Tolpuddle 2013 Radical Workers’ Bloc: the weekend in pictures.

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You could say we got lucky with the weather – up to a point, the heat was actually quite challenging at times and the free showers were as welcome as the overpriced beer. Our stall attracted plenty of interest; we shifted a mountain of literature and took enough in donations to cover our expenses plus making a few quid for Freedom Books; our magnificent banner was supplied free of charge by our comrades at Sabcat Printing, the Anarchist workers’ T-shirt co-op.

The stall was operated by comrades from Brighton, Bristol and Solent SolFedCNT-AIT Caen and Wessex Solidarity; Sunday’s Bloc was about double the size of last year’s, our militants ranged in age from 16 to a 96 year old Spanish Civil War veteran – a proper antifascist! It was good to welcome new faces from Cymru and Reading IWW, with community singing led by Bristol AFed. Shout out also to Bath Anarchists (B.A.R.F) – and anyone else we may have missed – give us a shout and we’ll link to your site.

Everyone we spoke to felt the mood was more militant than previous years; the Labour ‘got to be in it to win it’ line was challenged at every turn, the appetite for direct action is growing. What is the Tolpuddle story but an example of working class self-organisation crushed by the state? The Martyrs came together as equals; they didn’t form a trade union but a friendly society. You can fantasise about general strikes and armed insurrection all you want, the bourgeoisie will carry on chortling into their Dom Perignon; but get together and find practical solutions to the problems they cause you, outside of the structures they need you to rely on, and they will shit themselves.

We reiterate that we don’t come for a row, but to examine each others ideas and find ways of putting them to the test, so that we can give confidence to our class as a whole; the last thing the left needs now is a ‘tribal’. The 20th century is over; we must learn its lessons and evolve. We have the best opportunity for decades to give capitalism a kicking and if we fail, history will judge us harshly.

The above-referenced article on friendly societies is available by courtesy of the author, as an A5 pamphlet from one of our event stalls, or in our reference library, from where it can be downloaded for the princely sum of Fuck All.

Here’s the gallery, pictures still coming in, bear with us!

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Bournemouth and Poole bedroom tax demo’s, a bizarre response.

A broad range of activists responded to B.P.A.C.C.‘s call out to picket council meetings in Bournemouth and Poole on Tuesday. In each case, a question was submitted by a resident of the borough demanding an assurance that none of our fellow residents would be evicted over inability to pay the bedroom tax.

In Poole, the question was submitted by Kevin Smith; as Mr Smith has recently found employment and is required to work a night shift, he was unable to attend in person. It had been agreed by the council that a comrade would read the question on his behalf but the council went back on this the day before, so only a written answer was given.

Poole Council give no assurances not to evict for Bedroom Tax rent arears

Write up from a comrade in Poole on Dorset eye: BPACC and UK Uncut Activists stage anti bedroom tax Demonstration in Poole and Bournemouth

Stewart McArthur of Bournemouth and Poole Anti Cuts Coaliton (BPACC) sends a clear message to Poole Council

Demonstrators from Bournemouth and Poole Anti Cuts Coalition, UK Uncut and Wessex Solidarity staged protests against the bedroom tax outside the offices of Poole and Bournemouth Councils this evening. The protest in Poole was in support of a question tabled by Mr Kevin Smith of Canford Heath Poole seeking reassurances there would be no evictions in the event of rent arrears being accrued due to these proposed changes.

Mr Smith was unable to attend the council meeting and the council decided any answer would be provided for Mr Smith in ‘due course’.

Outside of Bournemouth Council offices where a similar protest was staged sources reported there was one arrest.

Graham Horne – Swanage  More pictures here

Meanwhile, in Bournemouth, an even more bizarre situation developed; a Public Question was submitted by Mike Cracknell; during one of the most low-key (not to say boring) protests ever, a local activist was arrested for allegedly chalking this picture on the pavement outside Bournemouth town hall.

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He was taken away by 4 Babylon including one plain clothes and remained impassive throughout. Subsequently a delegation from BPACC comprising members of Unite, CP, SolFed, non aligned and labour party were denied access to the council chambers apparently on the orders of the mayor’s chauffeur! Our comrade was held 6 hours and bailed, he was not informed that the delegation was waiting for him at the police station.

Bournemouth Council give no assurances not to evict for Bedroom Tax rent arrears

Meanwhile as evictions do seem likely to happen, please put some serious thought into adding your support and involvement in setting up phone trees to physically stop bailiffs from evicting you or your neighbours. We need to self-organise now so we are ready, if and when, evictions begin. Thank you.

Demos against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm

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B.P.A.C.C. Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm.

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We are calling on Bournemouth and Poole councils to give assurances that no social housing tenants will be evicted due to arrears accrued through the Bedroom Tax and will be holding demonstrations outside both town halls prior to full council meetings on Tuesday 18th June. Please show your support and assemble outside either Bournemouth Town Hall or Poole Civic Centre from 6pm. Thank-you

Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm

Some ideas to fight the bedroom tax.

Press Release: Bournemouth Uncut brands Poole Council leader Elaine Atkinson’s comments as “shameless”.

Bournemouth Uncut For immediate release: 29/04/2013

Elaine Atkinson of Poole Council was questioned about the recent Bournemouth Uncut ‘Who wants to evict a millionaire’ action during her interview on the Sunday Politics South [1] show her response was:
“I mean, it was awful, it was an awful attack on local democracy, because these councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their local communities, and frankly Bournemouth Uncut I have to say they are intelligent, they are articulate, they are organised, go and get a job.”

