Tag Archives: 2011

Cops at the door – some Bristol anarchists respond

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[UPDATE 7/12/2014 – In a highly unusual move, the local police & Crimestoppers announced a £10k reward for information about a named Bristol anarchist – read this half-decent article.
UPDATE 15/11/2014 – Anarchists start investigation into dangerous police extremists – full report here.]

In the midst of a period of intensified police harassment of some anarchists & other radicals in & around Bristol, the Bristol Defendant Solidarity project and numerous other groups have issued a statement of defiance, mixing support & solidarity for those who need it, with legal advice & rights info. Here’s an excerpt: “These home visits, arrests, searches and requests to snitch are not just about information and evidence gathering. They have as much to do with a concerted effort to intimidate and divide us all. A big part of their plan is to scare people into inaction and to create divisions between us. They hope to get us blaming each other for increased surveillance to the point where someone falls for their lies and starts talking to the bad guys. These are tactics that have been used against social movements in countless places and times.” Read the full statement here and the legal info here.

Since June 2014 police have escalated their efforts to find the persons unknown who have claimed online a series of targetted attacks against the infrastructure of capital and the state, most famously the burning down of a new police firearms training centre in Portishead just over a year ago. Whilst police have been hunting for the anarchist known as ‘Badger’ since late-summer 2011, when the Bristol (Evening) Post building was attacked – in response to the police murder of Mark Duggan in London, and for the Post’s complicity in the post-Tesco riots clampdown – their renewed efforts seem to have been triggered by an article in the Daily Mail on 1 June. This near-hysterical piece, including rent-an-MP quotes, was most likely planted in the media by Special Branch to prepare the ground, and has been followed up locally by regular articles in the Bristol Post (a part of the same right-wing media corporation). What facts their articles do contain, come not from any investigative journalism but appear to be largely from communiques posted regularly online by the aforementioned persons unknown claiming actions, which total way more than 50 over recent years. A 10 minute doc on BBC1 Inside Out West on 22 September followed the same story (Youtube video). Nobody it seems has so far been charged & prosecuted for these actions, and it appears the police have no more idea of who it is than the rest of Bristol does, beyond searching for the elusive ‘Badger’.

bdsleafletThe 3 year fruitless police search for ‘Badger’ has resulted in infrequent searches & raids (often of squats), a few pointless arrests, a couple of police visits to individuals’ workplaces, and the stopping of a few individuals at airports. Since June 2014 this activity was ramped up, leading to at least 6 arrests of individuals. However as far as is known, most have been released without charge, a couple have ‘police bail’, and some suffered extensive police searches of their homes. It seems very much that these individuals were literally in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition, it has become known that more people have been stopped at an airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, but were not charged with anything. For a while the open-access news website Bristol Indymedia was the focus of police attention as a result of communiques posted to its newswire in recent years by persons unknown. Police visited various known activists in an attempt to find the people running B/Indymedia, and failing to do so they obtained a court order to seize its server in mid-August (details here), effectively shutting it down. This was the second seizure of the B/Indymeda server, the first was in June 2005, for a similar reason – the police hoped its server files would contain information about those posting up articles. But as in 2005, it doesnt, and you’d have thought the police would have remembered that?! Subsequent to the server seizure, the police seem to have re-focused on finding ‘Badger’, visiting numerous known public activists at their homes and asking for information, and/or encouraging them to snitch, but getting no information and as often as not finding peoples front doors firmly shut.

talking to police medIt must by now be abundantly clear to the police that nobody knows anymore than they do about ‘Badger’ and the persons unknown, and clearly the police have no useful evidence at all, so to an extent their harassment of activists can be laughed-off. Except that it is not funny. It is clearly an attempt to intimidate, probably an attempt to entrap, and possibly an attempt to fit someone (anyone) up so that they have something to show for all their wasted time – it would not be the first time British police have done that! Hence the statement above comes out now from activist groups offering defiance, and solidarity/support/advice for anyone feeling threatened.

