Spoons strike solid.

From Bristol SolFed on twitter

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Help Bristol Care Workers Network!

Hello comrades!

We are Bristol Care Workers Network. We an autonomous collective of healthcare and social care workers. We are contacting other organisations in Bristol to ask for help.

The charity Mencap have gone to court to demand that the government overturns its recent ruling on sleeping shifts counting as work for the purposes of calculating workers’ entitlement to the minimum wage. Because of Mencap, millions of low-paid workers will now be denied the minimum wage for their sleep shifts.

This has come at a time when non-payment of the minimum wage is at its worst ever level. The care sector is already one of the worst affected. Even for workers who are paid legally, studies have shown that it is almost impossible to make a living on the minimum wage. And now, Mencap want to make it even harder for workers to get the minimum wage.

The social care sector is a precarious sector where workers are routinely denied their rights and where union presence is very low. Although the situation for care workers is dire, this makes it an ideal sector for grassroots organising. We’ve found our campaigns around home care workers pay to be very successful and popular, and we’ve generated a lot of support by fighting this issue.

Precarious workers in other sectors are getting organised in an unprecedented way recently but at the moment the care sector has not caught up with what’s been happening among couriers, hospitality workers and other precarious sectors of the economy. The law around home care is changing rapidly and the TUC unions can’t keep up, so there is a real need for grassroots and DIY organising in the care sector. The home care sector is reaching crisis point due to austerity and Brexit will make this worse, so now is the time to start focusing on this sector. This is also an intersectional issue, as home care workers are overwhelmingly women, and a high proportion of care workers are people of colour and/or migrants, so as well as being an issue of class struggle, this is also a feminist issue and an anti-racist issue. This is why we think it’s important to start fighitng this.

We are a small organisation with limited capacity and influence, so we need other organisations to help make this event a success. You can help us by attending on the day, bringing your banners, and making a lot of noise, and/or publicising and sharing our event on your social media.

Thanks,

BCWN

Useful links:

BCWN website: bristolcareworkersnetwork.org

Stand up to Mencap event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1974568829267337/

BCWN’s critique of Unison and the TUC, and our arguments for grassroots organising in the care sector: https://bristolcareworkersnetwork.org/2018/08/26/unison-social-care-seminar-report-and-actions-the-workers-respond/

Background info on the Mencap court case: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2018/07/sleep-shifts-judgment-huge-mistake/

Article about non-payment of NMW: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45608993

Win for Manchester Solidarity Federation in dispute with Fortis Student Lettings.

Manchester Solidarity Federation concluded its dispute with Fortis Student Lettings in July. The dispute ended positively with the four tenants involved receiving a total of £832.00 in compensation. We have delayed issuing this statement until after confirmation of the compensation payments.

Before our involvement, the four tenants’ complaints had been ignored; they found themselves being passed from pillar to post; their efforts to speak directly to Fortis managers were invariably met with claims that the person was not available; in some cases, these overseas students were met with what could most kindly be described as insulting claims by Fortis staff that they cannot could not understand them.

We became involved when one of the tenants was put in contact with us in May. In conjunction with the tenants, Manchester SF sent Fortis a letter demanding compensation for the poorly maintained accommodation. After Fortis responded by denying they had any case to answer we, along with the tenants, arranged a number of pickets and phone blockades during June and July. These had the effect of forcing Fortis to recognise the tenants’ complaints and to shift their position, upping their first compensation offer twice, after initially offering nothing.

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

A rather laid back Tolpuddle with everyone seemingly subdued by the temperature. It was good to see Brighton SolFed take up a stall, and a pity the IWW didn’t manage to book one as we had loads of local Wobs on hand to crew it and plenty of IWW-related literature, which made our table a bit cramped. Les did us proud as ever, Theresa’s innovative engineering solution with the sacktruck made the Wob Kitchen table more strong and stable than her gormless namesake. Misty in Roots was sublime as I remember them from the 70s and I Destroy from Bristol is a band to watch.

We’re definitely past peak J.C., I only heard three desultory chants of “Ooh Jeremy Corbyn” Some geezer in a ‘wake up Labour’ T shirt came by the stall, seemed normal enough then handed over a leaflet – I can’t remember what it was about – full of anti-Semitic conspiracy bollocks. “What is this rubbish? Who cares if George Soros is Jewish or not?” Bloke shrugged and I gave him a pamphlet about anti-Semitism. Later on the march, the crank was spotted wearing a Guy Fawkes mask carrying a portrait of Vladimir Putin with the caption ‘peacemaker’. At the end of the village, the ‘friends of Israel’ we oiked off the site a couple of years ago stood brandishing vast British and Israeli flags, shouting something about Hamas.

