Tagged: Bristol

No Pride in the Arms Trade

The following is a repost of an open letter we have signed, the original is hosted here.

If you would like to add your name to this open letter – please fill in this google form.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn Bristol Pride’s acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus for this year’s Pride, and demand that they ditch Airbus as a sponsor.

We want an apology from Bristol Pride, a commitment to never again accept money from those who profit from war crimes, and for them to understand that our community does not exist to be used to pink-wash the arming of oppressive regimes.

Police, dispersing Pride Parade in Istanbul

Solidarity is an action not empty words. For Bristol Pride to claim “we are with” LGBTQ+ activists in Istanbul, who bravely marched despite the ban on Pride, while accepting blood money from a company who supply Turkey’s military is gross hypocrisy. Last week LGBTQ+ activists marching at the banned Istanbul Pride were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests and brutalisation; and the AKP government, led by Erdoğan, is deeply homophobic. [1]

Aircraft that Airbus supply to the Turkish military include the CN235 Maritime Patrol Craft, and the A400M multi-role transport aircraft. [2] The latter has its wings assembled in Filton, Bristol. [3]

Turkey has been invading Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish region in North Syria/Rojava, since January this year. There is strong evidence that Turkey has been employing former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion and occupation. In an interview with The Independent, a former ISIS fighter revealed that “most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics.” [4]

Made in Bristol! Turkish Military Transport

In a recent statement, the Rojava Democratic Autonomous Administration Women’s Coordination condemned the abuses of the invading Turkish armed forces and their mercenary allies, saying:
“Erdogan and his mercenaries have occupied Afrin and forced people to leave their homes while at the same time changing the demography of the region. Turkey is also settling mercenaries and their families into the homes of the residents of Afrin”.
“The atrocities against the people of Afrin carried out by the Turkish army and their mercenaries are happening every day under the silence of the international community: women abduction, rape, forcing Ezîdîs to become Muslim, plunder.” [5]

The acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus is also a specific attack on the Bristol queer community. Anna Campbell, a Bristol-based lesbian, was killed in Afrin, north Syria/Rojava, by a Turkish air strike in March. After going to Rojava to learn from, and support, the women’s revolution; and to fight against ISIS with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), she went to Afrin to help defend it against the invasion by Turkey. She was killed with two YPJ comrades, Sara Mêrdîn and Serhildan, while protecting civilians who were evacuating Afrin.

Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell)

Airbus, along with BAE and Leonardo, also build the Eurofighter jet which they supply to Saudi Arabia, [6] who have used it extensively in their bombing campaign against Yemen. [7] Currently one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen. [8] Saudi Arabia has one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world, with homosexuality criminalised. Being gay or trans in Saudi Arabia means risking fines, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty. [9]

We call on Bristol Pride to have some integrity and ditch Airbus now!

See More (including signatories)

 

More about our views on Pride:
pride stickers
Battle for the Soul of Pride

Ps.
Don’t think we haven’t noticed you, Babcock, just because you’re a smaller arms company with a smaller sponsorship deal. So small you kind of have to squint to read your name on the promotional material.

Advertisements

Bristol Set for a VERY active couple of weeks

We were just about to bang away on the keyboard listing all of the demonstrations, festivities and events coming up in the fortnight. However, we spotted that our friends over at Bristol IWW had just done the same, and we hope they won’t mind us coping their homework. Cheers comrades!

Make it to as many of these as you can – we’ll certainly be there!

This Saturday, the 9th of September, there is an IWW contingent joining the anti-austerity march and rally called by Bristol People’s Assembly and Bristol Labour Party on College Green. Facebook event here. Look for the IWW banner [and the AFed one, probably next to it]

Sadly on the 10th of September, fascists will be descending upon our city from outside Bristol attempting to whip up Islamophobia and hatred. This time we’re dealing with Tommy Robinson front group ‘Gays Against Sharia’ who will be attempting to use the LGBT community to peddle known fascist speakers such as former BNP youth activist Jack BuckbyPaul Weston of Pegida UK/Liberty GB, figurehead of the EDL’s deluded LGBT grouping Tommy Cook aka Tommy English and wingnut fash-favourite, UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters. Bristol Queercaf have already called a counter demonstration and Bristol IWW encourages all members and supporters to go along. Fascist groups have never had much success at organising in our brilliant city but we need to keep opposing until they finally get the message. Again look for our banner or check Loomio for on the day plans.

