Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Saturday September 16th 2017

International antifascist prisoner solidarity. Bristol 24th July

Greetings comrades!

Bristol antifascists invite you to come and show your solidarity with antifascist prisoners worldwide. We are organising letter writing and card signing at this gig, from 7.30pm on Monday July 24th:

facebook event

If you can’t make the gig, how about getting together with your friends / comrades / group and letting our imprisoned comrades know that they are not alone? An up to date list of prisoners can be found here:

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The International Antifascist Defence Fund provides solid support for arrested and imprisoned antifascists worldwide and so is also well worth supporting:

As the third annual July 25th International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners approaches, we find ourselves fighting the hydra of fascism and far-right ideology. While its many heads have distinct looks in different parts of the world, this beast spews the same venomous poison of nationalism and bigotry everywhere. It demonizes refugees and immigrants, stokes hatred for Muslims, and attacks LGBTQ and other oppressed groups who are fighting for liberation and their very lives.

The July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners originated in 2014 as the Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria for defending two Romani men being attacked by fascist football hooligans. Whether acting as individuals or as part of larger organized demonstrations, this is the kind of bravery and solidarity which defines antifascist actions against the forces of hate. Since the day of solidarity last year, we have seen this spirit all over the world—in Indonesia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Poland, England, Greece, the United States, France, Syria, Australia, Japan and all points in between.

While antifascism is global, unfortunately so is state repression. In the U.S., hundreds of antifa have been arrested resisting both the Trump regime as well as Far Right street forces. In Belarus, the state continues to harshly repress the antifascist resistance. While many of these comrades are awaiting sentences, there are still many who languish in prison. We will not forget these comrades behind the prison walls!

We call on anti-fascists worldwide to act in solidarity with antifascist prisoners. Consider having an event or dedicating an action to them. They are in there for us, and we are out here for them!

No Pasaran!
Until All Are Free!

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Saturday September 16th 2017

It’s 2017 and the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective has new collective members, a new venue, a new date and some new ideas.

As well as all the usual exciting features of the bookfair such as the amazing range of radical literature and the networking opportunities, this year there is going to be a particular emphasis on workshops and discussions. For this reason we have had to change venue. We needed somewhere with good workshop spaces and while our previous venue has been almost perfect on other ways it doesn’t have this.

Our new venue is smaller and so stalls will be limited. Priority will be given to activist groups that organise using anarchist principles and we would ask that groups campaigning on similar issues consider sharing a stall. The number of book stalls will also be reduced although there will still be a huge range of books. As well as more suitable spaces for workshops and discussions, this year we will be allowing extra time for some of the key discussions.

To whet your appetites we will be having a Zinefair on May 13th at Kebele in Easton, hopefully this is already in your diary! The bookfair collective is going to have our own zine distro so if you have a zine you would like included let us know. If you have it printed already that’s great, if not we may be able to print it. We are keen to hear you recommendations. Watch this space for other events in the run up to the bookfair…

For bookfair stall bookings please use our shiny new online booking form . The deadline for stall bookings is August 16th.

If you have an idea for a workshop let us know, we are particularly looking for interactive workshops that will either inspire discussions or share practical skills useful for strengthening and progressing our movements.

It will be at:
St Werburghs Community Centre
Horley Road St Werburghs
Bristol
BS2 9TJ

For General inquiries message us on

bristolanarchistbookfair@riseup.net

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.

Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair 18th February 2017.

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Solidarity With Trans Prisoners: Noise Demo at HMP Doncaster.

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January 22nd is International Day of Solidarity With Trans Prisoners, a day to highlight the struggles of our siblings behind bars and fight for a world without prisons.

Following the tragic and preventable death of Jenny Swift last month we will be demonstrating outside HMP Doncaster at 4pm after visiting hours. Wrap up warm, bring torches, glow sticks, sparklers, bright things, and things to make noise – we want to be loud enough for the people held inside to hear and let them know they’re not forgotten. Sound systems, loudhalers, drums, pots and pans, anything you can think of! facebook event

HMP Doncaster is 22 mins walk from Doncaster train station, well connected by rail. Manchester No Prisons are organising minibuses from Manchester and will be able to shuttle people from the station to the prison and back on the day, Leeds Action for Trans Health are coming from Leeds, Sheffield Action for Trans Health and Queer Agenda Sheffield – QASh are organising lifts from Sheffield. We’ll update with more information about lifts as it becomes avalable – comment on the event if you’re driving and have spaces going.

Love and rage,

Action for Trans Health

Some thoughts on liberalism, identity politics and the left, by Mal Content.

