A report from Swindon Anarchists’ latest meeting View original
On Wednesday the 9th of March, Swindon Anarchists held a packed public meeting, with numbers being boosted by a few poorly judged threats from a weird collection of fascist keyboard warriors.
Under 24 hours from our meeting ‘an introduction to anarchism’, we got a call from the venue saying they’d received information that far right groups were targeting the meeting. Sure enough, a quick trawl through facebook showed that an odd collection of fascist losers with a vivid online imagination but no street presence were claiming that local fascists were planning to ‘smash’ us. As our local fascists main hobby is drinking and in-fighting, we weren’t unduly fussed, but in the context of growing violence from the far right, we thought we’d better be prepared. The next 24 hours saw them swinging between claiming the meeting had been cancelled and that it was still on, but was going to get smashed up by ‘the lads’. Their weird posts attracted comments from even weirder individuals, such as infamous nazi and Todmoredon village idiot David Jones, who claimed he would be along to ‘smash the c*nts in with a sledgehammer’.
While the fascists were busy playing make believe on the internet, we were organizing. In response to the threat, we invited along anti-fascist comrades from the surrounding area and changed the topic of the meeting to ‘how to defeat fascism’.
On the evening, our event was a massive success, with over 30 people attending, including a dozen from nearby towns and cities packing out the meeting. We watched a film detailing the defeat of the National Front in the 1980s before a couple of short clips of the Nazis getting a pasting in Dover and Liverpool. This was followed by a lively discussion about the best ways of dealing with the increasingly minuscule, but increasingly far-right and violent groupsicles that constitute the fascist scene in the UK. At the end of the meeting, a hat was passed around, and we raised a decent chunk of cash which will all be ploughed in to local anti-fascist activity, before most of us headed to the pub.
Throughout the meeting, we had spotters out and about in the local area, with no sign of any fascists.
Ultimately, there are a few reasons why the fascists might have bottled it. It might have been that, while they talk a good game on the internet, they simply can’t muster the footsoldiers to do their dirty work. Alternatively, they might have turned up and bottled it when they saw a packed, diverse, well stewarded meeting, not the few liberal students they seemed to be expecting. Finally, it might have something to do with the fact that the night before, 7-10 fascists tried to attack an anti-racist meeting in Bristol, before getting chased off and taking injuries.
Either way, the Pie and Mash squad’s only response was the picture below, which they claim shows them marching through Swindon to confront us, before getting stopped by police. The obvious flaws in this argument are that our spotters in the area saw no sign of them, that the town in the picture isn’t Swindon, and that it is daylight in their picture, despite our meeting starting at 7.30pm!
In the last few months, Swindon Anarchists have been teaming up with our mates over at People’s Assembly and Swindon Calais Solidarity to offer practical solidarity to the 7,000 refugees living in the camps of Calais. As well as helping to meet the day to day needs of the refugees, we have been doing what we can to build bridges of solidarity and practically support refugees in resisting the violence and racism of the French and English states, whether in the form of tear gas and truncheon happy riot cops, or the razor-wire topped border itself.
In early December, Swindon Anarchists organised 4 vehicles rammed with supplies and volunteers to embark on our second trip to Calais. After a brief stop at a warehouse on the outskirts of Calais to drop off clothes, tents and sleeping bags, we moved on to the camp itself.
On the 24th of October, members of Swindon Anarchists, including SolFed members, took 3 vehicles crammed with supplies to the refugee camps of Calais. As numbers at the camp swelled to over 6,000, the group decided we had a responsibility to offer what solidarity we could to men, women and children forced into cramped, cold and unhygienic conditions just for seeking a life free of war, persecution, poverty and hunger. As well as hoping to improve material conditions in the camp, we reject the concept of national borders, embrace freedom of movement for all and support all those whose circumstances have forced them into conflict with the border regime, the political class and their stooges in uniform.
From the start of our campaign, we worked closely with Swindon People’s Assembly, who offered us invaluable support in raising funds and donations as well as organising a strong and well attended demonstration in Swindon town centre in support of refugees and migrants. We would also like to offer massive thanks to Swindon Pulse, who promoted our campaign, donated much needed supplies and acted as a drop off point for donations. We were also offered useful advice and practical support from Swindon-Calais Solidarity, who have been doing invaluable work in Calais for months. Read full report on SolFed dot org
If you can, a donation to cover their expenses would be really helpful! – Swindon chippenham aid to Calais
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…
Please share with your networks: there is a public callout: to resist eviction at Yorkley court community farm on Thursday 12th March (tomorrow)
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.