Mayday 2020 in Dorset.

Why we celebrate May Day

The Factories, The Fields, and the Firearms to Defend Them

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

“The working class is able, once it so desires, to take control of industry and thus establish a much more efficient and satisfactory society .”

(from the pamphlet: “One Big Union,“ by The Industrial Workers of the World)

You, me and our entire class of society’s underprivileged who produces everything with very little or nothing at all to show for it have – once effectively organized – the potential within us to free ourselves from the stresses that come with the struggle for survival of material needs.

While the study below is based on research conducted in 2020, the final analysis will be found to resonate up to the hour the bell of the social revolution is sounded. It’s of the deepest importance for the masses – the have-nots who’ve been no strangers to struggling since we were born – to firmly grasp the magnificence of our Worth, and our potential and power. Our potential for freeing ourselves from being taken advantage of by the government system is overwhelmingly greater than that of the government system taking advantage of us all!

This has been a very fortunate truth for the less-fortunate of the world ever since societies have allowed governments to exist, and our social contract with the State has proven to be nothing less than a taxing, hostile machine worth defying and reducing to irreparable ashes.

The more the righteous seeds of becoming free from social & economic oppression be planted richly in the minds of the poor and oppressed who are governed, the greater the potential becomes to overthrowing the government with overwhelming resistance; especially when the rational alternative of governing ourselves (exercising autonomy) is given the necessary attention it deserves deep in the roots of our ethical nature.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few, who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.”

– From the Preamble to The IWW Constitution.

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Racism and Close Supervision Centres, by Kevan Thakrar.

Over the past decade the levels of racism in society have drastically increased with the use of discriminatory language becoming acceptable to the extent that the country’s Prime Minister has felt safe to deploy such abuse. With this becoming common in the mainstream media, as well as demonisation of Muslims through the prejudicial policy known as ‘Prevent’, it is of no surprise that prisoners have suffered as a result.

So many prisoners lack a basic education, that enables them to be easily influenced by the propaganda sprouted by the likes of the BBC. For those illegal regimes of practically 24 hour lockdown, the television can quickly become their only source of comfort. Day-after-day of minority groups being negatively portrayed whilst living under conditions recognised worldwide as torture, is a recipe for brainwashing with devastating effects.

The rise of racist gangs, especially within high security prisons holding men who can be serving up to a whole life sentence, coupled with the tendencies to resort to drug taking to pass the time which has meant in recent years the mind altering ‘spice’, has spiralled out of control. Unsurprisingly, it is within the most oppressed, desperate and disturbed of the population that this phenomenon can best be identified.

The Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system was originally designed by the sadistic Michael Spurr back in 1996, long before his unfortunate rise to leader of the entire prisons and probation service. Its intended purpose from the beginning has been to brutalise these prisoners labelled as posing too much of a control problem on a wholly arbitrary basis. Since the day it opened in 1998, racist scum have occupied its units both as staff and those detained within. The repressive slide of wider society’s models and values, coupled with the ideologically driven swingeing cuts to the legal aid and prisons budgets causing even harsher conditions, have left around one third of CSC detainees seeing racism as correct.

The majority of the CSC prisoners who are racist have sought refuge within the CSC, preferring blatant and ridiculous behaviours to be designated as too much of a risk to be managed on main location. Many of them have already tried to seek safety within a Vulnerable Prisoner (VP) wing first, or believing that by not officially becoming a VP makes then somehow not be seen as the cowards that they are. It is with this background that their behaviour within the CSC can be understood, as unlike anyone with any sense, they actually want to forever be CSC prisoners both for their own protection through their isolation from mainstream prisoners, and the foolish belief that it is somehow a badge of honour to be labelled as a CSC prisoner.

Officially, the CSC holds only the most dangerous prisoners, which currently is around 50 men. The racist element within this population is unlike the rest, they crave the dangerous reputation in the hope that this will be enough to protect them and cause their otherwise disgusting pasts, which tend to be of a sexual nature, to be overlooked or forgotten. They stand out and they know it. With many of them having banded together seeking safety in numbers in the racist extremist gang calling themselves ‘Death Before Dishonour’ (DBD), or their ‘secret’ codename 4-2-4 signalling the position of the letters in the alphabet, one would imagine it would be easy to separate this insidious group.

