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.
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 Any initial pride that was felt back in say, 2013, has been replaced by resigned groans and the question: best place to live for who exactly?.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”.
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!
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.
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 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
The Byron Burgers chain called dozens of their London staff to a ‘health and safety’ briefing. Instead of facing a mundane meeting, immigration officers burst into the room detaining everyone present for hours, and deporting 35 people.
After the story broke in Spanish language newspaper El Iberico a number of groups and unions including Byron workers have called for action against Byron, with hundreds taking part across the country. These workers had been at Byron for up to 4 years, helping to earn millions in profits for the investment fund owners and their offshore companies. These same owners were quick to jump at the chance to throw them under the bus to save their own skins, ruining peoples lives to avoid a fine.
We need to stand together with ALL workers, no matter where they are from. This is how we improve the lives of ordinary people, by fighting back against the corporate owners who drive down wages, dodge taxes and rip us off daily.
Meet: Outside Bristol Museum 6.45pm on Saturday 6th
Demo: From 7pm outside Byron Burgers, 62 Queens Road on the Triangle Continue reading
A failure to understand consent and rape culture is nothing new when it comes to police forces around the world. Even by these less than stellar standards handing out a pamphlet entitled ‘R U asking 4 it’ marks a low point. Especially when you consider the recipients were a group of Bristol teenagers attending an educational session on consent.
This was apparently the result of a ‘blunder’ on the part of the police, but it is telling none of the professionals handing the leaflets out realised anything was wrong. It was up to the teenagers present to point out how fucked up it was. Continue reading