RED FLAGS OVER BRIDPORT

A retired bus-driver waves a UNITE flag in Bridport’s main square during a solidarity event in support of the busworkers strike.

Photo by The Invisible Photographer

Photo by The Invisible Photographer

UNITE Community’s Cartoon Action Theatre at work in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport on Saturday 13th August. Their play, written in conjunction with local busworkers, shows a driver in a tug of war with the boss of First Bus Group, in a struggle for decent pay and conditions. £253 was collected for the bus drivers cause.

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For a world without leaders, elections, jobs, money, nukes or fascists: Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2016.

naughty boyIt was a lovely sunny weekend, with a superb music line-up. We made some new comrades and enjoyed catching up with the Bognor contingent, Bristol Afed, Swindon A’s, North London, South Wales, West Midlands IWW and many musician friends. Big shout out to the Wob Kitchen for all the tasty vegan meals.

Tolpuddle festival is the Ascot of the left; the various historical re-enactment societies and activist groups rub shoulders in a more or less cordial way and Che Guevara shirts are worn without irony. The Radical Workers’ Bloc idea began in 2011, as a new generation discovered rioting, exasperated with the blatant futility of representative politics. Ever since, in the jolly festival atmosphere, we’ve had frank tactical discussions between Marxists and anarchists, antifascists, environmentalists, trade unionists and hunt sabs. There has been a tacit acceptance of the need for militant antifascism and mass direct action generally.

This was a weird one, the main topic of conversation being the tedious soap opera playing out in the Labour Party. The Westminster freak show is beyond parody, so we understand that the concept of any politician not being a crook or a sociopath is such a fucking novelty it could easily be mistaken for “a new kind of politics”. A good few of our comrades think so: “it isn’t really about Jeremy …” – well you could have fooled us. Each campaign group, union and Marxist party in turn pledged allegiance to the Leader. Even the bands made a point of endorsing Him from the stage. The SWP stall featured a large banner that commanded: “Join the Socialist Workers Party Today!” above a poster of J.C. proclaiming: “We’re the Labour Party and we’re here to stay!” Very confusing.

A more worthwhile discussion is the TUC’s failure to agree a coherent policy on the environment. Unite’s website insists Hinkley nuclear power station must go ahead without delay, plus the third runway at Heathrow– which 13 comrades narrowly avoided prison over recently. We understand there’s still a row going on in the GMB over fracking. If the workers’ organisations are not prepared to take responsibility for the fate of this lump of rock we’re all stood on, then who is? The bourgeoisie don’t give a shit.

Since the weekend three quarters of her majesty’s loyal opposition have voted for a new Trident doomsday machine, they must be stuck on the stench of burning flesh. The Corbyn movement now numbers at least half a million, maybe a million, fair play. So apart from keeping Corbyn what are their demands? They are split on the EU but then so were we. We’d guess they fancy a bit of social Keynesianism in place of the military variety, nationalisation and a progressive tax regime, but how and where are their different agendas going to be reconciled? If half a million people committed to direct action on one single issue – preventing deportation for example – there would be no more deportations. If they announced they would not permit anyone to be evicted from their homes, there would be no evictions. If that doesn’t grab anyone they could shut down fracking, blockade the factories that arm Israel and Saudi Arabia, or stop Trident dead in its tracks.

The only people feeling more left out were the Maoists, whose literature still fumes about the ‘counter-revolutionary renegade’ Leon Trotsky, apologises for the death toll of the Great Leap Forward and offers a defence of the Taliban against western imperialism – bless! I suppose if you actually want a boot on your neck, the left or the right one will do. The retrospective justification of mass murder, though unpleasant, is of little consequence when the perpetrators are a spent force. For sheer convoluted self-justifying, revisionist bullshit they’ve got nothing on Unite’s Executive Council statement on Trident which pre-emptively lays the blame for Armageddon at the door of anyone but the only people with the power to stop it.

Still our seditious anarchist literature flew off the stall, so someone must be reading it, follow leaders all you want, we’ll still be here when you get back. As for paying to vote for one, if anyone’s actually got 25 quid they don’t need it would be better spent supporting political prisoners such as Michelle Smith, a respected community activist, antifascist, and Unite the Union official from Merseyside. This comrade, who has our unreserved admiration, received a one-year sentence last Tuesday for helping the people of Dover defend themselves from neo-Nazis. It is entirely thanks to people like Michelle that the fascist threat is well contained. She is the single mother of two children, we send our solidarity and best wishes for an early release.MerseyAFN

A paypal account is being set up, in the meantime if you would like to donate, or write to Michelle, please send a message to Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network’s facebook page. There will be a fundraising event, Alerta! in Liverpool on sat 20th August 2016. Tickets are £5.

If you want to live, come to Dorchester on the 18th May!

save-our-wards

There will be a demonstration outside the meeting of the Clinical Commissioning Group on Wednesday against the further degrading of healthcare services in Dorset. Come to Vespasian House DT1 1TG at 1p.m. Bring banners and noise-making equipment.

The long-running conspiracy to shut down Dorset County Hospital enters a new phase this week. Not only is its A & E and maternity department threatened, but those of Poole Hospital also.

