Please share widely across all your networks and with all your friends and comrades. Support your local anarchist infoshop through the tough times. We have so much liberating reading material and music that needs to get off those shelves! Here’s just a few examples of some of the awesome new stuff we got in during lockdown:
Moscow Death Brigade “Bad Accent Anthems” new album on vinyl and CD: Circle pit hip hop guaranteed to get you stomping!
The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: COVID-19, Corbyn and ‘Crisis’
Text from the UK reflecting on anarchy, “democracy”, coronavirus, and responses to the pandemic…
We started to write this text last December, just after the general election in England, in response to the huge number of anarchists who voted…. then coronavirus hit. Struggling to make sense of the new context we are in, we wondered if our critique of “democracy” (and the surge of Labour voting anarchists) in the UK was appropriate. Some may read this text as an unsympathetic distraction from a global “crisis”. We hope our humble (but fiery) reflections will spark some much needed discussion. Now is the time for difficult questions….and as there will be no return to “normal”, we decided to publish it now.
Bust Card zine
From the intro: “We are ecological and anti authoritarian We stand for collective liberation and global revolution. We hold a vision for a better world, one which we believe we can achieve. We stand in international solidarity with struggles everywhere. We have to be intersectional in this fight. This system is not broken. It’s working exactly as it’s meant to. That is the problem”
This is a report from participants in the successful eviction resistance in Bristol on 13th June.
Soon after 6 in the morning around 30 bailiffs from GRC turned up at a site in St Werburgh’s with a JCB to do the dirty work of making people homeless. The people squatting the land and over 100 friends and supporters had other ideas. Here’s how it went.
Now as we all know, all bailiffs are total scum, but GRC bailiffs have a reputation for being the worst of the worst. They have repeatedly shown how they enjoy hurting people and mixing work with pleasure. There are undoubtedly far right thugs in their ranks, enthusiastically honouring the age old tradition of fascists doing the dirty work for the bosses and landlords.
On the other side stood people who had found their housing solution, living in vans and trucks on a large piece of disused land which had been empty for a decade or so. Travellers and van dwellers need safe sites and self organised housing makes even more sense during a pandemic. You’d think the same would be true of not evicting people during a dangerous virus outbreak, but when has what’s right ever mattered for the rule of property and the law that protects it?
So the GRC heavy mob started with their trademark violence, shoving and dragging people around who had gathered at the gates to stand in their way, and using their boltcroppers dangerously close to the hands of someone who had bravely wrapped their arms around the gate chains from inside.
Even as they started to win the struggle for the gates, a site defender hopped onto a van blocking the way. As they used their JCB to pull down one of the gates, another golden opportunity was spotted. A quick bit of old school “digger diving” saw the JCB converted into a climbing frame, out of action for the rest of the day. Another tidy and solid little barricade, this time provided by GRC.
And the problems just kept on coming! More and more people arrived throughout the morning to show solidarity and actively defend the site. GRC did the best they could, clumsily moving a couple of caravans and assaulting residents, all under the watchful eyes of a half dozen cops clearly intent on non intervention. When the police arrived they were presented by the ass kissing, lying through his teeth, top bailiff with the “paperwork”, producing quote of the day from the head cop, “This looks a bit informal”. Never mind, just crack on and crack some heads. Despite people repeatedly screaming that it was an illegal eviction and there were no court papers, the police predictably chose their side, the same side as always, and gave it all the thumbs up.
So sometimes you just need the power and strength of the mob that are prepared to stand solid together and fight back. And that is exactly what happened and what won the day. The day saw that perfect and uncontrollable mix of pushing back hard and partying in the face of organised thuggery.
By midday, as the balance of power shifted, cops began to tire of trying to talk several people down from the roofs of caravans and diggers, and the street party kicked, the GRC bad guys sat and stood around looking red in the face, demoralised and exhausted.
It just got worse for them throughout the day with relentless berating and mocking from the crowd. All this takes its toll and it must be tiring and dispiriting throwing your weight around to no effect. So as the site crew cranked up the volume and victory danced around them, there were some very lost and awkward looking big men who clearly would’ve rather been somewhere else. Some were probably vexed at missing the right wing demo in town. Who knows why they didn’t call it a day; the mix of money and macho pride is a strong one.