Meanwhile the Labour party squabbles over two ‘examples of anti-Semitism’ from the I.H.R.A. code:

 g. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

j. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

Now usually in anti-oppression politics, the hegemonic group doesn’t get to define what constitutes oppressive behaviour, but this is more complicated. Religion is a species of ideology, and ideology is an excuse for doing what you like and/or a palliative for those you’re doing it to. Worse, it’s a cross-class alliance. Caution should be exercised over cultural identity for the same reason; both these things often have implicit hierarchies embedded within them.

Racism is anything that materially or socially disadvantages members of a racialised group, or makes it more likely they will be targets for violence and oppressive behaviour. It’s a methodology for maintaining a power relation so it only works where such a relation exists. Anti-Semitic oppression falls on Working Class Jews who don’t have the protection of the state of Israel or the U.S. government, it doesn’t fall on Netanyahu and co. They are part of the hegemonic group, not because there is a conspiracy, or because Judaism exerts undue influence, but because they are the ultra-nationalist leadership of a state engaged in military-industrial capitalism. States are cross-class alliances; they don’t represent any people, just a mode of production.

I would say the state of Israel is a racist endeavour, so is the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Russian Federation. Almost all states were founded on racism; they began with a cultural majority carving out a piece of territory, imposing their language and customs and excluding outsiders; they invaded and robbed their neighbours. The economic and political dominance of North-Western Europe and North America was achieved through the pillage of Latin America, Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. That is the context in which the state of Israel was founded.

So what do you think, if a state grants an absolute right of citizenship to Jews and only Jews, is it racist?

Allowing displaced Palestinians to return to Israel-Palestine would deny the Israeli state a Jewish voting majority, without which it could not guarantee such rights in perpetuity. Is it racist to give Jewish people a greater right to self-determination than Palestinian people?

Is it racist to contend that all Jewish people must make this moral compromise?

Is it racist to take sixty to a hundred Palestinian lives for every Israeli one lost?

Is it racist to claim that a body of privileged individuals speaks for an entire Diaspora, or even that anybody needs to? A Diaspora that comprises a range of ethnicities, religious and secular traditions, proletarians and bourgeois alike – including anarchist comrades – especially when clearly, it doesn’t, as many Jews on this island profoundly disagree with it?

Would it have been anti-Semitic for J.C. to refuse an invitation to a cultural event from a group of young Working Class Jews in his constituency on his night off?

Is it racist to conflate anti-capitalism with anti-Semitism, implying that all Jews are supporters of capitalism?

Is it anti-Semitic to call Jonathan Arkush an arrogant prick?

There is a noble tradition of Jewish anti-capitalist movements, anarchist, socialist and atheist in Britain, Europe and the U.S. and Jews have been active in antifascism as long as there have been fascists. The board of deputies is a deeply reactionary clique that opposed every grassroots Jewish antifascist initiative of the 20th century. It opposed the action at Cable Street, and the work of the 43 and 62 groups, which effectively confounded three waves of British fascism, and if you take these things as seriously as we do, undoubtedly saved many lives. There’s a reason for this, self-organised Working Class Jews kicking their persecutors around threaten the vicarious victimhood of their self-appointed representatives. Wouldn’t the board of deputies be buggered if people stopped being anti-Semitic? These wankers are literally playing politics with Working Class lives.

In practice, nobody represents anyone but themselves, communities do not need states or leaders, and many Jewish people agree. We disdain bourgeois Jews because they’re bourgeois not because they’re Jewish. Just as we have no time for black cops, gay fascists or female prime ministers. Where is the clamour about anti-Palestinianism?

I don’t know if it’s actually anti-Semitic to accuse a Jewish person of acting like a Nazi, but it’s pretty fucking tactless, just as I wouldn’t describe an African-American employer as a slave-driver, use your noggin, Ken. You shouldn’t say stupid things like “Hitler supported Zionism” in the sense that “Hitler supported Arsenal”, because he didn’t. The Nazi state cut a deal with one section of the Zionist movement in August 1933 because they shared part of an agenda – getting European Jews to move to Palestine rather than be comfortably settled in Europe. It meant breaking an embargo on German exports. Other Zionists were violently opposed to the idea and fought valiantly against the Nazis. Haim Arlosoroff, one of the architects of the Haavara settlement was subsequently assassinated.

Anti-Semitism certainly lurked below the surface of anti-capitalism, for example in the Occupy movement; it’s faulty politics and bad history. Using ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative is unhelpful and I wouldn’t recommend it. Historically Zionism was diverse, including utopian socialists, religious groups and of course the right-wing nationalists that eventually took it over.

These aren’t problems capitalism can solve. Jews will be free when everyone is free, when identities don’t have to compete on the market and we’ve done away with the bourgeoisie and their toxic state idea.

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Saturday September 16th 2017

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

radicalworkerspx

Photo by Wheelz.

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