To coincide with the International Day of Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Prisoners called this weekend, we will be hosting a night of solidarity alongside our friends from Bristol Anarchist Black Cross on Sunday.
To coincide with the International Day of Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Prisoners called this weekend, we will be hosting a night of solidarity alongside our friends from Bristol Anarchist Black Cross on Sunday.
Below is a text recently written by some Bristol anti-fascists in light of the upcoming general & local elections
The General Election show is here and the politicians are doing their best to “perform”, to convince us that their particular brand really is something new and improved. But as the wheels of democracy put their spin on, look closely and you’ll see that all the supposedly different colours merge into one. Because when it comes to it, they all stand for just one thing: Capitalism.
Elections only serve to strengthen the system by presenting a carefully constructed illusion of influence, choice and change. In reality, voting changes nothing. Politicians always disappoint us with election promises quickly broken, serving not the people that elected them, but themselves alongside the rich and powerful interests they truly represent. Whoever you vote for, the rule of private property and profit remains unchanged. Whoever is at the controls, the state carries on it’s job, as always, as the instrument of class domination. A change of government will not change the attacks on us all: “austerity”, low pay and poverty, evictions and homelessness, police brutality and repression, surveillance, prisons, borders and nationalism, wars and racism… the list goes on and on. It’s not the players at the head of the state that we need to change, but the game itself. Shuffling the cards is futile when the deck remains the same.
Voting is an expression not of power, but of powerlessness. The clue, perhaps, is on the ballot paper itself. In school, a cross means “wrong” or “not the right answer”. We should apply the same thinking to all of the prospective candidates, their parties and the system they stand for. A cross in the box every four years means giving up our power to government and rulers who wield and abuse it while we have to patiently wait for the next elections for that all elusive chance for change. You will hear many people complaining how politicians have failed the working class. In truth, they can’t really be said to have failed if they never intended to help us out in the first place. Surely we’ve seen enough of the mismatch between what the greedy, lying, corrupt politicians say and what they do over the years to realise that real change is down to us rejecting their “proper channels” and false hopes for a better world. It’s time to abandon the sinking ship of parliamentary politics and instead vote with our feet and organise for ourselves.
What has all this got to do with antifascism?
Well, everything! Election time is one big celebration of their democracy. It’s not important who you vote for, just that you go along with it all and vote. But it’s no accident that the march of democracy worldwide has coincided with huge increases in inequalities of resources and power. In the so called pillar of democracies right here in U.K. Inc., we are seeing the greatest transfer from “the public purse” to private profit ever seen under the reign of Tories. This daylight robbery is being carried out without much fuss. “Democracy” uses unions, the very organisations supposedly fighting for workers, to disempower and pacify us perhaps even more effectively than the more forceful methods usually associated with dictatorships. But “democratic” states exert control and attack the working class with equal ferocity and ruthlessness as dictatorial regimes. They are simply better at disguising their tendency to totalitarianism, dressing it up with things like “tightening our belts” and making “tough choices”. Meanwhile the resulting conditions are just right for an upsurge in right wing politics, nationalism, immigrant blaming, racism and a divided working class. This is what we face today with the emergence of far right street groups like the EDL and Britain First.
We understand that fascism is inseparable from capitalism and the state. Beating fascism must mean destroying that which creates it: capitalism. We cannot fight one without coming up against the other and we see this most clearly in the police riot shields and batons protecting fascist demonstrations. Fascism, like the police, is a weapon of the rich to wage class war. Our antifascism must be part of a revolutionary class struggle movement and we have no interest in protecting their democracy as a “lesser evil” against fascism. While the routine and futile placing of hopes in boxes is enough for some, our hopes remain with our class and fighting together for a world free from police and politicians as well as fascists and all they stand for.
previous article written after last year’s local elections here
Coming at you live and direct from east-central Bristol, just 13 days before the 2015 British General Election & local elections, we are pleased to invite you to the 7th Bristol Anarchist Bookfair – and there wont be a single lying, corrupt, austerity-enforcing, media-spinning politician in sight.
Seven years on from our first Bookfair, 7 years on from the start of the global financial meltdown, after 7 years of austerity cuts and the rich getting richer, we are still here struggling and acting, providing alternatives and creating a new world based on co-operation, total equality, and freedom – a new world we carry in our hearts and dreams.
We’ll bring you probably Bristol’s largest, free, open to the public, political event in the month before the election. As just a small part of a Britain-wide anarchist intervention into the key issues & events surrounding the election, we may well be a part of the largest electoral block – the Non-Voters. Because just as you know, whoever the public votes for – the government always gets in.