As a contribution to this discussion on the South Essex Heckler:


The evolution of the ruling class.

The bourgeois revolution is incomplete, although it relied heavily on racism, patriarchy, hetero-normativity, nuclear families and a Christian work ethic to get underway, the logic of the market respects only the exchange of commodities. Our bosses are getting more diverse; the sixty-two individuals who control as much purchasing power as half of humanity are not all white, or male.

Meanwhile the ruling class hedges its bets; it offers on the one hand neoliberal ‘rainbow capitalism’ underpinned by a theoretical freedom and equality under the law but no safety net, and as a fallback position, what we might call ‘capitalism in one country’ with a degree of protectionism and social conservatism to reflect local norms. As the Class that must work for wages is only allowed to construe economics in terms of jobs and money it’s easy to see why the latter reassures a section of it. Wage labour is an abusive relationship however you dress it up, and the indignity of having your status defined by your abuse, relative to someone else’s, throws up some highly reactionary positions.

Both positions of course are bogus. Identities, like everything else, are marketable commodities and therefore must trade at different prices. The USA elected a black president who presided over the torture of Muslim prisoners of war, the enslavement of black workers in the prison-industrial complex, and the systemic assassination by cops of Working Class black youth. If there is ever a female president, a gay president, a trans’ president: they may become a rallying point for those communities but they will set no one free, it isn’t their job. The ANC revolution in South Africa created a new black bourgeoisie, which exploited exactly as before; their police gunned down striking workers as they did in the days of empire. The West is awash with goods produced in the sweatshops of recently independent Asian countries. As for protectionism, capital will always find ways to move around, and to reduce the price of labour to its minimum local reproduction cost.

There has never been, in any period of capitalism, an entirely free market without a heavy reliance on primitive accumulation (theft and murder) and military expenditure. Very expensive short-lived manufactured goods that do not have to compete in the market because the decision to buy them is taken by the executive. Corporations can always borrow money against this because it’s a blank cheque, underwritten by taxpayers, the bulk of whom are Working Class. It pays for technological innovations their bosses protect with patents. Virtually everything we take for granted in the modern world was developed this way, so above all, capitalism needs enemies.

For a century, this balance between market and state was maintained by the vanity projects of a handful of sociopaths: Bolshevism and fascism, the first almost immediately creating its mirror-image. ‘The end of history’ left two vacuums, one for the bosses and one for us. Post-war anti-imperialist movements, including the Middle Eastern ones, were mostly Bolshevik-influenced. Once the Soviet empire collapsed, ‘Radical Islam’ – which the West originally co-opted against it – proved an easier vehicle with which to rally marginalised and ill-informed populations against the tidal wave of global capital, with just a hint of the Maoist ‘protracted people’s war’ about it.

The left.

Since the mirage of state socialism evaporated, left-wing parties have been no more relevant than the flat earth society. They were deeply reactionary anyway; in 70 years of the U.S.S.R. they never managed to abolish racism, sexism, homophobia or religion, all those delusions resurfaced with a vengeance and they slipped seamlessly into a market economy with most of the same people in charge. In the UK it was the craft Unions who negotiated women out of the workplace after two wars, Labour governments that struggled in vain to keep the empire, then hold back migration from its former colonies.

“We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.”

– Mikhail Bakunin: ‘Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism’.

Insofar as ‘left’ refers to position in a representative assembly – which I would have no truck with – relative to the other representatives, we only use it to distance us from the right. Whereas the old left existed to contain Working Class anger and prevent it from disrupting capitalist power relations, the new left’s project was to speed the bourgeois revolution to its conclusion; maybe they wanted capitalism to succeed so they could take it over as a going concern. Maybe they just wanted their hands in the till and a cushy retirement. Ten years after thatcher abolished society, isolating our Class, a smug posh-voiced tosser named Tony Blair told us we didn’t exist. Where does that leave us? Without Class the worker is an isolated individual with no social relationship to anyone but the boss – wasn’t that the aim of the twin totalitarian projects? Either way it’s inherently nationalistic (I include ‘Eurocentrism’ in this.)

The failure of the statist left to see beyond transaction and coercion not only paved the way for fascism in all its forms but preserved capitalism long past its expiry date. We need to look back a century to the ‘Great Unrest’ and the currents of revolutionary syndicalism and self-organisation that developed in the Class to see anything like a viable alternative.

Intersectionality, privilege and the Working Class.

