Swindon Unites with homeless people! 10th December 2016.

POVERTY IS NOT A CRIME! SUPPORTING SWINDON HOMELESS PEOPLE, OPPOSING CRIMINALISATION.

Swindon TUC invite community groups and all people in the Swindon area to come together to protest the treatment of our town’s most vulnerable people and raise money / awareness of the criminalisation of the homeless in our town.

Join with us to march, add your name to our 3000+ strong petition, have a mass sit down protest (BRING A BLANKET OR SLEEPING BAG!) and raise money to support Swindon Homeless people. farcebook event

The government austerity cuts, the housing crisis and the brutal slashes in funding for all of our public services have led to vast increases in the number of homeless people all across the UK. More and more of the most vulnerable in Swindon are not only homeless but risk facing arrest for vagrancy, being fined £100 under the Council’s social cleansing initative (the Public Spaces Protection Order) and also risk getting an Anti-Social Behaviour Order instructing them to stay away from the town centre area (and the relative safety of other homeless people), and forcing them into greater isolation and even less physically safe sleeping places. Homeless people who attempt to make some kind of home in unused public space will regularly have their belongings trashed by the authorities with no care for their liberty or dignity.

Swindon Borough Council’s PSPO already means that vulnerable people can be fined £100 for ‘begging’ in the centre of town, but the Council are now looking to extend the boundaries of the Public Spaces Protection Order still further, making even more spaces ‘no-go’ areas for our most vulnerable residents.

1. We challenge Swindon Borough Council’s PSPO.
2. We challenge those who say poverty is a crime.
3. We challenge those who would rather arrest the homeless than support them.

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Swindon Radical Bookfair: Saturday 17th September 2016.

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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.

From Swindon T.U.C. migrant solidarity protest Sunday 10th July.

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Spanish, Portuguese and Polish versions of this poster are available from Swindon TUC on request.

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Swindon TUC celebrates 90th anniversary of the General Strike 7th May 2016.

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Fash in The Pan by Swindon Anarchists

A report from Swindon Anarchists’ latest meeting View original

On Wednesday the 9th of March, Swindon Anarchists held a packed public meeting, with numbers being boosted by a few poorly judged threats from a weird collection of fascist keyboard warriors.

Under 24 hours from our meeting ‘an introduction to anarchism’, we got a call from the venue saying they’d received information that far right groups were targeting the meeting. Sure enough, a quick trawl through facebook showed that an odd collection of fascist losers with a vivid online imagination but no street presence were claiming that local fascists were planning to ‘smash’ us. As our local fascists main hobby is drinking and in-fighting, we weren’t unduly fussed, but in the context of growing violence from the far right, we thought we’d better be prepared. The next 24 hours saw them swinging between claiming the meeting had been cancelled and that it was still on, but was going to get smashed up by ‘the lads’. Their weird posts attracted comments from even weirder individuals, such as infamous nazi and Todmoredon village idiot David Jones, who claimed he would be along to ‘smash the c*nts in with a sledgehammer’.

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While the fascists were busy playing make believe on the internet, we were organizing. In response to the threat, we invited along anti-fascist comrades from the surrounding area and changed the topic of the meeting to ‘how to defeat fascism’.

On the evening, our event was a massive success, with over 30 people attending, including a dozen from nearby towns and cities packing out the meeting. We watched a film detailing the defeat of the National Front in the 1980s before a couple of short clips of the Nazis getting a pasting in Dover and Liverpool. This was followed by a lively discussion about the best ways of dealing with the increasingly minuscule, but increasingly far-right and violent groupsicles that constitute the fascist scene in the UK. At the end of the meeting, a hat was passed around, and we raised a decent chunk of cash which will all be ploughed in to local anti-fascist activity, before most of us headed to the pub.

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Throughout the meeting, we had spotters out and about in the local area, with no sign of any fascists.

Ultimately, there are a few reasons why the fascists might have bottled it. It might have been that, while they talk a good game on the internet, they simply can’t muster the footsoldiers to do their dirty work. Alternatively, they might have turned up and bottled it when they saw a packed, diverse, well stewarded meeting, not the few liberal students they seemed to be expecting. Finally, it might have something to do with the fact that the night before, 7-10 fascists tried to attack an anti-racist meeting in Bristol, before getting chased off and taking injuries.

Either way, the Pie and Mash squad’s only response was the picture below, which they claim shows them marching through Swindon to confront us, before getting stopped by police. The obvious flaws in this argument are that our spotters in the area saw no sign of them, that the town in the picture isn’t Swindon, and that it is daylight in their picture, despite our meeting starting at 7.30pm!

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We would like to thank everyone who turned up for a great evening and a successful event, with special thanks to the comrades who traveled in from elsewhere to help make sure the meeting passed off safely. Keep your eyes open for more great events like this one coming up in the near future!

Swindon Anarchists present: An introduction to Anarchism. 9th March 2016.

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