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Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015
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…
We’ll probably add more as we hear of them, send us yours!
We’ve been lucky to mark International Workers Day (1st May) with some effective & fun demonstrations and direct actions for the past four years.
Last year we directly a large local organisation to end all involvement with workfare – picture of the demo is the one above! This year we hope to build on that, and our other anti workfare successes.
Boycott Workfare have called for a week of action that covers May Day, we aim to target a couple of companies who are profiting from the forced exploitation it represents – and hopefully help out some people affected by the schemes at the same time.
We’ll post more details nearer the time, yes we know its during the day on a workday but we also know a lot of you use any means at your disposal to avoid working on May Day! If you are forced into it you have our sympathy, if not see you on the streets again!
“THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.”
– (August Spies on the scaffold before his execution)
South Wales Anarchists will be demonstating in Cardiff to celebrate this years May Day. Originally a pagan festival, the modern May Day bank holiday has its roots in the fight for the eight hour day and is celebrated across the globe as an International Workers’ Day to commemorate the anarchist trade union organisers who were executed in Chicago 1887. They were framed and wrongly accused of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a crowd in the Haymarket during a demonstration involving over 400,000 working in Chicago on May 4, 1886.
The anarchist idea did not die with these workers in 1887 and continues to be the inspiration for many fighting capitalism around the world. We call on all those struggling for a world of justice, dignity and freedom to come together and join us this May Day in Cardiff.
Bring your red and black flags and class struggle banners!
Meet at 12 noon at the southern end of St Mary St, under the railway bridge near the Great Western Wetherspoons. March starts at 12.30 through the streets of Cardiff City centre to…. somewhere with no bureaucrats’ speeches!!!
May 1, 2015: from Milan, capital of the crisis, to Europe.
After seven years of crisis the precarious pride has become rage and indignation against the burgeoning unemployment and the growth of poverty imposed by BCE & IMF to most of the population with austerity policies, particularly in Italy, Greece and the rest of the Latin Europe. Social slaughter, plunder of wealth and common goods, the end of the public city are the bases upon which governments build their response to the economic crisis.
Make a week of it:
APRIL 28: INTERNATIONAL NO EXPO CAMPING. Until May 3 with debates and workshops
APRIL 29: THE CITY OF MILAN AGAINST THE FASCIST MARCH
APRIL 30: NATIONAL STUDENTS DEMONSTRATION
MAY 1: #NOEXPOMAYDAY
MAY 2: MOBILIZATIONS AGAINST EXPO
MAY 3: GENERAL ASSEMBLY for 6 months of mobilizations
FROM MAY 3: 6 months of meetings and conflict against and beyond the Expo paradigm.
Tyne & Wear:
Please share with your networks: there is a public callout: to resist eviction at Yorkley court community farm on Thursday 12th March (tomorrow)
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.
Mike Haney has worked for Gwalia, a large housing association for 8 years, in July 2013 they changed his workplace without any consultation, increasing his annual mileage to and from work by 3,525 miles. In addition to fuel and vehicle maintenance costs he incurred extra insurance premiums. Gwalia have since cut Mike’s salary by £300 per month, making it financially impossible for him to continue. Mike has volunteered for redundancy but is being refused.
Mike has resorted to camping outside his work place at Brecon House, Llantarnam Industrial Park Cwmbran. Np44 3AB. Phone: 01633 833540 He’s camping out 22nd 23rd 29th & 30th Dec, then from 5th Jan he’s there from Monday-Thursday for as long as it takes!
Please support Mike Haney by contacting Gwalia Hierarchy telling them to give him redundancy he deserves otherwise the fight goes on! He’s on his own but with plenty of fighting spirit.
- or phone 01792 488288 and ask to speak to one of above.
- Head office land line Freephone 0800 012 1080
- Dawn Hallmark James, Area Manager Gwent: 01792 488005 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online contact form
If you would like to go and support Mike in person get in touch first (as he might be working). We will will pass on any messages of support and solidarity to him.
Here’s Mike’s statement:
I have worked for Gwalia for 8 years.