The Bookfair will include – 2 halls filled with stalls from local campaigns & groups to national anarchist distros & publishers; workshops & meetings to discuss & debate the key issues; the Radical History Zone down the road at Hydra Bookshop; activities in Trinity Garden’s outdoor permaculture green space; an outdoor Soap-Box for Ranters; a quality vegan cafe; an indoor kids space; and a few surprises too!
The Bookfair is a space for you, radicals, independent thinkers and those pissed off with & alienated from the political system, to come together and think outside the box. To discuss, network, laugh, cry and share the ideas, inspirations and strategies to resist and thrive. Leaders, politicians and representatives are never going to create the future we want. A better world is in our hearts – but it is only through considered self-organised action, together, that we can make it a reality.
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective
Note: for further info see ‘2015 Bookfair‘
FB – bristolanarchistbookfair
FB event – 7th Bristol Bookfair
Twitter – @bristolbookfair and hashtag #BABF2015
or email us queries at bristolanarchistbookfair[at]riseup[dot]net
This past weekend Bristol Antifascists went on a triple action trip to London and Dover. First up was a visit to a Clapton FC football game which has in recent months developed a solid anti-fascist following which, it has been threatened repeatedly by members of Casuals United and the Pie & Mash Squad. Needless to say their repeated attempts at disrupting games and organising to collectively complain to the FA about political flags and flares has failed, both on the streets and the terraces. We travelled with a goodie bag of gifts from the Easton Cowgirls & Cowboys to solidify the cider soaked hand of friendship between Easton and Clapton and had a great day after a speed eating contest of Pie and Beans with the London Antifascists.
Next up was a public benefit gig with repeat offender Ryan Harvey (who’d played a benefit show for Bristol Antifascists the weekend previously). London Antifascists had recently had to cancel a benefit gig after fascist pressure on a venue had caused it to be pulled, so tonight at the London Action Resource Centre (LARC) a big group of supporters turned up to support London and enjoy a great evening of folk music. Right on time a second car full of Bristol arrived. With a solid crew outside both taking the opportunity to meet friends from around the world and keep an eye out, a great evening was had by all, which passed without incident. After some complex sleeping space negotiations, we travelled back to a friends and all settled down for a well needed rest, gently lulled to sleep by the deep breathing of our comrades.
We travelled early to Dover the next day to confront a march called by the United British Patriots (soon to attempt to march in Bristol) & National Front and after linking up with other Anti Fascists Network groups, moved to the pub the fash had decided to meet at. (You can read the AFN call-out to oppose the ‘secure the borders’ demo here). On arrival it was soon very obvious that we had caught them off guard, as we moved quickly into the road in front of the pub and a few things became very clear, very quickly. The turn out for the ‘Support the Truckers’ march was pitiful, the pub they had retreated into was closed and they had really not done their homework. Sunken faces faced a confrontational and well organised mob of anti fascists. The Kent police began a day of ‘protest facilitation’ and Paul Pitt’s sad face said it all – their careful strategising had got them backed into a empty pub garden of a closed pub/backpackers with police once again protecting them.
As AFN members repelled their witty and well thought out monologues, a strange parade of melancholic characters arrived. They had it all – fascists who looked like they’d arrived at their own funeral, a single handed attempt at a Harry Potter block, Skeletor, crusader’s taking a break, 1970’s caricatures and in general a motley crew of bigots and politically misguided fancy dress attempts. After waiting as long as possible for their numbers to increase from around a pathetic 20-30, the march attempted to head off and was immediately blocked. With the police realising that they could not force the march through, the fascists were abruptly about turned and marched the other way up the street. Anti Fascists quickly changed our tactics and marched the fascists up the road, with them waiting for the police to protect them whenever they became vulnerable.
