While most eyes seemed to be focused solely on the election and our political ‘leaders’, there are a lot of other events coming up to keep the anarchists and radicals of Bristol (and beyond) busy. Some of these are being organised by us, some by our friends and comrades. Others are just ones we’re going to and you should do everything you can to support or attend as well. Whatever your view on the election, make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the real politics!
Dorset’s first ever Radical Bookfair is happening this Saturday! There will be stalls, talks covering a range of topics (including two from us on ‘Capitalism, Anarchism & Mental Health’ and ‘Revolutionary Women’), and films on anarchism, rebellion, and the revolution. And it’s free entry!
To find out more, check out their Facebook event.
Hartcliffe Protest! Re-open the Rent Offices!
Saturday 3rd June
Come on down to Hartcliff on Saturday to stand with residents as they protest the cuts their community has had to face and the closure of council facilities at Symes House. These are cuts we’re facing all over the city, so even if you don’t live in Hartcliff, go on down and show your support. Facebook event.
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
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.
Things kick off (as in start that is, not, you know, kick off) with the Anti-Police harassment demonstration 6.30pm, Assembling at Newton Park, Old Market going to Trinity Police Station (MAP) Bring noise, banners, lanterns etc.
A little later in the evening some of us will be taking the short walk to the central fire station to support the FBU members who are staging a four hour strike as part of their fight to prevent the raising of their retirement age.
On Saturday at 12.30pm, the ‘Save Our City’ coalition of anticuts groupings in Bristol are organising a demo against George Ferguson and his plan to cut 1000 jobs, they’re making it a personal and will be protesting outside the Tobacco Factory bar/cafe that he owns and uses as his central bristol base. Facebook Event.
Finally, just down the road from the anti cuts demonstration over in East Street, our friends at Sol Fed have organised a picket of Santander beginning at 2.30pm. This is part of an international campaign of solidarity with a CNT member in Spain who was fired from his job at Santander for union organising, facebook event!
Hope to see you in the streets, let us know if you attend all four and we might give you a cookie.
Love & Rage,
Bristol Anarchist Federation
Since forming the Pret a Manger Staff Union earlier this year, Andrej and a number of other workplace activists have faced a campaign of harassment and victimisation from management. For Andrej, this has reached a point where he has been sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges. His final appeal hearing against the decision will occur on Thursday the 29th of November at 2:00pm.
In an effort to show solidarity to Andrej and PAMSU, we are requesting that supporters:
Please bombard Pret’s Facebook page with messages in support of Andrej: http://www.facebook.com/pretamanger
Feel free to post up this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey2PAGB29B8
If you’re on Twitter, please tweet and re-tweet the following message throughout the day:
“@Pret Reinstate Andrej! Stop Union-Busting at Pret a Manger! More information: www.pamsu.org Please re-tweet!!! #PAMSU” (also @pret_menu)
Action supported and endorsed by the North London Solidarity Federation, The Alliance for Workers Liberty, and Radical Islington.
The spring & early summer saw an active campaign against companies involved in workfare in Bristol; Youth fight for jobs organised a demo, followed by three more organised by ourselves. We saw successes as part of a national campaign that resulted in numerous high profile companies pulling out including Boots, Sainsburys, BHS and Holland&Barratt – who now pay their new staff.
However since then things have been a bit quiet, and the government has taken this as an oppurtunity to push the scheme again convincing retailers to take people on workfare schemes instead of hiring temporary christmas staff or giving existing workers more overtime.
So its about time it all kicked off again! Our Friends over at Solfed have called for a demonstration focusing its attention on Poundland (solfeds workfare target nationally), taking place this Sunday. Bring yourselves, banners, flags and your mates!
Where: Poundland, 42 – 46 East Street, Bedminster.
When: This Sunday(18th) 11.30am – 1pm
(those of you in east bristol can get the train from stapleton road > bedminster (changing at templemeads, takes half an hour)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/556646751018678/
Indymedia Event: https://www.bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/711772