Screwboy is a term used throughout the prison system for a prisoner who does the bidding of the prison officers or ‘screws’. It should be unimaginable for someone within the CSC to appropriately be referred to as a screwboy, yet about every single racist there displays the behaviour that would lead them to be an outcast at best within the mainstream population. Here is where the most significant difficulty arises, the racist scumbags in the CSC are effectively working for the screws against the minorities they live alongside for power partly, but also to remain within the CSC. This includes providing false information to legitimise someone being stitched up, harassing minorities with constant abuse shouted out of windows etc for all to hear, and even attacking minorities usually with weapons from behind. When these behaviours are rewarded rather than punished, they become more and more attractive to others suffering the CSC regime, who will often join in with it.

The CSC Operational Manager is responsible for the placement of CSC prisoners throughout the 6 units currently in existence, and throughout the segregation units of high security prisons. The man holding this title at present is Stephen Waldron, formerly in-charge of the now abolished Managing Challenging Behaviour Strategy (MCBS) and before then a junior governor of HMP Durham. During his tenure at MCBS, a significantly smaller role, a Ukranian racist extremist who was in prison for the murder of a Muslim prisoner for ‘praying too loudly’ during his previous prison sentence, was made to associate with Muslim prisoners at HMP Woodhills MCBS Unit. Ignoring the fact this scumbag was only not on the CSC because HMPPS support racist attacks, as the centrally managed MCBS unit contained as few as eight prisoners maximum it could not have been difficult to foresee the conflict inevitable by his presence. The final outcome being that the other prisoners had, had enough of him, and killed him. With a history like that, you would expect Waldron to be especially sensitive to the placement of racists alongside minority prisoners.

Waldron has been reported to have told officers who have been complaining that since he took over the CSC, their job has been made significantly more difficult due to him allocating prisoners to the same unit who cannot mix, generally due to racist beliefs and minority characteristics, that they should be careful what they wish for––as, if he placed together only those who got along, they would attack officers as soon as the cell doors opened instead of each other. A calculated policy therefore appears to be in operation, which can easily be seen by the increasing frequency of racist attacks occurring since his appointment.

It is within this environment, under these circumstances, surrounded by more and more scumbags, where I have been living for the last ten years. Emboldened by the support of their masters, ignorant of the consequences of their actions and decisions due to being in a constant state of intoxication through prescription medication and/or spice, these racists have made it impossible to tolerate their existence any longer. Having arrived at HMP Full Sutton in September, within three months I have twice been attacked with a weapon by a racist as I have sought to avoid conflict to enable me to progress out of this oppressive system.

The first attack came from the certified VP, John Mansfield. He tried to hit me with a metal flask he had just filled with boiling water. Fortunately, I managed to block it, and being in full view of CCTV and four officers preventing anything further, I assumed it would be dealt with. Following his guilty plea at adjudication of the charge of assault, Mansfield was given a suspended sentence to go on top of his multiple other suspended sentences. As also expressed a fear to ever be unlocked with me again, my regime time has been cut to around forty percent of what others get, to allow him to be out without me.

The last time Mansfield had conflict with another prisoner on this unit, he paid his mate Kevin McCarthy to try to stab the other guy. It was not difficult for him to do this, as Mansfield wears dentures––having none of his own teeth remaining––meaning when being administered controlled prescription drugs, he can easily hide the tablets behind the dentures. McCarthy accepted the tablets out of his friends dirty mouth, before engaging in the attack, which resulted in him being knocked out, as the intended victim saw it coming.

Then there is the fact that only two years ago, McCarthy cut the throat of a prisoner, who at the time was disabled and using a walking stick. Whilst at the servery of the HMP Whitemoor CSC Unit, McCarthy waited for his victim to begin receiving his meal so his hands were full before cutting him from behind with a razor, then running back to his cell. His motive? Well earlier that day, another prisoner had reprimanded him over his ongoing failure to do the job he was paid for and clean the prisoners’ facilities, leaving others to have to do it for him. As that prisoner was Muslim, McCarthy thought attacking a disabled, defenceless Muslim in retaliation was acceptable, despite him having nothing to do with it.

