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…
Just got back from Dorchester where a couple of thousand people marched against the closure of the Kingfisher children’s ward at Dorset County Hospital; estimates vary between one and three thousand. Unless you believe the Echo who put it in the hundreds, odd since they are publicly supporting the campaign.
Conspicuous by his absence was ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin, who has been hedging his bets, he would not have had a pleasant experience, we think. The march was good-natured but shows the strength of feeling in West Dorset about keeping our health services local, it was organised in a week and people required little prompting to turn out.
This is a grass-roots phenomenon bubbling up from the ground. The left are running to catch up; what will it take to get the unions to put their weight behind this? The workers at the hospital would be a good place to start. It’s all very well going to the capital a couple of times a year and trudging round in a giant police kettle, which just confirms the centralisation of power and frankly, is an exercise in hand-wringing. Here is an opportunity to strike back against austerity and let’s face it, save lives.
A couple of things have occurred to us and need to be widely appreciated:
It’ been pointed out by a comrade who is a practising midwife that the loss of Paediatric services and the Special Care Baby Unit will make the maternity ward untenable.
Next to close will be A & E.
They can then have another go at shutting the pathology lab which was only saved after a similar public outcry last year.
Then why not just sell off the rest?
We are under no illusions. This is a planned, progressive asset-strip. Letwin would not dream of associating himself with this campaign if he didn’t personally believe it was doomed to failure, so the decision has already been taken, somewhere, and the consultation exercise is just to soften up the public.
That doesn’t mean we are going to allow it to happen, if enough people get out to stop it. The health service is a pyramid with a three-cornered base. At its apex are the managers, politicians and ultimately, their corporate masters. At the base are the medical staff, support staff and the patients – all workers and taxpayers. Unite the base and we will cut the top off!
Industrial Workers of the World Dorset group is in the process of chartering as a branch in its own right, having operated for several years under the auspices of Bristol General Members’ Branch. The paperwork’s all done we’re just waiting for the formalities and should be fully operational in the new year.
The IWW is a certified union and can represent you at work, but unlike the TUC unions we’re not shy of direct action and don’t have to pretend we’re all on the same side, we’re not bothered about getting Labour elected and none of us has any ambition to sit in the house of lords! Follow the logo to the side of the page.
IWW Convention Statement on Solidarity with Ferguson
This motion was passed at the Industrial Workers of the World’s 2014 General Convention in Chicago
September 1, 2014
Motion for Solidarity with Ferguson
Whereas the IWW has historically operated in opposition to white supremacy and its relationship to capital, class, exploitation of fellow workers,
And whereas the residents of Ferguson, Missouri are openly defying white supremacy,
And whereas capitalism and white supremacy have conspired to construct a social reality which values private property above the lives of Black people,
And whereas these systems operate in a fashion which seeks to dehumanize rather than empower our fellow workers through tactics of economic, physical, psychological violence,
And whereas the residents of Ferguson have a longstanding history of oppression, disenfranchisement, marginalization due to intersecting mechanisms of economic and racial
control, And whereas the economic and social structures which simultaneously exploit and oppress all fellow workers also finance the technological advancement and surplus of military equipment deployed against the people of Ferguson,
Be it resolved that the Industrial Workers of the World stand in solidarity with the oppressed and exploited residents of Ferguson currently enduring a militarized denial of basic human dignity,
Be it further resolved that the IWW supports industrial action to combat oppression and spread the struggle, such as taken by UPS workers in Minneapolis, and commits to support and organize similar action in the future.
There are a few things I like about Wetherspoons; real ale at around £2.50 a pint, plenty of space, and you can always eat for free if you hang around long enough, no one ever seems to finish their dinner and I’m not really that bothered what I eat when there isn’t a transaction involved.
