Ever since the labour movement of the 1970’s posed the question of ‘power’ to the political elite & boss class, successive Thatcherite governments have sort to crush union power, or at least tie the unions up in legal knots and with financial threats. They have largely succeeded, and must be emboldened by the relatively weak response to the Coalition government’s politically motivated austerity measures resulting in job threats & losses, and pay freezes.
However whilst the potential power of organised labour has lain fairly dormant and unused, opposition to austerity and corporate domination has tended to come from community and activist campaigns, with some success. Whilst numerous laws, and the reality of arrest & prison, have been used to intimidate campaigns, they remain an ongoing thorn in the side of power of capital and the state, with the potential to go further. So no doubt with one eye on potential struggles ahead, we can expect new or not often used measures to be tried on by corporations and the state.
Everybody has a lifestyle of some sort or other. Some lifestyles are quite common, those of working people with kids for example. Others are less common, not many have lifestyles like the royal family, or the Tory/LibDem cabinet, or the Pope. But in anarchist & radical circles, ‘lifestylism’ or ‘lifestyle politics’, are often terms used in a derogatory way – people think dismissively perhaps of wealthy drop outs who dont need to work and can afford all the expensive ‘green’ foods & goods, or at the other end of the scale there’s the scruffy cider punks with a dog on a string living in a shitty squat – however incorrect such assumptions may actually be.
The article below appeared in issue 14 of the now defunct Shift magazine, in response to an earlier article ‘Give up Lifestylism‘ in issue 13. We reprint it here, with Matt’s permission, as its well written and we think relevant to many in Bristol. It’s a topic that may well come up at the Bristol bookfair in April.(note – images have been added by us.)
In Defence of Lifestyle Politics by Matt Wilson
In the last edition of Shift Magazine, Josie Hooker and Lauren Wroe wrote an article suggesting we ought to abandon the idea of lifestyle politics. Here, I respond to their concerns and go on to argue that lifestyle is a fundamental part of social change. Continue reading In Defence Of Lifestyle Politics→
…tax cuts and maximised profits for the corporate chains …and along the supply chain crap wages & working conditions for the workforce
You don’t have to be an anarchist to note that the ‘contaminated’ products are all based at the cheaper end of the market, mass produced products of dubious quality anyway, for the impoverished masses. Not much sign of products in posh shops and restaurantes requiring examination, wonder why?
Those supply chains, as exposed in the media, are long and complex – so many sub-contractors and middlemen, so much transportation, it’s amazing anyone makes any money at all. No doubt the workforce down that chain makes very little pay for very long hours. Supermarkets and the larger food producers use their economic power to force down supply prices, and therefore quality, as they attempt to dominate the markets and maximise their profits. Continue reading Horsemeat and bullshit for the masses→
For a while we’ve been looking for a relatively straightforwards guide to capitalist economics, and the present ongoing global crisis. As we’re not exactly professors of economics ourselves, we wanted something written in relatively plain language that we could dip into (or log onto) at our leisure. Well luckily we’ve come across exactly that, and we share it here for everyone else out there who is confused by the deliberately mystifying (and political) language of most economics books, articles and news reporting. What follows in the links below may not be ‘perfect’, but its more than a useful start – enjoy, pass it on, act.
Kaput – an anti-capitalist & anarchist project (and therefore free to share)
A seven step guide to capitalist economics, money & finance, the market state, the crisis, and what may come next. These articles (as links) are the written up notes of a series of workshops. At the end of each you will find a useful list of further reading, much online. Continue reading A 7 step guide to capitalism and beyond→
A new modern day classic to add to our heritage of angry protest songs! The Austerity Allstars bring you ‘Bugger the bankers’, an easy singalong ditty, not unlike dear old Chumbawamba in their acoustic english rebel folk song phase, but with more knees-up & gusto. Ideal for picket, march, bank occupation, pub, footie match, wherever!