Two years ago I took out a mortgage. I could afford this based on my salary at that time. I could not have anticipated a cut in salary as Gwalia had stated in their 2012 corporate report that they had increased surplus and that their finances were robust. Indeed they had factored in yearly wage rises.
In July 2013 they changed my workplace without any consultation. This increased my annual mileage to and from work by 3525 miles. It also put me over my insurance mileage limit and so incurred me further costs.
Increasing cost of living was also taking its toll, but by cutting back on every possible expense I was continuing to keep a roof over my head. Gwalia have now cut my salary by £300 per month.
There is no living expense I can cut now, except my home to work mileage. I now have no alternative but to pitch a tent outside the office premises during the working week.
Gwalia directors have shown complete contempt for my situation. I volunteered for redundancy but was refused. I believe that this was a deliberate effort by Gwalia to force me to leave the company with no recompense for the years of service and contribution to the company’s reputation that I have given.
The constant changes within my terms and conditions and pay means that I am being forced to leave my job. However, if I resign and cannot obtain immediate employment, then I am unable to either claim any benefits or claim on my mortgage protection. Hence my current situation.
Ironically I was a key member of a group who raised money for rough sleeper kits, including sleeping rough on one of the coldest nights of 2014. Gwalia were happy to make the most of the publicity this generated.
Wetherspoons are getting all upset about the negative reviews of their Cardiff establishment the Prince of Wales, resulting from their decision to host members of the Neo Nazi Welsh Alliance recently. Antifascist locals have been barred for life.
It seems they are leaning on Fashbook to remove honest reviews from their FB page as well, keep ’em coming! By their own admission, Wetherspoons made record profits of around £80m last year.
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 Wales 81-83 St Mary’s Street Tel: 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.
Tell them so: 01923 477777
Mal C x
Locals who turned out to defend Cardiff city centre against racists on Saturday were astonished to find a dozen of them drinking in the Prince of Wales pub at 81-83 St Mary’s Street. Tel: 029 2064 4449 facebook The J.D. Wetherspoon house refused service to a group of antifascists, had them ejected by police and threatened with arrest, the police proceeded to bar entry to anyone from the counter-demo, insisting it was the pub’s decision to serve fascists only!
The fascists had originally planned to drink in O’Neills, but the pub wouldn’t have them. They left the Prince of Wales and environs festooned with National Front stickers. J.D. Wetherspoon feedback
The Welsh Alliance, formerly the Welsh defence league, is a small far-right coalition of E.D.L. type ‘patriots’ and people who would have had us on the other side in World War Two. Their facebook page asked marchers to ‘leave the racist banners at home’ which gives a good idea of the kind of support they were counting on.
Well known neo-Nazi Luke Pippen AKA earl Turner (facebook page) associated with blood and honour and the National Front, was arrested within minutes for threatening behaviour.
On the day 30 or so assorted fascists appropriated a miscellany of national symbols including the Welsh and British flags, the ubiquitous crusader banner and what looked like a Swedish one and tried to march to the City Hall. Their route was effectively blocked by Welsh Antifa and others. The were diverted by police through the park to an area between the police station and the Crown Court, a venue doubtless familiar to them. Here they made their speeches to an audience consisting entirely of police and antifascists.
Let’s get this straight: we’re sick of licencees bleating that they have been pressured by the police or the council to host fascists for whatever bogus reason. We don’t give a damn whether they are fascist sympathisers, too greedy to turn down the money, too spineless to stand up to the cops, too ignorant to understand the issues, or otherwise. Fascists are the enemy of the working class and so is anyone who gives comfort to them. No one is forced to open their doors to these people; you can shut and give your staff the day off. you have no right to compromise their health and safety by exposing them to this abomination. If any of them refuse to work under such conditions we will back them to the hilt, with direct action as necessary.
Oppose the racist English Defence League in Bournemouth on 23rd August!
Once again this bizarre right-wing cult threatens one of the most peaceful and diverse communities in the south. Their proposed ‘Bournemouth against the Islamification of Britain’ march is a crude provocation to a section of the population that has been here since before most of them were born.
A broad-based coalition, ‘We are Bournemouth’ comprising unions, community organisations, traders and individuals from all walks of life has called for a massive, inclusive, family-friendly counter demonstration against racism and fascism.
