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?
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
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!
On Sunday the union representing Junior doctors, the British Medical Association, held its second march through Bristol ahead of strike action this Wednesday morning. Once again Bristol AFed and scores of other supporters marched with them, and the response from others in the streets was universally positive.
The BMA’s message is simple, the government is attempting to push through ideologically driven changes to their contracts that will negatively affect not only junior doctors but the level of care they are capable of providing. Junior Doctors can already be called upon to work 70 hour weeks, often in extremely challenging and stressful roles and at nights and weekends. The Tories are seeking not only to cut their pay (whilst they continue to be burdened with an average £100,000 in university debt) but weaken their contracts, forcing unsafe working patterns on essential NHS staff. Continue reading
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.
Serious blog posts will resume tomorrow, but for now we think we could all do with a laugh so we made these…