Radical workers’ bloc at Tolpuddle 2017.

Not a lot to report this year, except a fine weekend catching up with friends – and a big shout out to Les once again for the Wob kitchen.

On Saturday there was a short discussion to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution, which Leninist-apologists continue to identify with the Bolshevik power-grab and its agonising consequences, rather than the bold experiments in workers’ self-management that flourished briefly between February and October 1917. These were part of a revolutionary current that developed spontaneously on every continent in the early years of the last century. It had no need of party games or secretive professional revolutionaries. Your first idea is usually the best one but people have an unfortunate tendency to identify with leaders, especially ones that seem to have come out of nowhere (but have actually been peddling the same ideas for years). Just as they grasp the need to take control of an intolerable situation, they hand it all over to someone else, who fucks it all up on their behalf.

That grim “oh Jeremy Corbyn” chant, just irritating at first, became quite uncomfortable as the weekend wore on. The dead flat intonation and utter mindlessness of it evokes zombie apocalypse more than Captain Swing, and the Maoist ‘revolutionary praxis’ group, with their ghastly pantheon of genocidal demagogues, served to remind us what happens when personality cults get out of hand.

On Sunday The Messiah beamed down and performed a Miracle. Just after 4 p.m. we were able to walk right up to the bar and get served straightaway. Cheers Jeremy!

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RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2017

This year’s Martyrs Festival and rally is Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July 2017, our well oiled machine will spring into action on Friday lunchtime, if you haven’t done this with us before it’s a lot of fun. If you have, you know what to expect … View map

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Photo by Wheelz.

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

SOS NHS public meeting in Bridport Wednesday 8th February 2017.

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Wednesday 8th February, 7pm for 7.30pm Bridport Town Hall.

FREE open public meeting about what is happening to the NHS in West Dorset

Speakers include:
WENDY SAVAGE  President of the national organization Keep Our NHS Public
JON ORRELL  GP and ex-member of the Clinical Commissioning Group
CLAUDIA SORIN  local NHS campaigner
NAOMI PATTERSON  founder member of the campaign to save the Kingfisher Ward
and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorchester Hospital

There will be Q & A when local residents will have the chance to share their experience and concerns. There will be copies of the Questionnaire issued by the Clinical Commissioning Group, to be completed within their ‘consultation’ period by the end of February.

March to save Kingfisher and SCBU at Dorset County Hospital! Saturday 17 September in Dorchester

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Note date has changed to avoid clashing with the county show.

“Again we need to show the CCG that they can’t play with our children’s lives we need Kingfisher and SCBU, not forgetting maternity. Please join us at 1pm at top o town car park with a view to be setting off at 1.30pm. Speakers TBC.  After the March the Dorchester Round tables have their cider festival with live bands and plenty of entertainment for your children, we will finish the March at the borough gardens in time for the festival to start.”

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The entire N.H.S. is under siege from this parasitic regime, we need every bastard we can get out for this, come on!

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.

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2016.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally:  Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2016. View map

captswing2We’re back again for the sixth year running, with the stall, Freedom Books, the Big Tent and our Wob Kitchen on the campsite catering for our comrades from Friday to Sunday (F.C.F.S). Camp with us, eat with us and march with us on Sunday.  We will have a few of our new ‘Friends of Captain Swing’ T shirts made by the Sabcat anarchist workers’ co-op. If you fancy one for a tenner, let us know through the contact form and don’t forget to include your e-mail address and size. We may ask for a small deposit depending on how much we have to front up – we’re rubbish capitalists!

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We’ve also got a limited number of these left in black or red, also by Sabcat, larger sizes only, but they do work best as a billboard!

Freedom Press

revenge of the working class!

Open Letter to BBC South Today from Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

at a time of great domestic political upheaval it is easy to forget about the plight of the Palestinian people. However, the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people continues unabated and we have to continue to respond to it. On the 4th June Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with other groups around the country, held a day of action to highlight the role of the technology giant Hewlett Packard in providing technological services which allow Israel to profile and control the lives of the millions of people living under illegal occupation. National PSC has reported this here They have also set up a dedicated web-site about Hewlett Packard which can be viewed here. National PSC has set up an on-line pledge for people to sign to let HP know that they plan to stop buying Hewlett Packard products until such time as HP ends its support for Israeli human rights violations and war crimes which can be found on the home page of the Stop HP web-site.

Next month will mark two years since the beginning of Israel’s major assault on Gaza which killed over 2,200 Palestinians – over 500 of whom were children. Although the time-line of events shows clearly that Israeli violence was politically motivated, and therefore terrorist in nature, the British main-stream media insisted in parroting what can only be described as propaganda lies put out by the Israeli government. We therefore found ourselves in the position of having to protest, simultaneously, the Israeli attacks themselves and the biased coverage of the main-stream media including the BBC. This included protests outside of the local BBC offices in Southampton and an open letter from Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the BBC. Since then Palestine Solidarity Campaign has continued to campaign for a two-way arms embargo between Britain and Israel as part of the Stop Arming Israel campaign – a joint initiative of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want, and Campaign Against the Arms Trade. We also run an on-going Fair News Campaign which aims to hold the BBC to account for its biased reporting and to which anyone who wishes to can contribute.

Recently we have had to try to defend ourselves against opportunistic efforts made by pro-Israel groups withing the Labour Party to use the controversy over remarks made by Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone to try to define anti-Semitism in a way that would severely curtail expressions of criticism of Israel within the Labour Party. In response to this Jeremy Corbyn set up an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party led by Shami Chakrabarti. One good thing that has come out of this otherwise unpleasant episode is a wealth of excellent submissions to this inquiry explaining clearly and precisely the differences between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel. A Free Speech on Israel web-site has been set up which has collected many of these submissions. Many of the submissions are quite long but are well worth the effort as they provide a very clear explanation of anti-Semitism, Zionism and anti-Zionism. Submission which I particularly recommend include the submission by Palestine Solidarity Campaign the submission by the Jewish Socialist’ Group and especially the excellent submission by the UK Palestine Mental Health Network. Alternatively you could take a look at my shorter submission which received over 500 shares on Facebook.

We have an active time over the summer and will be running stalls at the Tolpuddle Festival and the Southampton Left Fest. Feel free to call by and say hello if you are attending either event.

The struggle against racism and discrimination is one that we support both in Israel/Palestine and here in the UK. I have been asked to let people know that on Saturday 2nd July the Southampton and West Hampshire Trades Union Congress are organising a demonstration, meeting at 11am at Bargate in support of diversity and multiculturalism. This is a response to plans by a right wing group that plans to demonstrate at that time and the demonstration organisers hope to significantly out-number them with people committed to supporting our precious multicultural society and all minority communities within it.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Waterhouse Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Report on the 2nd July from Southampton AntiFA