The AFN block throughout the day worked really well at making collective decisions quickly, and we then quickly changed strategy and went on a little jog around the block and this was the pattern for the next hour or so. Wherever the fascists attempted to march there was concerted and determined blocking, forcing them off the road and onto the promenade. They were confronted and harassed all the way in a walk of shame, and whenever they attempted to physically confront us were quickly “self defence slapped” as they so succinctly put it. Choice moments were taken, improvised methods of attack were used and such chants as “that was more like being run than a march!” and “can you hear the fascists sing? no!!” were constantly heard. After some nifty cross sea wall urban running, we reached the main roundabout at the port which had been the march’s destination. As the police facilitated the fascists posing for a pathetic photo of 36 fascists and an assortment of celtic crosses, National Front flags and posturing we re-grouped and prepared to march them out of town. All the way back to the half empty car park the march was surrounded by anti fascists and police and a suitable metaphor for the whole fascist day was found at the end. In a cunning move, a transit van with 3 fash in the front drove around the block and past the remaining AFN groups making sure they had left. As they slowly drove past shouting abuse and honking their horn, AFN members attacked the vehicle, which then stopped and attempted to reverse aggressively into anti fascists. However, by this point the lightening quick reactions of the Kent constabulary had resulted in police being behind the van, in effect attempting to run over them! As chaos briefly ensued the keys from the van were liberated, the driver was arrested and “shit day” was written on the back. The fascists had to get out and walk home with the knowledge that they had come to Dover, got blocked into a small closed pub garden, ran to the port under attack and run back.
Truly a shit day for them.
We found this one of the best actions we’ve been involved in and were really impressed by the truly solid block. With only one arrest at the end of the day, numerous de-arrests and good tactical decisions made together we left Dover with confidence in each other, the network and the struggle.
** 1 banner
** a bunch of airhorns
** a minibus
** all dignity
… These were some of the items a sad crew of 30 assorted fascists lost on today’s ‘Secure our Borders – Support the Truckers’ shuffle round the roundabout on the Dover seafront, opposed by around 40 autonomous antifascists.
The fascist plan to ‘blockade the port’ was promoted by a few obscure fascist groups on their Facebook sites, the demo being designed to coincide with “Sauvons Calais” anti-immigration demo on the other side of the Channel. English Volunteer Force, National Front, and white power flags were spotted on the Dover demo.
As is traditional, the fash gathered in a car park under a grey sky, and on seeing us antifascists retreated to the garden of a local pub – which turned out to be closed. So they were confined to the garden for a pintless hour until they mustered up enough numbers to move.
With an escort of Kent police, the Master Race shuffled their way towards the sea front as we dodged trundling lorries and tried to block their path at every turn. It was good to see comrades well organised, fast moving, and looking out for each other at all times – and not a single UAF placard in sight. That the fash were able to leave the pub at all and do their photo op on the roundabout was however a problem – one we probably could have dealt with with larger numbers.
The fascists were eventually escorted back to their car park and left, apparently too dejected to hang about for a celebratory drink. In a final humiliation, one minibus of dimwits thought it would be a good idea to drive past and taunt the antifa mob – whilst stuck at the red lights. The driver, in a panic, tried to reverse over members of the crowd. However the van ended up stopped in the road. The driver was arrested (presumably for dangerous driving) and made to do the walk of shame to the police car, before their minibus was confiscated by the cops. Two of our comrades were arrested – we’re still awaiting news of whether any charges will be brought.
Over on the other side of the channel, the Sauvons Calais demo was banned by the local authority, and comrades there say it was a quiet day with no serious incidents.
Other reports of the day:
“Dover and out!” Hope Not Hate
Just over a year ago a vicious attack took place on a family orientated anti-racist demonstration by a mob of Swedish neo-Nazis belonging to the ‘Swedish Resistance Movement’ in Kärrtorp, a district of Stockholm. Despite having prior knowledge that an attack by the Nazis was likely, the police failed to act. Militant anti-fascists and locals defended the demonstration and forced the fascists, who attacked with sticks, knives and bottles, to retreat. During the fight a number of the Nazi attackers were wounded and some anti-fascists were later arrested. One of these was Joel Almgren, who is now serving 6.5 years in prison for ‘attempted murder’ for is part in defending the demonstration.
A huge campaign of solidarity has been taking place since with anti-fascists around the world taking to the streets and social media to support Joel and the Swedish anti-fascists, including some in Bristol (picture below). More of this can be seen at the Free Joel facebook page.
Below we have reproduced a recent interview with Joel originally published on the #freejoel page.
anti-fascism is always self defence
Today it is 1 year after the riots in Kärrtorp and beacuse of that we publish this interview with Joel.
1. How do you look upon what happened in Kärrtorp today?
We shouldn’t have to need to experience what happened in Kärrtorp to see how close to us the fascism is and growing. And now a year after what has happening it seems already been forgotten.
I haven’t changed my view about what happened that day. I don’t need to experience “Kärrtorp” to be reminded how important it is to take the fight to the streets. I have seen Nazis attack demonstration, antiracists concerts and union blockades all my life. It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that antifascism is self-defense.
