We wanted to show our opposition to their owner’s cowardly & selfish decision to lay a trap for their own workers, rather than risk a fine. By joining in with the UK wide campaign we aim to hurt Byron Burgers economically and show our solidarity with ALL workers – regardless of where they are from.
The demonstration certainly had an impact, the entire time we were present (7pm-9pm on a Saturday night!) only one group of people went into the chain, and there were only a handful of deliveries. Whilst it was a ‘little’ empty inside, the entire front of the shop was taken up with protesters, who were spilling out either side in front of the neighboring (closed) shops. The response from passers by was largely positive, many reminded of the news story and talking about it as they went past after seeing us. We handed out hundreds of leaflets, only stopping near the end when we simply ran out. Meanwhile, the trouble makers down in Wessex Solidarity 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.
The 4th annual Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair took place last Saturday 11th May at the Showroom Workstation. A member of Bristol AFed went to the Bookfair as part of the Kebele Social Centre/Infoshop Collective. This is their personal account of the day:
After a slow start to the day – waking up at 4am and being stuck on the side of the motorway until 9am – we finally arrived at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair at around midday. We set up our stall next to Bristol Against Arms Trade (BAAT) and were happy to find ourselves nestled between comrades from Collective Action and The Commune with The Cowley Club Social Centre (from Brighton) and Sheffield IWW opposite us.
Once we’d finished setting up I took some time to look around the other stalls. There were at least 28 stalls at this year’s Anarchist Bookfair. Despite this the Bookfair gave off the impression of a bustling and active movement with lots of people walking between stalls and talking to eachother. This really felt like a local Bookfair and I loved it.
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:
Today members of Bristol AFED, along with other anarchists, feminists, socialists and miscellaneous angry rebels shut down the central broadmead branch of Starbucks for the whole afternoon, before regrouping and doing the same thing in Park Street. The response we got from passers by was overwhelmingly positive with many people joining in (40 at the peak of the two hour demo).
Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference
For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across the world have been converging in St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music, films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions.
On returning from the St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) intelligence who initially refused to identify themselves to the detainees. During the detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their names, addresses, email addresses, DNA, photographs and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions, photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.
During the detention, the police constantly accused the anarchists of lying about involvement in criminal activity and alleged that they would be conducting follow-up police action against one of the detained anarchists. In addition to this, SO15 officers asked a number of inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions, including ‘what would you do if someone raped your mother?’ evidently in an attempt to cause emotional upset and illicit angry or violent responses. One member (28) who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the police, said “We were treated like criminals. I told them I went to the congress as I am an amateur journalist and I write articles about activism. They saw my note book, camera and Dictaphone but they said I was lying.” One officer said ‘You said you are an anarchist, I’ve seen anarchists on the news, they are violent, throw molotov cocktails and disrupt people’s lives not write articles”.
The counter terrorist officers either didn’t know or chose to ignore that, during the first day of the gathering, the International of Anarchist Federations (Of which the UK Anarchist Federation is a member) had issued a statement rejecting all terrorist tactics as a means of achieving an anarchist society.
In contrast to the actions of the UK security forces, the local press and residents in St.Imier reported very positively on the anarchist gathering.
With this incident, we are seeing a further slide towards political policing and the criminalisation of political ideologies. The two detained anarchists have not had any involvement in any illegal or violent activity, or any activity that would concern the counter-terrorist police. As in the past, when Metropolitan police called on people to give information about local anarchists ( Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police | UK news | The Guardian ), anarchists suffered harassment for their political viewpoint.
As class-struggle anarchists, we believe that the state does little except serve the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary people. This is seen clearly when people who hold views critical of the state are treated as criminals and terrorists. We seek to create a classless society, based on freedom, equality and co-operation. We believe in the capacity of ordinary people to run society themselves, without the interference of bosses or politicians. This incident was not in response to any crime and constitutes repression and criminalisation of a political ideology.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that seeks to build an egalitarian society in which mutual aid, co-operation and direct democracy replace capitalism and the state.
The St Imier Congress was a gathering of anarchists from all over the world to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the first international anarchist gathering in the Swiss town of St Imier in 1872.
The Anarchist Federation is a federation of class struggle anarchist-communists in the UK who seek to build an egalitarian society.
(I’m the only person how hasn’t use the Spuc-Off pun, tiz a good one though!)
On Saturday April 28th Demonstrations called by individuals within Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bristol’s Feminist Network countered one organised by the Society for the Protection on Unborn Children (SPUC), a “pro-life” group (we prefer the term “anti-choice”). We chose to counter this demonstration not just because SPUC believe that women should not have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies but because their other major campaign is lobbying against same-sex marriage. They are also against contraception and promote punishment for those involved in abortions involving muslim women. Although they claim to not be religious all their views are backed up with the view that they are doing the right thing by God.
The SPUC vigil was a series of 40 or so happening across the country and many experienced counter demonstrations – Cardiff, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Excellent blog on the Bath one , Our comrades in Lincoln Anarchists blog, Bristol’s Activist Twined City of Brighton, Liverpool plus others.
The SPUC Vigil totalled 20 people and the counter demo 80. So I guess that says something. The AF called counter-demo was massively bolstered by Bristol Feminist Network and other individuals who had also called a demo (around 60 people) many with home-made placards. They chose to set up shop on the other side of the road to show where majority opinion on the pro-choice debate lay. Others chose to mingle with pro-lifers and question them on their morals and support for a misogynistic, homophobic group. Many were not up for debate with us, perhaps because they could not answer our questions. It was clear many did not even know what group they were supporting by being there and accused us of lying about the homophobic bit (it’s on their website under campaigns, go look). I liked this demo because we got to work with a different set of people to normal, so for that reason alone it was successful.
Some pro-lifers however did engage in debate, one even promised not to demonstrate with SPUC again after he found out how homophobic they were, he wasn’t going to be turned on the anti-choice stance though. We received a lot of support from passers-by and drivers and hope that SPUC will think twice before holding another vigil that attempts to take away women’s autonomy of their own bodies.
Second two photos used with agreement of photographer, see her blog on the demo here
And the other point of view? That’s here.
February 28th was Bristol City Council’s Budget setting meeting and a couple of AFers went along to view the proceedings (sometimes the term “get a job” is apt ).
LibDem Councilor Alex Woodman was clearly as bored as we were with the bureaucracy and figures and was playing around on twitter, as was one of our members. The following coloured text is directly transcribed from the conversation that ensued after one of our members heckled the meeting. Continue reading
Over the last year or so Bristol has seen trade unions, left wing organisations and radical/revolutionary groups working together in a way that has not been seen in the city for a long time.
As the anti cuts movement began to build early signs of this came from the UK UNCUT movement. In Bristol, although the initial protests were organised by Bristol Anarchist Federation members we made a conscious choice, at least at first, to keep the “A” word out of sight.
There were a number of reasons for this, and just as many criticisms of it, but essentially we wanted to push a united anti-cuts message without sectarian politics clouding the end goal – To stop the cuts.
On the whole other groups respected and reciprocated this approach, although not always (see here under Bristol). Unfortunately our e-mail request for the SWP to edit this article claiming they had fronted the UK UNCUT action in Bristol when it was actually Students and AFed was ignored. Original write up on demo here. Continue reading