Why McCarthy was ever allowed to mix at all so soon after his previous violence cannot legitimately be explained, but it was through the support of the HMPPS psychologist he shares with Mansfield, Louise Coughlin, that this was signed off. As the CSC management were fully aware of McCarthy’s history and loyalty to Mansfield, to place him in the cell directly opposite the servery, and to unlock him as I collected my meal, so he could sneak up behind me without being searched goes beyond negligence. He strolled past two officers, weapon in hand, then in full view of five officers who made no attempt to alert me, sound the alarm, or restrain him, McCarthy began stabbing me in the back using two hands in attempt to plunge it through me. I was not aware what was happening, could just feel the banging in my back and hear him growling, ‘die,’ behind me. As I turned around, confused by the lack of action, McCarthy back beyond the officers who duly protected him, so much so that he was allowed to walk back to his cell with the weapon as the officers focused on me as if I was the threat.

Despite McCarthy’s intent, his weak physical prowess limited my injuries. Most of what he did left scratches as the only blemish, with only a few strikes actually breaking the skin with the deepest wound around 1 cm. Had he been armed with something requiring less strength than a ten-year-old child to operate, my life would have been in serious danger. The governing Governor of this prison, Gareth Sands, visited this unit a couple of days later but made sure I was locked away before coming on to the landing. This dishonest weasel went around writing everyone, including McCarthy and Mansfield, ‘Merry Christmas’ whilst not saying a word to me or doing his job to check on my welfare. With that level of attention from senior management, how could anyone conclude anything other than that HMPPS do not care whatsoever about those they are paid to look after.

Within seven days of the attack, and before any attempt to search or secure evidence had occurred, McCarthy was allowed to pack all of his belongings to be taken to the main segregation unit with him the following week where he had requested to be moved to. Until the move occurred, he was held in the end cell on this unit where he was supplied with his game console and radio, as well as prison issue TV to make his stay easier. Mansfield remains one of five prisoners sharing this unit with me, making sly comments as he’s allowed to freely pass my cell as I remain locked-in for his benefit.

In 1997, Amnesty International (AI) condemned this unit causing it to be shut down and its then name of Special Security Unit (SSU) to be abandoned. Functioning as a CSC, with so many seriously mentally ill and/or racist prisoners now being allocated to what AI said was torture, is significantly worse. My experience of this unit is that it should never have been reopened, and the safety of anyone held here will always be at risk.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE Close Supervision Centre
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
York
YO41 1PS

www.justiceforkevan.org

Contactable via emailaprisoner.com

The Case for Building New Unions

Ideas and Action

By Tom Wetzel

The British writer R. H. Tawney once described capitalist management of the workplace as “autocracy checked by insurgency.” And, indeed, a kind of insurgency takes place when workers band together to form unions. Worker unions are a key working class organization because of the potential power workers gain from collective resistance but also because of the potential role of unions in social transformation. However, unionism in the private sector in the USA has been on a long decline — from roughly one third of workers in the early 1950s to only 6.2 percent today. To build unionism into a larger, more effective and worker controlled movement, I think we need to build new unions, independent of the bureaucratized AFL-CIO-type unions.

Two Episodes of New Unionism

History is instructive here. Unionism in USA has not grown in a gradual way but in cycles that are tied to working class insurgency. The two greatest periods of union growth came in large strike waves — in the World War 1 era and again in the early 1930s. From 1909 to 1921 union membership doubled through a vast insurgency that saw thousands of strikes every year. Nearly a million workers organized themselves into industrial unions outside the AFL. The hardest edge of the new unionism was the Industrial Workers of the World. But the IWW was just the tip of the iceberg.

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Libertarian Communism 2019 Women Organising at Work

Anarchist Communist Group

The following is a summary of the talks and discussion on women organising in the workplace at the ACG dayschool in October.

Libertarian Communism 2019 Women Organising at Work

The session was led by two women, both very experienced in organising at work.

Meena from the Angry Workers

The Angry Workers is interested in promoting collective organization in west London. The strategy includes getting jobs in the bigger workplaces, building solidarity networks in local areas and producing a newspaper (2000 copies).

Meena works in a ready-meal factory, with up to 4000 workers across four sites in Park Royal, west London. She started three and a half years ago working on the assembly line but then managed to get a skilled job as a forklift driver, one that is normally done by men. She is now ‘permanent’ and a GMB rep. The workforce consists of 60% women with a wage grading system that sees women largely occupying the ‘unskilled’ grade. E.g. all the women work on the assembly line which is actually the hardest job.

Jenny from the ACG

Jenny has been a union activist since the early 1970s. She was in NUPE which then was the union for public sector employees, now Unison. One of their first jobs was as a school auxiliary worker. These jobs were all women. There was a dispute and all the women came out (Jeremy Corbyn was then the full-time official!). Then she worked in the parks department and got involved in the GMB which had no particular structures for women.