2. How do you look upon your trial, your sentence and the attention from the media?
There’s maybe not much to say about the trail. Me and my attorney thought that both trials went good but apparently it didn’t. I did hope for a shorter sentence and that the judges would see the situation for what it was, that is self-defense. But on the other hand I was prepared for a longer sentence than I got. Of course I think that I would get acquitted but you have to be realistic and I refuse to sit here almost 4 years and get bitter.
The attention from the media had no proportions at all. They published articles about me with my personal numbers and pictures. But they didn’t published information about the nazis who threw bottles and firework against children and old people. The author of one of the articles even sat on TV and told that they didn’t exposed.
I haven’t raped or killed anyone; I have defended a legal demonstration when the police was not able to. Jimmy Åkesson (the leader of a Swedish racist party) gets a cake in his face and they say that’s a threat against the democracy but when nazis attacks a demonstration it’s a fight between extremists.
3. What’s antifascism to you?
I think that the antifascism in Sweden has slipped behind. It’s been made in a square pattern and I think it’s time for the antifascist groups in Sweden to sit down and evaluate the past 5-10 years. Also I think we should put more effort to build up the autonomous left and less in chasing nazis.
Antifascism to me is to get from word to action. Most of the people with a brain can see that we don’t want fascists marching on the streets but that don’t make all of them an antifascist.
4. Do you feel that you had big support? If yes, from where have you got that support from?
I think that I got more support than I deserve. All the people who have been involved in the campaign have been doing an enormously good work.
I have received letter/cards/support from Russia, New Zeeland, Mexico, Chile, Europe, USA, and U.K to mention some. I feel a little bit spoiled on that actually, but I am forever grateful to all those who has been in touch. The time wouldn’t have gone so fast as it has done if it wasn’t for all these letters specially the time I spent in custody. I think it is hard for someone to imagine what it’s like in custody. To be isolated for 24 hours a day, accused of something that could give you a long sentence hasn’t been easy. But thanks to the entire letter I received I held myself above the surface. Apparently this has provoked the Kriminalvården (The Swedish prison and probation service) that the support has been this extensive. A huge amount of letters has been stopped, they have try to hidden some of the senders addresses. They have taking away all my unguarded visits and have done so because “they want to restrict my contact surfaces”. The result of this is that I haven’t been able to see my son in more than 17 weeks and as it seems like in this present maybe we are not able to do at all during my time in prison. All I been given is guarded visiting 1 hour at the time and my son is not able to come on one of those. The inquiry they made on Kumla has been used now to put me in higher security.
I want at the same time point out that this treatment and the lack of been able to have contact with my son aren’t unique. A lot of interns are denied contact with their children and are transferred to a prison far away from their families.
I lost track from the question there but the support has been from all kinds of people. Unexpected big support has been from the hardcore scene that has made me extra thrilled as it were there I got politicized.
5. What is a good prison support to you?
It’s a lot of components that decides a good prison support. To mention some of them,
• One thing that often got forgotten is the family to the one in prison. All the focus is on the one in prison or custody but the rest of the family is also get afflicted.
• To have a good contact with the attorney helps a lot.
• Money has more value outside the walls. Of course you should send in money but its more important that the family getting help with the rents and to get help with money so they could travel for visiting the one on the inside.
To work with prison support doesn’t get as much cred as to be an activist on the streets but it is as important unfortunately.
6. You are still working with prison support from the inside as you were doing on the outside. Can you tell the readers little more about that?
Except from writing letters to other comrades in prison we in Fånggruppen started a newspaper to all the antifascists who are in prison right now. The idea with the newspaper is to create a forum for us on the inside to discuss. We are placed in different prisons but through the newspaper we can create a feeling of community. And also the newspaper gives us news that isn’t often published in right-wing media. It can be news about strikes and demonstrations but also interviews and reportages. Last number, we could for an example read about that Ireland plans to take charge for fresh water. We who are behind Fånggruppen are doing interviews with comrades in prison all over the world. What else? Yes, we are about to start some form of campaign for our comrade Jock to collect names for his appeal to get transferred to a prison in Australia. And also we got some thoughts about how we can collect money to prison support.
We want to use all the publicity that Free Joel got to enlighten people about prisoners who got it a lot worse than me.
7. Inside of the walls you have a lot of time to think. Has the time in prison and in custody given you something good?
Not much to be honest. But the contact to other comrades in prison has given me some perspective and all of a sudden my situation doesn’t seem to be that bad.