The UK Solidarity Federation have launched an excellent new online information portal dedicated to exposing Universal Jobmatch, a sneaky new online job search (dis)service designed to monitor benefit claimants and ultimately remove them from the jobless figures. The advice website is cunningly called Universal Jobmatch, and is available in English & Polish, with more translations coming soon. Do note that signing up to the job search (dis)service is NOT mandatory, see the website for info and your rights!
Much attention is focused on Athens in Greece this weekend, the location of a mass mobilisation for ‘Anti-fascist Athens‘, and against the Greek fascist party Golden Dawn. A call for international solidarity has resulted in numerous actions around Europe and beyond – in London a protest outside the Greek embassy; in Bristol there is a gathering opposite the Hippodrome from 2pm, along with calls for Greek run bars, cafes & churches to make an explicit anti-fascist statement.
All good, it will be massive! But this is an ongoing campaign in Greece, with anti-fascists and others upping the pace of the campaign in recent months to combat the growth of Golden Dawn, and both the open and shadowy support they receive from the Greek cops and state. The growth of Golden Dawn is based on a simple premise – they oppose the austerity measures forced upon Greek workers by the Greek government at the bidding of the IMF & EU….and blame it all on immigrants. Its a classic fascist tactic of divide and rule in the interests of the ruling elite – as well documented recently by Schnews (do read it!). Street conflicts with Golden Dawn thugs are almost daily occurences (example in Crete), as are murders of non-whites by Golden Dawn and their supporters. Continue reading In Greece they still fightback→
In the run up to this years Bookfair we aim to post up a series of articles looking at the most important issues of our time: the ideological nature of the ruling elites attack on the working class (and those who will never work); the worsening economic recession; the inherent crisis of capital; resistance to these attacks; alternative economic ideas; and sources for further information. Our aim is to stimulate understanding of the issues, debate, and of course action.
Austerity: Another Word For War The article equates global austerity to a condition of large-scale ‘war’ by the upholders of the capitalist mode of production – against the rest of society. The article considers two possible lines of resistance and defence which could put ordinary people onto a self-reliant and defensive war footing.
1. The attack is already under way. Globally, the troops have been prepared, the weapons sharpened, the strategic headquarters of capitalism have been readied, the national command centres have been briefed and the local field marshals are on the alert. In 2013 the previous heavy skirmishes conducted by the financial, economic and political agents of capital, will be intensified into a veritable war against the working classes and the poor.
As usual it’s the bondholders and banksters among the 1% plus who will order an increase in the intensity of the war against the rest of society. Their colleagues in the strategic, decentralised headquarters of IMF, World Bank, Central and national banks, along with their paid mercenaries in national governments and states are planning the tactics and strategy. Their field agents in local governments and law courts are on stand-by – ready to wield the life-threatening armaments – and do their bidding. (Read more…) Continue reading Austerity is another word for war→
Here we come… after a year off we’re back for 2013! The Bookfair Collective has switched venues this year to somewhere with more outdoor space, and we’re a little earlier in anticipation of another hot April. Taking the outdoors theme a little further, expect a potential playfull mix of bookfair and fayre. But we remain deadly serious about the politics, we live in dramatic times. There is much to play for. Free up your day and join us for free.
For more bookfair info and stall booking forms see more details here.
On November 6th:From the squatter camps & shanty towns of South Africa – a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from a black South African grassroots activist, about their daily struggles to sustain a basic existence in the face of state oppression and corporate greed.
Lindela Figlan is a prominent member of Abhlali baseMjondolo (AbM), the Shack Dwellers Movement, that originated largely in the shanty towns and squatter camps on the outskirts of Durban in South Africa around 2005, but is spreading further afield. AbM were invited to send a speaker over for the London Anarchist Bookfair on 27 October. Via a loose network of anarchist bookfair collectives & social centres, a whirlwind 20 day tour was put together, taking Lindela around the UK, and to Bristol on Tuesday 6th November. Continue reading From the squatter camps of South Africa→
Saturday May 12th 2018 Taking place at the Black Swan and BASE