Each of these schemes has met with ferocious hostility, followed by sham public consultations, congregations of worthies and posturing by local politicians, especially the odious Oliver Letwin, who has more faces than a town hall clock. Wessex Solidarity has known for some time that the decision was taken long ago behind closed doors and these shenanigans are purely to defuse the situation until the publicity dies down. Make no mistake about it, we are going to be left with one emergency department for the entire county, and it will serve the wealthy conurbation around Bournemouth.

The people of West Dorset, already shafted over public transport, and virtually isolated, will simply not have emergency or paediatric healthcare services within reach.

If this is allowed to proceed, people are going to die, some of you reading this, your elderly, your children are going to die, for the greedy parasites who are carving up the N.H.S. we built, merely to line their own pockets. The time for politeness has passed.

NOW GET ON THE STREETS!

mob

Residents in West Dorset are suffering from cuts to their bus services that make it hard enough to get to Dorchester let alone Poole or Bournemouth, there is no longer an evening service and some villages have only two buses a day.

A recent attempt to flog off the pathology service at the hospital was foiled after a public outcry.

West Dorset’s M.P. Oliver Letwin is the author of ‘Privatising the World’ and Britain’s biggest enterprise; his blueprint for selling the NHS.

Victory for Dorset Health Campaign! Community rejects pathology privatisation.

Roll of dishonour, M.P.s with their hands in the N.H.S. till.

The fight is on to save Dorset County Hospital’s children’s ward; updated.

A good start – Kingfisher rising!

Kingfisher mothers picnic picket in Dorchester.

Dorset rejects bureaucrats’ plan to risk children’s lives.

International Women’s Day events, Saturday 12th March 2016, W.I. Hall, North St., Bridport

Women's Day Colour Flyer

Saturday 12th March 2016 W.I. Hall, North St., Bridport

Message from Autonomy films: three fantastic events coming up! All at W.I. Hall, North St. Bridport.

Thurs 25th February

5.30pm – 6.30pm a free Youth Council workshop for 16-30-year-olds with the former Frome youth mayor.  Reserve a place from events@stirtoaction.com

7.30pm  Talk: Flatpack Democracy

In Frome, Somerset  local people have achieved an extraordinary revolution in how their council runs and have revitalized local politics. 5 Speakers from Frome are coming to Bridport to tell us about their ‘Flatpack Democracy’. All welcome. Organised by STIR. Entry:  £4

Sat 12th March

International Women’s Day Celebration focuses on Women Writers, all welcome.

5.30 for 6pm Play: Five Break the Spell  Join The Bookshop and members of Bridfem for a delightful evening of family friendly fun with a Participatory Pop-up Play where you can join in as actors or audience.  Our play, about a certain well-known British children’s author who set many of her adventures in Dorset, will be led by Beth Shaw, co-author of The Domestic Theatre Handbook.  The Bookshop will have a stall of books for sale by and about women. Admission Free/Donation, with tea and coffee.

8pm Autonomy Films presents: An Angel at My Table Jane Campion’s award-winning 1990 film of Janet Frame’s autobiography tells of her childhood in New Zealand and her triumph over mental illness to become a successful writer. (Colour, 2hrs 38mins)

Admission £3  or less if you’re skint Vegetarian soup on sale from  7.30pm.

Letwin disgrace: well we all knew he was a fascist.

Letwin disgrace

Something else to add to his delightful C.V.

The Guardian: Oliver Letwin blocked help for black youth after 1985 riots

 

Dorset rejects bureaucrats’ plan to risk children’s lives.

hund

For the second time this year, a couple of thousand Dorset residents jammed the county town of Dorchester to remind the Clinical Commissioning Group that we will not accept cuts to paediatric or maternity services in West Dorset under any circumstances. For some time now, the ordinary people of this county have been at war with those who would pillage the health service we built for ourselves, and leave us at the mercy of private corporations who see us as commodities.

dsOur campaign, started by a determined group of working class women whose only motive was defending their kids, has grown and spread beyond the county. We now have the support of thousands of Dorset residents plus Unite Community, Unison, Industrial Workers of the World, Dorset People’s Assembly, Dorset Eye, Dorset Socialists, Bristol SolFed, the local Zumba community, scaffolders, Daleks, anarchists, snowmen, footballing bears, local media and some politicians.

e_2139Oliver Letwin M.P. author of ‘Privatising the world’  and Britain’s biggest enterprise, his plan for selling the NHS; – who once claimed that within five years of a Conservative election victory the NHS “will not exist anymore”  – is proper squirming now. He said:

“I am absolutely clear that the best interest of patients lies in maintaining paediatric in-patient services at Dorset County Hospital. I have had absolute confirmation that there is no money to be saved from moving them to Bournemouth or Poole, and the advantages of Dorchester in terms of access are huge.”

He will have to look elsewhere for his retirement fund then.

We’re glad to have the Daleks on our side but we still don’t trust Oliver Letwin.

We’re relieved the Daleks are on our side but we still don’t trust Oliver Letwin.

Dorset Eye.

BBC News