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
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:
The big weekend! Homebase have been quiet since Wednesday, when they released a frankly lame statement about maybe suspending further commitment to workfare. They’re probably waiting to see what happens so lets make sure we get their attention.
If you can, get down to a protest, listed on facebook and indymedia (Bristol Bath) or grab a friend, print some of the boycott workfare leaflets and head to your local homebase to talk to staff/customers!
If neither is possible call them on 0845 077 8888 or try 0800 0850565 (always be polite to ppl who work in call centres).
You can also drop them a fax for free using Continue reading
and this is crazy, but heres our twitter, follow friday.
Last Saturday over 50 people gatherd in Broadmead for an anti-Workfare demonstration called by ourselves and Bristol Solidarity Federation. Aswell as friends from Bath Anarchists (BARF), the IWW and the Socalist Party there were plenty of new faces we hadn’t seen on previous demos.
Before we had even set off our spirits were lifted by the news that Superdrug had already pulled out of workfare just before the demonstrations set to take place across the country, Result! The first stop on our tour of companies using forced labor under the workfare scheme was Dorothy Perkins in Cabot Circus. Its always good to reclaim spaces like Cabot that are technically no longer public but in the hands of private owners. The security were powerless to stop us due to our weight of numbers, and ability to resist their clever mind tricks such as saying ‘don’t you want to go that way instead?‘. Continue reading
Boycott Workfare have called for a week of action against workfare – the infamous government scheme to force benefit claimants to work for free. It has been shown to be corrupt, expensive, illegal and immoral not to mention useless at finding people jobs. It does help line the pockets of the rich though!Previous actions and public pressure have forced dozens of companies and charities to drop out of the scheme, and its about time those still in it were persuaded to rethink their position.
In Bristol there will be a Demonstration and rolling picket of workfare providers around broadmead on Saturday the 23rd meeting at 2pm at the Castle Park bandstand, everyone who opposes the scheme is welcome. See the facebook event.
Anyone who wants to get creative can join us for banner making, placard painting and last minute scheming on Thursday 21st in the Art Room at Kebele Social centre in Easton from 7pm! We have lots of paints and materials but bring some of your own if you can do!
All week there are online blockades of charities using the scheme, see the boycott workfare website for details! If you’re not going to be in Bristol or Bath this weekend get along to one of the other national actions or call your own!
See you in the Streets!
K: “Guess what? The south west TUC are actually organising a big event for Mayday this year.”
K: “I bet you can’t guess exactly what that are going to do?”
B: “Oh a challenge huh? Well, they will not do it on May day, it will be on the following Saturday. There will be an A to B march from City Hall at …11.00 am?! It will finish in Castle Park for a Rally at the band stand.”
K: “Ha, yes, exactly that! Also I’ve managed to find out where the next organising meeting for the march is. They’ve invited a few groups along, maybe our invite got lost in the post, lucky we found out about it huh?”
So we decided to pop along to the meeting to see if we could have some say on the plans for May Day. Last year we were involved in a group organising (and encouraging others to organise) a week of action based around Mayday including a march and rally hosted by BADACA. We thought we would see how plans were panning out for this years May Day celebrations, expecting a large public meeting (last year had 30+ people at the ‘first of may group’ meetings) we instead found ourselves in some sort of steering committee, Continue reading
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.