Local antifascist groups such as BHstopEDL, StopEDL Bournemouth and of course ourselves will also be out and about on the day, something for everyone. Bournemouth EDL has a history of importing fascists from elsewhere, notably Southampton and Portsmouth, as the blighters have been quite effectively blocked in their own areas, so we call on antifascists from across the south to join us on the day – who knows, you might get to spot one of your local boneheads!
The EDL, which mostly focuses its hatred on Muslims but attracts every kind of bigot has suffered badly in recent years from defections, criminal convictions and internal splits, but has somehow stayed under the radar in Dorset – mainly because most people have never heard of it or are unaware of its fascist origins and sinister agenda, and because there are few racial tensions here to exploit – let’s keep it that way. Their new chairman Tim Ablitt, who was Dorset organiser for the BNP splinter group ‘British Freedom Party’, lives at Fitzworth Avenue in Poole.
Now, we didn’t make this up, honestly.
It was a response to Bournemouth fascist Gary Hazel‘s plea on farcebook for a field where out-of-towners could get heavily refreshed the night before. The cops having refused the fascists permission to use public campsites – not that any would have them – after telling them they aren’t allowed to cook a pig on the beach.
Details will follow as both march routes are being challenged by the locals, we’ve been forwarding e mail enquiries to BHstopEDL
See you on the streets – they shall not pass!
We take a moment to salute our illustrious comrade John Flower (see below 4th July) who passed away in June, we left a small memorial to him at the annual International Brigades ceremony and antifascists from Wessex, Portsmouth and Southampton attended his funeral.
But life is for the living and we had another cracking weekend! We were delighted to welcome four comrades from CNT-AIT Caen this year.
Minor drama on Saturday when some prat tried to trash the stall after a specious argument about royalties. His objection was to our use of the ubiquitous John Harris photograph of Lesley Boulton at Orgreave, on this the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, which could be seen adorning T shirts all over the site. He was safely and efficiently restrained by one of the older members of our group, who also happens to be a photojournalist. We have several NUJ members in the collective who questioned him about his motives. All became clear when we visited his stall which carried similar images at four quid a pop! It turned out he was just some bourgeois flogging lefty posters for the benefit of no one but himself, and he was upset that we were giving away something he was trying to sell.
The unseemly fracas didn’t do us any harm as people queued up to tell us – and him, what a prick he was, and our now slightly disheveled literature flew off the stall. He approached the organisers (not us) to offer an apology, and we replied that since he cares so much about money, he could make amends by sticking some in our donations jar, this he failed to do.
The stuff we carry on the stall is only there because we want people to read it; we produce it ourselves and we only take donations for it to cover our costs so we can do it again next year. The cash we take for Freedom goes to Freedom. Revenge was foregone as we were reluctant to relinquish the moral high ground we occupied, but if you’re doing a class-based event keep an eye out for this arsehole who just might decide to barge in and fuck shit up. Stocky bloke with white hair, gold-rimmed glasses and beige trousers. This is from his web site, ‘Past Pixels’ click on it to go there:
Numbers on the march down a bit on last year but it was good to welcome some new faces.
Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014.
This will be our fourth bloc on the Martyrs Festival and rally; from an inauspicious start with seven of us and a black hanky on a stick, we’ve more than doubled each year to about seventy-five in 2013, from as far afield as Wales, France and the Midlands. Our commitment is to the original spirit of the Martyrs: working class self-organisation in the face of a hostile bourgeois state, more relevant today than ever, owing to the abject failure of political and industrial representation to meet the needs of the people, and the increasingly repressive reaction of the state to autonomous protest and resistance.
Once again we have a stall in the Martyrs Marquee; we will be carrying stock from Freedom Books, Britain’s oldest anarchist publisher, plus flags, badges, zines and pamphlets for donations, and loads of free stuff. If you’d like to take part and help run the stall, or if you have literature you’d like to give away or accept donations for please get in touch.
For those who are staying for the weekend festival, an advance party will arrive on Friday afternoon to pitch tents; we corral them together so that people can get to know each other, exchange contacts and ideas, plan and plot another year of class struggle.