The session focused on three main questions. Each speaker addressed the questions.

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Class struggle events listing, Nov 25-Dec 1st

Cautiously pessimistic
Another quickish listing of upcoming events for the next week. In passing, I’d just like to plug the new Spycops resource, and also to mention that the Nottingham College dispute has ended after a new deal was accepted, as has the one by non-academic staff at the University of Birmingham.

The big thing coming up soon is the eight days of strike action being taken at around 60 universities over pensions, pay and conditions by UCU members, from Monday 25th through to Wednesday 4th December. A similar ballot by Unison members working in non-academic roles returned a majority favouring strike action, but didn’t pass the 50% turnout needed. Having said that, UCU Left advise that “Successful pay ballots allow other workers who are not in UCU to participate in strikes. (It is unlawful for employers to discriminate by union membership and branches can extract statements from HR to that effect.)” So non-academic workers at affected universities are probably best off contacting their local branch to work out what to do. For anyone wanting resources, I’m not aware of a strike bulletin this time round, but the Autonomous Design Group have some nice poster designs, and the IWW and Unis Resist Border Controls have made some useful leaflets, the latter being multilingual.

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Kevan Thakrar moved again.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE

HMP Full Sutton

Moor Lane

York

YO41 1PS

https://justiceforkevan.org

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally 2019 Friday, 19th to Sunday, 21st July 2019. View map No stall this year, apparently they were “oversubscribed”. Nah we don’t either, more time to get drunk then.

On the plus side the IWW are back, with a new improved stall run by Dorset branch.

Wob kitchen will run from Friday evening to Sunday lunch, next to the Big Tent; you’ll hardly notice the difference. Wessex Solidarity will make some of our literature catalogue available on the day. We’ve lots of new stuff that isn’t in the reference library as we’re running out of storage space – it hasn’t been updated for years. Why not get in touch now if there’s a subject you’re particularly interested in.

Catering Cadre: Comrade Les, our Wob kitchen chef is offering free training on outside and event catering for Radical Workers and groups who want to feed their members, homeless or unemployed workers in a safe and cost-effective way. Topics including:

  • Basic Health safety and hygiene.
  • Basic budget and Menu planning.
  • Basic dietary requirements.
  • Basic safe use of LPG and Butane gas cookers.

Let us know if you’re interested or come and see us about it at the festival.

Safe Space Policy: “don’t be a dick”.

This year we ask Radical Workers to be especially kind to members of the Prison Officers Association, as they are ever so sensitive, and easily upset by loud noises and rude words.

Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

Still laughing at Jason Shopland

Anna is with us, we fight on! Bristol Antifascists Demo 16.03.19

Bristol Antifascists are joining with other radical groups and comrades in Bristol for a demonstration on 16th March to remember our amazing and inspiring comrade Anna Campbell. We also want to show our shared commitment to all that she stood for and towards the better world she fought so hard for.

Here’s some of the struggles Anna gave so much to and which we carry on:

Anarchism, Anti capitalism, Feminism, Anti Patriarchy, Queer struggle, Antifascism, Animal liberation, Hunt sabotage, Prison abolition, Defendant solidarity, Ecological struggle, Eviction resistance, Direct action…

Join us! Meet 2pm near the International Brigades plaque in Castle Park, between the church and the river.

15th March 2019 marks the first anniversary of when we lost Anna Campbell. Anna went out to Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria, to join the Kurdish struggle against fascism. She was inspired by the revolution because of the politics of direct democracy, feminism and environmentalism and fought with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), who have been at the forefront in the fight against ISIS. Anna was killed by a Turkish airstrike whilst defending the city of Afrin.

Anna lived in Bristol before she left for Rojava, and throughout her life was active in many groups and causes, including prison abolition, feminism, anti-fascism and animal liberation.

Join with us to remember Anna and all those who have fallen in the struggle, and to take a stand for all that she, and we, believe in. The demonstration will be followed by a gathering at Hydra Bookshop, where Anna volunteered, to launch a zine made by Anna’s friends and comrades and to (hopefully) link up with the Internationalist Commune in Rojava.. If you have ideas or contributions for the gathering on please get in touch by email.

Friends, comrades and all those who wish to remember Anna and others are welcome.

Bristol Antifascists

Bristol IWW

facebook event

https://alternativebristol.com/events/anna-is-with-us-we-fight-on/