Their selling point is you know what to expect and can more or less budget for it before you walk in, and that’s all they’ve got going for them really, the privileges that come with a large chain, high turnover and the resulting leverage with suppliers. Chairman Tim Martin was heavily influenced by Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton, to the extent of making his book required reading for pub managers. His policy was to corner the market by buying up and selling off smaller pubs then open larger ones nearby. Your local struggling independent hostelry may charge up to a pound a pint more. Chances are it also puts on live music, participates in a local sports league and is embedded in the community; you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
The elephant in the room is Wetherspoons’ notorious tolerance of the far right; the lure of cheap beer from breakfast time could have been made for the E.D.L. to organise its political piss-ups for feckless bigots. I’m not giving much away by saying that antifascists usually sus out the nearest ‘spoons to the railway station as the most likely locus of any fascist infestation. The police tactic, excused as containment, is to give the fascists a ‘muster pub’ to get tanked up in with a blind eye turned to racist chanting and the kind of drug use that would get anyone else barred if not arrested. On the other side of the bar are our fellow workers, most of whom will not have chosen pulling pints as a career path but because they need the money. Antifascists on the other hand are always contained in street kettles, because the police are set the task of making sure the fascists can proceed unmolested.
The dark side of Wetherspoons surfaced in Cardiff last weekend, at the Prince of Wales81-83 St Mary’s StreetTel: 029 2064 4449, opening a heated debate on their business practices. The disgrace of out of town fascists drinking with police protection in the main city centre pub whilst the overwhelmingly local antifascists were refused service or barred entry was followed by frantic buck-passing between the licensee and the police, each blaming the other for the decision. Had they done this anywhere but South Wales, with its proud Working Class antifascist traditions, they may well have got away with it. The fascists are now gloating on the internet that Wetherspoons is theirs, but are there enough fascist sympathisers in Cardiff to keep the Prince of Wales open?
An entity that has so painstakingly identified itself with Working Class culture now has to demonstrate its loyalty by publicly disassociating itself from anti-Working Class movements and show a bit of backbone where the state is concerned, as we have to, every day. As a minimum, we should demand a statement from Wetherspoons on its policy toward fascists, the immediate dismissal of the Prince of Wales licensee, and that those staff who were forced into contact with fascists should be compensated with a day off on full pay, as they should have expected had their management behaved honourably. We would especially like to hear from Wetherspoons staff on this issue, we strongly advise joining a union, and recommend the IWW. Until this matter is resolved, we need to take direct action against this and all Wetherspoons’ premises, with boycotts, pickets, communications blockades, occupations and the like. Why not vote with your feet and drink in an independent? They’ll be pleased to see you.
One thing’s for sure, the fate of J.D. Wetherspoons will not be decided by their board of directors, the police, councils or licensing authorities, but by the Working Class, who have made it what it is, and without whose consent it will not survive for another month.
As the gentrification and Class/ethnic cleansing of London proceeds apace the people have drawn the line at No 1 Commercial Street. There are weekly pickets at the socially-segregated building in Whitechapel, traditionally a working class stronghold and the spiritual home of London’s Anarchist movement, just a few doors fromFreedom Books.
The front door, which resembles a swanky hotel lobby, only serves part of the building. Planning regulations require the developers to grudgingly include ‘affordable housing’ on their sites, knowing full well that few of those who actually make this city work could ever afford to buy a flat in London. Tenants of the 70 ‘social plots’ at no 1 are required to enter through the Poor Door, located down a dingy piss-stained alley; they have separate lifts, which are out of order for days on end.
“ONE ICONIC BUILDING One Commercial Street towers twenty-one storeys above Aldgate East like a blade of light, its glass fin protruding dramatically to add a sculptural quality to Redrow London’s first flagship development.”The developers’ website slobbers.
A three bedroom flat here will set you back over four million quid. The sign in the lobby says: “The concierge is available 24 hours per day. Should you wish to contact the concierge by phone or we are away from the desk, please phone: Mob: 07872108385 Landline: 020 7247 0464″
Please be polite.
“This is the Alamo for the working class of East London, if people put up with ‘one door for the rich, another door for the poor,’ they’ll put up with fucking anything. If there’s ever been an issue that people should stand up and be counted on, it’s this disgrace.” – Ian Bone.
