Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

radicalworkerspx
Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014, photo by Wheelz.

It’s our fifth anniversary! Usual deal: scaring the taxpayers, winding up the Tankies – Winning friends, influencing people and impressing them with our revolutionary praxis. Every year we welcome comrades from as far afield as Wales, France, Spain and the Midlands; we enjoy frank but good-natured debate with fellow trade unionists and activists alike. A small contingent doesn’t want us there, but sod ‘em – The Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers was an example of working-class self-organisation – Stalin would have had them shot. Still we hope to extend our safe spaces policy to all festival-goers; their kids will learn to swear without our help and please be kind to the cosplay cops, the council would charge a fortune to close the public highway.

Visit our stall in the Martyrs Marquee, if you’d like to help run it, or you have anything you’d like to give away / accept donations for please contact us An advance party will pitch tents on Friday afternoon, we corral them together so that people can get to know each other. If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 19th July, Meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners, this year’s theme will be politicians heads on spikes…

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Freedom Press

Talk at Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

I am heading to Bristol later this month for the Anarchist Bookfair, where I will be hosting a workshop.

The title for the session, scheduled for 2pm to 3pm, is The Meaning of Freedom.

I will be asking what freedom really is. Is it simply not being behind bars, or is there more to it than that?

Can individual freedom exist without collective freedom? Or vice-versa? Where does our need for freedom come from?

This is a fundamental aspect of anarchist philosophy and yet one, I feel, that is rarely discussed in much depth.

The event is on Saturday 25th April 2015, from 11am to 6pm, at the Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW, with a Radical History Zone nearby at the Hydra Bookshop.

For more info go to http://www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org/2015-bookfair

 

Industrial dispute at Refresco-Gerber, Bridgwater, Somerset: Press release from Unite the Union. Support needed!

Please support this major strike in a Somerset manufacturing plant in any way you can. This is a David and Goliath struggle against a vicious multi-national company going all out to weaken or smash trade union organisation. Please share far and wide.

Don’t vote, picket!

Picture by Roy Winter

Press release from Unite the Union: Friday 13th March 2015
Angry strikers set to escalate dispute:

250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end

Picture by Roy Winter

Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday. This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices. At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks. Unite the Union officer Roy Winter said:

“Our members contribute their working lives to this factory, which makes a handsome profit for Refresco-Gerber. Unfortunately, under new owners whose HQ is now in Rotterdam, those profits are not enough: the plan is to double or treble them at the expense of Unite members sick pay, shift allowances, pay protection. We are talking here of corporate greed, nothing more or less. Refresco-Gerber is making a bad mistake. There has been a recognised union organisation here for nearly fifty years: Unite the Union will not walk away from this dispute until the company agree an acceptable settlement.”

Picture by Roy Winter

Two mass meetings will be held on the 16th & 17th March to inform Unite members involved in the dispute of the latest negotiations.

Future 36-hour strikes are set for:

  • Wednesday /Thursday the 18th/19th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Tuesday/Wednesday 24th/25th March, 0645am to 1900pm;
  • Wednesday/Thursday 1st /2nd April, 0645am to 1900pm.

Trades unionists are welcome at picket lines, key times are 7am/7pm. For further information please contact Roy Winter on 07720 705078 roy.winter@unitetheunion.org

Two more direct action successes, together we win!

together we winRotting house, rotten landlord.

We were just about to share Bristol Solidarity Network’s call out for another comm’s blockade against Jabbar Mohammed of Central Estate Agency and the slum landlord Ernie Biela, this time over a ‘missing’ £800 deposit. After a bit of buck-passing between landlord and agency the deposit has been ‘found’. Solnet have received an email from CEA with a deposit protection certificate attached. We still have a fight on for the necessary repairs, so watch this space for updates.

Recently we asked for solidarity for a long-serving housing association employee whose place of work had been moved miles away from his home and his pay slashed making the job unsustainable for him. Another win. Mike is being made redundant, as he requested, and thanks all those who participated.

We received the following inspirational message from him:

“I could never accept what is fundamentally unjust. I would advise anyone in a similar position to stoke up the fire in the belly and keep fighting. Do not be divided, Don’t accept what is unjust or it will become the norm. Thanks again for the support. M”

You see, it works! We recommend you join a solidarity network or get together with your friends, colleagues and neighbours and start your own, link up with the rest of us. We can help you fight, all we ask is you do the same for others. There is strength in numbers. Wage theft, bad housing, police harassment, bullying at work, evictions, workfare, deportations, racism, sexism, homophobia, all can be resisted.

