Walking to a commune meeting in Amûdê with friends
“We’re solidarity activists,” we say to a man who greets us as we cross the border into Rojava.
“You’ve come too late!” he replies.
Nevertheless, he smiles widely, welcomes us and shakes our hands. In a way, I agree with him. We have come too late. We are only visiting Rojava when there has been a revolution; only after the people have successfully formed their own autonomous region. Where were we when the Kurdish population of Syria were fighting for their rights, for their own self-determination, under Assad?
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Well, maybe fight is too strong a word, but for the first time today French patriots will be happy to know that valuable French policing resources, including CS gas, have not been all used up on migrants! It was also refreshing, although a little odd, to watch the French police throw to the ground and arrest someone in a black hoodie without any CMS folks feeling the need to panic.
At around 1pm yesterday about 150 Pegida gathered at Calais Ville train station to deliver their hatemongering message, and were disappointed to find that, (though the prefecture had already told them the demonstration would not go ahead) the demonstration was not going ahead! Before the demo Pegida claimed that they were expecting 800 to 1,000 numpties to make it to Calais, so with these low numbers and a lack of visible local support the day seems to have been a…
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Yesterday the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who claim to be an anti-poverty think tank, held their annual lecture. Coming at a time of soaring homelessness, brutal benefit sanctions and more cuts on the way you might have expected this event to discuss how to best resist, or at least mitigate the impact of what is to come.
You might have expected that. What happened instead was a speech by the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Ruth Davidson during which she set her stall out as a Tory who pretends to care about the poor in advance of the Scottish parliament elections in May. She was warmly received by the small gathering of poverty professionals who bothered to turn out for the lecture. She should have been fucking lynched.
Davidson began her speech with a frank description of how most in the Conservative Party view the poor – in…
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The National Union of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (Bristol branch) in association with Somerset Film will be screening ‘Pride’ the BAFTA award-winning comedy at The Engine Room, 52, High Street, Bridgwater TA6 3BL on February 25th 2016. David ‘Dai’ Donovan, whose story the film tells, will be there in person to introduce and answer questions after the screening. facebook event
Doors 7.30pm for 8pm start.Tickets £5 or £3 conc. from the Engine Room. 01278 433187 or Somerset Film
Somerset Film producer Deb Richardson said:
”We’re delighted to be showing ‘Pride’ as part of the RMT’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. This screening is a special benefit for the Engine Room and the RMT’s Widows and Orphans Fund. The coming together of two different groups to benefit others reflects what the film is all about.”
It won the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut and stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine.
From Trade Onion Wednesday, 27 January 2016
The recent report into violence and aggression shown towards MPs reveals an astonishing lack of awareness amongst our elected representatives when it comes to the effects of their policies. Whingeing about violence they receive at the hands of their constituents while they make laws which increase the likelihood of people suffering poverty, eviction and inequality. Many people will be shocked to see the level of anger and hatred shown towards people who are supposedly there to help us all and represent our interests. One MP has written a comparison between how people treat their MPs and their GPs. Of course there’s a major difference between doctors and politicians: doctors try to make you better and politicians always end up making things worse.
There are two issues that this report brings to light which have been overlooked. The first is the frustration many people feel when they discover that discussing things with their MP might not actually get them anywhere. That sense of powerlessness when the bureaucratic reality of life in a liberal democracy hits home can make your blood boil. This is linked to the second issue which is the structural violence of the capitalist system that can only function with willing bureaucrats ready to wring their hands of responsibility.
The power of the piece of paper telling an MP that nothing can be done in a situation because the law has been followed correctly is the most horrendous power we allow. It’s the power that props up every form of legalised abuse. It excuses a million crimes against the citizenry in the name of order and it unleashes violence against us daily. It is our civic duty to consider how that violence works and then vow to suppress it.
The rule of law is backed up with force, or violence. If the law says something is so then to oppose it means you are inviting violence against you in the form of the police, courts, incarceration etc. The very fact that inequality is backed up by law means that inequality is in itself a violent act. The boss that lawfully pays you less than your value is backed up with the full force of the law. The homeless, users of food banks, people needing benefits to survive, the list goes on – these are all victims of a violent system that protects the richest people at the expense of everyone else. It’s a morality that allows the richest to set the wages of everyone and then enforces that inequality and poverty. Rise up against it and you will be criticised for being violent, a thug, mindless and, shock horror, of not respecting law and order. It isn’t order at all. It’s a chaos that’s trikes fear in millions of people every day.
The message from MPs is clear: we make the laws for capitalism to function and you must obey. They ensure that this structural violence exists, in the interest of the rich. They keep this brutal system of capitalism going. They mix with, and enjoy the financial attention of the ruling class. Without them this chaos could be ended today and replaced with order. Not law and order but a harmony where people do not have to suffer the deleterious effects of capitalism and where power can rest with us all as equals.
Instead, we have the sight of these people who inflict aggression on our society pleading for help and protection from the dangerous population. What the reports really show us is that people fully understand the system and are mightily pissed off with it. That people are willing to abuse their MP on twitter or even go to their surgery and be aggressive in person is clearly linked to the hopelessness people see in this system. Democracy was supposed to give us a voice but instead it continues to give voice to the rich, giving them all the protection they need to enjoy life at our expense.
This system isn’t going to change via twitter or people lashing out on their own at their MP’s office. It’s going to change only when we all start to see it for what it is: a protection racket for the rich. It’s becoming increasingly clear that appealing to an MP for help is pointless anyway. It’s as pointless as voting for them in the first place. They’re not there for us and they have a thousand pieces of legislation ready to tell us why they can’t help. They’re better ignored and the system fought instead.
One positive thing to come out of this report though is that we can record how fearful they are of us. It should please us when our tormentors act like frightened little puppies. Our message to MPs should be clear: you are right to be afraid. We should take that fear and make it spread all the way to the top. On March 5th David Cameron has a chance to feel it as Class War march on one of his properties. Whilst his government is destroying housing for the poorest in society he’s creaming it as a landlord. Such things don’t go unnoticed and they will be acted on!