Redrow goes on:
“this development bridges the gap between the square mile and London’s exciting East end”
– Every Wednesday for the past fourteen weeks, Class War and allies have been making the East End a bit more exciting for the toffs and swankers who get to use this door:
Deep blue apartments offer short stays in the flats to corporate sharks working in the City of London, starting at £170 a night for a studio flat about the size of a prison cell. Their website boasts:
“the ideal location in an up and coming trendy area, … right in the heart of the fashionable East End of London … Around the corner, you’ll find the creative hubs of Hoxton, Whitechapel and Shoreditch”
– masturbate furiously!
” The ideal base to return to after a hard day’s work,”
– stripping assets, cutting wages and foreclosing on poor people’s houses, presumably.
Saturday’s action, coming after the TUC’s festival of irrelevance ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ – emphasising the point that the business unions only represent those who get paid in the first place – was joined by anarchists, socialists and wobblies from across the country. North East Anarchists brought the Durham Miners’ banner, Cosmo entertained the troops, drummers drummed – sorry didn’t get their name – the Women’s Death Brigade did the okey-cokey, and blocked the road as well as the entrance, not a single toff did pass for over an hour.
If you can get to One Commercial Street on a Wednesday evening please come along and support this campaign: farcebook event
If you can’t here’s a list and mapof Redrow’s developments in England and Wales, and if you’re aware of any development in your area using Poor Doors, tell us about it. Let’s spread this battle until we win it!
While we’re at it, why not come to Bridport and give ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin a bollocking on the 8th November.
On Thursday 10th of July members of Bristol IWW and friends visited the Samsung phone shop on Park Street in Bristol to speak to an unscrupulous boss who has recently dismissed an employee with no good reason.
Matthew had worked for the same boss for over 5 years in his two laptop and phone repair shops. After a holiday of 6 weeks, he returned to find his hours reduced. A few weeks later he was told that he was ‘surplus to business requirements’ and that they did not have enough hours for him. This dismissal came completely out of the blue with no disciplinary procedure at all. Insultingly in his last week of work (having only been given one week’s notice) Matthew’s job was advertised in the window of the shop.
Matthew is owed over £1000 in unpaid holiday pay and wages. His former employer has offered no redundancy pay to help Matthew while he looks for another job.
Matthew decided to take the issue to his union, the Industrial Workers of the World, who wrote to the company and asked for a meeting to ensure Matthew received his wages and the holiday pay. After a terse, incoherent and rude written response from the boss, (in which the company expressed that they felt there was ‘no need’ for any further discussion), the union decided to visit in person to deliver their demands and ensure that this boss knows what to expect when he treats his workforce unfairly with little respect.
8 members of the union accompanied Matthew in the shop while around 20 others handed out flyers to potential customers in the street. The boss reacted by insisting they had to leave and he didn’t have any time, but the group stood their ground, delivered a letter with their demands and the boss had to listen to Matthew.
The recently hired manager of the shop was phoned and an organiser with the union spoke with him on speaker phone. Both bosses refused to negotiate with the union and while the phone conversation was taking place, the shop was visited by two police officers.
After assessing the situation the police explained to the boss that the union had every right to be holding their protest.
Samsung Bristol are now taking Matthew’s dispute seriously and are currently seeking legal advice. The union expects that the company will be advised to pay Matthew the money that he is owed or face a much larger cost should this escalate to employment tribunal. Not only have they unfairly dismissed Matthew and withheld his money, the company has broken the law in several other ways including not paying wages on a regular basis, not providing employees with a written contract, having no coherent sick pay policy and having no disciplinary or grievance procedure for longstanding employees.
Matthew and the IWW are still waiting for correspondence from the company. We urge all readers and friends not to buy services from Samsung Bristol or RepairPhones4u on Park Street and to take your custom to a company that respects its employees. For more information on the company please visit http://samsungbristol.co.uk/
Having problems at work? Fed up of the way you’re treated by your boss? Want to organise with your colleagues for a better deal? Please visit bristoliww.org.uk to contact your local branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, the fighting union.