No platform for fascism or bigotry

We are pleased to announce that Bristol UWE have cancelled the debating event and platform for fascist,  misogynistic scumbags, Milo Yiannopoulos and Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of  Akkad. While this is great (and saves us wasting our milkshakes), and a testament to the power of collective  organising and pressure, their stated reasons for pulling the event,  “security concerns”, are a disgrace. In UWE’s statement there was nothing about concerns over giving a platform for and enabling far right  figures to spout bigotry and thinly veiled hate speech. Of course the UWE debating society and UWE  as an institution would predictably justify it all as taking a stand  for “free speech” but as militant antifascists who understand the  history of fascism and how it grows, we know where this approach leads us. Fascists worldwide and throughout history have always used “free  speech” as a shield to gain power. And once they do, see how quickly  their much heralded “free speech” disappears for anyone who disagrees  with them. It’s giving a platform for fascist, white supremacist views  that emboldens fascists and leads to murderous attacks such as what we  saw in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, London and so many other places where  fascist terrorism has shocked the world. Fascism is not to be debated.  It needs to be smashed.
 The racists and fascists will be enraged by this cancellation and   removal of their platform. The debating society appears similarly   annoyed on their twitter yesterday (14th May):
 “UWE  Debating Society were informed earlier  today that the University has  withdrawn support for our EU elections  hustings. We are still in  communication with @UWEBristol and @TheSUatUWE  to allay any concerns  they have. We are continuing to prepare for  Friday’s event.”
 Keep  your eyes and ears open in case they try to get the event  reinstated  or to hold a speaking event in an alternative venue in  Bristol. Let’s  be ready. Antifascists assemble!

Swansea demo report

This report comes from our comrades in South Wales:

“On Saturday the 27th of April, antifascists from across South Wales joined Swansea Antifa to oppose the far-right. UKIP-rejects “For Britain” had called for a march in Swansea, while fascist wannabe-hooligans boasted of coaches to join them from London. The coaches never showed-up, and their “march” amounted to 30-odd For Britain and DFLA types huddled around a crap PA. Under the protection of the police they remained in a corner of the old Norman castle – an appropriate spot for right-wing British nationalists.

Though billed as a plain “Brexit” demo, For Britain’s anti-Muslim and anti-migrant agenda was as obvious as ever. Typical of the far-right, the party scapegoats and attacks already persecuted groups. Their policies push for further state violence against refugees and more welfare cuts against those trying to survive on benefits. Their racism is blatant. The last time For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters spoke in Swansea (to a hidden mass meeting of ten) she talked of the supposed threats faced by the white “racial group”. Her previous transphobic remarks were also repeated by a fellow-speaker on Saturday.

As antifascists, we spent most of the day keeping an eye on smaller groups of fascists strutting around. Later we joined other protesters, including those from Women’s Strike Cymru and the Socialist Party, who confronted the rally from across the street. With more of a whimper than a bang, For Britain eventually packed their bags and left – and after some macho-posturing and mouthing off from afar, their nastier friends went without a goodbye.

Stand up to Racism had organised their own rally nearby. Typically, they tried to pull protesters away from any real confrontation with the far-right and keep everyone well-behaved in front of their official stage. It was encouraging to see that most people would rather shout at fascists than stand there listening to the Swansea council leader. The Socialist Workers Party, which form Stand up to Racism, have a history of covering-up rape inside their party and are happy working with the police and state-institutions. We maintain that antifascism must be feminist and cannot co-operate with the racist state. Only direct action and community organising can beat back the far-right.

The day showed that it is always worth while for antifascists to mobilise. Left unopposed, the far-right is given free-rein to attack who they like – as those stray groups of fascists might have. Far-right mobilsations may remain small in South Wales, but the racist vandalism of a home in Swansea that same morning shows that there’s little to celebrate. Bashing Muslims and immigrants has been normalised by the politicians already in power. Meanwhile, austerity keeps grinding down the working class. Neither Corbyn or a “People’s Vote” will save us – we need a real, fighting movement, on the streets, in our communities and in the work-place. No pasaran!”

They are not alone!

19th April marked the 124th day of Imam Sis’ indefinite hunger strike, and 7 members of Bristol anti-fascists went on a 24 hour fast in solidarity with him. 4 of the group travelled to Newport to visit the Kurdish community centre and fast with 30 or so others. Imam Sis is a friend and comrade to some members of the group, and the Kurdish struggle is something we have always believed in.
Imam is one of thousands participating in this hunger strike to end the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. It is understood that peace talks with Turkey cannot go ahead without the democratically supported Kurdish leader.
As we write this, it is the 131st day of Imam’s strike and the 167th day for Leyla Guven (elected MP imprisoned in Turkey for voicing critique), among thousands of others. With 9 already lost and the situation being critical for so many more, the time to act is now.
Support the demo called by the Bristol Kurdish Solidarity network on 8th May at 6pm, meeting at the fountains. Spread the word!
You can also find out more about how to take action by following Kurdish solidarity network on social media. 
Read about Imam’s hunger strike here: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/voices/abdullah-calan-erdogan-imam-sis-welsh-parliament-a8846926.html%3famp

@KurdsCampaign

ANNA LIVES ON – REMEMBERING IS FIGHTING!