At a time when the Tory/LibDem government, backed by most other parties, are suggesting removing protection of human rights and curtailing the freedom of anyone they deem to be an ‘extremist’ there seems to be an increasing momentum towards removing our traditional civil liberties and criminalising political dissent. The same laws introduced on the back of hysteria about Muslim terrorists can equally be turned against anyone the government wishes to target, just as the misuse of the Terrorism Act 2000 against political activists & protesters demonstrates. To do this they want to remove everyone’s right to privacy and snoop on your emails and phone calls. If this was Iran, China or Russia they would denounce it as undemocratic – but the citizens of the UK are all under suspicion by their own government.

The police are the most visible arm of our increasingly secretive surveillance state, sent out to do the dirty work of their political & corporate masters. We know from working class history and personal experience that the police everywhere are able to act with virtual impunity, unless we stop them. From the USA to Turkey, Hong Kong to the UK, police trample on political dissent, brutalise protesters, infiltrate campaigns, coerce female activists into relationships, and shoot to kill. It really doesnt matter if you are a ‘peaceful’ or ‘violent’ protester, to the state and the corporate bosses you are the enemy within. So we need to get our acts together, get back on the streets, get involved with campaigns or start new ones where they are needed, resist the increasing economic & political attacks on us, recognise we have more in common with each other than with the state & bosses, and above all demonstrate in whatever ways we are comfortable with some basic solidarity, support & mutual aid. Capitalism remains in crisis, expects us to pay for it, and in its desperation becomes ever more barbaric, but it only survives whilst we, the enormous majority, allow it to.

Celebrate 2years of active solidarity by Bristol Defendant Solidarity

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Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS) was formed in the aftermath of the street resistance in Stokes Croft in late April 2011. That resistance occurred when the state acted to defend a newly opened Tesco shop on Cheltenham Rd which had been the focus of widespread community opposition.

Tesco closedA heavy-handed police raid on a squat virtually opposite the Tesco sparked street protests nearby by supporters, that escalated into rioting as the cops brought in back-up from several other forces in what looked like a pre-planned operation. Welsh cops didnt endear themselves to locals by blocking their streets and refusing them access to their own homes, and soon wider sections of the local community were on the streets giving the cops a runaround into the early hours. The Tesco shop was trashed and shut down for a week. Continue reading Celebrate 2years of active solidarity by Bristol Defendant Solidarity

Discussion workshop on community direct action casework

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An introduction and discussion on community direct-action casework with Seattle Solidarity Network

Wednesday 17th August from 7-9pm
The Factory, 2-8 Cave Street, St Pauls, BS2 8RU
ALL WELCOME

seasol_logoSeattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol) is a workers’ and tenants’ mutual aid group that you can join to fight back against bosses and landlords when they do something like steal your wages or your damage deposit. By supporting each other through collective direct action, and winning these small fights we build our strength, experience and confidence, we can take on bigger opponents and take back more from the bosses – and we start to realize that we can do far more than that – we can create a new world.

Join a member of SeaSol in a workshop and discussion about why we believe that building solidarity networks or doing similar small-scale organizing in every city is one initial step towards building a movement of resistance based around people’s daily experiences and fighting back against the rich and powerful.

Event poster pdf to distro: seasol_meet

Bookfair feedback – you tell us

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So that’s the 4th annual Bristol bookfair over. What did you think of it?

We put this short statement up on Bristol Indymedia on Monday 9 May – read it here.
Those of us in the bookfair collective are mulling over the bookfair and how it all went, and we’ll be having our own collective chat in a week or so time. But first, we would really like to know what you think? So come along and tell us…

photo from prsc website
photo from prsc website

Feedback Meeting – Sunday 15 May, 5 – 6.30pm, at Kebele social centre, 14 Robertson Rd, Bristol BS5 6JY
This is for anyone who was at the bookfair – visitors, participants, stallholders, meeting organisers. Come and tell us your views, constructive criticism welcome! Continue reading Bookfair feedback – you tell us

7th May on Stokes Croft, Bristol: Anarchism – Big ideas for the new society

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Anarchism – Big ideas For A New Society

Hot on the heels of the recent Stokes Croft disturbances, and coming at the end of a week of benefit gigs, meetings and film shows, communal meals and who knows what else…welcome to the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2011 – Resistance and Alternatives to Cuts. Continue reading 7th May on Stokes Croft, Bristol: Anarchism – Big ideas for the new society

