autonomous media whether music, film, paper or web based.
All Bristol’s autonomous spaces, social centres and squats.
All Bristol’s radical grass-roots campaigns against capitalism, fascism, the state, and environmental destruction.
By Bristol Anarchist Federation – Originaly released March 2010
Presently Bristol AF meet monthly on Saturdays at Kebele Social centre, Robertson Road, Easton after brunch (1pm).
For more information contact – firstname.lastname@example.org