On the 14th of September the IWW have their branch meeting, which will include a workshop with our FWs from the Incarcerated Workers’ Organising Committee (IWOC). Come and find out how IWOC supports prisoners to organise & fight back against prison slavery and the prison system itself. After the meeting we generally go for a drink in a local pub. [For more on the prison abolition movement see the latest issue of Organise! – which you can download for free or pick up from Hydra Books or Kebele Info Shop]

On the 16th of September we’ll be running our usual stall at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair with pamphlets, badges and other merchandise. This year’s event has moved to St Werburghs Community Centre BS2 9TJ

Finally on the 17th of September Bristol Radical History Group will be holding a Radical History Festival at the M-Shed, which looks to be a really interesting event with some contributions from local Wobblies.

Whatever you’re doing have a lovely September and we hope to see you sometime.

 

Worshipping Power?

On Tuesday Bristol Anarchist Federation hosted a talk by Peter Gelderloos on the theories in his latest book Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation.  We packed out Kebele with people eager to hear about it, we certainly weren’t disappointed. Our friends over in Bath also hosted a talk the following day after we got in touch with them, spreading a bit more anarchy to our gentile neighbour.

It is always refreshing to hear history unchained from the often stagnant ideas of mainstream society. However not only did the talk (and book) go into how states first arose, but how they continue to adapt to sustain the power they hold over us. The lessons contained are essential for all of us fighting for a better world – not just the anarchists. One that stuck out most is one of only two characteristics that all states shared upon forming, Patriarchy.  Male domination of both the family and the people that a state would subjugate was universal. It was also actively forced upon societies that were more gender-balanced by imperial powers such as Britain, Spain and France, all seeing it as essential to their control. This is one more nail in the coffin of those who would argue that feminism is any less essential to anarchism than the fight against the state and capitalism.

If you missed it, or if you want a recap, the event hosted by London Anarchist Federation at the Anti-University was recorded here. Continue reading

Bristol named worst place to live due to yet another best place to live award

477955

How to turn violent rebellion into a marketing tactic in just six short years

Across the city today Bristolians woke up to the latest barrage of ‘journalism’ about how great their city was.   Any initial pride that was felt back in say, 2013, has been replaced by resigned groans and the question: best place to live for who exactly?. We’re not exactly sure who picks where to live due to articles in The Times, but it probably rhymes with ‘annoying prats’.

‘I guess there are lots of those exciting redevelopments‘ said one local woman ‘like how they replaced our local with a bunch of trendy but cramped and expensive flats, and opened up a food bank down the road’.  ‘I thought it meant all those new restaurants, that are supposed to be quirky and original but are just samey and over priced’ interrupted her friend, before rethinking it and adding ‘but that would make all these articles just self congratulating circle jerks on behalf of the rich, and I’m sure that can’t be the case’.

It’s certainly not a celebration of the interesting areas of Bristol grown over the decades by marginalised members of the city’s working class and migrant communities. Those were all here long before the national press decided our city was ‘cool and creative’. Most of the changes we’ve seen lately are related to the ever increasing costs of living and renting. We’re not against nice things for Bristol – but they shouldn’t come at the expense of having to kick out the people that made the place so interesting to begin with.

“It’d be easy just to blame all the people moving here from that London” said one astute Bristolian before continuing “but I guess they’re only here because this is exactly what happened to all the working class areas over there”.

You can read more about the Fight for the City from our friends in the capital, Continue reading

Last Minute Demo Call Out Today (Monday)

Update:

afed-anti-trump-migrants-welcome

AFed and Our Migrants Welcome Banner

Great to see so many thousands of people out in Bristol – and across the world – to stand up for migrants no matter their nationality. However whilst the border controls in the UK and EU may be less blunt than Trump’s, they are no less devastating.
No Borders is for life, not just for January.
Fight the anti-migrant regime wherever it shows itself, the rhetoric in the papers, the detention centres, the dawn raids, the ‘casual’ racism, and now our schools and hospitals.
No one is illegal!

Original Post:
Two demos today! 5pm @ College Green, demo against the latest round of devastating cuts in Bristol, a chance to spread the word and begin to mobilise for bigger demos during the run up to the full council meeting in a couple of weeks:

6pm @ College Green (conveniently) demo against Trump’s racist ban on travel to the US, and our own governments rather timid response to it.

Followed later by a meeting of the Bristol and District Anti Cuts Alliance who are organising opposition to the cuts that our Mayor intends to implement.

Why the government keep making cuts, and why we need to stop them

Protest against council cuts Nov 2016

Protest against council cuts Nov 2016

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

Bristol Joins Actions Against Byron

well busy outside

Setting up the banners for the picket

This weekend, responding to a call out from ourselves and SolFed, forty people gathered to picket the Bristol branch of Byron Burgers.

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