Exclusive! Limited edition Bookfair t-shirt fundraiser

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Exclusive to the Bookfair!
Designed by the Bookfair’s very own top secret in-house artist, known to the world only as the deeply mysterious ‘s_t_u_f_f_i_t’.

tshirt_image2A top quality black T-shirt, for men and women, image on front only. Strictly limited edition, 50 only, £8 a pop. Buy one on the day so we can pay for the venue hire. Available only on the day, and only from the AK Press stall, who have agreed a strict no-commission deal with us to sell it. Form an orderly queue please.
If we catch any of you trying to sell it on Ebay you’re for the chop.
We can’t wait to see what Sky ‘thick’ News, the Daily Mail Wail,  Jankers wankers and Bonkers Burchill make of ‘gurt lush’!

A note on Respect, filming and recording at the bookfair

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Respect each other and the venue
Thanks to CoExist/Hamilton House and their liason person for hire of this venue in central Bristol. Please respect the venue and its many other users by – not smoking inside, clearing up your rubbish, and not entering those areas that are not part of the bookfair. More info about Hamilton House.

We want the bookfair to be accessible to all, whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or ability. All floors are wheelchair accessible. We ask people to respect each other’s opinions and allow the free flow of ideas, even when you disagree. We will not accept any racist, sexist or other abusive or oppressive behaviour – you will be asked to leave. Animals are not allowed in the building, except guide dogs. Continue reading A note on Respect, filming and recording at the bookfair

Election over. Now for some real politics – check out these stalls!

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Well thats another fairly pointless election over, where quite frankly whoever you voted for would still implement the cuts.

Perhaps the only really interesting bit will be the AV referendum result – who got the bloodiest nose, was it the anti-AV Tories, or the pro-AV Yellow Tories the LibDems? Will the government fall…? Now that would be a result.

Looking for some real alternatives? Check out the amazing array of stalls at the Bookfair this Saturday providing anarchist and radical views and analysis on all the topics under the sun, and some above it too. Alongside history, theory, analysis and debate, there are also explorations of real alternative ways of living our lives and organising ourselves. Continue reading Election over. Now for some real politics – check out these stalls!

Bookfair Collective update on the Banksy fundraiser

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This info is based on discussions on Wednesday afternoon between the venue (Hamilton House), Banksy’s associates, and the Bookfair collective.

In order to avoid any dangerously large queues forming within the venue, for example on the stairs, and to ensure that Bookfair participants and visitors are able to freely move around inside the Bookfair area, the Banksy print will be available from the ground floor (also know as level 2) of the venue. It will be sold from within the venue’s reception and shop area. If a queue does form then it will be possible for it stretch down the street, as opposed to on the stairs. Suitable numbers of Banksy’s associates and venue helpers will assist with this. This will allow free access for visitors to the Bookfair who do not wish to join any queue to buy the Banksy print, alternatively buy the print and then come on in to engage with the politics of anarchism – which is what the event is all about after all. If you wish to donate funds to help with legal support & defence work without buying Banksy’s print, you will easily be able to do so within the Bookfair as a number of groups/stalls will be collecting and providing legal info. Continue reading Bookfair Collective update on the Banksy fundraiser

New Banksy Fundraising Print at The Bookfair

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The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair was contacted on Tuesday by Banksy’s associates advising that he has produced a poster to be exclusively sold at the Bookfair – as a fundraiser for local groups in the Stokes Croft/Bristol area who support local art, squatting and those arrested & harassed as a result of the recent Stokes Croft disturbances.

banksy-printThe poster has been released online at Pictures On Walls, announcing it is available for £5, with the following statement: “After the recent Tesco riots in Bristol Banksy has produced this fine commemorative souvenir poster. It’s available exclusively from Bristol’s Anarchist Bookfair this coming Saturday. All proceeds go to the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft and associates.”

We understand the ‘associates’ will be using any funds raised to support Stokes Croft defendants and those in housing need.

We are sure that the authorities in Bristol, along with the local corporate media, who have been so full of praise for Banksy in recent times, will appreciate this gesture and not lose their sense of humour. Continue reading New Banksy Fundraising Print at The Bookfair