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.
Issue 157 of Resistance, the paper of the UK Anarchist Federation is now available to download as a PDF. This issue focuses on struggles against gender oppression; including sexual harassment at work, the fight for abortion in Ireland, a look back at the free women of Spain (mujeres libres), women in factory resistance in China, the voices of women & LGBTQIA in Ukraine, and the Angry Women of Liverpool!
We handed out about a hundred copies on the recent welcome return of the Reclaim The Night march in Bristol, which whilst we’re on the subject was fantastic. Great for us to march alongside so many enthusiastic people in the streets about such important issues as fighting against intimate partner violence and street harassment. Yet as several placards pointed out its sad to still have to protest this shit in 2014. All of the speakers from Bristol University and beyond were excellent, we look forward to fighting patriarchy with many of the people we met on the night. If you missed out on a physical copy then and would like to get your hands on one they are available from Kebele and Hydra Books.
Includes updates on the struggle against the exploitation of Bangladeshi workers, Wildcat strikes in Brighton, Anti-Blacklist campaigners in Manchester and more.
If thats not enough news about working class resistance for ya, then take a look at the Bristolian.
As many of you will know a gathering of animal rights activists took place in Bristol at the weekend. Those present faced police harassment and repression throughout the 3 days. This included evidence gatherers filming through the windows, over a dozen officers damaging and stealing (sorry ‘seizing’) a mini bus, half a dozen arrests at a protest, a house being raided, and a meeting at a community centre being surrounded by at least 25 police (including a dog unit and a firearms officer).
Bristol Anarchist Federation wishes to express our solidarity with all the activists involved with, and present at, the animal rights gathering. We also tip our metaphorical hats to you; if you attract that kind of attention from the state you must be doing something right.
This repression can only push those on the receiving end of it closer together, and through this solidarity we can fight even harder against the systems of domination that surround us. So, to those that sought to oppress people at the AR (&workfare) demos in Bristol this weekend THANKS (because mischief brew say it so eloquently).