First of all, respect to all those who turned out at short notice to oppose the EDL in Westminster last weekend, there’s a bit of comment on it below, and if you can make the counter-BNP action tomorrow, you will be most welcome. If not, you will probably find an EDL demo within gobbing distance of your living room! They are springing up like mushrooms – check social media for details.
What is going on is basically a turf war between far-right groups to exploit the horrific death of Lee Rigby. The eddles are holding simultaneous ‘wreath laying’ events at war memorials all over the land as a spoiler for the BNP’s march. Wherever they get sufficient numbers, these will most likely turn into piss-ups and drunken rampages so it’s important that none of them are unopposed.
If your area has a mass mobilisation, please support it; if they are coming to your neck of the woods and you’re the only anti-fascist in the village, you have a choice of attending one of the others or mobbing up with some of your mates – who may not agree with your politics but may not want their town centre controlled by right-wing extremists either. Failing that, if you can do so inconspicuously, hang around and take pictures, or notes, and pass your observations to the network through your local group.
Also be aware that left and radical meetings, cultural events, anti-austerity demo’s etc may be attacked and will need stewarding; union offices and Muslim businesses are also possible targets for the fascists. Whatever you do, don’t just sit at home and watch it all unfold on the Internet.
The present spike in fascist activity ought to kick us out of bed, anti-fascism is not a hobby, it’s a necessity. One observation from Monday was that whilst they outnumbered us massively, few of them were up for any contact beyond throwing stuff and threatening bystanders. The fact that they stood in the sun for hours listening to a bunch of old con-men who all hate each other indicates that many of them are completely new to this, it beggars belief that anyone would give the time of day to an arse-bugle like Yaxley-Lennon if they’d been following what’s gone on in the last few years.
So for now, it looks like the EDL have managed to pull the disaffected UKIP voters on to the streets, the facebook fascists have become fair-weather fascists, they must be discouraged before they get a taste for it.
Fascist manifestations are expected in the following locations:
Leicester, Luton, Peterborough, Dereham, Ipswich, Cambs, Sheffield, Stoke, Halifax, Leeds, Lowestoft, Wolverhampton, Islington, Manchester, Aldershot, Burton on Trent, Rochdale, Ashford (Middlesex), Stevenage, Loughborough, Bromsgrove, Preston, Sunderland, Dudley, Coventry, Takeley, Wootton Bassett, West Bromwich, Oldham, Romford, Macclesfield, Cardiff, Lewisham, Southampton, Glasgow, Ayr, Colerne, Walsall, Scarborough, Hemel Hempstead, Conwy, Chingford, Doncaster, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter, Brighton, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Slough, Reading, Oxford, Northampton and Basingstoke.
From UK Uncut: “It’s time for the government to wake up and smell the coffee. Women have had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. But there is a refuge from the cuts. Join us on Saturday 8th December to transform the tax dodger Starbucks into services women depend on, such as refuges and crèches. Check the actions page to find an action near you. If there isn’t one, we’ve got a step-by-step guide on how you can organise one yourself.”
Actions all over our area including Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Following a series of documented assaults on migrant families held in Cedars, the appalling treatment of the Saleh family, and the damning HM Inspector of Prison’s report last month, anti-detention campaigners are calling on all concerned groups and individuals to join us in an intensive day of action to ratchet up the campaign against Barnardo’s involvement in child detention.
Click banner above to get involved in the campaign.
The irrepressible South Wales Anarchists and comrades celebrated Mayday with an anarchist picnic in the city centre. Assorted free literature, free food in the shape of bread rolls and spicy veg stew provided by Food Not Bombs Cardiff plus free entertainment from local acts busking in the shadow of Nye Bevan’s statue. A sunny day brought a crowd out and some interesting conversations were had.
The event also marks the launch of their stylish new website The A Hole.
We also managed to slot in a couple of workfare pickets: Primark and Poundland, I can report that management and security at both are proper bell-ends. We then adjourned to the boozer and it all gets a bit hazy after that…
May Day is our day! – International Workers’ Day, and this is what it’s all about: The Anarchist origins of May Day (pdf)
Mayday roundup from London