Liberal politics of aspiration and contempt, of ‘social mobility’ challenge you to escape from our Class rather than work together to liberate it. You are Working Class if you’ve got nothing to sell but your labour, but talk of ‘working people’ sets the bosses as gatekeepers to the Class and they’re quite comfortable using the term when they get to define it. If your measure of self-worth is being selected by some bourgeois to add value to their capital – thereby increasing their power over you – no wonder your messiah is a narcissistic parasite with a gold crapper.

Intersectionality contradicts liberalism; I define liberalism as that which postulates a theoretical freedom and equality under the law, but takes no account of structural oppression. The concept of privilege requires acceptance that:

a) Oppression is the norm, society oppresses us all by default then mitigates it for each to different extents according to how well they fit into the oppressive structure, and that:

b) No-one achieves anything entirely by their own efforts, but through their membership of a collective.

This makes it an incredibly difficult concept for many people. As difficult as understanding that the pound in your pocket is not a reward for what you did last week, but represents a complex web of social relations, and that its value is reinforced by the threat of violence.

The advantage of intersectional analysis is that it gives a sharper understanding of how and where systemic oppression is applied in practice. Its limitation is the shift in emphasis from collective struggle to individual conflicts and alliances. It reflects, and indeed encourages, a loss of confidence in the ability of individuals to appreciate, understand and fight inequalities that do not afflict them personally. Worse, in my view, is it defines the individual according to the boundaries created by the hegemonic group, which, for simplicity, I will continue to refer to as the ruling class. They have taken great pains to replace the dangerously homogenous strata of similarly oppressed peoples with a socio-economic continuum. In parallel, our focus on privilege and identity has lowered our sights from universal liberation to the temporary relief of the most vulnerable, allowing them to be taken as hostages to the economy. There’s no getting away from the fact that the greatest structural oppression is the money economy and most of the others are mediated through it.

Identity politics.

The working class is more than 50% female*, disproportionately black, migrant and/or minority ethnic. If you are black, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated than if you are not; at each stage the odds are against you. If you have a mental condition, you are more likely to be homeless. We can only respond to these issues as a united, fighting Class. As a comrade pointed out last week, if the white Working Class don’t get it, it isn’t because we devoted too much attention to racism, sexism, homophobia etc, but too little. If you want to appeal to the white Working Class separately, why not the straight, white, cis, male Working Class? Further divide fully employed from unemployed and precarious, and you’re not far from the failed 20th century craft Union model. Personally, I’ve never identified as ‘white’ Working Class, I’m white in the sense that I’ve got no racialised characteristics. I’m also male, fit to work, with a skilled trade. I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a privileged position, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise.

*Given the gendered disparity in income which, over a lifetime, exacerbates the gap in total wealth, by any socio-economic measure of ‘working class’, males will represent less that half. Single mothers and single retired women are especially disadvantaged in this respect.

Those groups who find themselves super-exploited fight the ruling class out of necessity; for the rest, what else is there to do? Some comrades  defend Wetherspoons, X factor and a fetish for designer clothes as working class culture, now there’s identity politics! As an anarchist I’m not about to tell anyone how to express themselves; if a section of the youth decline to integrate with mainstream culture it’s because it has nothing to offer. I’ll defend the right to wear a Burqa because – just fucking try telling me what to wear.

I believe that a society based on mutual aid and solidarity can only be achieved through voluntary association, starting from a federated affinity group structure. Therefore I’ll not condemn anyone for choosing to organise with those who share their own experiences if it gets the job done. It will be fine, for a while, as long as there is a mechanism for communication and co-ordination so we’re not getting in each other’s way or duplicating effort. Post-capitalist councils of producers and users would of necessity call in delegates from groups with needs and interests that are not readily anticipated or understood by others.

So whilst I’m exasperated when privilege is played as a trump card to shut down discussion, it’s equally frustrating to have the ‘prolier than thou’ type refuse to engage with it altogether. We are dishonest with ourselves if we do not challenge oppression where we see it, and that may require some patience, but having two separate closed conversations about it serves no one but the oppressor.

“The problem is that left politics are perceived to be backward looking, while the right has ridden the tidal wave created by capitalism’s convulsions. That a significant proportion of our class see fascism as a viable alternative, we must accept as our failure. Even the anarchist movement, with which I identify, is too introspective and slow to provide practical solutions to everyday problems. What about building community solidarity by linking defence against hate crime with resistance to evictions over the bedroom tax, and general poverty relief, why are there no autonomous food banks?

In my view we need a message as simple as the EDL’s, only based on class unity, resistance to austerity and division, tying local struggles to global ones; and we need to make ourselves as visible and confident as they are.”

– ‘Life after Woolwich: a personal view.’ No Quarter issue 7.