Please take a moment to support ZSP union members at Amazon.

Click here to send a message to the exploiter.

Update to Bristol Solidarity Network action and communications blockade against rogue landlord.

BIG UPDATE 28/12/14: From Bristol Solidarity Network:
CEA have had enough, and have notified the landlord and the tenants that they have quit managing the property. We have called off a second picket and communications blockade of their offices, pending further confirmation. They have put the tenant in direct contact with the absentee landlord, watch this space for more information on how the landlord plans to handle things!

Rotting House, Rotten Landlord

The first protesters arrived outside CEA at 10am

On Monday 22nd December, 20 members and friends of Bristol Solidarity Network demonstrated at the offices of Central Estate Agents in Bristol. There was a great deal of interest and support for the picket from passers by, many of whom said they would tell others about the situation. This marks the beginning of a campaign to expose CEA’s shocking neglect and threats against tenants of a house in Easton, which will continue with a second demonstration on Friday the 2nd Of January.

CEA “manages” this property for an absentee landlord last seen by the tenants in 2007. The house is in an appalling state of disrepair, with a seriously leaky roof, huge cracks in walls and ceilings, broken doors, rotting window frames and intolerable mould, cold and damp. Four family members, including three children, have developed asthma as a result of these conditions they have been forced to live in by CEA and the landlord’s neglect. They are understandably angry.

CEA and the landlord they work for have consistently dodged their responsibilities and ignored the tenants’ repeated requests to carry out the necessary repairs. Even ignoring a legally binding improvement notice issued by Bristol City Council. The very few repairs that have been done have been cosmetic, minimal and ineffective. Unbelievably, the council claim they are satisfied the repairs have been done, without even examining the roof! We offered them a ladder so they could see the extent of the disrepair but they declined. Their “investigation” was clearly just about how they could shirk any responsibility or involvement. As is often the case, the tenants are very unlikely to get help from the council. Luckily, our boxes are not so easily ticked and we are not so easily brushed aside.

Protest against delapidated housing, Bristol, UK 22/12/14

On Monday 8th December Bristol Solidarity Network members accompanied one of the tenants to the offices of CEA to deliver a letter demanding the necessary repairs be done. Two days later Jabar Mohammed of CEA responded, not by agreeing to do the right thing and start the repairs, but by threatening the family with eviction. We will not allow this absentee landlord and his agents to bully a family out of their home just for wanting to live in decent conditions. This family are prepared to stand up against this shameful bad practice, and Bristol Solidarity Network will fight alongside them until we win. We know this family is not alone and this is part of a larger struggle for decent homes for people – rather than ever higher profits for landlords.

CEA have a clear list of the much needed repairs. We will not stop and the pressure will increase until these repairs are done. It seems they won’t listen to tenants or appeals to do the right thing. Let’s see if they’ll take notice of a high profile campaign to affect their profits. Money talks after all.

One of our next steps will be a demonstration at the offices of CEA on Friday January 2nd at 2pm: Central Estate Agents, 52-54 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8BH. (Facebook).

At the same time, throughout the day on Friday January 2nd, we are calling for a communications blockade to give everyone a chance to let CEA know what they think.
If you can’t join the demonstration, please contact them to let them know what you think. Here are the company’s contact details:

Tel: 0117 98 92 150
Fax: 0117 94 21 882
Email: info@ceahomes.co.uk

Not quite as pretty as the pictures CEA choose to display in their windows!

Introduction to Feminist Self Defence, 17th January 2-5:30pm, Albany Centre Bristol.

Bristol Community Gym, The Albany Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5LT

  • Do you want to learn about basic self-defence?
  • Do you struggle with confidence in a mixed training environment?
  • Want to revise techniques you have learnt previously?

A one-off session to learn feminist self-defence for all self-defining women. We will look at common barriers and boundaries and work together to consider practical ways to overcome them.

-assertiveness
-use of voice
-stance
-force
-basic strikes
-fighting from the floor

You don’t need to be super fit, or have prior experience. The session will combine physical techniques and discussion, so please wear comfortable clothes and bring something warm. There will be cake and hot drinks available.

Please email Bristol Community Gym for more info. We will ask for a donation of £3-£5 to cover the cost of venue hire. Booking essential so we know how much kit to sort.

Please spread the word among your networks.