Kurdish resistance fighters, including many who speak of their commitment to an anarchist inspired social revolution, continue to battle repressive Daesh (ISIS/IS) forces around Kobanê. The optimistic would imagine that the role of the neighbouring Turkish state (a member of the US led coalition against Daesh) would involve opening its nearby border to feeling civilians, aiding those refugees who have already crossed, providing humanitarian assistance to the besieged town, or even actively supporting the resistance. The reality could not be more different.
Turkish state forces have attempted to seal off the border to both those fleeing out of Kobanê and those attempting to bring aid and supplies in to the town (suspiciously those arming Daesh forces have been slipping through relatively un-harrassed), The Turkish army have also attacked Kurdish refugees Continue reading
May 1st is International Worker’s Day and is celebrated around the world with marches and actions. There have been many attempts to rewrite the history of May Day. In 2011 the Tories proposed moving the May Day Bank Holiday to October and replace it with “UK Day” and in America May 1st is has been “Loyalty Day” since 1921 (not that many people celebrate it mind!).
Because of this we thought it was important to repost this article, explaining as briefly as possible, the true origins of May Day or International Worker’s Day. If reading isn’t your thing then check out this talk by Bristol Radical History Group from 2012 on the history of May Day.
by Eric Chase (1993)
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility. Continue reading
Bristol Anarchist Federation has always had strong political, theoretical and tactical disagreements with the Socialist Workers Party, however we have sometimes worked alongside them on broader campaigns. Continue reading
When members of the “Angry Foxes Cell” burnt down the almost complete Police Firearms Training Centre in Portishead near Bristol, it took a lot of people by surprise, ourselves included. This week the Bristol Post published an article on a report by Avon & Somerset Police with the Stalinesque title “Our Five Year Ambition”. The Posts front page ran the Headline “Targeting the Enemy Within.” This was followed up by a comment from the editor singling out anarchists and drumming up public support for their increased oppression.
MAY DAY – May 1st – has been celebrated as International Worker’s Day since 1890. The date was chosen by members of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket Affair which occurred in Chicago, United States in 1886: On May 1st 1886 American unions held a nationwide general strike. An estimated 400,000 workers went on strike in Chicago. In the days following the strike, seven anarchists were framed and sentenced to death after a bomb was thrown at the police during a rally called on May 4th in response to an act of police violence following the strike outside the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company on May 3rd that left six workers dead.
For a full history of the Haymarket Affair, the Haymarket Martyrs and the origins of May Day please watch this talk by Bristol Radical History Group from 2012 at Hydra Books.
Across the world yesterday workers took to the streets to celebrate International Worker’s Day (1st May)! We have complied below a incomplete list of actions from around the globe. With this list we hope to showcase the sheer size and diversity of the modern worker’s movements:
The Public & Commercial Services (PCS) union are holding a national strike on budget day (this wednesday) as the start of a renewed campaign against the governments attacks on their members pay and conditions, and cuts to essential services. We send our solidarity to all those going out on strike, and everyone else involved in the larger struggle against government cuts.
In Bristol there will be a Rally held outside Tony Benn House (formally transport house) at 12.30, for PCS members and other supporters.
There will also be picket lines outside many government offices from aroynd 7am, including Eagle house job centre in the centre, Temple Quay House (near temple meads), and HMRC offices in Redland. Get down if you can to show your support, remember solidarity forever doesn’t mean just sometimes!
Since forming the Pret a Manger Staff Union earlier this year, Andrej and a number of other workplace activists have faced a campaign of harassment and victimisation from management. For Andrej, this has reached a point where he has been sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges. His final appeal hearing against the decision will occur on Thursday the 29th of November at 2:00pm.
In an effort to show solidarity to Andrej and PAMSU, we are requesting that supporters:
Please bombard Pret’s Facebook page with messages in support of Andrej: http://www.facebook.com/pretamanger
Feel free to post up this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey2PAGB29B8
If you’re on Twitter, please tweet and re-tweet the following message throughout the day:
“@Pret Reinstate Andrej! Stop Union-Busting at Pret a Manger! More information: www.pamsu.org Please re-tweet!!! #PAMSU” (also @pret_menu)
Action supported and endorsed by the North London Solidarity Federation, The Alliance for Workers Liberty, and Radical Islington.
Update: video of the march/rally
On Thursday workers from Unite Health, Univesity and College Union, and the Public & Commercial Services Union will be on strike. Whilst the official reason for the public sector strikes is always ‘pensions’, this is only because the unions are legally bound to strike on matters that directly affect their members employment. If you speak to the rank and file members of these unions it is clear the strikes are against the governments cuts agenda as a whole, not just the cuts to their own pensions. They are are a response to some of the largest attacks on the quality of life of the working classes, poor, elderly and vulnerable that have ever taken place in this country.
Get down to the picket lines (full list below) and lend your support if you can. There is also a march starting at 10.30am from the Bristol Royal Infirmary picket lines.
Report and statement from members of Bristol Defendant Solidarity, ABC & Afed:
We wish to express our support for, and solidarity with, those members of the UCU in England who will be taking part in the forth coming strikes, on the 22nd and 24th of March, with particular regard to members at the University of Bristol and the University of West England. We also wish to express our support for, and solidarity with, those UCU members who have or will be taking part in strikes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland on the 17th, 18th, and 21st of March respectively.
It is perverse, in a time where students fees are being raised, that staff are being subjected to such an attack on their pension schemes. We see, reflected in this move, further evidence of attacks – justified in the context of a crisis we neither created nor facilitated – on the services on which millions of working class people depend, either for education or for employment.
Further more, we wish to plead with those members of staff who will take it upon themselves to undermine strike action by performing their duties on the day. As fellow workers we understand the cost of a days wages, and of the potential repercussions that supporting this action may entail, but also understand and whole heartedly believe in the power of collective action. It is only by standing together that – in any such struggle – objectives can be met.
Equally, we call upon the students of these institutions to support their staff, much as the staff supported them in the struggle against the rise in Tuition Fees. Support your staff in any way you can, by attending the picket lines or refusing to cooperate with scab staff, or through more inventive measures. Again, it is important to recognise the power of collective action.
Yours in Solidarity,
Anti-Cuts Action Bristol
Bristol Anarchist Federation