All Bournemouth Uncut actions are held on a Saturday or bank holidays. This is because the overwhelming majority of people that organise or come to our actions are employed full time. For Atkinson to use her platform to promote the myth that all protesters are unemployed, without any evidence of the group she is subjecting to these claims is utterly shameless. This shows how little she is in touch with the local electorate. Bournemouth Uncut is open to anyone who wants to join us, our turn out has been made up of a very wide range of professions, higher education students and those in-between jobs.

Kim Elkin of Bournemouth Uncut is currently volunteering at the Soup Kitchen at St Johns Church in Parkstone, she said “We care very much about our community and the people in it. That is why we do what we do. We don’t just protest against the cuts, we go out and help the people directly affected by them as well. Bournemouth Uncut is a fun, creative and family friendly way to engage with the public, and it shows people that there are alternatives to austerity. It doesn’t have to be this way. The bankers that got us into this mess are receiving tax breaks, and avoiding tax, while the poor are suffering for the mistakes of the rich.”

Atkinson claimed “councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their communities“ In reality Elaine picked up £32,095 in the period 1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012[4] for giving up her time to Poole Council. She is in fact the highest paid councillor in Poole. Bournemouth Uncut will continue to do their day jobs and help their communities for free in addition to taking creative direct action in their spare time.

589 households in Bournemouth affected by bedroom tax[2] and 635 households affected in Poole.[3] That’s 1224 vulnerable social housing households affected. How many of these households will be able to move to a house with the correct amount of bedrooms? How many will find that the houses just aren’t available and have to pay the tax? How many will be pushed into more expensive rented homes, wasting more tax payer money? Do you know Elaine? We would love to know the figures. So far we have seen no guarantee given by Bournemouth or Poole borough councils to its social tenants that they will not be evicted if they fall behind on rent arrears because of the ‘bedroom tax’. Other councils in the country have given such assurances, but neither Bournemouth nor Poole borough councils have.

When the traditional routes of engagement with MP’s and councilors has been exhausted, and people’s concerns and issues have not been adequately dealt with, then yes, people turn to protest and direct action to get their voices heard, it is a healthy part of living in a democracy. To say that it was an attack on local democracy is ironic to say the very least.

Bournemouth Uncut is part of UK Uncut a grassroots movement using creative direct action to fight the cuts and highlight alternatives to austerity.

###ENDS###

For more information and interviews:
Email: BournemouthUncut@riseup.net

Call 07596 388 848

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rxx34/Sunday_Politics_South_28_04_2013/
[2] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed_2
[3] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed
[4] http://www.boroughofpoole.com/your-council/councillors/members-allowances/?locale=en

Day of action in memory of Dead Thing.

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A group of us travelled up to London to attend the ‘thatcher’s dead’ party called by Class War about a decade ago. During the day we divided ourselves between UK Uncut’s ‘bedroom tax’ action at Lord Fraud’s house and North London SolFed’s workfare pickets in Wood Green.

On the lawn at Iain Duncan Smith’s & down Lord Freud’s street – Report by Anarchist Federation

The workfare pickets continued both SolFed’s campaign against Poundland and supported Bristol AFed’s new initiative against Homebase; we were able to have some interesting conversations with staff and customers. The area is stricken by the government’s austerity programme with the crappiest jobs imaginable drawing hundreds of applicants. People here are in absolutely no doubt what is being done to them, why, and by whom. Homebase pickets were simultaneously conducted in Bristol and Bath.

I was going to buy something – but fuck it! Bristol Solidarity Federation.

Meanwhile in Bournemouth: Bournemouth Uncut took on the Tory MP’s and councillors of Bournemouth and Poole this weekend for their “Who wants to evict a millionaire?” action. Their homes were dressed as crime scenes with yellow markers, crime scene tape, evidence bags with ‘blood’ soaked cotton buds, and some lovely eviction notices. Some of the lucky recipients of our crime scenes were Robert Syms MP, John Beesley of Bournemouth Council, and other usual suspects like May Haines, Carol Evans, Ann Stibley, Mike White and Peter Pawlowski. At a time that people are facing losing their homes due to the bedroom tax, we thought it high time those architects of misery felt (for a few seconds) what it would be like to face eviction from their own homes. Very nice homes indeed…with plenty of spare bedrooms.

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On to Trafalgar square, a picture circulated on twitter showing the square fenced off and surrounded by police proved to be bogus, trying to put us off? Not a hope, even the rain couldn’t do that, the vibe was joyful and good-natured, and solidarity was palpable. During the course of the evening a steady 3000 revellers divided their time between the square and surrounding pubs. A few incidents of  police misbehaviour were swiftly and efficiently dealt with by the crowd, who had to clear them all out of the way from time to time; similarly, a smattering of fascists showed up to spoil the fun and got battered for their trouble. It’s worth pointing out that we can do this perfectly well without the ‘vanguard’ of press photographers that hurl themselves into the fray at the first hint of bother.

Of course this was not just about celebrating the death from natural causes of some demented old fascist (what was her name again?) who was admired in some circles for doggedly sticking to her principles of greed, self-interest and disdain for anyone who didn’t share her precise ethnic origins and social prejudices. Many present had their own lives blighted by the Dead Thing and had good reason to gloat; but far more importantly this was a positive affirmation of our determination to bury her mean-spirited ideology with her.

We, the working class will do this, we have no faith whatsoever in political or industrial representation, our future is in our hands, as the hangovers fade, let’s get organised!

That Trafalgar thing: Amila Bosnae

Thatcher Death Party, UK Uncut and DPAC Make It Personal – Johnny Void

Dorchester March Against Austerity – Saturday 9th Febuary – 10am – 12noon.

Dorchester Anti Cuts March