You could say we got lucky with the weather – up to a point, the heat was actually quite challenging at times and the free showers were as welcome as the overpriced beer. Our stall attracted plenty of interest; we shifted a mountain of literature and took enough in donations to cover our expenses plus making a few quid for Freedom Books; our magnificent banner was supplied free of charge by our comrades at Sabcat Printing, the Anarchist workers’ T-shirt co-op.
The stall was operated by comrades from Brighton, Bristol and Solent SolFed, CNT-AIT Caen and Wessex Solidarity; Sunday’s Bloc was about double the size of last year’s, our militants ranged in age from 16 to a 96 year old Spanish Civil War veteran – a proper antifascist! It was good to welcome new faces from Cymru and Reading IWW, with community singing led by Bristol AFed. Shout out also to Bath Anarchists (B.A.R.F) – and anyone else we may have missed – give us a shout and we’ll link to your site.
Everyone we spoke to felt the mood was more militant than previous years; the Labour ‘got to be in it to win it’ line was challenged at every turn, the appetite for direct action is growing. What is the Tolpuddle story but an example of working class self-organisation crushed by the state? The Martyrs came together as equals; they didn’t form a trade union but a friendly society. You can fantasise about general strikes and armed insurrection all you want, the bourgeoisie will carry on chortling into their Dom Perignon; but get together and find practical solutions to the problems they cause you, outside of the structures they need you to rely on, and they will shit themselves.
We reiterate that we don’t come for a row, but to examine each others ideas and find ways of putting them to the test, so that we can give confidence to our class as a whole; the last thing the left needs now is a ‘tribal’. The 20th century is over; we must learn its lessons and evolve. We have the best opportunity for decades to give capitalism a kicking and if we fail, history will judge us harshly.
The above-referenced article on friendly societies is available by courtesy of the author, as an A5 pamphlet from one of our event stalls, or in our reference library, from where it can be downloaded for the princely sum of Fuck All.
Here’s the gallery, pictures still coming in, bear with us!