Here’s our report on the awesomeness that was last Saturday’s march. #antifa #weareeverywhere #bristolisantifascist #ypg #ypj #annacampbell #womensliberation #martyr #kurdistan #afrin #rojava


On 16 March people gathered for a demonstration to remember Anna Campbell, who was martyred in Afrin, Syria, a year ago. Anna joined the Kurdish revolution in 2017 and fought with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit), who have been at the forefront in the fight against ISIS. She was killed by a Turkish airstrike. Women’s liberation, direct democracy and the environment are central to the Kurdish movement and echoed Anna’s own politics.

Around 150 people marched on the streets of Bristol, some having travelled from Belfast, Liverpool, London, Cornwall and Brighton to show their love for Anna and their support for all she believed in. Banners read ‘Remember Anna, keep fighting’, ‘Sehid Namirin’ (martyrs never die) and ‘Anna lives on in our hearts and our actions’. Many of the groups she was part of also came with their banners. The demonstration blocked roads around the city centre as it travelled down Bond Street, Bearpit roundabout and Bristol Bridge. Cops on horses and in riot vans attempted to block the march at several points.

There was a gathering at Hydra bookshop afterwards where the book ‘Immortal: mourning, martyrs and murals’ was launched. The book is a series of poems, photos, drawings, letters and other writings made by friends and comrades of Anna. Buy the zine here: immortalbook.bigcartel.com or support the crowdfunder: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/immortal

The following day there was also a demonstration in Cardiff, with banners hung from an occupied building. Other demonstrations have taken place around the world in the last few days, including in Rojava.

Thanks to everyone who came and supported the day in various ways. It was incredible to be amongst so many people who loved Anna, to walk and shout together. Seeing all the banners and people from different parts of Anna’s life was a powerful reminder of everything she did and stood for and everything we can, and do, achieve together.

Remembering is fighting! There’s lots going on to get behind. Imam Sis, a 32 year old Kurdish refugee living in Newport, South Wales, has based has been on an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike since 17th December 2018 along with many Kurdish activists in Europe, Kurdistan, and in Turkey and he will continue until the isolation of Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, ends. There are events coming up to support Imam and other hunger strikers coming up in the next weeks. Follow Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network for more info: https://www.facebook.com/BristolKurdishSolidarity/.

On 28 March the Arms Fair is taking place in Farnborough. This will include UK arms companies supplying arms to Turkey. The fair has been forced to stop holding events in Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff by massive protests. Join others to show the fair, and all it represents, is not welcome in Farnborough or anywhere! https://www.facebook.com/events/329767240996725/

Anna is with us, we fight on!

Bristol Antifascists are joining with other radical groups and comrades in Bristol for a demonstration on 16th March to remember our comrade Anna Campbell and to show our shared commitment to all that she stood for and towards the better world she fought so hard for. 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 please get in touch by email on bristolantifascists@riseup.net.

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

https://www.facebook.com/events/556358571535857/
https://alternativebristol.com/events/anna-is-with-us-we-fight-on/

Rise up for Rojava demo report

Members of Bristol Antifascists joined a 300 strong demonstration in London on 27th January as part of the international days of action under the banner of “Rise up for Rojava”. Despite the driving rain and bitter cold the demo was fired up, loud and defiant as it was led by Kurdish youth and women. Inspired by the bravery and determination of the Kurdish hunger strikers (one of whom was on day 82!) and the ongoing resistance to the Turkish state, ISIS and the forces of fascism and capitalism in Rojava, we added our voices to the worldwide solidarity with the Rojava revolution. We heard how the previous day hundreds of protesters entered a Turkish military base in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, setting fire to the facilities and vehicles and sacking the base after Turkish airstrikes killed civilians.

The demo started with a rally at the BBC, loudly and clearly condemning the corporation for it’s silence and complicity with the war on the Kurdish people. Shouts of “Wake up London, wake up UK!”, “Stop supporting terrorism, stop arming Turkey!” and “One solution, revolution!” amongst others went up all the way to Trafalgar Square, accompanied by Kurdish resistance music, speakers and plenty of flares. When the cops started massing numbers to snatch some Kurdish youth displaying their flags, word quickly went around to form a protective circle around them to prevent any arrests. The police thought better of it and backed down. Solidarity is our best defence and this was a very clear example of how we share the same enemies, from ISIS and genocidal states such as Turkey and the UK, to capitalism and it’s uniformed protectors. For international solidarity and antifascist resistance.

For more info and to get involved:
https://twitter.com/KurdishStudents
https://www.facebook.com/BristolKurdishSolidarity/

Here is the original callout for the international days of action. The call for action and solidarity still stands:

# RiseUp4Rojava – Call for global days of action on 27 and 28 January 2019