8. Any final words?
Don’t forget the streets. Don’t forget the struggle.
For information on the case or to send letters and support to Joel – Free Joel
The woeful Britain First national roadshow became even more of a shambles yesterday as the Bristol date was postponed at the last minute. This followed the cancellation of their Dartford meeting the night before, along with a humiliating turnout and disruptive opposition from anti-fascists who rumbled their new meeting point in Swanley, Kent.
The far-right group was formed by ex-BNP members in 2011 following heavy infighting in the party. Hoping to use the traditional far-right strategy of combining electoral politics with a street pressence, their ‘battalions’ (usually only made up of the same small handful of activists) have gained media coverage with ‘Christian patrols’ in east London and ‘Mosque invasions,’ and recently with leader Paul Golding trying to get himself arrested. Britain First have also built a large online profile through the use of social media, albeit through misleading means and with the help of ‘bought’ popularity to push their poisonous message.
The choice of tactics should hardly be surprising given that the two main players and founders of the party, Paul Golding and Jim Dowson, are the ex-Head of Publicity for the BNP and a ferociously anti-choice, Christian fundamentalist with links to Loyalist paramilitaries, respectively.
However it would appear their large online pressence has not translated into support in the non-virtual world. They have had a pitiful turnout at all of the dates on their tour and have faced opposition wherever they have been in the country so far.
Yesterday the organisation were due to meet at Patchway train station at 1.30pm but postponed the event the night before blaming ‘adverse police actions.’ The police have denied any involvement in this and insist that BF decided to cancel the meeting themselves. Sure that the actions of our south eastern comrades the night before and work done by locals played a huge part in the Bristol postponement, we spent the afternoon playing a celebratory game of football in the glorious north Bristolian sunshine.
Britain First claim that they will be back in Bristol within a month. We will have to see if they come true on this but we’re sure that many people will be out to oppose them if they do.
Article below taken from – schnews.org.uk
Going for Golding
The much heralded Britain First roadshow ain’t going too well. After being forced to cancel their Dartford meeting, Britain First were once again humiliated tonight after another pathetic turnout, this time in nearby Swanley.
Paul Golding (co-incidentally winner of this week’s Crap Arrest) might have expected a better turn out in a town where he once was a BNP councillor. In the end though despite the last minute venue change and an attempt at eluding discovery* Britian First found themselves outnumbered and surrounded by anti-fascists.
After a 45 minute stand off they left escorted by police, with no local support.
Within minutes they had cancelled the next stop on the itinerary – Bristol, blaming ‘adverse police action’. We’re sure that’s true and not in any way because they got cold feet at the thought of heading to a town with an even more fearsome anti-fascist reputation than Swanley.
**Top tip – while a Land Rover in desert camoflauge is probably great for lurking in a wadi in the Yemen it’s a tad conspicous in a Kentish town centre.
On Saturday 21st June, a small, family-orientated ‘Music Day’ festival was being held in Marksfield Park, Tottenham, north London. A group of around 40 Polish neo-Nazis and football hooligans belonging to Zjednoczeni Emigranci (ZE – United Emigrants) attacked the event with flares, rocks and bottles. Attendees defended themselves, pushing back the fascist attack. A Polish festival goer was stabbed during the fight, fortunately only suffering superficial injuries. A Jewish man was also assaulted by the group before they reached the festival, with one ZE member arrested for religiously aggravated common assault.
Two days later, 200 locals and anti-fascists gathered in Marksfield Park to demonstrate against the attacks on the community. London-based Polish anti-fascists, Dywizjon 161, have been at the forefront of this response to the attack, along with London Antifascists and London Black Revs. They have cleared the park of fascist stickers and graffiti, leafletted the area and created a visible anti-fascist and anti-racist presence there.
On Saturday 28th a second rally and march was held in Marksfield Park, with between 200-300 people attending. The same evening anti-fascists in Bristol gathered in solidarity, holding a collection and leafletting session in a number of pubs, raising awareness and funds to be used in our work and to support others.
At a time when far-right attacks are on the rise in this country and the political establishment along with the mainstream media are using the age old tactic of divide and rule, we need to stand together now more than ever. We are proud to work alongside anti-fascists from across the world here in the UK and realise that the recent events stress the need for a diverse, organised and militant anti-fascist movement in this country. Fascist organisation must be and will be resisted in whatever guise it takes, wherever it comes from.
For international working class solidarity and community self defence. Zero tolerance of fascism!