Cameron remains in Downing Street, now with a majority (having successfully cannibalized his former LibDem partners). A lot of people are understandably depressed by this, and now to top it all off Farage hasn’t even resigned. FFS politics, give us a break. We don’t have much say in what policies they try and force upon us – after all we had ‘Vote Tory for capitalism and austerity’ and ‘Vote Labour for the same, only a bit less and our heart isn’t really in it’. What we DO have a say in, is how we react to them.
Reaction One: Voter Apathy
Non voters are often accused of apathy, but if after going to the ballot on the 7th you are planning to sit back and do nothing for five years than you are being truly apathetic. Of course the same is true if ‘not voting’ is the sum total of your protest against the system. Maybe to kill time before the next general election you can try to change Labour from the inside, or help the Greens get half a dozen MPs early next decade. If you’re really inspired maybe you could put your energy into reforming how we vote for our ‘representatives’. Although many countries use other systems and they still aren’t socialist utopias yet either. Lets get one thing clear though, would Ed Milliband be screwing us over aswell? Hell yes.
Reaction Two: Fight for What We Have, Fight for What We Need
We are often presented a doctored version of history. One where the oppressed asked the government nicely for reforms, where they appealed to their ruler’s reason and conscience, or simply voted in nicer leaders.
A closer inspection reveals a very different narrative, where everything we have was fought for tooth and nail. Where workers faced down the army for the right to have the evening off rather than work 14 hour days, where women bombed pavilions and learnt martial arts before they were recognised as capable of decisions, where people faced down battalions of police who were trying to force a fascist march through the east end of London. It is the latter telling of history that should inform how we react today.
Everything we have we fought for, and everything we fought for they want back. As soon as we stop fighting – in our work places, in our communities, in the streets and in the fields – we will lose everything. The good news? If you want to take action there are plenty ways to do it. Here are just a few based on some Tory policies.
On Saturday 13th of December, a group of spirited anarchists and other rebellious pixies, donned Christmas hats and Santa beards. Armed with several hundred leaflets, several dozen mince pies, and a handful of song sheets we set out to inject a bit of anti capitalist rebellion into the heart of the consumer season!
We’d decided that companies exploiting people via the governments ‘workfare’ forced labour schemes were particularly worthy of our scorn at this time of year. We set about demonstrating and partying outside and, despite the protests of a tag along PCSO, inside a number of serial offenders.
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
TELL THE TRUTH AND SHAME THE DEVIL is the old saying and in that tradition this statement from St Georges, Univeristy of London Cleaners should be widely circulated: “We, the cleaners at St George’s are writing to inform you that the stories that UNISON are spreading about the cleaners at St George’s are lies. I am sure you were not aware of this, though.
UNISON did not win us the London Living Wage. In fact we won it not because of UNISON, but in spite of UNISON.
We are members of the IWW union. Only one of our colleagues is with UNISON. We are not represented by UNISON. The IWW, an independent union that’s managed by its members on a voluntary basis, has been with us right from the start. They represent us, and they won us the LLW. Continue reading
On Saturday dozens of Bristolians joined more than twenty towns around the uk and responded to a call out from local anarchist & left organisations to target companies profiting from the workfare scheme. Whilst many of the ‘usual suspects’ were absent (worn out from four demos on the Friday!), 36 people attended and it was no less loud, fun or effective than the last. Plus it was nice to see some new faces!
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)