While most eyes seemed to be focused solely on the election and our political ‘leaders’, there are a lot of other events coming up to keep the anarchists and radicals of Bristol (and beyond) busy. Some of these are being organised by us, some by our friends and comrades. Others are just ones we’re going to and you should do everything you can to support or attend as well. Whatever your view on the election, make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the real politics!
Dorset’s first ever Radical Bookfair is happening this Saturday! There will be stalls, talks covering a range of topics (including two from us on ‘Capitalism, Anarchism & Mental Health’ and ‘Revolutionary Women’), and films on anarchism, rebellion, and the revolution. And it’s free entry!
To find out more, check out their Facebook event.
Hartcliffe Protest! Re-open the Rent Offices!
Saturday 3rd June
Come on down to Hartcliff on Saturday to stand with residents as they protest the cuts their community has had to face and the closure of council facilities at Symes House. These are cuts we’re facing all over the city, so even if you don’t live in Hartcliff, go on down and show your support. Facebook event.
Think it should be none of the above? Then join us in the streets this Saturday & Tuesday!
The fight against cuts has been a long and tough one, but we can’t afford to let up. Not when peoples’ livelihoods, well-being, and very lives depend on it. It won’t end with the upcoming protests (see below for details). In fact, it will need to step up a gear in the months afterwards, if it is to have any impact.
The government in Westminster continues to demand cuts to essential services, still telling the same old lie that it is for ‘the sake of the economy’ or to lower the national debt. The reality of the past seven years says otherwise. Councillors across the country have spoken about being ‘anti-austerity’, but so far have only put their careers and the easy life first, passing on the cuts, regardless of which party they belong to.
In reality, these cuts are an attack on working class and vulnerable people across the country. It’s about giving less of the wealth that we produced to us – whether we receive it in our wage packets, our benefits, or our access to state services – and giving more of it to the few at the top. Privatisation goes hand-in-hand with this, creating yet more profit for the millionaires, and it’s all the easier to implement when services are already stretched to breaking point.
So, what can we do about it?
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
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.
Yesterday members of the spanish trade union, Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores, raided two supermarkets (english article).
200 people entered supermarkets in two towns filling up trollys with basic food stuffs and after a tussle with some supermarket security left without paying. The food was distributed to those who needed it via a food banks run by unnamed charitable organisations. There are even rumours that Ecija’s left-wing mayor had ordered the local police to not intervene in the action or that other trade unionists distracted and confronted the authorities outside. Either way the raiders made off with nearly all of the food.
This action follows in the foot steps of actions by Greek anarchists which have become increasingly frequent over the past five years. Currently the situation in Greece and Spain is worse than here in the UK ( in the latter country for example all benefits are stopped after two years of unemployment). However as the government here has only implemented around 7% of its planned decade of cuts and we enter another quarter of recession we can assume things are going to get worse.
Could this action be part of a genuinely radical and, more importantly, possibly successful strategy of fighting against government cuts/austerity? Forget telling the government not to cut a service or to please give us more jobs, lets just make sure our material needs are met. If their capitalist system can’t cope with that, well then, that’s their problem not ours. All we should care about is the fact that we need food, housing, health care and hell some entertainment once in a while, and we still live in a country of plenty. Despite (or because of) the recession, whilst we’ve all been tightening our belts the richest in our country have been hoarding even more wealth, soon the time will come when we have to start taking some of it back for ourselves.
(but so far any attempt by George Osborne to impose VAT on them has failed).
This Saturday in Bristol (1pm at the bandstand in castle park) people will demonstrate against companies that profit from workfare. They will join a total of twenty+ protests (scroll down for full list) across the UK. Workfare has taken a battering, its time to finish it off!
Workfare is the term applied to government schemes that force people to work for free or loose their benefits. It has been shown in its official report not to reduce unemployment, it costs millions in taxes, forces down wages, hurts small businesses, is corrupt, and only benefits (wait for it) big business and the rich!
Media reports, pulic outrage and a string of protests have resulted in dozens of organisations dropping out, and caused the government to lie on national TV to try and calm us all down. Well, we haven’t calmed down. It’s time to finish off workfare for good. Here’s our list, click for more details: Continue reading
The fifth edition of 1831 – Bristols radical news sheet. This month looks at Work Fare, Vince Cable, Stephen Williams MP’s oppinions on squaters (spoiler: not a fan), upcoming council cuts and pizza.
You can read it here (PDF)
Don’t miss out on all the fun down at Bristol Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, it’s gonna be a riot! (not literally of course – Ed)
The event takes place in Hamilton house on the now infamous Stokes Croft. With three floors, 60 stalls and a workshop shedule to put London Bookfair to shame, reading up is the new kicking off in Bristol This Saturday.
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
On Saturday October 23rd Bristol’s Castle park was awash with colour as over 1000 protesters (the organisers say 4000) marched through Bristol city centre to voice their anger at the governments cuts to services and welfare and their attack on the working classes.
Trade unions were represented including PCS, Unison, CWU, GMB and NUT along with a more radical side from The IWW, Anarchist Federation, Class War, Bristol Resistance and the Solidarity Federation along with many other groups and individuals.
Despite the weather the crowd were in good spirits and fine voice the IWW had printed out song sheets and a contingent from Youth Fight for jobs kept the chants coming think and fast.
We hear that the Police had been warning the organisers “Bristol & District Anti-cuts Alliance” that Anarchist were planning to infiltrate the march. What the police did not know is that the organisers were aware anarchists would be attending and on the whole were cool with it, saying it was not their job to say who can attend and what they can do.
There were a large number of cops around for an un-policed march and as soon as we left the park the police attempted to snatch a banner saying “Fuck The Cuts, Smash The State”. Their attempt failed as marchers ploughed in to save their banner and protect their comrades taking the pigs by surprise. Ten minutes later, their egos bruised, the cops had another go at snatching the banner, this time more violently causing some injuries to protesters.
At the Rally point of College Green we relaxed to listen to the speeches but then came the final show down. Some comrades were approached by Police as they went to collect the Anarchist Federation banner, they tried to take their details and video them. One was told to take his mask off under section 60, another was told he had to give his details under section 50 because he was suspected on anti-social behavior (aka holding a banner saying fuck on it – which he never did). The anarchist contingent and other marchers came along to give their support, the cops panicked and sent in mounted police, pushing and shoving ensued and two token arrests were made. Many of the “moderate” protesters split from the rally and joined the melee. Severely outnumbered and with their lines broken the cops were forced back out of the park and past the cathedral. Arguments broke out as other marchers told us to go back to the rally and let the police do their jobs. Afterwards one woman told a friend of mine who had not attended the demo “It was a good rally but the anarchists were there causing trouble”.
After this the demo split up, Around 20 or so people headed up to the police station to show their solidarity with those arrested by singing songs, playing cards, tag and the guitar, eating hobnobs and partaking in a strange Spartacusesque moment, all of which was noted down by the officers sent to mind us and video us. Regarding one of the games we were playing on cop was heard saying to other “it appears to be some sort of modern version of Buckaroo”.
Both were released on police bail after five hours in custody for afray and obstructing police. The local rag reported that cannabis was found on one of the arrestees, this was a complete fabrication on the part of the media.
As the cuts take hold demos like this will become more common and more angry. The violent attacks from the Police also show what we can expect as things turn increasingly nasty.
Apart from a few individuals (on both sides of the political divide) on the whole the day’s events proved that Socialists, Trade unionists and Anarchists can get along and work together.
So in Brum we got kettled for two hours and in Bristol we saw off Police incursions and forced em out of the park, we reckon that’s one point each!