This Saturday see the eighth incarnation of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair! For those who haven’t been before, it involves over a thousand people listening to talks and participating in workshops from a variety authors, editors, activists, historians and local and nationwide campaign groups. It will cover everything from Mental Health & the NHS, to a world without borders, money and prisons via environmental campaigning and the housing struggle. There will also be an Art Area (and an exhibit straight out of Dismaland), kids space, vegan cafe and over 50 stalls with all the books, badges, T shirts, Patches, zines, guides, papers and information you could want!
There will also be a fundraising after party hosted with Bristol LadDIYfest kicking off at 7.30pm at the Stag & Hounds and featuring bands and DJs playing Folk, Punk, Hip Hop & Party Anthems.
On Sunday we will be celebrating May Day! The first of May is a to often forgotten celebration of international workers struggles, it is where we can remember those who have fought and died for a better world, and where we can stand in solidarity with each other as we continue that fight today.
This year local Trade Unions have organised a March from Castle Park followed by a rally at Trinity. We will be joining in as part of the Radical Workers Bloc! We need as many people to join us to help bring a message of radical resistance to proceedings – and to help participate in an action we have planned on the day. Just look for the Red & Black flags on the day. The meeting point is 11.30am in Castle Park, with the march setting off shortly after.
If this isn’t enough for you, there’s also a protest against George Ferguson and the policy of housing shortage and homelessness that he has presided over. Its kicking off outside the Tobacco Factory at 5.30pm on Saturday and marching to college green.
All this after a week that has seen both Library and NHS workers out on strike and demonstrating, and a fortnight that has seen action taken against the flogging off of much-needed council homes.
Rebellion is in the air of Bristol again!
Hatred of the enemy, so strenuously fostered in training days, largely faded away in the line. We somehow realized that individually they were very like ourselves, just as fed-up and anxious to be done with it all
Much of the media discussion concerning WW1 over the last few years has been centred on the Courts-Martial and executions of so-called ‘cowards’ from the British Infantry between 1914-1918. This debate has been focussed on getting pardons for those who were shot (often in front of their comrades) on the basis they were ‘shell-shocked’ or suffering from ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ rather than being ‘cowards’. This victim-orientated narrative (there were 300 posthumous pardons issued by the state in 2006) implies that on the whole the issue of desertion and disobedience was limited to relatively isolated incidents. Arguing about those who ‘refused’ the slaughter of WW1 on the basis of ‘cowardice’ or ‘mental illness’ provides both an exception to the rule (of supposed generally good discipline) and takes away the agency of soldiers, instead presenting the few miscreants as either embarrassing ‘gibbering weak-willed wrecks’ or deserving our sympathy as ‘damaged lunatics’. In contrast, very little attention has been paid to the mass of mutineers, strikers, agitators, shirkers and skulkers who were consciously and actively refusing and/or avoiding front-line combat and the war in general.
Mass refusals, disobedience, mutinies, strikes and out-right rebellion were all part of the British armed forces experience in WW1These were all fairly explicit events and to a certain extent these hidden narratives are becoming part of the historical record despite the attempts of contemporary military censors and government ‘D’ notices on the press as well as the 100 year rule in suppressing military documents. Subsequent post-war collective memory loss related to dominant patriotic ideologies served to smother these events even further, but in the 1960s/70s a critical historical reappraisal of WW1 began, marked in the cultural sphere by the biting satire of the musical ‘Oh What a Lovely War’. This reassessment of WW1 led to a series of historical and sociological examinations of the ‘life in the trenches’ in the succeeding decade. Some of these works provide a new and interesting angle on the subterranean (but at the same time mass) collective tactics British (and German) soldiers used for avoiding combat.
Update: Facebook Event
This year Bristol Trades Council is pulling out all the stops and attempting to throw their biggest May Day March in years. Whilst they may not have said it themselves, we’d like to think the effort of everyone who got involved with the 1st of May Group last year and the success of our demos, actions, and saturday march is what inspired them! Continue reading
The number to call/text for the workflare flashmob has been released, head over to bristol first of may group to see it.
Demo takes place next thursday 12.30pm at a TBA central bristol location, be there!
Meeting tomorrow, and more goings on! check it out.