Despite taking out their frustrations in bursts of attacking people, again with no interest from the “keepers of the peace”, and threats of violence and future revenge, the bailiffs knew they were losing.
In one memorable moment the big men were suddenly very hands off and scrambling back to physical distancing after pulling one resister’s trousers down in a vain attempt to stop him climbing the site wall. And the crowd went wild! Resistance is sometimes cheeky you fuckers. Get used to it! The mob was too unruly, courageous, determined and solid together.
As the day went by the police strategy became clear – set up cordons allowing people to leave, but not return, to reduce our numbers to the point where they would feel able to attack. Of course, several determined people still found ways in, but there’s no doubt it had an effect.
In the final act, as darkness started to fall and large numbers of cops began arriving, the crowd sprung into action, getting the gates back up and barricaded, despite the best efforts of the cops. GRC had clearly had enough, and left site in a hurry, leaving a sea of cops in riot gear outside the gates (and surrounding the digger) in a tense standoff with a determined crowd inside.
After the police climbers finally removed the JCB occupiers it was nearly midnight and the authorities had to call it a day, withdrawing in defeat. Cue triumphant and jubilant scenes as the road was reclaimed simultaneously by resisters hopping the wall and those who’d been on the outside of the police cordons, and the soundtrack to victory continued.
This was an absolutely awesome show of what we can do when we stick together, think on our feet, and take no shit from the forces of property and authority. We are so proud of being part of such an inspirational and powerful example of direct action, standing together in solidarity and winning. Respect to all the squatters and the site defenders! Plenty more where that came from.
There were 4 arrests on the day and Bristol Defendant Solidarity is appealing for witnesses. Let’s stick together and support those facing charges for being in the right place at the right time! This is all of our responsibility. If you witnessed any arrests, bailiff or cop violence (or know someone who did) please contact BDS: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07510 283424 (as always, be careful what you say by phone/email; BDS can arrange a meeting in person if need be).
What a people’s history moment! Talk about making a splash! Full respect and solidarity to all Black Lives Matter demonstrators and Colston statue topplers! White supremacy must fall. So good to see so many thousands on the streets and such euphoric and determined direct action. Here was a crowd that knew what needed to be done. One down, lots more to go…Next!
Here’s some advice from Bristol Defendant Solidarity to stay safe and free and look after each other as the forces of reaction and authority prepare for punishment and revenge:
“So after the righteous toppling of Colston’s statue yesterday the police have said they are investigating footage of Colston’s come down with a view to making arrests. It may well be, in the context and in view of the levels of popular support for the action, that they are not actually prepared to follow through. But we think it’s definitely best to be prepared and take steps to minimise risk of arrests and court cases. So here’s a few bits of advice we feel it’s really useful and important to circulate right now to help keep people safe and free. Please share widely.
Advice for people present or involved in the take down of Colston:
Don’t panic, and don’t hand yourself in.
You will get solid support and solidarity from Bristol Black Lives Matter, Bristol Defendant Solidarity and a lot of good people on your side and on the right side of history.
Get rid of clothes (including shoes) you were wearing at the scene. Don’t chat publicly about your, or anyone else’s involvement.
Keep all stories and accounts off social media and the internet. Encourage others to do the same.
If you are contacted by the police for any reason, answer ‘no comment’ to all questions. Even in informal conversations, and even if you feel that what you are saying will make them realise they have the wrong person. You have a right to silence, and speaking puts you and others at risk. Get support for your ‘no comment’ by using your right to free legal advice at the police station.
Ask for HJA of London or Kellys of Brighton as these are experienced protest solicitors who will be best able to guide you. Don’t use the duty solicitor or accept a Caution.
Have these numbers ready to call if the police arrive (you can assign to speed dial on your phone to allow for a quick call if needed): Kelly’s solicitors – 01273 674 898 Bristol Defendant Solidarity – 07510283424
For everyone else:
Don’t identify anyone you know in photos or footage of the toppling of Colston.
Don’t speculate or chat about who you think people might be.
Keep all stories and accounts off social media and the internet. Encourage others to do the same.
Anarchists and antifascists in Bristol send love, respect and solidarity to all those involved in the uprisings across the US of white supremacy. Your rage, courage and solidarity is an inspiration to us all. We share the same enemies and the same struggles. Stay strong, keep fighting and never give up until white supremacy and it’s racist, brutal protectors are destroyed. Make the cops pay and make the police history. Remember you will never walk alone! All strength to all the comrades on the streets. In solidarity and with love and rage, some Bristol anarchists and antifascists.
For up to date reports and analysis of the situation stateside:
“7th June 13:00- Speakers and information stations 14:00- Protest moves In alignment with the protests in the USA and the London BLM protest, we want to hold a protest in Bristol for the vile killings of black people and those harmed by the police. If you are in Bristol- or Bath and any other neighbouring cities- please come to College Green at 1PM 7th June. This is a peaceful protest- we will not condone or participate in violence. Please bring masks, gloves, food, water, none recognisable clothes and anything to keep yourself safe.”
We send solidarity and strength to all the people on the streets of Minneapolis and everywhere fighting back against racist, killer cops and the murderous system they protect. We will remember the killing of George Floyd and add it to our rage. Time and time again and all over the world these uniformed murderers get impunity in the courts but they will never get off so lightly on the streets. We have to make them pay.
Here are a few links to more critical analysis of the pandemic, it’s ongoing exploitation for capitalist gain, the sickening and murderous negligence of the rulers and the bosses, and how we can resist:
Solidarity with Sam and Paul Newey, who are facing “terrorism” charges for their support for Dan Newey (Paul’s son, Sam’s brother), a YPG volunteer. The YPG – People’s Protection Unit – is an antifascist organisation that along with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) has defended the people of Mesopotamia from the genocidal Daesh (ISIS) and defended the revolution in the autonomous region of Rojava, northern Syria.
Another YPG volunteer, Dan Burke, is currently in prison on remand, also facing terrorism charges.
This prosecution, and the criminalisation of people who have been to support the revolution in Rojava or volunteered with the YPG/YPJ, is part of a broader repression strategy by the British state against those who are actively working towards creating a better world. The resistance to fascism, patriarchy and capitalism has growing support around the world – we won’t be intimidated by state repression and we won’t give up!
We call this day of action on Monday 27th April to demand the release of incarcerated women and others held in women’s prisons. COVID-19 is spreading through prisons and detention centres, exacerbated by insufficient hygiene and social distancing measures. At least 15 incarcerated people have already been killed by COVID-19 in prisons across England and Wales, including one woman: the true number is likely to be much higher than official statistics. Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre has known cases of COVID-19, but the people detained there are not able to socially distance.
Prison abolition is, and always has been, a feminist struggle.
People are being locked in for 23.5 hours a day. This constitutes solitary confinement, as defined by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. This inhumane treatment is having a grave impact on those with pre-existing mental health problems. The situation is particularly serious in the women’s estate. According to the NGO Women in Prison, the women’s estate constitutes 5% of incarcerated people and 18% of recorded self-harm incidents in the year ending September 2019.
Many of those held in women’s prisons are survivors of violence: according to Women in Prison, 7 in 10 have been a victim of domestic violence and over fifty per cent were abused as children. Many experience further abuse while incarcerated, including trans women held in unsafe conditions at men’s prisons. Incarcerated women, trans, non-binary and intersex people are being punished by a system built on the back of their exploitation: a system which disproportionately punishes poor and working-class, black, brown, trans, disabled and migrant women.
To safely stop the spread of COVID-19, we must release all imprisoned people so that they can socially distance. Plans for the early release of some incarcerated people are insufficient to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the prison estate, and even this promise has already been broken. As of 7th April, only 6 pregnant people had been released: even less than the meagre promise made by the government to release 30 pregnant people. This is unacceptable, according to the prison services’ own measures. Supposed plans for the release of ‘low risk’ prisoners will be processed through assessments that systematically advantage white people over black and brown people and adhere to racist narratives that assume risk is a static fact within a person. Being selective in who receives this extra punishment of being infected by COVID-19 is nothing short of inhumane, and will be ineffective in fighting the spread of the virus inside and outside the prison and detention systems.
During this public health crisis, we need more than ever to provide humane solutions over criminalisation. We cannot continue to condemn people to death by holding them in prisons and detention centres. Instead, we must build the communities that are needed to support ourselves and one another. Echoing the feminist collective, Survived and Punished- we need: “funding for housing and non-coercive healing resources e.g. physical health services, trauma-informed counselling, substance use support, so all people have immediate and stable housing options and access to holistic, restorative care upon release.”
Now is the time for strong communities, not cages.